Friday, February 24, 2012

Leprechaun Soup

     On Saturday night I had a dinner avoidance crisis.  I really felt it would be easier to find a sitter and go out to eat than to attempt to make dinner.  I hadn't taken anything out to defrost and there were no leftovers to use up.  I called a friend and they had plans so the sitter was out.  I was about to call another friend when I realized I didn't even know when Dan would be home.  He was helping out a neighbor with kitchen renovations.  I didn't feel like finding a sitter when I didn't know what time we would need them, where we were going or what time we would be back.  It's hard to plan with no plan at all.

    Without much hope I opened the refrigerator door.  There was half a large cauliflower that had been on sale for ninety-nine cents, a bunch of asparagus, and half a baked chicken breast.  Okay so that's not a lot to go on to feed four people dinner.  

  I filled the small stockpot with roughly four to six cups of water plus a half gallon bag of chicken stock leftover in the freezer.  I added the cauliflower, asparagus, a dash of garlic salt and about a tablespoon of vegetable flakes consisting of potato, carrot, parsley and onion .  I let it simmer for about twenty minutes until the cauliflower was soft. Dan popped home for a minute and pureed the concoction with my immersion blender.   I whisked a tablespoon or two of arrowroot in one half cup of water and poured the mixture in to thicken the soup to a creamy texture. This would be a great meatless meal on it's own, but I chopped up the chicken into cubes and threw it in to warm it up for about five minutes. 

   I am the only big fan of asparagus in my house.  When the crew walked in asking, "What's for dinner?" I told them it was leprechaun soup.  Perhaps a wee elf on a spot of mischief had stopped by to turn our soup green.  They devoured their brimming bowls and asked for seconds.  I must have had some leprechaun magic that night since my paltry pickings turned into a popular meal.  Leprechaun soup may turn into a March tradition!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Can't Catch Me

  Here's a new take on the classic gingerbread man.  After reading Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby we  recreated the story using graham crackers.  It was a simple fun project that you can eat when finished.  What more could a kid ask for?
  To make your own here is what you need per person. Start with 2 full graham crackers.  Your helpers can divide up the crackers in whatever creative spirit they desire.  My little cooks used two squares for the head, two for the body, one each for the arms and one each for the feet. 

   For buttons we used raisins, almonds,  puffed wheat and shredded wheat cereal.  We glued our adornments on using peanut butter.  Some of the ingredients disappeared during assembly.  This was a good way to clean out the pantry of unpopular items. 

Graham the cracker man
  This was a good activity for a winter day indoors.  I orginally came up with the idea when using up camping supplies for s'mores and trail mix. Here's a look at our finished product, a no-bake graham cracker man. I was told that he has square feet, "So that he can't run away!"

<a href="" target="_blank"><imgsrc="" alt="Tip Junkie handmade projects" border="0"/></a>

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


   I was distracted this morning while making breakfast.  I cracked five eggs in the pan and then was called away.  I had planned on scrambling them in the pan, but by the time I got back they were set into one enormous fried egg. 

   I did my best to scramble the yolks and called them "frambled" which is half fried and half scrambled.  It reflected how I was feeling. Fried because I was tired and scrambled for turning in different directions until I was dizzy.

   In an amusing twist of events, instead of a ruined meal to start the day, the breakfast turned out to be a big hit.  Apparently it's all in how you sell it.  What has you feeling frambled?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Please Snow Cocoa

Homemade cocoa with whipped cream
    After the winter we had last year, I thought I would have many opportunities to test out a homemade cocoa recipe.  I pictured whipping up a batch of steaming mugfuls as our rosy-cheeked crew stomped the snow from their boots. What better way is there to warm up after coming off the sledding hill? Unfortunately, this has been the year of little snow.  I know many adults who do not miss driving in the snow, shoveling, or the general messiness of winter.  For children a winter without snow is like a hot summer spent in a cast at the town pool.  Sure, you can find something else to pass the time, but it makes for a long season.

  Our one big snow so far this year was in October.  We carved the jack-o-lantern and then went sledding followed by this delicious cocoa recipe.  It can be made with carob or cocoa powder.  I prefer to use carob since it contains no caffeine.  Use 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to make hot cocoa with the remaining ingredients and directions the same. I know many people like to follow a low fat dairy regimen, but the recipe says that cream is good for the nervous system.  I have to add that it is quite tasty as well.

   The recipe serves one, so I quadrupled it.  I also whipped the remaining cream to serve a dollop on top.  The results were rich and satisfying.  This one is going in the file to have on hand in case it ever snows!

Hot Carob
From The Fat Flush Cookbook by Ann Louise Gittleman

1 rounded tablespoon carob
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Stevia Plus
3/4 cup purified water
1/4 cup cream

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk together until the carob is blended. Heat until just simmering. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweet Hearts

   I found this recipe for a Valentine's day treat a while back and decided this was the year to make it.  The directions said to shape the treat like a Hershey's kiss using a funnel.  I thought I had a few funnels around the house, but all I could find was a really big one.  I opted to use some heart shaped pans instead to create two large rice krispie treats . 

Peanut butter crispy rice treat
   I used natural peanut butter since I prefer the sugar free, no corn syrup brands.  It may turn out differently with regular peanut butter with no oil separation.  I also used Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal since it is gluten and sugar free.

  We liked the results so much that I made them again the next day, this time using a cookie cutter to shape them like hearts.  This created 2 dozen tiny cookies. It was a very sticky job, but fun!

 Crispy-Rice Kisses
from: A Year of Fun Just For Four's

Mix together 3 tablespoons each peanut butter and honey, and 2 cups crispy rice cereal. Pack some of the cereal mixture into a small funnel to mold it. Carefully remove the cereal "kiss" shape. Continue making kisses with the rest of the mixture. Freeze kisses until firm, about 2 hours. Keep frozen until served.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pulling my Hair Out

Try finding two barrettes that match, please!

     I'm not sure how one little head has so many hair accessories.  I tried containing them all in my old jewelry box.  That worked for some time and when the lid started to levitate from fullness, I removed all the beads and dress up jewelry to a new container.  Now we have had an influx of new 'dodads with the stocking stuffers and it is time to help sort the jumbled pile into some sort of order.

    First I dumped everything out and sorted by type.  We ended up with headbands, barrettes, and ponytail holders of three varying styles and size.
I had two cute painted tins from a baby shower.  One tin now holds all the barrettes that were floating in the random accessory sea.  I often have requests to match the barrettes to her outfit and that was nearly impossible not to mention time consuming before I sorted the box.

      The second tin I filled with pony tail holders.  I tried to fill it with all of them, but the poofier style popped out and refused to be contained.  My solution was to take two chopsticks and thread the ponytail holders on like a shish kabob.  She had fun helping me with that part.  I had thought the chopsticks would lay horizontally across the box, but they were too long so I crisscrossed them.

   The headbands now reside in a pretty box lid.  The bottom of the box is already in use for little toys and I prefer not to have the lid on it so she can find things and use them.  At the center space of the headbands I housed the ponytail holders with the big bobbles on the ends.  The stretchy headbands are placed beneath the tins.  I tucked the comb at the top and the brush is laid over the headbands.  Voila! Now there are no more headaches when it comes time do the 'do!
This is much better and without a trip to the store!