Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dinner obsession

Meat + brown rice + black bean bowls

Enough said.

Lately I've been obsessed with these things. 
I may have eaten leftovers of such a dinner before a 9 am play date.
Don't judge me.

For the longest time I would always make these with chicken thighs.
1. Because chicken thighs are wayyyy better than breasts
2. It's what we always have in the freezer.

But tonight I was craving this dinner but we were out of chicken and I HATE going to our local grocer for meat, so I pulled out some elk.
We eat a lot of wild game.
No seriously, we eat elk or venison more than we eat another meat. 

And boy am I glad I tried the elk! 
It was to die for! 

Ok, so to the food/cooking part of this blog post.

I cut the meat up into little tidbits, so it would cook fast and it would be easy for our two year old to eat. I seasoned it up with some garlic, salt, carne asada seasoning, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Let it sit for a few hours.

Cook until all the liquid the meat released is gone, 10 min max.

I also warmed up a jar of black beans that had been canned with some garlic. I added some cumin, garlic and salt and let it simmer till I was ready.

We are big brown rice fans in this house, we rarely eat white rice. I think the only time we eat it is if we go to sushi or we go to Silver Dragon.
I like to cook it in the oven, 350 for 60 min, covered in foil, no it's perfect!

Combine in a bowl and top with some cheese, sour cream and a little cholula, and dinner is served.

This has become one of our daughters favorite meals, not her most favorite, which is probably salmon and rice. That girl can put back the salmon, more than I can some times. It's rather amazing actually. 


Play dough!

I have been waiting patiently for Ryleigh to be old enough to play with play dough.

I have such vivid memories from my childhood about the stuff.
The smell.
The feeling when you squish it.
The taste.

Come on, all kids try it. 

But today was the day! 
I decided that she was old enough to not try to eat it, and I was right.

We played for 3 hours.
3 hours of her sitting in the same spot, it was like a Christmas miracle!!

Anyways, since I have become that mom that uses essential oils for everything, I figured, why not add them into play time as well?

I chose 4 oils that I love and that Ryleigh would be able to recognize.

The recipe is as follows:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid cooking oil
Food coloring and essential oils.

Add first 3 ingredients to a saucepan, and stir to combine.
Add the next three, and mix until smooth.
Turn to medium low heat and stir constantly until it becomes a ball of play dough consistency.
Remove from the heat, and let sit for 3-4 min to cool slightly.
I split it into quarters, and then added the essential oils and food coloring and kneaded it in to distribute.

Now let the little people in your lives go crazy


The Applesauce Project

If you have ever spent much time with children, you will soon find that almost all have a deep love with applesauce.

No matter what flavor, or apple variety, they love the stuff.
So of course being the person I am, I try to make some homemade every year for the toddler and soon to be solid eating baby in my life. 

Ryleigh and J are almost 20 pints last year. Granted, she went through a faze where she said she wanted it, but then wasted it, so it's not solid number.

Last year we had the option to pick from a friends orchard for free ( I never turn down free!) and J picked a beautiful assortment of golden delicious, gala, and granny's.   It wa great applesauce. 
This year, the same friend had some pest issues no we got some apples from him but they were so wormy and mealy I just couldn't even tackle them.  Off to Dr Porkchop they went. ( that is Ryleigh's pigs name FYI)

That was a month ago.

Last week I started panicking because I had yet to make my sauce for either kid.  
So off to the Saturday growers market, and low and behold, I may have found my new favorite apple.
An American heritage variety from New York.
And they are delicious. 

40lbs later, and it was sauce making time!

(Notice the snack slices for the mini in the box)

For the longest time I would peel, core, and slice all the apples by hand with a paring knife. 
Not this year!
My MIL gave us a nifty tool to do all that for us! 
( probably not new for most people, but new for us!)

Ry was such a helper! She peeled the first half of every apple. Once she made it half way through it was conveiniently said it was my turn.

After we got all the apples peeled, cored and sliced, it was time to cook!

(We had about two of these large stock pots full)

It doesn't take the apples very long to cook down into the right consistency. 
5-10 min max.
Then we drain them and purée!

I like to use my immersion stick blender, it's way easier than using a food processor or a blender. Plus there is less dishes this way!

Since Luke is getting some too, I scooped some out before we added the spices to it. I puréed his up extra smooth and put it into ice cube trays to freeze for some baby food.

We added some cinnamon to taste and no sugar.
The apples are sweet enough that we didn't need any, and I really didn't want to add any either.
Kids don't need all that extra processed white sugar anyways.

I don't think she likes it..... Just kidding, that bowl was full.
My official taster. She decided how much cinnamon we added to the sauce. 

We like to can our applesauce in pint jars, because who can really eat a quart of applesauce at a time?

My pressure canner can hold 9 pints at a time, and since I had about 9 narrow mouth pints left from this summers canning adventures,  we used those first. 

Once alł the jars are full, you have to come back with a clean, wet rag and wipe all the rims clean.
If you don't, and there is still sauce or sugar on the rim,mother lids won't seal and you will end up being angry. 

Jars breaking and jars not sealing are my nemesis.
They seriously make my blood boil, but that's for another post.

Once the jars are clean, place a warm lid and screw a band on.

Place all the jars into the canner that has been warming up, and close her up!

Once up to pressure, close the valve and bring up to 15lbs and then remove from the heat.

Wait till the pressure has dropped completely and you can open it up and remove your delicious creation!!

Now let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours. 
Remove rings, and wash to remove any excess stickiness.
Store in your pantry.

Now you can have yummy applesauce whenever you want!

So many people think pressure canning is so scary because they have heard horror stories of them exploding.  
I literally have been around a pressure canner my ENTIRE life, and we have never had a problem.
No exploding.
No botulism.
Nothing bad.

Just delicious food that we grew,  prepared and canned ourselves.

Happy canning!!


Monday, November 2, 2015


Your chest rises and falls as you slowly drift off to sleep.  I still can't believe that you're mine. Sweet little moon baby, you have made our already perfect family complete.  Sitting here in the middle of the night, when the world is sleeping, I feel like we connect the most.  
It's you and me.
Quietly rocking in the dim light of your nightlight.
Some days this is the only time you seem to nurse without distractions.

Everyday you get more and more distracted by that whirlwind of a sister.  You want to get up and play with her so badly that sometimes I think you're just going to get up and run.

Having the connection of being able to nourish you from my body when you are on the outside is more than I ever imagined. Seeing the small smiles you give me mid way through a nursing session make all the sleep deprivation worth it.  It's as if you are telling me thank you. And when you smile so big that you can't contain the milk and it streams down your cheek. I know you love me as much as your little body can. 

Baby boy, are you real? You are my favorite part of midnight💫

Night time muses

Some times I wonder what I did to become so lucky?

I am 27.
A 27 year old with an amazing husband of 4 years.
A 27 year old with our own home.
A 27 year old with 2 beautiful children.
A 27 year old with all of these things and the ability to stay home with her kids.

This is more than the average 27 year old. I am aware that we have been very lucky in the things that we have aquired and received.  Sometimes I don't think it's real.