Tag Archives: WFMW

How To Make Cookie Pops (WFMW)

No one tells you how much adjusting you really have to do when you have a baby. Sure, I didn’t expect my jeans to fit for a few months (ahem… or maybe more than a few), but I don’t think I was told how long it takes for the rest of life to get back to normal, if it ever does.

Ok, if I’m being honest, I suppose plenty of people told me. I chose not to listen to them.

One of the things I have been doing a lot less of since the arrival of our little girl is decorating cookies. I love to decorate cookies, but royal icing, food coloring, and intricate piping are not things that go well with little girls who like to grab everything they see and put it in their mouth.  I know this is one of those things that will get easier as she gets older. Well, I imagine it will get harder first (Crawling is just around the corner… Heaven help us all!), but eventually it will get easier. I often daydream of spending the afternoon in the kitchen with her. Sure, I know it will be messy, but it will be so much fun to see what she creates! Right now her creations are limited to baby food finger paintings on her face (and anything else she can reach).

I have squeezed in some time (i.e. stayed up far too late) to decorate cookies a few times since she was born.  I managed to decorate a few Christmas cookies in December, and then a friend from church asked if I would do some cookie bouquets for a few middle school-aged boys who were in a musical at school. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to pull it off, but I decided to go for it anyway. I’m glad I did.Continue Reading

How to Dry Hot Peppers (WFMW)

I have never really had much of a green thumb, but I do seem to have the ability to grow hot peppers.  They grow like a weed in my garden. And, fortunately for me, they don’t seem to mind growing along side of all of the other weeds that I never seem to be able to keep up with!

Last summer I used our jalapeños to make a small batch of pickled jalapeño peppers… And, much to my surprise, we devoured them in a few short months. They were fabulous on top of chili and other dishes.  So, when I was planning my garden this summer, I knew I wanted jalapeños and lots of them. For some reason, though, I decided to just buy a pack of seeds for an assortment of hot peppers.  Surely there would be jalapeños in the mix, right? Wrong.

My knack for growing peppers served me well, and my mixed pepper plants did quite well.  Unfortunately, none of them turned out to be jalapeños.  I’m still not entirely certain of what kind of peppers we did get, but I am pretty sure my pepper harvest included banana peppers, serrano peppers, and kung pao peppers (or perhaps cayenne?). Let’s just say there will be no shortage of spice at my house this winter.

After canning 8 jars of pickled hot peppers, I still had more than my share of peppers left.  I can’t bear to waste them, so I decided to dry them so that I have plenty of peppers around to cook with this winter.  Even if you don’t have a garden devoted to spicy peppers, you can find plenty of hot peppers for a reasonable price at farmers’ markets this time of year.  So, pick up a batch and try drying some peppers of your own.  It couldn’t be simpler, and you’ll be happy to have them around to spice up those chilly winter months that are on the way!

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Stocking the Freezer for Fall (WFMW)

Today I am going to tell you a secret. I don’t always enjoy cooking. Hard to believe, I know… But, it’s true! There are plenty of nights where I just don’t have a lot of motivation to make something for dinner. When I’m tired, cooking isn’t nearly as much fun, and it can become a chore.

At the risk of losing the respect of half of my readers (or more?), I’ll tell you another secret… Sometimes I even order takeout. Yes, I have been known to collapse on the couch after a busy day and ask my hubby if he minds picking up cheeseburger subs (a pregnant lady’s best friend, I’m just saying) for dinner.

Whether or not you are horrified by my takeout confession, I think we can all agree that a steady diet of greasy cheeseburger subs is not a good thing. I really do try to keep the takeout to a minimum (though, I try not to stress over the occasional cheeseburger sub dinner)… Instead, I’ve learned to keep the freezer stocked with meals that are just as easy as sending the hubby for takeout.

With the new baby’s arrival expected sometime in the next month, I know that my cooking energy is probably going to take a nose dive for a while.  So, I’ve been working to get the freezer stocked and organized (and let’s not mention the other crazy cleaning and organizing sprees… nesting much?) so that we are ready with an arsenal of easy to prepare dinners for the next few months.  I can’t promise that we will never order takeout, but I’m hoping that my preparations will help keep us from becoming regulars at the local pizza place.

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Casseroles Without the Can (WFMW)

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve decided to focus on simple meals that are great for busy weeks.  Now that fall is just around the corner and school is back in session, it seems like everyone’s schedules are filling up fast. And, we can all use some easy meal ideas that don’t require too much effort and work.

When I think of simple weeknight meals, casseroles immediately come to mind. They can be made ahead and even frozen for later, so they are perfect for nights when you don’t have the time (or energy) to cook a complicated meal. Here’s my issue with casseroles… A lot of casseroles call for ingredients that I am not all too thrilled about – specifically canned condensed cream soup. So, while they may be convenient, they are also full of preservatives and other additives (not to mention a hefty amount of salt and even sugar) that I prefer to keep out of my dinner.

So, over the past few years, I’ve developed a strategy for keeping the cans out of my casseroles.  I have a simple sauce that serves as a base for my casseroles, and I add spices and other flavors that will go well with the rest of the casserole. Plus, by making my own sauce, I control the ingredients, and I can use organic, hormone-free dairy products.

Making the casserole sauce does add a little bit more time to the casserole prep, but I think it’s worth it.  And, for a lot of casseroles, you can even use the same pan that you have browned meat or sauteed veggies in, so it doesn’t have to dirty a lot of extra dishes. It works for me, and I’m hoping it will work for you, too!

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How To Freeze Shredded Zucchini (WFMW)

I need a bit of a favor.  Next spring when I tell you that I am planning my garden and bought zucchini seeds, remind me to go back and read this post.

For some reason, when I was planting the garden a few months ago, it seemed like a good idea to put in three zucchini plants.  After all, I love baking zucchini bread.  No problem, right? Wrong.

My zucchini plants took off. We’ve been picking zucchini for weeks, and it seems that every time we go outside there’s another zucchini on the plant just waiting to be picked.  We neglected the plants for a few days when we were out of town two weeks ago, and we came home to two giant zucchini.  Surprise! I’m not just talking about slightly larger than usual zucchini, either. I’m talking about zucchini that are about as big as my puffy pregnant legs. There was no way I was going to be able to bake my way out of that situation.

Of course, I am also one who can’t stand to waste food… Even if that food is overabundant zucchini. So, I needed to act, and I needed to do it fast…  Preferably before we found even more zucchini in the garden!

Don’t worry, there is a happy ending to this story. I figured out exactly what to do with the zucchini. I stashed it in the freezer for later! Not only did I get it out of my kitchen, but I now have a stash of zucchini for baking this fall and winter. It’s a win-win!

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