Camping Kabobs

Weekend before last we went camping.

Seth was cleaning off his desk and found our pass for the Tyler State Park, which expires in January.  I’d wanted to go camping for a while, and when he found it, he said, “Well, this weekend or next?”

I picked next.  The weather was fine, I wanted time to prepare, what could go wrong?

Next weekend rolled around, at a brisk 37 degrees, and a need for gloves hats and jackets.  Hauling everything out to the truck I was groaning.  “This was MY idea.  I can’t complain about the cold because it was MY idea.”

But we braved it out anyway.  We’d invited a family we’re good friends with to go with us.  And we had a wonderful time.  Despite the cold.  It warmed up during the day enough for the kids to run around without jackets and hats, although I made Jack stay pretty bundled up…  Because I’m a mom.

I’d tried to get out our owl hats from last year, but sadly, Jack had outgrown his.  So I think I’ll make a family of dinosaur hats for this year.  Meanwhile, we found one of those dollar hats at Wal-Mart to make him wear.

I think one of his favorite parts was eating hot dogs.

We ate a LOT of hot dogs.

And Carrie made smores in a pot.  We couldn’t find kosher marshmallows so we used marshmallow creme, and wrapped everything in foil.  It was pretty awesome.

Then for dinner, when we were tired of hot dogs and in need of some vegetation,

Seth made some delicious kabobs.

They were a perfect end to the evening.  Along with some hot chocolate that may have had a splash of rum in it.  Shhh!

Anyway.  I wanted to share Seth’s Kabob recipe with you.  Because it was wonderful.

Kabobs are simple, and easy.

1 chuck roast or rump roast cut into chunks

your favorite vegetables.  We used

Zucchini

mushrooms

bell peppers

purple onions

Montreal steak seasoning

Kabob sticks

You can also do cherry tomatoes, pineapple, figs, really whatever you want…

The meat we sprinkled liberally with Montreal steak seasoning and then let it set in a bag in the cooler overnight to let the seasoning sink it.

Once your fire is nice and hot, layer your meat and veggies on your sticks until it’s loaded to your satisfaction.

Then place on the grill, turning every so often until the meat is cooked to your satisfaction.

Remove and enjoy.

I know we did.

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A Slightly Different View

A few weeks ago, I read this article:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/16/organic-food-part-four.aspx?fb_ref=fbLike&fb_source=home_multiline

It was posted by a dear friend of mine.

But it sorta really got under my skin.

I would like to establish some things though.

1.  I love organic food, and any chance I get to shop at Whole Foods, or Earth Fare, Trader Joes, I revel in it.

2.  I am all for healthy eating.  I make 99 % of our meals from scratch, I grew up making food that way, and it makes me happy.  It’s far cheaper, and wholesome.

3.  People who buy only processed food do probably spend more than people buying produce, meat, dairy, flour, ect, and making their own.  Unless they live on Ramen.  And sometimes you have to.

Continuing.

I get irritated because so many of the budgets for, “healthy families”, range between $100-$150ish a week range.  Granted the price of food is going up every day, but for the small families I’ve seen this figure based for, this, for our family, is too much.

I don’t often see budgets of $30 – $70 a week or so proclaiming how to eat better.

Some people have told me that they don’t buy produce because they can’t afford organic, and they believe it’s better to simply not eat fresh fruits and vegetables because of the pesticides they’re sprayed with.

I think we all do the best we can, and I know there’s a reason my family says a blessing over our food before we eat it.

Anyway, for those of us with smaller budgets, who want to eat better, I do buy produce at Wal-Mart.  The non organic kind.  Have you seen the ‘organic’ stuff at Wal-Mart?  It looks disgusting.  The organic produce they sell at Whole Foods ect. is fresh and lovely.  This is not usually the case that I’ve found at our local grocery stores.  But maybe it’s just me who has an aversion to buying wilted greens and vegetables that look at least a month old.

I have started a garden in the back yard, and I’m really hoping for fresh vegetables later on this year.  Gardens are a great money saver.  But they do take time, energy, and something of a green thumb.

Meats?  Good grief meat is expensive.  One pound of organic ground beef at Whole Foods is around $8 a pound.  If you can swing that, good for you.  I can’t.  The $4 it costs at Wal-Mart for stuff that maybe isn’t as good is still expensive for us.  Buying locally?  Not always as easy as it seems if you don’t live in the country, and still a ways out of our price range.  Would I if I could?  Yes.  Can I?  No.  But I still do the best I can for my family, and I really don’t appreciate being classed as one of those poisoning my family with junk just because it isn’t organic.

Breads and grains?  If we eat pancakes or muffins ect, I make them myself in the morning. And not from a box.  I do buy sandwich bread, and I do my best to find the ones without high fructose corn syrup and other such atrocities, without spending $5 dollars for a loaf of bread.

Dairy and eggs.  The organic gallon of whole milk at Wal-Mart that is the great value kind, is over six dollars.  Cheese, butter, and eggs, in small amounts, organic, all range from the 3-5 dollar radius.  If I were buying organic then, so far,

1 lb ground beef – one meal with leftovers in our house – 8

milk – 6

eggs – 4

bread – 5

If my budget is 30-40 dollars for a week..  That’s already $23 of my money.  And that is only basic staples.

These are whole food prices.  Whole Foods is outrageous.  What I’m trying to say though, is that while it may be possible for you to eat organic, it really isn’t possible for everyone.  Do I think buying only processed foods is acceptable on a low-budget?  No.  I had a $25 grocery week budget one week, and managed with $17

We had

Red beans and rice – two meals

Chicken Tortilla soup – this was at least two or three meals

Burgers and sweet potato chips

another ground beef meal…  I don’t remember

Eggs for breakfasts, ect.

Now, I did have some staples at the house already and I built off of those. Also, I mainly plan dinner meals and use leftovers for lunch.  With a few things for breakfast.  People do what they can with what they have.  There are a lot of people uneducated about food, but I think teaching them the basics of cooking, and eating from scratch should be the start.  Not demanding they buy organic, which is out of many of our reach.

I guess I’m finished with my rant now.  Thank you for your time.

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Zebras and Lambs and Monkeys

Life has been something of a merry-go-round.  Seth and I have been working on the house evenings when he get’s home from work.  Hopefully I’ll get pictures soon.  But we’ve been exhausted when we get back at night.

So far we have the dining room painted, one wall in the living room, and today hopefully we’ll have paint from one side of the house to the other.

*hopes hopes hopes*

When I’m not at the house painting, and fetching drinks, and handing tools up ladders, I’ve been playing with wool at home.

I really love this little guy. https://www.etsy.com/listing/107055958/zac-the-zebra

And Lion and lamb themes are just awesome. https://www.etsy.com/listing/106970542/lizzy-the-lamb?ref=v1_other_2

And Monkey’s named Babu…  There is a reason.   https://www.etsy.com/listing/107619363/babu-the-monkey?ref=v1_other_1

Little man goes around saying “Baaboo” a lot.  It’s so cute.  So therefore the monkey is named.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dinosaurs, Lions, and Hats Oh My!

A week ago I got back from NC where I taught a class for a camp.  My class was on fiber arts, mainly crocheting, but we did start processing a fleece too, mid-week.  We got it all washed and dried and ready to card.

 

I had the greatest kids ever.

This isn’t all of them.  One didn’t join us until Wednesday due to another camp she had been at, and one transferred from another class to mine on Tuesday.  Without fail, they all finished the projects they started.  Some more than one.  As this isn’t always the case, I was very proud of them.

I don’t have pictures of the finished products yet, but when I do, I will post them.  Because they were wonderful.

And they got along enough on their own that I got to make something too.  It was so exciting.

Jack enjoyed camp too.

 

Especially when he discovered the fig trees.

 

 

We ate a lot of figs that week.

Anyway, since I’ve been home, I’ve been on a crocheting spree.

 

I made a dinosaur.

 

And another lion.

 

I like lions.

 

And a dinosaur hat.

 

Dinosaur hats make me happy.

 

They make little people happy too.

 

And…  I’m running out of yarn, so I brought home more fleece last night to spin and dye so I can keep making things…

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TabisCreations

You can find all these things and more at the link above.  Please check em out.  That makes me happy too.

 

 

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Little Man and Jalapeno Jelly

Things have been rather busy as of late.

I want it noted that Jack did the boots all by himself.  He likes to pretend he’s daddy.

He also got a new car seat.  Now he can see all the cars on the road. We hear lots of car noises.

He’s decided he LOVES reading books.  As of about three weeks ago.  And he’ll sit through even the longest ones I dare read him.  He may get squirmy, but he’s a champ.  Although he does insist we read his favorite dinosaur book every day.  He does all the roaring and squeaking to accompany it.

This week however hasn’t been so pleasant.  Along with far too much personal tragedy, Jack caught pink eye from somewhere, and at the same time, has four baby molars coming through.

We’ve had lots of screaming and crying.  From Jack AND Mommy.

However, despite all this, I’m rather proud of all the canning I’ve been able to get done this summer.

The biggest thing I’ve been making is this:

Glorious Jalapeno Jelly.

First Seth’s grandparents brought over a lovely bag of it for us, so I whipped up a batch.

Then a friend had some, and asked me to make him some…

So I did.

Then my Mother-in-law left for Montana taking a car load of teenagers to camp, and needed to make gift baskets for the lovely people they’re staying with on the way.

So she bought me more jalapenos to make jelly for them too.

And finally, our neighbors at our new house, have a garden that is bursting with tomatoes and jalapenos.

So guess what I’m making today?

I love this recipe.  It’s SO simple.

1 lb Jalapenos, or other hot peppers of your choice.

2 cups apple cider vinegar

6 cups of sugar

2  3oz packets of liquid pectin.

other supplies:

Jars and jar lids

large canning pot

Jar remover thing from hot water…  I think it’s called a jar lifter

funnel

towel

tongs

In your large canning pot, fill it to where the water will cover your jars standing up.  Then put it on to boil.  When it does, put in all your empty jars and lids to sterilize for ten minutes.  The tongs are good for putting the empty jars in and taking them out, it’s easier to get them in and out of the water without getting splashed.

Meanwhile, cut the stems off your jalapenos, slice them lengthwise and remove the seeds.  (doesn’t have to be perfect.)

Then put them in a blender or food processor with one cup of vinegar and puree.

Pour blended jalapenos into another pot and add the rest of the vinegar and the sugar.  Bring to a boil.

Then add your pectin, mix well, and bring it back to a hard boil.  Let cook for about ten minutes, then turn your heat off, and spoon mixture into your jars via the funnel.

Leave about a quarter-inch of space at the top of the jars.

Screw the lids down tight, and then put full jars back in the boiling water for about ten minutes.

Remove with the Jar lifter, and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours on a towel.

Store in pantry.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers, spread on fried chicken…  put it on whatever you think it should be on really…  there are no limits.

You won’t regret it.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

I had a visitor last week.  He was just learning how to fly.

And he obligingly let me take lots of pictures of him while he posed fearlessly, preparing for his next flight.

I thought he was cute.

Anyway, in my ‘about me’ section, or whatever it is, I mention that although I love cooking with raw and natural foods, I’m not opposed to cans and boxes when the need arises.

And for me, the need arises occasionally for Chicken Tortilla Soup.

If you are anti-can, this recipe is not for you.

If you like huge chunks of avocado floating around, this recipe is not for you.

If you insist all your recipes be made from completely organic, raw vegetables that you cut up and process yourself, this recipe is not for you.

If you want something simple, fast, incredibly tasty, and it’s a bit of a hard week and you could use some leftovers for future meals.  This recipe is totally for you.

This recipe is an old family friends.  I love it dearly.  It goes wonderfully with this cornbread recipe too.

Chicken Tortilla soup.

3 cloves garlic minced

1 onion, chopped small

1/4 cup butter

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup lime juice

3/4 cup cilantro

4 corn tortillas chopped into bite sized pieces

1 can ro-tel tomatoes and chilis

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can corn

1 can black beans

4 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

cheese

corn chips

In a large soup pot, saute your onions and garlic in butter until onions get that clear finished color.

Add chicken and brown.  When chicken is mostly done, pour in the lime juice and let simmer for about two minutes.

Add your tortillas, corn, beans, ro-tel, cream of chicken soup, cilantro, salt, pepper, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for about.. ten or fifteen minutes until all the flavors have melded together.

Serve with cornbread, or corn chips and top with your favorite shredded cheese.

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Cornbread Better Than the Box

The girls went blueberry picking last week.

Jack got to try them for the first time.  He wasn’t real sure what to make of them.  We discovered that if you gave him one at a time, he would happily eat them without  complaint.

We also discovered if you gave him more than one at a time, he would bite into them, spit them out, and then bite into the next one.

I don’t know.  I really don’t.

Anyway, with everyone coming home from Pre-teen camp today, and me having dinner ready for them when they get home, I thought I’d make some pot roast with blueberry cobbler for dessert.

That… is not what I’m going to share with you today.

The other day I made chicken tortilla soup with cornbread.

Today I’m going to share the cornbread with you.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

It’s quite good.

Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp oil

1 egg

1 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 420* and oil a large cast iron skillet.  Place oiled skillet in the oven to warm up.  It’ll give the cornbread a lovely crunchy edge.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.

Add wet, and mix until combined.

Pour into hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

If you’re like me… you’ll then crumble it into a glass and pour milk over the top…

It’s so very good.

P.S.  I’ll share my blueberry cobbler with you someday… after I see how it turns out.

P.P.S.  If you’re totally disappointed and craving blueberries…  it’s totally ok to mix a cup of them into your cornbread.  Trust me on this, it’s amazing.

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