Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Penne Pasta with Broccoli: This Week's Easy One Pot Meal

I liked it, but I think it needed both more broccoli and more cheese. We added a little extra parmesan, gave it a bit of salt and pepper, and then, it was good!

But I think next time, I'll add some fresh broccoli to really yum it up!!

What have you been cooking lately?

See you Thursday!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Think It's Becoming a Favorite...

Today, we decided to bring back an "old favorite" for tonight's easy one pot meal, though it's really not that old yet. It became a favorite pretty quickly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family Day: An Easy One Pot Meal to Celebrate

We had a wonderful dinner on Monday for family day and then, had the leftovers tonight! It was spaghetti and meatballs, beanpot style.

The only thing that went wrong was that I didn't put the spaghetti in for long enough. It was a little too al dente, if you know what I mean.

But it was all good by as leftovers!! I can't wait to make it again!

See you Thursday :)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall One-Pot Meals: How to Roast A Pumpkin

From Suzanne over at Hillbilly Housewife...

To Roast A Pumpkin...

You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.

Can You Cook It in a Beanpot?
I'm sure you can!
Hillbilly Housewife

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pot Roast: A "Comfort Food" Easy One Pot Meal

Confession: this is not what we are having for dinner tonight. It's what I wish we were having! I could not even wrap my mind around getting dinner ready tonight in the beanpot.

So this is what I found for you, instead...

A pot roast recipe from Everyday Food.

Hopefully, I will get myself back in gear and come up with a beanpot recipe to try in the next few days and when I do, I'll take pics and come show all of you!

See you Thursday!!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Easy One Pot Meal: Beans in the Beanpot

We had a wonderful dinner on Tuesday night, with baked beans and bacon!! In fact, there were no leftovers and we had planned to leave some.

Here's the Recipe


Two cans of baked beans
4-6 tbsp. of maple syrup
1 tbsp. of brown sugar (I use cane)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tbsp. of dijon mustard
6-8 slices of cooked bacon


Stir all the ingredients together (I would add the bacon after everything else has been blended and then, stir again)
Bake on low in the crockpot or 250 degrees in the beanpot for 3 hours

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Here's What's Cookin': Hamburgers & an Easy One Pot Meal Bean Recipe

The Hamburgers

We just got through putting the hamburger in for lunch. I took a picture or two of my son mashing his in so it will cook faster :).

When the hamburgers come out, we will put the beanpot in and begin cooking the beans extravaganza. I found a three-ingredient recipe that involves two cans of baked beans, a cup of barbecue sauce and a fourth of a cup of dijon mustard.

The Beans

But I don't want to try that one because it seems like the flavors would be too extreme! Has anyone used a similar recipe?

I am planning to use the one I have done before on the stove and see how that translates for better or worse in the beanpot. Here's hoping for better!

I'll tell how it went on Thursday, and hopefully, if I remember, have pictures!!

See you then!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Blog Plan: Stay Tuned for Twice-a-Week Easy One Pot Meals & Recipes...

As you know, if you have been following along :), I am going to cook at least one meal a week in the beanpot and also, teach my son to cook as part of his homeschooling. During some weeks, I am sure I will cook more than that and will want to share it with you here.

But here's the problem...

The Problem

I am only on the second week of homeschooling and I am already overwhelmed! I'm not surprised because it always takes us a few weeks to settle in and shake the dust off. Establishing a new rhythm takes time and this year, we are making several lifestyle changes, too, so it's all a bit much right now.

My Solution

So my solution is to post here twice a week. Two meals each time or one meal and its recipe. I'm not sure yet which one it will be but will keep you posted. Stay with me, it will all get sorted out eventually!

Take care!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Cooking

The Weekend!

I had a wonderful weekend!! I watched three or four movies, finished a Jane Austen novel, spent time with my family, stared out the window...

I took the whole weekend off and because of that, did a bit more cooking than I usually do. Saturday is pizza day, so I ordered a pizza that day, but on Sunday, I invited a friend over and we made the mac and cheese bake in the beanpot. We all had seconds and my friend said she loved it!

Labor Day

I had planned to make a bean extravaganza in the beanpot yesterday but discovered I only had one can of beans in the cabinet! So I let it cook on the stovetop for a couple of hours and added bacon, dijon mustard, sugar, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

In the oven, I made hamburgers, and also baked cookies. Our dessert yesterday was ice cream sandwiches made with almond pound cake cookies (made w/ a mix) and pineapple coconut ice cream! YUM!!

It was a great day!!

See you tomorrow!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Back to School Blog Tour: Teaching My Son to Cook with the Beanpot

This back to school blog tour is brought to you by the women at http://www.livingmymoment.com/  and http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/ . Jump in and participate with your blog! It's not too late...

One Pot Meal, Beanpot Cooking

If you are new to this blog, you may not know yet that I am on a mission! I am what you might call a reluctant cook. When I was growing up, my mother preferred to be alone in the kitchen and after a few tense-filled attempts to be with her, I was happy to let her.

So everything I know about cooking, I learned after I left home. Which wasn't all that much! Now, I am chief cook and bottle washer and I have decided it's time to learn a few more things than my memorized number for Papa John's pizza!!

When I found out that the beanpots from Celebrating Home are oven-safe and dishwasher-safe (microwave, too), I decided to try my hand at learning to make some slow cooking, one pot meals. 52 weeks worth, actually.

So for the next year or so, I will try at least one new slow cooking, one pot meal each week. You're invited along for the ride!!

Teaching My Son

But I also want to teach my son to cook so he won't leave home as unprepared as I was.

So part of our homeschooling each week will involve teaching him how to cook a beanpot meal. During the month before, I will try the meal myself, and then, each Friday, he will practice it for that next month, eventually doing it himself.

This week, he made barbecue chicken (that wasn't in our plan, we snuck that in) but this month, he also will learn to make a mac and cheese bake. Like the one I made the other day...

I'd love to hear about your family meals and what you've got cooking!

Thanks so much for visiting!!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Laziness...

Okay, I admit it! It already feels like a holiday to me. And after my homeschooling day came to an end, I just didn't feel like figuring out what to put in the beanpot.

So my son and I decided to just make some sandwiches. I combined turkey and bacon and roast beef, sliced 'em all up and sliced the bread, removing the ends and served them with Picnic Peach tea with a splash of vanilla extract. It was yummy!

Tomorrow, I will probably try out something in the beanpot, but I confess I may just take the whole weekend off. If I do, I'll see you again on Monday!

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Barbecue Chicken Slow Cooking One Pot Meal

Easy One Pot Meal with BBQ Chicken

I forgot to take pictures but must tell you that experiment number two on my slow-cooking beanpot was a success!

However, I think I am learning that I prefer slow cooking and lower temperatures to get-it-done-faster and higher temps. But yesterday, we had errands to run and by the time I was back, with groceries put up and the oven warmed, it was mid-afternoon.

So I cooked it at 350 degrees for two hours. It was great, but not as tender as I would have liked. Today, I added bacon and mild cheddar cheese and warmed it up at 200-250 degrees and it was even better. We had sandwiches that were the absolute yummiest!

Didn't think of taking a picture of them, either, until I was halfway finished with mine.

Cleaning Up

I did have to run the hot water and let the beanpot soak while we ate because the I forgot cooking spray at the store and the butter just didn't work this time :).

However, it came right off and the pot is now resting comfortably in the dishwasher.

Tomorrow's Dinner

Tomorrow is cooking day for homeschooling and we picked mac and cheese. I haven't decided if I'm ready for that again so soon or would rather wait until next Friday. But an even more important question might be, do I have anything else?

I definitely don't feel like trekking back to the store just to make something different. So at this point, tomorrow's dinner is anybody's guess.

See you then!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guess What's Slow Cooking Right Now?

Today was our first day back to homeschool and as part of the end of our homeschooling day, we not only decided on the easy one pot meal made with chicken barbecued in the beanpot, I let my son do all of the preparation except for pouring in the barbecue sauce.

Our meal is cooking in the oven right now! I'll let you know tomorrow if it was as yummy as I expect it to be.

Our day went well today! But we got a later start than planned so our dinner meal will be about an hour later than it usually is.

We began with tea and meditation, and then ate a quick breakfast before the start to our first homeschooling day of the year! It was fun to start again and I look forward to getting the rhythm of our days established so I don't even have to think about what to do first and what to do next.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

See you tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mini 10 Concludes with Breakfast for Dinner

I took my shiny clean beanpot out of the dishwasher and considered whether or not I wanted to make barbecue chicken for dinner tonight or wait until tomorrow.

This was the last day before the start of homeschooling and we had errands a plenty this morning and afternoon! By the time I got home, I wanted to sit down and not have to get up for a while. My son, on the other hand, was ready for chicken.

But I just did not feel like heating up the oven or eating barbecue chicken to be honest. So we will do it tomorrow. In fact, my son offered to prepare it since it is so simple and I just might let him.

Put in the chicken, pour barbecue sauce over it, turn the oven on and let it sit for a few hours. That's it!

Tonight, instead, we had waffles and cereal. Yes, we did! I was and am tired. But tomorrow, my reluctant cook quest for slow cooking, easy one pot meals far better for dinner than breakfast, resumes with my customary enthusiasm :).

Thanks to all my mini 10 readers for dropping by during the challenge!

See you tomorrow!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Leftover Mac and Cheese, a Slow Cooking, One Pot Meal

Leftover Meal

After we finished dinner last time, there was still enough left in the beanpot for another meal. So I just put the beanpot in the refrigerator and took it out today for tonight's dinner. It is stoneware, so it's safe for the oven, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher.

But it is not a good idea to take it from the fridge and put it in the hot oven right away. I let it sit out for a couple of hours so it could return to room temperature.

I warmed it up at about the same temperature (200 degrees), and added some butter to it before I put it in and after I took it out to wake it up a little.

Just As Good

Our meal tonight was almost as yummydelicious as last night's except for missing that elusive fresh-from-the-oven thing that makes it just that much better on the night you cook it.

As I ate, I continued to marvel at how good it was! You know, when I am out at restaurants, I am wary of ordering macaroni and cheese because sometimes, it's not quite right. The cheese is too sharp or too gooey, or there's too much of it, or the texture is just off in some other way.

So it's dawning on me that when you are the one cooking it, if it turns out okay, you can create something that tastes exactly the way you want it! That amazes me!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best Slow Cooking Mac & Cheese I Have Ever Tasted!!


That macaroni and cheese truly was the best I have ever tasted. I cannot believe that I, reluctant cook, ordinary homeschooling mom, basically still a novice when it comes to new meals, made a mac and cheese that tasted that good!!! And I was so worried that something would go wrong.

I expected it to be crusty and dry but it surprised me and was anything but. It was just like I like it, not too cheesy, not too dry, soft and yummy comfort food!

I feel excited, now, about all my other planned one pot meals!! I asked my son if that wasn't the best mac and cheese I have ever made (I've only tried it once or twice before, I think) and he agreed rather enthusiastically that it was, LOL!

Here's what I cooked it in...

And I got the recipe from Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods.

Now this book's recipes are designed for a slow cooker that has "high" and "low" settings. Obviously, with my beanpot, I used oven temperatures. So I altered it a smidge. I cooked it at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours and that worked out perfectly!!

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods: 200 Recipes for Flavorful Favorites Slow-Cooker Style

See you tomorrow!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pizza, anyone?


Once again, I did not make the one pot meal. I'm sure I have mentioned it, but in case I haven't, I have spent the past couple of weeks racing to the finish line to get my homeschool planning done. As a Waldorf homeschooler, I plan every single day of my son's year in advance.

Last night, I finished and was so excited, I could hardly stand it!!

But then, I felt miserably exhausted and kind of sick. Today, I feel better but not up to cooking. I ordered pizza, instead.

Hopefully, by tomorrow, I will have fully recovered!

Can I tease you by telling you which slow cooker, one pot meal I'm going to make whenever the heck I get around to it?

Mac and Cheese Bake

Friday, August 27, 2010

Guess What I Did Today?

A Confession

Unfortunately, no, it wasn't making my first ever slow cooking, one pot meal! I had an early-morning appt., not nearly enough sleep last night and the task of finishing my homeschool planning for the next year once I got back home.

Homeschool Planning

Although I love homeschooling, the planning process almost always stresses me out completely!!

Because of that anticipated stress, this year, I waited much too long to begin the planning process and have been practically buried under it for the past couple of weeks. I was not completely sure I would get it done.

But I did!!

Homeschool Lunch Plan

After I finished, however, my son reminded me that we had not yet planned our lunches for September. Now, normally, I have not been one to do that kind of planning. Creating the dinner plans for next month was my first foray into genuine, stick-with-it-past-tomorrow meal planning. But I promised we’d do the lunch planning, too, so that’s what we did.

Tomorrow, we have nothing planned for the afternoon except cooking the beanpot meal!!

See you tomorrow!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Slow Cooking, Easy One Pot Meals Extravaganza Begins...

My beanpot finally came!! I was so excited to get it out of the box. It’s even prettier than it looks in the picture.

The Extravaganza Begins

So, tomorrow, we start the beanpot slow cooker, one pot meal cooking experiment!!

I did not get the cookbook yet, but I have a couple of recipes I can try anyway. Normally, I will try one or two new recipes a week plus the one my son is learning to make on Fridays. But for these first few days, I might get inspired and make one new recipe each day. Not sure.But what I do know is that tomorrow, I plan to try a macaroni and cheese masterpiece (I mean, recipe).

Today’s Dinner

Today, we finished up the pasta we made last week and I made a cheese sauce to go with it. It tasted good but was thicker than I wanted. I put in extra milk and it still didn’t lighten up. So I couldn’t finish mine because I got full from about half of what was on my plate. My son stepped in to save the day! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three Homeschool Meal Plans

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods: 200 Recipes for Flavorful Favorites Slow-Cooker Style 

This year, I have been letting my son participate as much as possible in planning our homeschooling year.

We decided together which holidays we would incorporate into our homeschooling this year and he told me which ones he had had enough of for now. We decided that Fridays would be our cooking day and he asked to choose one meal a month to learn to cook by himself.

So today, we did a lot of meal planning. We used the beanpot cookbook and two other slow cooker, one pot meals cookbooks...

(1) First, we chose the eight meals he would learn during the school year.

What we're going to do is cook the same thing every Friday for a month with me helping until the last Friday and on that day, if he feels comfortable, he will cook without me. At least half of the eight meals are pasta (we love pasta) but I did coax him to branch out a bit and add some meals that were not pasta-based.

(2) Next, we planned the meals for September. My plan is to try something new on Mondays and Wednesdays, do the meal on Friday that he has chosen, order pizza on Saturdays (for pizza and game night) and have leftovers on the nights in between.

(3) We need to plan our sandwich lunches, too, but we’ll get to that another day this week. I like how quickly you can put lunch together if you make sandwiches, but they must be tasty!

See you tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Homeschool Cooking

My nine-year-old son is quite the budding young chef! We have been baking bread and making cookies and stirring spaghetti sauce together for years now. Late in the afternoon, we wait to hear "Hey, y’all!" and then, settle in to see what Paula Deen is cooking. Occasionally, we try something she’s made, usually a pasta dish.

And he now makes our oatmeal in the morning, except for pouring the boiling hot water on our Kashi apple-cinnamon oatmeal. I do that part!

So he has asked to cook some things all by himself.

What’s a homeschooling mom to do? Obviously, we will make cooking part of our homeschooling this year. Last year, we did it with baking bread using bread mixes. This year, I am planning to teach him to make at least 5 meals (a school week’s worth) by himself.

Though I still don’t have my beanpot, I did get another cookbook in this afternoon. This one has three-ingredient slow cooker, one-pot meal recipes.

I suspect we will pick our five from there. I’ll keep you posted!

See you tomorrow!


P.S. I suspect that one of them will be the meal we had for lunch today: baked beans and bacon. Yum!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Living in Limbo

So on Saturday, the Fed-Ex truck comes to the door with a big box and I am sure it's my beanpot! I get all excited, ready to go to the store to get chicken broth (I don't have enough here at home), chicken breasts, broccoli and broccoli soup. Plus, some other things, but mainly, the makings of tonight's dinner.

False Labor

And, indeed, the big box is from Celebrating Home, so I'm sure my beanpot is in there! I struggle to get the thing upstairs and can't wait to try the meal I'm going to make.

And then, I open it.

That's what was in there. Two of those! My lamps and a Christmas gift I got for my partner.

No beanpot! And obviously, there wasn't enough room in the box, but where is my beanpot?

Sigh. It will probably get here Monday and I didn't really expect it until next week. I guess I'm just disappointed.

The Real Reason I'm So Impatient

Whenever I try something new, I worry about whether or not it's going to work. Then, I have trouble with waiting to try it because I want to get it over with so I'll know one way or the other. Haven't we all ordered stuff in the mail that just grew dusty wherever we laid it to rest in our house?

Back to Excitement

But if it does work, I will get to have a lot more yummy meals, and I can completely get rid of that worry I get around the end of the afternoon about whether or not I will have enough energy for dinner. I love the idea of preparing dinner while the day is still somewhat new. Before the reserves are depleted!

So I am really going to give it several chances to work. I'll just have to build in more time during that part of the day and make the meal prep part of our homeschooling each day.

Stay tuned! :)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's the Mini 10 Challenge!

Can't wait to see who amongst our great big group of Ultimate Bloggers, plus any newcomers, will participate in this mini 10 challenge. Leave me a comment and say hello! Tell me about your blog...

This is a new blog for me, both for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and in general. I am chronicling my quest to find ways to cook with less hassle. I consider myself a beginning cook and a reluctant one because just reading a 15-ingredient recipe for something that takes 20-30 minutes just to prepare it, not even counting how long it takes to cook the darn thing, exhausts me!

As a sort of last-ditch effort, I have decided to try a beanpot. It is a slow cooker, stoneware, and it can go in the microwave, the oven and the dishwasher. That last one is particularly salient for me, because another thing I strongly dislike about cooking is washing pots and pans!

So as soon as my Celebrating Home beanpot arrives, I will be off on the grand adventure!

By the way, I have been reading a couple of blog posts by a fellow blogger at LittleBooks.com and she has issued a "six words" challenge. Hers is to use six words to describe your life. I was thinking maybe those of us participating in this challenge could use six words to describe our blogs.

Here are mine: slow beanpot cooking, making cooking easier. What are yours? Tell me in your comment...

See you tomorrow!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blogging Challenge

Starting tomorrow, this blog will participate in a ten-day blogging challenge designed to help it network among other blogs and gain some exposure!

It's called Mini 10.

Want to join and blog for ten days? Go to Blog Challenge for more info.

See you tomorrow!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Tonight's Dinner...

Still no sign of my beanpot yet, so I went looking for something fun to cook that would console me. Oh my gosh, did I find something good!!! Look at this treasure I found over at Tasty Kitchen...

It's all the things you love, together in one meal: bacon, pasta, tomatoes...

She Wears Many Hats gives excellent play-by-play instruction (with pictures!) in this guest post and it seems easy enough that even I could do it. She provided this yummy photo, too. I can almost taste it, can't you?

Can't wait to try it!!

See you tomorrow!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Ton of Homeschool Lunch Ideas...

These come straight from an article titled Lunch Box Food by Suzanne Myers, the Hillbilly Housewife. Here are some of my favorites from her very extensive list.

For some, I added my own idea for a variation or left out part of hers...

Tuna salad sandwich w/ celery
Chicken salad sandwich (she adds raisins)
Meat loaf sandwich w/ tomatoes (sliced or diced)
Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich
Bacon with fried eggs sandwich (yum!!)
Sloppy Joe sandwich
Turkey and bacon sandwich w/ bean sprouts
Sliced cucumber sandwich w/ cream cheese (for afternoon tea?)
Egg biscuit with sausage
Sliced roast beef sandwich w/ cream cheese (or melted brie w/ red peppers~ yum!)
Hamburgers or hot dogs
Cubed chicken sandwich with bbq sauce, cheese and mayo
Chicken or beef fajitas

She also has a long list of ideas for taking in a thermos. Soups and more...

I love these ideas, because I often run out oif creative ideas for sandwiches. I would like to try all of these during our next homeschooling year...

Which ones will you try?

Need more back-to-homeschool ideas?...

Back to Homeschool
Homeschool Scrapbooking
Native American Studies

See you tomorrow!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Hit the Motherlode of Slow Cooking, One Pot Meal Recipes

Today, a great big cookbook came in the meal, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. I wasn't expecting it to be so huge. Can't wait for my beanpot to arrive so I can try some of the recipes. I already have some great ideas to choose from for my first one!

At the grocery store today, I wanted to stock up on chopped chicken, onions, tomatoes and the like, but when I looked at the dates for most of them, I was afraid they wouldn't last enough.

So I'll load up next week!

I was telling my son about it and he was excited, too!

The beanpot recipes will be fun to try, too. A lot of them only have 2-3 ingredients. And only take a couple of hours.

See you tomorrow!


Looking Ahead to My First Slow Cooking, One Pot Meal...

My Beanpot

Just checked on my beanpot! It should arrive sometime next week. I can hardly wait to get started cooking in it!!

I ordered a couple of cookbooks that haven't gotten here, either, but I have seen another recipe I think I might try...

Beanpot Chicken

Place 5-6 breasts of chicken in the bean pot and pour 1 can chicken broth and 1 can of cream of celery or broccoli soup.

Add a few garlic cloves if you choose. Slow cook at 300° for several hours and serve over egg noodles or rice.

Option: add broccoli florets for the last few minutes.

Doesn't that sound yummy? With only 4-5 ingredients altogether, that you just dump in the pot!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What to Do When You Don't Feel Like Cooking a One Pot Meal...

Have a non-supper...

"Occasionally, dinner just doesn’t happen for whatever reason – a delayed appointment, a webinar gone into overtime, or just plain lack of motivation (if we’re being honest here) – and we eat what I’ve come to call 'The Non-Supper'. It’s usually something fast, requires no cooking and generates minimal dishes."~~Aimee Wimbush Bourque, writing for Simple Bites.

In the rest of the article, Ten Guilt-Free Non-Suppers, published today, she gives ten non-supper ideas that are nutritious enough to serve to your kids without feeling guilty. Check it out ~~ it's an awesome article!

Great idea, isn't it, moms?

I confess that I, too, sometimes create non-suppers.

And I have tried some of those suggestions but look forward to trying some of the others on those days when I just don't feel like cooking or am rushing home late from an errand that took longer than I expected.

I will probably go for bonus points, too!

How about you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chicken Enchilada One Pot Meal

I have already found a recipe I want to try...

Place in the Bean Pot......

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
Chicken Enchilada Soup Mix from Celebrating Home
Add 2 Cups of Water

Bake for 1 Hour @ 350 degrees

Doesn't that sound yummy? Can't wait to try it!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

52 Weeks of Easy One Pot Meals ~~ New Blog Plan!

"Bean Pots bake food wonderfully & clean up is a snap! It creates a stone oven and makes its own juice!" ~~Celebrating Home

Here we go again but I think it's going to stick this time!

I'm on a mission. I have to confess that I am still learning to cook. I have been doing fairly well in my experimenting, so far, but my next confession is that I don't really like to cook, especially if there are a lot of ingredients, if it takes a long time, if there is lots of chopping and dicing, and then, lots of pots to clean up after it's all over. It's much easier to just make a bowl of cereal and a couple of pieces of toast. Heat up frozen dinners.

Or become close personal friends with Papa John's!

But of course, that's unacceptable over the long haul. So I am on a quest to beef up my repertoire and add some meals I can create easily. If I can find recipes with 3-5 ingredients, even better!

I'll be using the beanpot you see here and on the main page and I will chronicle both the successes and the misfires. Hey, if you know of some recipes I can try, let me know! Meanwhile, week by week, I'll let you know hwo it's going.

How many meals will I make each week? Hmm. I'm not sure. At least one, and then, I'll post about whether the leftovers were as good and what I will create next.

See you here on the blog!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Change is Gonna Come!

Stay tuned for a change in what I plan to do with this blog!

I have been neglecting it, I think, because I got busy and because I didn't really feel like looking for recipes. The cheeseburger pasta discouraged me, too, and I don't like to admit to being so easily discouraged.

So what happens? I totally ignore the blog and the plan!

But I think I feel a stirring. I might be regaining some motivation...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Summer Again Smoothie

What You Need:

1 nectarine, pitted and chopped

1 (6 oz) container peach yogurt frozen

½ C Pine-Orange-Guava juice

½ C lemonade

2 tsp. sugar

How to Make It:

Place the nectarine and peach yogurt into the blender

Add the juice and lemonade.

Sprinkle in the sugar.

Blend on high until smooth.

If you are watching what you eat or cannot have sugar replace the lemonade with a sugar free type and use 1 packet of sweetener in place of the sugar.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Need Chocolate Smoothie

What You Need:

1 C chocolate milk

1 C chocolate ice cream

1 Three Musketeers candy bar, cut into small chunks

How to Make It:

Place all the ingredients into the blender.

Blend on medium speed until smooth.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

If you crave chocolate this is the smoothie for you. Any type of candy bar will work so use your favorite for a great afternoon treat. Oh yea kids love it too.

I Want S'More of That! (smoothie recipe)

What You Need:

½ C marshmallow cream

¼ C chocolate syrup

1 C milk

2 C ice

2 graham crackers, crumbled

How to Make It:

Place the marshmallow cream and chocolate into the blender.

Pour in the milk.

Add the ice cubes and sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the top.

Blend on high until smooth.

To make this an even more special treat top with a few colored mini marshmallows and some miniature chocolate chips.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tea is Better for You than Water!

After falling in love with sweet tea, chamomile tea and apricot tea, I have decided to make afternoon tea a part of "better health" quest! I gave up sweet tea to avoid the caffeine, but have been trying different teas since then and love it just as much as ever.
“For thousands of years, wise people have poured hot water over tea leaves and found pleasure in both the experience and the drink that is created. Referred to as the ‘agony of the leaves,’ the reaction of dried leaves to hot water can be a lovely thing to watch; it holds an almost poetic beauty, especially if you brew in a clear vessel and use larger-leafed such as oolong. And the resulting beverage is a truly great tea with an exceptional flavor, aroma, and color.”—Theresa Cheung, Tea Bliss: Infuse Your Life with Health, Wisdom, and Contentment

Better than Water!

"[Researchers] found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack."-Dr. Carrie Ruxton

Water replaces the fluid you have lost. But researchers found that tea rehydrates just as well as water does.

And tea provides antioxidants and flavonoids that water does not provide.

What are the Health Benefits of Tea?

Drinking green tea helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Drinking green tea or black tea regularly has anti-aging effects.

Tea has been found to improve your cognitive ability. That means I was on the right track when I pulled all those all-nighters with tea instead of coffee.

There is a compound in green tea that may slow down or help to prevent type 1 diabetes, which suggests it may be good for children to drink as a preventative measure.

Green tea has been found to help your body recover more quickly after weight lifting. And seems to increase endurance during exercise, in general.

Even drinking one cup of black tea every day can help protect you from heart disease and lower your risk of having a stroke. Green tea and rooibos tea do, as well.
Drinking tea boosts immunity. And white tea, in particular, helps fight germs by slowing down bacteria growth.

Speaking of white tea, research suggests it may be the answer to our national problem with obesity. It has been found to prevent the formation of new fat cells. Green tea also has been found to be helpful in preventing weight gain.

If you’re stressed out, black tea will be soothing. And daily cups of black tea may improve your ability to manage stress and recover from it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cheeseburger Pasta

I tried this meal about a week ago. I used hamburger, rotini or fusilli pasta (can't remember which, whatever I had at home) and a couple of cans of Campbell's Soup, and then followed the recipe on the back of the can.

My son loved it!! Me, not so much.

It did taste like a cheeseburger, and maybe that's the problem. I don't like cheeseburgers. I love hamburgers, but not with the slices of American cheese melted onto them. And maybe that's what the cheese soup was? I don't know, but it just wasn't really to my liking.

I ate it once but didn't even want leftovers with it. I think I let my son finish it.

So that is not a recipe or meal that will make the cut.

Have you tried it? If so, I'd love to know if you liked it, modified it, still use it, etc.

My Plan for this Blog...

I have been thinking about what I want to do with this blog! How fun to write about yummy things like food and tea and scrumptiousness, while at the same time, trying to find ways to eat better and write about that, too (going natural, having a few less desserts, eating more veggies, etc.).

So my plan, thus far, is to post a few times a week. I haven't quite worked out the schedule, but I think I have settled on the primary conversations I want to have and the information I want to share...

(1) Recipes: I hope to share a couple of recipes/week. One may be very simple, something easy I have discovered that I can use during the week, and another might be one to experiment with on the weekend.

I'd love to have you share recipes that have worked for you, too, especially if they are really simple!

(2) What I have been eating: Any new recipes I have tried, the ones I'm keeping that will make the list, and the ones that didn't work so well. I also want to share any healthy changes I am making in what my family eats. And I may keep track of the times we treat ourselves, as well! :)

What have you been eating? Are you making changes in your own eating habits? I would love to hear about it and hear how it's going for you.

(3) Inspiring Reading: If I come across something, a quote or passage, or book I want to recommend, I will mention it here and share its impact on me. If I implement something I read about in a book, I'll be sure to share the results.

And I'd love to know what you have been reading, too.

See you here on the blog!


Saturday, May 1, 2010


Hello and welcome to my blog!

I warn you, it's name may change. There must be a more creative one, and hey, I'm open to suggestions.

I'm on a mission. Right now and for the foreseeable future, my partner and I have a long-distance marriage (long story, full of family obligations and international intrigue :)). But she will be coming to visit several months from now (this fall) and I have decided to use that visit as the impetus for a healthy change in the way we all eat.

Our budget is small so instead of going out to eat while she's here, I want to focus more on cooking at home. And back here at the ranch, so to speak, my son and I could use some changes in our way of eating.

Though I have emphasized natural and organic most of his life, occasionally, we'd stop for fast food or order pizza. And then, "occasionally" began to be "sometimes" and it was slipping dangerously close to "often."

Plus, there were times when I just didn't feel like cooking, so we'd eat toast and cereal. Yummy once in a while but again, you don't want to slide into habit.

So, I need 21 meals. And here are the criteria...

(1) They must be yummy! So yummy that they are worth whatever hassle it takes to make them.

(2) There can't be a whole lot of hassle or I won't care how yummy they are!

(3) They have to include natural or organic food, and fresh or frozen fresh whenever possible.

(4) They have to (mostly) be healthy!

Phew! That list, alone, makes me want to sit down and rest.

For inspiration, I have been reading Simple Food for Busy Families: the Whole Life Nutrition Approach. I may try some of their recipes.

And I am open to suggestions!

Now, actually, the list is started already, because there are a few meals we all like that I don't mind making. I will include that list in my next post or somewhere on the blog.

Wish me luck!