Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hearty Stew for a Cold Winter Day

Today, I have this yummy stew brewing in the kitchen at 7:30am. It’s a rather chilly and sunny morning and I was craving a nice hearty stew without a bunch of calories. This stew is packed full of vitamin C and protien from the Quinoa.


1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
**In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
Stir in parsley and serve.

**I am roasting my squash in a bit of water in the oven at 350 for about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your squash. Since most of my readers are busy bodies just like me and don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen, you can put your chicken breasts in the crock pot for the day which gives them a nice flavor but also makes it nice and tender and not to mention easy!**


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Roasted Chickpeas

Who knew that chickpeas were a source of tryptophan? I love these little beans and this is just the perfect go-to snack for a busy working, school-going, breastfeeding on the run mama. Here is a great recipe for roasted chickpeas I thought I would share with you. I’m off to make these so I can have a crunchy snack to keep me awake while I facilitate my group tonight….but wait, will the tryptophan take over? I hope not!!

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

2 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and gently blotted with a kitchen towel
2 Tbs coconut oil or olive oil
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Toss the chickpeas in a bowl, add the oil and spices and mix until everything is coated. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

Lay the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake for 45-60 minutes, giving them a stir every 10 minutes or so, until they are shrunken and crunchy.

Allow them to cool. Then devour.

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Scheduling the routine needy child

My Hunter thrives on routine and lives by his egg timer to let him know what’s coming next.  We used to just talk to him about what was coming next but now that he is old enough, I want to make his routine a learning experience and give him control over his routine.  He has had quite the upheavel since Christmas. Isaac has been out of work since the 23rd of December (yes, Merry Christmas to us!). Needless to say, he has been home which is very nice in many ways but I think we have been lax about our scheduling since this has happened. He is no longer going to his daycare and is starting big boy preschool on Tuesday so I thought I needed to give him a schedule that he can go by.

I thought I’d share his schedules and you can feel free to add or delete for your own needs.  I am planning on laminating these and putting them on the fridge for him.


Our Daily Routine-MWF

<Our Daily Routine-Tues/TH

Do you have any tips that you use in your home for your routine needy child?

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Homemade Laundry Detergent and Liquid Soap

So, many of you are curious about this and so was I! I have been meaning to do this for months because we do so much laundry between two kids and cloth diapers in this house and go through soap/bath wash like there’s no tomorrow.  I do have to warn you, I used these two recipes and the detergent one will be a work in progress for a while until I can master the proportions, type of soap. etc. I’m curious to know how long this will last, it’s supposed to make 576 loads. Let’s see, if I do an average of 12 loads of our laundry a week, that’s 48 weeks, a little under a year right?? hmmmm.we’ll see about that one. BUT, I only spent about $10 so if it does last a year, I’m totally excited about the savings.

First, I will give you the recipes and then I will give you my opinions, challenges and thoughts for next time.

For the laundry detergent you will need:

1 bar of soap (any kind you want) I used Dr. BronnersHemp Baby Mild for baby detergent and Sandalwood for us.
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers


1. Grate your bar of soap using a cheese grater into your pot.

2. Pour 1 gallon of water and boil until soap dissolves.

3. Add Borax and Washing soda, bring to a boil (be careful here, the batch I did with our soap boiled over QUICK! At least my stove is super clean)

4. Add another gallon of cold water, stir and let sit.  **Here is where I went wrong, I bottled mine right away and it is noted that it will coagulate within 12 hours and it definitely does**

Here are my notes on the matter:

**My detergent got really clumpy so I let it sit and blended it with my stick blender and it was great.  Mine separated now that it is bottled but it’s OKAY, you can just shake it. I read that you can also reheat it and it should get better, I will try this soon and keep you posted on how that went.  I think a lot of it depends on your water quality and also the type of soap you use based on what I have read.**

Read these comments here  (the blog where I got the recipe) and there are a lot of ideas on different problems.  You can also add essential oil which would be really great, I suggest tea tree oil which is a great anti-bacterial.

Liquid Soap – Recipe credit

What you will need:

Cheese grater
2 Tablespoons of Liquid Glycerin (found in the band aid section at any drugstore or grocery store)
1 – 8 oz bar of soap
1 gallon of water

1. Grate entire bar of soap

2. Add 1 gallon of water and cook on high to dissolve soap

3. Add glycerine and essential oils if using. 

4. Let cool overnight for at least 12 hours.  If it is too thick, add some water and use beaters or a stick blender to get consistency you desire.

** I am currently looking for a way to make this bubble for the boys’ bubble bath.   I used the same soap I did with the boys detergent but think I will use the liquid Dr. Bronners lavendar next time as this one tends to have a bit of a residue feel on the boys’ bodies but not on my hands.  I think this will also give it the bubble feel I am looking for. I am using it as body wash and hand soap.  I am resuing my bath and body works foaming hand soap dispensers so it comes out all nice and foamy! I do love the smell and the ease of this recipe but will definitely be tweaking it a bit with different soaps to avoid a little sticky residue.

I’d love to hear your comments or thoughts. Did you try it? What was your result?

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