Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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10.27.2008 easy as 1,2,3

My daughter has always loved songs, reading and games (like every other toddler, right?) so here are a few examples of what we do to reinforce numbers.
  1. Ten In A Bed Action poem (you can find other great ideas here...
    There were ten in a bed and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over." (do arms rolling motion)
    So they all rolled over and one fell out.
    There were nine in the bed and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over." So they all rolled over and one fell out....
    (This is repeated until you get to the number one. Each time "roll over" is said, rolling motion is dramatized.)
    There was one in the bed and the little one said, "Good night!"
  2. 5 little monkeys book or 10 Little Ladybugs
  3. When she was first learning to count, we'd count everything...stairs we were going down, number of pretzels she was eating, etc.
  4. Spaghetti play (or string, or pipe cleaners) that she is learning how to read numbers we practice making them with these things. I've also practiced with her by writing them on her magna doodle.
  5. Playing Hide and Seek...she loves this game and I realized it helped her a ton as she learned to count to 20 and beyond.


Cooking with Kids

My two year old loves to dump and scoop EVERYTHING.  So, he really likes to help me in the kitchen.  Mostly we make cookies because that involves a lot of measuring and dumping (another good way to learn to count!).  What I'm wondering is what else do you cook with your kids?   What do they like to cook themselves and what are fun foods kids might enjoy cooking?  I get worried if he wants to help with something over the stove, so sometimes I don't know how to let him help, but he always wants to be right where I am.  I really want him to learn to enjoy to cook and see what a fun and rewarding experience it can be.  


Sesame Street

I hope I don't regret saying this but my oldest son used to watch Sesame Street a lot and I'm convinced he mostly learned how to count from that. Not to say my husband and I didn't play a big part (we also had number magnets, flashcards and counting games) but he's always been very fascinated by numbers and I think that fascination started from all the counting and number songs/rhymes they do on Sesame Street! So, I'm definitely not promoting the replacement of moms with TV but if you ever need a break or have to get something done and you're going to let your child watch a TV show anyway (admit it, we all do it!) I think Sesame Street is at least a good show kids can watch and actually learn something from.


Counting fun

Our girls learned to count pretty early because they LOVE temporary tatoos. Since you have to hold the wet washcloth on the tatoo for 30 seconds, we would start by counting to 10 three times, and then just go straight through to 30 once they got ten down.

Also, before we go anywhere, they both have to sit on the toilet and count to thirty, even if they say they don't have to go. Also, if one person has to use the restroom when we're out, everyone has to go and count to thirty. They get counting practice, and I have fewer pit stops! :)

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Look at this gorgeous costume!
Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!


Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Strawberries

Okay, when you look at this recipe, you are going to think it sounds really gross. I thought that too. Then I tried it and I LOVE it. I ate this at a RS training meeting and everyone loved it so much they had to send out the recipe. They served it with a croissant, and it was delicious. It is a great summer salad or baby/wedding shower salad. I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken Strawberry
Wild Rice Salad

This serves about 6-8 people

2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 cup halved strawberries
¾ cup cooked wild rice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup blanched (not cooked) broccoli (small) flowerets
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup crumbled bacon
1 tablespoon white onion, very thinly sliced (I don't add this, there are onions in the dressing and I'm not a huge onion fan, so this is a little overwhelming to me)

Using a blender, blend the following together:
1 bunch of chopped green onions
½ cup sugar
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
(do not use olive oil, it is too strong a flavor)
1 tablespoon prepared honey mustard
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest (sometimes i don't have this so I just leave it out)
1 tablespoon lime juice

Once blended, add in:
1 heaping tablespoon poppy seeds
Pour prepared dressing over top just before serving. Pour to
moisten, do not drench.


Hopscotch Counting

I'm excited about this new section because I definitely need help in the teaching department - great idea! The key to counting for us has been just trying to add it into everyday activities (how many grapes do you have?, etc.). But, one fun way for our daughter has been playing hopscotch. As she jumped we would count the numbers and it really started to teach her the number symbols as well. I don't know if our little boy will enjoy it as much, but it was definitely a hit for the girls!


Teaching MOMents

I noticed from our poll last week that many of us worry about teaching our children. This is something that I am constantly thinking about. A lot of what we teach our children is done through our example or the examples of others but some of it comes when we take the time to plan, prepare and sit down with our children and teach them temporal and spiritual knowledge.

One of our main objectives with Mommy Diaries is to work together to make us better moms. So we are starting a new section devoted to "Teaching MOMents" where we can share ways that we teach our children...primarily children 0-5 years old. We will be having a weekly theme (much like the weekly ingredient) and we hope you'll share insights on how you teach your children and what works (or doesn't work!) for you.

Happy teaching!

Early onset winter blues

I don't know about you, ladies, but I LOATHE the cold! I detest it. I despise it. It makes me want to cry and scream and throw things. So, instead of facing it at all, when winter comes I just stay inside. Now this would be a dream if it were just me and my cocoa and a great book...but like the rest of you, I have children that demand that I interact with them somehow. So, my question is: What are your tried and true indoor activities? What things do your kids seem to be interested in day in and day out that doesn't involve bundling (a word that makes me cringe)? Please, help me, before the snow comes to cover my last hope of a life outside my shrinking apartment!


French Onion Soup

I have never ordered French Onion soup at a restaurant, it just sounded like it would be weird. But Rob really likes it so I made it one day. It was a huge hit! We both loved it. So, here you go!

6 c thinly sliced onions (I know this is alot, but they are cooked and get so soft that you don't have to chew them or anything, they're so yummy!)

1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 c vegetable oil
6 c beef broth
8 slices French bread (3/4 in thick), toasted
1/2 c shredded Parmesan or Swiss cheese

In a big sauce pan cook the onions, sugar and pepper in oil over med-low heat for 20 minutes or until the onions are carmelized, stirring frequently.

Add the broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Ladle the soup in ovenproof bowls. Top each with a slice of French bread; sprinkle with cheese. Broil 4-6 inches from heat until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

*I don't have ovenproof bowls for soup, so I just took the slices of bread, put them on a cookie sheet and put cheese on them. Then broiled them for 2-3 minutes and then put that on the soup when they were done, it was delicious!!


Tortellini Soup

I can't wait to try Chalece's broccoli soup, I love broccoli soup.  I found this on a website called Domestication in Progress.  I think Laura referred us there one time.  I made it all winter and it is definitely one of our favorites!!!  I really love it and it changes every time depending on what kind of veggies you put in.  Hope you enjoy!

The Ingredients

1 1/2 pkg tortellini (you can find this in the "deli meats and cheeses" section of the grocery store)
- they come in packages of about 10 oz. I usually buy two and use a package and a half. The leftover tortellini is also great with a little pasta sauce for lunch the next day. Or you can freeze it.
24 oz. chicken broth
4 garlic cloves - minced
14 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb. ground sausage (I like to buy the Jimmy Dean roll type things.... you know what I am talking about?  It is usually buy the bacon, other sausage, and hot dogs - basically all the healthy stuff! Haha
- you can use the whole pound if you want to but I find it overwhelms the soup. basically, it becomes "sausage soup" with tortellini - stick with the 1/2 lb.
1 tsp. basil
1 pkg chopped spinach 
(in the freezer section, but thaw and drain before adding it to the soup - I only add half the package)
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 can tomato sauce (optional - but I always add it)

* I also think adding some white beans, zucchini, or chickpeas would make this soup even better... I just haven't tried it yet.


Cream of Broccoli Soup

One of the greatest things about colder weather is having a nice bowl of hot soup. Yummy. I really love to make this super easy soup and then put it in bread bowls. It is AMAZING!

1 c chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 c water
1 tsp chicken base
3 TBSP margarine
1/4 c chopped onion
3 TBSP flour
1 c milk
1 c heavy whipping cream

Combine water and chicken base in saucepan. Add broccoli. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender (about 5 min). Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft. Add flour and stir well. Cook over low heat about 3 minutes until the roux is well formed and light tan. (just in case some don't know, this is going to help make your soup a little thicker)

Remove from heat and add milk and cream, stirring constantly. Return to heat and cook until think, stirring well. Add the milk mixture to the cooked broccoli-broth mixture and heat through.

Makes: 4 cups

Really, this is so yummy when you put it in a bread bowl! Enjoy!!

Also... I made an awesome discovery. When Kara put on the yummy Cafe Rio recipes I got really excited. I noticed that she didn't have the pork recipe, which is my favorite. So I went a-looking. I came across this great blog. This woman has some great recipes on her blog! You should really check it out. And I made the Pork salad yesterday. It was pretty involved, but the end result was to die for! I haven't been to Cafe Rio in a long, long time so this was such an exciting thing for me. I've had it for every meal since then. It made tons! Rob loved it too! (of course, Rob loves everything)

Oh, and p.s. the tomatillo dressing Kara put on here, amazing. I even poured it on my pasta noodles we ate tonight, it was so good!!

Vegetable Soup with Vermicelli (Martha style)

I found this on Martha's website and I think that it is the same one my mom made last December...I pretty much ate the whole potful of soup by myself. It's that good. Call me crazy but I like that there is no meat in it (I'm not counting the chicken broth.) Sometimes I feel like every meal we have has meat in it and it is refreshing to have a veggie meal with a side of bread.

(Serves 10...unless I'm invited and then...well, it serves 1.)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large red peppers, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups diced potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
8 cups rich chicken broth
2 pounds green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound vermicelli
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley

In a heavy 6-quart casserole, saute the onions in the oil until soft. Add the garlic, red peppers, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock and simmer until potatoes are almost tender.
Add the green beans and zucchini and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the vermicelli and continue cooking until the vermicelli is al dente. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Serve piping hot.


Twilight Quiz

In honor of Cassi and all the other huge Twilight fans out there my cousin sent me this quiz and I thought it was really fun in preparation for the movie coming out soon. So, who are you?

I'm a Esme! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!


Cute Kids' Costumes

It's that time again, Halloween season. Time to start thinking about costumes. In my experience, it's best to get an early start so there's still a good selection. But costumes can be really expensive, and the more kids you have, the worse it gets. So my question for the week is, where do you get your kids' costumes? Do you make them or buy them? What are some cute, homemade ideas?

For me, I like to scan stores like Savers and Goodwill. Early in the month you can find bargains like this Dalmatian costume I found for $6. I also like to make costumes and accessorize. My son wanted to be Harry Potter, so I got him a $2 broom(Savers), glasses, and made a cape out of a larger vampire cape I cut down to size.

Most girls love to be a princess, so I made this Cinderella dress for my daughter. I don't recommend it, because it was too hard to do on a deadline(I kind of waited till the week before).

But I heard Party City is having a sale on Disney Princess costumes this week for $12.99 each. I think I'll just go that route this year!

What will you be doing?