Friday, February 26, 2010

Meatless Fridays

One thing my kids will eat is pasta with cheese! Who doesn't love a hot bowl of this kind of creamy, garlicky goodness? This is a great basic recipe in which you can add just about anything to spice it up. This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 pound fettuccine pasta
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup half-and-half
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: cooked shrimp, broccoli, or mushrooms.
(also good with grilled chicken or Italian sausage for a weeknight meal)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large skillet, saute garlic in the butter for about one minute. Pour in half and half; stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. After all Parmesan is added, mix in parsley, salt and pepper. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce will take a while to thicken. When sauce has thickened, combine with cooked pasta noodles; serve hot.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I hate to tell you this, Doug...

...but Abby has found a new boyfriend.

I know you'll miss those long lazy naps together, frolicking in the backyard, and cuddling up on the couch with her, but you had to know your relationship was doomed from the beginning.
You're married to me...and she ain't woman enough to take my man.

Be happy for her, though, this new guy seems like a real catch!

I hear he wants to be a dentist!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our homage to the Olympics!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

The Creamer Games

The Olympic spirit is alive and well and thriving in the Creamer family living room! Danny and JP have invented a hockey style game using Ninja swords and a plastic lemon...

Definitely worthy of a gold medal if you ask me!

And I'd much rather watch THIS than curling!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freezing greens

I've got collard greens coming out the wa-zoo!
Tough problem to have, huh?
I knew there had to be some way to preserve them. After all, they sell collards, mustards, and spinach frozen in the market. I did a little investigating and found that freezing greens is extremely simple:
Video tutorial on putting up greens

So I went out to the garden and picked a "mess" of greens

After a good washing, removing the ribs, and cutting them into ribbons, I blanched the leaves for three minutes. Once blanched, I put them into an ice bath to stop the cooking and to help them retain their rich green color. I drained them very well and packed them into quart sized ziplocks.
That sinkful of greens gave me four quarts (or four meals worth) of gorgeous tender greens! It will be so nice to pull out a packet of them to enjoy this spring or summer.
If the weather continues to stay cool, I should be able to get one or two more large harvests!

I think I prefer freezing to canning my garden veggies. It seems like canning destroys the freshness, plus, there is the added risk of contamination.
I just hope my freezer space holds out!

Monday, February 22, 2010



Friday, February 19, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This week's meal is pure comfort food! There is nothing like it on a cold winter's evening. Bake up a crusty loaf of artisan bread and settle in for the night...
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:


1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (10 ounce) cans minced clams, drained with juice reserved
1 quart half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Old Bay seasoning to taste

In a blender, combine onion, garlic and enough water to make a smooth paste.
Set aside.
In a large pot, combine potatoes, celery, salt, pepper, onion mixture and juice from clams. Augment with enough water (or bottled clam juice for extra flavor) to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, 20 minutes.
Stir in half-and-half and sugar. Combine melted butter and flour, then whisk into soup. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in clams and adjust seasonings. Add Old Bay to taste.

For more meatless meal ideas, check out the
label cloud to the right!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This recipe is a tried and true meal. Tell me who doesn't remember tuna casserole as a kid? This recipe is a little different - NO boxed mac & cheese and NO cream of crap soup! It's not to say that those types of recipes weren't delicious...but this one is a little better for you. I'm going to have a battle on my hands with this one, Doug hates tuna casserole, but we'll see if he'll give this recipe a try!

Tuna Casserole - from scratch

1/2 cup butter, divided
1 (8 ounce) package uncooked medium egg noodles
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can of french fried onions (That's a Creamer Family addition and not part of the original recipe-see note at bottom of recipe!)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a medium baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
4. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth and cook for about one minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish. Top with cheese.
5. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

**Note: I change up the recipe a little by melting the cheese into the butter/flour/milk mixture. It makes a nice cheese sauce! Then I top the whole thing with french fried onions for a really crispy and flavorful topping.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lettuce Celebrate!

I've finally figured out the perfect way to grow lettuce.
Apparently, you just sew the seeds and FORGET about them for the next few weeks!
In years past, I cut the young and tender outer leaves to eat - never letting the plant grow really big. This year my lettuce patch (as well as rest of the garden) has been horribly neglected....and that's what they like!
It's sooo goood cutting fresh, cold, crunchy greens from the garden in the dead of winter...

Just wish I could grow some tomatoes and cucumbers to go along with it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paper and glue

A while back, we introduced Kyle to model making. He LOVES assembling model kits. Unfortunately, we can't afford to buy kits every week, so my industrious young man scoured the internet for FREE model kits online. There are hundreds of sites that allow you to print your own paper models...and they can be as simple or complicated as you want them to be!

Here's a recent project, the Apollo Lunar Lander:
If you have a crafty kid like mine, check out some of these great sites! All you need is some heavy card stock paper and a printer full of ink.

100 Exceptional Free Paper Models

Canon Paper Craft

Paper Toys

Friday, February 5, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Seafood Gumbo

My husband LOVES gumbo and would probably eat it daily if he could. I've never attempted to make it, and not sure why, I guess that I've always thought it was too difficult to make.
Well that all ends here and now!
I've found the most excellent video tutorial on making a true Louisiana style gumbo and I'm sharing it with you. We will make ours with shrimp and crab but the meat combinations are endless. You could even make a total vegetarian gumbo just using more okra.
The recipe is printed below the tutorial video, but I really encourage you to watch the video. He has great tips for making your roux and cooking okra so that it is not slimy!
He really makes it look easy!

powered by

1 ½ cup celery (finely chopped)
1 ½ cups bell pepper (finely chopped)
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ cup garlic
2 cups green onion
1 lb okra
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup flour
2 lb shrimp (cleaned and de-veined)
1 lb sausage
8 cups stock (chicken/seafood)
Tabasco sauce

Take a pot and add the oil and flour. Stir continuously (for approximately 20-30 minutes) till dark brown. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and bay leaves. Stir. Combine well. Cook for 4 minutes and then add in the garlic. Combine. Add the okra and stir. When the stickiness of the okra disappears, add in the shrimps and sausages. Stir. Add parsley and green onions. Stir. Add the stock and keep stirring. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce (to taste). Add the rest of the shrimps and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with white rice.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My kids have lost it!

The other day they were having fun making Mii on the Wii. All sorts of giggling was going on as they made characatures of me and Doug, Michael Jackson, Charlie Brown, and Darth Vader. I mean, hey, who wouldn't like to play Wii bowling with Jesus, right?
Later in the evening I had retired to my room for some quiet time. Doug comes in shaking his head and saying, "The boys just made a Mii of's a little black girl with pig tails."

Pretty good likeness, huh?
AND she can bowl a 180!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's that time of year again!

The time of year when seed companies send out their yearly catalogs! I tell 'ya, it's more wonderful than being a kid and getting the Toys R Us Christmas catalog in the mail!
I love nothing more than receiving all my catalogs and waiting to open them.
Yes, waiting! I stockpile them and at the end of January I pick a particularly cold and rainy day to curl up on the couch in a big quilt, brew a pot of hot tea, and pour over them for hours. Sometimes I'll even get out my sketch pad and start planning based on compatible plantings.
This year I'm going ALL heirloom!
Last year I mixed convention seeds with heirlooms and found that the heirloom varieties had much more appeal, insect resistance, better flavor, and quantity of production. I'm also going to try my hand at seed saving this year - something you can't do with hybrids - and maybe next year I will be able to plant my entire garden for FREE!

If you'd like to plot and plan your own heirloom garden, request some FREE catalogs from the vendors listed below:

HEIRLOOM SEEDS (online ordering only)







Those should be enough to get you started! It's not too late to order!
To read more about why heirloom seeds are so important