Category Archives: Good eats

Spring is Popping up all over!!!!

 “Walking on sunshine…..whoa whoa….and don’t it feel good!”

IMG_5235(Yep…I was rock climbing here!)

I love that song. I love the way that the warm weather makes me feel. And this time of year, I get to work on one of my favorite hobbies……

my garden.

I originally started a garden as a way of saving money. However, I didn’t realize how much I needed a hobby like this…something relaxing that I could work and see the fruits of my labor.

Yeah…I’m one of “those” people. Totally obsessed with my garden!

IMG_0451(This was last year’s squash and lettuce bed)

I’m not a great gardener but I do love the joy I feel when you harvest your first vegetable of the season. There is something awesome about growing the stuff that you eat.

I am so excited to share with you all the veggies that we have growing in our box gardens this year! And I also wanted to share with you that from this past summer and fall, I was able to create my own organic compost to use this year. I have been keeping the vegetable and fruit clippings in a compose bin that I created using an old trash can. I had the hubs drill a few holes along the sides and bottom of the trash can so that the water would seep out. I added my old hay and pumpkins from the fall; grass clippings, coffee grounds, egg shells, and newspaper shreds. I periodically went out, maybe 5 times total, and turned the pile over with a garden spade. I also had the kiddos help me find a few worms to toss in and help me with the composting.

It was awesome to throw all that compost in my garden beds and prepare that trash can to start all over for next summer!

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The picture above shows all of our green and red pepper plants surrounded by some marigolds to keep some pests away.

IMG_5747This bed houses my tomato plants. Two cherry tomato plants and one plum tomato plant. I added a basil plant to the center of the box garden, as I read that it makes your tomatoes sweeter. I have room in this box for 2-3 more plants on the left. I just haven’t figure out what I want to add. I am thinking about possibly adding some yellow summer squash that I couldn’t get earlier or some beans. I forget the name of those red flowers but they suppositely attract butterflies to your garden.

IMG_5748This box contains all my plants that will eventually grow up a trellis. I am growing cucumbers, zucchini, and the girls added two watermelon plants. I have also added oregano to the center of this box, as I heard that it keeps pests away from cucumbers. As they grow, I will continue to help them grow up the trellis.

Last year we planted four strawberry plants, We were told that they would most likely not produce last year but should do well this year. Well…those four plants took over the box that I planted them in and are doing very well. We have been presently surprised by these little gems!

IMG_5750Can you see all those fun little spurts of red? All I know is that the children have been begging every morning to go out and “eat” out of the strawberry patch. haha

This was our first “tasting” of our strawberries.

IMG_5743IMG_5741IMG_5740IMG_5739IMG_5738A couple of days ago, I was able to pick a few strawberries for breakfast.

IMG_5754This has been such an awesome experience for the kids.

Next year, they want to try blueberries!!!

Each year we also like to add a “splash” of color to our front landscaping.

We do not have much of a yard in the front of our house, and it also doesn’t get much sun, so finding plants and flowers that produce color and don’t require full sun as been difficult.

Here are some of our fun flowers/plants for this year:

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IMG_5752IMG_5726Each year we try to add a few perennials and annuals to see what looks best. It’s still an ongoing process. The hubs is ready to pull in a landscaper but I managed to wrangle another year with that job under my belt..haha.

Come back and to check my future posts to see how our garden is doing!

Pray for a good harvest!

I promised the kids that if we had a good surplus of veggies that I would allow them to set up a vegetable stand. These little entrepreneurs are willing to water them everyday for me..haha.

Money talks….

God Bless,

Tammi

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Egg-free, dairy-free oat pancakes!

Pancakes??!!! Seriously??!! Who doesn’t love pancakes….

Miss Missy LOVES pancakes. I mean the girl used to be able to put down 4-5 medium-sized Hungry Jack buttermilk pancakes..

However, due to some allergy issues and some extreme cases of eczema, we have taken Miss Missy off of all dairy and wheat. Add to that her already diagnosed allergy to egg and peanuts, and this little girl is not very happy.  So…I NEEDED to find this sweet stuff some pancakes that she could enjoy. I mean…look at this face??!! How could I not??!!!

****Well…I should add that I would NEVER give my daughter food that I haven’t tried myself. In fact, I tried a coconut flour pancake and it went right into the trash. So…these got BOTH of our approvals!!!*****

This recipe is definitely a keeper. It tastes more like a delicious cinnamon, oatmeal cookie than a pancake. I would definitely add a little bit of water to thin it out.

Although…topped with some maple syrup….Miss Missy was loving it!!!

Dairy-free, egg-free oat pancakes

  • 3/4 c. oat flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup. applesauce (this acts as the egg substitute) *this recipe will make about 5-6 small pancakes. They also freeze very nicely.

photo(10)Melt a little coconut oil in a pan on medium high heat.  Watch carefully, as they brown up pretty quickly. Flip after 2-3 minutes and they are ready.

Serve with a little maple syrup.

pancakes

I hope you enjoy them as much as Little Miss Missy!

God Bless,

Tammi

ooops! totally forgot……Tip Tuesday: Halloween candy!!!

Candy overload!!!!

Haha….the kids are loving it!

“Yes….only two pieces..!!!.”

It gets old…. pretty quickly.

So…what are we going to do with all of this?

Here are a few suggestions of things I’ve done and some I am considering…that is if I don’t eat the majority of the candy myself…haha.

  • Sort your candy and save it for Christmas baking.

M&Ms, snickers, and Reese’s are great options for this. This was super helpful for me last year when I was involved in a cookie exchange for Christmas. Snickers Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake

  • Consider making a candy donation for the troops.

Operation shoebox has a website where you can send candy donations for their holiday shoeboxes. You can link to it here.

  • Send off some candy to your college nieces or nephews.

I know a few who would love to see some of this candy. (No worries…I’m sending it soon.)

  • If you know you have a birthday party coming up, save it for goody bags or for decorating the birthday cake.
  • Chop up some of these candy bars and use them for toppings in an ice cream sundae bar.
  • Consider making an extraordinary dessert for a new mom or new neighbor. (You can click on the images to be directed to the websites)

No-Bake Deep-Dish Peanut Butter Snickers Pie with Salted Caramel - The perfect pie: Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Loaded with Candy & Dripping in Caramel! Easy, no-bake recipe at averiecooks.com

20 Amazing Desserts to Make with Candy Bars!

  • This is a great time to work on some Math skills.

Have your preschoolers/Kindergardeners work on their sorting skills. Have them sort by color, then by name.

One of my homeschooling friends directed me to this link for a graphing activity with halloween candy…..simply brilliant!!! (you can click on the image for the link)

Here’s to hoping that you are more successful than I have been at avoiding the “nighttime baggy robbery”…..

God bless,

Tammi

 

Football season is here!!!

As much as I love to sit by the hubs and watch Notre Dame play…I’m really all about the football food.

I mean…really??!!!

Who isn’t??!!

You can sit there and shovel food in your face and people are too busy watching the next play to see how many wings you “actually” ate.

hahahaha

Just sit me in front of a plate of my husband’s teriyaki chicken wings and a beer and I’m happy. Maybe he will let me share this recipe with you…but..that’s for a later blog.

For the hubs...it’s all about chili!

He wants a good beer, a bowl of homemade chili, and a couple of club crackers with plenty of butter.

We like our chili, like everything else….no “cream of” soups. No simple “packets” or preseasoned envelopes.

Just a great selection of the seasonings from McCormick……

***just a footnote…if you have won chili cookoffs like my girlfriend, Jaime, this blog is NOT for you. If you have gone to school for cooking….you may just read this to make fun of me. However, if you are new to cooking homemade or have always wanted to make a homemade chili….read on.*******

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb or less of ground beef (the leaner the better)- I prefer grass fed
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 lg pepper, diced. ( You can use green or red. I like to do half of each.)
  • 1 bottle of lager beer ( i love Stella Artois)
  • 2 cans of rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cans of dark kidney beans
  • 1 can of Goya black bean soup
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (subtle but delicious)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 2 TBSP worcheshire sauce
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapenos **Sometimes, I will serve this on top of a bed of elbow macaroni to make it a little heartier*****

chili3Helpful Tip: I like to put my spices out on the counter like this so I don’t have to keep referring to my recipe to see how much I need of everything. I put the spices in groups with the measuring spoon right in front. (I initially used 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon but the husband thought the flavor was too strong so I reduced it in my blog to 1/4 tsp.)

Let’s get started….

  1. Start by browning up your ground beef in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, use a nonstick large pot.) Once your ground beef is browned (usually around 5-8 min.), add the diced onions, peppers, and garlic and saute an additional 5 minutes on medium-high heat.chili2
  2. Add in all your spices (onion powder, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and nutmeg). In my opinion, this is when the “magic” starts. If you can season the meat really well at this stage, then the seasoning is stronger throughout. I don’t add salt or pepper to my chili. I find that I like things a little TOO salty so I don’t add it to big stews or chilis. I leave it to the individual. Stir it constantly for about two minutes. Then add your 2 Tbsp of worcheshire sauce.  Cook for another minute then carefull add 3/4 of a bottle of beer….the other 1/4 is your reward for making chili. (You’re welcome!)
  3. You will want to continue to stir that beer while the alcohol continues to burn off. I usually let it cook another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now add the 2 cans of kidney beans, the 2 cans of rotel diced tomatoes, and the can of Goya black bean SOUP. I don’t rinse the kidney beans as I like to have extra liquid in my pot so I can simmer it for longer. I also like to use the Goya black bean SOUP because it has a little extra seasoning that is a great addition to the chili. Stir to mix it all up.
  5. I usually wait til the mix comes to an active boil (bubbling) and then turn it down to low.  At this point, you can continue to cook your chili for 30min. or up to an hour. I think at least 30 minutes allows all the flavors to mesh.
  6. Check on your chili every 15 minutes and stir.
  7. Dish out your chili and top with your favorite topping.chili4

Enjoy!

Grab a bowl, cuddle up with a throw blanket, and let’s go ND!!!

Round Two: If for some reason, you have some chili left over…..(this RARELY happens in my house.) You can freeze it and save it as a dip for your next party.  Simply take a softened 8 oz. box of cream cheese and spread it generously along a 9 x 9 square aluminum dish. Top with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chili. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and bake in a  350 degree oven til hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips!!

God Bless,

Tammi

Let’s “Dish” about summer dishes!!!……

Summer time food….Ummmmmm….I can totally smell it………

I like to spend most of my time outside watching the kids have fun. Speeding by on their bikes….. the wind blowing their hair as they laugh……everything just seems so perfect….then I check my watch and I realize that my family has to eat.

You know you’ve been there…….

I love to enjoy all the incredible flavors of a grill and cooking with the veggies that I harvested from our summer gardens. I wanted to use this blog to hit you up with some great Pinterest “wonders” that I have already given “5 stars” to….

So “let’s dish” about appetizers or side dishes….these are some of my favorites to bring along to the neighborhood cook out or grill party or just a great complement to a grilled steak/chicken.

These babies combine three of my favorite things: fresh mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and small grape tomatoes. They are so easy to assemble that I often let Sweet Pea put them together for me. If traveling, I would place a dry paper towel under them to absorb the extra moisture that the mozzarella releases.

I’m also a huge fan of bringing watermelon slices or some other kind of fresh fruit. At a cookout, it’s nice to have something refreshing and watermelon is perfect.

I’m a sucker for anything cheesy and that contains crabmeat. I found this recipe years ago and I have been asked often to bring this to parties. I like to make this the night before and grab a baquette on the way to the party. Warm Crab Dip

Side Dishes

Sautéed zucchini and grape tomatoes

The above dish is a great way to utilize your summer squash and tomatoes that may be abundant in your garden.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

This pairs really nicely with some chicken fajitas or soft beef tacos. You can scroll down and see the recipe for honey-lime chicken which would also be great with this. The recipe requires that you let it marinade for at least 30 minutes so this would be a great “make ahead” in the morning dish for that afternoon cookout. (You KNOW we love when we can make stuff ahead….)

Roasted Zucchini

Roasted Zucchini with Green Onions, Feta Cheese, and Basil

I’m obsessed with feta cheese so this combination of veggies are insanely good.

Main Dishes

So…I love grilled meat. My favorite night is when we grill up a big ole’ ribeye. I discovered last summer that one of my favorite marinades is a simple combination of equal parts of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Please try it!!! It’s sooooo flavorful.

Tuscan Pork Chop

The Italian dressing adds so much flavor to these pork chops. The marinade is simple yet perfect with pork.

Honey lime chicken

I would definitely recommend making two batches of this chicken. It’s awesome chicken to use in your salads for leftovers or to stuff into an enchilada. The longer you marinade this…the better.

This dish definitely satisfies that desire for pasta without the heavy tomato sauce. My kiddos love this dish too, which makes it that much easier to serve for dinner. I sneak in some sautéed spinach with the tomatoes and top with pecarino romano cheese.

This….I can barely stand staring at the picture without wanting one myself…they are so good….this is the perfect “meal” when you have leftover fahitas or cooked chicken to spare.

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I could list a few more…but this post is starting to make me need a second dinner. =)

Desserts

I mean…..really??!!!

I made these for a baptism in my family…but I could have polished off the tray on my own. The combination of cheesecake and chocolate chip is phenomenal…….I DARE YOU to try it!!!!!!

Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Balls

The fashionista (age 5) made these for dessert one night. They are really simple but super rich.

Hopefully, these have inspired you a little with your weekly menu planning. Writing this post, certainly has made me hungry. I’m heading to the kitchen……

God Bless!- Tammi

Cheese, wine and hubby time…..

IMG_5171Cheese…..love it…..Wine…well, obviously…it’s in the name of my blog!!!  It recently occurred to me that I have never posted about one of my favorite “date night at home” activities……..wine and cheese night!

People often ask us how we have time “together” with five kids and what kind of activities we do together. We love to get a babysitter and go out, but sometimes you just want to curl up next to each other on the couch, and share jokes or events of the day and just be together. Sometimes sweats sound better than fancy heels and you are just worn out from the day. Wherein the idea of “stay at home dates” begin to form.

I love going out to a fancy place and ordering a bounty of cheeses on a cheese board. I love how they pair cheeses with honey or a fig jam. I sometimes feel that I could just eat only that all night. So when the hubby and I want to have a great night in….our grocery list always includes some delicious cheese and a good wine. If you are interested in trying some fun cheeses for your next date, here our some of our favorites:

  •  danish blue cheese drizzled with some good honey
  •  alouette spreadable garlic and herb cheese pairs well with a club cracker or baguette
  • brie cheese topped with raspberry preserves, wrapped in puff pastry sheet and brushed with a beaten egg. Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 20 min. or until a golden brown.
  • goat cheese. We like to buy the kind that is wrapped in cranberry and cinnamon. It’s unreal…..
  • sharp , extra sharp cheddar, or a baby swiss are great options for serving kids.  They pair well with pepperoni or salami and are a  great option for people who aren’t as adventurous in selecting a new cheese.
  • Smoked gouda is also a mild cheese that pairs well with apples. This is a great option if you love mild cheeses like cheddar.
  • Gruyère cheese is also rather mild.
  • In the summertime when my basil is beautiful, I love to buy fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes and make “caprese” bites (tomato slices topped with a fresh basil leaf, sliced fresh mozzarella, and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper)….yumminess!
  • As for wines, the hubby and I are really into malbecs (red wine) right now. However, we love to try different chiantis, and bordeaux wines.

A toast…….to great company, great wine, and great cheese! Make it memorable……

Sick little boy and some homemade alfredo

homemade alfredo sauce

homemade alfredo sauce

There is nothing that breaks my heart more than when my little son gets sick and daddy is out of town. He just wants his dad. He wants to just cuddle with dad and be…sick. So….here’s hoping that mom can shed some lovin’ on this little one and make him some chicken alfredo with this new alfredo sauce I found on Pinterest. Dirty dog loves alfredo and I’ve never taken the time to do more than pour it from the jar. I’m sure to score a smile for trying….