Thursday, June 30, 2011

real fast food::black beans and rice


Black beans and rice is a staple at our house. We got hooked on it while staying in Costa Rica. Every meal, including breakfast, was served with it.  It is so quick, really filling and nutritious. The key for us is to have both the rice and beans cooked up in the fridge waiting - so when hunger hits, we can easily grab this healthier version of fast food.

We cook up lots of brown rice in the rice cooker a few times a week. I have only been doing this for about a year and have no idea why it took so long to figure it out. Rice stores great in the fridge and can be warmed up on the stove with a bit of water in just a few minutes.

You can use canned black beans, but we have been using dried lately and really like them. Soak them overnight and then cook them in a crockpot for a day with some chicken or vegetable stock or even water.

When you are hungry, just warm up the rice and beans in a big sauce pan. Next, comes the magic... it is all in the toppings. I like cheddar, tomato, scallion, hot sauce or jalapeno and cilantro. Also good is mango, salsa, corn, onions, avocado and sour cream. My husband will even add a fried egg. What would be your  favorite combination?










Tuesday, June 28, 2011

make a tin can lantern

We love free crafts that utilize things from the recycling bin! To make tin can lanterns, all you have to do is freeze water in the cans for a few hours. When they are rock hard, set the cans on a cloth to help stabilize them and pound sharp nails into the sides (we used roofing nails - they worked great). You can make designs if you like, but we are much more free form around here. The more holes the better! When the ice has melted out - you are done. Just add a candle and enjoy the magic. They are a beautiful addition to the backyard, dinner table or bedroom at story time. Like tiny flickering stars...


















Monday, June 27, 2011

box wine sangria





































This is my super easy recipe for back porch summer time yum.  The more the fruit macerates the better! If the fruit is not super juicy, you can also add a cup of orange juice, which lightens the whole thing up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

table activity

 

This table keeps my kids busy when I am fixing breakfast. I set it out the night before and they are happy to doodle while I griddle. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

turn your merit badges into prize ribbons

Lately, I have been working on making prize ribbons, using my merit badges. I was so excited when I found these ribbons starters at Micheals on clearance! Now is the time to snatch them up! How fun would it be to make a totally, over the top ribbon for a mama who really deserves a little fun recognition? I don't think mothers today have many opportunities to get trophies and ribbons, so this is fun (and funny). I would love to pass out breastfeeding ones as I am bopping around town and run into NIPing moms. Much better than a hassle or snarky look. Also, I am working on a pregnancy one that would be great at a baby shower or blessing way - I will share it soon!




























Have a great Monday!

the rainbow cake

I had several comments and questions on this cake, so I wanted to share how fun and "easier than you think it was" to make. 

First, I made one batch of cake batter using this yellow cake recipe. Next, I divided the batter into 6 bowls and used food coloring to make red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. My kids were really upset that indigo was absent. They know their Roy G. Biv! I cooked the layers in 8 inch pans. Luckily, I have 2, so there were only 3 cooking episodes - and because the the cakes were so thin, they only cooked for about 10 minutes each!

I used cream cheese frosting to fill and frost the cake. That's it! It was pretty quick and the wow factor is high! I chilled mine overnight and then let it come to room temperature before serving. 

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
Use a mixer to beat
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
4 cups of powdered sugar

Friday, June 17, 2011

go bowling for free




Did you know your kids can bowl free this summer at AMF lanes? alot? like everyday if they want? We just tried it out and had a great time. A super way to get into some cool air conditioner and have fun. At our alley you have to rent shoes, unless you wear your own bowling shoes or sneakers. So, skip the Crocs and the whole thing is free.


{this moment}

image from the week. no words. via soulemama.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

making the everyday magic


This week, when you hear the ice cream man, run out and buy something! 

We never do that, for all the standard reasons, but wow - did it make my kids' day!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

make a popsicle stick castle



Inspired by a post by the awesome Filth Wizardry, I realized it had been awhile since my kids worked on a big, open ended project. 

All we needed was our stockpile of craft sticks, the glue gun and a Styrofoam base. We added in some straws, toothpicks, rocks and wooden figures. This was perfect for my engineer son;  he happily glued, planned, adjusted, and glued some more for over two hours.


Besides the fun of building a structure, he also became very interested in how the Styrofoam melted with the tip of the glue gun and the hanging strings of cooled glue. I usually remove those, but he started working with them and tried to incorporate them into the first floor. It takes a child's eye to appreciate that which we adults brush away as superfluous.

Do you let your kids use the glue gun? 

What about covering the table with a bunch of recyclables and nature items, a plugged in glue gun and a base? 

What do you think they might come up with? 




cleaning



After scrubbing my floors, all 19th century style, I was thinking.... isn't it weird that we pay for domestic help  and then pay to go to the gym to get exercise?




Monday, June 13, 2011

prairie girl

My grandma recently made this sweet prairie dress for my daughter. I took them out for a lunch of onion soup and then to the fabric store to choose the pattern, material, and notions. When the dress was finished, Eva gushed to me, "oh, it is so amazing, it is as good as something you would buy in a store!" She might have been commenting on the sad quality of most of the sewing that goes on around here.

You could never buy something so special in a store.








She wore it to her American Girl (Kirsten) program at the local library which my grandma attended with her. On the meeting day, Eva was surprised by a matching doll dress and was beside herself with excitement and pride. Such a great day for two special ladies with over 70 years between them!


Does your child have a special bond with an older person? Please share...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

fun french toast cubes

This is such an easy way to make french toast. We first made it when we had some leftover sourdough bread cubes from a fondue dinner. Basically, cube the bread and mix it with your egg mixture (we used 8 eggs, a splash of cream, a scoop of chia seeds and a shake of cinnamon for a long french baguette) and cook in a big skillet. I make so much that I need to cook two batches, so I transfer the first batch to a baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm. The only trick is that you need to make sure they are cooked on all sides. It is not that hard, just keep an eye on them.

 



So, what makes them so good? Well, maybe for kids, the novelty of it. For me, I like that I do not have to butter, syrup, and cut each serving. I can pile them up on a platter, drizzle butter and syrup over the top and then scoop them on to plates. (I have 3 kids, so I am always looking for shortcuts for the day to day minutiae).


Do you have a shortcut for getting breakfast on the table?



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