Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creamy Rice Pudding

I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have never made rice pudding before. Never ever. I'm going to admit that I *think* I *might* have eaten some my mom had in the fridge once when I was younger. I thought it was nasty. Taste change and I have been seeing some recipes that look really, really good out there and I decided to give it another try.

And I LIKED it. Imagine that.

I've been looking for different recipes for my kids to have for their snacks, lunches and desserts. They pretty much like the same stuff all the time. Not that they won't eat anything new, because I have very good eaters. They will eat anything and love it. But, like all kids they like their mac and cheese, grilled cheese, PB&J and so on and so forth.

I found this recipe on All Recipes, but I changed it up a bit. When I make puddings of any sort I prefer to use canned milk. Maybe it doesn't make a difference, but I think that milk tastes better in them. I also added some cinnamon to the pudding itself and not just sprinkled on top.

Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup rice
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Bring water to a boil, add salt and rice. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender. Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, sugar and salt to the rice and cook over medium heat until the mixture is creamy. This took me about 15 minutes. Beat the egg and add to remaining 1/2 cup milk. Remove 1/4 cup of the rice mixture and stir it into the milk and egg. Pour the egg and milk into the rice and quickly stir. Cook 2 minutes more until rice is very thick. Pour into bowls and refrigerate or serve warm. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.

I used long grain rice because that was all I had and it made a beautiful pudding. However, I have read that if you will use a medium- or short grained rice it will be uber creamy and delicious. I thought this was really good, so I'll probably stick with it in the future. It's totally up to you.

Mmmm, go make some and dig in!

How good does that look?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Update and Other Stuff

So, yesterday we had snow. Guess what? Today we have snow again. And ice. So, even though I desperately need to venture out into the world to procure more foodstuffs for our house, I will not be doing so. We will make do with what we have here, thank you very much.

Which leads me to the next thing. I *really* need to get my pantry stocked back up. If, heaven forbid, something should happen and I was unable to get out of our house/area/etc, we would be in pretty poor shape as far as groceries are concerned. That is not a good position to be in. While I like grocery shopping every 2 weeks, it just doesn't afford me the sense of comfort that I desire.

So, I'm trying to switch to a different schedule and get a little more stocked up. Ok, a lot more stocked up. But, that's just me. Do you stock up? Do you have a food supply stored away or do you shop when you need to? Somehow it just doesn't feel right to me anymore to shop when I need to. Call it what you will, but I'm feeling the urge to be more prepared in a lot of different areas of our lives.

We have switched up our homeschool a little bit (again) here recently. We have fallen in love with lapbooking and then I found a place online called Ambleside Online that really interested me. I think this will fit into our homeschool goals and our particular styles of learning here. It really is a great place and I have spent a lot of time reading through their curriculum, which is all free by the way. It really is a great resource for some quality children's book ideas, homeschooler or not. Go check it out!

I feel like I should touch briefly on my food blogging here. I'm in a rut. My family is only wanting to eat the same things over and over and I haven't been making anything new. I miss putting up new recipes for you, but I'm not going to force a recipe or make something I don't love just so I have a recipe to put up here. I'll get back to it soon, I just think we have a mild case of the winter blah's.

Breaking out of the winter blah's should be easy though, we are getting ready to place our seed order, or go get them we haven't decided yet, for this year. I have such big plans for the garden this year. It better live up to it or I'll kill it...oh wait. No...well, you know what I mean :)

The wind is picking up and I need to throw another log on the fire. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day!

The weather people were right and we got some snow last night! I took theses pictures at 6:30 this morning and the whole world had a blue glow. It was very pretty. Cold, but pretty :) And now for your viewing pleasure, my morning in pictures:

Looks like this calls for hot cocoa and pancakes all around! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Green Giant Review and Give Away (YAY!!!)

Look at what I got in the mail!

The good folks over at Green Giant gave me this package through My Blog Spark to use and review for you, my lovely readers :)

I received everything pictured: a tote, a bowl, spoon, a package of Broccoli & Cheese Sauce vegetables and a pedometer! I didn't know this about Green Giant veggies, but 29 varieties of them are 1 or 2 Weight Watchers Plus Points each! I'm not currently on Weight Watchers, and they have no idea who I am, but I thought I would throw that out there in case any of you are in the program.

These are handy, extremely tasty and really easy. They take no time to microwave and are really delicious. I made my pack and served it up with some homemade mac and cheese and my girls just gobbled it up. The bowl and spoon set are wayyyyyy cute and who couldn't use a pedometer? I was frankly appalled when I saw how many steps I was taking everyday. Let's just say I'm motivated to move some more ;)
The tote bag, by the way, is insulated. How cool is that? I'm sure I'll find a million uses for that little baby!

I want to give a huge thank you to Green Giant and My Blog Spark for letting me have the chance to try this out and tell all of you about it too.

Now, how would you like a chance to win (!!!!!) a prize pack like the one I got?
To enter, simply answer this: Do you prepare Green Giant veggies for your family? What is your favorite way to make them?

That's it! You have until Midnight (Pacific Time) Tuesday, February 22 2011 to enter. One entry per person.Only open to residents of the US please :) The winner will be announced Wednesday February 23, 2011 by 9 AM Pacific Time.

Good Luck!

Comments are now closed.

The products to review and give away were provided to me by Green Giant through My Blog Spark, but the opinions are always my own.

Congratulations #8 Holly! Please email me with you your full name and shipping address at! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini Cheesecakes

A few days before Valentine's Day, I got an email from Betty Crocker (I signed up for their email recipes, have you done this? I get some good ideas from them!) and in it was a recipe for Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes.

Uh, yeah. You had me at Red Velvet but then you added cheesecake and I was gone forever.

I made these last night for our dessert, but while I was making them, I had visions of all the different ways you could make them different flavors. Mint and green for St. Patrick's Day, Lemon and pastel colors for Easter, cherry and blueberry with red and blue color for 4th of July, etc. You get the point, if you can imagine it, you can make these.

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

24 thin chocolate wafer cookies, crushed (I couldn't find these at my store, so I used oreos instead)
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese PLUS 4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional
1 Tablespoon sugar or powdered sugar, optional

Line 16 regular muffin cups with foil liners (I used paper and they turned out just fine). Mix crushed cookies with melted butter and press into the cupcake liners. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy; add sugar, vanilla and cocoa, beat again. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Evenly distribute the cheesecake batter into the cups, they will be really full, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 1 hour in the muffin tin. Take the cheesecakes out and place on a cookie sheet and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge, or overnight.
To serve, whip the cream with the sugar and dollop onto the top of the cheesecakes.

This is a very, very simple recipe. I want to warn you that they do sink in the centers a bit, so don't worry if that happens to you. It just makes a nice dip to put more whipped cream in ;)

I thought that these cheesecakes were less rich than a regular one. I don't know if it is the size of them, or if there really isn't much sugar when you divide it up into 16. Whatever the reason, they are delicious and perfectly satisfying, heck they are even portion controlled.

Now, to my little confession. I accidentally bought fat free cream cheese (GASP) and I didn't notice it until it was already in the oven. You could NOT tell. So, on the website it says that each one is 290 calories, but ours were a lot less, accidentally! I call that a successful mistake, and no one was the wiser.

Keep these in mind the next time you need to make a dessert, they will make everyone happy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Life Marches On

The funny thing about life is that it's not complete without loss. Loss of a parent, friend, aunt, uncle, child, neighbor....even pets or animals. Life is not a permanent situation and no one should want it to be. Does that make it easier when some kind of loss does occur? No, absolutely not.

What a loss does it make you look at your life a little closer, examine how you handle every day. Because at the end of the day all that you have to show for it is that day. You can't do it over again, make changes to what you said or did, or try to change the outcome of a situation.
What you can do is examine your life and the way you have been living it and make the decision to change things from then on, but by then it's too late. You have already lost precious time. And time, my friends, is in short supply.

We have recently suffered a loss. It wasn't sudden, or unexpected, or even a shock. But it has been hard on members of our family and it represents a change that they weren't ready for. Through this loss, though, there has been much reflection and thought about change.

It reminds me of these lyrics: "Time may change me, but I can't change time."

Today is the day to stop living to survive and start living to live. To be the best at life that you can, to stop taking things for granted, to understand that life is fragile and fleeting.

We are never guaranteed another day.

We are never given more time.

We are never in control.

We should be patient.

We should be loving and kind.

We should be graceful, forgiving and obedient.

We should hope that one day when we are gone, our family hopes that they can be half the person that we were.

Set a good example, hold your family close and love with all your heart. You will never regret one minute of it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I'm happy to report that we have not eaten out since January 1st! That's a big deal to me, we have been trying a lot harder to make sure that our money is being spent wisely and trying to avoid fast food is important to me as well.

Anyway, here is what I have planned for our menu this week:

  • Monday~ Refried Beans and Mexican Rice
  • Tuesday~ Meatballs, Buttered Egg Noodles, Veggies
  • Wednesday~ BLT's and French Fries
  • Thursday~ Bean Burritos
  • Friday~ Pizza, Salad, Pineapple and Brownies
  • Saturday~ Tacos
  • Sunday~ Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, Rolls, Chocolate Pie
I have some pot roast left over from dinner last night that I am going to make into some soup. There should be enough for lunches and for the freezer, so that will be nice. I like to have something in there in case we have a night where something comes up and it gets too late to cook!

Blueberry Muffins

This is another variation on my Apple Cinnamon Muffins. The muffin base is perfect for any type of fruit. I opted not to put the topping on these, and I filled the cups a little fuller so they would be larger, but other than that it's the same recipe.

These freeze really well, so why not make a double batch and pop them in there for later. Muffins are just fun, aren't they?

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 Tablespoon flour

Mix flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together eggs, sour cream, milk and butter. Mix into dry ingredients until just moistened. Toss blueberries with flour and gently fold into batter. Scoop batter into greased muffin cups (or use paper liners). Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Remove from muffin pan and let cool slightly.

Slather on some butter and you have a quick, easy and satisfying breakfast!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

8 Things I Have Done Today

1) Admired my freshly tilled garden plot.

2) Looked for worms.

3) Watered in my relocated grape vines.

4) Admire aforementioned grapes twisty branches.

5) Wondered what is snacking on my apple trees.....

6) Laugh at her "hairy" ears. (I think she has her earmuffs on!)

7) Observed some baby sweetness.

8) Enjoyed taking pictures of some cool stuff.

Beauty in Everything

 This morning as I scraped the ice off of my windshield I really spent some time looking at how lovely ice crystals really are. Have you ever spent any time really looking at small things like that? It's amazing to me how something so minute can be so delicately formed and perfect.  

Let me show you!

So today I challenge you to find beauty. Find it in the clouds, your home, your life.

There is beauty in everything, find it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cook Once-Eat Twice!

I made a pork loin roast Sunday night for dinner and I ended up having about half of it leftover. We aren't one of those families that hates leftovers, so things rarely go to waste in our house. I wanted to use up that pork loin and a few other things that were in the fridge, so I made this skillet supper up.

The good news: it uses only one pan to cook and a pot to boil water. That's a winner in my book! I like less dishes to wash. :)

The bad news: I don't really think there is bad news. You could just as easily change this to be beef, chicken or turkey to utilize what you have in containers in your fridge.

Simple Pork Skillet

2 cups (more or less) chopped, leftover pork roast
1 lb egg noodles, cooked
1lb sliced mushrooms
1 cup peas
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons flour

Fill a large pot with water and cook egg noodles. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter, mushrooms and onions. Cook until mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Place in a bowl and set aside. Add oil to pan. When hot, whisk in flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste and then slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Let come to a boil and then turn down to low. Add in veggies, pork and noodles. Simmer it all together until it is warmed through.

I served it with salad and crusty rolls.

Good, honest, humble food. Simple and delicious-as well as being easy on the budget.

What more can you ask for?