Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pasta with Broccoli in Creamy Mozarella Sauce

I made this for dinner tonight. I know it's from a vegetarian website, but I added some leftover turkey.

The Thoughtful Vegetarian: Pasta and Broccoli in Creamy Mozzarella sauce


I used Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Penne Rigate  very tasty tender noodles.  I love whole grain pasta it feels so good in my tummy.

Also: I substituted whole milk for half and half, and for the seasoning blend I added a pinch of basil and oregano, a dash of garlic powder and onion salt to taste.

Toddler, preschooler and husband each had second or third helpings.

Served with water and apple slices on the side.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recipe for Leftover Turkey/ Make your own Curry

Mmmmm leftover turkey anyone?  Try my favorite post T-day recipe.

Curried Turkey Salad :if you don't have chutney use mince meat or apricot jam or apple sauce. Substitute whatever you have to... it's a salad and it's leftovers.

I've also decided I'd start making my own curry since I love the Mccormick kind but it's expensive (can't buy it in bulk) and the bulk curry I've been buying is a little too spicy (plus I'm at my in-laws and she doesn't have curry).

Here is the recipe I came up with (from what's in the cupboard and referencing 3 different websites).

SWEET CURRY SPICE MIX (combine all of these ground spices)
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mustard
dash of pepper.
(if I had coriander I would have added 1 Tbsp...maybe next time)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making Thanksgiving a little more Wholesome

This was our feast last year, I know my rolls were white (cheated and used Rhodes and they didn't have w.w. at the store)

I know that Thanksgiving is a feast and I'm all about pigging out on occasion.  I'm trying to focus on the quality of the food versus the quantity this year.  Here are some of my suggestions for a more wholesome feast.

Leave the skins on in your mashed spuds.  Generally I dice the spuds nice and small so the skins are not long and stringy.  Boil the potatoes until tender and then I drain (saving the liquid).  I use my hand-held mixer to mash them up in a big bowl without adding liquid first. Then I add some of the hot liquid back and some warm milk.  Don't really need to add butter especially if you are having gravy.

Healthier Pies. Make pumpkin pie or open top pies with my Hybrid Pie Crust to add some whole grains to your desserts (this also makes them more filling :o).  I'm also leaving out 1/4 of the sugar from my pumpkin pie recipe so it is less sweet and more pumpkin- nee.  I'm also making a blackberry (berries have so much wholesome fiber and anti-oxidants) pie that I'm going to use white whole wheat flour (extra-fine ground whole wheat) for the crust and add a minimum amount of sugar.

Whole-Grain Rolls or multi-grain.  A nice warm roll doesn't really need extra butter on it either...

A Veggie/Relish tray.  My mom always has one of these sitting out for us to snack on while we wait for the big feast.  Pickles, carrots, olives, celery, broccoli, cauliflower... all good.  This is also a good way to give your digestive track a jump start for what's to come.

Drink water.  No need to add extra calories with beverages.  Drinking water helps clear your palate to taste all of the wonderful foods and drinking periodically will help you feel fuller faster and help everything go down smoother.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!

What healthy ideas are you involving in your Thanksgiving Feast?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Is Sugar Poison?

So I've been trying to eat healthier for a while. Last fall I started adding more complex carbohydrates (whole grains etc.) to our diet and trying to replace all of the refined foods. I also have been balancing our meals better with more fruits and vegetables (larger portions and eating more proportionately in relation to the grains and proteins in our diets.)  I worked on it throughout the holidays but when the new year began I resolved to do even better.  I find that making lifestyle changes are difficult and I try to do it gradually for my sake and for the sake of my family (don't want to put them in shock).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inexpensive Handsoap

Hand soap can be expensive. Especially if you have kids and they use way too much.  I've found that the foaming hand-soap dispensers are nice because my daughter can catch the soap easier and doesn't let it slide down the drain unused.  The best part about foaming soap dispensers is that you can refill them for 1/3 the cost of regular soap. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Invented a new Ice Cream Topping

So we were eating ice cream the other night and I'm always looking for something interesting to add to my ice cream.  I looked through my cupboards and this is what I created... WARNING: this is very addicting!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Making Baby Food

Have you tried baby food lately?  Okay some of them are okay, like most of the fruits.  But what about the vegetables?  They are nasty.  Green beans, and peas are so gross.  Why would we feed this stuff to our kids.  No wonder so many kids hate vegetables, because their first experience is with soupy way overcooked sludge.  I know I don't like canned peas, but fresh and frozen peas are fantastic.
I started making my own baby food for my daughter because of the price of those little jars.  I actually made mine from a lot of frozen vegetables because they were available and affordable.  They taste 10 times better than the baby food in jars.  With a pot, a steamer basket, my blender, a couple ice trays, and ziploc bags I was in business.  It was so much cheaper and tastier for my kid.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dark Chocolate No-bake Cookies
I just read an awesome article on called Foods that Boost Brain Power.
I loved the article because apparently the foods I've been turning to to get healthier may be making me smarter!  I'm going to try to focus on recipes that incorporate those yummy super foods.

This has made me want to share my dark chocolate no-bake cookie recipe.  This recipe includes dark chocolate (less sugar per volume of cocoa), oatmeal, and peanuts. Plus I had a craving and whipped some up this afternoon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Best Bibs!

So, when DIY-daughter was a little baby I found some excellent bibs at Wal-Mart. Since DIY-son was born I've been unable to find those bibs. They look like this:

Dex Baby Dura Bib - Stage 1 - Small

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Save money that time of the month

Okay honestly, this is a website geared to moms. This may seem a little too personal for the gents.
 For most of us we have a monthly visitor that can be very costly. Do you want to know how I get by every month without wasting money on expensive feminine products?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Corn on the Cob

Although I'm finally in the unpacking stage this last week, I've found a little time to write a quick blog:

So, we've been eating a bit of corn on the cob lately.  DIY-Dad is crazy about it. I never knew how to cook it properly till a couple years ago when I consulted Betty Crocker. I was quite surprised.
We have been very happy with the results.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gone Like the Wind.

      It's crazy. I had one week when we got the news of when and where we were moving. The next week we went house hunting. Then camping with the in-laws for a week. We left the kids with grandma and grandpa and made the trek back south. Packed and cleaned for 4 days straight. Movers came and loaded everything into the truck yesterday morning. We hit the road after lunch. Stayed the night at my folks and made it back to the in-laws tonight. We'll be here for the weekend. Anthony will motel it Monday and Tuesday until closing on Wednesday. Then he can move in... and camp out until our furniture shows up a week later. Then the kids and I will join him.
       Wish I had more time to say goodbyes. We will miss our friends. Thanks to Victoria for helping me clean out my fridge/freezer and to the missionaries who stopped by and wiped out all the kitchen drawers and cabinets.  Thanks to Seth next door for mowing our lawn while we were away and his awesome mom who will sneak in and clean the mirrors and a couple windows since I packed all the cleaning supplies too soon.
      We will miss a lot of things in GJ, but we're excited to be homeowners again and to have a little more permanence in our lives.  On to the next adventure.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


  So we confirmed today that we are definitely moving (within 30 days).  DIY-Dad just accepted a promotion which will take us to a completely different area (well, it's still in the west).  We've done a lot of moving in our  8-year marriage. We've lived in 8 different places and moved 13 times. This move is supposed to be for a few years at the least.

  I really like moving actually, when it's all done. I make new friends and acquaintances and I feel like we get to make a fresh start again.  I often reinvent myself and refocus on a new area of my life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Here's the product's web addressSee UPDATE Below

Oh, heavens. I'm so in love with this product right now. After dealing with Eczema for both of my kids I finally found something that works. I think living in a hot climate has been really bad for Caleb.  Here he is 16 months old and I finally found something that works.

I've tried about 7 different types of lotions creams and medications and wasted a lot of money.  I even recently spent about $12 on a tiny canister of all natural ointment "Eczema Free."   Do your baby a favor and try this.  It cleared up his 2-month-long, back-of-knee flare-up overnight.  Seriously his skin has been red, raw, and irritated for 2 months and the inflammation disappeared overnight and they are completely healed 2 days later.  No other ointment cream, medication, that I have tried have had such visible results.

Usually I wishfully think, "Oh I think it looks a little better, I'm sure if I religiously apply it, it will get better with time."  I have a hard time spending money on products and not using them up.  Nothing else has really made a noticeable difference.

I have been using Gentle Naturals Eczema Cream for years. I used it on Kelty and it was okay. It does okay preventing irritation and helps the skin to repel water but it doesn't really do much once a flare-up starts.  I used to use that and then hydro-cortisone cream on her whenever she had a bad flare-up.  With Caleb, we moved to a much hotter climate and I think it has exacerbated his eczema.
For about 2 months he has had raw, irritated, scaly skin on the backs of his knees.  He also got a couple new raw patches on the tops of his feet and around the ankle.  It is so hot here, but I hated putting him in shorts because his raw skin was exposed.

 Hopefully this is the end of his continued misery.  I will update this later on if I feel it is no longer keeping his eczema under control but at this point (fingers crossed) I am hooked.
Here's my sensitive skinned and fair beauty. -self portrait.

Such a happy boy!
UPDATE: About 2 weeks into using this Eczema cream Caleb is starting to have redness under his knees again.  I'm trying to keep up on it, but it is definitely back... It isn't keeping it completely at bay with daily application. I guess his skin has adapted to it and just wants to be grumpy.  It's not as bad as it was when I first turned to this product. If it does get that bad with regular use I will remove my recommendation.

8/22/2012: Caleb's Eczema is doing much better. I use Cortizone-10 Intensive Healing Lotion for Eczema and Itchy, Dry Skin. on his occasional flare-ups and I'm still using the Aveeno Baby stuff after his every other day baths.

10/1/2013: I discovered Bleach baths this summer and has made a big difference  see this post

Controlling Eczema: Bleach Baths... 

I rarely feel the need to use Cortizone lotions and his eczema is better than ever.

 My Favorite lotion is also by Aveeno especially for my winter hands.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bambi Cakes


You may be wondering... What are Bambi Cakes?  Well if you have a husband who likes to hunt like I do, then you probably have a lot of lean ground meat. Generally my husband harvests 1 deer each year or occasionally an elk.  So these are small venison meatloaves. We really like meatloaf around here but in the summer I don't like to have my oven on for very long so I decided to bake mini- meatloaves in a muffin pan and chop down that bake time significantly.  Now if you don't have venison you can substitute lean ground beef or turkey. I guess they'd be called Beef Cakes?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lengthen Jeans

I hate wearing high-water pants! I did it enough growing up the middle child of 7, often getting hand-me downs from my older sisters (who are now 5 inches or so shorter than I am).  I have a lot of gripes about ill-fitting clothes... Back in the 90's, when I was in grade/high school, pants were not so tight and fitted. Straight leg pants were fashionable and I loved them (still do). I didn't have money to buy jeans from department stores (which sometimes only have a limited selection of styles in my size). I used to buy 2-3 sizes too big so my pants reached my ankles although they sat low on my hips and hung low in the crotch. Not very flattering but I did the best I could. I hated that when I sat down my pants rode up really high because the length was in the crotch.
Now jeans are fitted and flared and if I can find a pair in my size they do look rather cute (nevermind skinny jeans... that's for another blog).  The pant legs are actually longer to accommodate short girls who wear tall shoes. The length is added to the calf but not the thigh.  I've bought a few pairs, and I was so excited they were long enough, but then my pants constantly pull down at the waist because they don't have enough slack in the thighs.  So even though I wear probably a 34" inseam, some styles I have to get a 36" inseam because that is the size that they change from 'average' to 'tall' fit and add length to the thigh. Then I have to take off some length or roll them up (which I don't mind at all!)
My daughter's lengthened hand-me down jeans. I vowed that my kids won't have to wear high-water pants. Even though I won't turn down free hand-me downs.  I added coordinating patches to the knees on one pair.

So I have a few pairs of jeans that were not too fitted that I bought, thought they were perfect, and then I washed them and they shrunk. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Best Ever Cookies

I have been debating sharing this recipe. They are so good I've been considering selling the recipe. Whatever you do, be grateful I'm sharing this recipe with you and don't make money off of them unless you give me a cut of your earnings. THIS IS MY RECIPE *. I give my deceased Grandma Calderwood some of the credit because it was from her recipe that I created this cookie masterpiece.
 It is my family favorite with less sugar, butter instead of shortening (and less of it), plus whole-wheat flour and milled flax seed for texture and wholesome goodness.

I have been making different variations of this recipe for over 10 years and it's finally perfect (until I try something new).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hybrid Pie Crust

Pie is my favorite desert. I love pie, especially crust. Generally I have always used Betty Crocker's recipe from her Complete Everyday Cookbook.  Lately I've been trying to eat more healthy and so I've been experimenting with pie crust especially for making Quiche (I'll be posting a recipe soon).

I've been making the normal recipe for years by using half whole wheat and half white flour. It is good. I have never had anyone say it tastes bad or much different, and I love the more brown color in the crust. I've made it with both lard and shortening (I prefer lard because it is less processed than shortening).

I've been trying to find ways to eliminate vegetable shortening from our diet. I just don't think we should eat fats that are so firm at room temperature. Just imagine what that can do in our blood stream.

For the past year or two I've been adding flax seed to our diet.  I decided to experiment with adding it to pie crust and I found that the natural oil in the seeds that is released when you blend/mill the flax made it possible to decrease the amount of added fat in the crust.

This is how I "mill" my flax seed.  It's tricky because you want to pour the seeds in when the blender is running high or med-high. I put the funnel in the top of the blender to keep them from flying back out. I quickly dump my cup of seeds in and then turn  the cup over inside the funnel. Blend for just a few to maybe 15 seconds max. Sometimes I have a few rogue un-milled seeds but I don't mind. If you blend too long it gets hot and turns into a pasty cake under the blender blades.  You can still use it, it's just harder to get it out of the blender.

You can buy pre-milled flax but I hear it's less healthy. Sometimes it gets overheated and loses some of the vitamins, and I think it would be more likely to go rancid in storage.

I have used both golden and regular brown flax seeds and both work fine.  I'd say about 1/2 cup flax seeds will make 2/3 cup of milled flax.

I call this crust a Hybrid because the appearance, and texture is similar to a crumb crust but it's still salty, made from a dough, and baked like a traditional pastry crust.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby Tie Onesie

My little guy strutting his stuff in his dashing Easter outfit.
This is a fun project for the little men in your life. Great as a gift or anytime.

Okay, So far I have made a pattern for a 12mo. and 18mo. size.
Here is the printable I designed after the rough sketched pattern I used in this tutorial.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Onion Poppy Seed Dressing

   I took a college cooking class once. One day we learned all about emulsification [see emulsify]. It was awesome, we made our own mayonnaise. I also got a recipe for Poppy seed dressing from that class.  My mom always made poppy seed dressing and this one is a little tangier with the addition of onion. I love it. In the last year or so I was thinking about emulsification and how I should try to emulsify my dressings so I don't have to shake them so much.  It also gives them a nice creamy consistency.  I decided that my hand held beaters would be too cumbersome to do it on my own so I turned to my blender!  I love making my dressing now.  I bought some cheap condiment bottles from the grocery store to keep them in the fridge.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicken Tomato Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

All Right! I'm back had a holiday and a couple showings  this week (we are renting a house on the market).  I have been taking lots of photos and making lots of yummy food, I just haven't sat down and blogged about them.

I promised this recipe along with my first recipe for Chinese Elm Seed Pod Salad.

1 frozen chicken breast thawed.
dash of Paprika, salt, & pepper
1 Tbsp butter 
1/2 of an 8oz. package sliced mushrooms (I got baby bellas --they were the same price as the white    ones)
2 roma tomatoes diced
1 jar Cheesy Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan (any alfredo sauce will do).
16 oz. package of Angel hair Pasta.

1.Put a large pasta pot of salted water to boil.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet at medium heat.

3. Sprinkle chicken breast with paprika, a little salt and pepper. Place in skillet when heated and butter is melted.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spirit of Easter Videos

Happy Easter everyone. Tonight before sending my daughter to bed I wanted to watch some videos about the Savior to get her in the true spirit of Easter.  (you made need some tissues)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finding Balance

Okay, I've been on a health kick lately and been evaluating my physical well-being.  I have been thinking a lot about balance.  Balance is important in so many areas of our lives.  Our physical body has 4 basic needs

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Okay so eventually when I get this blog really going I want to include the following categories.
Affordable easy Meals
Try Something New & Healthy
Save money by learning a few mending and alteration tricks
Make simple fun projects and gifts
Baby Business:
Baby Essentials
Making your own Baby Food
Tips on maintaining a sense of sanity
Misc DIY:
Home repairs etc.
Cheap DIY Beauty secrets: I'll try them out and let you know

If you have any suggestions or ideas let me know.

Frequency: So I'm super-excited about blogging, but I also want to temper my excitement to a degree.  I have two kids and a wonderful husband... they are my top priorities... I have other commitments in my life already with extended family, church, and to my home.  Then there's my blog.  So ideally I would love to post weekly but I'm not making a firm commitment.  I don't want to neglect my kids because I feel pressure to keep up on my blog.  When I have more time and get plenty of sleep I will post more, when life gets crazy well, I'll get to it eventually.

Chinese Elm Seed Pod Salad

So I was at the playground with my kiddos yesterday.  K- was hungry because she insisted on going to the park before she ate her lunch.  We have a habit of nibbling on grass and finding edible plants provided by nature. I noticed that the Elm trees surrounding our park were coated in seed pods. I handed her a handful and we discovered they were quite tasty and hit the spot.  I remembered my husband mentioning that he used to eat them as a kid. Since they are in season I figured I better hurry up and publish this post while they are green and tasty. I put the ingredients in red font.

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