Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chicken Garlic Parmesan Pizza

That thing about my husband loving Buffalo Wild Wings?  Did I mention my 4-year-old son loves it too because there is always at least one TV playing hockey and there is a Red Wings jersey on the wall of our local one - oh yeah, and they have mac-n-cheese, so, of course...  They always order the same foods but I love to order different things much of the time and try to come up with copycat recipes I can make at home - BW3 makes that easier because they sell bottles of the sauce to take home.  Well, last time we were there I tried the Garlic Parmesan Flatbread Pizza and everyone else ended up eating it with me because it looked and smelled so great.  So we grabbed another bottle of sauce for the road and I thought I'd try making a similar version at home.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Peeks of the Weekend Action

Just in case you think the slow-down on posting means we're resting on our laurels around here, a little photographic evidence to the contrary!  While this would be a lovely little spot to curl up and hide (as the kids often do), I have not had time for more than a momentary perch on these lovely cushions I found on clearance this weekend for less than I could buy one deep seat cushion.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Farmers Market Friday - Farmers Market Blogs

Welcome to Farmer's Market Friday!  Today I have a roundup of 20 great farmer's markets with blogs of their own.  Fun pictures, basic info on hours and locations, features on vendors and recipes and tips on how to use the goodies you can find there - take a peek and be sure to visit if you are in the area!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Fairy House and a Guest Post

Hello, friends!  If you've seen those fantastical fairy houses for fairy gardens that all the garden centers and gift shops are starting to sell but can't afford the large price tags involved, this sweet little project is just for you.  I've got an adorable little fairy house to share with you but there's a little trick...you'll have to visit Diana Rambles to see how its done because that's where I'm guest posting today.  :)  
And while you are visiting Diana, be sure to take a peek around her blog - she's got fun crafts/DYI projects and an awesome toffee bark recipe!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Garlic Parmesan Steak and Mushrooms

You know you've hit on something good when the hubby takes a bite and says "I hope you took a picture of this to put on your blog!"  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cheeseburger and Fries Hot Pockets

We eat a lot of leftovers in my house.  When I was growing up there wasn't a lot that went to waste.  Growing up in the country you learn that every part has its purpose and almost everything can be used for something if you can just figure out what it is.  The thought of throwing away food just because we ate it the night before was just not a concept that was even considered.  Farmyards and barns are usually full of odds and ends just waiting for a job and I look at my fridge the same way.  The trick is to use the leftovers in a way that they are not recognized as the same meal.  If you keep an open mind when considering your ingredients and you always keep a few favorite basics on hand the possibilities become virtually endless.

This little cheeseburger and fries pocket was born out of - leftover cooked ground beef, a package of shredded hashbrowns in the freezer, ketchup, mustard, relish, shredded colby jack, and a recipe for pizza dough.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

KFC Fried Chicken Tacos

Got a few leftover pieces of fried chicken?  The gang will never know they are eating leftovers with this tasty taco.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hawaiian Yogurt Parfait

You've heard it before but I'll say it again - yogurt parfaits are one of the most popular snacks, desserts, side dishes in our house.  They are easy, quick and inexpensive to make.  Best of all, its easy to be creative because there are a ton of pantry and fridge tidbits that make for great parfaits.  My daughter created this cool little snack for herself and her brother last night after hockey - its one of the things I don't mind them eating if they are starving while I am cooking dinner.  Sliced bananas (at 9 she can slice them herself with a butter knife), vanilla yogurt and a dollop of pineapple ice cream topping.  We didn't have any on hand but a sprinkling of macadamia nuts or coconut would be perfect.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's Hot - Fire Up that Grill!

We are having what is officially a scorcher here in Michigan, land of the ever-changing weather, and when its this hot and the A/C is running all the time that means those grills get fired up.  If you are looking for some inspiration to change up your usual grilling routine, there are a lot of great ideas out there but I am drooling over these offerings being featured at Carole's Chatter...including my Open-Faced Bacon Burger recipe pictured above.  If you haven't stopped by Carole's Chatter before, she's got a great site categorized by ingredient or food type such as breakfast.  Clicking on the food name takes you to not only tips on what goes well with an item and how to prepare it, but also to a link-up so you'll find a list of tasty recipes posted by all kinds of bloggers to open up a world of new ideas to inspire your cooking! Here are a few more of my grill-friendly recipes for you (some of these were done in the skillet or broiler but work equally well for grilling):

Deluxe Grill Packets
Herbed Sweet Corn and Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks
Blackened Chicken Legs

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kids Cook - Tortilla Soup

My daughter came home with a recipe she was very excited about making.  One of the summer camp theme weeks had been "kids cook" and they had researched recipes online and copied ones they wanted to try making into little construction paper cookbooks.  I don't know where she found the original recipe but it turned out excellent - although we did make a few substitutions based on what we already had on hand.  It has good spice but not too hot for kids.  It was easy for her to make - she used the mini food processor to dice the veggies herself.  Not a drop of this soup went to waste!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Farmer's Market Friday - A Round-up

Life has changed well-laid plans and I have been unable to make it out to another farmer's market to do a feature so here instead is a round-up of farmer's market posts, articles and recipes from around the net.  There are some lovely folks and a lot of great information here so be sure to check them out.  Happy Friday!

Sites with links to local farmer's markets:

I Love My Farmer's Market
Local Harvest
USDA National Farmers Market Directory

Bloggers and articles talking about farmer's markets:

The New Elizabeth - The Top 5 Reasons I Enjoy Going to My Local Farmer's Market
The Owl's Skull - Bees, Basil and Summer Spaghetti (The Farmer's Market is Open!)
Fia's Maine Kitchen - Farmers' Market Fresh (Part 1)
Indiana Insider Blog - Tips for a Trip to the Farmer's Market
Tilly's Nest - A Farmer's Market
Vienna Patch - Could You Shop Only at the Farmer's Market?
Agoura Hills Patch - The Benefits of Shopping at Your Local Farmer's Market
Eating Well - 7 Reasons to Eat and Cook from the Farmer's Market

Farmer's market recipes:

Southern Living - 37 Summer Farmer's Market Recipes
FarmFresh.org - Recipes in Spanish and English
AllRecipes.com - From Farm to Table (recipes sorted by the vegetable or fruit)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Peek at the Pallet Garden

Here's a look at what's growing (and what's not) in the pallet garden:
First off, let's just pretend that giant burdock is not thriving by the chair...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Your New Favorite Sandwich

This buttery, spicy, gooey sandwich will be your new favorite.  Not only for its awesome richness but also for the easy at which you can whip together a tray of them and impress guests of any age.  This is another creation introduced to me by my mother-in-law.  She usually makes a tray or two of these at Christmas to appease the restless crowd while we await the main meal.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bumbling Bees on the Old-Fashioned Rose

This lovely old-fashioned rose smells divine as it blooms for several weeks.  
It sprawls along one side of the deck at the old house and seems to spread quite easily so I'm hoping to be able to transplant a few starts to the new house to ramble along the back deck there.  It gets lovely big rose hips once the blooms are gone.
Its strong smell is a beacon for bees of all sorts and sizes and it has been humming along with activity for a little over two weeks.  Mornings are especially busy but they don't seem to be too bothered with our comings and goings.  Even the kids (who have terrible bug phobias) have gotten used to these little visitors and discuss what a wonderful job they are doing and wondering if their honey tastes like roses.  They have gotten a little more brave in the past few days and checked out the technique the little fat fuzzy bumbly bees have as they roll their rotund little bodies around to gather as much pollen as possible.  
Big sister has even convinced Little Man that bees are our friends because without them our little strawberry plant flowers would not make strawberries and so on.  (Another reason I don't like to use chemicals on the garden and around the yard if we don't absolutely have to.)  We are honored to have these little visitors happily humming along in our garden - earlier in the season they spent lots of time at the redbud tree at the new house and on the chive blossoms.  

Several of my friends have commented that they do not seem to have any bees visiting this year and are concerned about their garden outputs.  
Are you seeing the usual amount of bees in your garden this year?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Farmers Market Friday - Lessons for Kids

Hello and welcome to Farmer's Market Friday!  I want to tell you why I love taking my kids to the farmers market and why they love going so much.  To start, the farmers market is a fun, relaxed place where kids can touch, smell, and ask questions.  No one usually seems to be in a big hurry, there are pleasant smells and pretty things to look at, and people are generally pretty pleasant (I mean what really is there to be unpleasant about at a farmers market?).  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pudding Pops and Yogurt Pops

What better way to celebrate the 4th than with homemade frozen treats like popsicles and pudding pops!  Summer's heat is just really starting to kick in and with all that is going on we often don't feel like eating a whole lot but something cool and juicy sounds good.  With that in mind, the kids and I stocked up on some frozen treat making supplies at the store and made the first batch Sunday afternoon.  
Little Man helped with the pudding pops - guess we should have made a double batch because one box only made 5...  This was just chocolate pudding made according to the directions.  Pour it in small plastic cups and plop a stick in the center.
Princess helped with the yogurt pops - one large container of vanilla yogurt placed in the blender.  Then fill the blender the rest of the way (about half yogurt, half juice) with whatever juice sounds good - we used strawberry-peach.  Blend well and then pour into cups and add the sticks.  This made a full blender and about a dozen yogurt pops.  

I like to do homemade popsicles like this in big batches on a cookie sheet and stick the whole deal in my upright freezer in the garage (good thing we are mostly out of venison so there is room for this in the summer!).  They usually get consumed within a couple of days but if they will be there longer, once they are frozen you can put them in 2-gallon ziplock baggies to keep them fresh.  Here's a recipe for a  fruity popsicle you'll love (and it makes enough for that 4th of July crowd too)!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Homemade Bug Spray Recipe

With the constant rain we have had in Michigan this year the bugs have been horrible and we have gone through sprays like crazy.  We all have allergies and sensitive skin and the horses are a little sensitive to citronella that is in a lot of the horse sprays.  (Plus I forgot to stop at the feed store and get more spray for the horses...)  So I decided to whip up a little homemade concoction this weekend to try.  I just went with what I had on hand - white vinegar, lemon-scented dish soap, eucalyptus-mint scented bath salts, and baby oil.  I started by heating a mug of water (8 oz.) in the microwave for 3 minutes.  I added two heaping teaspoons of the bath salts to the hot water and stirred until dissolved.  I poured this mix into my spray bottle.  To this I added 2 oz. baby oil, 3 teaspoons lemon-scented dish soap and 2 cups of vinegar.  I added just enough water to fill the bottle the rest of the way.  Then I put on the top and shook until well combined.  

This mix smells pretty good although you can smell the vinegar a bit.  I sprayed it on myself and it worked to keep the flies and mosquitoes away for the couple of hours I mowed.  I also sprayed this on the horses and goat while I picketed them out to eat in the field.  I also put it on the dogs.  (I sprayed it on my hands and wiped it on their faces and ears to avoid getting it in their eyes or nose.)  When I initially sprayed them, it did immediately kill all the flies and mosquitoes that were on them.  While its not a long-term spray, it was effective for about 4 hours.  When I went to bring them in at dusk it was not working as well so I re-applied.  It did not seem to irritate them and added a nice sheen to their coats.  On me, it wasn't bad to smell and it wasn't greasy or oily.  I would say this is better for a short-term repellent.  I don't know yet if it works for the more aggressive flies like deer flies but it was fine on the normal house/yard flies, gnats and mosquitoes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New House Reno Update - The Master Bathroom

As with most of the rooms, we still have some work to do in the master bathroom but it has gone through a dramatic change already.  It started out like this...

I know, right?  It drove me nuts.  So while hubby was working on stuff downstairs, I stayed out of the way and tackled this.