Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pathfinders/D&D- What we do for our kids

I love my boys. They are getting older and really not wanting to do any of the "fun" stuff that I try to get them to do. (Making bird feeders, painting crafts, baking, etc...) So what is a mom to teen/tweens to do? I didn't know, so I asked them. They expressed that they would like me to play Pathfinder with them. This is something they just started doing with the neighbor kids.
What is Pathfinder? Well, my kids have a long explanation, but it's basically a Role Playing Game like Dungeons and Dragons. Something I figured I would never play.
I have not played it yet. I was told step one is to create a character. So I have this long sheet to fill out. Having never played it before I am a bit overwhelmed as I don't know what to pick for certain things. I'm just trying to roll with it. There is a little spot for a picture. YIPEE! This I can do. So I doodled a little character picture. Then the kids said, that doesn't look anything like the player piece you get. I looked at my player piece and I didn't like it one bit. So again, back into my comfort zone, I made my own player piece out of Shrinky Dinks. I free hand drew it, but I took a lot of inspiration from a few different artist pics I found online, so though I did draw it, it's not really original.

Dwarf Cleric Piece

I'll have to let you know how playing actually goes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan 4/16/2012 - Yogurt slow cooker recipe

I have to admit planning meals has become quite a chore. My husband has been gone since the first of the year only coming home for about a day each weekend. My boys are all tween/teens and are spending far less time home at meal time. We do try to eat together every night, but honestly it's becoming far more of starting with 2 or three of us, then some leaving early and others coming in late. I am also realizing I'm in real trouble when the boys move out. I cook for an army! I cook for extra leftovers, lunches, freezing, etc.. I really don't need to be planning as many meals as I do. We have been consistently skipping at least one of these meals if not two just trying to use up enough leftovers. So here's the plan.

Monday- Chicken Ravioli with Alfredo sauce, lettuce salads, garlic bread
Tuesday- Swedish Meatballs, steamed green beans with almonds, garlic noodles
Wednesday- Chicken Lo Mein w/Vegetable Eggrolls
Thursday- Leftovers
Friday- Kids & hubby gone, out with friends
Saturday- Kids & hubby gone probably junk food!
Sunday- Cranberry Kale, Macaroni and cheese (with bean puree)

I am planning on making some cookies this week to freeze for the boys' lunches. I haven't done that in awhile, and they've noticed!
Last week's biggest success was I made yogurt for the first time. I made it in the crock pot, and I will NEVER buy yogurt again! It's amazing. The recipe I used was from a website that I can't seem to find at the moment (I will update when I do find it.) But it couldn't have been easier.

Slow cooker Yogurt

Slow cooker Yogurt
Large slow cooker - Mine is 7qt.
1 gallon whole milk
1 cup yogurt (you need this for the bacteria, I also read you can use whey also)Plain with live cultures and no added pectin
Coffee filters or something for straining (I have special flour sack towels for this)
Large towel (I used bathtowel)

Sweeteners/Vanilla etc.. if desired (I made plain, because that's what I buy)

Place milk in slow cooker cook on low for 2.5 hours.
Turn off and unplug for 3 hours.
Whisk in 1 cup of yogurt, cover slow cooker with large towel for 8 hours or overnight. Strain whey from yogurt. I put my flour sack towel in a colander over a large bowl. It took some work and time. I had to scrape it frequently to get the whey moving. I tried to use coffee filters, but they kept breaking, so I went to the towel. I made mine nice and thick, greek style.
It made 48oz thick yogurt and a large canning jar of whey. This can easily be halved (it was on the original recipe I used.) Times stay the same.

I am currently finding lots of things to do with whey. I've been throwing it in juice and smoothies. My kids are enjoying it because they love YoJ, but I never buy it for them, and they think the juice with whey tastes like YoJ.

The Prarie Homestead has lots of uses for whey. I'm working my way through them slowly.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Menu Plan 4/4/2012- Do you hide nutritious food?

Do you hide food from your kids? I do and I don't. Growing up my mom always stretched ground beef by adding oatmeal. I do that too. I have always added chopped veggies to everything. I don't really hide them, it's not a secret from my children though. At least not until yesterday.

Our biggest weakness as a family is queso dip. By far not good for you. It's like crack for us. I'm just as guilty. Last night I had an epiphany, white bean puree! My eldest son HATES beans of any kind. He grumbles and argues. He feels I ruin most foods by making them better for him. I am now one of those sneaky moms. I pureed a cup of white beans, mixed it with what was left of the evil queso dip, and NOBODY KNEW!! Yes, we're still eating evil queso, but it's at least a little bit better for us right?

Well, I assumed it was a fluke, but necessity reared it's head today. I was making Lasagna Soup (recipe coming soon) my boys don't care for ricotta, they prefer when I make lasagna with cottage cheese, but I was low on cottage cheese, so I pureed about 1.5 cups of navy beans with the cottage cheese I had, some salt and pepper, and some Parmesan cheese. Again, NOBODY KNEW! It really got me thinking of all the creamy cheesy foods that the kids and hubby love. What if I replace some of the evil with pureed beans? More protein and fiber, less fat. I will be trying this out and I'll let you know how it works out.

Menu Plan
Monday- Meatloaf, baked potatoes, steamed asparagus, lettuce salad
Tuesday- Lasagna Soup (recipe coming soon)
Wednesday- Rotisserie Chicken (got a new rotisserie so we'll have to give it a try), grilled potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower
Thursday- Pot roast sliders, spinach salad, quinoa pilaf
Friday- lunch- chicken pot pie supper- Pizzas
Saturday- lunch- leftovers supper- cabbage rolls
Sunday- brunch out supper- cheese fondue w/spinach salads