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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Vintage Recipes

Here's a link to a few other Vintage Recipes that may save you money, and will give you an appreciation for your parents and grandparents too. I found a great website called the 1940s Experiment with interesting recipes that were used during WWII--many are British and many I have tried.

Bread Stuffing
Vegetable Stew
Poor Knights Fritters


Vintage Inspired Recipes (Spamwiches)

Spam is a meat in a can---not quite like anything you've ever seen, but a wartime staple that fed families during tough times. Here's a Vintage Inspired Recipe from wartime that was popular well into my childhood, brought to you by my baby-boomer mom who did her best to feed us a variety of unique meals.

1 can of Spam, grated
1 c. mayo
2 tbsp. mustard
2 stalks of celery, diced (opt)
3 green onions, diced
1 c. shredded cheese
pepper to taste
1 pkg. hamburger buns, or rolls

Open the can of Spam and grate using an electric grater or dice into small chunks. Place grated Spam in a large bowl and add other ingredients. Once the mixture has been combined, spread onto roll. Broil the rolls in oven until melted.

**Disclaimer: I didn't say all these Vintage Inspired meals were extraordinary. Let's all just appreciate the sacrifices made on the world's behalf for peace and freedom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School 2014- Tips and Tricks to Surviving "Normal"

This is one of the best, and most stressful times of year. We have to get back into our normal routine and make time for homework, lunches, sports and other responsibilities that are put off during summer break.

Here's a few tips and tricks that may work for you, and create a bit of calm among the chaos of going back to school.

Pack lunches the night before (see below)
Pack up backpacks the night before
Pick out clothes and shoes the night before and put them out so you can find it in the morning
Take a shower the night before (or bathe the little kids)
Get up with the alarm--or set it 10 minutes early so you aren't fighting the clock
Set out breakfast dishes/cereals or other non-perishable items the night before

Set a routine. When the kids get home from school they get a snack and I spend about 10 minutes with each of them reviewing how their day went, signing anything, checking over homework and making a plan with them of prioritizing their homework--yes, this even happens with the tiny ones--they need to know to get important homework done first too at some point.

Once they have a plan we set to work on getting homework finished. Sometimes it's easier to break homework up into timed sections (20 minutes works for us). So on nights with limited time due to other activities, they may have 20 minutes to read before dinner, and then they need to do their dinner assignment. On nights with less activities they can choose to do homework in whatever order they want to. It is a battle to get it all done, but charting it out by time periods helps us to get it accomplished.

Lunch Ideas
Check out these ideas on how to make quick, easy lunches
Lunch Ideas 1
Lunch Ideas 2
Lunch Ideas 3

Dinner Ideas
During the week meals have to be quick. I have started using my crock pot on the busiest of nights, many are listed here. Other quick ideas include: My French Dip sandwich; baked ziti;soup & sandwiches; Sheppard's Pie; enchiladas (make one & freeze one by doubling the batch).

It's easiest for me to have a prep day where I get all my meals for one week, including lunches, ready--chop any veggies, bag chips or crackers into smaller portions, cut up meats or shred cheeses, this way the kids and I can easily access the ingredients. If you don't like that hyper-organized idea, another idea is to arrange meals into bags or sections in the pantry so all your ingredients are grouped together. Whatever way works for you, being organized saves time, money and reduces stress.

Don't Forget to have fun. Yep, school is in full swing, but that doesn't mean the fun you had in the summer has to end completely. If the weather is nice visit a park on the weekend, go to an outdoor Farmer's Market or movie, go bowling or mini golfing--Life isn't Over, just back to Normal.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throw Back Thursday- Vintage Inspired Recipes (Sausage and Potatoes)

Here's another Vintage Inspired Recipe that is a throw back to simpler times. Having World Wars caused our personal worlds to open up. Radios across the world spread the news of what was happening during this landmark time. We learned about people and culture; and shared our own victories and losses. Food became something to bond people and neighborhoods together. We celebrated and mourned, and created memories.

Sausage and Potato Casserole

12 med. potatoes, diced (any potato variety will do. I used Russet, so if you are using red or yellow use 15 potatoes)
1 long link of turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks (or polish sausage, or even hot dogs in a pinch)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1-2 green or red peppers, chopped
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. honey mustard
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. tarragon
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Frank's Red Hot or Tabasco, optional

Cook onion and garlic in oil about 2 minutes. Add sausage, potatoes, peppers, soup and water, and cook for 15 minutes. Prepare sauce by whisking all ingredients together in small bowl. Once the potato mixture has cooked for about 15 -20 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender) add sauce, stir to combine. Cook together for 10-12 minutes and serve.

**This is a wonderful way to use many garden vegetables. The sauce adds a tangy sweet flavor to the dish. Consider tweaking this recipe to what you have on hand--zucchini, crookneck, hot peppers and tomatoes would be great additions to this easy meal.

This meal easily feeds 8 and costs about $6 to make--.75 cents per serving

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throw Back Thursday- Vintage Inspired WWII Recipes (Tomato Soup)

I have been doing a lot of Family History research for a couple of clients (I recently started a business helping people transcribe and organize their personal/family written info and pics) and in doing so have been really inspired by those who lived through WWI and WWII, especially since many had large families to feed, and rations were put into place which limited basic cooking ingredients like eggs, sugar and butter.

In my quest to save money, find appreciation for past generations, and RocK! something vintage besides a few throw pillows--I am doing a series of Vintage Inspired Recipes. People grew "Victory Gardens" and "Canned for Victory" during the 1940s, so I thought today I'd start out with my quick, easy, food storage friendly, garden friendly Tomato Soup. Enjoy!

Vintage Inspired Tomato Soup
2-10.15 oz cans of condensed tomato soup (or consider pureeing stewed garden tomatoes)
1-12 oz can of evaporated milk
2/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. onion flake
2 tsp. dried basil, or 3 freshly chopped basil leaves
pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in pot on stove top and heat until warm. Serve topped with croutons. You can find my great economical recipe for croutons here!

To round out the meal I serve this with grilled cheese sandwiches, which would not have happened back in the day of rationing, so I no longer take cheese and butter for granted.

This meal feeds 6 easily and costs about $3.30 to make--.55 cents a serving (sandwich and soup). 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

End of Summer Fun

It's winding down to the time when life returns to "normal" and school is back in session. This has been one of the most memorable summers of our lives. I am sure partly because we got to take an airplane to San Diego, but mostly we've just had fun doing a lot of new, cool things. Here's a list of things we've loved doing, and there's still time for you to fit them in before we get back to "normal."

1. Visit a local "watering hole." We love Blackridge Reservoir. This is a little hidden gem in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley. You really must see it to believe it.

2. Visit a local garden. Gilgal Gardens in SLC is a sculpture garden. I guarantee you haven't seen anything like it. Conservation Garden Park is another fun spot for date night or family time. Both are FREE.

3. Outdoor movie night. Lots of parks all over the country sponsor Free Family Movie nights. We built our own movie screen this year, and hold regular showings in our backyard for family and friends. It's a great memory!

4. Plan a family game day. Each year we hold our annual Family Olympics. We compete in hard core events like Monster Melting, Ping Pong toss, Eraser Bowling, three-legged races, potato sack races, and a variety of other quick paced games. This was our third year, and it was the best ever. Taking a cue from the "Minute to Win It" game show, we put on own spin on a 15 quick games and competed for the most coveted prize--giant candy bars. This was a great way to work on team work and communication, while under the clever guise of fun family time.

5. Reading. After all that fun, we had to have some down time. We loved going to the library and book store events. Barnes and Noble is still holding their kids contest, where kids can earn a free book for reading. Download the journal here. You have until Sept. 1 to get your free book.

6. Geocaching. Warning--this is not for the faint of heart, or very small kids. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting with clues and a GPS. There are many websites that have directions to caches all around the country. Google your area and "geocaching" and you should find a list of local treasure hunting sites.

7. Farmer's Markets. Support local businesses, especially farms! We visited Wheeler Farm and Gardner Village's Farmer's Market--both have great local produce, honey and arts & crafts. Support local economies!!

8. Food Trucks--not necessarily a "summer time" only thing, but lots of fun. Waffle Love, taco trucks and Moe's Sports Grill and hundreds of others are worth a visit. Also taking the kids to the local Snow Cone shack is a cheap, easy, quick bit of fun.

9. Historical Sites. If you know me, you know that Washington, DC is one of my favorite places on the planet. Strange, I know--could have something to do with being raised by a history teacher, or the fact that I am a nerd, and love learning. Some great sites around SLC that I highly recommend are: Utah State Capitol-free, open 7 days a week, kid friendly, amazing grounds (click here for details). Cathedral of the Madeline- beautiful Catholic church, free tours, amazing architecture (details here) .Beehive House- free tours, Mormon Church leader Brigham Young's house, great history, really cool old stuff (details here). Walking Tour of Temple Square-even if you've lived here your whole life, it's worth checking out (details here). Taffy Town- free tours teaching how some of the best treats are made. Hiking- Donut Falls or the Grotto on Mt. Nebo loop--fairly family friendly hikes, with amazing views.

10. Be Adventurous! I got some good advice this summer from an older gentleman at a Farmer's Market. He said, "Do something that scares you each day, and you will live with little regret." So whatever it is that you want to cross off your bucket list, and have been hesitant about...GO DO IT! You won't regret it!

~Live Up Summer!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Meals

Here's a few more great ideas to keep your family fed this month.

Main Meal Ideas
Hawaiian Haystack recipe here
Personal Pita Pizzas
Sloppy Joe's & chili fries
Fajitas, black beans and fruit salad recipe here
Greek Kabobs recipe here or use Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken recipe and cube the chicken instead of leaving it as breasts or cutlets
Chipolte Chicken tacos recipe here
Shrimp Alfredo recipe here (can use chicken, or scallops, if you don't like shrimp)
Crock pot pork I like this one
Orange Chicken and brown rice recipe here
Egg Muffins and Pastries recipe here
Italian Garden Soup recipe here
Stuffed Green Peppers
Homemade Waffle Love -cook cinnamon rolls (the pop open kind like Pillsbury) in the waffle iron and top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate, etc.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Ravioli (frozen ravioli from the store)
Crock Pot Lazy Chicken and Potatoes (I've never tried this, but I am learning how to use my awesome new crock pot, so I am giving it a try.) Recipe Here
Crock Pot Enchiladas Recipe Here
Crock Pot Roast Recipe Here

If you need more ideas, please feel free to search my blog under "Meal Ideas" or "Meal Time"

I'd love to hear from you and get the recipes your family likes!

Happy Eating!