Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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Tricks of the trade Question

I have a sick baby and am in need of advice. She's not sick enough to need to see a doctor but sick enough to be able to tell she's miserable. She's got a runny nose and cough and pretty grumpy. My Dr husband down plays everything but I feel bad for her. Any suggestions.....


Best Pumpkin Pie ever!

Hi Girls! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food and good company! I will have my family up from NC and hopefully there will be a new baby to show off soon as well. We were actually at the hospital yesterday, I called it a dry run (aka. false alarm)! I guess it happens to the best of us. Anyway... I love pie! I love to bake all kinds of pies! I have always liked pumpkin pies but they haven't been on favorite list until I found this recipe. My family always stuck to the Libby's can for the pumpkin pie recipe (which is a fine pie). But this one is more creamy and rich. If you like Pumpkin pie, try this recipe and hopefully you will LOVE it too! Also this recipe is glutten free as long as you don't use a crust. My dad has celiac disease so I put some in a small oven proof bowl for him to enjoy with us.

The best pumpkin pie or pudding


1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Dump all the ingredients (except the whipped cream) into a blender and pulse until thoroughly combined.

2. Pour the mixture into buttered individual ramekins or ovenproof soup bowls, or the unbaked pie shell of your choice. (Decorate the top with little leaves cut from pastry, if you like.)

3. Bake for 15 minutes at 425F, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving. Top each portion with whipped cream, if desired.


My Grandma Audrey's Texas Sheet Cake

You all MUST make this around Christmas.

2 C flour
2 C sugar
1 C butter
1/4 C cocoa
1 C water
1/2 C buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour and sugar. Boil butter, cocoa, and water. Let cool slightly. Pour over flour/sugar mixture. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, and vanilla. Pour in greased 9X13 jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min.

1/2 C butter
6 Tbsp milk
3 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Combine butter, milk, and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Cool. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix well. Frost cooled cake.

I love her cake so much I named my daughter after her! :)


this week's (late) tricks o' the trade

so the fact that this week's tricks of the trade post is coming to you late has everything to do with its topic: TIME! now that i have two girls under the age of three, i'm finding myself slipping back into that habit i hate most--being LATE! i was finally getting the swing of it with one kid, and now i'm back at the bottom of the hill again. HELP!

to be more specific, i could especially use ideas for quick transition times--getting out the door, coming home and needing dinner to be ready, and the worst of all--getting to church on time! my husband has meetings before church each week so it's just me with the girls (i know, boo-hoo, TWO whole kids...right!?) well it feels like a lot to me. i just doubled the number of children in the house! :)

ok, experienced ladies: fire away! i anxiously await your pearls of wisdom...


Sloppy Toms

And, here's my oats recipe. This sounds like a really wierd way to use oats, and it is, but it is really yummy. Apparently the oats help to thicken the sauce, plus they are healthy! It is my favorite sloppy joe recipe, besides Manwich! :) I also love that the recipe calls for ground turkey which is much leaner. I've used hamburger if I don't have ground turkey, but you can get ground turkey at a really good price at Costco, and of course, I freeze it. I think I'm the freeze queen.

Anyways, here's the recipe, we really like to put swiss cheese on our buns and toast them (that sounds a bit scandalous) and it is YUM. This is a family fun recipe so, click here for the full recipe. Oh, one more thing, you can freeze this if you make double! :)

Harvest Chowder

Okay, I know this is super late, sorry! Here's my evaporated milk recipe:

Harvest Chowder

1 med. onion diced
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. water
1 t. basil
2 cans shoepeg corn (I used frozen super sweet corn from Costco, Shoepeg is really good small, white kernal corn)
4-5 cups grated zuchini (I used 1 zuchini, and added 1 grated carrot too)
1/8 t. pepper
3/4 t. salt
1 can chicken broth
1 TB parsley flakes
2 diced tomatoes (I used one can petite diced tomatoes)

Saute onion, carrot, and zuchini in butter. Add flour and evap. milk to make a white sauce. Let is thicken and bubble, then add water, spices, corn, and chicken broth. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add fresh diced tomatoes just before serving, or if you use canned, I add it when I add the corn.

Enjoy! It is a great time for soups, and this is super yummy, and has lots of veggies. I think it would be good with chicken too.

Homemade Granola

I have made this many times, and my kids just love it. I pick out and eat all the toasted walnuts, they're so good! Store in ziplock baggies.

1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
5 c old fashioned oats
¾ c walnuts
1 c shredded coconut
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 c craisins

1. Combine sugar, oil and honey in medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat till sugar is dissolved.
2. Combine oats, walnuts, coconut and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Pour sugar syrup over top and mix till all coated.
3. Spray large jelly-roll pan with oil. Spread granola evenly over surface.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and gently stir in craisins. Let cool and then store in plastic baggies.
Makes about 2 ½ quarts

Christmas Giving?

With Christmas coming up rather quickly I have been thinking a lot about gift giving. My kids are always so excited to open their gifts Christmas morning but are not so excited when it comes to buying gifts for others. As a family we always adopt a family at Christmas time and we make sure that they have a nice Christmas. They enjoy doing this when its Mom and Dad's money but not so much when it's their own. So my question is what are some ways that I can help my kids understand that it feels just as good to give as it does to receive. I also would like them to earn some money to purchase the gifts too. Do we draw names within our family or do they buy something for everyone?


Shapes and Colors

Shapes and colors are one of those things that I think kids learn through repetition. They are constantly surrounded by shapes and colors so it's easy to teach about them in a less formal way too. Plus, there are so many great books that are all about shapes and colors. That's what I think really did for my kids. Read read read!!
But I found this fun blog where this woman has put together tons of ideas for how to teach kids things. And I thought her shapes and color pages were full of fun things to do including activities, games and songs! So check it out and maybe get some ideas of fun things to do while we are all trapped inside this winter!

Super Fun Mama: Shapes

Super Fun Mama: Colors


Cold, Hard Cash

We were visiting with friends a couple weeks ago, and their five year old was excited to show us what she bought with her allowance. They start giving their kids allowance at age five, with no strings attached (ie: they don't have to actually do their chores to get it--everyone gets paid regardless...kind of like the lazy guy at the office who still gets paid...but I digress). So, what do you do/plan to do about allowances? What's the going rate nowadays? (I'm guessing the quarter a week that I got might not cut it anymore. In retrospect, that was pretty cheap even when I was little, but I was still extremely excited to get real money!) Do they have to meet certain expectations to get paid? How often will they get their allowance?

We don't really know what we'll do. I'm thinking we'll wait to start giving allowances until they ask for it, thus buying myself as much time as possible. We definitely want to teach the tithing/saving/spending breakdown from the beginning. And I think it should be contingent on fulfilling some sort of obligation, be it chores or lessons completed. And we'd probably pay them when Brian gets paid, so we can all fill out tithing slips and talk about money we want to save together. However, since this is all theoretical, I'd love your input!