Friday, October 30, 2009

No need to knead

Ok, so my attempt at the pan noodles was a disaster, but that never stops me from trying to make it at home. Take out or canned is always more expensive and rarely as good as what I can make in my own kitchen. Take bread for example. You know that chewy bread you get with your soup at places like Panera? How about that awesome panini they have at one of those small places you are dying to have lunch with your friends at. I made this recipe and it about killed me not to eat the whole loaf! I had to be satisfied with the heels, but since it is round, there were 4 of those....
This recipe was published in the NY Times last year and has made the Internet rounds since then. I just decided to give it a try with AP flour despite being a whole wheat kinda girl, and it was incredible. I advise you make this on a day when you have soup on the menu, and if there is any left over, paninis the next day. I would!

No Knead Bread

3 cups flour
1 pkg yeast (.25 oz or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with a towel and a plate. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. I like to put mine in the microwave as it is above the stove, and then turn on its light.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. You can cover loosely with plastic wrap, I didn't, and let rest 30 minutes more.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic), I used my Le Creuset knock off, in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Carefully lift dough (it will resemble something out of a horror movie) and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 big loaf.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ordering out

Sometimes, no matter how much you want to cook at home, you just have to get take-out, or dine in, or take out to the car and dine in there... whatever. Tonight I had wonderful plans to stop that evil cycle and make one of #1's favorite fast food items, Japanese pan noodles from Noodles & Company. I researched online, found the actual chef's recipe, stocked my pantry with what I didn't have, weighed and measured (normally I don't) and ended up with a big pot of disaster... too salty, poor noodle to stuff ratio... you know what I am talking about... Some things should just be ordered out, that works for me.
What about you? Ever work really hard to recreate a favorite, and end up with a flop?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Monday October 25-Nov 1

Birthday tacos and angel food were a success, but #3 wanted something a little different to take for school treats. Not my kinda treat, but that is ok. Downtown Grocery total- $48.48 IGA total-$56.47 Gas station-$2.88 Total-$107.83 Better still!

Breakfast-French toast, syrup, grapes
Lunch-Pita sandwiches, veggies
Supper-Donut burgers, french fries

Breakfast-Breakfast bread pudding
Lunch-Hot lunch at school (volunteering for the morning)
Supper-Chili, rice, bagels, pickles

Breakfast-Waffles with pb, bananas
Lunch-Sub sandwiches, chips, grapes
Supper-Soba noodles with shrimp, egg rolls, salad

Breakfast-Oatmeal, toast
Lunch-Pb, J roll-ups, bananas, carrots
Supper-Popcorn chicken, mac n cheese, green beans

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Leftovers or sandwiches
Supper-Pizza and salad

Breakfast-Pancakes, blueberry syrup, whipped cream
Supper-Spaghetti, fruit salad

Breakfast-Eggs and bagels
Lunch-Fish sticks
Supper-Grilled cheese, tomato soup, apples

Birthday Treats in October

It's Monday.
These are the only kind of spiders I allow in my house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oyster Stew

Ok, I have to confess, I don't actually eat this one. I make it, every Christmas Eve, and a few odd days here and there as the weather gets colder. Those little oysters really are quite pretty as they ruffle up in the hot pan, swimming in butter, but.... just not my thing. So, we made it last night with these phenomenal cheese, tomato and basil paninis. Supper on in about 12 minutes.

Oyster Stew
1/8 c shallot or onion, minced
2 tsp butter
8 oz can oysters
1 c half and half
1/2 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook shallot in butter until soft, add oysters and simmer until the edges begin to look ruffled. I can't really say how long this takes, maybe a couple minutes. Add half and half and milk all at once and slowly reheat, do not boil. You can add parsley for looks, but salt and pepper to taste since the oysters do give it somewhat of a salty flavor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ok, here is my shopping for this week. I didn't wait for the flyer to come out as I had specific things I needed to get whether they were on sale or not. Now that I have the flyer, I think that I will plan next week's menu and buy on Sunday. Maybe if I plan and shop a week ahead the budget can be followed a bit better. I did calculate that if we didn't eat out at all this week, I would have spent $1.50 per person, per meal. That is 6 people, 7 days, 3 meals a day, not bad, still can do better.

Downtown Grocery (organic items)
$5.69 Corn flakes
$4.49 Blueberry monkey bars
$5.59 Detox tea
$3.49 Pita chips
$2.19 Baking powder ( aluminum free)
$18.00 Produce (celery, mango, kiwi, lettuce, zucchini, green grapes)
$39.45 Total

Big box
$3.48 Babybel light cheese (spurge)

$1.94 Unbleached AP flour
$6.79 Summer sausage
$7.66 2 Ham (preservative free)
$7.66 2 Turkey (preservative free)
$2.70 whole milk
$11.96 Cheese (muenster, havarti, string, sharp cheddar)
$2.89 Yogurt
$1.99 Olives
$3.78 2 Creamer (for playgroup)
$5.90 2 Butter
$3.34 Orange juice (splurge)
$13.20 2 chicken breast
$6.71 Ground chuck
$2.51 Cauliflower
$1.39 Pita
$1.65 Brown sugar
$2.70 #5 bananas
$3.49 Strawberries (for playgroup)
$2.49 Romaine
$2.99 Honey nut scooters
$2.99 Mini donuts (playgroup)
$1.49 French bread (playgroup)
$2.49 Buns
$1.39 Diet soda (whew)
$102.35 Total (saved $10.11, but spent $11.31 extra for playgroup)

$145.28 Grand total for the week. Will still need eggs again before week is done.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Monday October 19-25

I made such cute bentos this morning for my kids. It was Kirby out of salami and Havarti cheese. Did I take a picture... of course not! Crud. I am sure these will be a hit and requested frequently, so eventually I will get one. Here is our week's menu.

Breakfast-French toast with syrup
Lunch-Sandwiches, carrots and celery, mangoes, pb cookie
Supper-Noodles & Company curry soup (in town)

Breakfast-Playgroup-Blueberry brunch bake, muffins, fruit, coffee, juice, milk
Lunch-Turkey sandwiches, broccoli, dates
Supper-In town for gymnastics, swim, and conferences

Breakfast-Scrambled eggs w/ bacon, toast bananas
Lunch-Sub sandwiches, pita chips, fruit cups
Supper-Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread with cheese

Breakfast-Oatmeal, toast
Lunch-Pb&j roll-ups, carrots, bananas
Supper-Finger picking chicken balls, rice, garlic green beans

Breakfast-Lemon poppy seed muffins, apples
Lunch-Leftover chicken balls and rice
Supper-Pizza, salad, Four cheese Panini with basil tomatoes

Breakfast-Pancakes, blueberries, whipped cream
Lunch-Wausau Area Empty Bowls
Supper-no clue...

Supper-Tacos and angel food cake with strawberries (#3 birthday choice)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Super Foods- Breakfast Style

I love the Super Foods Fest that Katie is having over at Kitchen Stewardship. What a great idea to focus on why we should eat certain things and run away from other parts of the grocery store. So in an effort to add some foods we rarely eat, and to take advantage of hubby not being here so that I could test out some ideas, this morning was certainly an adventure. A chia adventure. Yup, chia. Cha cha cha chia...
I am a confessed blogaholic when it comes to reading. I get click happy on someones blog, link up somewhere else and by the time an hour goes by, have read about a dozen different people and a dozen different topics. Sara Janssen at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly posted a slide show on the home birth of her second daughter. While watching that, I found she had also posted some great webcam movies about raw food diets and smoothies. Then I discovered the movie about chia. Perfect, hubby out of town, I cook for the kids and I am free to try whatever.
I have to tell you, it's not bad. I mixed up a batch according to her directions, and then because I am only a little brave, I mixed the chia in with my oatmeal. As I sit here, 15 minutes or so after eating, I am really happy and satisfied. I know that I won't be hungry this morning despite having both a personal trainer session and an hour of yoga coming. Here is what I ate, if you are so inclined to try... you should be able to find chia at your local organic grocer, but if not and you are still interested, there are many places online to order it. Once again I can honestly tell my kids, they need to try something before they don't like it.
Cha cha cha chia....

Chia breakfast
1/3 c cooked old fashoned oatmeal
1/4 c soaked chia
1 tsp honey
1/2 banana

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Super Foods- Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground turkey breast
1 onion chopped (from garden)
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 16oz tomato sauce ( I used home canned)
1/3 c water
1 c ricotta cheese
1/2 bag fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp basil
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions, drain and lay out on a dish towel to dry a bit

2. Heat oil in skillet (oven safe) and cook turkey, onion, garlic and bell pepper until all the pan juices evaporate (10 min or so). Stir in tomato sauce and water, simmer for about 5 minuts.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While heating, stir ricotta, spinach, basil, parmesan, egg and nutmeg in a bowl. Spread over the length of each noodle and roll up.

4. Place in pan on top of tomato/turkey mixture and spoon half of sauce over rolls. Bake 40 minutes, sprinkling the mozzarella on in the last 10 minutes.

5. Call them something witty like incredible hulk food so your kids have even more fun eating them. My kids all liked them, but they are kinda like that.

Visit Kitchen Stewardship for more Super Foods Recipes as part of the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. Next week’s theme: “Un-Processed foods”.

Thoughts of an 11 year old

Last night when #1 came home from CCD, he had homework. I think the change from last year has been a shock, and now we have homework for church, too. The question was, how many of the gospels speak of the nativity. True to his age, he tried to Google it and didn't seem to come up with an answer. He turned to me, stumped, and that's when Mom gave him the brilliant idea of checking.... oh say..... the bible? Hmmmmmmm
So, here we were, flipping through the first two chapters or so of the gospels, reading the chapter and section headings and looking for the nativity when we came across Mary going to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-44). We read the passage out loud and when we finished, he looked at me and said, "Whoa. Cool."
That's what I was thinking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to basics- Milling

I love a giveaway. Tons of new people stop by your blog, read about you and what you do, and give you ideas for what they would like to see you talk about. It made me realize that unlike a good book that starts at the beginning, my blog kinda just started where I was. So I thought it might be a good idea to back up and show some of the basics of what I do and why I do it. First order of the day, milling.
I use a Nutrimill to grind my flour for all my baking. Now, why would I spend time grinding flour when it comes in a bag at any big box or grocery store, you ask? The stuff in the bag is dead. That's right, dead. They grind these beautiful wheat berries, kill everything in it, pull out all the fiber and then bleach it. To make you feel better, they "enrich" it, which means they attempt to put the good stuff back into it so that you feel like you are doing a good thing by baking from scratch rather than buying, say, a cupcake. If you bake, you are doing a good thing, but I say why not make it better?
I can't tell you all the particulars about what happens during that process, or how many nutrients are lost in what time frame. What I can tell you is that I know broccoli from my garden is better for me than what I have available at Big-box and that food in its natural state is the best food. So, I grind a weeks worth of flour at a time and store it in my freezer. My personal favorite is a combination of Montana gold and hard red wheat for bread and soft white for muffins, pancakes and other pastries. I do keep a bag of unbleached natural flour that is commercially ground on hand for when I run out, or want to lighten up my bread a bit. More on that later. For now, here is the mix I am about to grind. Makes me want to smile.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Half The Kids

I am tired. Our new school schedule has been a difficult adjustment for everyone in the house, and I seem to be taking the longest to get with the program. Monday and Tuesday are the worst days since we have activities right after school for our two oldest. That usually means me in the car with all the kids trying to juggle supper, homework, movies, library books and whatever else we can or need to occupy our time while swimming and gymnastics are going on.
Today, my husband was home from work, and while he had plenty of his own projects to take care of, he kept the younger two kids so they didn't have to go sit in the car during the night's activities. Our kids are good, but it is just nice to only have the ones that need to be in the car, in the car. What a guy! Today I am grateful to him for keeping half of the kids to make my life a bit easier, even though it made his a little more crazy. I love him!

Menu Monday October 12-19

This week will be spent getting the rest of the produce out of the garden since the white stuff has started to fall here in Wisconsin.

Homemade donuts and yogurt
Apple muffins and hard boiled eggs
Oatmeal and fruit
Cold cereal and pb toast
Eggs and toast with fruit
Waffles and yogurt smoothies
Brunch (out)
Blueberry muffins and fruit cups

Bento box #1
Lunch at school
Sandwiches, banana chips and veggies
Pasta and fruit
Chicken noodle soup, bread with butter
Bean soup and cheese sandwiches
Bento box #2 (not yet created)

Lasagna roll-ups, salad
Subway sandwiches
Tacos or taco dip
Mac n cheese, green beans, apples
Meatballs, rice, peas
Roast chicken, oven veggies and potatoes

Bento #1

Our new no plastic lunch boxes came and here is my first bento. Won't #2 be suprised when she opens it.... the thermos has cheese soup that I made for hubby's sub-zero fishing trip yesterday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last day of the carnival...

And yes, I did promise five winners in five days. Today is a double whammy! I love Flylady you may have noticed if you flipped through my blog how I have mentioned it a time or two.. million.... Well, today's giveaway is for two of my favorite tools, the Flylady calendar and sticker pack. I love these because it helps me have my whole life organized at a glance. My Hubby knows that he can go to the back door and at a glance, see what the week looks like. Take a glance at my lovely, color coded, menu filled, tracking system that keeps us where we need to be, and what part of my house I am tackling on that week. One person will win the sticker pack that turns your favorite calendar into a Flylady tool, the second person wins one complete calender with sticker pack.... I am envious for you, and I already have mine! The best thing, you can use it already because it is an August 2009-December 2010 calendar. Woo Hoo! Leave me a note about how you would use this or any other tool you see at Flylady. Good luck! Drawing for all my giveaways will be tonight at 8:00 pm CST.
*Update- Congrats to Kate on winning the sticker pack!
Congrats to Tweeterbird on winning the calendar!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 3

Today's lucky winner will receive a copy of Weight Watchers In One Pot recipe book. There are 200 one-dish meals in it, and it was only used twice I think. This is a fun resource even if you are not following the plan. I bought it in 2004 when I first joined thinking it would make meal planning easier, but you know how it is... too many cookbooks, too much..... well, just too many cookbooks. You can see the book here. Just like yesterday, leave me a comment about something on my blog, follow me, or surf one of the blogs I follow (there are more on my profile page) and leave me a comment about what you found. Be sure to visit Laura for all her giveaways, too.
*Update-Congrats to Camelfam on winning this giveaway!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 2

Wow, what a great response to day one, on to day two. Today's giveaway is a copy of the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets them Free. I read this book, and then passed it on to my sister to read. It is a great resource for women who are struggling with personal issues and are looking for answers or advice. Just like yesterday's giveaway, leave me a comment about something you read on my blog, or follow me for a second entry. A new option for today will be to visit one of the blogs I follow and leave me a comment about which one you chose.
*Update- Congrats to Faerie Mom for winning this giveaway

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 1

Purge is my middle name.

Ok, it's not really, but it might as well be according to my kids and hubby. Since finding Flylady, I have become the queen of purge and Heavenly Homemakers Fall Giveaway Carnival is right up my alley. Each day I will be giving away something that does not fall in the love it, need it, use it category from my home. That is 5 different items, 5 different winners and 5 more items I have given a loving new home too! Be sure to visit back again tomorrow to see what's new. Head over to Laura's to visit everyone else at their site and sign up for their awesome

Monday, October 4

The Fall Giveaway for today is a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Menus in Minutes.
This is a fun book that has pages that are split in half. The top half is your main entree and the bottom half is a side dish or dessert. The pages are color coded so that you can match up a variety of choices and gives your kids some choices in your meal. Leave me a comment with a link to your blog, or an email address if you don't blog. Follow me for a second entry. For even one more chance to win, post something you have a question about or would like to learn more about on my blog. Then go back to Laura's and visit someone else!
*Update- Congrats to The Fifth Street Mama for winning day 1!

Menu Monday October 5-12

I spent a total of $106.75 at two grocery stores this week. Here is what that looks like...chinese 5/$5.00
yeast 2/$1.98
2 bags choc chips-$5.00
ricotta-$2.85 (not on sale)
cheddar cheese-$2.08
butter 2/$3.00
WW meals 9/$24.18
evap milk-$1.19
summer sausage #1- $5.04
chicken thighs-$4.99
Newman sauce 2/$4.00
english muffins-.79
spinach-$3.29 (not on sale)
beef stew meat #1.5-$4.57
ground round 90% #1.5- $3.58
rump roast #2.6- $6.50

IGA was $83.94 which is not too bad for a week to supplement what we already have in stock, still not as low as I would like it. I did save $13.92 by shopping my flyer.
Sweet potato chips -$4.29
Eggs- $2.99
Kiwi- #1/$2.66
Bananas #7/$3.45
Bug Chocolate-$0.79

The Downtown Grocery store was only 22.81, bear in mind that everything that comes from there is a combination of Moonshadow Farms (local organic) or shipped in organic. If there is a local option, I prefer that. Even the beer we purchase is made here in town, food less traveled!

Here is my menu for the week.
Sunday brunch (eggs benedict, pancakes and fruit)
Homemade donuts
Cold cereal
Smoothies and toast with pb
Pancakes with fruit on top
Egg sandwiches
Sunday brunch again (may eat out)
Apple muffins

Leftovers, cold lunch or school lunch

Frozen pizza and salad
Football food (mini quiche, empanadas, neighbors brought-veggie tray, stuffed mushrooms)
Chili and macaroni noodles, apples
Japanese mum's chicken, homemade bread, broccoli
Chili dogs, chips, apples
Roast, garden carrots and potatoes, kiwi
Lasagna, salad, pears
Beef stew with garden vegetables, parmesan-cornmeal biscuits
General Tso's chicken, stir fried vegetables, egg rolls

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I was blog surfing the other day, something I find I don't have much time for, and I found several posts about pumpkin. Normally I would have been drooling into my computer, but these were scary posts.... about.....A PUMPKIN SHORTAGE! How can this happen you ask? One blogger blamed it on loss due to a cold snap in pumpkin land. I don't know if this is true and I have not gone looking for any at the store to confirm the shortage because there isn't one, at our house at least.
Back in February when I was drooling over seed catalogues, #3 said to me, "Mom, we HAVE to grow pumpkins so we can have pie!" So he picked out the seeds, and then in the spring, he "helped" me plant them. We were a little concerned about the dry weather this summer, but our neighbor brought over a wagon of soybean straw to put around the plants as mulch and here we are in October and we have loads of beautiful round orange pumpkins. We have so many different ones, we invited our neighborhood to come help themselves to some too.
So, what do you do with a pie pumpkin you ask? Easy as... well pie! Cut it in half like this.
Now scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down in a baking pan or roaster. I can fit three pumpkins in my turkey roaster at once. Then put it in the oven for two hours at 350, much like cooking squash. You may want to check it every once in a while, but when you see the tops starting to cave in, you know they are done. Pull them out, scrape them out and mash up what looks NOTHING like canned pumpkin. Measure it into quantities of your favorite recipe, mine is two cups, and throw it in the freezer. Done! Six pumpkins gave me enough goo for ten pies. I will probably do ten more as we eat a lot of pumpkin things, but that will still leave me with some for the neighbors. Yay! Later I will post what I did with my first batch of fresh, organic, home grown, frugal pumpkin.