Category: cooking (page 1 of 2)

Weekend Window Shopping: 5 Things I’m Loving This Week

**This post contains affiliate links that provide me with ice cream money to bribe my kids. Thank you in advance for their good behavior.**

I’m spending the weekend furiously cleaning my house for friends to come over and trying (and failing) to catch up on laundry so what better way is there to procrastinate than online shopping? I’m pretty sure Amazon was one of the best things ever to happen to shopping. I’m obsessed. Even if I don’t actually always end up buying something I spend lots of time perusing and saving to wish lists that I then forward to my husband right around my birthday. Because, even good husbands need a little help in the present buying department sometimes.

So, I thought I’d do a wrap up of some of the coolest things I’ve found this week on Amazon.

  • 1. LED Word Clock – This clock is seriously the coolest. I’m dying to add it to our home office!

LED Word Clock

  •  2. Set of 5 Rose Gold Floral Spoons – I feel like the fact that there are five spoons in the set and five Loving kids in the family is a sign that I need to purchase these as soon as possible. Seriously.

rose gold dessert spoons

  • 3. Natural Himalayan Cooking Salt Block – My parents swear by these and I’ve been dying to try one. I’m thinking this needs to come join our kitchen so my foodie husband can cook up something yummy on it!

himalayan salt block

  • 4. T-Rex Taxidermy – I am all about taxidermy for some reason. I’ve begged my husband for a Jackalope for years to no avail. And I think this is just such a fun and unexpected piece. I have absolutely no idea where I would put it but given the chance I’m fairly certain I could find the perfect place.

Vegan Taxidermy T-Rex

  • 5. Manatea Tea Infuser – I gave one of these to my sister for Christmas and I nearly kept it because it was so adorable. I’ve been obsessed with it since. We have lots of tea drinkers in the house and I have a feeling a few of these would make rainy afternoon tea parties even more fun!Manatee Tea Infuser

Super easy, super yummy clam chowder recipe. (I know, I know. I’m still working on my Christmas recap…)

Okay, I have lots of things to say about Christmas this year. It was a really great Christmas! I mean, hello, Georgia had the first white Christmas in like 200 years. How could that be anything short of fantastical?

But, I need to write this really easy delicious clam chowder recipe down first because if I don’t I’ll totally forget it and my blog is like my virtual recipe box so please bear with me while I publish this BEFORE my recap of Holiday Wonderfulness 2010.

And, so, without further ado…Clam Chowder.

1 small box organic cream of broccoli soup

1 small box organic potato leek soup

1 quart half and half

1 pint heavy whipping cream

3 large potatoes

3 cans minced clam (undrained)

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 clove garlic

olive oil

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

(next time I will add some chopped bacon, an extra can or two of whole clams and maybe even more potatoes)

Heat olive oil, chopped garlic, potatoes & celery in large stockpot. Add soups. Add half & half and heavy cream. Add canned clams with their juices. Let simmer (avoid boiling!) for about an hour and then reduce heat to low and cook until you’re ready to eat it. I left mine on the stove for several hours and the potatoes were so incredibly tender and delicious.

This was a huge hit around here and the kids absolutely loved it. Which I love because, as it turns out, clams have lots of amazing nutritional value to them. And since they were minced the kids never even knew they were in there (and I’m pretty sure they’d never eat the whole ones) and so it was like tricking them into eating something that was good for them. Of course, with the amount of heavy cream and half & half in this recipe I don’t know that I’d call it a healthy meal choice. But, it was delicious nonetheless!

Got (sour) milk?

We buy 3 gallons of raw milk a week from the local farmer. 3 gallons! That’s a lot for a family of 5, right? At $7 a gallon, I think it’s a lot.

So, when we go on vacation and come home to a full gallon of sour milk I just have a really hard time throwing it out. I mean, it’s like throwing $7 straight into the trash. It seems only natural to Google “What to do with sour milk” before I toss it in the trash. Afterall, I do love me some Google.

And here’s what I learned. Sour milk? It is totally usable for baking. In fact, some recipes actually call for sour milk. (Humor me and pretend that I’m not the only person in the world who didn’t realize this.)

That is how I came to be baking sour milk biscuits, bread, and pancakes over the course of a weekend.

Maybe I’m the only person in the free world who didn’t know you could actually cook with sour milk, but maybe not. So, in case you’re wondering what to do with the milk in the fridge that is on the verge of spoiling I thought I’d share some recipes. Here you go…

Click the name to link to the recipe’s listed. What do YOU do with sour milk?

Sour Milk Biscuits

Sour Milk Bread

Sour Milk Pancakes

How to freeze blueberries.

This weekend we picked up 12 lbs of blueberries in support of a local American Heritage Girls troop fundraiser. I just can’t say no to kids in uniforms who plead with me to buy them things. I’m a sucker.

But, since blueberries are one of those fruits you can use for everything I felt like I was buying something useful and wholesome.

Still, 12 lbs? There are only so many blueberry pancakes you can make. And since I don’t have a clue how to make jelly or jam I decided to freeze them. In the past, freezing berries hasn’t gone so well. I had a strawberry experience that resulted in a giant iceberg of strawberry. Not good.

Then I read a how-to on freezing berries and I just thought I’d share. Just in case I’m not the only person in the world who has experienced a big clumpy mass of frozen fruit as a result of freezing endeavors.

So, here you go. Get a pen. This could get complicated.

1. Wash berries.

2. Drain berries.

3. Spread berries on towel lined cookie sheet.

4. Put in freezer.

5. Wait.

6. When frozen remove from freezer and put berries nicely in bag or freezer jar!

Can you believe how easy that is? Now, does anyone have any advice for what to do with the 23 cucumbers we harvested from the garden this weekend?

Orange Chicken that is so easy even *I* can do it.

My family LOVES Trader Joe’s frozen Orange Chicken. We love it so much we generally keep 4 bags of it in the freezer for nights when there is no way I can pull off a real dinner and I don’t want to feed my kids fast food. Nights like tonight, actually.

Except tonight we didn’t have any Trader Joe’s chicken in the freezer. What we did have, however, was regular chicken. The kind you have to add flavor and ingredients to.

**insert exasperated sigh of disdain here**

Mondays are sewing class night. And I never have time to make a real meal. But I thought I’d try to make Orange Chicken tonight anyways. And, y’all, it was so easy that I knew I had to share it with you!

Here’s the recipe:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

enough flour, salt & pepper to coat the chicken

1/2 Cup White Vinegar

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Orange Juice

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Put in Ziplock bag with flour, salt, & pepper. Shake to coat. Cook the chicken in skillet with oil. In separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Drain oil from chicken and pour sauce into skillet. Let simmer until sauce thickens.

It tasted so much like the chicken from Trader Joe’s and it is super simple and easy to make. I’m thinking I may actually make some and freeze it so that it will be even easier for us on nights when things are a little crazy.

Do you have a favorite easy recipe that you go to when things are super busy? I’d love to hear it!

What’s next a Land of Lovings hemp farm? Hmmm, now that you mention it…

I’ve tackled my vaccine debate. I’ve admitted to feeding my 5 month-old quinoa baby food that apparently led to a vomit attack. I’ve confessed to going to a respectable social function looking like a no-shoe-wearing hippie because I forgot my shoes at home. (Wait. I haven’t? Remind me to blog that one later.)

And now? This is where I tell you that we’re drinking raw milk. **GASP!!**

Oh yes we are. And not only are we drinking raw milk, we’re drinking illegal raw milk. **DOUBLE GASP!!**

Well, actually, I guess the milk itself isn’t illegal. It’s just how we’re using it. Technically this milk is sold for pets. Because I love my cats enough to spend $7 a gallon on their milk. Yeah right.

I’ve been hearing about the health benefits of raw milk and have been contemplating making the switch for a while now. Because I wasn’t sure if the $7/gallon price tag was worth it. Until Thomas and I saw Food, Inc. the other night. And I read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. And now? I’m out to find the least processed/most farm fresh food I can find. And raw milk was part of that change.

Now, I don’t drink milk. Ever. I thank blame my mother for that. When I was a kid I hated milk. So my mom wrote a note saying I was terribly allergic and was therefore the only elementary school kid allowed to drink the sweet tea from the teacher’s lounge at lunch. Which, shockingly, did not guarantee my popularity among the other kids. Go figure.

But I make my kids drink milk whenever I get the chance because I think it’s probably better than Diet Coke. And though I’m a southern girl born & raised I stop short of putting Coca-Cola in their baby bottles.

All that is just to say that you’re not going to get a taste review from me on the raw milk. But my husband and kids insist it is so much better than the regular organic milk we’ve been buying. It is, according to them, sweeter, creamier, thicker, and all around more delicious than any other milk they’ve tasted. And apparently raw milk is actually so nutritious you could live on it and it alone for your whole life. Which is pretty stinking cool.

As for the illegal stuff, well, I guess buying “pet” milk and feeding it to my kids is no more illegal than if I went and bought Fancy Feast to serve to my family for dinner. And, really, who hasn’t been there before, right?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Shrek and Yoda had a baby together?

There is an important lesson here. Never let a blogger bake your Yoda cake. At least not this blogger.

My husband loved it because he is contractually obligated to. The kids, on the other hand, were less kind. Still, what it lacked in looks it made up for in taste. So at least that’s something.

p1020596

p1020597

Planning and Planting for Fall

Our summer garden is nearly tapped out. We’ve had an amazing bounty of tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, & peppers. But, our harvesting is slowing down and it’s about time for us to put our Winter Garden in the ground. We started the seedlings several weeks ago and they’re off to a great start.

We’re pretty lucky that Georgia weather allows us to grow things well into fall/winter. Our winter garden includes: lettuce, radishes, green beans, peas, carrots, cucumbers, squash, onions, and, of course, pumpkins. The girls are so excited to grow their own Halloween pumpkins and I can’t wait to see how big they get!

One of the things I’ve got to learn is how to can if we’re going to keep growing our own food, ’cause our tomato crop was out of control and we ended up with tomatoes everywhere!

Though I can’t can (yet) we did learn about freezing tomatoes (and other veggies). It’s an easy and fast way to preserve tomatoes for later use in sauces and soups. These tips work for freezing a variety of veggies, though you’ll probably forgo the whole skinning and squeezing seeds out for most.

1. Boil a pot of water and drop your firm red tomatoes in (they can’t be too soft) for a 2-3 minutes.

2. Transfer them quickly to an ice bath and peel off the skin.

3. Cut them in halves or quarters and squeeze out excess water and seeds. (Don’t worry about getting all the seeds. Just try and get as much done as possible.)

4. Place them in ziplock bag and squeeze out excess air.

5. Stick them in the freezer for quick and easy sauce!

Thomas had read something about sucking the air out of the bag through a straw to make sure you don’t get freezer burn and gave it a try when freezing our first batch. He wants me to let you know that you should NEVER do that unless you feel like passing out from hyperventilating disgusting tomato air. Instead, you might opt for one of those Reynold’s Handi-Vac systems from the grocery. They’re cheap, easy to use and get rid of any air in the bag that could cause problems in your freezing.

So, we’ve now got a whole freezer of good veggies for winter and a winter garden ready to plant! Our eggs should be coming along soon or else we’ll be eating some really lazy chickens (totally kidding – can you see me killing and plucking pet chickens? Not that hardcore yet!)

I’ll be sure and post more when our winter garden gets productive!

Not that size matters…

Check out my zucchini. Can you believe this? And I’m proud to say this zucchini was grown in my very own backyard. I’m gonna make some fierce zucchini bread with this. Lots of it.

Anyone want some?


Cooking creativity


I like to think we’re pretty creative people in our house. But, one area where I’m not very creative is in the cooking realm. I don’t love to cook. I do enjoy baking (particularly in the colder months) but cooking is just not my thing. So, I don’t really involve the girls in cooking and that means they don’t get to express their creativity in the kitchen all that much.

Today, though, Kai was at her Nina’s house and making herself a snack. She hand selected which goldfish crackers to put into her cup. And, then asked me if she could sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over them. I immediately said no, more out of reflex than anything, and she looked so incredibly disappointed. It was a little heartbreaking ’cause I think she was really looking forward to making this snack her way.

And, as I busied myself with something else in the kitchen I remembered the bacon ice cream that won such acclaim on last night’s Top Chef and it occurred to me that maybe discouraging her from mixing cinnamon sugar and goldfish crackers would hinder her creativity in the kitchen and forever prevent her from being willing to take a risk in the kitchen.

Yes, I know I tend to over think and over estimate the importance of the tiny things, but it convicted me enough to make me go back and hand her the cinnamon sugar and tell her to have at it. And, she was thrilled to have the chance to mix these flavors together.

Now I’ve made a resolution to let them cook with any ingredients they want at least a couple times a month and let them experience the fun of unlimited creativity in the kitchen.

I even tried her cinnamon and cheddar goldfish mix and it was darn good. Kind of like the preschool version of bacon ice cream. Maybe she’ll make an appearance on Top Chef 30 someday!

Older posts

© 2017 Land of Lovings

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑