Recipes for kids abroad. Homeschool and Afterschooling for kids at home.

FOOD!!! Yes, I need pictures! My recipes need pictures around them to identify instead of just a title. They are tweaked to work for us in terms of ease, ingredients frequently on hand, real or pure ingredients(for the most part), our family taste, and usually SOY-FREE or easily adapted to be SOY-FREE. SOY-FREE tagged recipes still mean you have to know what ingredients you are putting in are truly SOY-FREE and even if is was SOY-FREE in the past, you have to check it each time you buy it. Ingredients change frequently and can even be different from store to store or expiration date to expiration date for the same product. Homeschool and Afterschooling notes and ideas are here too. I'll probably separater the blog later, but for now, this is the place for family and friends to look. Time Impaired Living has many definitions that I may update as time goes on or doesn't. To begin with, I'll say that Time Impaired includes time lost because of the schedule of a wonderfully dynamic family. It also includes the nonexistent sense of time when disability kicks in.
To see or print the recipes, Mouse over the image and you can enlarge the recipe. You can also enlarge it a second time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

6th Day of Christmas, Peppermint Candy Balls

"Bob's Sweet Stripes" Peppermint Balls are always our favorite but with Sam's Club closed here, they are hard to find this year so we had to try a different brand.  On the soy-free front, Bob's was always safe for us.  Watch out for all labels during Christmas, sometimes one bag of something may differ from another just because one is made on the west coast and another in the midwest and somehow both suppliers with the same packaging will be on the same shelf in a store.  One bag will have lecithin(soy product) or natural flavor(often soy based) and another won't.

5th Day of Christmas, Pumpkin Ginger Bread

This is one of our favorites!  Basically Pumkin Bread with crystalized ginger throughout it.  Besides baking in long loaf pans, it works great as muffins and is great to make a batch and pull out of the freezer when you need it.

4th Day of Christmas, Clementine Tangerines

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fresh Fertilizer and the Green Garden? Memories of the Circus in town.

 I hope to find and post a more elaborate update I remember getting after this email sent from Mormor on January 25, 2010.  It took more than the few weeks estimated for the smell to blow over.
Hi...Dad just had 9 yards of Bovine Assisted Compost (Buffalo Droppings) dumped on our front driveway...a member of our stake presidency raises buffalo and gives piles of this stuff away free...Dad is spreading it on front and backyard about 2 inches thick...he is out to have a better looking yard in the spring than the whole street...You really can't smell it if you stay inside the house and shut all the windows and doors...When standing on the front porch and the wind blows...well that's another story...He has two teenagers from the ward helping him this afternoon...He says that when he has used enough of it, he is going to invite the neighbors to spread some on their lawns too...It will probably take 2 or 3 weeks for the perfumed smell to go entirely away...Well, it won't be hard to find our house...just follow you nose...Dad came in a while ago and sat down...I didn't tell him but he did have a strong smell about him...All for now,  Love, Mom
How does your garden grow? When I was little, I remember hearing stories of the circus coming to town from both Mormor and Papa.  Mormor's stories included ones about the Gypsies that cooked up her grandfather's pet pig for breakfast without them knowing when in town at the family's campgrounds and motel.  The story of the ciricus in town from Papa's dad, My Papa, is one I've never forgotten whenever fertilizing with manure is spoken of.  The circus came to town and Papa Louis was planting a tree at the time.  He got some elephant poop to use as fertilizer from the circus and carefully mixed it with the dirt to plant the new tree hoping it would work well.  It did something quite strange though.  The tree died and the stake used to hold the tree up and give it support sprouted and grew instead.  So the moral of the story with elephant poop is to make sure you plant a tree you want to die and a stake you want to grow. 
That also reminds me of the story of how Aunt Gayes took got showered on at the circus.  Not sure if this was the same circus and for that matter not sure if this was at the zoo.  It doesn't really matter I guess when remembering pee and poop.  There was a loud commotion at the lions den and Aunt Gaye and her friend raced to see what was happening and why there was such a crowd around the cage.  The two girls wiggled in and made it to the front of the crowd to see the lion roar, lift a leg and spray her with something not quite lemonaide.

Creative Idea for Canned Wheat Home Food Storage

After growing up moving what seemed like 10 tons of cans of wheat and rice and beans and honey and TVP from house to house to house to house... through the years, and remembering the metal on the bottoms of those early metal square cans digging into my fingers almost to bleeding,  I thought it would be fun to post an email from Mormor a couple years ago.  I remember the years of wheat bread, hot after school with butter and honey we had to melt on the stove before microwaves because it was all crystalized from the metal containers.  Sometimes we would strain the honey because a batch or two still had bees in them.  I remember trying to make sandwiches with the wheat bread but having to cut thick pieces so it wouldn't fall apart and then chewing for half of lunch to finish half the sandwich.  I remember dad loving cracked wheat cereal that was like swallowing gravel and having to force myself to keep swallowing and not gagging as I was forcing it to stay down and go down my throat.  Lumpy Cream of Wheat was almost as much a treat as the birthday box of cold sugar cereal we could choose once a year and as Mormor said, when the box is gone, it is gone.  9 kids and one box of cereal went pretty quickly.  Mormor just said it didn't fill us, and she was right.  When we would later save and buy our own cold cereal, we would still be "starved" after completing a whole box on our own, which was pretty hard to hide and do because the guilt of not sharing with sibbling watching was too much to not share at least a little.
I remember Dad loving to make homemade granola with grains and nuts and what seemed like every unsalted, unroasted, raw stick and weed mixed and lightly, very lightly mixed with some honey, then baked and then split up.  Yes, I groaned and said, why can't we just buy real granola cereal or even Grapenuts cereal?  I was old enough to add up the cost of the ingredients and it seemed they were about the same price.  At least the youngest ones didn't catch on to how the oldest two or three of us knew to quietly serve ourselves the parts with the cashews and nuts we liked first.  We tried making homemade Grapenuts, basically really hard whole wheats flat bread that we would hammer up with a hammer or try to grind in the blender until Mormor would catch us and say we were going to break the Osterizer. (the blender was always called an Osterizer no matter what brand it was, kind of like all scrub cleaning powder was called Ajax, and like all margarine was called Oleo)  Well, I remember from elementary school that wheat had been found in some piramid and was still able to be grown so it lasts forever.  That makes it no surprise that the wheat we kept moving around as part of 2 years worth of storage for up to 11 people sprouted and grows in Mormor and Papa's yard today.  The following email is true and about a month after it was sent, went to visit and the "visitors" were still there.
2/4/08  Welcome to Birdland!  Dad went through the 17 old cans of wheat (33 pound tin ones) which we have been storing for over 40 years and only lost 2 cans of wheat, 1 can of rice, 1 can of cornmeal and 1 can of beans...He dumped the contents of the bad cans on our front and back lawn...This was about 2 weeks ago...Each day more and more birds started coming into our yard...There were about 15 birds the first day....I went outside just a little bit ago to see how the bird population was coming along....for the past 3 days we have been hearing constant bird chatter from inside our house going on in the front and back yards...and a lot of bird poop on the porches....Get this - it is raining a lot today but it doesn't seem to bother the birds any...I just went outside in the front yard...perched on our roof were 49  the next door neighbor's tree covered with probably 75 more birds chirping away...across the  street on two roofs I counted between 40 and 50 birds....on our front lawn there were 35 birds that didn't fly away when I came out... they were too busy eating...Next I went to the kitchen door...about 15 birds were perched on the back of the outside chairs sleeping and about 45 birds on the ground eating....and more birds perched on the fences...I feel like our home is in the middle of a bird pavilion like they have at the zoo.  I keep thinking about that old movie that was called "The Birds"....Thank goodness the birds in our yards are kind.  They like to peck the roof...sounds like someone is knocking at the door all the time.  When a car drives by our house most of the birds fly in the air in a flock and the flock swerves into trees...I have seen flocks of birds swoop in the sky before...but never saw them come back to their departure spot.
Oh well, thought you all might like to know that life is never dull...even after you children left the nest...One good thing about all of you being out in your own homes is that there is always room in the garage for Dad now to park our car so the birds cannot decorate it.....I think the loud chirping is their way of signaling all their aunts, cousins and uncles and grandparents...I came back inside and started typing this email and just now looked out the den window...I see more birds than I can see the grass underneath them...There must be 150 or more on the front lawn and front sidewalk. The beaugenvilla bush outside my den window has no flowers  but it is full of birds too...every branch has 2 or 3 birds sitting on them....Thank goodness they all go to sleep at night...our quiet time. 
Maybe we shouldn't put out that much bird food again....Bye for now, XO,XO, XO from Mormor, Alias Mom

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3rd Day of Christmas, Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

Why Texas Sheet Cake on the 3rd day you may ask?  Because Wednesday, December 8, 2010 is National Brownie Day.  That's why.

This is the recipe Emily made in 4th or 5th grade and typed up for a "How To" presentation she gave and then served it to the class.

There are so many versions of Texas Sheet Cake so whichever you use, here are some tips. 
1.  Read the recipe first, then follow all the instructions.
2.  Shortcuts make it turn out wrong.
3.  If your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it first so the fudge frosting won't be lumpy, but do this when you are getting ingredients out before cooking so you don't mess up the timing when the cake comes out of the oven.
4.  Don't leave the heat on after the butter, coco, and milk are boiling for the frosting.  It will overcook and not work.
5.  Pour the frosting on hot and while the cake is barely out of the oven.  Waiting too long just makes a mess.
6.  Pour on the frosting and spread quickly but try to only pass over it once or twice.  If you keep trying to smooth it out, it will look terrible and start tearing the top of the cake up.  This is because it cools to the fudge state quickly.
7.  If you don't have buttermilk, it is OK to add about a teaspoon of vinegar to the 1/3 cup milk and let is sit for a minute before adding to the cake batter.

SORRY, THIS RECIPE WAS FROM BEFORE WE KNEW OF SOY ALLERGIES SO TO MAKE IT SOY-FREE, REPLACE THE MARGARINE WITH BUTTER, AND THE SHORTENING WITH COCONUT SHORTENING OR WITH MORE BUTTER.  Pretty easy to make soy-free and we actually did today for the batch being taken in tomorrow for the 3rd day of Christmas.

2nd Day of Christmas, Rice Krispies Treats Recipe

Why do so many people make Rice Krispies Treats that just don't work out any more?  They still do the recipe from the box.  Have the Rice Krispies changed or have marshmallows changed?  What's up?  Well, thanks to Suzanne cutting out the side of a box years ago before all the nutrition label "healthy for you" comparisons, she still uses the recipe from the box, BUT the recipe from the box from years ago.  YES, it has more fat but that's what makes them work!

Another secret to making them just right is to use miniature marshmallows and not the generic brands.  Some brands have different amounts of gelatin and other ingredients that just don't work.  Saving 25 cents on a bag isn't worth it for these.  Why miniature marshmallows?  Well, it must be something to do with the time it takes to melt them that changes the heating temperature or cooks them too long.  Suzanne just found this out a month or so ago when trying to figure out why one or two batches didn't work out as perfectly.  Sure enough, the ones that didn't work were the ones with large marshmallows.  Maybe cutting up large ones to miniature size might work but I'm not going to go through that effort.

Anyway, Here's the recipe!  Please remember to only use butter and not margarine or cooking spray if you want to have them Soy-free.

Monday, December 6, 2010

1st Day of Christmas, Harry & David's Sweet Pepper & Onion Cream Cheese Kicker

No recipe needed for this one.  Mom's card she puts with the treat tray says it all.

Split Pea Soup Recipe

Yes, this is the green yucky soup to some and the great soup from leftover ham for others.  Grandma and Grandpa gave us some ham last night and since Grandma is still sick, I thought making some Split Pea Soup for them would be a good idea.  I couldn't find the normal recipe Mom and Grandma use so I started with one recipe and then adjusted just a little with seasoning from the one Mom and Grandma use. So, here is the triple batch recipe I did that worked well. 

Below the triple batch adapted recipe, here's the recipe Mom and Grandma use that Uncle Ryan emailed Grandpa while they were in Boston on their mission.

Spinach Ham Cream Sauce Recipe for Pasta

Ok, if you are making gnocchi and my kids are going to be around, this is THE SAUCE they want.  While it is Il Fornaio Restaurant inspired, it is nowhere close to theirs if you were to eat them side by side.  I am a work with what you have and not cooking with wine kind of cook.  The Il Fornaio version is awesome or at least was.  I'm not sure if they still serve it but probably 10 years ago, I ordered it almost every time I went there. 

If you make this with prosciutto instead of ham, it is even better.  I have made it with spam in a pinch because the family was craving it and that was all I had in the house.  Spam is not my favorite at all and you really have to make sure you juliene it carefully so it doesn't shred and then make sure to saute it til crisp.  Leftover ham from a holiday meal or even lunch ham finely sliced work well.

This is really good with any kind of pasta, but WITH GNOCCHI IT IS THE BEST.

Gnocchi Recipe

We love gnocchi!!!  I try to make it at least once a month.  While I like it many ways, my family seems to prefer with a Spinach Ham Cream Sauce the best, and with Pesto second best.  I like it Bolognese but since that is basically like Spaghetti Sauce, its best to save that for Spaghetti.  Here is the Gnocchi recipe that I basically start from but depending on the potatoes available and amount of people eating, I really add or subtract eggs and flour as I go.  After you make it multiple times, you just know how it should feel when you knead it. 

Oh, a side note. DON'T USE RED POTATOES if you don't have to.  They just don't seem to work right for gnocchi or taste right with it.

Here is a video from an Il Fornaio chef that shows how to make the dough.  I'm not going to do a video myself, but this one is a good example of how its done.  I usually combine everything and knead it in a large mixing bowl to make less mess. I also usually don't add the cheese to my dough.  Its too expensive and since I use it in the sauce, it always seems fine with us without.

Next,watch this video on how to shape the gnocchi.  I don't do the rolling on the cheese grater like demonstrated or on fork tines or a wooden mold that others do.  It's too much work for me and takes too much longer.  The sauce seems to work and stick to the gnocchi for me without the extra work, but do remember to dust with flour like he says or they will stick.

If the youtube links die, then search for how to make gnocchi videos and you will find some.  I just like these two because they are about how I was taught to do it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


12 Days of Christmas Cooking

Soon to come.... Mom's 12 Days of Christmas Cooking.  I will be posting the 12 days of Christmas things that mom takes to work this year with their recipes. 

So far the possibilities on the list includes:
glogg or spiced cider                                                  orange rolls             
crackers and raspberry chipotle on cream cheese        molasses cookies
lemon pound cake                                                      almond pound cake
pumpkin ginger bread (with the candied ginger in it)     gumdrop cookies
caramel popcorn                                                         holiday rice crispy treats
coconut chex mix                                                        Swedish Tea Rings
divinity (weather permitting since it doesn't work right when it rains)
clementines, pistachios, and peppermint balls are on the list but don't have recipes. Duhhhhh....

Besides those listed above, I will try to add some other Christmas recipes we use each year like:
Vanilla and/or Cinnamon Milk                                     Pfefferneus

If there are others that I'm missing, let me know.

I already posted Mormor's Huge Christmas Eve Gingerbread Cookies recipe in October if anyone is looking for it.

Chicken Scallopini Recipe

Johnny Carino's and Costco both helped Cameron pay for a mission and college.  They also brought along the craving for their Chicken Scallopini and Italian Nachos.  

With their restaurants now closed in our area, he decided to fill the craving with some recipe searching and experimenting.  This recipe that he said I could post for him sounds good and he says it is. 

I still miss the Italian Nachos he would occasionally bring home from work that are some kind of fried wonton skin or noodle, but at least I have the memory.  Thanks Cameron.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soy-Free Resources Oahu, Hawaii

Thank you Polynessian Cultural Center Ambassador Luau for having so many Soy-Free choices.  It may cost more but amazing to have so much choice and amazingly good food.

Ambassador Dining

Safeway and Walmart oahu show they might sell back to nature crispy wheats.

Annies cowgirl ranch and other Annies products may be for sale at the stores below and other products that have been soy-free in the past.

Whole Foods Market (should be same as sprouts)
4211 Wai’alae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816 USA

Celestial Natural Foods
66-445 Kam Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 637-6729

Safeway and other Safeway stores on the Island
46065 Kamehameha
Kaneohea, HI 96744
(808) 233-5800

Down To Earth Pearlridge
98-131 Kaonohi Street
Aiea, HI 96701
(808) 488-1375

Good Health Store
98--027 Hekaha St #35
Aiea, HI 96701
(808) 487-0082

Down To Earth Kailua
201 Hamakua Drive
Kailua, HI 96734
(808) 262-3838

Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Maple Syrup Recipe

This recipe brings up the reason for Mrs. Butterworths Syrup in our house.  Any ideas why???

Ok... Here's the answer. 
Uncle Jason, of course.  I'll have to comment more on that when I post the waffle/pancake recipe.

Hey Cameron,
Is this the recipe you used to cook all the time?  I think this is what you also used for a final or test in Culinary Arts in High School.  I googled the recipe and didn't find an exact match so it may have been one you taylored.  Lots of chicken breasts stuffed with things and covered in maple glazes but didn't see same recipe.  Anyway, if my memory is correct, this was good and you probably still make it.

Family Night Charts

This past weekend at Taft's house for Lilly's baptism, I saw our old Family Night Chart from years ago growing up.  It was a long cut out of a train for a family night chart that I'm pretty sure had hooks eventually for all 11 of us.  Papa cut it out of an old piece of plywood and we helped paint it.  The hooks were just teacup hooks and Mormor cut out circles from old margarine lids and wrote our names on them that we would move each week. 

Mormor put it up high enough on the wall so the older ones could change it but the little ones wouldn't constantly change it.

Grandma and Grandma had a flower pot with flowers that changed for each Family Night assignment.

Go figure, my family had a train for a chart with all the boys and mom's family had a flower pot with all the girls.

The template here is for what became our Family Night chart.  As I post it right now, it is kind of ironic that I took a broken clock to make our Family Night Chart since my sense of time is pretty much a broken clock.

Well.... I took a broken clock and cut out a circle with the assignments on the back and glued it in place.  Next I cut out a smaller circle with the names and pictures for each of us placing it over the minute hand so that it rotated when we used the thin
g on back to change the time.  I don't know if I'm explaining it right but its worked pretty well for us for years.  When I get to the point of taking a picture and uploading it, I'll attach a picture of it. 

So... Mom grew up with a flower pot... I grew up with a train... My kids grew up and are growing up with a broken clock... what will each of my children use for their kids???  I wonder what each of Mom and my sibblings use for their charts???

If any family gets a chance to take a picture of your own family night charts, I would love to post them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lunch Ideas

HELP!!!  I started rethinking lunches and need suggestions for lunches to send to school and maybe to mom every so often at work.

Ok, so PBJ and Peanut Butter and Honey are the start but have been the end also when we run out of homemade pizza pockets.  Please post other favorites that do alright in a lunch bag!  Thanks

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soy-Free Chinese Steamed BBQ Pork Buns Recipe

In the Soy-Free Chinese Chicken post, I mentioned our love for the San Diego Ranch 99 Grocery Store. 

Besides the back entrance walk up restaurant, there is another restaurant inside past the registers that has great food that is similar in serving size and value.  They have actually had Steamed Buns that they say are Soy-Free and my child hasn't reacted to, but soy is everywhere in this store so beware.  These buns are really good and like what we ate when living in China. 

So... a while back, we decided to try our own Pork Steamed Buns from scratch at home and after looking through cookbooks and websites and trial and error, came up with this recipe that works pretty well for us.

As an added note there is a third restaurant at the front entrance that is way too expensive and not usually too crowded so I haven't wanted to try it.

Soy-Free Chinese Chicken Recipe

We lived in Beijing, China years ago and love Chinese food.  But... how can we eat Soy-Free Chinese Chicken? 

A lot of experimenting and imagination and putting things together to make it work the best we could.  This is the basic template of a recipe I use and tweak it depending on what we have on hand.

The kid's and my favorite Chinese food is found at Ranch 99 in San Diego.  There is an awesome walk-in counter with hanging cooked ducks, heads and all, that is at the back entrance to the store.  There is always a line of Chinese people waiting when its near a meal time.  Do the walk up counter and it's cheaper than sitting down and being served.  I don't know the current price but for less than $5.00 you get a HUGE meal in a Styrofoam clamshell with noodles or rice and 1 to 3 choices of Chinese dishes.  I think it used to be $3.00 or so and the meal comes with soup and is plenty for one hungry guy or a couple normal eaters.

Soy-Free Page to Give Others for Dealing with My Child's Soy Allergy

My Child’s soy allergies

My child  is allergic to all foods and products that include soy-based ingredients

This includes the following ingredients on product labels
soy protein                soybean oil
soy flour                     partially hydrogenated soybean oil
soy lecithin                vegetable oil
lecithin                       soy sauce

These ingredients are found in many products, such as
Most grocery store sliced bread                 most chocolate (lecithin)
All margarine                                                            many body soaps, shampoos, etc
Crisco/shortening                                        most canned food (soup, chili, etc.)
Many condiments (ketchup, mustard)     frozen meals (lasagna, pot pies, etc.)
Many kinds of ice cream                            most asian food
Most snack foods (chips, crackers)           processed foods (sausage, bologna)
Most baked goods (cakes, cake mixes, cookies)
Oil coatings on fresh fruit                           most hot cocoa mixes
            PAM and nonstick sprays                          most peanut butter
            Most mayonnaise                                        most salad dressings
            Butter at restaurants(usually is a mix of butter and margarine)
            Many corn and canola oils (sometimes even though it says corn or other oil, in the small  
             print it has some soy oil mixed in)
            Most frozen poultry(enhancer and/or broth is soy)
            Most marinades

Other ingredients that may or may not specifically say “soy” that do contain soy and that Emily reacts to are
Natural flavoring                              broth               vegetable oil
MSG (monosodium glutamate)     lecithin           vegetable protein (TVP)

The types of food my child CAN have are…
Made from scratch                                       candy/treats without chocolate
Dairy products (milk, cheese, butter)        Mom’s White Bread (trader joes)
Some tortillas and tortilla chips                 Lays potato chips

Restaurant food my child CAN have  (restaurants that USUALLY don’t use soy products)
In N Out hamburgers (with ketchup & mustard instead of sauce) & French fries (they use cottonseed oil)
Salads with olive oil & vinegar dressings
Joey’s Only fish & fries
Filippi’s pizza
Bruno's pizza
Wendy’s baked potatoes with sour cream (not margarine)

This list is by no means exhaustive but should be helpful to assist with food for my child.

Chicken Meatballs Recipe

When we want meatballs, and chicken is all we have, this is what we use.  I wish I could just buy meatballs at the store, but have you ever read the ingredients in those things?  Soy is not the only filler, flavoring, and meat substitute used.  No wonder some of them have the texture and taste of sponges.  Still, the ease of using them and just smothering them in barbecue sauce sure would be tempting if we didn't have allergy issues. 

If I'm going to the trouble of making meatballs though, I definitely make enough to freeze for a couple more meals.  They freeze very well in gallon plastic zipper bags.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Halloween is almost always a big pot of Potato Soup and another of Chili.  Potato Soup is really just a soup version of funeral potatoes but somehow is different and besides being good, is very filling.  Our recipe is adapted from the same recipe that seems to be on recipe cards from friends all over.  Michelle Stevenson and Lanae Waldron independently gave us the same recipe years apart.  A triple batch which is what we do on Halloween is pretty huge but fills my favorite BIG pot.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mormor's Christmas Eve Huge Gingerbread Cookies

Oh Mom, this has been a fun Christmas tradition since the 70's and I think we started doing this in the San Bruno house on the top of the mountain.  I think that was when things like the mistake with me using baking soda instead of flour for a cake happened.  We used to take bed sheets and have two of us holding 2 corners each and have the strong gusts of wind pull us up the iceplant hill behind our house up to the school fence when we would jump at the same time.  This was also the beginning of "Vanilla Cinnamon Milk" on those cold days we would be bundled up and frozen from playing outside.

For those who don't know Swedish, Mumu should be spelled Mormor even though Mormor is Farmor to most of the 40 - 50 grandkids.  Thanks for this recipe a couple years ago.

If anyone has a really clear shot or two of yours on the full cookie pan, please send it so I can post it with this recipe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Menus / Menu's

So.......  Here are some of the menus from the past.

OK... so I have gone thru different stages of meal planning from what's in the cupboard, to what's easiest tonight, to what can the kids fix on their own, to planning by the week, to planning every two weeks, to planning monthly, to planning in 3 or more month sections for daily menus.  OK.. why do Menus and Menu's both look incorrect right this moment.  Maybe it should be Meni.

Well... I have also posted menus/menu's on the fridge with pictures and in lists. I have posted them in boring calendar grid format when my older method of printing didn't work any more.  Now the boring way that was on a program that synced with my palm treo 650 and kept 3 months at my fingertips with shopping lists too has crashed too many times. 

Help... I'm now trying to figure out another way without going back to the oldest way of using Excel spreadsheets, then exporting them to Publisher and then doing separate shopping lists in Word.  So far there a few aps on my Ipod Touch, but they really don't do what I need so I don't want to put too much effort into them until I find something that works.

Why would I plan meals like this, you might ask?  Many reasons, but the initial reason was because I was basically homebound and had to have what I needed in stock and be able to provide a healthy variety.  It also solved the problem of the kids asking what was for dinner and then complaining about it.  I also didn't have to think about it, which was huge.
The key to planning ahead was being flexible to change if we are out and not back in time to cook, yet I would have time to prepare many things ahead.  I also was able to make enough of some things for 2 or 3 meals and rather than have the same thing for 3 nights in a row, freeze the meals for later and free up times when I couldn't cook. 
We also had the bailout menu listed that we would rotate so we didn't h
ave taco salad or macaroni and cheese everynight on a really busy or bad health week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Where do the forks go?"

1. Print
2. Cut out
3. Paste to the latest free Realtor Calendar Magnet left at your door
4. Place on fridge
5. Hey kids... Remember to check the fridge to know where it goes and if you need to, you can hold it next to the place you are setting

I don't remember where I found this place setting picture but there are so many different ones that this one seemed to do all that we needed for our family.

Orange Julius Similar Recipe (without the egg)

I don't know how Dad and Mom used to afford these as a treat for us when they would take us to the juice place but Dad liked them enough to have this override stopping at Baskin Robbins at times.  I used to like the strawberry ones.  I'm pretty sure we would put whole eggs in them too when we would make them at home, but NO THANKS for me on that extra ingredient.

Fried Chicken Recipe

This recipe changes as my bread available changes.  Costco stopped selling the good Ciabatta bread they used to.  I hope its only temporary.  I use their Rosemary bread now or have to track down Ciabatta somewhere else or just use what I have.  Sourdough bread was even fairly good once.  Whole grain bread does not work for this.

Basic Quiche Recipe

Quiche... The fancy dumpster dive in the fridge for vegetables and other small amounts of leftovers that wouldn't be enough for a meal on their own to add that is usually better than some wierd goulash.  You could always take the same dive and put it in a blender with tomato sauce to serve over pasta, but this is a nice change.

Funeral Potato's Recipe

Yes, this is the "Jello of all casseroles".  How do you make it without Cream of Genericness Soup so that it is soy free?  Well..... Substitute another pint of sour cream instead of Cream of Soy flavor of the month Soup and add some diced chicken or chicken broth.  Extra cheese never hurts either.  Another thing that doesn't hurt is to double or triple the amount of corn flake topping.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cameron's Vegetable Chili

Oh, the memories of living in China back in 1989.  This is the family recipe originated by Cameron when he was very young and helping in the kitchen.  So.... yes when we typed it up, we had to include the portrait of Cameron in the enamel painted and peeling iron tub in the bathroom of our Beijing apartment.  Next to the tub was the "throne" toilet up a step higher and directly across from the tub was a table that was our kitchen.

Greek Chicken Meal Recipes when Moussaka isn't available

Moussaka is my favorite but when I don't have eggplant, this meal really is a close tie.  I love this Greek meal as it is made up of the things I love most at greek restaurants tweeked to the taste of our family.  The Menu includes:
Avgolemono Lemon Soup, Greek Salad, Greek Chicken, Honey Rice, Pita Bread, and Tzatziki Sauce.
Start with  Lemon Soup if you like it.  I've had some that are kind of curdled eggy and sort of slimy but this recipe is just about right.  Sometimes we have it and sometimes we don't.

Greek Salad for our family is flexible with the ingredients but very hard to have without cucumber and if its just cucumber, that's fine.  I love the Greek Olives although the rest of the family doesn't so I add them to my salad afterwards.  The dressing is too strong and salty for some, so have it on the side to toss individual portions if you're unsure.

This recipe for Greek Chicken and Rice is so easy and I like to make double to make sure to have leftovers.  Everyone in the family also loves the Honey Rice that goes with it.

Pita Bread ( I make it from scratch but storebought works fine) is impossible for our family to have without Tzatziki Sauce similar to it being difficult to not have a good Balsamic vinegar and olive oil for Italian bread to dip in. The sauce recipe is adapted to the taste of our family and the supplies that we easily have on hand.  It tastes better as it sits and we put it on all kinds of things for the next few days until it is gone.

Leftover Chicken and salad and tzaziki sauce are wonderful the next day with feta cheese for Greek Pizza.

Moussaka Recipe

I fell in love with Moussaka while staying in Athen, Greece many, many years ago.  For the few days to a week we stayed at the Hilton or Sheraton, I ate Moussaka for lunch and/or dinner in the hotel restaurant almost daily.  Of course, we ate at other places in town and one nice small place on the water along the coast but the Moussaka was my favorite food in Greece.

I searched for recipes over the years and many had potatoes or other ingredients that just didn't bring back the taste of what I had remembered being served from the casserole on the side table at the restaurant in Greece.

Finally after trial and error and adaptations, I developed this version that our family loves and that is much easier than other recipes I tried to make.  Doubling the bechamel sauce never hurts and be careful and keep checking when you do the broiler for 10 minutes because different ovens brown or burn in as little as 3-5 minutes.