Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

This week's homemade item is applesauce. My kids love it, we buy it a lot, and going along with my new years resolution to feed my family healthier, less processed foods, I decided to make my own. Turns out I've been putting it off so long for no reason. It's SUPER easy and tastes way better than the store bought stuff. Also, your house will smell amazing wile making it. As for ingredients you will need:

However many apples you want, and a lemon

Half of the lemon will be squeezed into the apples while cooking
along with two peels (I read that this enhances the flavor of the apples)

Cinnamon (to taste) I used about 1/2Tbs

Then you will peel, quarter, and core the apples
I don't have a fancy apple corer thingy, so I had to do it the
old fashioned way with a vegetable peeler and a paring knife. 

Then add the apples and the lemon peels to a pot and squeeze in half a lemon
Careful not to drop any seeds in 

Then boil for 15-20 minutes
This is when y our house starts to smell amazing! 

Don't forget to pick out the lemon peels

And then get to mashing
we used a potato masher thing
(I don't know technical terms) 

This is where the kids can get involved

Add the cinnamon

And enjoy :)
Can be served warm or cold 

You can also make a large batch of this and can it. I am looking forward to trying that out once I get some canning supplies and learn how to do that. I think we will try getting some apples from an orchard and using those.... would be something fun to do with the whole family.

Also, I've been reading up on the benefits of lemon water and have a goal to start every day with a glass. So far it's been a week, and I must say I'm feeling great! Just drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning is good because I feel more full and don't pig out at breakfast, but I've also noticed I'm not feeling bloated anymore. You can read about the benefits of lemon water here, and I challenge you to try it... even if just for a week and see if you notice a difference. Plus, it's fun to carry around a fancy looking drink all day :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keeping it Real

Yesterday I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs and came across a series of posts that she had written to her daughters called "Dear Daughter" where she gives advice to her three girls about growing up and being a woman. The latest post was titled "Keeping it Real" and you can read it here for yourself, but I'm going to sum it up for you. Basically she was writing about the importance of being transparent in order to relate with others. Not so transparent that you "let it all hang out" so to speak, but enough so that you may let people see you as a real person, with real issues just like everyone else.

When blogging it is so easy to make your life seem perfect to your readers. I don't do this intentionally, but I figure I want to be a positive person, so I try my best not to complain or bring others down with the things going on in my life; so I write about all of the fun, good things. Not to say I have a lot of bad things going on, but I've been getting a lot of comments lately like "how do you find the time to do that with four kids?" or "I don't know how you keep up with a house, a husband, and FOUR kids!" "Where do you find time for yourself??" Well, I'm here to tell you folks.... I don't always have it all together! I'm not a "let it all hang out" kind of person, but I don't want to be one who seems to have everything perfect all the time, because we all know that just ain't happenin. I want to inspire others through my blog, but I don't want to come across as someone who isn't real. So I decided to write my own "Keeping it Real" post.

Yesterday I blogged about making butter with the girls. And I added in a lot of cute pictures... what you didn't see in those pictures was that I was also prepping dinner for the next few days and my kitchen actually looked like this

And my sink looks like this sometimes most all of the time

And while I'm at it, may as well show you how the living room, and play room look on a typical good day

And I won't even mention the piles of laundry hidden around my house, lol.
So when you ask "how do you keep up with it all?" The truth is, I don't. I let things go sometimes so I can do extra stuff with my kids. And when we need to get back on top of things they help me and we get to spend time together in the process. The great thing about young children is that they LOVE to help out! Also, my husband is gone a lot with the Navy, so there are many nights where I put the kids to bed and have some "me" time. (That's also when I get a lot of my crocheting projects done).

So there you have it. I hope this post will inspire others to be more transparent in their lives and keep it real. Just remember, when you see a photo like this

What you're not seeing is this

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Butter

So when I started making bread I decided I wanted to try making butter too; just sounded like it would go nice on a warm homemade roll. A couple of friends commented on that blog about how they had made butter when they were kids and how much fun it was, so I decided to get the kids involved (they love to help out in the kitchen).  You can also make butter in a stand mixer, which I will probably be doing the next time I make it, but this was a fun way for the kids to see how it's done.

First you will need heavy whipping cream (I wanted organic, but the store was out) and if you're letting kids help out, you'll need jars. I used some leftover baby food jars which are a nice size for young children.

Then just fill the jars with the cream

And shake, shake, shake.

After about 5 minutes it will start to thicken and look like this

Keep shakin

It will start to look like whipped cream. Try not to stop at this step and eat it.

Your kids will become tired of shaking at this point

Don't worry, you're almost there when it looks like this.

You'll know it's done when it forms into a ball and it sort of floats in the milk (which is buttermilk by the way. Didn't know you'd be making two things at once huh?) Once that is done you'll want to pour it over a strainer to separate butter from buttermilk.

Then scoop out the butter and put it into ice water to rinse it. This step will help your butter last longer.

I repeated this step once to make sure
it was rinsed well.
Then put the butter on some wax paper

 Wrap it up and stick it in the fridge :)

Oh, and don't forget about the buttermilk you made. I just put mine back into the baby food jar and will use it later... maybe I'll make some homemade salad dressing?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eli's 11 Month Update

    These months are just flying by WAY. TOO. FAST! I simply can not believe my baby boy is going to turn one in just a few weeks!!! He's changing so much every day. This month he is standing unassisted for longer periods of time. If you distract him, he will stand there for a good 20-30 seconds. He's also got 4 new teeth on the top, which pretty much came in all at the same time. It really makes him look so much older. He's responding a lot more. He will now nod his head to pretty much any question you ask him (which can be really funny) and he will roar like a lion (his daddy taught him that one). He's still getting into anything and everything, and has figured out the cause and effect game, you know, the one where they drop everything off the side of their high chair or wherever they are sitting, look over the edge, and then back to you with the "pick it up now" expression on their face, and then cry when you don't get to it quick enough. It can be so annoying, but it is a good reminder that he is learning and becoming aware of his surroundings. He babbles a lot more these days, and will even say 'mama' and 'daddy'. He's still nursing in the mornings and takes a bottle in the afternoon, but other than that he is eating solids and even drinking some whole milk from a sippy cup (which he FINALLY caught on to this week). I expect he will start walking shortly after his first birthday, but we'll have to see. I guess I need to get on the ball planning his party....

Playing the cause and effect game

I want down but I don't know how!!!!

He needs another hair cut. The
mullet is coming back. 

His eyes are still not brown, but
they look a little more green now.


Still putting everything in his mouth

My big boy :)

He loves to fall back in your arms

And then hang upside down

You can see his new teeth here

Friday, January 13, 2012

Almond Butter

    Because my goal is to try and eat more natural foods this year, I've been baking our own bread and I had bought some natural peanut butter to go on the bread for the kids lunches (since that's what they eat pretty much every day). But then I realized, hey, I could make that too couldn't I? And why not mix it up a little and try some almond butter? I LOVE almonds and they are so good for you, so I looked up how to make it on Pinterest. It's pretty easy. Just roast some almonds and then mix them in a food processor (or Ninja, that's what I used).
   Here is the official recipe: 

1. Roast almonds at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. (I used 2 cups)

2. Throw them into the food processor and mix them up 

It's hard work folks

It will begin to look like this... kind of powdery. Keep going.

When it looks like this, it's still not done.... keep going.

Add some honey (to your liking) and keep going :)

Let cute kids help out and it will taste sweeter.... it's true. 

And just before your mixer blows up or catches fire, it should look something like this.

3. Find a container and put contents inside. I used an old peanut butter container and had Sophia make me a label (got that idea from another blog and thought it was super cute). 

And there ya have it! Almond butter!!

But before you can call it a success, you need to give it the ultimate test.... see if your kids approve!

Drum roll please....................... 

Three thumbs up!!! I think it's a keeper. I'm sure this will become a staple in our diet in no time. Now I just need to find a place to buy almonds in bulk (preferably organic) can anyone help me out with that?