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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meal Planning--I'm trying again!

I've spoken many times, (in conversations, on Facebook, and on this blog) about how Meal Planning helps my life out in a huge way, when I TAKE THE TIME TO DO IT.  Yet, for some reason, I do it once, and then go back to my bad habits of waiting until the last minute, which leads to take-out or the kids having pasta way too often.

This month, I was inspired by someone on my Facebook who seriously took on "Once A Month Meals".  The idea behind this, is that you cook for ALL DAY, prep and prepare a ridiculous amount of food, making it easy for you to feed your family for the entire month.  This woman kept posting photos of her progress, getting me more and more excited with each photo.  (Ok, the clean up photo was daunting, but the pay off seems worth it!)

My kids are picky.  BUT, I thought that this is worth a try in some form to do at my casa.  Instead of once a month, though, I have been trying this out for the week, and then a little extra.  It works wonderfully.

Things that work great:
1.  Fruit Salads using Bonne Maman Jars
2.  Lettuce Chopped up and put in Quart (wide) Mason Jars
3.  Pasta Meat-cooked, seasoned, frozen in bags
4.  Chicken Pot Pie*
5.  Pork Chops prepped for Crock Pot (in freezer bags)
6.  Veggies for Pot Roast/Roasted Chicken (in freezer bags)
7.  Breakfast Burritos (Egg, Bean and Potato)
8.  Bean Burritos
9.  Taco Meat (half turkey/half beef)
10.  Meatballs

*This was a favorite amongst those who ate it.  (That would not be my children, as they hate any sort of gravy.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Maybe because this is my first Winter in MI after 20 years, but I don't mind it.  In fact, I love it.  I love the flow of the seasons, the fact that you do certain activities only certain parts of the year, and it is exciting to welcome each season back every year.

From my car window.

I lived where it sunny and warm all of the time from age 7-13.  I never wore shoes.  I didn't have a coat.  South Florida will always feel like home, but once I experienced seasons, I prefer the rhythm of the living somewhere that has them!

My uncle now lives in AZ, and is always posting the temperature.  You can keep your 65F, because, "Is there anything better than a gentle snow falling, a warm beverage in your hand, while cuddling under a cozy blanket?"  I say no.

Instead of wishing you were elsewhere if you are deep into winter, look around.  It is fabulous!  My friend, Claudia (who lives is FL), sends me her big chunky sweaters because she can never wear them.  Today, as I was driving through fresh snow, everyone had to SLOW DOWN.  In this busy world, I love the reminder and excuse to do just that.

What is your favorite part of WINTER?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Waldorf School Bread

I just searched for a SOLID HOUR for a post (with a bread recipe) from long ago.  Now, if I couldn't find it, there is no way in hell anyone else is going to find it either.  Also, I had to remind myself at some point, that I have the recipe memorized, so I could stop obsessing as I looked.  (But I just know it is somewhere, as I have sent the link to many a person!!)

Anyway, my kids both started their education in Waldorf schools.  We were lucky to have connected and/or attended 3 different schools, and have been part of online (ironically) homeschool groups, even though my kids go to public school.  (If you don't know what Waldorf school is, google it because google can give a much better description than I ever could!)

Ok, back to my story...  At all of the Waldorf schools that we have been a part of,  they make this wonderful homemade brown bread as part of the early years curriculum.  That bread with butter and honey on top, as you drink a little tea=complete bliss.  The bread is made with whole wheat flour, which creates a very filling yummy bun, which my dad refers to as "those 2 lbs rolls you make".

Many friends have asked for the recipe, when they try it at my house.  Tate, who is 9, can make the bread by himself, but chooses to let Mama make it, while he steals bit of dough from the kitchen.  Without further ado, here is the recipe:

2 TBS yeast
1 C warm water
1 stick butter
1 TBS salt
1-2 TBS honey
2 C milk
1 C hot water
4 C whole wheat flour
4 C white flour
*optional: cinnamon, sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins, any spices you like

2 TBS yeast+1 C warm water+teeny bit of honey.
Set aside.
In another large bowl, add:
1 stick of butter (8TBS) room temp+TBS salt+large wooden spoon dollop of honey.
Heat 2 C of milk and add 1 C hot water.
Pour over butter+salt+honey.  Stir with wooden spoon until butter is melted.
When mixture is cool enough to keep finger in for 10 seconds, add yeast mixture and mix.
Add 4 cups of whole wheat flour.  (Mix well with wooden spoon after each cup)
Add about 4 cups of white flour.  (Keep adding slowly until dough is formed.)
Set aside in warm place for 30 minutes.
Add enough white flour to knead the dough* until smooth and form into little rolls.
Bake 350F for 25-30 min.

*Knead the dough for a few minutes.  This is forgiving, as 2-5 year olds usually knead their own bread and it always turns out.

Making little buns out of the dough
Kneading the dough
Yes, those are Mr. Potato Head glasses.