What “Little House on the Prairie” is Teaching my Girls

I love reading out loud to my girls… They both have their favorite books which I (or their dad) read to them near daily. But one we ALL enjoy is Little House on the Prairie! When we started it, I thought maybe Hailee would be too young to grasp it. But she has surprised me! She LOVES every character, she gets anxious when Laura does, she’s curious for Laura to meet some “wild Indians!” and smiles when we read how everyone dances around the fire while Pa plays his fiddle. She always gets a little sad and asks for me to read more after a chapter. We’re over half way through in less than a month!

(Claire usually enjoys a snack and a snuggle, and waits for the small black and white pictures… which is pretty much all she likes about the book. I’m not going to pretend it’s anymore than that. Just to keep it real. :) She doesn’t get it at all, but isn’t this a healthy habit? So I make her sit with us!)

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Super Simple Fresh Tortillas

I just love Mexican food. One of my favorite restaurants is Chevy’s simply because of their fresh tortillas. I went to my mom’s for dinner, shortly after being married, and found she made the switch to making her own fresh tortillas. Nearly as soon as I moved out! She has all older kids and they roll their own tortilla out and cook it real quick whenever they’re ready for another. Here, I have is a 2 year old, a 1 year old and a husband. Sooo…. I do all the rolling. At first I was sure it would be too complicated to do for what I typically categorize as a simple meal. (Such as bean burritos.) But man was I ever wrong! It is so simple! I love them. So warm, fresh and chewy. They take a cheap, end of the month budget dinner and elevate it. Without any real increase in cost! They take less than 15 minutes over all.

(Note. This is a double of the original recipe I found. My small family finished off a single recipe of 8 small tortillas in one sitting. This time I aimed for 12 larger tortillas.)

wpid-img_20141010_003738.jpg4 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups water
6 Tbsp. Olive oil

 

 

- Mix by hand until just combined.
- Turn onto lightly floured surface and kneed 10-12 times.
- Add a little more flour if too sticky.
- Roll into 12 round balls.
- Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (Longer if you’re doing pre dinner prep!)
- On a floured countertop, roll them out one at a time. (As needed so they don’t dry out!)
- Cook on a greased flat cast iron skillet. High heat. Flip regularly and do not burn!
- Place on a plate, in a towel to keep warm. When you’ve made enough, sit down and enjoy!

My girls even eat these as a snack! Like I said. Chewy. Easy. And yummy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

The other morning I woke up at 5a.m. and I couldn’t fall back asleep. :( So I decided to make the best of it! I got up, got ready for my day and decided to make something special from breakfast. By the time I decided to make banana bread, and found a recipe, the 50 minute cook time was too long. So… I brain stormed and threw together these muffins which took less than half the cook time that bread does.  I’d imagine you can use most any banana bread recipe, but these turned out so nice I wrote it down for later! Enjoy :-)

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{Makes about 3 dozen…}

Place in mixer bowl:
2 cups of sugar
4 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. sour cream
4 Tbsp. Apple sauce (optional!)
4 eggs
1 cups softened butter
3 ripe bananas

Mix!

On low, add:

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350°
- Mix all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in mixer bowl until well combined.
- On low, add chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
- Pour into muffin tray. Be sure it’s greased or use paper liners so they don’t stick.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes. Until just golden.
- Let then rest for 5 minutes and serve warm, with butter.

These are delicious! Claire thinks so so much, this is what happens when I set her next to a tray I was preparing to freeze. She was very proud of herself for figuring out how one might obey mom and “not touch” but still get a bite…

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{Guaranteed these won’t be dry! That’s why I like to add the extra scoop of apple sauce when I happen to have some in the fridge.}

Chewy, Thick, Better-than-Your-Current-Favorite, Pizza Crust!

I have tried several pizza dough recipes in my 4 short years cooking for my husband. We agree this is the best.

When we first got married, I was still cooking my moms long loved pizza dough. There’s nothing wrong with it. {Although she too has moved onto bigger and better pizza dough’s…) But it hated me. And therefore I hated it. Every time, something else went wrong. Too much flour. Too little. Forgot the oil. Whatever. Let is stand that I still can’t make it right.

Then I tried a new one. Then an even newer one (Pioneer Woman’s, to be exact, is anyone surprised? I’ve tried most of her recipes haha!)

And finally. I found the best! It is so chewy. Fluffy. Gooey. The bottom is crispy, the edges are crunchy and the rest of it is gooey and delicious. I like to do light sauce, easy on the cheese and heavy on the toppings. (When I have em on hand.) But obviously to each her own with the toppings.

Just.

Try.

This.

CRUST.

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October Meal Plan (with a lot of LINKS!!!!)

This month I’m trying to plan my WHOLE menu out at the beginning. I definitely notice a difference in my budget if I plan it each week so I figure I should get even better return planning out an even bigger chunk right? Maybe! We shall see :-)

wpid-20140805_133714.jpg(ahhhh the work I can accomplish during nap time bliss! Thank you Lord for making babes need LOTS of sleep!)

I got all the way through the last week, which I just finally completed today. I procrastinated a little, but with an “input needed” post to FB, all the slots got filled rather quicly!!! Sometimes I could kiss social media!

I can’t stand hand written sloppy paper though, so I wanted to store it here. I figure once I’ve done this it for a few months, it will be way easier to see what our favorite meals are. (HINT! Favorites are bound to use a LOT of fresh tortillas!)

wpid-img_20141010_003738.jpgWe have very busy Tuesday nights, (10 minutes after the husband gets home to feed him and get the babies in the car and then we aren’t home until 9:30PM after youth group!) so we try to stick with Taco Tuesdays! And on Thursday nights I try to do something in the crock pot or a soup, because we host small group at our house every week… Which normally requires a little bit (or a lot depending on my week!) of extra prep time from me ,and my kiddos have to be able to start dinner right after naps because they’re super pokey eaters! :-) Other than that, it should be mostly normal and I might be able to cycle through it in 3 or 4 months again who knows?! That’d be so handy!

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Chicken and Rice (Or… Dumb Rice!)

So simple. A toddler favorite…. Something you probably grew up eating your whole childhood, but won’t make for your kids.

(Duhn duh duh DUH!)

RICE A RONI! 

Hailee simply calls it by the endearing name “Chicken and Rice”.

My nephew calls it, “Dumb Rice.” Not quite as endearing.

So I’ll call this Chicken and Rice! :)

It was a regular in our home. But….. This mama’s new budget dislike the price per box. And mom dislikes the random items in the ingredients list!

So I decided to look for a recipe for something very similar, using only basic ingredients from my kitchen. My first test was SO spot on, we all loved it! The adults agree it was better than the boxed kind, and the toddler’s didn’t notice a difference so THAT is certainly a win! I just had to share, and record for myself, since I did make a few adjustments to the original find.

It’s Claire approved.

Which… I’ll admit it. She eats a lot! Soooo this just means you can trust it wasn’t disgusting! ;)

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And it’s Hailee approved!

Which means a lot. Little picky eater. I have to work hard to make sure the things she actually likes enough to eat a significant amount of are nutritious, because she tends to only like starchy, snacky, or sweet foods. So her stamp of approval is one hard earned!!!

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Try it. It’s easy and delicious!

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