Saturday, February 25, 2012


Last weekend we had meatloaf, which I love. I wanted some loaded mashed potatoes, but since I'm trying to be healthier, I looked for an alternative side. One thing I saw come up over and over again was Mashed Cauliflower. I don't really mind cauliflower, but not something I usually buy, but thought I might as well try it, worst case scenario, I still had potatoes on hand and could always make them.

I didn't really follow a receipe in particular so much as just read several and decide to go with it.

I used:
1 bag frozen Cauliflower (I think it was a 16 oz bag...just the normal size)
About 2 oz of cream cheese
A big scoop of sour cream (T, I would guess it was about 2 tablespoons, give or take ;))
Shredded cheese

I boiled the cauliflower in water, drained it and then dumped it straight into my food processor. Blended  until mostly smooth. Added in the cream cheese and sour cream and blended until they looked like mashed potatoes. Poured into a pan (I have one that's bigger than an 8x8 but not quite a 9x10. I looked on the bottom, it doesn't say what size it is, but it fit in there nicely, I'm sure an 8x8 would likely work as well and topped with cheese. I snuck a taste first though, to see if it was good and it was yummy!

I then covered in foil put in the fridge so I just had to toss it in later that day. I took it out as I was starting to prepare the meatloaf (I had a pan explode once in the oven...don't wanna clean that up again!) and just baked until heated, taking the foil off about 10 minutes before the meatloaf was done to make sure  the cheese was all melty and sorta browned. They were yummy! E inhaled them and Spenny decided he doesn't like mashed potatoes. Or meatloaf. (Go figure!) J liked them and so did I. They were also good as leftovers.

This week I also made Shepard's Pie. I used a jar of deer meat for the beef, boiled up some mixed veggies (added extra peas, YUM) and tossed it with some brown gravy (I took the easy way out and used the packaged kind, which is super easy to make). I then poured it in a pan and covered with mashed potatoes (I've recently been buying these. I know, it's cheating, but they are SO good and easy when you're using them for stuff like this or to feed the kids).

It was SO good, and no where near as salty as it was when I used the Dinty Moore stuff a few weeks ago when I tried it for the first time.  Thanks, Grandma for the ideas! I'm done blogging for the day, gonna go spend some time with the little boys and maybe go find something fun to do...there's a craft show going on at the State Fair grounds, can't wait to go!

Laundry Detergent

I decided to try to make my own laundry detergent. I have a top loading super capacity machine (I can fit my King Size Comforter and sheets in there with no issue), so I don't know how it would work on an HE machine, but from the reviews I've read, people LOVE it.

I was kinda skeptical, but I figure if almost everyone on the internet is trying it and seeming to like it, it can't be THAT bad! I have been using this for a week now and honestly, I love it! The very first load I washed with the liquid, I needed to rewash, but only because I didn't use enough of it (I didn't even think about it, and used the same as I normally do with my super concentrated stuff). Once I figured out I needed about twice as much as before, things have been great! I haven't taken any before/after pictures, but when I pulled E's shirt out of the washer this morning, I wished I would have! He had it covered in ketchup, applesauce and some chocolate mixed in which had sat over night and was pretty much ground in/dried up. I tossed it in without pre-treating just to see how it would do (Could always re-wash later, right?). It came out GREAT! I also got the "opportunity" to see how it would work on smells--Someone had an accident on the sheets, so I got to wash urine smell. No residual smell at all. I do always use vinegar as a fabric softener now as well, so that may have helped with the smell, but either way, I was happy with the results.

There are tons of recipes out there for it, and most are pretty much the same. The one I followed last weekend was listed here. It was literally the first one on Google that day (and today, apparently, as I forgot to bookmark it). I started the process in the afternoon, and it was done and ready to go by the next afternoon (It needs to sit for quite a while).

I had a hard time finding the Fels Naptha and Washing Soda at first, but they now carry it in my Wal-Mart laundry aisle. I think I've paid probably $20 for everything to get started on this, and this includes:

1-5 gallon bucket w/ Lid ($5 at Menards)
1 Paint Stirrer Attachment for the drill ($7)
1 Cheese Grater for the soap ($2)
1 box of Washing Soda ($3)
1 box of Borax ($3)
1 bar of Fels Naptha ($1)

Grand total:
$ 21--However, most of these items will be used for many batches.

First I grated up the bar of Fels Naptha with the cheese grater. I'd read reviews, and it doesn't matter how fine you grate it, so I just used the regular "shred" style. (Note: When I made the dry soap, which will be listed below, I did wish I grated it up a bit more, but it's not a deal breaker). I pretty much followed the instructions step by step and have been using it for a week now. It made enough to fill my All Container with a the pour spout and a giant vinegar bottle.

I also decided that since I had a ton of leftover ingredients, I would go ahead and make a batch of this recipe, which is dry.

I've only used the powdered for towels and blankets so far, but I really am liking it as well. I've heard it doesn't do as well in Cold water (doesn't dissolve completely) but I've been using hot water with it and no issues so far.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Trying New Things

This week I tried a few new things that are worth sharing.
1. BIRTHDAY CAKE OREOS! Seriously, it's like funfetti frosting and Oreos had a baby. They are so delicious, I can't even describe. I bought my first box and took them to work the other day. Several people that tried them said things like "This is seriously the best idea in the world" and "This is AMAZING" and other comments. So amazing. YUM.
2. Those roasted chick peas. They were actually mushier than I thought the first time I made them, so I tried dry roasting them, SO much better. Basically, instead of rolling them in oil and seasonings first, you just bake them at 450 for about 25 minutes or so, then spray them with oil spray and sprinkle your seasonings on top then let finish drying/cooling. SO much better! (and you use less oil and stuff too!)
3. Pizzas from sandwich thins. Spenny has really been into pizza lately, and this was an easy way to get him a pizza quick. Toast the sandwich thin, cover in sauce and cheese and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. SO YUMMY!

We just had a nice visit from Grandpa Tom and Grandma Susan and cousin Jimmy. We had spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and some cake, as Grandpa's birthday is the 29th of this month and we won't see him again before that. I'm not sure where my camera is at the moment, but I'll have some pictures to share.

I'm off to try my hand at making my own laundry detergent, so we'll see how this goes :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Chick" it out!

So, I've been thinking about roasting some chickpeas lately. I grabbed some at the store tonight and while I was doing dishes, laundry, preparing meals for the rest of the week/weekend, I decided to look  up a recipe. I saw several savory ones, several sweet ones and several that took ingredients I've never even heard of...(I swear, I must live under a rock sometimes). I came upon this recipe...Honey Cinnamon Roasted ones.

A quick check of the ingredient list and I had everything so on with it!

I followed it almost exactly:


Mix 2tsp oil, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar

Dump and mix.

See? All Mixed!

Spread out on cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes.

I forgot to take a picture of the "Dump back in bowl, cover in honey and stir some more before putting back on cookie sheet" step. But this is the end result.

Now they are on the cookie sheet, cooling...but I may have nibbled a few several before sitting back down to write this. They are SO SO yummy. And will be even better when my tongue heals from the burn I got...(I sometimes do things without, putting a chickpea straight form the oven in my mouth to check "doneness". I don't recommend this, hurts.) The only thing I would change from the original recipe is I would just add peel the them, I like the texture better of the ones that I peeled than the ones I didn't, but it won't stop me from eating them!

Other than that, it's been a pretty busy week around here. Daddy's been working a lot, but he did get home earlier than normal last night, where we were able to enjoy dinner together, watch an episode of The Colony on Netflix and play a game of Phase 10 Mod.

I am going to veg out, it's been a long day...and I can't wait for those little buggers to finish cooling so I can eat them!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


We got six inches of snow on Saturday. E wasn't feeling well, but Spenny and I went out in the afternoon to play. It was his first snow angels, first snowball was so much fun!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Fab Ab Feb!

I found this on pinterest and can't wait to try it:

I figure it's easy enough (Hello, 3 exercises and that's it?) and i like the build up, it won't seem as daunting as some of the exercises out there. And this I can do in my living room or wherever on my own.

Today I'm home with Emerson, he's got another ear infection and along with it a pretty high fever and a case of the grumpy-sads so he is home and asleep in the chair right now. I have some work to do from home that I'll get done after a while, and then maybe bake some stuff this afternoon.