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food · reviews · through my camera lens

Mixed Berry Cornbread

Richard worked from home yesterday. It was nice to have him around. I had asked him if he wanted me to bake anything and he said no, or really that he didn’t care. Colby asked me to make him these oatmeal cookies. The problem is Richard doesn’t like those cookies, so maybe I’ll make them like Monday so they can go to work and Colby can take them with him for his lunches.

So when I came home from the grocery store today I was in the mood to bake something, but didn’t want to make cookies. I’m not a big cake or pie eater as discussed here and here.  So what can I make?  Hmmm Colby had suggested banana bread, but the last few times I made that I was the only one who ate it.

Well lets see what I have for ingredients…

The last time we went to Costco (which I refer to here as Not BJ’s… funny story), I picked up mixed berries. The bag is a mix of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry. I bought it under the premise of I was going to start making smoothies a few days a week for breakfast, yeah that hasn’t happened yet.

I just bought cornmeal at the store since we didn’t have it when we grilled the pizza and need it before we try again. Hmm I was in the mood for cornbread or corn muffins the other day can we combine the two things? Sure why not??

So off to the internet I went. I found this recipe for Sweet Blueberry Cornbread Skillet and figured I could tweak that to work. I didn’t make too many changes. I used a bit more than a cup of the fruit and used a combination of honey and agave nectar.

I thought it turned out really yummy. No one else has tried it. My boys didn’t and that is no shock to me and Richard isn’t home yet. I will certainly enjoy having this for breakfast tomorrow with a cup of coffee.

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Quick question. would you prefer that I start typing these recipes out on my blog or is the link to the original recipes good enough?

family · life · through my camera lens

Thursday is shopping day

Seems like I’ve moved my grocery shopping day to Thursday. Last night we made our week’s menu at dinner time. This is always an interesting adventure. I ask anyone have a meal they want or don’t want for the week ahead? Sometimes I get answers other times not so much. Richard is better at this then the boys. But, they are often good at coming up with things we have ALL THE TIME. I’m the type of person who likes variety, my guys like routine, or so it seems.

This week we are having:

  • BBQ chicken lasagna (leftovers)
  • hamburgers and hot dogs – haven’t had this in a while actually other than eating out
  • TBD- probably go out to Zuppas since we haven’t been there in a while and the boys have mentioned going
  • steak with sweet potato fries
  • pork tenderloin and apple sauce- haven’t had this in a while too
  • make your own scramblers
  • Tex-Mex chicken totchos – think nachos on tater tots

Ok meal planning.✓

Does anyone need anything else from the grocery store? crickets! But then they complain when I didn’t buy x, y, or z. Or like yesterday at the oddest time they will say can you pick up Alfredo sauce? It’s not as bad on the days they think of it while I’m actually making the list. The worst is the day after I went shopping, oh I needed you to get _______. Too bad, you’ll have to wait until next week. Remember to add it to the list.

So I’m going to get ready to head to the store. Typically I’d go to the gym first since they are on the same street, but not today. I am not sure what I did, but my hip has been killing me since Tuesday. It hurts to walk up and down the stairs, it hurts to get on and off the chair, it just hurts. I refuse to stop moving. Yesterday the four of us went on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner and I walked 1.47 miles and we do not live in a flat neighborhood. (looking at my map my hike info the elevation change was 128 ft between the min and max elevations). But, I’m not going to go to the gym and push it to the point of doing more damage to whatever I did. UGH getting old sucks!

So I will head out in the snow… yes it is snowing AGAIN. Yesterday we had temps in the upper 50s for a high and right now it is 33F and snowing. Here I thought it was spring. Ok mother nature we get it… we aren’t in Florida anymore. It isn’t 80s and sunny 90% of the year. But, can’t we move onto the season of spring? You know the season of renewal and rebirth? The season of flowers, allergies and sunshine? The season that leads into summer? I’m ready… any day now! At least looking at the 10 day forecast at this point there is no snow forecast after today and there are actually days in the 60s. I’ll take it… please!

So, what’s on your menu this week ahead? Do you like to have the same things over and over or do you like to switch things up pretty regularly? Has spring sprung where you live or are you suffering with the season of Spinter like me?

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food

ice cream cookie sandwich update

Well, as promised I’m back to let you know how the ice cream worked in helping the Costco cookies. Missed the original post? Read it here.

Richard and I tried them last night. Richard had the mint chip and I had the moose tracks. Today I had the second moose tracks and Richard had the chocolate.

Well, it did help the cookies out a bit I guess. But, we figured out that we are now ice cream snobs. I purchased store brand ice cream. We have been eating either Ben & Jerry’s or Talenti. If you’ve had either of these brands you know they are real deal ice cream. So having a generic ice cream was a bit of a let down.

Talenti’s mint chip has a true mint taste so now having anyone else’s artificial mint flavor was not what Richard wanted.

Oh well… as I said next time I’ll have to make fresh cookies and make my own ice cream.

book · life

To Kindle or not to Kindle… that is the question

So yesterday I began the search for my next book to read. I didn’t find one, but I began thinking that I may need to give in and get a kindle. So many of the books I was looking at I could get free for the kindle with my Amazon Prime membership, but had to pay over $12 to get the paperback version. I’m so hesitant. I have tried to read on my phone and on my tablet and hated it. I keep reading that if you get the kindle paperwhite it is so much better and feels more book-like. I read a lot (see my book reviews here) and know that I would make back the cost of the kindle in short time, but….

So, do you have a kindle that you read on or other device for reading? Do you have the paperwhite or the original version? What do you like most about it, least? Is it worth the expense? Can you find enough books on there that are worth reading with little to no expense?

On the same but different topic… I need a new books soon. I am almost done reading the book I have on my nightstand. I also just finished reading the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, yes in the illustrated version again. I am going to start reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as we have that illustrated version too. But, I do not have a desire to read those at bedtime, they are a bit cumbersome. So what should I look at next? I like historical fiction, mystery, romance (not smut), and just general fiction books.

**this post contains Amazon links. please read my disclosure statement.  thanks!**

family · food

Wheat Berries

It’s snowing again… what?? This weekend we were wearing shorts today I’m wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. It’s only 33F outside and won’t get much warmer. Tomorrow is forecast to be in the 50s and then there is snow in the forecast again for Thursday. What is wrong with this picture?

Yesterday we had FFY (fend for yourself) dinner. Richard had to work late at a planning meeting that ended in dinner out. So I used it as an opportunity to try a new grain. A few weeks ago, I purchased wheat berry. I decided to make this to have for dinner. I found the directions on Genius Kitchen, I bought the wheat berries from the bulk section so I didn’t have any kind of directions. It was pretty easy to make. You started by toasting the wheat berries in the pan which was neat since they pop and even started to smell almost popcorn like. Then you add 2c of water to the 1c wheat berries. It cooks for about 1hr. I did end up needing to add a bit more water, which the recipe said might happen.

I put the wheat berries into a bowl and topped it with steak, cheddar cheese, carrots and a bit of ceasar dressing. Both Colby and Blake tried the wheat berries too. Colby really liked then and considered having it for his dinner, but he already had started making pasta. He did try it topped with alfredo since he was making it for his pasta and said it was really good. Blake tried one bite and didn’t make a big deal over it and said he liked it better than quinoa.

I like finding new things to try especially healthier versions of things we like. Now, I would not call this a replacement for rice or pasta, but it was good. It will make a nice topper for salads or an addition to a pasta salad.

Have you tried wheat berries? Any recipes with wheat berries that I should try? What ancient grains have you tried and liked?

Hope the world is bright and sunny where you are… if so send some to me here in western PA… I’m over winter. Let’s finish loading spring!

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food · life · reviews

Ice cream cookie sandwiches

This weekend found us wearing shorts and t-shirts. We spent most of our time outside being active and doing yard work. Today… not so much. I had to switch the thermostat from having the A/C on to having the heat on before we went to bed last night,. We had the air on because it was in the high 70s/ low 80s, but raining so the windows couldn’t be open. We needed the A/C on both Friday night and Saturday night for sleeping. We woke up to rain again, but now the temperatures were in the 40s. The temperature has dropped today and we actually had flurries earlier in the day.

On Sunday, we decided to head over to Costco and do a bit of shopping. We spent way too much money, but hey we don’t go very often. We purchased more meats, ziplock bags, Excedrin and snacks for the boys. These are items that I now won’t have to buy again for quite a while. We also purchased a ceiling fan for the morning room, light bulbs and clothes for Richard and I. One random thing we did pick up was a package of chocolate chip cookies. When we used to shop of BJ’s Warehouse we really enjoyed their chocolate chip cookies. We thought these would be similar. When we tried them we were disappointed.

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So, what does one do when you have cookies that are just ok? Well, we decided to pick up some ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches. I stopped at the grocery store after I worked out at the gym (that makes the 4th day in a row that I got a workout of some kind in… progress). I picked up 3 different kinds of ice cream. My sons do not like the same kind of ice cream, and well they were on sale 3 for $10 so I got a flavor for Richard too.

Making cookie ice cream sandwiches is so easy to make. Let the ice cream get a bit soft. Put a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. Press the top cookie down a bit to settle out the ice cream layer. I then wrap each cookie into plastic wrap and freeze. Hopefully this will help with the cookie, if not… well we have ice cream to have!

Next time, I’ll have to make my own cookies, and ice cream… yummm homemade ice cream, now that is something I haven’t made in a while.

family · food · reviews · through my camera lens

Pizza in pieces?

A few times in the past I’ve tried to make homemade pizza dough. I never seemed to be able to get it to come out the correct consistency. Well, since I’ve decided that I make dough best in the bread machine we decided to try making pizza dough again.

When the machine signaled that it was done I questioned the consistency again. It was really sticky and seemed off. But, we continued with the directions on the recipe to see where it would go from there.

dinner6Richard is the pizza maker in the house. When the dough was done with it’s final rise, he took over working with the dough. Richard decided to make grilled pizza instead of the stromboli we had planned due to the way the dough was rolling out. It was really thin in the middle and started to tear. He then went and put the pizza on the grill. This was sort of an epic fail. It cooked… well there were grill marks and the middle was done. The edges were still super doughy. Plus it came off in pieces.

We decided to trudge forward with the making of the meal. Richard topped the dough dinner5with sauce and added cheese. We decided to forego the meatball topping and just heat it up in a dish to add when done. We also didn’t season it up as much as we normally season our pizza.

When he pulled the pizza pieces off the grill it started to look a lot better. It actually tasted like decent pizza crust. A few thing we noticed: 1. we didn’t have cornmeal which we usually use, which helps slide the dough on and off the pizza peal. 2. the dough probably needed to chill after the last rise, it was slightly warmer than it should be which would have contributed to the tearing 3. the dough would have been easier to manipulate in two smaller dough balls instead of one large ball.

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We will certainly try again. I have 2 more recipes I want to try. One from Alton Brown, but that one calls for 18-24 hr in the fridge which we didn’t have this time. The other is on the package of pizza yeast, what better recipe to try? This is the recipe I made this time from Genius Kitchen.

Have you made homemade pizza dough? Any hints? Got a recipe you think I should try? Hmmm maybe we will have to try again next weekend. We will see.

family · life · through my camera lens

Busy Spring Saturday

Spring! Spring! Yeah… it’s spring! And we have been doing a lot outside… that is where you should be when it’s spring!

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04_13_c_01After having a steak dinner yesterday, we headed back into the woods. I wanted to show Richard and the boys some of the paths I traveled. We decided to cut down through our own property and see if we could clear out a safe path to use on a regular basis to get down into the woods behind our house. I think there are a few good choices. We just need to clear out a04_13_b_02 bunch of thorn bushes, all of us ended up with cuts from the thorn bushes. One crazy thing… all four of us put tick spray on. Only one person came home with ticks… ME! I pulled at least 6 ticks off and then spent the night thinking there were more on me. Why me? Gesh!

Today, we got up and had a slow morning. We headed to the gym so the boys could go to their “little lifters”. They have really enjoyed this, too bad there is only one more week. plantersBut, the good thing is they have learned a lot of things that they will be able to do on their own. This will be good going forward especially in the summer when I plan to have them workout on the days we head there to use the pool.

After the gym, we went to DiBellas for subs and then to Lowes (if you follow my blog regularly you probably have noticed this is our regular Saturday pattern). While we were at Lowes, we picked up plants, new planters, potting soil, fertilizer and a few other things. Colby helped me pick out the plants to go in the planter and the hanging plant we purchased.  When we got home we set to work. Richard and I worked on getting the new planters set up. Dixie decided she needed to do some digging too.

We then went into the backyard and Richard began digging holes. This is not an easy task. Digging holes should not require more work with the pick ax than the shovel. He planted the Christmas tress that we purchased to use on the front porch for part of the04_14_c_03 Christmas decoration with the intent on planting them in the backyard. Even though it was a lot of work we will probably keep with this tradition next year.

While Richard was working on the holes, I spread out the butterfly/humming bird seed mix that we picked up at Lowes on sale a few weeks ago. I then went and fertilized the front yard. We need to do something to get the grass a bit greener. Since there is rain in our forecast for tonight and most of tomorrow we wanted to get some of these tasks done so the rain can do it’s job too.

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For dinner we decided to head to Red Robin (YUMMM!) Richard needed to go to the hobby shop to get a new motor for his Traxxas truck, so why not go out to eat too? We all splurged and got milkshakes which is a great treat (Richard: Oreo, Blake: chocolate, Colby: Vanilla, Me: Caramel). We figured we had burned a few extra calories today.

So I’d call today a success. We will see how much rain we get tonight and tomorrow, we need it! The big thing on my agenda for tomorrow is making pizza dough for Stromboli. The last few times I’ve tried to make pizza dough it didn’t workout… keep your fingers crossed I figure it out this time.

life · through my camera lens

Spring hike to the pond

Image may contain: flower, plant, outdoor and natureSpring has sprung! Finally I have the windows open and the sun is shining. I was able to get out and do a bit of yard work and then went for a 2 mile hike around the neighborhood. I actually went exploring the wooded area behind the house. There is a pond back there that I had checked out yet and I wanted for a few reasons. I walked to the pond one way and home a different way. It was nice to get out and see what I could find literally right in my backyard.

This weekend we will continue to have temperatures in the 70s, but the rain is coming. We are forecast for a huge storm starting on Saturday afternoon and raining through Monday. Oh well… I’ll enjoy the sun today. I think I’ll make some lunch and then read for a bit. Having the windows open is nice and there is a beautiful breeze.

Here are a few of the pictures I took on my walk in the woods.

 

I did see a few woodland creatures too. The rabbit was out in our backyard this morning. I took this picture while having my coffee. The butterfly was on one of the trails I was following. This was an actual trail, opposed to some of the deer trails I ended up on what may or may not have been made by humans at one point, but were not kept up at all. (lots of thorns were found in this section) The goose is on the pond I went searching out. The robin was on the backside of the hill in our yard that I was checking out while I was out in nature.

Hope you enjoy your Friday and weekend!