Toddler Flour Play Monday, Jan 21 2013 

I took some white flour and mixed in a bit of oil so that it would be a bit “crumbly” and not light and fluffy. My son loved playing in it, hiding toys and digging them out! I gave him a couple pastry brush, a 1/4 cup measurement, and a Tbsp. It makes a mess (though not as much as if it was just plain flour), but it’s a fun texture activity for toddlers!

Toddler Finger painting Monday, Dec 17 2012 

 

My husband had a great idea for our 1yr old. He let him to do some finger painting with mustard and ketchup, this way it would be ok if he ate some (not that he would lije the mustard!) and it will easily wash off the clothes, table, and floor. πŸ™‚

 

Thought I’d pass that idea along! You could use many other things, such as BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.

Interested in guest blogging? Saturday, May 5 2012 

You may have noticed a few less posts from me lately… do not be discouraged, I am not running out of recipes! πŸ˜‰ Β However, I am running out of time these days. My family and I are preparing to go to Malawi (Africa) as missionaries. You can read about it here. It’ll be a few months yet before we go, but we have a lot of preparation to do in the next few months. We just returned from 18 days on the road. In June-July, we will be on the road for another few weeks, as well as doing cross-cultural missions training.

So, that brings me to a request from you! Would some of you like to be a guest blogger on here? πŸ™‚ Β It’s pretty simple: submit a picture or two of your food, the ingredients, directions, and a little bit about the dish and why you like it. You can also include a short paragraph about yourself and a link back to your own blog! See? Easy! πŸ™‚

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger here this summer while I’m on the road, please contact me at annejisca at gmail.com and we can discuss it some more! Or simply send along your recipe and picture(s)!

My husband graduated with his Master’s in theology in April! Proud of his achievement!

Baking and cooking with little ones around Wednesday, Apr 4 2012 

Some people ask me how I can cook and bake so much while taking care of two young boys (almost-4 and just-turned-1). Truth is, I have to pick how I spend my time. Cooking and baking is something I absolutely love to do. So I find a way to make it work without neglecting my boys. The results? My house isn’t near as clean and organized as others’! But that’s ok (right?) because at least we have good food to eat. πŸ˜‰

It’s important to me to feed my family well. We eat whole grains (brown rice, wheat/spelt flours, wheat pasta), minimize sugar, and from-scratch (staying away from processed foods). Not only is it important to me, but I like the challenge of making things from scratch! I feel a strange sort of exhilaration when I’ve replicated something from the store. Wahoo, I no longer need to buy condensed cream of mushroom soup! I no longer need to buy tortillas! Taco seasoning! Salad dressing! Chicken broth! Etc. I love doing that!

If you’re like me though, you don’t have time to do it all. I can’t do it all. I can do a lot, yes. How? By making large batches of things, freezing it for later uses. By keeping my meals simple, and my recipe with basic ingredients.

But I still can’t do it all. Before I had kids, I worked full-time. We ate homemade bread (thanks to a breadmaker), but my pantry did have lots of canned goods, and my freezer even had some frozen pizzas (gasp!). πŸ™‚

Then I had a child, and became a stay-at-home Mom. All of the sudden I had time for so much more! That is, between nursing him, feeding him, changing diapers, etc. He only ever took 15-25 minute naps, and I nursed him to go to sleep, so a lot of my day was spent sitting, nursing him to sleep! And even sitting, holding him while he slept so he would sleep a bit longer. Still, I had so much more time than when I worked full time. I started making my bread by hand, baked in the oven. I just really prefer it that way (although that breadmachine we had was awesome while I worked full-time outside the home). I started experimenting with lots of things made from scratch.

As child #1 got older and more independent, I started my baking business, and did so many things from scratch. I loved it! Love to experiment! Homemade deodorant, homemade laundry detergent, homemade dishwasher soap, homemade tomato soup, etc. New recipes almost every day = pure love for me! πŸ˜‰

Then I got pregnant with child #2. The first 3.5mths were a write-off as I was so nauseous things had to be kept to a minimum. Once he was born, life got busier with 2 littles! I no longer had time to make everything I was making from scratch. But feeding my family good wholesome food is important to me.

I had to make a choice.Β I couldn’t do it all, what was I going to pick out of the list?

Some of the things that went out the window were homemade laundry detergent (I now look for good sales, and use 1/3 the suggested amount, so one box lasts me a long time!), homemade deodorant (never found a recipe I truly loved anyways), homemade dishwasher soap (so cheap to buy, not worth my time to make), tomato soup, etc.

Some things that I kept on my make-at-home list, but seldom make: homemade tortillas, homemade condensed cream soup, etc.

I simplified my menus so that I use ingredients I have on hand, that are already basic and simple. I seldom make recipes that call for a can of condensed cream soup since I don’t buy it, and I don’t want to take the time (or don’t have the time) to make it. I also make bigger batches to last longer. It only takes an extra minute to mix up a huge batch of homemade taco seasoning, but it lasts a long time! Instead of always having fresh bread, I make several loaves at once so I don’t have to make more too soon. I make a big batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze it for quick meals, etc.

So yes, you can’t do it all. Pick what is most important to you, and find ways of making it work! I imagine, as I have more children, that my menus will change with each one. As my oldest gets older and can start to help, that will also affect my menus. But for now, I keep it simple, this way I can feed my family foods that I want them to eat.

A few basic menu ideas are: spaghetti, breakfast dinner, crustless quiche, pizza, basic meat/potatoes/salad, crockpot stew, layered enchilada, soups, and lasagna. There are lots more recipes, of course, but that’s a few! I keep a list of meals on my fridge so I can glance at it and get ideas quickly. πŸ™‚

(That list is kept on the fridge by the stove, as you can tell by all the splashes! πŸ˜‰

How do you make time to cook and bake, with a busy schedule and/or little ones around?

Mouse? No, 1-yr old! Wednesday, Mar 21 2012 

This bag sure looks like a mouse got into it…. but no. It’s my 1-yr old! Jedidiah is 13mths now, and has very sharp teeth! Any bag he can find in the cupboard, he managed to bite into to get to the content! He’s made about 4-5 holes in this bag, to get to yummy slivered almonds. πŸ™‚

I have my own “mousechild-proof-ness” to do! πŸ˜‰

Ingredients I keep around my kitchen! Wednesday, Feb 29 2012 

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me what I keep on hand in my kitchen. I’m one who buys in large quantities and keeps things on hand. This way I can cook or bake almost anything I want, anytime I want! Saves me many trips to the grocery store, plus I save money by buying in bulk. I’m also a basic cook, in that I like to make things from scratch, and with basic ingredients. If a recipe calls for something outside of those basic ingredients I keep on hand, I’m not likely to make it. It must be really impressive before I make it, or I’ll adapt the recipe. πŸ™‚ Β It’s just how I am, and one way that I keep our food budget lower!

I went around my kitchen and pantry today and made a list of all I keep on hand! Some of you might appreciate seeing this list, and what I keep on hand! Of course, this list will vary depending where you live. I don’t keep cream cheese on hand because it’s way too expensive! I know some of you live where it’s affordable to buy cream cheese. So your basic pantry supplies will vary!

Dry goods:

White flour
Spelt berries (I grind my own flour)
Wheat berries (I grind my own flour)
Rye berries (I grind my own flour)
White sugar
Brown sugar
Blackstrap molasses
Honey
Canola oil
Olive oil
White vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Powdered milk
Beans (mainly chick peas, kidney and black)
Lentils (mainly green and split red)
Cream of wheat
Brown rice (our current favourite is brown long-grain basmati rice)
Oatmeal, quick-cook
Multigrain mix
Pasta, whole wheat (mainly spaghetti)
Lard
Natural peanut butter
Flax seeds
Coffee beans (we grind our own)
Herbal teas
Yeast, instant
Almonds
Raisins
Cornmeal
Walnuts
Coconut, shredded and unsweetened
Powdered sugar
Chocolate chips
Gluten flour
Bread crumbs
Bread cubes
Croutons

Soya sauce
Corn syrup
Muffin tins
Corn syrup

Canned Goods:

Diced tomatoes
Tomato soup
Tomato sauce (large cans for big batches of spaghetti sauce)
Homemade jams (our favourite is strawberry)
Tuna and/orΒ salmon
Maple syrup (made by my aunt and cousin!)

In the Fridge:

Lemon juice (use it in my homemade bread)
Eggs
Milk
Vegetables (mainly carrots and lettuce, and onions and potatoes in the pantry)
Fruits (mainly apples, and bananas in the cupboard)
Ketchup, relish, mustard

Spices:

Paprika
Cury
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Oregano
Parsley
Basil
Thyme
Ginger
Sage
Rosemary
Savory
Nutmeg
Cloves
Cinnamon
Chili powder
Vanilla extract
Baking powder
Baking soda
Cornstarch
PAM (oil spray)
Ground mustard
Hot sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Liquid smoke
Seasoned salt
Cumin
Turmeric
Crushed red peppers
Homemade taco meat seasoning
Pepper
Salt
All spice
Cream of tartar
Bay leaves
Mustard seeds
Msg-free chicken bouillon
Msg-free beef bouillon
Almond extract
Peppermint extract
Food colouring

Vitamins:

Vitamin C
Multi-vitamins
B2
Feverfew
Echinacea
Elderberry syrup
Cough syrup
Allergy medicine
Probiotic
Lactaid (drops I put in our milk for our oldest son’s sake)

In the freezer:

Bananas
Strawberries
Blueberries
Spinach (for our green smoothies)
Meats (mainly beef/chicken)
Vegetables (mainly corn, peas, green beans)
Perogies, whole wheat
Grated cheese

Happy Valentines Day! Tuesday, Feb 14 2012 

 

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Looking for a nice last-minute card to make? Here’s the tutorial for the card pictured above! (Yours might turn out better! My talent is more in the kitchen!!)

 

Don’t forget about these Heart-shaped Muffins, and Heart-shaped Pizza! πŸ™‚

Guest post: Graduating Debt-Free! Tuesday, Jan 31 2012 

In case you’re interested, I wrote a guest post over at Money Saving Mom today, titled “Graduating Debt-Free!” Just a few ways my husband and I found to help us pay off our student loan so that he can graduate debt-free this coming April.

Whether you can graduate debt-free or not, the important thing is to strive to graduate with as little debt as possible!

I thank my parents for teaching me good stewardship, and God for blessing us to be able to do this!

Meyers on Mission Wednesday, Jan 18 2012 

I wanted to share the link to a new blog that my husband and I started: Meyers on Mission. This week we were accepted with Serving In Missions (SIM), so we are now missionaries preparing to head to French Africa! My husband will be teaching in a Bible school there.

If you’d like to read our testimonies, or keep up with our journey towards Africa, feel free to follow us over at Meyers on Mission!

For the love of cookbooks Saturday, Jan 14 2012 

I love cookbooks! They are so fun to browse! Each of them have a story, each of them can keep me occupied for a long time as I browse through! πŸ™‚ Β Here’s my stash of cookbooks (and yes, I confess to organizing this cupboard before taking the picture!!):

 

This wooden box is my treasure from this past summer. An elderly man from our church moved away, and I inherited his late wife’s box of recipes. Oh, the joy of going through all of those hand-written recipes, collected over years and years! That picture is so beautiful to me, I should frame it and hang it up in my kitchen. πŸ˜‰

My most recent treasure is the cookbook below. It’s made by my cousin Jacinthe, and is a compilation of family recipes. Oooooh! I just got it yesterday and can’t wait to start getting busy in the kitchen, with these delightful recipes from my relatives in Quebec!

There’s also this pretty red binder that a friend of mine made, with recipes from her years as a Mom and homeschooling mother. She made it as a wedding gift, and it has been used often! One of the best wedding gifts ever, I’d say!

These cookbooks, from Jean Pare, also have a story to tell! They’ve gone through our house fire, you see. I was 16, and when I got married, my Mom let me have these (she had bought new ones). They look horrible, but they have their own beauty to me. They have a story to tell. They are from our pre-fire home, a possession that wasn’t totally destroyed.

Last but not least, is my trusted old recipe box, that I started when I was maybe 15 years old! Alphabetical, it holds all the recipes that I’ve accumulated over the years.

 

I love cookbooks! There’s something exciting about pulling out cookbooks from the cupboard and browsing them for new recipes!

How about you? Do you collect cookbooks? Do they have a story to tell? πŸ™‚

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