Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cheesy Hamburger Macaroni

With our mass load of groceries and huge budget loss last week, I decided it was time to start meal planning again. Last Friday, I went online and found recipes for each day of the week that I have to cook (every day but Thursday and Saturday, those are eat at Grandma's days). I once again turned to Pintrest to find recipes, and one of the ones I found was THIS, a nice comforting meal.


I didn't really read the recipe thoroughly the first time, so when I went to make it and realized dinnertime was close but the noodles had to be cooked in the sauce for an hour, I said uh oh and improvised. The sauce I made from a can of tomatoes with garlic and herbs, I put it in the blender for half a minute as the recipe suggested. To it I added oregano, paprika (but not enough to alter the taste, next time I will use cayenne pepper, I think. ), salt and pepper, a handful of grated cheese, and the cooked hamburger. While the pasta cooked, I let the sauce simmer to thicken. 


When the past was cooked, I mixed it all together and put it in a baking dish. On top I sprinkled a mozza-cheddar mix and then I stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes. The masses were starting to grumble, so I didn't keep it there long enough to brown, just melt nicely. 


A healthy toddler sized portion, she only ate about half of it. No matter how you dress it up, beef is beef and little miss does not like it. Mr Picky, on the other hand, liked it and went back for seconds. Although he said it tasted the same as when I made it last time. One of his favourite meals is what he calls goulash, which is hamburger, macaroni and a can of tomato soup mixed together, similar but nothing like this :-P Men. I really liked the spicy difference and will definitely be making it again. 

I am having a hard time finding meals for next week, everything seems to call for an ingredient I do not have, and I have zero budget this week. The only thing I can pick up are a few fresh veggies that I can use a gift card for, from a produce store that doesn't sell boxes, bottles and cans. I will have to figure out some fancy substitutions, I guess. 

Have a good week, everyone!!

~Natasha.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Another week has flown past, and another weekend gone. We had lots of fun, we saw a car show, a fair, a motorcycle ride for charity (Salean absolutely loved waving at the riders as they drove past, and some even waved back!), and we found a great buy one get one sale at our local supermarket, so we stocked up on as much as we could to tide us over until the first Alberta paychecks come in.

I went to grab a banana a few days ago for breakfast and found them a tad to ripe for eating, but almost perfect for baking. I looked up banana recipes on the Kraft cooking website and picked THIS one.


As you can see below, the batter was very wet. I checked it again, read some comments and added about 5 heaping tablespoons of oatmeal. I was still wary about them baking without spreading into a cake, but they turned out perfectly.


As per other comments, I also added some chocolate chips and a smidgen of nutmeg. I think I should have added more, I couldn't taste it.

These are a quick, soft, delicious recipe. I can't tell you if they are toddler approved because she is in bed :-) We will find out at snack time tomorrow. As for me, they are on the remake list.

Have a good week, everyone!!

~Natasha.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Snickerdoodles with a Toddler

It has been a rough week for poor Miss Salean. She is still a little mixed up from our move last weekend, and so is our new house. I can tell she is also confused that Daddy has been home all week, but it has been a great help to me because she has been clingy and whiny, wanting to be in the same room, but preferably beside or on top of one of us at all times. This morning, Mr Picky had to go to town for the day to take a First Aid/CPR course in preparation for going to Alberta, so I decided to make some cookies that he has been requesting for the last few weeks. Since Little Miss won't let me go, I figured it would be a good time to start baking lessons. 

After about 4 days, she finally got back to her usual sleep from 7 PM to about 8 AM routine. I got up early and prepped everything for the cookies. At 20 months she is a bit little to be scooping and measuring ingredients, instead I decided this would be an introduction to the mixer and a small pouring lesson. The recipe I used is posted HERE.


 The butter is in the mixing bowl (no sense wasting another dish when it starts out in the bowl anyway). Then there is brown sugar, white sugar 3 eggs, flour with soda, cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in, more flour and finally the cinnamon sugar dip mixture. I have 2 measures of flour because I usually mix the soda etc with only half the flour. Some days a recipe needs a little more or less flour, depending on the humidity and weather, and I don't want to waste flour or other ingredients that are already mixed in. Today, the cookies needed about a half cup extra.


 Salean was a little wary of the noise the mixer made, she doesn't really like loud noises. But she watched with interest while the ingredients mixed. I tried to get her to pour the sugar and eggs into the bowl, but I got a "you want me to what?" look, so I just let her observe. She did get into it a bit after it was all mixed and I started scooping, she tried to scoop with her own spoon and managed to get one good sized cookie made.


 I got 37 out of today's batch, and the house smelled delicious first thing in the morning. She lost complete interest while I baked she went to play without me, for the first time in a week!


Finally, the best part! Once snack time came around, she had one with some juice. She seems to like them, and Daddy will be happy when he gets home tonight.


So our move went great, aside from a clingy toddler and a wonderful messy house; but this is the second recipe I have baked this week. I am so happy to get into a big kitchen again and be able to bake and cook without bumping into things!

Have a good week, everyone!!


~Natasha.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We were expecting some bad news in regards to Mr. Picky's job, so last week he decided to take two days vacation so we could get ahead on our moving (we are due out of our old place this coming Friday) and take the weekend to go to Halifax. This is a trip to another province, Salean's first, and there was a specific destination I had in mind. He figured it was now or never and so very early Saturday morning, we were off. Here are some of the 175 pictures I took over two days!


For someone who was pulled out of slumber and plopped into the car seat, Little Miss was in good spirits!


We followed the clouds to the border, it rained off and on the whole way to Halifax.


Windmills at the New Brunswick / Nova Scotia border. I took about 30 pictures of them over the 3 or 4 minutes it took to drive past, both coming and going. This is because his Mom loves them, and I was trying to get a really nice shot for her. 


Half way between the equator and the North Pole, we stopped for a leg stretch at a place called Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. 


Looking through the UFO with a little help from Daddy. 


The reason this place is called Mastodon Ridge. 


The first place we visited in Halifax was called The Discovery Centre. They have a Sesame Street exhibit, and Salean loved running from activity to activity!


Posing in front of the Sesame Street door. 


Activities on another floor included this really cool mirror, Salean didn't know what to think of the other 'babies' in the mirror. She played with them for quite awhile. 


This building was outside of the Discovery Centre, I thought the windows were really neat; each one has an old time star. 


After the Discovery Centre, we went for a walk along the waterfront. This beautiful island is out in the harbour. 


We also saw Theodore Tugboat! Salean thought he was pretty neat. 


A monument representing the people that built our great nation, Fathers leaving their families to immigrate here for a better life. This was near the Pier 21 museum that we visited, where the immigrants first landed all those years ago. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. 


After Pier 21 and lunch, we drove around to Dartmouth. This is one of the toll bridges that goes between each city. We preferred to save the toll and take the drive. We then visited the mall and went back to our hotel for dinner and a swim before bed. 


Sunday morning was beautiful. We went for another walk along the waterfront to look for the Cows Ice Cream Parlour. We found it, and we all had our first Cows ice cream. Yum! 


Pictures from our drive home. 


And a final scenic shot when we got back into New Brunswick.


One of the reasons we went to Halifax was to visit the Build a Bear Workshop. They no longer have one here. We made a bunny for Salean to give her baby sister when she comes, and a bear for her to get from her sister. We dressed them in matching outfits. 

I am glad we decided to take this quickie vacation, we decided it was going to be a now or never trip pending the upcoming job announcement. And this morning we found out the news...next week he will be leaving us to go to Alberta for work. He will be gone at least 21 day at a time and have 7 to 10 days home. We are hoping it will only be for six months, but it could be indefinitely. We will adapt and hopefully learn to get along without Daddy for longer periods than we already do (currently he is away Monday to Friday most weeks). And hopefully six months from now he will be back in New Brunswick where he belongs! 

Well, that is our little trip. I hope everyone is having a great week (and summer, I guess, since I have been lacking in the post department).

~Natasha.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Salean's Announcement

So it has been a month since an update (oops) and we are expanding in many ways. As stated before, Salean is going to be a big sister around Christmas time, and next month we are moving from a tiny apartment to a rental house, yay! Yesterday, we got to take a peek at our new little bean, and we were able to find out the gender! Here are the pictures I took of Salean so she could make her announcement to our friends and family.


I have an announcement to make!


Let's see what is in here!


Pink Balloons!


Its a girl!!


I'm getting a baby sister, coming mid-December 2014!

So the cat is out of the bag, it's a girl! I'm sure if Salean realized what she was getting into, she'd be really excited, but for now she seems to be oblivious. Except for the balloons...balloons are fun :-)

Have a good week, everyone! 

~Natasha. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tot School Update and an Announcement.

It has been a few weeks since I have posted anything about our Tot School adventures. We haven't quit, but it has sort of been shuffled to the back burner for now. The summer comes with lots of outdoor fun, we are seldom home. This summer is no exception, it seems. On top of that, we are moving in about a month and a half and things are changing in little Miss Salean's world. 

Come December, our little Jellybean will be joined by another. Yes, she is going to be a big sister. She really does not understand, but I have been trying my best to talk about babies and sharing. I borrowed a couple books on babies and being a big sister from the library; we will keep them a few weeks and then get some more in November. We got her a baby doll, and she was just given a Cabbage Patch doll. As well, she will have a new baby cousin any day now. Hopefully we will be able to teach her about being gentle with babies and she will be ready by the time baby is ready.

As for after Christmas, her second birthday and after baby comes, I have a new plan. I was given the opportunity to purchase a preschool curriculum called Before Five in a Row, one that comes highly recommended. It is aimed at 2 to 4 year olds, so come January we will dive into it. It will be Salean and Mommy time set aside each day. I have been reading through the curriculum and feel we are really going to enjoy it, there is so much packed into it that we can pick and chose from. I don't feel she is ready for it now, at almost 18 months, because she does not have the attention span and focus to sit through a whole book daily. Some days she can, others we get through a few pages and she is off. 

So, for now, there may not be any more Tot School posts. Once January comes and we start Before Five in a Row, hopefully I will have lots to share on the subject! 

Here we go on the first day of summer! Happy weekend, everyone!

~Natasha. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Produce Pack: Week 2

We were not supposed to get a produce pack this week, but last week a few rainy days were followed by a couple really nice ones, so things grew and we were told there would be enough for a pack this week.


Look at all the wonderful things!! It is hard to see it all, but I will try my best.

Top along the back: bok choy, leaf lettuce, Honey Oatmeal bread, spinach.
Bottom: broccoli, swiss chard, 2 Lb parsnips, tomato, microgreens, 2 Lb beets, mizuna, an herb.
Not in picture: A dozen free run eggs.

Instead of the tomato, I could have chosen a cucumber, there were 3 different herbs or radishes to choose from, and instead of the beets I could have taken more Jerusalem artichokes, but I have yet to use last week's batch.

Left over from last week I have half a cucumber, some mizuna, the beets, a parsnip, a few potatoes, half a container of hummus, the celeric and the Jeruslem artichokes, both which I hope to use today. Sadly, I had to toss the fiddleheads, some of the lettuce and microgreens, and half the loaf of bread because we just didn't get to them before they went bad.  I used up the rhubarb, all the eggs (mostly in our baby shower baking) and tomato, and most of the potato and parsnip in a stew.

I hate to have to throw out food, especially such delicious things! But, I am thinking I may have gotten in over my head. I am going to give it one more week and if I am wasting to much, I will cancel. This will give someone on the waiting list a chance to have a Produce Pack; they only accept 100 people each spring and have a long waiting list. If I do cancel, I will get a 100 dollar gift card from the store that started the packs, which I will use by going to their store and creating my own produce pack once a week. This way, I will be able to get less and customize it more towards my weekly needs.

So that is week two, hopefully I do not end up cancelling and there will be a week three, four and more.

Have a good day, everyone!

~Natasha.