Monthly Archives: August 2011

Life, The Universe, And Everything Part 1

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Life has been busy. This has led me to ponder the answer to the ultimate question. Which is, of course, 42. The newest Doctor Who episode also had me thinking about it…but that would be a spoiler, and as we all know, spoilers are bad. Very, very bad. So. As I’ve not been posting as I’d like, and because I’ve not been posting as I’d like I thought I’d make up for it with a list of 42 things that I like. These are in no particular order and is not to be confused with my thankful posts. These are just things I like for what ever reason.

  1. ohthatmomagain-Blog of a good friend. And it’s pretty awesome. A mom who’s not afraid to admit that she’d not perfect, and she throws a little inspiration in just to help.
  2.  Full of potassium and really good 🙂
  3. This blueberry bread. Posted on one of the few blogs that I follow, meeshiesmom. Have I made it? No, but doesn’t the picture that was posted with it look good?
  4. This post. I ran across it the other day and thought it was a good read. It’s about the questions kids ask. I love it. It made me laugh. And that is a good thing. Especially when you have kids. You need to laugh, and you need to look at the things that they do that make life special. This post does it.
  5. Doctor Who. I do love a good sci-fi show, and this is a good sci-fi show. Just started back up for the second half of season six. Lots of good stuff happening. Some of it most of the fans already pretty much knew, but some of it still throws us for a loop. At least, it throw me for a loop. And that makes for some good television.
  6. Ok, so I’m a psych major, and most of my classes have dealt with development or social psych or you know, disorders. But, that’s not the only part of psychology. There’s a part that doesn’t just guess at stuff like personality, but actually tells you how your brain works. This is cognitive psychology and its very fascinating. A while back I stumbled upon this website. It’s called “Mind Lab” and it is amazing. It explains, in what I think is simple language, the way that some of the parts of the brain work. We know the most about the eye, not sure why, but that’s what  a lot of the website covers.
  7. Another project that I came across that I must try because it looks freaking amazing is these corner bookmarks. They look really cool and easy to make too. I want to do them with the kids because I think it’s some thing they would like to do and would make nice gifts for people who enjoy homemade kid gifts.
  8. I’m all about the homemade gift, for several reasons. 1-they tend to be cheaper. 2-they are more personal. 3-they’re just more fun. I’m actually half way through this project. When I first saw it I was busy scanning in old pictures so that my family would have a digital copy of them as well as a hard copy. Just in case anything ever happened to them. I knew that I had to do this project. I’m planing them for Christmas gifts and already have the picture part done. I just need to get the foam board and the packing tape 🙂
  9. I’ve always been fasinated with space. As I mentioned before, I love sci-fi,and there’s nothing better for a sci-fi fan than pictures of/from space. This one is particularly awesome.
  10. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” –Albert Einstein
  11. I do love to look at pictures. This on is another of space. Not from NASA this time thought, this one is from Stanford.
  12. I love chick flicks. I think that everyone should watch them. Even guys. I know that they’re not exactly realistic, but it’s the fantasy behind it. It’s like reading “Pride and Prejudice”. Sure I know it was written over 100 years ago, and I’ve read it/watched the movie enough that I know whats going to happen and can skip to the parts I love best, but it’s still fun to read/watch. I love the drama of it. Will the sisters end up with the men of their dreams, will the family be made a laughing stock, will they be kicked out on their ends when the dad dies?  All so much fun.
  13. I like to craft and sew and cook…I just don’t have much time or money to do it. But, I’ve realized that I can afford about a yard of fabric at a time, and the time to make something that only takes about a yard. So, while looking on Amazon a while back I came across the book “One Yard Wonders” and knew I had to have it. I’ve not made anything out of it, but my mom has. And she loved it. I just like looking at the pictures and planning. I think I may pull it out next weekend and make one of the little girl skirts in it. Boo just started school and I know she’d love it.
  14. What’s better than gummi bears? Homemade gummi bears 🙂 I’m beginning to see a pattern to this list of mine. Most of the links and the like that I’m sharing are things that I’ve not made or done yet. i should fix that. That being said, I ran across this recipe for gummis the other day and knew that it would be something fun and easy for kids to make, or help make.  It’s basically jello and unflavored gelatin. Take a look at the picture that the bloger posted of what she and her kids did.
  15. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”–Dr. Seuss
  16. More on the homemade gift idea are these really cool notebooks that have the pages sewn in so that you can tear the pages out. I don’t have a sewing machine (sadly) so I’ve not done them, but I want to.

And at 17 this post is done. I will start with 18 next time. I will make it to 42…I hope.

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Kids in the Kitchen OR Egg Substitute

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Bud came home from scout day camp yesterday proclaiming that he was starving and had to eat right then! Well, I wasn’t in a position to cook food at the moment and told him to make a sandwich or wait the two hours until dinner was going to be ready. He have me his perfect little puppy dog look and asked if he could make eggs and I just about melted and said yes.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m happy that my kids like to “help” in the kitchen. The fact that my four year old can make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is a point of pride for me. One thing I’m a bit nervous of though is the kids using the stove. I’ll let Bud use the microwave, and I’ll let both Bud and Boo use the toaster, but the stove and oven are always something that I use. Its not that I don’t trust them, it’s that Bud is 8 and I don’t want him to burn the apartment complex down.

But he was hunger and wanted eggs and couldn’t he cook them just this one time and he would clean up and be really careful, and they had just spent the past 5 hours at scout camp learning all about safety and first aid and he could make scrambled eggs.

So, he made scrambled eggs. I talked him through the whole process, what temperature to put the pan on (ok, so i told him a bit lower than what i cook them on, but you know how fast electric stoves can heat up) and to make sure to keep stirring them so they don’t burn.

And they didn’t burn. In fact, he cooked them perfectly. Not sure how he managed, but he must have seen me cook them enough times to know how to do it. I was so proud of him.

And then I decided to make muffins for breakfast this morning. Apparently I need to review with my little chef that when you use the last of the eggs you don’t put the carton back in the refrigerator.

So, there I was, muffin mix opened (because I wasn’t making muffins from scratch less than an hour before church) and oil and water poured in and no eggs. I was in a bit of a panic. I knew the neighbors wouldn’t be up, so i turned to my old friend google.

I found a list of things that might work as egg substitutes, most of which I didn’t have (like soy milk or tofu), but there was one that suprised me. did you know that ground flax seed and water can be subsituted for eggs?

GROUND FLAX!

I know!  Hard to believe. But I decided to give it a go and what do you know, the muffins actually turned out good. I’ve been trying to find ways to add flax to my diet, and I think I found it.

So, things I learned this weekend: My son can cook scrambled eggs with out burning them or causing a fire, and flax is an egg substitute.

OH! And I use the Bob’s Red Mill flax seed meal. Mainly because they have it in my grocery store with the health food. Make sure you get the ground stuff not the whole seeds. Our bodies have a harder time absorbing all the good for you nutrients in the whole seeds.

(still no photo editing software, so none of these pictures are mine, should have all the links to the originals with the photo info)

Product Review: Panda Express Orange Sauce

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So my lap top was out getting its screen fixed (it flickered something fierce) and I got it back yesterday. This should be a good thing, yes? No. Because they wiped my hard drive. Not a big deal mostly, as I’ve got everything backed up, but there is one thing I’m annoyed at. One of my Photoshop disks is completely destroyed so i can’t reinstall it. I am not happy. Because of that I don’t have photo editing software right now, so my posts will be a bit different.

I love fake Chinese food.  I love real Chinese food too, but the stuff that they sale at Panda Express is not real Chinese. But I love it anyway. I especially love the orange chicken. But you know what, it’s deep fired and it’s kind of expensive. So when i saw the orange chicken sauce in the grocery store I had to try it.

The first time I tried this sauce was at a tasting at Costco. They were pairing it up with the Dino nuggets that they have that the kids will only eat about half the time. I knew I could do better. So, I got a bottle and took it home.

What I did was saute up some chicken breast strips. I find it easier not to have to do the whole bone and skin thing, especially in the evening when I’ve been gone all day and the kids are telling me that they’re starving. Chicken breast strips, either bought that way or cut from whole breasts, cook quickly. I made up some minute rice (I know the actual stuff tastes better, but minute rice is quicker) and server the chicken over the rice with the sauce poured on top.

The sauce is very think and sweet, so a little goes along way. There’s a bit of a kick to it (like the chicken you get at Panda Express) so if you or someone you love is sensitive to it heat, take it easy.

Over all I’d say that this is a really good sauce. It adds a little something to dinner that you don’t usually get, or at least not in my house.

Jam Thumb Prints

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I recently decided to make peach strawberry jam, peaches were on sale and I love strawberries, it sounded like a win/win until I realized that I was short a few jars.  With the kids gone for the summer I’ve not been using as much jam as I the kids do when they’re here. So, I opened my fridge and saw the three or so jars of almost empty jam and new what I needed to do. I needed to make jam thumb prints.

The recipe I sued was adapted from my Martha Stewart Cookie Book, It was supposed to have chocolate in the thumb prints, but that’s ok.  The dough was really crumbly, I think it might have been easier to handle had it spent a few minutes in the fridge hardening.  The finished product reminded me of a shortbread, which wasn’t what I had really been wanting, but they were still really good.

Jam Thumb Prints
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
assorted jams or jellies (I used blueberry, strawberry, and peach)

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, beating until combined.
  • Using about 2 teaspoons of dough form balls and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.  I had issues with this as the dough was really crumbly, however, I used my cookie scoop and just kind of packed it together. They weren’t perfect circles, but it worked.
  • Bake 10 minutes. With a blow of cold water (or ice water if you have ice) use your thumb to depress the centers of the cookies, using the water to cool them off.  DO it quick and you wont have to worry about over heating your thumbs.  Continue cooking for another 7 to 9 minutes until just browned around edges. If needed reform the depressions in the cookies.
  • Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.  When they are cool fill centers with what ever jam or jelly you have on hand.  Store tightly covered in a single layer, or, if you need to stack them, don’t fill with jam until you serve them.