January 16, 2014

So…I am learning to how be a stay at home mom again.  I am having to learn to unchain myself from the computer and actually be productive around the house.  From about August until the end of December I was so busy with my business that I didn’t really feel like a stay at home […]

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So…I am learning to how be a stay at home mom again.  I am having to learn to unchain myself from the computer and actually be productive around the house.  From about August until the end of December I was so busy with my business that I didn’t really feel like a stay at home mom.  There were some weeks that I was working 40-50 hours.  My poor husband, children and house suffered.  I felt the constant pressure of trying to do laundry, cleaning, dishes and take care of the hubs and kids.  It was a little overwhelming. 

However, now is a slower time for photography (a blessing and a curse).  I am not going to lie, it has been hard to get back into the role of housewife.  I keep sitting at the computer thinking I need to be working on something.

But this slower pace has forced me to be more domestic.  And I like it!  I have spent more time thinking about and planning for meals.  I have spent more time keeping up with the laundry.  If you are to randomly stop by my house you will find it generally in good shape (NOT the case in the last 4 months… was embarrassing).  And most importantly, I have spent more time with my kiddos!  That is my favorite.  When Jameson asks me to play a game of Candyland, I don’t have to feel guilty about saying yes (because there are a million other things I should be doing), or even worse when I have to say “not right now”.  I have been reading more books, playing more games and saying “yes” more often.  It feels good.  I know it is going to be busy again, so I am trying to soak up this time and enjoy it. 

I have also rediscovered my like (not really love, but a strong like) for cooking.  I have always enjoyed baking and cooking thanks to my mom.  She is a wonderful cook and I love to her hear her tell stories of cooking for all of the ranch hands during harvest on their wheat ranch when she was growing up.  She would talk about getting up at 4 in the morning to make biscuits and gravy, bacon, pancakes and sweet rolls for breakfast.  Then they would make a mid day meal to take to the men in the fields.  All afternoon they would make pies and cakes and then start a big dinner for when the hungry men would come in from working.  Then it was time to serve dessert and do all the dishes and get ready for the next day.  Those must have been some seriously LONG and really hot summer days in the kitchen.

My favorite story is when she petitioned my grandpa for more money.  Her older brother made significantly more money working in the fields with all of the men.  My mom went to her dad and explained that she had to be up before everyone, worked all day (15+ hours with virtually no breaks) and then had to do dinner, dessert and dishes after all the men were done working.  He was a loving, wonderful man and came to see her value and work ethic and from then on, she and her sister made more money during harvest season!

So my love for cooking came when my mom made encouraged me to help her in the kitchen.  Thanks mom!  I am pretty sure that is one of the reasons I hooked such a good husband.  Ladies…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! 

I have been in a rut a little bit in regards to recipes.  We have a lot of allergies and one REALLY picky eater, so sometimes it is tough when it comes to cooking.  I have all of these good recipes that my kids can’t or won’t eat.  So I did what all modern women do.  I went to Pinterest.  I decided it was time to try out a few new recipes and see how it went.  I have also been trying to be more careful with my waistline and with the budget, so I have been working on doing more meal planning.

The other night I made hamburger patties for us and hot dogs for the kids.  I needed something to go with it, so I looked on my Sides, Snacks and Salads board and found this.

So, I thought I would give it a whirl.  It. was. amazing.  I didn’t use the butter (so as to stay as healthy as possible).  I peeled one of the potatoes (to tempt the picky one who LOVES french fries but will NOT eat a potato in any other form…especially if there is skin on it).  The peeled one was REALLY good and a little crispier (more potato chip like) than the others.  I can’t wait to make them again.  So much easier (and better/crispier) than making your own fries by cutting them up and then cooking them.  I think next time I will cook them at 400 for 40 minutes and then bump the temp to 425 or 450 for an extra 5-10 minutes to crisp them up a bit more. 

The next night, it was a bit chilly here so I decided I wanted something warm and soupy and the only thing I had on hand was bacon.  So, I found this recipe on my Pinterest “Recipes” board.  I altered it a bit as I wanted to make it more healthy and I didn’t have all of the ingredients.

You can find the link to this recipe here.  I mostly used this as a base for mine and then I added/subtracted to it.  I liked it, but next time would change a few things, so I am going to put the changes into the recipe so that when I make it again, I know what to do.

1 16 oz. package of bacon
1 small onion (chopped into TINY unrecognizable pieces so as to trick the children into thinking there aren’t any onions in it)
2 cups skim milk
3/4 c. flour
1 can mushrooms with juice (I didn’t add this to mine because of my ‘shroom hating children, but I think they would be a delicious addition).
2 cups rice (I used brown rice but next time I am going to do a mixture of brown and wild rice)
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups of water (to make it as thick/runny as you want.  Mine was a bit thick so I think next time I will add more water to make it more soupy than casseroly).
Salt, garlic and pepper to taste (sorry I never measure this stuff.  I just add until I think it tastes good).
Cheese for the top

Cut the bacon into small pieces and then cook it over the stove- set aside for later.  (Save some for the top as garnish if desired).  Cook onions and garlic in bacon drippings.  In a separate pot (while the bacon is cooking) cook rice in the chicken broth (for as long as it takes to cook the rice- depending on what kind of rice you use).  Add the bacon and onions/garlic to the rice.  After removing onions/garlic, use the same pan to make the white sauce.  Add flour, salt and pepper to the pan.  Slowly add the milk until it is thick and yummy.  Add the “sauce” (and mushrooms if desired) to the rice mixture.  Add water until it is the thickness that you desire.  Simmer for a bit to help the flavors blend together. 

Don’t you love how specific my directions are?  Sorry, I am kind of a throw stuff in and keep adding until it tastes good.  This was warm and yummy on a cold winter’s night.  Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of these.

Last night, we had yet another new recipe.  That’s right.  Three home-cooked (non-rushed) meals, eaten at the kitchen table together, in a row.  Yeah!

Last night’s meal was probably the best.  Why, might you ask?  Because the SUPER picky eater ate it all AND asked for seconds.  It was a holiday miracle!

We had “Cheeseburger Wraps” found here.

This recipe was really easy and SOOOOOOOO good.  I even used whole wheat tortillas and a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef to make them a little healthier.  It only called for 1 lb. of meat, but I used 2 lbs. and we ate it all!  I didn’t add lettuce or tomato inside because I was afraid it would get hot and gross.  I did, however, use pickles and avocados inside and it was so good.  I think next time I will use slices of my favorite Tillamook chedder cheese on the inside instead of the shredded cheese that I used.

The best part about this recipe was the genius idea to throw them on the George Forman Grill to firm them up and bind them together.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I will be doing this on all burritos in the future.  It just takes 1-2 minutes on the G.F. Grill and it is worth every second!  It makes them stick together and makes it so all of the deliciousness stays instead and you don’t have to contort your mouth/face and/or have half of your wrap fall out onto the plate.

Did I mention that Mr. Picky Pants ate all of it (with no weeping and gnashing of teeth as per our usual dinner ritual) and asked for seconds?  Six Sisters, I am deeply grateful to you for this recipe. 

All of these recipes will be making a repeat appearance at the Lord household.

Have you tried any new Pinterest recipes lately?  You can check out the other recipes that I have tried on Pinterest at the following links below.

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad and Chile Colorado Burritos
Avocado Eggs and Healthy Vegan Pancakes

Let’s hear it for delicious leftovers tonight!

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