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Monday, July 20, 2015

Back-to-School LUNCHBOX IDEAS!

Gearing up here for the busy back to school season. Even though we homeschool, I like to have quick lunches on hand for grabbing and going off to activities. Pre-prepped lunches are GREAT for spontaneous picnics and save money by avoiding fast food stops! Here's a link to a cheap and reusable set of divided containers on amazon:
The smaller sections get a fruit and a veggie packed in. Here's a list of entrees I like to pack in the biggest compartment: *CUT UP CHICKEN & CHEESE QUESADILLAS, veggie is guacamole *GREEK CHICKEN WRAP, with chicken slices, spinach, feta cheese, black olives & cucumber dressing *ITALIAN WRAP, with salami, ham, pepperoni, lettuce, tomato, Italian dressing *LAYERED SALADS - BLT, chef, chopped, strawberry & chicken, pasta, etc. *MYO PITA PIZZAS - quartered pita, small zip bag of spaghetti/pizza sauce, small zip bag of mozzarella, small zip bag of pepperoni *WRAPPED UP PUPS - biscuit or roll dough wrapped around halved hot dogs and baked, add ketchup packets *GREEK YOGURT PARFAIT - layers of yogurt, fruit & granola, topped with whipped topping, fruit is cherries *TUNA BAGELS - minced onion and celery mixed with 1 can drained tuna, 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese, microwave it, then spread on toasted bagel halves - delish and NO mayo! *HAM & CHEESE CROISSANTS, fruit is apples or applesauce *MINI SUBS on HOT DOG ROLLS, veggie is pickles, sweet or dill *MEAT & CHEESE KABOBS, veggie is cherry tomatoes *SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN, with fried rice and wontons/chow mein noodles ******************************************************************************************************************************************* Just a few ideas to help you brainstorm - these are great for sending off with anyone who commutes! When I have pre-packed lunches in the fridge, and pre-prepped slow cooker dinners in the freezer, I can sit back in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and relax. And if I'm not home, or sick, the masses still get fed on schedule with no fuss. Happy Back to school season everyone! ******************************************************************************************************************************************* Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it. ~William Haley

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Red, White & Bleu! White Bama BBQ Sauce, Easiest Red BBQ Sauce & Four Ingredient Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette

When it's hot, no one wants to heat up the kitchen! And on a holiday, you want to spend time with your family, not on food prep. Save money too, since these recipes don't have complicated ingredient lists a mile long. Two of them have only FOUR ingredients. Just fire up the grill, let it settle down to coals, and throw on some meat and veggies. Drizzle the dressing over your plate of hot grilled veggies. Carve up the finished meat and serve it on hot grilled rolls with toppings and homemade BBQ sauces. Our new favorite is this regional specialty from northern Alabama, a white BBQ sauce. It's wonderful on chicken, served up on your favorite rolls with dill pickle slices. Simple and fabulous - Happy Birthday America! Have a wonderful Fourth everyone!
WHITE BAMA BBQ SAUCE - INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 c. mayo, 1/3 c. white vinegar, 1 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1 crushed garlic clove DIRECTIONS: Stir ingredients together and chill. Makes almost 2 cups. ***************************************************************************************************************************************** If you like it classic, this easy BBQ recipe is for you! Tweak it with some fresh minced herbs like sage for pork, or tarragon for chicken.
BEST BASIC BBQ SAUCE - INGREDIENTS: 1 c. ketchup, 1/4 c. packed brown sugar, 1 Tb. vinegar, fresh herbs DIRECTIONS: Stir together ingredients and chill in the fridge. For tweaking, add dashes of garlic, onion, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, honey or jelly or jams (We love apricot or orange marmalade!) ************************************************************************************************************************************** Toss some sliced yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and onions on the grill (or whatever you have on hand!). Brush with oil and salt & pepper if you'd like. Grill them until done, with a few char marks. Splash this easy dressing over the platter and serve!
FOUR INGREDIENT BLEU CHEESE VINAIGRETTE - INGREDIENTS: 1/2 c. vinegar (can use balsamic), 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, small container (5 oz.) bleu cheese crumbles DIRECTIONS: Whisk first 3 ingredients together until well blended, then lightly stir in the bleu cheese crumbles. You can also make this dressing with fresh minced herbs instead of the cheese. Basil is yummy over tomatoes, and mint or dill is wonderful on cucumbers! *************************************************************************************************************************************** "LIberty is like rich food and strong wine: the strong natures accustomed to them thrive and grow even stronger on them; but they deplete, inebriate and destroy the weak." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Two FAB and super-easy PUMPKIN dessert recipes!

Happy Fall, Y'all! I'm sitting on the porch with my laptop and a glass of sweet tea, and it's HOT here in Alabama in October! We missed breaking a heat record yesterday by only one degree. Today it's supposed to get close to 90 degrees. I've only seen a few leaves falling so far this afternoon. So, to make it feel more like fall, I'm going through my good ole recipe box, searching for yummy pumpkin recipes I've made and loved. I found two that I think you'll enjoy, for their ease in making, and flavor in devouring!
************************************************************************************************************************************* IMPOSSIBLE PUMPKIN-PECAN PIE 1 c. canned pumpkin 1. c. evaporated milk 1/2 c. baking mix (like Bisquick) 1/2 c. sugar 1 Tb. soft butter 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp. vanilla 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. chopped pecans DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate. Stir all ingredients except pecans together, mix well. Fold in pecans and pour into pie plate. Bake 35-40 minutes, or knife test. Cool completely, about one hour. Store covered in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream. (I'd drizzle the slices with caramel sauce too!) Makes 8 slices, 225 calories each. ************************************************************************************************************************************** AUTUMN DESSERT PIZZA 1 pkg. sugar cookie dough (18 oz.), or one homemade batch 1 cup pumpkin 3 oz. softened cream cheese 3 Tb. sugar, divided 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 c. peeled, cored and thinly sliced green apple dash cinnamon 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans 1-2 Tb. caramel sauce DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12" pizza pan or baking sheet. Press dough into an 8" circle. Bake 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven, prick with a fork, cool on pan. In a small bowl, mix pumpkin, cream cheese, 2 Tb. sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon until smooth. Spread over crust to 1/2" from the edge. Mix apple slices with 1 TB. remaining sugar and dash of cinnamon, place on pizza. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake 8-10 minutes, remove, drizzle with caramel. Cut into wedges and serve warm. ******************************************************************************************************************************************* “It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.” ― Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Hello everyone! Kinda crazy 'round here, our family has moved! We've relocated from the chilly climes of Cental NY to the warmer temps of Ozark, AL! I'll post more soon when we settle in, but we're happy to be SOUTHERN! Don't be surprised to see some new tastes in our recipes, though we've always been HUGE fans of Southern cooking, and many of our family roots are Dixie! We'll be adjusting growing schedules and breeds to our new area, and sharing it with you all. Talk with you soon!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

FALL FAVES - together at last! Stuffed Acorn Squash Deluxe Recipe

Two of my favorite fall foods - baked squash and stuffing - together in one dish! Hope you love it as much as we do, it's savory and delicious!
STUFFED ACORN SQUASH DELUXE >>>Ingredients: 1 (6 ounce) package broccoli and cheese flavored rice mix/ 1 pound breakfast sausage/ 1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded/ 1/2 cup chopped apple/ 2 teaspoons crushed coriander seed/ 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese/ >>>Directions: *Prepare rice mix according to package directions; cover, and set aside. *Place squash halves cut side down onto a plate. Cook the squash in a microwave oven for 5 minutes on High, until tender but firm. *In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until evenly browned; drain, and set aside. *In a large bowl, mix together the prepared rice, sausage, apple, and coriander. Stuff each squash half with the mixture. *Cover stuffed squash halves with plastic wrap, and heat in the microwave until squash is cooked through and soft, about 5 minutes. Remove plastic, and top stuffed squash with cheese. Continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Join the Sustainable Blogs List!

Sustainable Suburbia: Striving for a lower impact lifestyle. Join the Sustainable Living Blogs Linky Lists FROM SUSTAINABLE SUBURBIA: >>> Join our Sustainable Blogs List! >>> CATEGORIES: I’ve divided the blogs into several groups. It was hard to decide how to do this, and there is certainly a lot of crossover : Suburban and Urban Homesteading; A Country Plot: Out of Town Homesteaders/Self-Suffciency; Parents Living Sustainably; Frugal & Low Consumption Living; Crafty Hand Made; Real/SOLE Food; It’s All About The Garden; General Slow, Sustainable or Simple Living (just in case those headings have left someone out!).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Making Honeysuckle Jelly - it's EASY!

The nectar from honeysuckle flowers smells divine - in our area, they are blooming in the wild right now, and they're everywhere! Nothing says springtime like a jar of sweet, floral-y jelly. This makes a beautiful, bright-yellow to gold colored jar, that is wonderful on toast, biscuits or scones! HONEYSUCKLE JELLY (Yield: 7 half-pints) >>>INGREDIENTS: *4 cups honeysuckle flowers *4 cups boiling water *1/4 c. lemon juice *4 cups sugar *1 package liquid pectin >>>DIRECTIONS: First you need to make an infusion to draw the flavor out of the flowers. Prepare the flowers by removing the tiny green tip at the base of the petals. Next, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, turn the heat off, then add the honeysuckle flowers you’ve gathered and allow them to steep for about 45 min., stirring occasionally. Strain the flowers from the liquid. You need two cups of the infusion for this recipe. In the same saucepan, stir together 2 cups flower infusion, the lemon juice, and the sugar - bring it to a hard boil that won’t stir down. Add the pectin and boil for 2 minutes, reduce the heat if necessary to avoid boiling over. Ladle the jelly into hot, sterilized jars, and screw on the lids. Allow it to cool for 24 hours, then test the lids to make sure the jars are properly sealed. Store in the refrigerator after opening. If you won't be using it right away, you can process the jelly in a water bath canner. ********************************************************************************************************************************************* "He with cowslips pale, Primrose, and purple lychnis, decked the green Before my threshold, and my shelving walls With honeysuckle covered." ~Mark Akenside