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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Scratch or Not From Scratch - that is the Question

In the course of my stay-at-home mom life I've attempted to make a lot of the products we use frequently. It started out as a frugality thing, then it became a pride thing (surely I could make this better?) and it's currently a convenience thing. We run out of stuff ALL THE TIME and don't nobody want to run to the store at 5 o'clock with four monkeys hanging off the grocery cart.

In no particular order I've attempted making dishwashing soap, chapstick, tortillas, baby food, fruit roll-ups, taco seasoning and Febreeze. If it comes in a package at the grocery store, but Pinterest tells me I can make it myself, I've tried it.
The following things have been hits and are easy enough that I consistently make them on my own.

1. Laundry Detergent - Pinterest was right with this recipe. It lasts our family of 6 FOREVER. I make a batch about every six months and it costs me $20 when I do. Y'all that's some cheap detergent.

2. Granola - I've blogged the recipe I cannot believe I've never blogged this recipe before! It's always good and a hit with every family member. See below for the good y'all. So good.

3. Yogurt - this is a particular favorite of mine because it make me feel really accomplished to say that I make my own yogurt. In reality it involves a thermometer, a slow-cooker and patience.

4. Artisan Bread - again, been mentioning this amazingness on the blog for years. We love it and so do dinner guests.

5. Chocolate Chip Cookies - cookies take all of 5 minutes to mix together and they are SO MUCH BETTER than the stuff you get at the store, whether it's bakery cookies, the dough in the tube or break and bake. If your cookies never turn out right, get yourself a Silpat liner and please try again. Also - try a skillet cookie recipe. Swoon. 

6. Pizza Dough - I've got some churning away in my bread machine right now. I use a few different recipes and it's always a win. It turns a night I don't feel like making dinner into an instant party when I tell the kids we're having pizza.

Now these bad boys were exceptional failures -- anyone out there tried and succeeded where I've failed?

1. Baby Wipes - my sweet husband put up with this for almost a month before he privately and compassionately asked me to please go back to store-bought wipes. The stakes are high people. You don't want a homemade wipe ripping when you need it most.

2. Brownies - yes, I have made homemade brownies many times and yes, they are good. But no, they are not considerably better than from-a-box, hence my position on the matter.  If you have an amazing recipe for me to try, I am willing to consider re-evaluating.

3. Hummus - like brownies, the effort here just didn't equal the reward.

4. Fritos - this was a debacle. It would have been better just to drag the monkeys to the store at 5pm.

5. Tortillas - I love our grandmothers, but they aren't Hispanic and something tells me you really need your abuela teaching you to get the hang of the tortilla. Anyone have one to lend?

What's the craziest thing you've tried to make at home? Any success stories to share?

Golden Granola - Makes 7 cups
Unsure where this originally came from!! :(

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut (I like using unsweetened, use whatever floats your boat)
1 cup chopped walnuts (sub any nut in a pinch)
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Scant tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt (I use Kosher)

1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the first six ingredients on a baking sheet and toast in a 275 degree oven while you mix the wet ingredients. 
Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet mixture and toss to coat evenly. 
Spread the mixture evenly on your baking sheet and bake at 275 for 1 hr - 1.5 hrs, stirring once or twice to ensure even browning. 

Great over yogurt, with milk like any other cereal, as an ice cream topping (coffee ice cream is TO DIE FOR with this) or (my personal favorite) by the handful from the pantry.

Friday, April 17, 2015

#beachseason and a kid update

Hey Y'all! Lately I've been pretty quiet when it comes to blogging. Is there anything you have missed hearing about or reading from this space? The people get what the people want, so let me know and maybe you'll be the one to inject some wind into this blogger's sails.

is crawling and has 5 teeth. FIVE TEETH. He still refuses a bottle so I'm his primary source of nutrition and he occasionally bites me. Let's just say it is not the most fun.

just turned 3! We celebrated his big day with a Cousin Birthday Bash celebrating both he and his big cousin Molly who turned 5. One of my sister's and my better ideas if I do say so myself.

gives us a run for our money DAILY. The other night as I was tucking her in I told her, "Britain God loves you so much.  God loves you more than anyone else." (As in, no one loves you like God loves you...) She responded, "God loves me more than Elijah!? And more than Ben? And more than...YOU?!" (As in...I knew it!) It appears she gets her confidence from her mama.

is almost finished with Kindergarten! He reads without groaning now - which is major progress. He's into skateboarding and karate moves (of his own invention). We're currently planning to keep him at home for first grade next year because this homeschool thing has been awesome thus far.

B Daddy...
is working hard to feed the Squirt's skating obsession. The two of us are hoping to take a parents-only trip to Costa Rica at the end of the year and apparently skateboarding is good training for surfing.

{This is where a picture of me would go if I had any. Number of pictures of me taken in the last two months - 0. Numbers of pictures of kids and/or husband - 36.}
Me Myself and I...
am determined to drop the last 5 pounds of kid weight. Or as Britain told a friend this week, "Mom still has a liiiiittle bit of a belly." I'm on my second week of eating oatmeal, egg whites and spinach and so far it hasn't been horrible. Hoping my body responds quickly and I only have to do this for a few weeks. The gym is also kicking my tail which helps. And on days I can't get to the gym, B Daddy joins me for a little Kayla Itsines bikini body workout...that guy is gonna look great in his bikini this summer. ;)

I leave you with another Master Meal recipe (because it's Friday and currently I am into TOTAL RANDOMNESS). This quick summer dinner just so happens to fit into a bikini body diet plan. You know, just in case #beachseason is a concern for you too.

Ground Turkey Lettuce Cups - Ready in 20 minutes, Serves 4 
via Ladies in Navy 

1 lb lean ground turkey
3 carrots (shredded)
1 bunch green onions (diced)
20-30 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil (could sub sesame or coconut oil)
Head of iceberg lettuce

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute until it smells yummy, then add meat to the pan with half of the soy sauce and sugar.  Brown meat about 10 minutes. Once browned, drain the meat and return to pan. Add the remaining soy sauce and sugar, chopped basil, carrots and green onions. Stir together for about a minute and remove from heat. (You don't want to cook the veggies totally through.)

Serve with wedges of lettuce to wrap it up in. We like ours with a drizzle of sriracha. Unless you're cutting out all carbs, you'll probably want some brown rice (cuz you're healthy like that) to serve alongside.

P.S. For more of our go-to family dinners, follow my Master Meals Pinterest board. I'm always updating it with tried and true, family-friendly, easy to make weeknight meals. 

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