Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

Do you want to be our newest author? Click here!


Orange Glazed Carrots

It has been a few months for me!!! Wow, I've been a little pre-occupied, I guess.
I made these last night, though, and my 19th-month-old loved them! It was so easy, too. I got it from a great cookbook I would recommend to all mommies out there. "Food for Tots" by Dr. Janice Woolley, M.D. and Jennifer Pugmire, Mom. My aunt is the illustrator! (Marilyn Taggart).

"Orange Glazed Carrots"
These lightly sweetened carrots are a good source of vitamin A.

4 cups frozen, sliced carrots or about 5-6 fresh carrots, peeled and sliced. (I used almost a full bag of mini carrots)
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. orange juice
2 Tbls. butter or marg.

1. Cook carrots by steaming, simmering, or microwaving.
2. Stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
3. Mix orange juice into sugar mixture.
4. Add butter to sugar mixture.
5. Cook sauce on stovetop over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, or microwaving for 1-2 min.
6. Pour sauce over carrots and reheat on stovetop or in microwave.

Yield: 4 cups


Disney Princess

So, I know that there are lots of quizzes out there, but I thought that this one was kind of fun. Here's my results and I'd be interested to see what everyone else is in the princess world. Now, if only I actually looked as beautiful as my princess...

You Are Pocahantas!
Image hosted by

Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.

Which Disney Princess Are You?


Teaching Honesty

This week's question comes from one of our readers, Janalee. Thanks Janalee for the suggestion and all the great comments you leave here! Here is her question:

My daughter just turned 4 and a friend mentioned that 4 is the lying age. In fact she has been lying to me for the last few months. She fibs where the truth is obvious and she sticks to her story even after timeout or privileges are taken away. So my question is how do you teach honesty and deal with this lying problem?


Grandma's Orange Salad

I don't know if this is the right name for it, but my grandma used to always make this wonderful orange salad at every family function, so that's what we call it! Anyway, this is super yummy. And it's easy to make as a side dish for any dinner!

Orange Salad

2 small cans mandarin oranges
1 lg can crushed pineapple
4 pkg tapioca pudding
2 small pkg orange jello
1 container cool whip

Drain out the 3 cans of fruit into a measuring cup (put the rest of the fruit in the fridge). You'll want to get as much juice out as possible. Get enough of the juice, and cold water to be 4 cups. Put it into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add 2 more cups cold water. Then add in the tapioca pudding and orange jello. Let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick.

Pour the mixture into a med/large sized bowl and place in the refrigerator. Let it stay there long enough to set up (at least 2 hours). Once it's set up take it out of the fridge. Add in the oranges and pineapple, and then the cool whip. Mix it all together. You can either refrigerate it, or serve it right away.



Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

I know the "ingredient" is Oriental, but I just have to share this. It has been way too long since I last posted, sorry! I will try to be better.

Anyway, I just made this a couple nights ago for the first time, and let me tell you... if you like Mexican food, you're going to LOVE this!!! It's super easy, and it is SO yummy!

2 large onions, chopped
1-1/2 c chopped green peppers
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 c picante sauce (I wasn't sure if it was just a fancy way to ask for salsa, but that's what I used)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin (I didn't have this so I used curry powder and it was fine)
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 corn tortillas
2 c (8 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend (reg. cheddar cheese would work fine as well)

1-1/2 c shredded lettuce
1 c chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 c thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c sliced ripe olives
sour cream

1. in large saucepan, combine the onions, peppers, tomatoes, picante sauce, garlic and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans.

2. Spread 1/3 of the mixture in a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Layer with 4 tortillas and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers; top with remaining bean mixture.

3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings.

Yield: 9 servings

This is just so yummy, and it's super healthy too, except for the cheese, I guess. But come on!

Just a note... My brother has celiac disease, which means he has to have a gluten free diet, otherwise he gets pretty sick. This meal works great because of the corn tortillas!! If any of you know of any other recipes (good ones... some of what he has to eat is not exactly tasty) let me know!! Thanks!



My name is Nikki. My husband just started residency and I stay home with our daughter, Ella. I am looking forward to all the advice and ideas as well as a chance to keep in touch with some wonderful women.


Oriental Chicken Salad

This is a really tasty and filling salad. I leave out the onions and oranges, but that's just us. I love the red wine vinegar dressing. Tangy and sweet. Everything can be made during naptime, too!

1 large pkg. Coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 head romaine lettuce
3 green onions, chopped
2 pkg. Ramen noodles, broken into small pieces
1 pkg. Slivered almonds
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
½ - 1 pound boneless chicken breasts
½ cup plus 2 Tbsps vegetable or olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
garlic powder
3 Tbsp butter or margarine

1. Cut chicken up into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large plastic bag with 2 Tbsp oil, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, dash garlic powder, and a dash of pepper. Mix in bag and marinate 30-45 minutes in the fridge.
2. Cook chicken over medium heat in a skillet, stirring till cooked through. Remove from pan and place in large bowl.
3. Wipe skillet with a paper towel to remove chicken drippings and add 2 Tbsp butter, a dash of garlic powder and the Ramen noodles. Brown lightly. Then place noodles in the bowl with the chicken.
4. Using the same skillet and the remaining butter, toast the almonds till light brown. Place in bowl also.
5. Make dressing by whisking together ½ cup oil, the red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, sugar and a dash of pepper.
6. Add chopped romaine to coleslaw mix and add oranges in a large bowl. Top with chicken/noodles/almond mixture and serve with dressing.

Serves 4-6


Bottles Until Kindergarten?

So, I'm having some serious fears that my 15-month-old little boy will not give up his bottle until he becomes mortified that he's still drinking from one on his first day of kindergarten. Many times during the day he'll run over to the fridge and adamantly do the sign for milk until I get some in a bottle. We've tried doing sippies during meals and giving him a sippy instead when he asks for milk and he will have none of it. In his opinion, milk should only be served in a bottle! Our little girl never really used bottles, so I don't know any tricks in this area. Any advice is very welcome!


EASY Spaghetti

When I first started dating my husband, he lived at home, so I saw his family ALOT. That also meant that I ate dinner with them a lot. His mom makes wonderful spaghetti and after watching her do it time and time again, I finally caught on to why it was so good and how to do it.

Just take a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce and doll it up! I like to add lots of fresh veggies: peppers, zuchini, grated carrots, etc. Then I always add some cooked ground sausage, and probably about 2-3 T. of brown sugar (depending on how much sauce you have). It is so yummy, it gives it a great flavor, along with the sausage. Then, after I cook the noodles I add some butter or olive oil and sprinkle them with garlic powder and italian herbs/seasoning.

Add some good garlic bread and a salad and dinner is delicious!!!

Easy Manacotti

This recipe was given to me by a member of my new ward here in Charlottesville. I have only made it once so far and we really liked it. It got a little messy in the prep, I think it was mostly because It was my first time. It is a pretty simple recipe to make!


2 C Mozzarella cheese (keep 1/2 C for the top)
16 oz. Cottage cheese
1 10 oz. pkg frozen chopped spinach (defrost in microwave and dry with paper towel)
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
crushed red pepper (to taste)

Puree above ingredients until smooth (or just hand stir). Place in a big ziploc bag. Cut corner of bag and squeeze into uncooked manacotti shells. Place in 9"x13" baking dish.

You will use one whole package of manacotti shells.

on top pour:
1 jar of pasta sauce
1 C water

Sprinkle 1/2 C mozzarella cheese on top of sauce. Cover tight with foil and bake at 375 for 1 hr or until shells are cooked.

Remove foil to melt cheese, about 10 min.
Serve with bread and a salad.

(This can be frozen well for a make-a-head meal. Just place plastic wrap then foil over the dish to keep fresh. You may have to increase baking time. remember to remove plastic wrap before cooking.)



My Tricks of the Trade question is how do you budget your money. My husband and I haven't budgeted our money before and have recently decided that we need to do that. We find ourselves spending too much and not saving enough. We sat down and calculated how much our bills cost and how much he makes a month and then decided what to spend where. However he has to register his car and replace the windshield so that blows our budget for this month. How do you budget your money, what programs do you use, what advice do you have?


Book Help

I want to know what everyone's favorite books are!! I need something to read since the Twilight series is over, but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to the book world.
I'm a sucker for good (clean) love stories so if you know some good ones tell me!!


Disguising Veggies

We've had posts before about picky eaters and tricks to get them to eat vegetables better. (Click Here and Here to see a couple)
My friend Tiffany has a little girl like this who hates veggies so she was wondering if anyone has any good recipes that disguise vegetables?