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Tag: easy

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking chocolate chip cookies with the kids is one of my favorite family activities. When we had to go dairy and gluten free I was a little upset but I found a way to make chocolate chip cookies with some easy substitutions. Back when we […]

A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 2: Adjusting our Grocery Spending

A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 2: Adjusting our Grocery Spending

A little while ago I wrote about how we have been working on our budget and how I use Quicken to track our finances.  I love the Savings Goals category and it has helped us tremendously the last few months to keep track of how […]

Blueberry Picking 2017

Blueberry Picking 2017

We have had a super busy summer and I was really bummed that we missed the July blueberry picking season. Our bushes are only a couple of years old and don’t produce anywhere near enough berries for us to freeze. They were eagerly eaten every day by the kids with very few to spare. I was super excited to hear from another mom at gymnastics that there was a local U-pick farm that still had blueberries! We cancelled our plans to try an easy hike with the kids and headed out to pick as many blueberries as we could manage.

 

 

The farm we went to was super close and I am really glad I found it because the blueberries were delicious! My blueberry hating husband even liked them and actually ate a few. The kids of course ate themselves silly and enjoyed every moment of it!

 

 

We grabbed a couple of smaller buckets and one gigantic 5 gallon bucket to consolidate our berries into. It was a pretty hot day and we were worried about the kids overheating so we picked at lightening speed. Luckily blueberries are much easier to pick than raspberries or strawberries because you do not have to be super careful about placing them into your container.  I just placed my bucket underneath a large blueberry covered branch and let them fall into the bucket as I massaged them off of the branches.  It took us less than an hour to fill our five gallon bucket with over 20 pounds of blueberries!

 

 

The biggest issue we had was the fear of losing one or both of the kids.  The bushes were overgrown and touching each other in many places so you could not see down the rows at all.  We split up with one kid each and made the kids wear their hats for both eye protection and visibility.  I highly advise buying your kids neon hats and jackets so you can easily pick them out in a crowd of people or when you are outside with them.  It was really easy to keep track of my son’s bright orange Tigger hat even when I couldn’t see the rest of him.

 

 

I don’t remember what type of blueberry we picked but they were not organic (which I found out later on). Next time we will try and find an organic blueberry farm to pick from or I will see if the farm we went to has some that are organic.  There were tons of them on the bushes though and we did not have to walk very far to pick all that we needed.

 

 

We did however come home with two half flats of berries and I am super excited to eat them this winter!

 

 

 

I immediately started freezing our berries in batches on a cookie sheet.  We froze about three gallons total and I still have a half flat left.  We have made blueberry jam in the past but we typically do not eat enough of it so we decided not to this year.  We also have tons of raspberry jam which will be plenty of jam for us!

 

 

All week we have been eating blueberries on our cereal and our ice cream and the kids and I absolutely love it! We haven’t decided what to do with the rest of the berries yet and we may try to dry some of them in the dehydrator but I am really hoping my husband will make his famous blueberry peach pie!

 

Did you pick blueberries this year? What are some of the ways you prepared them?

 

 

Guest Post: Toum (Garlic Sauce)

Guest Post: Toum (Garlic Sauce)

Hello, Mr. Oscoey here. If you don’t love garlic, you should probably just move on to the next post. If you love garlic as much as my family does, or you have a vampire problem, read on. I don’t remember when I first ran across […]

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Banana Bread

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Banana Bread

Banana bread was one of those things I always meant to make but never got around to. We would put bananas in the freezer and inevitably forget about them. I have tossed so many bananas into the yard waste I can’t even remember. Part of […]

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

We have been trying to eat both healthier and cheaper in our house and besides beans one of the ways I have been trying to do that is to add more squash into our diet.  I love squash.  I am really excited about our zucchini and spaghetti squash plants.  The rest of my family is more than a little apprehensive.  The little kids are hit and miss when it comes to squash and my oldest daughter is strongly positioned in the squash is disgusting camp. My husband is not a huge fan but he will eat it…sometimes. Costco has organic butternut squash for a reasonable price that has been cured so it will store well in our pantry.  I highly recommend buying and storing a couple of butternut and spaghetti squash in your pantry as part of an emergency kit/last minute dinner idea.  As long as they have no blemishes they should be good for months in a cool dry place.  We usually have at least one type on hand and when we are stuck in a vegetable rut or having a lean grocery week I pull out the squash.  Usually one squash is good for a few meals since they are pretty large but it depends on how excited the family is about eating it that particular week.

 

This week I had a craving for my vegetarian butternut squash burritos.  They are super easy to make and can be adapted to make rice bowls so they are gluten free. Sometimes I add a garlic sauce or some of my husband’s white barbecue sauce but if you are trying to eat healthier they should be eaten without the sauce.  We always have rice and tortillas on hand so this recipe doesn’t require and extra trip to the grocery store for us if we have avocados on hand.

 

 

First thing to do is slice your squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  I usually put the rice in the rice cooker at this point as well.  You can make as much as you need but I usually make 3 cups of rice since we eat it with other things as leftovers.

 

 

Next your squash needs to be peeled.  They can get slippery so be careful how you hold it while you peel.

 

 

While I was assembling everything the kids played with Play-doh. Luckily they didn’t make too much of a mess!

 

 

After peeling dice the squash and put it in a steamer.  We have an old Revere Ware one that we inherited from my mother-in-law that is the true workhorse of our kitchen. You can find similar ones here.

 

 

Tonight I also made some roasted sweet potatoes in case the kids wouldn’t eat their squash.  Good thing I did because the kids were apparently craving them and ate most of the three large potatoes I baked on their own.

 

 

After the squash and rice were cooked I set up our assembly station. I sliced avocados to order and it was an excellent meal. My son actually ate some avocados and my daughter ate a ton of squash so overall it was a success! We had oranges for dessert which is another way to keep the meal healthy.  The kids had a post-dinner snack of most of the sweet potatoes which was hilarious because our son used them to get the dachshund to chase him around the house. He found it hilarious and she got a few pieces so it worked out for her as well.

 

 

Our avocados were not as ripe as they promised to be but they still tasted delicious with the squash and rice. I am hoping next year to grow our own butternut squash but for now, the ones I find at Costco are by far the most delicious. They have a smooth texture and a not too sweet taste that I love.  For some reason this combination of rice, avocados and butternut squash is really appealing to me.  The three ingredients really balance each other out and it makes a quick and easy meal that the whole family enjoys!

 

How are you incorporating squash into your meals?

 

Easy Vegetarian Squash Burritos

June 22, 2017
: 5-6
: 20 min
: 30 min
: 50 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Butternut Squash
  • 3 Cups Cooked Rice
  • Large Flour Tortillas
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut your butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. The extra half can be stored in the fridge covered in plastic wrap for a few days or you can do the next step and put it in the freezer for later use.
  • Step 2 Using a vegetable peeler carefully peel the skin off of the squash.
  • Step 3 Once peeled dice the squash into bite size pieces and put in a steamer pot.
  • Step 4 Cook for 20 min or until tender.
  • Step 5 Slice your avocados just prior to serving.
  • Step 6 Assemble your burritos! Start with a tortilla and add rice, avocados, squash, salt and pepper to taste. If you have some creamy sauce around you can add that as well but it will not be as healthy. You can also skip the tortilla and make a rice bowl if you want to cut out the wheat to make it gluten free.

Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 2: Jam Making

Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 2: Jam Making

A few days ago I posted about our strawberry picking and how we froze and dried the berries.  We have been snacking on the dried berries all week and they are delicious!  On top of drying and freezing our berries we also made two batches […]

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

My daughter loves to play with baking soda and vinegar. She always helps me deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring the vinegar down the drain and making bubbles.  Today my son got to watch and he was fascinated.     We were talking about how […]

Hummus from Scratch

Hummus from Scratch

We have always been big fans of hummus. For a long time we bought organic canned garbanzo beans and made hummus from those but we have been trying to make as much of our food from scratch as we can so about a year ago we switched to this recipe from Serious Eats and it is honestly the best hummus I have ever eaten! In a pinch you could still use canned garbanzo beans after the cooking step but the fresh ones are really much better tasting.  We buy our garbanzo beans in bulk off of Amazon from a local company called Palouse Brand They are made in Washington, non-GMO, organic and the best tasting garbanzo beans we have tried so far.  We also order our Tahini in bulk from Amazon as well but I think you can find it in any grocery store.  We just eat a lot of hummus so buying in bulk is much cheaper.  

 

 

A few months ago we decided to both eat healthier and try to cut back on our grocery expenses so we could spend more money fixing up the house. One of the ways we have tried to accomplish this is to add beans to our diet.  We tried refried beans, baked beans, adding canned beans to our dishes and hummus.  Although we love all of the bean options we tried, making a batch of hummus every week was the easiest way for us to be consistent about it. We just soak the beans overnight on Saturday night and then my husband cooks them when we have time on Sunday.  It doesn’t take long to cook and you can have it on another burner while you are cooking dinner to save time.  I eat a hummus wrap for lunch most days with leftovers on the inside (to reduce food waste) and the kids love eating it with a spoon for an afternoon treat. You can also put it on crackers, toast with a runny fried egg for breakfast, dip vegetables in it or even add a little hot sauce and use it as a healthier dip for chips.  We love hummus!

 

 

Put your beans into a bowl with double the volume of water and let soak overnight.

 

 

Soaked beans looking a little fluffier!

 

 

Drain your beans and place them into a pot with the baking soda. Cook for a few minutes then add your water and bring to a boil.

 

 

Skim off any foam or skins that pop up and cook for about 20-40 minutes until the beans are very tender but not mushy.

 

 

Drain your chickpeas and put into the food processor. Run it until you get a stiff paste.

 

 

While it is still running add your lemon, tahini, garlic and salt. Then slowly add your ice water and run for another 5 minutes until the hummus is smooth and creamy.

 

 

And there you have it! Super smooth hummus ready to eat! This week when we made it the kids ate a bunch of it still warm from the food processor with spoons.  It was great to see them enjoying such a healthy snack!

 

Happy cooking!

 

Hummus by Serious Eats

June 6, 2017
: 6
: 12 hr
: 45 min
: 12 hr 45 min
: Easy

Make delicious hummus from scratch!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6.5 cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp light tahini sauce
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons/100 ml ice-cold water
  • salt
Directions
  • Step 1 The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  • Step 2 The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  • Step 3 Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  • Step 4 Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
First Fire Pit S’mores!

First Fire Pit S’mores!

My husband has wanted a fire pit ever since I can remember and once we moved into our house we knew we would get one.  Last year we never got around to it but a few days ago we decided to take the plunge.  We […]