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Cooking With Honey, Quick Tip

When cooking or baking something that uses both honey and oil, such as the granola recipe I use, I have found a secret to easily pouring the honey.  I first measure the oil in my glass measuring cup and pour it into the mixing bowl.  Next I measure the honey into the same cup.  The cup has been sufficiently greased from the oil to make it slide right out in the mixing bowl – no more sticky mess!  Maybe this is an easy tip that I am the last to discover, but it makes it that much easier for me!  I have yet to try it, but I am wondering if I have a recipe that only calls for honey and not oil, if I sprayed the measuring cup with nonstick spray, will the honey still slide right out?  I’ll have to try!

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Crunchy Wife, My Version

I recently read a blog post entitled 10 Things Guys Married to Crunchy Moms Understand and while I found it amusing, I found that there are at least 4 of them that I don’t do. Though I don’t use the title “crunchy” when I describe myself I would probably be classified as such.  So I’ve created my own list of 10 things that make me a crunchy wife and mama.

  1. I make my own sourdough bread.  I learned from a friend how to make my own sourdough starter.  It is homemade, with no preservatives, very simple ingredients, and it is so delicious!
  2. I make my own yogurt. It started out as a money saving thing, and now I also enjoy it because again, it’s simply milk with no added sugar and other weird ingredients.  I let the fruit I put into it be the natural sweetener.
  3. I make my own laundry soap.  Yes, I make my own.  It keeps the clothes clean and costs pennies compared to what I used to buy at the store.
  4. Most of my cleaning is done with vinegar.  I do still have some cleaning products, but I am trying to finish them up before switching mostly to vinegar.
  5. I make my own granola.  It’s so good!
  6. “Don’t throw that away, put it in the recycle!”  I’m constantly taking things out of my husband’s hands that he’s about to throw away and insist they go in the recycle bin.
  7. I grow my own vegetables.  I admit my vegetable garden is nothing compared to my sister’s or my parent’s but still, we get a good amount of produce from it.  This past week we have enjoyed green beans, okra, tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers from the garden.
  8. I can’t stand wastefulness.  This has more to do with being a good steward of God’s creation, and not wasting the gifts He has given us.
  9. I think it would be fun to raise chickens.  Yes, my husband thinks I’m crazy on this one, and I’m sure our HOA wouldn’t approve, but I think it would be awesome!
  10. We don’t use birth control.  My husband and I practice Natural Family Planning, specifically the sympto-thermal method.  This one, again, is more for faithful religious reasons rather than crunchy reasons, but hey, it’s also non-hormonal and natural!

Dealing with Leftovers

I was at a breakfast with other moms earlier this year and someone mentioned that she never wrapped up the little bites of leftovers. Nobody was going to eat them, so she didn’t want to waste her time or space saving them. Several moms agreed. This would never happen in my house.

Several years of my childhood were spent with my dad in medical school.  My mom stayed home with 4 kids (and two more to be born shortly after) so the budget was tight.  My parents did a great job of handling it and one of the things my mom did was never waste a bite of food.  I guess this carried over into my adult life.  Besides helping the budget, this also helps us not be wasteful and be good stewards of God’s creation.  I try to reuse containers, jars, and scrap paper as often as I can.  I turn shampoo bottles, soap dispensers, and ketchup bottles upside down to get the last drops.  Whatever I can’t reuse I recycle when possible.  But that is a blog post for another time.  Right now I’m dealing with leftovers.

So yes, I do save those little bites of food that may only be enough for one person.  They make great lunches for someone the next day.  Occasionally enough bites are saved throughout the week for a full meal.  I will put numbers in a hat and each child gets to draw a number.  Whoever choose the smallest number gets to pick first from the leftovers.  The kids like choosing numbers and it keeps everything fair.  Once in a while someone who gets a higher number is not happy with what food is left to choose from, but they know in the future they may get a smaller number.

Last Sunday was our baby’s baptism.  We had a large number of family and friends over to celebrate.  To save myself the embarrassment of running out of food, as usual I had too much.  But that’s okay since I like leftovers.  We served lunch items, so we had a lot of sliced roast beef and  turkey left.  We also had an almost completely uneaten raw vegetable tray.  So for the first two days after the party this week we had sandwiches.  Since my immediate family is not too fond of raw vegetables but loves them cooked, I just cooked things from the vegetable tray.  Monday I cooked the yellow squash as a side dish with our sandwiches, and Tuesday we had steamed carrots.

Since I was tired of sandwiches after two days but we still had meat, yesterday I made creamed turkey, using this recipe except I added some peas to it.  I chopped up the celery sticks from the vegetable tray.  I steamed cauliflower and broccoli as the side dish.  Today I’m making turkey chili but instead of using canned tomatoes I cut up the cherry tomatoes from the vegetable tray.  Later I hope to make this stew with the leftover roast beef.  By the time the week is done I think we will have not wasted a bite.

In addition to that we had a large fruit tray leftover from the party.  My kids have been eating a lot of the fruit plain, but I also have been making fruit smoothies for them as a snack.  From the fruit tray I’ve taken the pineapple chunks (that nobody wants plain) and strawberries.  I added some bananas that were going brown, some plain yogurt and ice cubes and blended it all up.  The kids think it’s a great treat!    On a side note bananas that are going brown can be frozen whole and whenever you have enough, you can take them out to make banana bread.

Stocking the Freezer

In preparation for baby #5 my husband and I have been cooking like crazy to stock the freezer.  We are usually blessed with kind friends and family who bring us meals after each baby is born.  But this usually only happens for a couple of weeks, and we don’t want to presume we will have help, so I like to make a lot of freezer meals that can be reheated easily.  Over the past couple weeks we have made about a month’s worth of meals for the freezer.  Luckily we have a full-size freezer out in the garage for storing all these things.  So this post may be rather boring, but below is a list of what I cooked this time around:

  • sauce for pasta
  • borracho beans
  • chicken soup
  • pea soup
  • beef soup
  • pinto beans
  • lentil soup
  • pasta fagiole
  • steak pizzaiola
  • pepper steak
  • meatloaf 
  • stuffed peppers 
  • fried rice
  • stew stock
  • chicken pot pie
  • eggplant parmiggiano
  • Spanish rice
  • sweet and sour pork
  • sausage and peppers
  • quiche
  • chicken enchiladas

And below is what my wonderful husband cooked on the grill:

  • chicken fajitas
  • beef fajitas
  • pork tenderloin
  • hamburgers
  • brisket