Homeschooling

Homeschooling is something my husband and I have talked about on and off for a few years now. Sadly the public education system in our state is not what it used to be. It’s no longer about the kids but more about the dollar signs and the bottom line. And to me that’s just not good enough. I don’t want to send my children somewhere for 40 hours a week where they are going to be treated like a number or a test score rather then a person.

 

I hold the utmost respect for educators, they have a sometimes thank-less job. In which they are expected to work long hours for little pay. I know that it is not their choice to teach only for the test or lose track of the student in the back of the class. But I also know the reality that this is sadly what happens today.

After doing a good deal of research as well as looking into local homeschooling groups in our area my husband and I have decided to homeschool our son next year for Kindergarten. We are planning to use the Timberdoodle homeschool cirriculum and supplement with different trips, crafts and homeschool co-op activities in our area.

 

To be honest I have no idea how this is really going to go, I am hoping for the best outcome and keeping my fingers crossed. I plan to document this journey here and I hope any and all those interesting will follow along and take part in this adventure with us.

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Balsamic Chicken

I found this recipe a long time ago and fell in love with how easy it was. It does not disappoint, there are never any left overs and I think I could make it twice a week and never get tired of it!

  • 8 bone in skin on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Combine brown sugar and vinegar on a small pot, heat until the sugar has dissolved and remove from heat. Add garlic.

Place chicken thighs in a baking pan and pour vinegar mixture over chicken and cover.

Bake in oven for 60 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

Goes great with any side; rice, butter noodles, veggies.. the options are endless!

 

Mangia!

Becoming a Mom

As the day fast approaches that my ‘little man’ will be turning 5 I find myself thinking about how crazy the last 5 years have been. How being a Mom has been the most amazing, fun, scary, trying, exhausting and rewarding ride of my life. To be honest at first I was petrified. I spent pretty much the last trimester of my pregnancy be scared out of my wits about taking care of someone else 24/7. And those first few months sure were rough! Many time I felt as though I was barely keeping my head above water when he came to caring for the ‘little man’, let alone taking care of myself or the house or anything really.

But looking back I wouldn’t change it, the bond we built over all those long nights and exhausting days has grown into the sweet unending love of a caring little boy who amazes me everyday. Some days feel so long and so hard even now.. and there are many days I question if I am doing things “right” and if he’ll be “okay”. I honestly don’t think that’ll ever really end…

But the ‘little man’ that gave me the honor of being his mom is growing into such a wonderful, smart, caring, funny and unique individual I must be doing something right.

-T

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

I tried this recipie tonight and it was awesome, even the hubby like it and he is not a huge cabbage eater. I forgot to take a picture but I will the next time I make it. I found it here

I used green cabbage instead of red but it came out great anyway.

 

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 2-pound green or red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Method

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, toss to coat evenly. Add vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, simmer until cabbage is tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8.

It’s an awesome side dish, try it tonight!

Mangia! 🙂

Brown Sugar Banana Pancakes

Heaven on a Saturday morning!

Hi Foodies,
  So this is yet another Pinterest find that I have fallen in love with. We love pancakes at our house and I am always looking for something new. This recipe is wonderful!! The website it comes from also has a few other variations that I am looking forward to trying. You can find the recipe here

Here is my take on it. 🙂

Brown Sugar Banana Pancakes
Makes 6 good size pancakes
2 cups all purpose  flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extract to it. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in milk and vanilla, stirring to combine. The mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed bananas and mix. Add in melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.
Heat a skillet or grilled on medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and syrup, or the vanilla maple glaze.

Vanilla Maple Glaze
1/2 cup warm maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a small pot and stir until smooth. Pour over pancakes.

I think I am going to make this pancakes and the glaze again this weekend, they were that good! 🙂

Cheeseburger Soup… who knew?

Cheeseburger Soup

Hey Foodie Friends,
I know it’s been a while since my last post. But in the aftermath of the holidays I have been sticking to the old favorites and haven’t been trying out anything new. That is until tonight. In an effort to get out of my recipie rutt but still make something easy and delicious I yet again turned to Pinterest and found a recipie for cheeseburger soup. I was slightly skeptical but I figured what the heck. It was so awesome!!!

I found the recipe here

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or ground venison
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) American or Cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup Daisy Brand Sour Cream

Directions

In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Mangia!!

Yum!

Braised Italian Beef

Here is the recipe for braised Italian beef. I actually saw this recipe one night on Symon’s Suppers and thought “I have to make that!”. It came out AMAZING. The recipe is here. But as always I tweaked it a little.

Ingredients

  • 2.5- 3 pounds rump roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 -3 stalks of celery cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock/broth
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1 1/2 pounds dried rigatoni, for serving

 

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (or roasting pan) over medium-high heat. When the oil is on the verge of smoking, sear the meat for about 2 minutes per side. Move the meat to the side (or remove it from the pot altogether if necessary), and add the carrots, celery root and onions. Brown the vegetables for about 3 minutes, and then add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Pour in the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth,1 cup water and the bay leaves (and the pot roast if you removed it). Bring the liquid to a simmer and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Cover the pot, or pan, and place it in the oven for 3 hours, basting the meat occasionally during cooking time.

When almost ready to serve, make the rigatoni, if using. Boil in salted water according to package directions until al dente.

Discard the bay leaves before serving. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and slice into bite-size pieces, or shred with 2 forks. Return the meat to the pot of sauce along with the drained rigatoni. Toss to coat, and serve. 

 
The recipie for my tomato sauce can be found here 

Crock Pot Roast Chicken

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest and it is amazing. I have tried a few recipes off of the site and had some hit and miss results… this one is definitely a hit! I found the recipe here, and to be honest I didn’t change a thing.

Spice Rub

  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Clean your chicken and remove giblets and neck.  Rub spice mixture all over the chicken, if you have the time you can let the chicken marinate over night but you don’t have to.  Dice up1 onion and put at the bottom of the crock pot.  Place spiced chicken on top of onions.  There is no need to add any liquid.  As your chicken slow cooks you will be amazed on how much juice you will end up with.
Slow cook on low for about 8 hrs.  You can use a thermometer to check to see if your chicken is done.  It should read 180 deg.  Or even simpler, wiggle a leg and if it’s loose, it’s done!
This chicken was moist and had amazing flavor! We served it with mashed potatoes and corn 🙂
Mangia!

Beef Stew

When I make beef stew I am immediately transported back to my parents kitchen, watching my mom on a cold Saturday make this and thinking “I hope I can be that good one day”. ❤ My mom is really the reason I love to cook, because watching her you could tell she loved to feed people. So beef stew is one of those recipes I actually don't have written down, so dear blog readers this is a first 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1-2lbs stew meat
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper (you can add more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

Directions

Put roughly a tbs of oil in a pan, when warm put in strew meat. Sprinkle with flour and pepper. Saute until brown. De-glaze with beef stock, make sure to scrap the bottom of the pan. Simmer for an hour and a half to 2 hours. Add in veggies and remaining spices. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Serve with pasta, rice or biscuits.

Mangia!

Soup!

I love soup! I don’t know where this love came from but even as a kid I had a strong love affair with soup. I remember the first thing I ever cooked when I got an apartment was soup. As I got older I leared that homemade soup is SO MUCH better then the stuff out of a can. Since Fall has set in here in Southern NY and Winter is not far behind I  have broken out the big soup pot and started looking for new recipies. Recently I make Minestone soup, it came out great and it was so simple. I found the recipe here. The only think I changed was I added sausage (because Josh won’t eat a meal with no meat) and a subsituted kale for the spinach as I think it holds up better in a soup. Oh and I did it on the stove and not in a slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of kale chopped
  • 1lb sausage (or ground beef)

Directions


 Saute sausage or ground beef til brown. Add in carrots and onion and saute til slightly soft. Add in tomatoes, broth and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer about an hour or so. 30 minutes before you want to serve chop zucchini and kale and add to the pot along with beans. Serve with any noodles you like or rice.

My best customer ❤
Mangia!