Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adapting to a Cast: Bath Time

bath2My baby girl loves her bath time. Sadly, until the cast comes off, bath time as she knew it has changed. I wanted to adjust her bath time so it would still be a special fun time, even if it was different. Starting with the first bath after the cast we changed her routine and she has adapted beautifully.

We generally don't use out downstairs bath for showers or baths unless we have house guests. Until now. We put a towel down on the floor and covered the cast with a bag. I got some bright colored kitchen sponges and cut them into triangles and squares – you can't have a sponge bath without sponges right? I also had a stash of the foam letters that stick to the shower wall when they're wet that I had planned to use for Christmas or birthday gifts, but I popped them out early. With the letters in a beach bucket and the sponges in a big bowl of soapy water, we were ready to give the sponge bath a try.

Gbaby has fun dipping the letters in the water and sticking them to the wall- and by the third time we realized that we couldn't fill the bowl very full because she was having a bit too much fun splashing. So far she doesn't seem to miss her normal baths. And after dinner when we ask her if she's ready for “sponges” she knows the new routine and gets almost as excited as she would about bath time.

This post is linked up at We Are That Family's Works For Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Garden's Hanging On

Today is another rainy day in Central NY - with the potential for some great storms according to the national weather service.  They've issued a tornado watch - hmmm.  It's something to keep things interesting.

My garden still chugs along, with prolific green beans, determined tomatoes and patient pumpkins.  Does anyone know if a pumpkin that has fallen off the vine will ripen?  My peppers have perked up and decided to finally fruit and I have a dozen or so small bells that I'm hoping will "grow up" before the frosts come.  My little tomatoes are hanging on and ripening on the sad, brown vines that have given up for this year.  It looks like I should have another dozen small tomatoes pretty soon.

A friend told us this weekend that after their asparagus had bolted to bush after the first harvest, they cut it back the beginning of August and got a great second harvest through September.  I'm intrigued and certainly going to give that a try next year!

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This post is linked up at An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party

Monday, September 27, 2010

Caramel Apple Bars

applesLast weekend I was tasked to bring dessert to my brother's place as we all converged for a visit. I had apples to use and thought about making Apple Crisp. But, the house was chilly on Thursday night and I was afraid that if I made crisp the day before it would be closer to Apple Soggy instead of Apple Crisp.

Off I went into cyberspace for inspiration. I found these Apple Bars and then went to work modifying the recipe. The result was amazing! We had them with ice cream for dessert on Friday, nibbled them with coffee on Saturday morning and by the time I left on Saturday afternoon folks were picking at the crumbs.

I doubled this recipe for a large jelly roll pan. This recipe will work nicely for a 9x13. Enjoy this delicious bit of fall!

Caramel Apple Bars

1/3 cup Melted Butter or Margarine

1/2 cup Sugar

½ cup Brown Sugar

¼ cup Yellow Squash Puree

1 egg

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

1 cup All-purpose Flour

1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Ground Cinnamon

2 cups finely chopped Apple


¼ cup Whipping Cream

¼ cup Brown Sugar

¼ cup Butter

½ cup Powdered Sugar


  1. Thoroughly combine butter, sugars, egg, yellow squash and vanilla.

  2. Add Flours, cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Fold in apples.

  3. Spread batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350, just until the edges are golden and the center doesn't jiggle.


  4. Glaze: Combine cream, butter and ¼ cup brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and mix until all powdered sugar is dissolved into the caramel. Drizzle over cooled bars. {sorry, no finished picture - they were enjoyed before I could get the camera out}

  5. Cut into squares and enjoy!

    This post is linked up at Things I Love Thursday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Sunshine - Fall Weather & Craft Fairs

sunflowerPracticing contentment by remembering the graces of the week and practicing gratitude by giving.

This has been a full week.  My garden is giving us a ton of late green beans, for which I am very excited.  We've had some great weather and playing outside with GBaby is so much fun.  On Wednesday I got a morning away to do some shopping by myself!  I now have comfier jeans (yay!)

Saturday was the Green Apple Festival and the candles and I got to spend the day outside on gorgeous fall day.  Sales were steady all day and and the end of the day, by all indicators, it was a great success.  Given that we've seen rain in some form or another the last two years for this show, the the sunny fall day was a much appreciate blessing.

This week I've also been blessed by friends who have helped care for GBaby as mine and HandyMan's work schedules collided.  This time of the year is busy for everyone and I do not take for granted the time friends "loan" us when they care for my daughter.

We've had a great week.  I hope you can look back, and forward, to find the joy dotting your story!

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Garden Neglected

In the craziness that has become my September, my garden has become sorely neglected.  Life has moved into fall activities of craft fairs, soccer, and "school year" activities like library groups.  Gardening has taken the back seat - the very back seat.

Nonetheless, my garden continues to produce.  After a couple days away for the weekend, I came back to find my green beans falling over themselves-loaded with fresh green beans!  I also had more pumpkins, butternut squashes, a few stray tomatoes, peppers and zucchini - and my first yellow squash of the year!

9-22 garden

How is your gardening season wrapping up?

This post is linked up at An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adapting to a Cast: On The Run Again!

skiddersAfter Gbaby's mishap a couple weeks ago, we've had to modify a few things.  While she's not technically in a walking cast, it took her three days to figure out how to walk on it.  Gbaby loves to put her shoes on and play outside.  She was very disappointed when she couldn't put her “sooz” on the foot with the cast. I was disappointed that she was confined to a stroller and couldn't run outside to her hearts content and burn off some of the pent up energy. I struggled with having to keep her inside and feared that it was going to be a long month.

Last Friday, I stood in my brother's kitchen and glanced at the stack of shoes next to the door and did a double take. The heavens opened, light streamed down and the angels sang as I saw the solution. Sitting among the shoes were two pair of what looked like socks with rubber soles on the bottom: Skidders. I picked them up- super stretchy on top. They should fit around the cast. YES! I found out that my sister in law had found them at the Target that was 7 minutes away from the house and on Saturday morning Gbaby, Granny and I took a Target field trip.

We found “sooz” that would fit over the cast and allow Gbaby to play outside as long as it's not wet out. I am so thankful -these definitely work for us!

This post is linked to "Works For Me Wednesday" at We Are That Family and Things I Love Thursday at Diaper Diaries.

Monday, September 20, 2010

HV Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

choczucc2A while back I saw a blog talking about incorporating black bean puree into brownies.  Intriguing. I already hide veggies in my baked goods, why not some extra protein & fiber. When I found this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread, my first thought was "YUM!"  immediately followed by "how can I cut back the sugar and oil?".   I thought I'd try the black beans.  I have to say, it was a great success.  Unless you share your secret, nobody will know that this recipe has been healthified.  If Ihadn't made it I wouldn't have guessed it had zucchini, let alone black beans!

This is a very versatile recipe as it makes a nice muffin or breakfast bread.   You can dust it with powdered sugar and garnish with summer berries and serve as a pretty dessert.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread


  • ½ cup cocoa powder

  • 2 eggs

  • ¾ cup  Sugar

  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar

  • 2/3 cup oil

  • 2 cups grated zucchini

  • ¾ cup black bean puree

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cups All-purpose flour

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup chopped pecans


1.  Combine sugars and eggs.  Add cocoa powder, oil and black bean puree and mix thoroughly.  Add in zucchini and blend.

2.  Add all remaining dry ingredients (combine in a separate bowl if that's your style).  Mix them up.   Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

3.  Pour batter into two greased loaf pans or into prepared muffin tins.  Bake at 35o for 20-25 minutes for muffins and 40-50 minutes for loaves.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Sunshine

sunflowerPracticing contentment by remembering the graces of the week and practicing gratitude by giving.

It has been a full week.  I'm thankful for a new job and the challenges and interactions it brings.  I have great friends who have shared their time with me this week to help keep Gimpy GBaby amused.  I'm thankful for meals from the freezer which require minimal prep and Carmel Apple Bars (this recipe is coming and well worth trying!)

I'm glad to have been able to spend time with extended family as my parents, GBaby and I gathered at my brother's house this weekend.    I also discovered a local MOPs group that is going to be a wonderful addition to my calendar!

I hope you can look back, and forward, to find the joy dotting your story!

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grilled Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

I made these Grilled Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas as part of my September Batch Cooking.   They freeze great and are easy to pull out and bake for a hot, hearty dinner on a cool fall night. Top them with your favorite salsa, serve them with beans and Spanish rice y es muy bueno! (and it's very good!) You can use flour or corn tortillas - I used the cheap flour ones and they almost dissolved when I cooked my enchiladas this time, so you may want to spring for decent tortillas.

I LOVE good Mexican food. I was once served beef wrapped in a tortilla and smothered with canned tomato soup and called enchiladas – not good Mexican food. This enchilada recipe would probably get laughed at in some of my favorite Mexican restaurants but it follows in the tradition of my Mom's enchiladas – so we call them enchiladas.  With the dissolving  tortilla issue of this batch is was more like a casserole, but still muy bueno!

(Any extra cheese sauce makes great Mac & Cheese!)

Grilled Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas


16 burrito size Tortillas or 32 Taco size tortillas


4 Chicken Breasts, Grilled and shredded or choppedenchilada2

2-4oz cans Green Chilis

1 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 cup chopped Green Bell Pepper

1 medium Onion, finely chopped

1-24 oz containter of Cottage Cheese

4 cups grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Garlic Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

Cheese Sauce

½ cup Butter/Margarine

½ cup Flour

2 ½ cups Milk

4 cups grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Make the Cheese Sauce (or skip this step by using canned cheese soup or jar nacho cheese sauce for more of a kick)

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan.

  2. Add flour to melted butter and stir until all the flour is incorporated into a rue.

  3. Slowly add 1/2-1 cup of the milk and whisk until the rue dissolves completely into the milk. Add remaining milk and heat to near boil.

  4. Turn off heat and stir in 4 cups of grated cheese until melted.

Set cheese sauce aside.

Mix all the filling ingredients except the chicken.

Assemble the Enchiladas:

  1. Place 1/2-1 cup of the cheese sauce in the bottom of your pan – enough to  lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

  2. Place a tortilla on a flat working surface.

  3. Place 1/3-1/2 cups of filling and a sprinkling of the chicken onto the center of the tortilla.


  4. Roll up the tortilla burrito style.

  5. Place filled tortilla into pan. (mine ripped – and that's ok – they are just there to hold the filling in place)


  6. Repeat until you've squeezed as many enchiladas as you can into the pan (usually I can fit 8 – 10 in a 9x13 pan and 4-6 in an 8x8 square pan). Pour more cheese sauce over the top and top with a hand full of grated.


  7. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until bubbly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Garden Party - Winter Squashes

I've begun picking my first round of winter squashes - the pumpkins and the butternut squashes.  Last year, I let the pumpkins hang out on the vines until the vines were all but dead.  Unfortunately some little worms decided that they were going to have a go at my pumpkins and I didn't get any of them.  See, I can be taught! This year, the pumpkins are coming in as soon as they are all orange!  Their destination will be pies, breads and muffins after I process them up.  No canned pumpkin in this house!

I am also still getting green beans and a smattering of tomatoes.  Although, I only have two tomato plants that are hanging on-all the rest have given up on this season.


The garden shed has windows.  The final steps will be a door and trim work.  Given that HandyMan is in the throes of coaching soccer, I'm in the middle of my the busy part of my craft show season, and GBaby is needing a little extra TLC (see the cast in above photo- it goes to the top of her thigh), I'm not sure that this project will be finished before spring.


This post is linked up to An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Sunshine - Sprinkles of Fall

Practicing contentment by remembering the graces of the week and practicing gratitude by giving.

This has been a week of the unexpected.  I'm thankful that GBaby was a trooper through ER, doctors and x-rays.  Thankful that she's been in relatively good spirits since.

I picked my first pumpkins and winter squash this week and am working on drying my first batch of apple bits.  True signs that fall really is right around the corner.

Today is a lazy, rainy day and I'm trying to squelch the little voice reminding me of my ever expanding to-do list.  We'll see who wins.

I hope you can look back, and forward, to find the joy dotting your story!

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peace of Providence

providence: divine guidance or care

I am a firm believer in providence, and in the midst of chaotic situations, providence is confirmed in my life by an inexplicable peace.  The last two days, I have again reacquainted myself with the peace of providence.

Last week I felt such an urging to get my menu, groceries and meals in order for the month.  I thought it was part of everyone else going back to school, seasons changing or our own calendar filling up.  However, today, I know there was a different reason.

In an accident on Tuesday, GBaby broke her leg.  Tuesday afternoon and early evening was spent in the ER and yesterday was spent at an orthopedic practice getting a cast.  She'll be fine and is adapting beautifully to her new restrictions of mobility.  Through the whole thing, GBaby was a complete trooper, and I was at peace.  Not just because my meals were planned out, but because I knew GBaby's Creator was present and caring for both of us through the ordeal.


Today, I can catch up on some rest, spend extra time in the floor playing or watching movies with my baby as she adjusts to her new circumstances.  I have a stack of my normal cooking/garden/house/how to blogs I had planned to work on and post this week.   There's always next week.

Enjoy your day, and may you find a moment of peace.

Linked to Things I Love Thursday .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Making Apple Sauce

applesauce1I'm not getting much from my garden right now to store away, but I have been able to take advantage of great deals from the produce market to put fresh items away for winter.  Yesterday was applesauce day in my kitchen.  I can get a half bushel bag of "seconds" apples from my local produce stand for $5.  Add about an hour of work and I have 12 pints of fresh made, no sugar added, super yummy apple sauce.

Mostly because I have a cool attachment for my MamaMixer that separates the apple from the peel and core.  I chop the apples, boil them for about 7 minutes and send them through.  Out one side comes the apple debris and out the bottom comes the apple sauce!  It's a fabulous invention that does all the work for me!


Linked at Works for Me Wednesday and An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Sunshine

sunflowerPracticing contentment by remembering the graces of the week and practicing gratitude by giving.

This has been a full and productive week.  I was blessed to be able to purchase and store away a PILE of cheap produce from our farm stand on Tuesday.  I love fresh vegetables in season.  Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go grocery shopping by myself - no toddler in tow.  This also meant that I had the chance to get a much needed hair cut! Thursday brought a day of cooking and the privilege of extra hands to help with Gbaby.  (We sure are going to miss those extra hands when they go back to school this week!)  Friday we had an outing to see a friend's photography exhibit and grab dinner out on a beautiful evening-which was a huge, welcome break after my batch cooking this week.  Saturday was a barbecue with friends and the fun of watching GBaby play with other kids her size (this doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but we're working on it).

Today is a laligaging -catch- up -on- chores kind of day.  And it is a beautiful cool day outside that we will have to take advantage of once GBaby wakes up from her nap!

I hope you can look back, and forward, to find the joy dotting your story!

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Freezer Friday: September Batch Cooking

freezerfridaysm I'm not sure about where everyone else lives, but it has been hot here this week!  I love batch cooking: it saves me time and money in the long run.  I had laid out my September batch cooking plan on Monday and got to work.

After shopping, getting elbow deep in food stuffs, and recognizing that it was hot, the plan got tweaked a little (soufflĂ© can wait  until Monday when it's cooler!) and some things made it to the freezer that were bonus items (more cheap green and red peppers).  Here is what has made it to my freezer and the pantry for the coming month(s):


2 Ranch Bean Kits (modified Cowboy Beans)batchcook1

1 Bean kit for 3 Bean Chili

1-9x13 and 2-8x8 pans of Grilled Chicken Enchiladas (Recipe to come)

4-8x8 Lasagnas

6 Grilled Chicken Breast Packets (thaw, heat & chop for salads, fajitas, pasta etc)batchcook4

8 containers (2 & 4  cup) of Beans - Black, Pinto and Northern

2# Ground Beef to be used for Taco meat later

6  Pepper Bombs each of Red and Green peppers

I still have plans (and 10 pounds of potatoes) to make mashed potatos as well - just didn't get to it yet.


Instant Oatmeal packets

3 Biscuit kits

3 Cornbread kits

After all that work, I even remembered to mark off my freezer list so I know what's actually in there!

Special thanks to my local grocery stores who had lean ground beef $1.99/lb and boneless/skinless chicken breasts at $1.69/lb this week!  Also due to some great sales, I've  got my pantry stocked on cereal and pasta as well.  The hope is that all I will have to buy for the rest of the month is milk, eggs and fresh produce.  I'm also hoping to spend a little less time on meal prep and squeeze in some more regular exercise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Roasted Red Peppers

roastpep1Remember that pile of red peppers that made it to the freezer? I had 6 peppers left over after the pepper bomb construction that needed to be stored.  But I was out of freezer bags (during harvest season - oh the horror!). So I decided to roast them. I love the smell of fresh roasted peppers and the flavor even more.  I roasted them on the grill and it was super easy!

Step 1- Wash Peppers

Step 2- Grill Peppers: Heat up the grill and place whole peppers on the grill over medium high heat. Turn every 3-6 minutes until the peppers are good and charred.


Step 4- Steam: Once charred place peppers in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to steam the skins off.


Step 5 – Remove skin: Once peppers are cool enough to handle, pull the skin off and discard. Cut out stem and remove seeds and discard. Slice roasted pepper meat as you wish.

Step 6- Store: Place peppers in an airtight container. Top off with Olive Oil and toss. Refrigerate jar and use in a timely manner.


So easy, and a great way to use in-season or discounted peppers!  So far we have used them in sandwiches, scrambled eggs and they are destined to go in some enchiladas this week too.

This post is linked up at $5 Dinners-Grow.Eat.$ave: Peppers