Thursday, December 23, 2010


Hamantaschen is a traditional Jewish cookie that is served around the holiday's.  Now I am not Jewish so I hope I haven't butchered the recipe, but these are wonderful.  My husband called them cookie wontons, they are similar to a sugar cookie with a jelly filling.  I have always made these using jam or jelly but I do believe if you want to go traditional you would use a nut or poppy seed filling.  I hope you enjoy this recipe...

For cookie:
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt

For filling:
Strawberry Jam
Orange Marmalade
Any favorite jam/jelly

Cream the shortening with sugar. Add egg and continue creaming until smooth.

Add the vanilla. Stir in the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt until a ball of dough is formed. Chill for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Take 1/4 of the dough, roll out on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut circles of dough with a drinking glass or round cookie-cutter. With your finger put water around the rim of the circle. Fill with 1 teaspoon of your filling and fold into three-cornered cookies.

Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet 10-16 minutes, until the tops are golden.  (Without fail you will have some jam leakage, which is why you really want to grease your cookies sheet.)

On a side note, the jam that leaks our tastes just like a really good fruit roll-up.  A nice little treat for the chef or helpers.  But get it off the sheet as soon as possible so it doesn't harden.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I really wanted to make peanut butter cookies this year but I wanted to do something a little different, so...what goes better than peanut butter and chocolate?  Here is my recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.


1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanut butter cups (I used Trader Joes Mini's)


In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter cups.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Basic Pie Crust

I have always made my pie crusts the old fashioned way using a pastry blender.  But I have seen so many people using food processors that I decided to give it a shot...and boy did it cut down on time and did a great job. So from now on I have decided that I will use the food processor for all my crust needs. Now due to the size of my processor I made my crust in two batches to make a top and bottom. 

Basic Pie Crust

(Double crust recipe, half it for just a single)

about 2 cups all purpose flour
about 1 stick of COLD butter (you could do half butter, half shortening also)
about  2-3 tablespoons ICE water

Put the flour in your processor along with the butter, cut into cubes. Pulse until the flour and butter are combined, should resemble peas.

Slowly, add the water, one teaspoon at a time until the dough starts to form a ball. (If it seems too sticky, add a little more flour.  If still seems too dry and crumbly, add more water.)

Remove dough from the processor and form unto a ball, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

You dough is now ready to roll out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin

After my sons birthday party we had a lot of veggies left over so I was trying to think of ways to use them up and in a way that my husband would eat it. So I decided on adding cheese, cheese makes everything better. So because we had the most cauliflower left I decided to make a cauliflower gratin.

For this recipe I used two types of cheese, a sharp Celtic cheddar which is tastes almost like a Parmesan and a mild monterey jack.

1/4 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
3 tbsp. Butter
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. Flour
1/4 lb. or 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. or 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
Pinch dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1/8 cup bread crumbs

Boil the cauliflower in salted water for about 10 minutes just until tender. Drain and put in a buttered casserole dish. Set aside.

Bring milk, butter and flour to a boil until it starts to thicken. Add about 3/4 of the cheese, the mustard, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until melted and combined.

Pour over cauliflower. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 mins, just until golden and bubbly.

Now, if my husband doesn't like cauliflower smothered in cheese I don't think he will ever like cauliflower.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And what a birthday it is...

Today is my sons first birthday and what a great day it should be, right? Well for my son today is the most uncomfortable painful day he has experienced thus far in his short life. He has one of the worst diaper rashes I have ever seen, and on top of that he has a yeast infection and what I believe is a stomach virus; which isn't helping either cause. To see him in so much pain breaks my heart, what mother wants to see their child hurt? My husband and I have done everything that we can think of; putting on anti-fungal cream, zinc-oxide creams, baking soda baths, natural...I am out of ideas. He won't even put his little tushy in the water. I never thought that I would cry over something like diaper rash, but I feel like I am failing him and there is nothing I can do to help. Hugs really only go so far.
Different websites say different things from: use talc powder to don't use talc powder, browned flour, Maalox, making your own wipes, baking soda baths, and oatmeal baths to don't use oatmeal baths. The list is endless. I just want him to feel better, and I think the stomach is just making the whole thing worse. I finally called the doctor (again, I did call about the yeast infection) and got the rudest receptionist, but hopefully I will hear back from his doctor soon. His 12 month appointment is Wednesday but because it is getting worse I don't know if I should wait.
I am sure that there are other mother's that have dealt with this, I would love to hear how...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The past few weeks have been really over whelming and cause for much anxiety. Other than the normal stresses of life: money, work, and family. We have had the stress of dealing with my husband’s mother, who had a heart attack which resulted in a quadruple by-pass plus a stint. So my husband, who is an only child, was with her in the hospital and when she was brought home (a week later). Leaving me and my son home basically alone all week, now I am not complaining because I know if the roles were reversed I would have been doing the same thing. This all happened last week, right at the planning stages for my son’s first birthday.

Now I could go off on a tangent, and vent all of my feelings and I probably should because I have A LOT built up. But…I know that I can’t because I don’t want to hurt feelings or make people feel like any of it is their fault. I am full of anxiety over my life; certain things that are happening now are just increasing it. I have been on the verge of tears for weeks, trying to hold it together. The stress of everything is just becoming over whelming. Is it just normal this time of year? Time change? Holidays? I don’t know.

But even though I am feeling this way I just keep on trucking…I have a first birthday to plan. I need to keep a smile on my face and keep moving forward. As much as I want to curl in a ball and lock myself in my room, I can’t. I am a mother and a wife; those duties don’t get vacation time, or sick time. So I need to go to the grocery store and get the last few things, and tonight I am going to have to start prepping, because if you have read earlier blogs, Saturday is going to be consumed with decorating cup cakes.

On to the plans, we are having my son baptized in the morning, he will have time for a nap (hopefully) and then a birthday party that afternoon. Because it starts at 2, I am not planning on serving real food, just appetizers and snacks. That should be ok, right? I wouldn’t assume I was being feed a meal if I went to a party at 2. The sad thing is that there are people that are invited that probably would assume we will be feeding them a meal. But that is just how those people are. I was also hoping that since the party is on a Sunday afternoon some people wouldn’t make it, we don’t really live close to anyone. But to my surprise, everyone is coming, so let us pray for a nice day so people (at least the kids) can go out side. I don’t have any other plans to keep kids entertained so fingers crossed.
Well time for another deep breathe and move on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall in full swing at Shaw Orchards

Today my family and I went to visit Shaw Orchards, it is located in Stewartstown Pennsylvania right on the PA Maryland line (half the orchards are probably actually in Maryland). The family farm has been around since the 1890's, I am not sure how large the farm is but it covers a good amount of land.  Since fall is in full swing, and it is apple and pumpkin season...we rode the hayride to pick our own pumpkin.  I also, bought apples to make an apple pie and stewed apples for my son.

There were many apples to choose from, from the local York apple to the common Red Delicious.  We bought a type called Nittany, which if you didn't already guess is a Pennsylvania apple.  It is tart and sweet and very juicy.

There were also may pumpkins and gourds to choose from, it was chilly and windy out in the pumpkin patch!

My son and husband on the hayride out to the pumpkin patch

My son and husband with their pumpkin

 If you are in the area it is worth the drive, you can get all types of butters, preserves, other baked goods and of course cider.  You can also see their production line, where you can watch the apples come in from the fields and taken with conveyor belts to get cleaned and sorted.  This time of year you can pick your own (PYO) pumpkins and apples, but at different times of year you can also PYO cherries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines and apricots (I may have missed something, but you get the idea.)  Check out their website for the latest in whats ripe and in season and for the times and directions.  I do recommend getting there early if you plan on PYO, before 10 am.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Encaustic Painting

Something that I haven’t talked much about since I have started this blog is that I really enjoy creating art. I actually have a BFA in printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I haven’t been doing nearly as much as I want or should, I have even wondered if I “still got it”. Lately, I have had the need or urge to get in my make shift studio (if you can even really call it that) and do something.
A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to use beeswax in one of my paintings for our living room (which is still unfinished by the way) so while I was visiting my uncle he mentioned that he had some old wax left over from when his father-in-law had bees. So I jumped on the opportunity to grab it, it was probably close to 5 pounds of wax.

Well for some reason a couple weeks ago, I got a bug up my butt to start Encaustic Painting. I have never even dabbled in using melted wax in my work; well I have dripped a little candle wax on a mixed media piece. Anyway, so I started to save and collect tin cans like tuna and cat food cans, joined my local Freecycle group and requested an electric griddle. I picked the griddle up the other day and started breaking up the wax.

So to back track real quick and let you know what it is exactly (from Wikipedia)…

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used.

The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.

This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists, including Jasper Johns.
Ok, back to me…Once I broke up the beeswax, I added color using broken crayons. I had them on hand and I know they should mix in fairly well. I let the wax melt down and using a stick I stirred to make sure the color was incorporated. I chose to start with just some basic colors; I want to use the natural wax as much as possible. This is straight from the source and is a golden color and even has a little organic matter mixed in.

My wax set up
Above is the unmelted wax (starting to melt) on my griddle, the small cans are cat food cans the large in the middle is straight raw beeswax.  I played around and basically experimented with brushes, dry times, heated objects, etc.  I didn't have an iron that I could use or a heat gun, so I used a piece of copper tubing that I let sit on the griddle to heat up, then just rolled/rubbed in on the surface to smooth and bind the wax. 

Experiment #1
Above is the 'finished' piece.  It was a lot of fun to create but the hardest part is knowing when to stop and walk away.  I thought at one point that I should have stopped but I just kept going.  I finally had to pull away, and this was the result. 

I can't wait to do some more...this is definitely going to be a new medium!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Fun

I just want to share...My son, who is 10 1/2 months old, decorated his first pumpkin.


This weekend is the first weekend in October and ours started off with our first Halloween Party of the month (really the only planned one we have).  Yes, we went to a Halloween party on October 9th, during the day.  Granted I think it was more geared to children and adults who act like children, so starting at 2 in the afternoon isn't such a big deal. 

The house was decorated to the nines, but I think it would have been better at night (I think I am going to drive by one evening to get the full effect.)  There was a scaled Psycho house in the front yard with a door that opened letting a red glow seep out, a dead man in the tub with a bloody curtain in the bathroom, Michael was in the garden, a mummy on the back porch, and misc. other items throughout the house.  In addition to the decorations, there was a bounce house, bean bag toss, a box of wigs and masks to use, and a spot to fish for skulls. 

I was assigned a Halloween themed appetizer.  So I went with mummified pigs in a blanket...can you ever go wrong with pigs in a blanket at a party? No.

I made them the same way you would make normal pigs in a blanket, with refrigerate crescent rolls and I used the cocktail sized sausages (not wieners/hot dogs).  I cut the rolls in to strips and wrapped the sausage, leaving a little space for a "face".

I used a little mustard on the end of a tooth pick for eyes, but you needed to use a lot to make it stay.  As the mustard dried it kinda faded.  But that didn't matter, they were all gone within 20 minutes, next time I will make more (I used 2 packs!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pie Time!

It’s almost PIE TIME!! I can’t wait! I have so many ideas; I hope I get a chance to do them all!

During the holidays in my family, I am the one that makes the pies. Since my grandmother and aunt taught me, it has been my thing. I always make the standards; apple and pumpkin. My apple pie is never the same, I do the same things but I never measure and therefore it is always slightly different each time. My pumpkin is usually the same; I follow my grandmother’s recipe and haven’t ever really strayed from it (except I use canned pumpkin most of the time.) Along with the apple and pumpkin I always do one other that is usually something I have never made before, two years ago…a chocolate mixed nut pie, winner! I will make that again, no doubt. (Last year I didn’t make any pies because I was too busy being a brand new mom.)

This year I have decided that I am going to go out of the box and do a few things different. I will still do apple and pumpkin, but I will be doing a twist on them. I am thinking that I want to add something else to the apple, I usually add some pear and probably still will, but I am thinking a berry of some sort, maybe some cranberries or blueberries (even though they aren’t in season.) And maybe even a crumble topping instead of the crust? I don’t know.

For the pumpkin I am thinking of instead of a plain crust doing a cookie crust with possibly ginger snaps, or chocolate. I was even thinking of on the bottom crust lay pecans and caramel down before pouring in the custard mixture. But if I was to do that I think I would just keep a plain crust. Someone at work today gave me the idea of adding candied yams or sweet potato, do like a half pumpkin and half sweet potato pie? I am getting so hungry just thinking about it!

Once I start making pies, which I plan on doing at least one this weekend, I will post the recipes. Yummy!!!

My Baby's First Birthday

It is almost son turning one! I can't believe how fast this year has gone.  It is funny how parents always say their children just grow so fast, I didn't realize how true it really is! If this year is flying by and he isn't moving that fast yet, I can only imagine how fast time will go when he is. But anyway, back to the first birthday. 

I originally wanted something small that included maybe just his grandparents and our neighbors, I mean really will he really remember any of this?  I feel like as long as I have the pictures for his scrapbook I should be ok, right? Well, we have decided that we are having him baptised the morning of his party which means it is going to fall on a Sunday.  This was decided so the grandparents can make one trip, it's just easier that way.  So my husband and I like Sesame Street so we have decided that, that will be the theme for the party.  If he wants to do it again later for his 2nd or 3rd than that is fine.

For his invitation, I created it in Microsoft Publisher using an image of the Sesame Street gang (above) and bold primary colors.  I then, using my scrapbooking stuff, pasted the cut out invitation on to a piece of primary colored card stock.  The finished product ended up being 4x6.  I just need to get envelopes, I am hoping that the dollar store might have them.  We will see. 

While I was looking for a picture of the whole gang, I came across cupcakes. So the plan now is that I am going to make cupcakes, with each character represented on the cupcake.  Then for my son, I am going to create a small Cookie Monster cake just for him.  I am really looking forward to doing this.  (I will post pictures after I make them.)

His birthday is in November and I understand it is just over a month away but because time seems to be going so fast, October will be over before I know it.  It is just crazy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Make Ahead Burritos

I am big on finding things I can make ahead, either for dinner or lunch.  I have found so far that Mexican seems to be great for make ahead meals.  A lot of it you can make, and freeze and they become really good quick weeknight meals. Our house loves Mexican so it never seems to be an issue if we eat it twice a week or more. 

Now dinner is one thing and lunches well they are another.  I tend to focus on my sons lunches and not my own. So I tend to grab the closest left over and throw it in my bag.  I desided that I was going to make a batch of sandwiches or something that I could freeze so I could just grab it and go.  What I came up with were burritos!


• 2 cups uncooked brown rice
• 4 cups water
• 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
• 2 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans
• 1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn
• 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
• 16 (10 inch) flour tortillas
• 1 pound shredded pepperjack cheese


1. Combine rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool.

2. Place black beans and pinto beans into a colander or strainer, and rinse. Add corn and diced tomatoes with green chilies, and toss to mix. Transfer to a large bowl, and mix in rice and cheese.

3. Divide the mixture evenly among the tortillas, and roll up. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, place into a large freezer bag, and freeze. Reheat as needed in the microwave for lunch or snacks.

Slow cooker pulled pork

I must say this was my first time making real pulled pork and it was so good and easy!  We own a grill that is also a smoker and have talked about smoking the pig and even though it would have been a beautiful day to use it, I just wasn't ready to try it. So I opted for the slow cooker.

I put the pork butt in the cooker and filled it half way with root beer. Yes, root beer. Then cooked it on low for about 8-10 hours (I started it before I went to bed and just let it cook all night.) After cooking on low, drain (saving some juices) and using a fork shred/pull the pork. Place the pork back in the cooker and mix in your favorite BBQ sauce, I only used about 3/4 cup. Cook on low for another hour or so then turn to warm. Serve with extra BBQ sauce.
So easy! So good!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Secret Club - Blogher Post

There is this secret club that no one ever talks about and you would never know that it even exists, that is until you get pregnant.

Before you ever get pregnant you think you have an idea about how it is going to go; morning sickness, the urge to pee all the time, cravings, and that it is going to hurt like hell. Well there is a lot that isn't taught in school or talked about, it isn't until your pregnant everyone who has gone through it decides that's when to share what really happens, when there is no turning back!

Once I became pregnant, I heard a lot of "has [this] happened yet?" I usually looked at them in question and either said "um, no" or "um, yeah. It happened to you too?"

I was lucky, I had a really easy pregnancy. No morning sickness (at any part of the day), no cravings that I just had to have at that very minute, I felt great! Well all for one little thing...hemorrhoids and I had them bad. I don't remember anyone ever telling me that I was going to have to take a stool softener everyday for the last two months. But once I mentioned constipation, my mom and sister both told me it could be bad. Why didn't anyone tell me before?

My favorite question, "have you had the bloody show yet?" WHAT?? Nothing about that sounds good! Well if I actually did research I would have known what that was but really they need to call it something else.
I also had it in my head that both my mom and sister had easy deliveries and that will deliver like my mother, well almost. Everything was going smoothly, I went from not being dilated to fully dilated in thirty minutes, he crowned in the next five, then nothing he wouldn't move. After three hours of pushing I was taken to surgery for an emergency c-section. I wasn't expecting it and neither was my husband or mother (who was in the waiting room and I found out later was crying to her best friend because she knew something was wrong.) Well after sharing my story, I couldn't believe how many people said "yeah, that happened to me too." Once again, why do I find out after the fact?

I also never realized what came along with the c-section. It is a serious surgery, why anyone would choose to have one is beyond me! I was in the hospital for four full days, the let me go a day early. I was hooked to a catheter till the third night because I couldn't pee on my own. I couldn't walk. The worst...I wasn't able to hold or focus on my new son right after he was born because of the drugs. My mom feed him with a bottle because my boobs were numb and my arms were so shaky. Once we got home, I could barely bend and walk. I am lucky that my husband was able to take off as long as he did. No one tells you these things!

But now, when I know someone is pregnant (and not before) I share some of the joys of being pregnant. When I am asked a question I answer it honestly with out making it seem better than it really is. Because I am now apart of this club, I am a mom and have been through something that I now know you can't really explain to someone who isn't. Being pregnant is just the initiation. There is no turning back...and you won't ever want too (well you might, but it will pass.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Scarecrow Farm and Flea Market

The name of this farm sounds like a place that would have everything, but... That really wasn't the case. It was nice don't get me wrong. The owner was a very nice man who was great to talk to, most likely an old hippy. The farm has a lot of space for flea market vendors and visitors, today it was empty except for one vendor who was packing up when we got there. (Granted the hours were from 9-2 and we got there at 1:30, so we may have missed more.)

About two to three times a month they have live music, activities for kids and of course vendors selling anything. It is definitely more of a flea market than a farmers market but they did have fresh local fruits and vegetables. The owner and I talked about the long neck pumpkins that were on the front porch and he seemed excited about all the fall vegetables that will be coming soon.  My sister-in-law and I decided that we may reserve a space in October and sell some things and see it while it is a little more busy.

I have to admit I am a sucker for cute old men, I can't help it. some people like babies, me? Nope it's old men, I can listen to their stories for hours. And now you are probably thinking "why is she telling me this?" well the farm has this quote under their sign, on their t-shirts (yes they have t-shirts) and on other signs posted around the store. It is, "Help yourself, pay the cute old man in the shed." and I must admit he is a cute old man, ponytail and all.

Getting back on track...

I plan on going to this farm again, earlier next time, to see if there is more. They do however have a lot of scarecrows, they seem homemade like someones crafts. They are cute but unless I gave in to my child whining to have one I don't think I would actually purchase one. They just aren't my style, my neighbor has one in their yard.

If you are interested in checking them out you can find them at 2178 Orwig Road in Stewartstown or on the web at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Getting a phone call from my husband telling me one of my sons friends in his room at day care was sent home and has whooping cough is a little scary.  I know it isn't life threatening, but have you ever heard the sound of a whooping cough?  It is down right disturbing!  I have seen more public service announcements talking about getting vaccinated, but I never really paid much attention to it because I knew my son was getting the vaccine.  I never really thought about getting it myself, but now everyone is saying that adults should get re-vaccinated.  While I was at the doctors the other day, I got my much needed tetanus shot, which now includes the pertussis vaccine. 

Doing some research, since my sons doctor told us that if we see any signs within 21 days to contact the office so he can be treated, I not only was able to listen to the sounds the cough makes I also learned a little more about the bacteria.  First thing is that it is a bacteria and not a virus so it can be treated with antibiotics. Good news!  Also, it can last anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, which is a really long time.  It is the most contagious in the first 2 weeks, but the symptoms are the same as if you had a cold with a slight dry cough so you really wouldn't know or even think that you may have the whooping cough.  And even worse is only 50% of people even get the 'whoop' that follows the cough, so how would you even know that you have the whooping cough and not just a bad cold?  Well you could just stop breathing and turn blue for a little bit. I think even though the 'whoop' sounds really bad, I would rather have the 'whoop'.

After the first 2 weeks, then the symptoms get worse and you may then get the 'whoop'. (I highly suggest that you listen to what it sounds like, even though I must warn is disturbing.  You can listen at, you can also find more information about it there.) The cough can sometime last for a long time, you basically have coughing fits, and in between you may feel fine.  I must say if your child ever gets the cough with the 'whoop' you will not question calling the doctor, you will think your child is gasping for air and can't breathe.

The Dangers of Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Corn Soup

This corn soup started out being a cold soup (it is summer) but I ate it warm and think maybe it could go either way.  It was really simple with fresh in season ingredients.  I didn't measure anything out so below is the process.

Corn Soup

Start by cutting the kernels off 4 ears of corn, put the kernels in a saute pan and the cob in a large pot.  Cut up one jalapeno and add to kernels. Place another jalapeno in the pot with the cobs. While the kernels are sauteing, add carrots, chives, salt and pepper in with the cobs.  Add about 2 cups of water and two chicken bouillon cubes to the pot, cook on medium heat to infuse all the flavors in the now broth. 

In the saute pan, add a couple tablespoons of cumin, a couple cloves of garlic, tomatoes and salt and pepper.  Saute until everything is combined.  To thicken it up I added about a half a cup to a cup of left over mashed potatoes.

Add the broth to the saute pan, mix and simmer for a few minutes.  Cool slightly and add to blender to puree. (You don't have to puree if you like thicker soups.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Batch Cooking Grains

Red Quinoa - Cooked

I have been introducing the 9 month old to new textures when it comes to food, I am finding that there are some that he has no problems with and others...well, it may take a while.  So this past weekend, I decided to do some batch cooking of grains and pasta. 

Most grains and pasta freeze well for at least a month and some longer.  I use a method I call, the stacked freezer bag method.  I use a Tupperware container that I am not using anymore to hold the bags.  I put about a 1/4 cup of the cooled grain or pasta into the bag (I use the snack size bags) and start layering the bags on top of each other.  They plastic container is good for keeping them in the stack.  When you are ready to use the bagged food, just thaw in the refrigerator over night, run under warm water, or remove the food from the bag and microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds (may need longer but I would always start at 30 seconds).

Foods that I have made and freeze this way are:
  • Oatmeal (old fashioned - not instant or quick)
  • Quinoa
  • Pasta (alphabets and ditalini)
  • Bulgur (whole kernel)
  • Couscous
All of these foods can be ground in a food processor or blender to make finer so you can adjust the consistency to your child.

For more information on grains check out these brands:

Sunnyland Mills
Near East
Bob's Red Mill

All of these sites have recipes also.

*Please note, most contain or are wheat so if your child has an allergy don't use them.*

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Whole grain organic vegetable pasta! I had trouble finding something that had a little more nutrition then the plain semolina pastas and I found this in the natural food section of our supper market. It is slightly more expensive then the plain pastas but it is larger and had more nutrition, so I feel it is worth the extra money. I make a week or two worth and freeze it in individual servings using freezer bags that I can stack.

New Freedom Farmers Market

The New Freedom Farmers Market is the first and third Saturday of each month from May thru October, it is located in downtown New Freedom at the Red Cabooses that is along the Heritage Rail Trail in York County.

Today was my first visit, and it took me longer to drive there then to walk through and see all the vendors.  There were maybe about 7-8 vendors that were selling everything from dairy and vegetables to flowers and handmade soaps.  It was all in all a very nice little market.

Two vendors stood out to me, one perhaps because he had a goat with him and the other because they stopped me to give me samples but either way it worked.

The first was Charlottetown Farms located in New Freedom, PA 17349. They had handmade Chevre Cheeses, Goat Milk Soaps, and fresh eggs.

Homemade Chevre Cheese, Charlottetown Farms
The second was the Golden Grain Bread Company also located in New Freedom, PA 17349. They had all kinds of homemade breads, rolls, cookies, etc. and even some cheese from a dairy located in Harford County, MD called Blooms Broom Dairy (which has really good ice cream by the way.)

Kicked Up Rosemary Bread, Golden Grain Bread Co.
For lunch when I got home, I smeared the chevre on the rosemary bread and it was wonderful!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best Plum!

These are sweet little plums, the skin has a great crunch and is tart with the sweetest center! Yummy!

(Wish I could remember the name, it sounded Asian.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diapers and Formula

Last night I decided that I was going to compare diapers and formula because I am sick of just assuming certain stores have the best deals. When you are buying a lot of diapers and formula you should take the time and really look to see what you are getting. I know there are times when we run out of something and I just run to the closest store just so we have something but those are rare. So I looked on-line, at the stores I most frequent and compare some diapers. The brands I compared are: Pampers, Luvs, Huggies, and the store brand all in Size 4. The stores I looked into are: Babies R Us,, Target, Walmart and Sam's Club. (There are other big clubs out there like, BJ's and Costco but I don't use them so I didn't look into their prices.) So here we go...

Diaper Comparison

Store Brands:
  • 176 count @ 0.23 cents/unit = $40.99
  • Walmart (Parents Choice): 82 count @ 0.18 cents/unit = $14.47
  • Target (Up & Up): 124 count @ 0.16 cents/unit = $19.99
  • Babies R Us (Especially for Baby): 126 count @ 0.16 cents/unit = $19.98
  • Sam's Club (Members Mark): 176 count @ 0.17 cents/unit = $29.98
Pampers (Baby Dry)
  • 176 count @ 0.26 cents/unit = $44.99
  • Walmart: 156 count @ 0.22 cents/unit = $35.00
  • Target: 100 count @ 0.30 cents/unit = $29.99
  • Babies R Us: 176 count @ 0.24 cents/unit = $41.99
  • Sam's Club: 176 count @ 0.21 cents/unit = $37.98
  • 180 count @ 0.21 cents/unit = $36.99
  • Walmart: 180 count @ 0.20 cents/unit = $35.54
  • Target: 180 count @ 0.21 cents/unit = 38.99
  • Babies R Us: NA
  • Sam's Club: NA
Huggies (Snug and Dry*)
  • 140 count @ 0.29 cents/unit = $39.99
  • Walmart: 140 count @ 0.25 cents/unit = $35.00
  • Target*: 108 count @ 0.34 cents/unit = $36.99
  • Babies R Us: 176 count @ 0.24 cents/unit = $41.99
  • Sam's Club: 176 count @ 0.21 cents/unit = $37.14
The winners for the cheapest diapers...
  • Overall: Babies R Us brand @ $19.98, runner up: Target's Up & Up @ $19.99
    • Cheapest per unit @ only 0.16 cents
    • Sam's Club is not far behind at 0.17 cents a unit
  • Pampers
    • Purchase at Sam's Club @ 0.21 cents a unit
    • Runner up: Walmart @ 0.22 cents a unit
  • Luvs
    • Purchase at Walmart @ 0.20 cents a unit
    • Runner up: @ 0.21 cents a unit
  • Huggies
    • Purchase at Sam's Club @ 0.21 cents a unit
    • Runner up: Babies R Us @ 0.24 cents a unit
My personal ratings of the diapers:

1 (poor) - 5 (excellent) brand - NA
Walmart's Parents Choice - 3
Target's Up & Up - 4.5
Babies R Us brand - 4.5
Sam's Club's Members Mark - 4.5
Pampers - 5
Luvs - 4
Huggies - 3

*Target's Huggies were based on Little Movers

Formula Comparison

When it came to comparing formula I only looked in to the store brands and milk based (powder).  When we first switched to formula we used the name brands because that is what was sent home with us from the hospital and because we received a bunch of samples in the mail.  So once we ran out of the free stash we looked in to the generic brands and realized the ingredients were the same, so why by name brand for twice as much?

So... - 25.75 oz @ 0.74 cents/ounce = $18.99
Walmart - 23.2 oz @ 0.51 cents/oz = $11.88
Target - 25.75 oz @ 0.47 cents/oz = $11.99
Babies R Us - 25.7 oz @ 0.51 cents/oz = $12.99
Sam's Club - 51.4 oz @ 0.38 cents/oz = $19.38

Sam's Club is the best price by far, followed by Target.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I don't know how many people listen to Food Network Humor (FNH), but if you watch the Food Network you NEED to check FNH out.  It is hilarious!  Basically everything you are thinking while watching the shows, becomes a topic on FNH. 

Check them out! Follow this link...Food Network Humor

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cheesy-Broccoli with Pasta

I have been trying to get more vegetables into my sons diet, right now it seems I always have a lot of fruits on hand and not as many vegetables, or maybe just not enough of a verity.  The staple vegetables that I have are carrots and sweat potatoes, I tend to get a lot out of just a little.  This past week at the farmers market I loaded up of summer squash and broccoli.  As you know from the last post the squash was a hit.  The broccoli I haven't tried yet, it has been steamed, pureed, and frozen; now i am just trying to figure the best combination to serve it.  Broccoli on its own with no seasoning can be pretty bland and gross if you are a kid (or my husband), so I want to jazz it up a bit.  I grew up with my parents adding cheese sauce on our steamed broccoli, and in college I added a pasta to the mix for a complete meal.  So using that as my starting point, I will try Cheesy-Broccoli with Pasta. Simple? I hope, but I think I am going to add a bit more for more nutritional value.

Here is the recipe that I am going to try out (may get adjusted once I actually prepare the dish):

Cheesy-Broccoli with Pasta
10 oz. frozen or 1-2 heads fresh Broccoli
1 1/2 cups of a small Pasta (cooked)
5 medium carrots, cut into small 1/4 cubes
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

First start off by steaming the vegetables, you can steam them together if you want to just mix and store everything as one.  As the vegetables are steaming in a separate pot start to cooking the pasta (you could even use Israeli couscous if you would like).  While both the pasta and vegetables are cooking, start the turkey by adding about 3 tablespoons of water to a frying pan, add the turkey.  Break the turkey up into small pieces and cook until no longer pink.

Drain the vegetables, pasta and turkey (reserving some of the cooking liquid).  Set the pasta and carrots aside.  Puree the broccoli and turkey, use some of the reserved liquid to thin out the puree if you need to.

In a bowl, mix together the puree mixture along with the pasta and carrots.  Add the shredded cheese into the mix.  Serve, refrigerate or freeze as desired.  Since there is meat in this meal, use within 1-2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Since I mentioned the nutritional value, I figured I should look it up and report my findings.  (I did my research on

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Squash & Couscous

This is a new recipe that I came up with for my son, since it is summer, summer squash is in abundance. You could do this recipe with any of the different types of squash, I tried it with zucchini, yellow squash and pattypan squash.

This will make a lot of food, about 12-15 cups. It can be frozen for up to 3 months, or you can refrigerate it and use it within 3 days or so. This is also a good adult recipe, just don't puree the squash, use a skillet or roast it instead.

Summer Squash with Israeli Couscous
2-3 large Zucchini*

1-2 large Yellow Squash*

1 large Pattypan Squash*

3-4 fresh Basil Leaves

1 1/3 cups dry Israeli Couscous

Clean and cut up squash, (I removed the seeds and peeled some of the tougher skin off), place in your steamer or steamer basket and steam until very tender. Transfer to your food processor and add basil, pulse/puree until smooth or your child's desired consistency.

Prepare couscous as directed on the box, I use Trader Joes brand and it made about 2 1/2 cups prepared. Mix the couscous and squash mixture together and serve or spoon into freezable trays.
*Use all, one or any combination of squash. If your child is new to squash, I would recommend only using one and follow the 4 day wait rule.

For more information on Summer squash and the different types you can go to

Organic or Not?

I struggle over buying organic and natural over just whatever is available every time I'm at the grocery store. I do however try to buy from the local farmers market when ever I can, and what is in season. But sometimes I just need to settle with what ever is at the grocery store. And I have to be honest, I would buy natural, organic, free range all of that all the time if it wasn't for the price of it all. There are times where I am just not willing to pay two extra dollars a pound. So for food I make for myself or husband I am not usually as picky since frankly neither of us grew up eating organic and so far we are fine; but, for our son I try to pay better attention.

There are foods that are usually higher is pesticides that are better to buy organic and there are some that aren't. But my personal rule is if he will eat the skin, I buy organic. Right now he doesn't eat the skins of apples or peaches but they tend to be high with pesticides so those I buy organic (but he will eat the skins when he is older.)

Below is a list to use as a reference:

The "Dirty Dozen", these have the highest pesticide and insecticide contamination. (Listed from highest amounts to lesser amounts)

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes - Imported

Source: Environmental Working Group. Go to for updates.

For more information visit

Friday, July 23, 2010

Play dough

Growing up we always made our own, or my mother always made our, play dough. There is no reason to buy the containers when you can have fun with your child while making then playing with the dough. You can split up the batch and make it any color combinations you like with food coloring. Below is the recipe:

Play Dough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 T oil
2 cups water with a few drops of food color

Mix all ingredients in a pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until mix pulls away from side of pot. (Make sure you stay with it) Put on wax paper or just on counter, and knead until smooth. Cool.

Keep in covered Tupperware ( I use zip lock bags) Not anything metal.

On a side note, it is safe to eat, but I would not recommend it.

Baby Protiens

When it comes to protein for your baby you have the small jars that always look like mystery meats, dairy, and certain grains. I had a mind set that making and pureeing meat would be gross and that I would probably just purchase the jarred meat. Well after using the first jar, the color was weird and the smell was unappetizing. I decided to give making my own a try. Believe it or not it isn't as gross as you would think and definitely better than the jar. Meats to start off with first, around 7 months but always check with your doctor; are turkey, lamb and chicken.

Baby Turkey
1/2 pound Ground turkey
1/4 cup water

In a non stick frying pan, over medium heat, combine the turkey and water. Cook, breaking
up the turkey until no longer pink. Let cool and drain. Reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Puree the turkey in a food processor and add water as needed to get a texture that your baby can handle, it will look paste like.

You can freeze for about 1 month or refrigerate and use within 1-2 days.

When it comes to dairy, and your child is old enough, baby yogurts, cottage cheese, ricotta and even some cheddar could be good options. (Yogurts are always good when your child is having really loose stools also.) You can mix fruit with the cottage cheese or ricotta to make a parfait or just something sweet that can be used for breakfast or snack. A little cheddar mixed with broccoli and/or pasta would also make a nice meal.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fruity Parfait

So because there are so many great fresh foods to choose from this time of year, I have been able to make a lot of food for my son. I was freezing every thing in 1/4 cups but have since gone to the simple ice cube tray, why? Well I don't mix anything before freezing and by using just the ice cube tray you get a small cube and mix different cubes to make different combinations. (I have even cut cubes in half.) Now there are times when I take short cuts, like with Apples, it is just some much easier to buy a jar of applesauce, I still freeze it in cubes so it will last longer. I have also done the same with pear sauce.

The most recent recipe that my son loves is apples, blueberry, and banana. The only cooking that is required is the blueberry sauce. Mix all the ingredients together and add cereal, cottage cheese, or ricotta if you child is old enough. This is something I would eat for breakfast.

For the blueberry sauce:

10 oz frozen or 1 qt fresh blueberries

Steam the blueberries for about 10 minutes, discard most of the liquid reserving some of the now blueberry water.

Purée the blueberries to a desired consistency. At this point you can strain the purée or leave the skins in. Pour purée into a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken slightly. Pour into the ice cube trays and freeze for up to 3 months or refrigerate and use within 2-3 days.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So I have always been someone who thought cheese and seafood just
didn't go together. But a friend of mine made this dish that was just
delicious. He is big on pasta And high protein seafood dishes and
lucky me he brings me samples.

He took whole wheat pasta and tossed it with shrimp, roasted red
peppers, roasted butternut squash, onion and goat cheese. It was
great! The sweetness of the squash and peppers with the tangy goat
cheese was brilliant, then the textures of the shrimp and pasta just
made the dish.

I am going to attempt to make this dish soon and see if I can get it
to be just as good, I will also post a picture. Just writing about it
is making me hungry.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Food

While I was pregnant I decided that I was going to make my own baby food. I wanted to know what was going in the food. So since my son was born I have made all his food. It is so easy to do and I don't know why more people aren't doing it. I take one day out of the week, usually Sunday, and make a big batch.

About 2 months before he was actually able to eat solid foods I started preparing and freezing vegetables. The first foods that I started with were sweet potato, banana, peas, butternut squash and apple. I started feeding my son around 4 months, but check with your peditrician before starting solid foods.

I bake the potatoes and squash because it will keep more nutrients opposed to steaming or boiling. The peas and apple are steamed. I keep the skin on the apples while I steam them so the nutrients from the skin will stay in the mixture, just let the apples cool and then remove the skin. You can just use a spoon to scrape the flesh off the skin.

Once the food is cooked just puree in a food processor until the desired consistency. You can add formula or breast milk to thin it down if you need to. Keep in mind that the peas will not get real smooth because of the shell, you can always strain the peas to make them smoother.

The banana is the easiest, you don't need to cook at all, just mash or puree until the consistency you want. You can even squish the banana in the peel and squeeze it in to the bowl, this works great when traveling.

When it comes to the cereals, I wanted to make my own but while doing research it is recommended not to feed homemade cereals until at least 6 months. So I just use the pre-made, I started with the Gerber rice cereal and now my son loves the barley cereal.

Some resources that I use:

Wholesome Baby Foods

Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

{Updated} Mexican Fiesta

*Updated: April 23, 2013 Since Cinco de Mayo is coming soon I thought I would update my very first blog post updated to reflect gluten free options!  Enjoy!

So I have been craving Mexican for a while now and was just looking for an excuse to make a great meal from scratch. My mom bought me The Ultimate Mexican magazine so I decided since my in-laws were coming over I was going to go all out Mexican.

I made Enchilada Suiza with sides of seasoned black beans and Mexican rice, along with a Tres Leches cake for desert. It was wonderful, so I wanted to share.

Enchilada Suiza (Swiss Enchilada)

I made this recipe the night before so I was able to just put it in the oven, I found that the corn tortillas got a little soggy and the sauce thickened up quite a bit. The flavors were great, and if made the day of I am sure it would have been even better. I think next time I will use flour tortillas, it will change the texture, but because I am big on making meals ahead of time so they become quick weeknight meals, I think the flour tortillas would hold up better. *Update: I was informed that if you lightly fry the corn tortillas before hand they shouldn't get soggy when made ahead. 


1 purchased roasted chicken (2 to 2 ¼ pounds)
4 large tomatillos, husks removed
½ medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 jalapeno peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 14.5-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs (I use less, because of the strong flavor)
1 cup Mexican crema or 8-oz sour cream
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour or rice flour
½ tsp. salt
12 6-inch corn tortillas
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 oz Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I use more, because I love cheese)

Preheat broiler. Carve or pull meat from the chicken. Using two forks, shred meat. Measure 2 ½ cups of the chicken for this recipe. (Save remaining for another use, like chicken pot pie.)

On a large baking sheet combine tomatillos, onion, peppers, and garlic. Broil 3 inches from heat for about 14 minutes or until tender, with black spots and pepper skin blisters, turning once during broiling. With gloved hands, use a pairing knife and peel as much of the skin off the peppers as possible; halve and seed peppers. Core tomatillos (I just squeeze as much out as I can). Reduce temperature to 350°; adjust oven rack to center of oven.

In a blender combine broiled vegetables, undrained tomatoes, and cilantro. Cover; blend until smooth. Add Mexican crema, flour and salt. Cover and blend until smooth. (I have used home made salsa instead of the vegetables and tomatoes listed and just added the sour cream, it may change the taste some but you can adjust per your tastes.)

In a medium bowl combine shredded chicken and ½ cup of the tomatillo mixture. Spread about ½ cup of remaining tomatillo mixture in a bottom of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside.

Lay tortillas on baking sheet. Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with oil. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes or just until softened. Remove from oven; stack and wrap in foil.

Removing one tortilla at a time, divide chicken mixture among tortilla, spreading evenly over each. Arrange tortillas, seam side down in prepared dish. Pour the remaining tomatillo mixture of tortillas. Top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered, about 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese starts to brown. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 enchiladas. (Can be frozen, just thaw in the refrigerator than bake as directed.)