Homemade Mondays week 134

Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle.  We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that.  Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts

How to:
 Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your

submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.

  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we’re pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.

The featured post from last week was Making a Cheap Chicken Coop from Grace, Garden, and Homestead.

Chicken-Coup-550x614



Meal plan for May 25th – May 31st

I need to clear the air.  We need to talk about something.

What in the freaking world is this?

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What in the hell is it advertising?  Man, the 50’s (60’s?) were sending out some mixed messages.

Glad we discussed it.  I can move on.

I posted this photo on both Facebook and Instagram yesterday.  It’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  The crackers are from IKEA and are covered in sesame seeds and dill (and you know how much I love dill!!!).  Then a schmear of cream cheese on top, and my dad’s smoked salmon crumbled on top of that.  I ate it, and then promptly made myself another one.  I put pickled asparagus on the side. It was insane.  I’d like to eat it every day until I die.  I never felt so Nordic and Norwegian in my life.

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Yesterday, I surprised Troy for his birthday.  His birthday is June 9th.  Ha ha, surprise!

He’s been wanting to see the new Mad Max movie since he first saw the trailer last week.   So three weeks ago, I planned a “play date” for him with two of his best friends.  I arranged it for a day he would be off, and told them to turn down any request he made to go see it with them.  One of them mysteriously got “the flu” when Troy tried to arrange for a showing.  The other one was “too busy” every time Troy picked a date that would work for him.  Meanwhile, he got more and more frustrated and just wanted to see the damn movie!  We all laughed about it via text behind his back.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think a surprise is really a good surprise unless you make the person experience a little mind f.

The day of the “big event”, I told him we’d need to go to Lowes that afternoon to look at grills.  His broke last week, and we use our BBQ heavily and needed a replacement.  He was anxious to go right away, but I had to put him off until the determined time of departure.  I suggested tons of board games to play with Jack.  We taught him “Go Fish”.  We did puzzles.  We played Trouble, and Sorry (did you know both of those games are made in the US?), and when those ran out, I had Jack bring out his Angry Birds. Were you aware that Candy Land was a contact game?

Then I pretended to nap on the couch for 40 minutes.

This is when he should have realized something was going on.  I never nap.

When even that wouldn’t delay him any longer, I had to pull out the big guns.

I fake pooped for 10 minutes.  I sat in the bathroom playing solitaire on my phone.

Troy went to clean out his truck and I freaked out realizing I could never divert him from Lowes if he was driving.  I then convinced him we only needed my car to scope out the grills.  Because what happens if we had to go to multiple places?  His truck gets terrible gas mileage, so it only made sense to drive my car from place to place until we had decided, and then go tomorrow after church with his truck to pick it up.

Whaaaaaaa?  That doesn’t even make sense!

Anyhoo, we were headed to “Lowes” and I turned off on to his cousin’s street and he said “what are we doing here”.  I said “you’re going to see Mad Max with Scotty and Jon and then have dinner.  Happy birthday”.  As we pulled in to the driveway, Scotty came out, threw his arms out and gave Troy a “game on” look.  It was great!

Yesterday as I was driving to church to drop off the communion bread, Jack was reading a nature magazine.  There was a picture of a momma koala with a baby on her back. He did the whole “awwwww” sound he always makes with cute animals.  I said “what should we name the baby” and his response was “Cutie Pie”.  I then asked about the name for the momma, and he totally deadpanned “Jennifer”.  I started laughing so hard, that I am shocked I didn’t swerve off the road.  I’m so proud of my little dude’s dry sarcastic humor!  :tear:

Meal plan time!  Reminder, I only plan dinners.

Monday:: Frittata, roasted broccoli, and Whole Wheat Red Lobster biscuits.  Jack requested this meal.  The first two items make me think he’s been replaced by an alien pod.

Tuesday:: Grilled chicken burgers, topped with pineapple and swiss cheese, roasted asparagus, and pasta salad.

Wednesday:: Using the leftovers from the grilled chicken the night before, we’ll have grilled chicken Asian salads, and just so the boys don’t freak out that there aren’t carbs at the dinner table, more Whole Wheat Red Lobster biscuits.

Thursday:: t-ball game night.  Pizza from the freezer, and roasted asparagus.

Friday:: Popcorn dinner!

Saturday:: Dinner with my sis, her husband, and my nephew.

Sunday:: Family dinner.

This week I spent $3.50 at the farm for raw milk, $54.12 at Costco (seriously their organic strawberries and blueberries are going to put me in the poor house.  I know they’re not local.  I know they were trucked in from California.  But if I have to eat one more freaking apple, I’m going to scream.  I want some summer produce damnit!), and $17.89 at the grocery store.

What are you having this week?

Why I’m talking about Christmas in May

The sun is shining, strawberries are starting to ripen (if we can keep the birds out of them), and the garden is starting to take shape.

So naturally, it’s time to discuss Christmas presents, right?

I know, that season of chaos, cocoa, and gift giving seems so far away.  I get it; you don’t want to even think about it.  However, a little upfront investment and 10 minutes of your time now means an amazing present you can give your friends and family later this year.  I’m of course talking about homemade vanilla extract.

This stuff is a hot commodity around my family and coworkers at Christmas, and my aunt always lusts after my bottles of the stuff “brewing” during family dinners.

The original directions on how to make this are posted here.  My only addendum to the recipe is if you start it in spring/summer, place the containers in a sunny window for a few weeks.  It will jumpstart the batch…like vodka sun tea almost.  Two weeks in my west facing window produces results that usually take me four months to achieve if the vanilla is just placed in a dark room.  This batch was started on May 8th:

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You know that scene during the opening credits of True Blood? Where the catfish (?) is in the muddy water? Vanilla extract always reminds of me that. Drink up!

After a few weeks, I transfer the vanilla to my pantry where it’s dark and let it finish “curing” for a few more months.  I find the sun steeped batches still smell too heavily of vodka, where the batches made entirely in the dark are much richer smelling.  Using a “sun first” approach, and then finishing it in the dark makes for a deeper extract that just using one method alone, and after a few months the boozy smell goes away.

Here is my source for vanilla beans online.  I used to use another company, but have had good experience with this one lately.  I had a problem with my order, and they resolved it instantly.  The customer service was fabulous, and good customer service always wins me over.  I’m easy.

That’s what she said.

 

Homemade Mondays week 133

Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle.  We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that.  Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts

How to:
 Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your

submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.

  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we’re pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.

The featured post from last week was Asparagus Radish Salad with Tahini Cider Dressing by This Fox Kitchen.

Asparagus-Radish-Salad_5890