Saturday, October 23, 2010

Homemade Always Seems to Taste Better

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...Image via Wikipedia

Last week we went apple picking at a local orchard. After almost a week of apples and apple crisp I was getting a little board of apples, but I had a bunch left, a mix of green and red ones. They were now in the fridge since its been a while since they were picked and were not as yummy and juicy as then once were so I knew if I didn't do something with them they would go bad and be a waste. And being the green momma and moneysaver I am I could not let them go to waste. So I knew I was going to make porkchops one night so I decided to make homemade applesauce with it. I modified a simple recipe I found.
I can not believe how good my applesauce was. It tasted nothing like the suff you get out of a jar. I don't think I could ever eat jarred applesauce again. And the best part was that it was so easy. Growing up in these times were are just so accustomed to getting everything off the shelf in jars and cans. I am slowly changing my mind set to more DIY and my palate thanks me.
Its also just feels good to make things from scratch. It amazes me that people stopped making certain that are really easy. I never knew that applesauce was so easy to make, I have only ever had Motts out of a jar as a kid.
I really enjoy the fact that even though Liv is so young I am creating memories and teaching her skills that will last a life time.
If you have some left over apples enjoy this recipe. It tastes great warm and makes an healthy dessert.

Homemade Apple Sauce
3lbs apples, peeled and cut in slices. Use a mix of sweet apples and baking apples, mostly baking, about 2/3 baking so you don't need so much sugar.
1/3-2/3 cup sugar, with the mix of apples you only need 1/3 tops. You can even do less or do all sweet apples and no sugar.
About 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, more or less to taste (I like more)
Put all the ingredients in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil.
When boiling cover, reduce the heat and simmer 8-10 min till apples are tender. Adding more water if needed. (if you end up adding too much you can drain a little at the end, but you should leave some in the mix when you go to blend it)
Place the mix in a blender and blend till smooth. You use a potato masher to make lumpy applesauce.
And Enjoy! Great warm or cold.

This is a great snack for toddlers too. Liv will dip a breadstick in the mix or just eat some with a spoon.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Weeky meals

Pork chops, cooked and served.Image via Wikipedia

I grocery shop every Monday, its part of our weekly rhythm. So Sunday I sit down, go through coupons, flyers and my fridge and freezer and plan meals for the week. Here is this weeks meals.

Monday-Paninis- with pesto, mozz cheese and tomato with a side salad
Tues-Pork Chops with apple sauce and some veggies
Wednesday- Turkey Burgers and fries mmmm
Thursday-Pasta night, Thursday is often pasta night in my house
Friday-Pizza night, another weekly staple, our only take out for the week
Saturday-Breaded chicken with mixed veggies
Sunday Turkey meatloaf with potatoes.
I have this listed on a whiteboard on my frige. It makes it easier and I always remember to take out some meat from the freezer if need.
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Keeping my Fall Promise

apple crispImage by MissMessie via Flickr

Last week I kept with my Autumn promise of filling my home with natural scents of the season by making homemade apple crisp.
We went apple picking at a local orchard and picked tons of apples. We enjoyed the best tasting apples all week and after dinner we enjoyed some yummy hot warm apple crisp.
I am so glad to be keeping my promise of filling my home with natural scents and creating seasonal memories for my daughter.

Apple Crisp
5 cups of baking apples sliced and peeled
1 tablespoon sugar
cinnamon to taste
1/2 c oatmeal
1/4 c flour
1/4 c butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
Mix apples white sugar and cinnamon in a square baking dish
Mix oatmeal, flour and brown sugar, cut in the butter till the mix is crumbly.
Spread over apples.
Bake 30min at 375 degrees.
Serve warm, can serve with vanilla ice cream
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily Rhythm

Ergo Baby Carrier Black with Camel Lining

Woman SweepingImage by moonbird via Flickr

In addition to our weekly rhythm we have a daily rhythm that we follow most days. The fact that this is rhythm in our day, not a structured schedule it allows for changes and flexibility.
Wake up-cuddle time. When Liv wakes up we nurse in bed and relax. I am not a morning person so this gives me some time to wake up and gives her some time too.
Breakfast-I need my morning green tea and morning news. This is the only time of the day I usually watch any tv. Liv plays for a little bit while I enjoy my tea. Then after my tea we both sit down to breakfast. This space between wake up is good since nursing first thing seems to fill her up for a bit.
Get dressed- this is not always get dressed for the day for me, but for Liv it is. I dress in sweats at this point most days.
Walk-on every day its not raining or freezing we go for a nice long walk or if I feel up to it a jog/walk. We walk to a farm take a break there and look at the cows.
Free play- After our walk Liv does some free play while I clean up the kitchen and get ready for lunch.
Lunch- we eat an early lunch since she has no morning snack and her nap is usually around noon
Nap- after lunch we go upstairs, get cleaned up and get ready for a nap. She may "read" books for a bit alone if she isn't ready yet while I do some cleaning up upstairs. Then we read some books together, sing a song and its her nap time.
My time- durning her nap is my time. I usually take a 10-20 min catnap then often take a shower and get really if I didn't squeeze that in earlier in the day. I usually try to do something for myself and 1/2 of chores that are hard to do when Liv is around.
Wake up- When Liv wakes up this is our playtime. We might sing songs, do some fingerplays, or just other playtime together.
Afternoon snack
Outside play-after the afternoon snack we try to do some outdoor play if possible. If not we might bake or clean or do other household chores.
Dinner prep-Usually my DH is home and he will play with Liv if not she plays in the kitchen while I get dinner ready.
Dinner- most nights we all eat together.
Bedtime- Right after dinner is bedtime. We go upstairs, some nights she will get a bath. We have a nice nighttime routine that lasts about 20 min of so. If she is not ready for bed right after dinner we still go upstairs and she will do some independent play in her room while I do more upstairs chores.

I try to give Liv a nice balance of free play and playing with me. She has more time set for playing with herself, which I think is very important for her. This is an ideal day, but more often it changes a little or a lot. Liv is a very attached baby (she is still not walking alone yet) so she often wants to be involved in what I am doing, which is very hard at this age. She is heavy so when she I am doing chores that involve going upstairs and down or in and out I put her in my Ergo on my back.

This routine or rhythm helps me get stuff done in my day and brings a sense of consistency for Liv.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Structured Learning Too Early

Theresa, JT, and Hedgie readingImage by brungrrl via Flickr

I came across a great article in the NY Times about how we are pushing children way to hard at a young age. The lack of play in kindergarten and even now in preschools and how this is harmful to our children.
Even though there has been so much research that this pushing of our children in harmful to their life long learning. I keep reading about getting a head start and ahead of the game, but education is a life long process, not a race that has a beginning and an ending.
This is one reason why I love Waldorf Education. They see that play is an important part of a child's day. Unstructured play is essential for a child to learn many skills that they can not learn in a structured setting. They can learn about their environment. How soil feels in their hands, what happens when they take their friends toy, and no parent makes them give it back with a forced apology. They learn how to use their imagination. All of these skills and many more are lost on children who are pushed into a structured learning environment too early.
There is so much more to it then what I am blogging here. Please think twice before sucummbing to all the outside pressure to push your child to read early, do flashcards and other early educational tools that are too often used. I see this pressure every where, on tv, in playgroups and now many states are even mandating preschool.
Let kids be kids.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Babywearing Week

Babywearing friendsImage by katirae via Flickr

This week is coming to an end, but it is still not too late to celebrate International Babywearing Week.
Babywearing is a wonderful thing. It can help calm a colicky baby, soothe your LO to sleep, and best of all keeps your baby close to your heart. It is wonderful for newborns and younger babies who should be carried often. Babies feel safe and secure. Babywearing can help promote attachment. It is also a great way to do things with your arms free. When Liv was younger I could cook with her in the sling, do laundry, dishes and clean. Now she wants to particate more, but sometimes she still wants to be held when I am doing these things, so on my back she goes. That is why babywearing is great for toddlers. It keeps Liv happy and we can do more with her on my back and go places that a stroller could never go.
There are so many other benefits to wearing your baby. Mommas everywhere have been wearing their babies for centuries. It keeps the baby safe, warm, babies can often nurse with ease in many holds and kangaroo care has even more benefits for preemies. It even brought one back to life!

I always feel for the moms in the mall pushing an empty stroller while carrying their crying child. While I am wearing Liv and am shopping with no problems because she is content to watch and observe while being so close to her momma. Babywearing is a wonderful thing and a wonderful way to express your love.
I hope more momma's discovery the wonderful benefits of babywearing.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Filling my Home with Scents of the Season...pumpkin bread

gooey pumpkin cranberry breadImage by sweetbeetandgreenbean via Flickr

In an earlier post I pledged to fill my home with natural scents of the season, not with fake candle smells.
Well on this cold, rainy day I fill my house with warmth from the oven and the lovely smell of fresh baked pumpkin cranberry bread.
MMM. I use this recipe. It says you can use "craisins" or sweetened cranberries. I use fresh cranberries and let them sit in some sugar to sweeten them a little, but I like the contrast of the tart cranberries and the sweet bread, which that contrast would be lost with craisins.
This recipe is great since it makes 2 loafs, one for me and then one for a friend. It is one of my fall favorites.
I am glad to be keeping my pledge and fill my home with scents of the season.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Seasonal Dinner..mmmm

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...Image via Wikipedia

Over the weekend I made Liv and myself a nice pasta with a light cream sauce, peas and butternut squash. Mmmmm, good. Liv ate the peas and squash right up. Those were def her favs! She barely touched the pasta, which she usually loves pasta. I love finding different veggies that Liv will eat and different ways she will eat them. It is just so nice to eat fresh, seasonal produce. I love fall!
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Review-The Grocery Game

Example of an American grocery store aisle.Image via Wikipedia

Shop Smart, Save More: Learn The Grocery Game and Save Hundreds of Dollars a MonthThe Grocery Game is a book I recently picked up from the library in my hopes to save some money on groceries. She also has a pay website to help with the "game."
Her advise is very simple and really boils down to a few pages in the book. Buy in bulk only on sale with coupons. This is the short version of her advise. She discuss in detail about the rotation of sales in weeks and the during seasons. On her website she tells you what to buy at your local grocery store.
She offers other advise through out the book, on planning simple meals, dinner parties and other household things.
Her advise is not very earth friendly at all. She tells the reader to use all disposible for dinner parties, bbqs and other events to save time. This to me is not very budget friendly and also very bad for the planet.
Long story short her grocery advise can save some money, but not too much if you buy a lot of fresh foods, which I do. Check it out from the library is my advise, unless you buy lots of "commerical" foods then her book might do you some good.
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