Cherish the Good Things

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Definitely need to remember that!

And some links for you this weekend:

50 Ways to Love Your Child Every Day Using Love Languages | Bow of Bronze

Fill the Freezer with Easy Recipes for Summer | Life As Mom

Put the Phone Down and be a Mother | Growing Home

Be Like The Sun: Move Slowly, Radiate Warmth, Shine | Simple Mom

40 Preserving Links (and canning with honey!) | Simple Bites

Links for a Wonderful Week

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us

that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

-Bill Watterson

 

Have (North) American Parents Got It All Backwards? | Huffington Post – Some serious food for thought here for all us mothers!

Why Kids Need Both Choices and Boundaries | Not Just Cute

You Can’t Do Anything You Want | Simple Mom

Practical Ideas for a Summer of Learning | Simple Homeschool

Let Your Kids Get Dirty | Simple Mom

15 Ways To Eat More Vegetables | Motive Nutrition

10 Ultimate Summer Popsicle Recipes | Weed ‘Em and Reap

Have a great week!

 

 

The Muffin Tin Lunch

Or supper. Have any of you tried this? I got the idea from Pinterest recently and tried it a few times for my son… he loved it! The last time I used sliced summer sausage, cheddar cheese, pickles, carrot sticks, some cheesy crackers, and mandarin orange segments – all in a mini muffin tin:P1110945

There’s just something about being able to choose what’s in your next bite and play around a little. For a 3-year-old, that’s pretty cool!P1110949

And I like that it’s quick, easy and you can use whatever you have in the house!

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

12 Secrets to Planning Menus | Design Mom

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Lindsey Johnson shared her wisdom in the meal planning department over at Design Mom a few days ago. Here are her first 3 secrets to planning a great menu:

Secret Number One is identifying all of the main dishes and side dishes your family likes to eat. The less surprises, the less scowls and growls! Sit down with a notebook and make a list of all of these foods — everything from spaghetti to stir fry. Be sure to ask each member of the family for their input.

Once I’ve listed the meals my family likes, it’s time to gather the recipes in one place. And that’s Secret Number Two: Dedicate and organize a binder, folder, or recipe box with the most-used, most-loved recipes for quick reference, and keep it with your cookbooks, or somewhere easily accessible when cooking. If those recipes are in a cookbook, bookmark it so it’s easy to find with bright, colorful tabs.

Next comes the fun part. Fill in an empty weekly or monthly calendar with the meals. Secret Number Three is all about scheduling and sticking to it: Make sure to add in any special occasions, appointments, or other events that will be helpful when deciding when to eat which meal. If you have a birthday that month, you might want to make a note somewhere about any special meals or desserts you want to make or if you’ll be eating out instead. What I said earlier still applies here: The less surprises, the less scowls and growls! Want to go the extra mile? When I’m planning main and side dishes, I try to add in at least one thing I know for sure each person will love so there is something on their plate they are guaranteed to enjoy.

For the remaining 9 secrets to creative, smart menu planning, head over to Design Mom to learn more!

Happy planning!

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

Easy Weeknight Dinner | Taco Lasagna

Valerie is hosting a blog party this week! The theme is Easy Weeknight Dinners. The idea is to post an easy recipe that your family loves to have for dinner and then link up oveat her blog to share it with others. The collection of recipe links will be on Valerie’s main page from Jan. 21-25… check it out if you’re looking for some dinner inspiration!

Here’ s my recipe:

Taco Lasagna

Taco Lasagna

Taco Casserole

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brown beef in skillet; add taco seasoning. Divide beef into four parts. In a round 2.5 quart casserole dish, evenly spread 1/4 of beef in bottom, 1/4 cup of cheese on top, a tortilla, 1/3 cup sour cream, and a scoop of salsa. Repeat layers 2 more times. Top with remaining beef, green onion, and cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until heated through.

Makes 6 servings. Enjoy with a Caesar salad!

(Also delicious using oven-ready lasagna noodles instead of tortillas, in a 2.5 quart rectangular casserole.)

Hop on over to Valerie’s blog to see more delicious easy dinner recipes!

20 Edible Gift Ideas | Simple Bites

@ Simple Bites

We all love receiving tasty treats for Christmas, no? And we can’t receive them unless someone gives them! If you’re in the mood for some old-fashioned homemade goodness to share or to keep for yourself (hey, we won’t judge!), here’s a great list of ideas to get you going.

Over at Simple Bites yesterday, Aimee shared a run-down of her top 20 go-to edible gifts to make and give during the holidays. They all look delicious, especially the Dark Chocolate Rum Truffles – I’m a sucker for anything rum! … so if any of you are looking for a gift for a certain blogger you know {clears throat} feel free to take that to heart!!

Oh, and the last item on Aimee’s list, Maple Spice Candied Nuts, comes with a recipe. Thanks for sharing, Aimee!

Here are a few of her edible gift ideas:

Gingerbread Cookie Mix in a Jar (complete with gingerbread man cookie cutter!)

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Dark Chocolate Rum Truffles (yum!)

 

Click here for more yummy gift ideas. And have fun in the kitchen!

 

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

French Bread Recipe

I’m loving fall… are you? The weather is just beautiful and I’m receiving LOTS of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini (mostly tomatoes) lately from a few very generous people. This means me cooking up a storm of tomato sauce and salsa for the freezer… love it!

Anyway, today I want to share a French Bread recipe I tried earlier this week. It’s the best one I’ve found yet and I have to say it is almost perfect. It goes great with practically any meal, especially Italian. Bonus: it’s fairly simple to make too! Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found it, so it’s a little hard to give credit where it’s due, but thanks to whoever created this recipe!

Here it is:

FRENCH BREAD

1 1/4 cups water (105 degrees F)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)

GLAZE:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 150 degrees then turn the heat OFF (this is where your bread will rise, leave the oven light on). Mix sugar & yeast in water, let proof for 5 min. Stir (by hand) the flour & salt together in mixer bowl. Then, using the dough hook on the lowest speed, pour oil and water mixture into flour & let it knead for 8 minutes. If the dough is dry & flaky after 1 minute of mixing, add a scant tbsp of water. Dough should be smooth & elastic after 8 min. Put in greased bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel & put in the slightly warm oven that is OFF. Let rise until doubled, 30-60 min.

 When completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.

 Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal if desired; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in oven (OFF) until doubled, about 20 minutes.

 Whisk egg and water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Toss some ice cubes into the oven to make a crispier crust if desired.

 ***If desired, add garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the dough, or sprinkle loaves with garlic salt and parsley before baking.***

Try it and let me know if it’s as good in your books as it is in mine.