Crazy Wonderful Days

Archive for February 2014

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We had some friends over last night and my friend brought the Ice Cream Ball for Munchkin and Monkey to have some fun while making homemade ice cream!!  (I did find it for sale at Amazon.com, here).

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The ingredients were simple: heavy cream, sugar, flavoring, and ice. We had all of the ingredients EXCEPT ice! WELL, long story short, we only had 6 ice cubes! LOL!! So…we had to decide: do we run to the store for ice? Or just use the 8 inches of snow outside?

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If you guessed snow, you were right!! The snow does not actually go into the ice cream and was only used to make it cold enough to freeze the ice cream. Using snow did make the process about 15 minutes longer than the directions indicated if ice was used, but the results were still great! 🙂

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Each time we opened the canister to stir, it was like “magic” to Munchkin and Monkey because it looked more and more like ice cream! After about 45 minutes of fun rolling the Ice Cream ball around, we had a great snack! 🙂

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The above picture is the ice cream after being in the freezer for a few hours. For comparison, the ice cream is very similar to a Wendy’s Frosty in taste, texture, and with how it freezes/thaws.

Overall, this was a fun product!! 🙂 In fact, Munchkin and Monkey asked if we could make it again today!!

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I can honestly tell you that I was VERY apprehensive to try these pancakes. I can’t stand sweet potatoes (in any form) and since this recipe packs one-half cup per 10 pancakes, I thought for sure that was all I would taste! I am thrilled to say, I was wrong!! Not only are they delicious, but they may just be the best pancakes I have ever had!!! And I don’t think that I’ll revert back to the ‘old-fashioned’ way! 🙂 Here’s how I make them:

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1. Start with 1/2 cup of puréed sweet potatoes blended smooth.

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2. Add 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well until blended.

3. Then add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt and mix well. It should be smooth and semi-runny like “regular” pancake batter.

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4. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto heated pan or griddle. When the pancake starts to bubble, it is ready to flip!

I use a Pampered Chef Double Griddle over medium-high heat (sprinkle water to test — when the water “bounces,” the griddle is hot enough).

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5. I add a little butter and powdered sugar when I serve them. This recipe makes 10 pancakes and we devour them all! I think I may have to start making a double batch, they are so good!!!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pureed sweet potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Start with 1/2 cup of puréed sweet potatoes blended smooth.
  2. Add 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well until blended.
  3. Then add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt and mix well. It should be smooth and semi-runny like “regular” pancake batter.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto heated pan or griddle. When the pancake starts to bubble, it is ready to flip!
  5. I add a little butter and powdered sugar when I serve them.

This recipe makes 10 pancakes.

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Well, the plan for today was to make Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast however, Munchkin and Monkey opted for the Pumpkin French Toast again.  Since I had not yet replenished my stock of Sweet Potato Puree, this was fine with me! 

So I thought I would write a post about how I prepare my sweet potato puree (which I did this evening).  While this post is dedicated to Sweet Potato Puree, be sure to check out the ways that I puree (or preserve) other fruits and veggies to “hide” in other dishes!  🙂

 

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First, I fill my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker with scrubbed sweet potatoes cut in half or quarters (depending on the size). I then put about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the baker, place the lid on and microwave on high for about 15-20 minutes (for the amount you see here).

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Once the sweet potatoes are tender, I peel the ‘skin’ off with a fork — it should peel right off very easily if your sweet potatoes have been cooked long enough.

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Once I have scooped all of the sweet potato out of their skins, I am ready to start pureeing.

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I use a small 3-cup food processor and loosely fill it with sweet potatoes. Pulse for 1-2 minutes until the sweet potatoes look like the picture below.

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Note: The picture on the left is what they look like initially when you take the lid off (still looks lumpy, right?). The picture on the right is after you stir them, nice and creamy!

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So how do I store these beautiful creamy sweet potatoes? I usually store my purees in one of the following methods:
1. I use ice cube trays because each well holds 2 tablespoons perfectly! (Once frozen, I ‘pop’ them out and store the frozen cubes in storage bags until I am ready to use them so that I can re-use the ice cube trays for the next food that I puree.)
2. I use the snack size storage bags to store 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup servings.

The sweet potatoes pictured above filled the two ice cube trays — that’s 24 servings of 2 tablespoons each — PLUS 2 half cup servings (one is pictured, the other is already in a bowl in the refrigerator waiting for the rest of the ingredients to make pancake batter in the morning!)

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About a year and a half ago a friend and I started talking about how to save money and also how use less chemical based products in our homes. After experimenting with several DIY cleaning products, recipes, etc., we have certainly discovered some favorites. One of my absolute favorites is the Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap! I would have to look up the prices of each ingredient to be 100% sure, but if my memory serves me correctly, we figured that 1 gallon (which lasts my family of four 3 months) costs less than $1 to make. I purchased the ingredients in June 2012 and have not had to replenish them yet! So here’s how we do it (by the way — it takes about 5 measly minutes to make!):

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1. Gather your ingredients; water, liquid castile soap, borax, and super washing soda. Borax and super washing soda can be purchased at places like Walmart, Target, Giant Eagle, etc. (usually near the “regular” laundry soap). The liquid castile soap that I use is the Dr. Woods brand which I purchase at http://www.iherb.com.

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2. Heat the water for a 1-2 minutes in the microwave so the granular ingredients will melt when added. Add the liquid castile soap, borax, and super washing soad and stir. You will see some soap bubbles or suds form on top.

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3. Pour the concentrated soap into a container (we re-used an old liquid laundry soap container).

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4. Fill the container with cold water, place lid back on, and shake (gently) to mix.

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5. When ready to use for your clothes, shake well and measure out about 1/3-1/2 of a cup (this one if from the old liquid laundry soap container) and pour in your washer.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups hot water
  • 4 Tbsp. liquid castile soap
  • 3 Tbsp. super washing soda
  • 3 Tbsp. borax
  • cold water

Directions:

  1. Gather your ingredients: water, liquid castile soap, borax, and super washing soda.
  2. Heat the water for a 1-2 minutes in the microwave so the granular ingredients will melt when added. Add the other ingredients and stir. You will see some soap bubbles or suds form on top.
  3. Pour the concentrated soap into a container.
  4. Fill the container with cold water, place lid back on, and shake (gently) to mix.
  5. When ready to use for your laundry, shake well and measure out about 1/3-1/2 of a cup and pour in your washer.

P.S. We use straight white distilled vinegar to replace fabric softener.

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If you have a picky eater like my Munchkin, then you probably understand how hard it is to convince his/her strong willed mind to try new fruits/veggies. We have tried just about EVERYTHING to get Munchkin to try 1-2 bites of foods, but so far Munchkin has not expanded the list of “likes” very much. The short list of fruits/veggies on the “like” list include: Bananas, Applesauce, and Carrots. Which means that we are now “hiding” fruit/veggies in foods. I first got the idea from a cookbook that my cousin gave me called Deceptively Delicious.

I modified the recipe in this cookbook for French Toast to fit my family’s preferences and came up with this. 🙂

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1. First, you will need a place a griddle (or frying pan) on the stovetop on medium heat. Then, I use 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree that I buy and freeze in 2 Tbsp servings (shown above). If using frozen pumpkin puree, place in microwave to soften.

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2. Once softened, smash the pumpkin puree. Now you are ready for the other ingredients!

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3. Add six eggs and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Dip bread (I use Homemade Bread) in the mixture for about 5 seconds on each side and place on griddle.

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4. Let cook 2-3 minutes, then flip!

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5. Let cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.

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6. Add butter, powdered sugar, fruit, syrup, honey — whatever you like! Doesn’t this look delicious?!?

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7. Enjoy! 🙂 My Munchkin and Monkey as for more more more of this recipe everytime I make it!!

Homemade Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 slices of bread
  • butter, powdered sugar, honey, syrup, etc.

Directions:

  1. First, you will need a place a griddle (or frying pan) on the stovetop on medium heat. Then, I use 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree that I buy and freeze in 2 Tbsp servings (shown above). If using frozen pumpkin puree, place in microwave to soften.
  2. Once softened, smash the pumpkin puree. Now you are ready for the other ingredients!
  3. Add six eggs and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Dip bread (I use Homemade Bread) in the  mixture for about 5 seconds on each side and place on griddle.
  4. Let cook 2-3 minutes, then flip!
  5. Let cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  6. Add butter, powdered sugar, fruit, syrup, honey, etc.
  7. Enjoy!