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1 Jun

The saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I didn’t make lemonade today.

Today was supposed to be the big annual housing inspection. Did you see the supposed? That’s right. They cancelled it about midmorning. So I get to start the summer with an amazingly clean house. And because they’re not sure yet when they are rescheduling, I can use it as leverage to get my child to help keep it this way. Right?!

So where do the lemons come in, I can hear you asking. I bought some lemons last night at the store to finish cleaning my oven. I used a paste of salt, baking soda, and dishsoap that I spread over the walls and floor of the oven. Then I let it sit for a few hours. Then you spray a 1:1 vinegar and water solution over everything until it starts to foam. And BINGO just wipe the grime away with a damp sponge. It didn’t really work that way. Yes, it got it mostly clean. But it wasn’t easy. I still had to use some elbow grease. And it took forever to get it rinsed clean.

Yes, I know, lemons. Last night at the store I bought a bag of lemons because you’re supposed to put cut lemons in a pan of water in a 250 degree oven until the water boils. Turn the oven off and let cool until cool for an hour. Then wipe down the oven with paper towels. I was going to do that last night. But I went to bed instead. And I didn’t get up early enough this morning either.

I didn’t want to be cleaning the oven when they came for the inspection either. So when they cancelled it, I put the lemons and water in the oven then. It’s been in there all afternoon! The water won’t boil if the oven isn’t hot enough. I turned it up to 300 just a little bit ago. We’ll see if it works. At least now I know my oven won’t smells like burnt baking soda and dishsoap.

While I was messing with the lemons, I used my peeler and took the zest off of 3 other lemons, spread the pieces on a parchment paper lined pan and put them in the freezer. Then I peeled the lemons and put sections in ice cube trays, pushing them down so they would be below the water line when filled. Filled them with water and put them in the freezer too. So maybe I DID make lemonade. Just unsweetened. If it turns out ok, I’ll probably do it again.

  • I’m grateful my house was clean anyway. I’m grateful my house smells like baking lemons. I’m grateful to have some lemon ice in the freezer for drinks this weekend when its supposed to be hot.

Night all. LOVES


Oatmeal applesauce muffins

27 Apr

I usually put cinnamon in my applesauce for my son and sometimes a spoonful of sugar if its super tart, but this last time he wouldn’t eat it. It wasn’t our normal brand and he said it tasted weird. I didn’t want to throw it away and I couldn’t get ahold of the neighbors who I normally foist my excess food onto.

So I started experimenting. This is the result. These are delicious. Not too sweet and reasonably healthy for a baked good, at least according to my food diary app. It’s definitely a do-over. Even the neighbors enjoyed them once I finally was able to talk to them.

3 cups oatmeal, blended to a flour

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

3 tablespoons cream of wheat

3 scoops whey protein powder, vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 14 oz can unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup maple flavored pancake syrup

2 eggs

Add ingredients in order, mix until blended. Place appox. 1/4 cup in greased muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 minutes in a 325 oven or until skewer comes out clean.

My oven sucks so my measurements aren’t always accurate.

  • I’m grateful that I can still enjoy baking because its so calming to me. I’m grateful to figure out how to use leftovers in a new and different, but still delicious way. I’m grateful they are all gone because they were very addicting.

Night all. LOVES

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

11 Apr

In my attempt to eat healthier and to convince my child to do the same, I’ve decided to quit buying bottled salad dressing. I already make my own honey mustard and now I’m making ranch. It might not be much healthier though. It’s the thought that counts.

I’ve made ranch before but it usually goes bad before we finish the bottle. So with my neighbor’s help, I’ve figured out how to make a little batch.

Put 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning( I bought a container at Costco on sale), 1 teaspoon of Uncle Dan’s seasoning( I put the rest in a little container in the cupboard), and enough milk to make it the consistency we like. It’s just enough for a salad and some chicken strips. It tends to thicken as it sits so you might need to adjust the amount of milk. IF there are any leftovers, I just store in the fridge. There usually isn’t.

  • I’m grateful we made it to his doctor and home today before the rain hit. I’m grateful for a nap on the couch under my heavy Levi quilt when we came home. I’m grateful that my son should be able to go to school tomorrow.

Night all. LOVES

Fruit and nut mix

20 Mar

I needed something reasonably healthy with some protein in it. I also had some dried fruit that I bought to help things move along because a high protein diet does just the opposite. I had made the granola the other day because oatmeal adds fiber which also moves along.

The other day, I took 6 cups of oats, 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 5 tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg and mixed it in a large bowl. Then poured it onto a rimmed cookie sheet that I lined with parchment paper then spray with pan spray. Placed it in MY stupid oven at 200F for 20 minutes, stirring and rotating the pan at 10 minutes. Then I turned the oven up to 300F and have it another 10 minutes. I mixed a package each of dried figs, dried pitted dates, and the soft dried apricots that I had cut in small pieces. Placed it in the oven for 10 more minutes with the oven turned off. Then let it cool.

Today I put the fruit and oatmeal mixture in a large clean grocery bag(my large bowl was too small) and added a package of 78% dark chocolate chunks, a package of 35% semi sweet chocolate drops, an 8 oz can of lightly salted, mixed nuts, an 8 oz can of lightly salted toffee peanuts, and half an 8 oz can of lightly salted roasted peanuts(my teenager ate the other half can). Closed the bag and shook it well to mix.

I then put a 1/2 cup in snack size zipper bags. Then put the little bags in 2 gallon size zipper bags. I ended up with 30 portions. I probably should have done 1/4 cups. I could only eat half a bag at a setting. Now I have some grab and go snacks for when I’m out and about.

  • I’m grateful I persevered with my stupid oven. I’m buying a temperature gauge on payday. I’m grateful that my picky child ate bits and pieces that he picked out. He’s not too fond of anything but the peanuts. I’m grateful for the feeling of accomplishment I feel for spending part of the last 2 days making healthy thing I CAN eat.

Night all. LOVES

Honey mustard

6 Mar

I’ve been making my own honey mustard for a few years now. I started because you can get yellow mustard and honey in food boxes, so why pay for the expensive stuff in the store.

I use an empty mustard or honey container, it doesn’t really matter. You could put it in whatever container you think works best, but you might need to adjust your measurements to suit your tastes.

Put 2 tablespoons light soy sauce in the bottle, then add some sriracha. I use about a teaspoon because we’ve got sissy tummies. Then I add 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Then I add 2 tablespoons each of vegetable oil and white vinegar. Shake it all together. Then add enough honey to fill the jar just under halfway. And add mustard until almost full. You need to leave room to shake it together.

Sometimes I’ll add a little of this or that if I’ve got it. One time I added fish sauce, another time I added the last little bit of some oriental dipping sauce. It doesn’t matter. It’s up to you. It’s just a basic honey mustard vinaigrette. We use it on everything.

  • I’m grateful to have some homemade chicken strips to dip tonight. I’m grateful to get to my cooking class at the grocery store. I’m grateful to find¬†a really great deal on chicken and hamburger for my assignment in class.

Night all. LOVES

It’s not ramen

10 Feb

It’s a cold, snizzly (cross between snow and drizzle) day. It’s just perfect for curling up with a good book or a movie, on the couch with your favorite woobie, with something warm to eat/drink.

I never realized how much I ate ramen and macaroni and cheese until this last year. I’m missing it today. A bowl of chicken ramen with stretchy cheese is just so warm and comforting and warms you up from the inside out.

But I can’t do ramen any more. So I had to come up with something else. I start with a mug of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. I add half a baby spoon of Better Than Bullion low sodium chicken base and my usual seasonings. Sriracha, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. I don’t add salt because the chicken stock is still salty. Even the lower sodium one. Then I add a 1/4 cup of instant potatoes and an ounce of shredded cheese. Stir well.

Now for the protein. It usually depends on what I have handy. I’ve used lunch meat, leftovers or I’ll fry up some ground turkey. Today I put an egg in it before I added the potatoes. The heated water cooked it. Just like egg drop soup. I also added some frozen peas because I’ve been adding them to everything lately.

Its warm and comforting. It’s mostly good for me and less than 300 calories. I don’t eat it all the time, but you can only have so many protein shakes. And it takes less than 5 minutes.

  • I’m grateful today to have a cat in my lap. She doesn’t cuddle very often. I’m grateful for 5 minute meals when I really just don’t want to cook. I’m grateful to feel warm and cozy this afternoon as it tries to snow.

Night all. LOVES

Eggplant casserole

27 Jan

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe. I really haven’t felt like cooking much. But I decided to tell you how I fixed the eggplant I bought yesterday on my store tour.

First I cut each eggplant in half and cut a crosshatch on the cut side. I made the cuts about 2 inches apart. I set the four halves on a baking rack set over a cookie sheet. Liberally salted them, then turned them cut side down and let them sit for at least a half an hour. I probably let them sit for over an hour by the time I got back to them.

When I was ready to cook, I put almost a half pound of chicken sausage, I wasn’t going to make the guy at the butcher counter dig out some more, in a pan with a tablespoon each of canola oil and butter. As I was looking at the amount of eggplant and the little amount of meat, I grabbed some ground turkey out of the freezer and threw that in the pot too. I added a half cup of water so the sausage wouldn’t burn while the turkey defrosted and browned. I KNOW there are some of you who do that when you forgot to take something out of the freezer and its dinnertime and the children are climbing the walls saying they’re starving.

While the meat was browning, I finished my dishes so I would have a clean sink. I know there are those of you that need to do that too! Then I gently(you don’t want mashed eggplant) squeezed the eggplant and rinsed the salt off. Then I cut the halves in 4-5 large chunks and placed in a 9×11 cake pan that I sprayed with cooking spray. Yes, I know I could have said Pam and most would know what I’m talking about, but I could only afford generic this time.

When the meat was cooked through, I added a can of cream of chicken soup and a half a can of water. Poured it over the eggplant, then sprinkled about a cup of shredded cheese out of the bag over everything. Put it in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Then let it sit on the counter for 20 more minutes so I didn’t need to eat hot lava. I put it into my food diary app as serving 6, but you can divide it up however you feel is best.

It was really yummy! My tummy is even happy with it. The eggplant wasn’t bitter because I salted it first and I cut the chunks big enough to not turn to mush while it cooked. But I still couldn’t get my picky child to try it. Guess I’m eating it all week. Hopefully it microwaves well.

  • I’m grateful to get to church today. I needed some serenity in my life. I’m grateful to experiment in the kitchen. It always soothes the voices fighting in my head. I’m grateful this experiment turned out so well. Maybe I’ll get the neighbors to try it?

Night all. LOVES