Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Meatless Fridays AND Finishing projects week!

This week you're getting a two-fer! I'm combining my Meatless Fridays post with projects I'm trying to finish before getting back to work full time. This week's meal is distinctly Texan, we LOVE our breakfast tacos! I especially love them with a nice spicy chorizo, but since this is a meatless post, this week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Egg and Potato "Breakfast" Tacos

1 1/2 dozen eggs
1 bag of frozen hash browns
Thinly sliced onion and bell pepper
2 cups of shredded cheese
24 flour tortillas

Defrost hash browns in the microwave until just tender. While hash browns are defrosting, saute onions and peppers (in olive oil or butter) until caramelized and set aside. Add hash browns to a frying pan and cook until crispy. Set aside. Then scramble all the eggs. Using a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, peppers, hash browns, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill tortillas with egg mixture and serve with salsa.

You may be wondering WHY I'm using such large quantities of ingredients, well, that takes me to the second half of my post. I'm stocking the freezer with quick meals and snacks for Doug and the boys since I'll be at work most of the week.

This recipe will be used this weekend to make breakfast tacos for the freezer. Fill the tortillas with egg mixture, wrap up in waxed paper, then store in large gallon sized Ziplock freezer bags. To eat just microwave for one minute.

The boys can easily heat a taco for breakfast or a snack. I'm also going to make a large batch of muffins...maybe pumpkin chocolate chip! The crock pot will be working over time on chili, soups, and other goodies so that Doug doesn't have to cook for the kids and I'll feel better knowing they're eating a wholesome hot meal instead of cold cereal and sandwiches!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finishing projects week!

This week I am going to finish making salves and balms!

Doug brought home some BEAUTIFUL beeswax from some bee keepers down the road. I tell 'ya, this stuff is pure gold! It smells just like honey and is so rich that I could help but dive right in and make some homemade balms for my family. I wanted to make something similar to Vicks Vapo Rub since cold season is approaching. Kyle is allergic to petroleum based products...and really, who wants to rub down with the by products from oil & gas refineries?
I found that making your own "Vicks" was very simple!

Take 1 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of bees wax and melt together over a double boiler. You must use this double boiler method because bees wax can scorch easily. When melted, put in 20 drops (or more) of eucalyptus essential oil and 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Pour the mixture into a pretty glass jar and allow to cool.

A tip from my mother-in-law:
When you have a bad cough at night, slather the bottoms of your feet in vapor rub and put on a pair of socks. It'll quell a nasty cough in no time! I didn't believe it until I tried it, it really works!

It's wellness in a jar!
Ours smells even better with that touch of honey!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finishing projects week!

This week I am going to finish
restoring thrift store furniture!

I got this cabinet from the thrift store for the grand total of FIVE DOLLARS!
It was dirty, smelly, missing handles, and the wood on top was chipped....
just perfect for me!

It was also very roomy inside!
Great for all sorts of storage!

We took it home and gave it a good cleaning with hot soapy water. I removed the insert at the bottom and replaced the moldy fabric with a pretty print from my fabric stash. I was initially going to paint it, but the natural distress of the finish was far more beautiful than anything I could have done, so it stayed as is.

And two little glass knobs later...

It was the perfect addition to our living room!
And storage for quilts and afghans for the upcoming winter.

Stay tuned the rest of the week for all my little projects I'm trying to get done before I have to go back to work full time next week!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finishing projects week!

This week I am going to finish my rag rug!

As a child, I remember laying on the floor by the fireplace on a rug very similar to this one. It was one of those old fashioned braided rugs. I was Googling how to make one when I came across a version called "toothbrush rugs". I was intrigued so I clicked on the link. All I can say is WOW! So very simple that I wish I had discovered it years ago!
By now everyone knows about my love of vintage sheets. I used two of them (stained and with holes) to make this rug. You just tear the sheet into one inch strips and thread them through, kind of like crochet, with the end of a toothbrush...or in my case, the rounded end of a coat hanger! You can make these rugs out of anything, old sweaters, t-shirts, or jeans. This process is incredibly FAST and you can mindlessly do it while watching tv.

This little beauty is going in front of the sink in my bathroom.
Stay tuned all week for the all the little projects around the house I'm trying to finish up before going back to work full time!

For all you could ever want to know about toothbrush rugs, check out this site:
There are wonderful written directions as well as YouTube videos about the process!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finishing projects week!

This week I'm going to finish planting bulbs.

This is the time in south Texas to plant all your bulbs for next spring. You'll see the garden stores have loads of them in stock. I'm also planting non-flowering bulbs like garlic.

I love the first daffodils of spring so I snagged a bag and will naturalize them in the yard. All that means is that I'm planting them in the grassy areas of the lawn to make it look like they've been growing there for years! The best way to do this is to take a handful of bulbs and throw them up in the air, where they land is where they get planted. They'll lay dormant over the winter and come spring they'll be the first flowers to bloom. They'll bloom even before the grass gets green again! When the stalks and leaves are spent, just mow your yard like usual. They'll multiply over the years, so one bag of 10 bulbs will give you tons of beautiful flowers.

I'm also planting regular garlic and elephant garlic. Just take the ordinary bulbs you get from the store, separate the cloves, and plant. Mulch with about four inches of leaves or hay over the winter then in the spring pull it away. If your garlic produces a flower, just pinch it off and all of the plants energy will go towards growing the bulb. You'll have ginormous bulbs by late next summer! Even if your cloves spout, they'll survive a frost, just keep mulching them.

Stay tuned all week as I make myself get the little projects I've been working on finished before I have to go back to work full time next week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meatless Fridays

Big changes happening here in the Creamer household!

I'm going back to work full time nights. I have a staff position in L&D and work starts bright and early Monday morning with hospital orientation. After a week of that then it's onto the unit to birth some babies!
I will be spending the remainder of this week and weekend planning, plotting, cooking, and cleaning trying to make the transition for my family easier. I'm not exactly thrilled about working night shift, but the extra pay differential is definitely an incentive! I'm hoping a day position will become available by the new year.

Now onto Meatless Friday...

I got nuthin!

We've been eating from our freezer stash of meals the last two weeks and looks like we'll finish it off with the last of the salmon chowder from two weeks ago. I'll make a hot loaf of homemade bread to go with it. It's a good thing we've cleaned out the freezer, now I have room to fill it up again with lunches and dinners for Doug and the boys. I'm off right now to put together a meal plan and shopping list.

Please say a prayer for us.
Working 12 hr. night shifts is going to be physically difficult for me and Doug is going to be a single parent 3-4 days out of the week. The kids are big enough and doing their own thing now that life won't change much for them....other than having a tired, grouchy mama all the time!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A little Halloween funny for you!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

And because I just can't stay off Jib Jab, here's another one!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dew drops on collards

A beautiful start to the day, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

By the fire...

Weekly now we've been having a backyard campfire. It's become a sort of family tradition! The boys look forward to it all day as they gather wood and brush for the fire. This week we stepped it up a notch from smores and actually cooked our dinner over the fire. Granted, it was only hot dogs and Frito pies, but JP and Danny said it was the best dinner they ever had! It might have had something to do with the cool weather, cooking it themselves, or maybe it was just the relaxed way we all came together to enjoy the evening.

All I know is that we spent three hours by the fire that night. No TV, no obligations, no distractions except for silly stories, jokes, and listening to the coyotes in the distance.

It was the perfect evening, and maybe a new family tradition.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday John Paul!

Happy birthday to our precious JP who turns nine today! You are the delight of my life and make me laugh every single day. Have a wonderful day my love!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meatless Fridays

Thought I'd post something nice and befitting of the fall season. This warm, cheesy, gooey concoction gets it's richness from either canned pumpkin or fresh. And it's so easy to make a double batch and freeze half for a quick lunch or supper for another night. Your family will love this one! This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tsp. butter, melted
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
10 oz. your favorite small pasta
1/3 c. bread crumbs (I used Panko instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions until al dente. Heat pumpkin puree in medium saucepan over medium to high heat. Add milk and thoroughly combine. Reduce heat to low. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and the mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted into pumpkin mixture. Add mustard, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper (if using), salt, and pepper.
Mix pumpkin sauce with drained pasta until thoroughly combined. Mix in rest of cheddar cheese. Place pasta mixture in 9×9-inch casserole dish, or separate into ramekins for individual servings. Mix breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese. Add melted butter and mix well. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of pasta and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The last of my babies jumped on a bike today and rode right down the street like Lance Armstrong!

He's all of the sudden looking so much older to me
and ridding away too fast!

I want my little Danny back but I'm kind of excited to see how this bigger Danny turns out to be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A note to John Paul

Dear John Paul,
In the event you spill sugar on the counter, please feel free to wipe it up.

Or at least have the smarts to write your brother's initials in it so you don't have to take the fall for making the mess!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rose infused vinegar

So I'm going to bore you to death with another infusion post! This one is a fantastic rose infused vinegar. Among herbalists, rose is considered to have a cooling effect and calms inflammation. However it has many other properties, being anti-viral, aromatic, cardiotonic and hepatic. It promotes bile flow and is a decongestant and protective of the liver and is great for calming allergies.

All I know is that there is definitely a calming effect when I smell this basket of roses just picked from my garden! Even looking at it makes me happy!

To make a rose infused vinegar fill a one pint jar full with fresh rose petals (or half way with dried) and fill to the top with a good quality organic apple cider vinegar. Place a small sheet of waxed paper on top of the jar before sealing because the vinegar will eat away at the metal top of the lid.
Set on your counter and let steep for six weeks.

A cloth can be soaked in this mixture (dilute to 1 part vinegar to about 7-10 parts water) and can be placed on the forehead for tension or heat induced headaches, wrapped around a sprained ankle, or used to wash itchy bug bites and heat rashes. It excels at pulling heat from an inflamed area in a very short time. It is especially powerful at rapidly quenching the redness and pain from a sunburn in no time flat.

We'll start using ours with a little olive oil, salt and pepper mixed into a dressing for salads over the winter.

And just look at that beautiful blush color!
It had turned that way by the end of the first day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Garlic infused honey

In my quest for learning more about herbal remedies I came across some wonderful You Tube channels. One Saturday while everyone was out and about, I sat watching these videos and taking notes for about an hour. One easy remedy for sore throats was garlic infused honey. Sounds pretty gross, huh? But garlic is a powerful immune-booster. It is very effective against nasty bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Honey also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, so when you combine the two, you’ve got a great aid to help you fight sore throats, colds or the flu.

To be effective, the garlic has to be eaten in fairly large quantities. To make it more palatable, immerse the cloves in honey. The cloves become very sweet and yummy...candied almost. At the first sign of a sore throat or cough start eating a clove every hour or two for a day. If you still feel ill the next day, decrease the amount but still try to eat several cloves a day until you feel better.

The honey is excellent for coughs in children. As you use the cloves up just replace them with fresh ones. The garlic honey will be ready to use in a few days (the cloves will turn a nice amber color) but try to let the mixture steep about a month for maximum effectiveness.

Check out these You Tube Channels for some wonderful inspiration about herbs and natural healing:

Wise Woman Traditions

The Herb Mentor