Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fridge Finds: What's (Really) Cooking, Part 5

Hey friends! It's time for another post in the weekly fridge party! I have to say, I love Meredith's post today. She says it's the worst fridge finds week yet, but it might just be the best. I think we can all relate to the "oh no I have nothing but milk in the fridge and I have to feed my family" moments. Plus, I've always been super curious about eMeals, but haven't known anyone personally to use it. I'd love to hear more about that sometime, Meredith!

Go on, check it out!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tech Tip Friday: iPad Apps I Love, Part 1

Today I want to tell you about Pepperplate, almost certainly my very favorite iPad app. (And before I launch into this - it's also available for the iPhone, I just don't have an iPhone! There's also a website that lets you do everything, so even if you don't have an iAnything it's worth checking out! And one more note - this is not in any way meant to be an advertisement, I am not being compensated in any way for this - I just want to share an amazing tool with you.)

When my husband & I were considering purchasing an iPad, one of the things I was most excited about was using it to organize recipes. Lugging my dying computer into the kitchen just so I could pull up a recipe was a little bit of a hassle (yes, first world problem, I know), and printing recipes that I might possibly want to make one day caused way too much clutter in the kitchen. Enter Pepperplate!

Pepperplate has 4 main features:

  • Recipes
  • Menus
  • Planner
  • Shopping
I mostly stick to the recipe part of the app. My three favorite features of this app are:
  • Automatic importing of recipes from 3 dozen supported sites (and the list keeps growing!). Yes, I said automatic. You do not have to sit down & manually type in all of your recipes, although that is indeed an option. 
  • The "cook now" button. When you click cook now from a recipe, the recipe becomes full screen and the screen does not go to sleep! I don't have to wake up my iPad with messy cooking hands just to see the next step of a recipe - the recipe stays on the screen until I click "Finish cooking". It's wonderful.
  • Extremely easy sharing of recipes. I can send recipes to my family & friends incredibly easily, and if they also have a Pepperplate account, then they just click a button from the email to have it added to their account. 
Oh, and I didn't even mention that it's completely free! Really, it's an incredible tool - what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Do you have a favorite iPad app? Let me know - I'll be posting more favorites as they come up, and I'd certainly love to try your favorite!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fridge Finds: What's (Really) Cooking, Part 4

I'm a little late to the party this week, but better late than never! So sorry to Elissa & the rest of y'all who were looking for this. Hop on over to Elissa's post to see a typical week of meals for her family. Sounds like some yummy dinners, and exactly the types of things we like to make around here. (And Elissa... I totally agree... it felt really weird to take a picture of my fridge a couple weeks ago!)

Oh, and this isn't in her post, but Elissa's banana bread is my all-time favorite! Go check it out. (Quick note: I've been most successful making this recipe in a large loaf pan like she says to do. For some reason I didn't think they worked as well as muffins... not sure why, maybe I need to just try again!)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sewing with Kids: T-Shirt Pillow

A while back, I asked for advice on sewing with kids. Thanks to those of you who gave input! I ended up deciding to stick with the book, Sewing School. My friend ordered the book for her daughter, who I'll just call K. Yesterday marked the 3rd week of our sewing "lessons", and it's been so much fun!

K is doing a fantastic job! She just completed her second project, a pillow made out of an old T-shirt. What a fun way to get to hang on to a favorite T-shirt that's too small or has a hole somewhere.

On our first week of sewing together, I tried to gauge what types of projects she was interested in. It turns out that one of K's biggest problems with learning to sew was not really having ideas of things to sew. This really struck me, because I remember the same thing from when I was a kid! I'd ask my mom to teach me to sew, but then when she'd ask me what I wanted to make, I had no idea. All that to say, I love having a book with some kid-friendly projects - instant inspiration! Since we've started, K has had no problem telling me what she wants to sew next. We have quite a list of Christmas projects to work on. :)

I'm hoping that the more K sews, the more she'll be inspired to challenge herself to create new things. I'll keep you posted with more of K's projects!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's (Really) Cooking: Part 3

Hello there, loyal readers! It's Tuesday, which means another chance to see what's really cooking. This week, Rebecca at down the rabbit hole is exploring her pantry. If you've never visited over at Rebecca's site, you're in for a treat! I love reading Rebecca's writing. And I can't wait to make her granola soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fridge Finds: What's (Really) Cooking, Part 2

Hooray! It's my week to share what's in the fridge. If you missed it, Katherine is hosting a fun blog party every Tuesday. You can find more info in my post from last week.

So, ever since Katherine introduced this idea, I've been thinking a lot about what's in my fridge. Most days, it's kind of like, "Ugh, why would anybody want to see all of this - it's a big mess!" And some days, when I have a what's-for-dinner crisis, the fridge is sadly lacking in inspiration. Since I've been paying extra attention to what's in the fridge, I've discovered a few interesting things:

1. I use my freezer and pantry to store the main substance of our meals way more than the fridge!
2. We keep a LOT of breakfast, lunch, and toddler-friendly foods in our fridge.
3. I absolutely love when I have leftovers in the fridge.

So, without further ado, here's a very real picture of our fridge:

I realized after taking the picture above that there's no way to really distinguish what's actually in the fridge. So, I did a little rearranging, and ta-da - you can actually tell what a few things are!

Top shelf: buttermilk, sausage balls & applesauce
Next-to-top shelf: eggs & more toddler meal leftovers
Drawer: lots of cheese & some leftover Canadian bacon
Next-to-bottom shelf: more eggs, leftover tortellini soup, pie crust
Bottom shelf: milk, yogurt, sour cream
Drawer: spinach & apples

Now, looking at that list it seems like pretty sad contents of a fridge. But, like I said, most of our food stays in the freezer or pantry!

So, here's what's REALLY cooking this week:

Tortellini Soup (recipe below): Yes, it's already cooked, but these leftovers will be at least one supper & one lunch for us. This was the first time I've made this recipe, and I'll definitely be making it again!

Sweet & sour lentils, possibly with some cooked chicken (from freezer) and/or a spinach salad. This is one of our absolute favorite recipes, and I tend to keep the ingredients on hand in our pantry.

Buttermilk pancakes & fried apples: I love pancakes!

Quiche: Javier thinks we're running low on eggs when we're down to a dozen or so. He could eggs 3 meals a days, 7 days a week. I, on the other hand, tend to get tired of eggs. But, I do like quiche & since we always have more than enough eggs and we currently have lots of random leftover cheese, plus some leftover Canadian bacon, quiche will be perfect!

Taco Soup: I'm planning to head out of town toward the end of the week. So, I need to leave something tasty & easy to reheat for dinners and/or lunches for Javier. It doesn't get much easier than this soup, and it's quite tasty! Again, everything we need for this is in the freezer or pantry...

So, that's it! It's not a terribly exciting list of meals, but pretty normal for around here. We don't usually eat much meat, and I'm very partial to meals that have lots of leftovers. We're in a pretty tough spot where Isaac (16 months) doesn't often like what we're eating as a family, but I'm trying to get better at cooking things we can all eat. We at least try to get him to taste what we're eating, but he's often pretty resistant to putting a new food into his mouth.

Keep checking back on Tuesdays for more fridge finds!

Tortellini Soup
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano
1 small bag cheese tortellini
1 small onion, sliced or diced
1-2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. butter
Garnish: Parmesan or feta

In soup pan, melt butter. Saute onion & garlic. Add broth & tomatoes, simmer for up to 1 hour. Add frozen spinach & tortellini. Simmer on low, for 10-15 minutes until tortellini is cooked to desired tenderness. Season with salt & pepper. When serving, sprinkle with Parmesan or feta cheese.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fridge Finds - It's a Party!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've made myself present in this little space. I have plenty of excuses, let me assure you, but I have way more exciting things to talk about today than excuses!

Today is the first day of a new PARTY! Yep, you heard me - a blog party about what's in the fridge. I'm sure you see lots of blogs that advertise what they're cooking and wonder... "Do they really eat like that? Like all the time?" Or maybe I'm the only who thinks that...

My friend Katherine at rhymes with smile has organized a little bloggy-fridge fun, where 6 of us will share what's REALLY in our fridge, and how that's going to feed our families for the week.

So today - go check out Katherine's fridge and see what she's cooking up this week! You don't want to miss this... the Mexican rice with cilantro dressing sounds amazing!

Be sure to check back next week for part two of Fridge Finds: What's (Really) Cooking.