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Category Archives: homemaking

Clementine Candle

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Supplies:  One clementine,  paring knife, olive oil, lighter/matches

Remove the *cutie* sticker and adhere to the real cutie!

Use your paring knife to carefully score the peel around the middle.  (It’s really not as difficult as my expression would indicate!)

Next remove the peel in two pieces,  the upper half and lower half.  (Again, this is easier than I make it look!)

You now have a shell of a clementine.  The little piece of pith in the bottom half will be your wick.  The more of this piece you are able to keep in tact, the longer your ‘candle’ will burn.

Pass the innards around the table and call it a snack!

Cut a hole in the top half of the clementine shell.   You can do a neat design such as a star, heart, or flower.  We chose a heart! ♥

Fill the bottom half with olive oil.   Don’t cover the wick with oil,  just fill it nearly to the tip.

Next,  light the wick.  It is best to use a lighter because it will take a few minutes to dry the wick enough for it to light.

Put the top on your ‘candle’ and enjoy!



A Simple Woman’s Daybook

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From Ruth

Outside my Window… barefoot little boys splashing in rain puddles.

I am thinking…about getting dinner started

I am thankful for…my husband’s love for me.

From the kitchen…a steamy mug of coffee.

I am creating…our summer schedule and menu.

I am going…to put the diapers in the wash and start dinner. 😉

I am wearing…A charcoal colored hoodie dress, a blue/gray vintage apron, and black flip-flops.

I am reading… The Catholic Family in the Modern World by Fr. John Hardon

I am hoping…to buy the land to build our house soon!

I am hearing…Mark Benedict nursing with a stuffy nose. 😦

Around the house…floors need swept and mopped.

One of my favorite things…chubby baby feet.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…laundry. renew drivers license. visit the botanical gardens. get the rest of my flowers, tomatoes, and herbs in the ground.

A Picture worth sharing…
This was Mark back in January when we went hiking. He was bundled up on my back, the only thing peeking out were his baby blue eyes! 🙂

Twelve Months of Monastery Soups

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  I received this book from my children for Christmas.  It fits my plan to focus on simple, healthy, and frugal cooking for my crowd.  If there is one thing Br. d’Avila-Laourrette knows about it’s frugal, healthy, crowd pleasing cooking.  He is the resident cook and gardener at Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery in Millbook New York.   There he grows most of the vegetables used in the soups he makes.  Most of the soups are meatless and work perfect for Friday suppers of soup and bread and simple Lenten meals.  The recipes are organized by months of the year,  focusing on foods that are in season each month.  I have jumped around quite a bit of course.  Most of the ingredients I have found easily at our local market,  and I look forward to spring when I can shop at our city Farmers Market and whip up these delicious soups with a local flare!    He does call for alot of white wine in many of the recipes, (which is certainly not a problem for me! 😉 )  I suppose if you were to cut down on the wine you would also cut down on the cost.   This lovely little book is also peppered with quotes and proverbs pertaining to soup, simplicity, and hospitality.     We really enjoyed the Minestrone Monastico last week, (just one of the many variations of Minestrone in this book.),  and tonight we will be having a pot of Traditional Austrian Cheese Soup.  YUM!

Minestrone Monastico

3 quarts water

3 carrots

3 potatoes

1 cup green beans

2 celery stalks

1 cup dry white beans

3 onions

1 cup olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup macaroni

tarragon, minced

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Wash and peel the vegetables and cut them into small pieces (except the dry beans).  pour the water into a large soup pot and add all the vegetables (including beans) except the onions.  Cook slowly over medium heat for 1 hour.

2.  Saute the onions in a bit of the olive oil in a large frying pan.  when the onions begin to become golden, turn off the heat.

 3.  To the soup, add the onions, wine, rest of the olive oil, macaroni, tarragon, salt, and pepper and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.  Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve hot, with a side dish of grated Parmesan cheese.

 *Br. Victor notes that while a single cup of wine is listed, one could easily add a cup or two more.  “The wine is the secret ingredient of this recipe – it makes all the difference in the world.”

 Traditional Austrian Cheese Soup

  *this one is simmering on my stovetop as I type.

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 finely sliced celery stalks

2 leeks sliced

2 large potatoes cubed

6 cups water

1 8-ounce package cream cheese cut into cubes

1 8-ounce container plain yogurt (*I am using Kefir instead)

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Pour the oil into a soup pot, add the celery, leeks, and potatoes, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook the soup slowly for 35 to 40 minutes.

2.  When the soup is done, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring from time to time.  Add the cream cheese, yogurt (kefir), salt, and pepper.  Stir continuously until these latter ingredients melt and blend thoroughly with the rest of the soup.  Serve hot.

Meal Plan Monday

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Lots of great ideas here!

Monday:  Turkey Tetrazzini (using up leftover turkey!)

Tuesday:  Bavarian Wiener Supper  (using leftover dogs from the guys’ paintball cookout.)

Wednesday:  Almond Chicken and Rice

Thursday:  Beans in a Pot

Friday: Slow Cooked Corn Chowder (omit ham)

Saturday:  Fried Eggs with Chili Cheese Grits

Sunday:  Quick Shrimp Gumbo

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Cinnamon Rice, Cooked Oat Bran, Bagels and yogurt,

Lunch:  Quesadillas,  Sloppy Joes, Migas, Pasta Salad, Bacon and Eggs,

A Toast!

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to Suzanne!  Not as pretty as hers,  but very tastey no less! 🙂  Thank you for sharing the recipe!


Thinking Outloud: Menu Changes

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Just thinking out loud here,  talking to myself more or less…

Monday:  BUSY day!  Chicken and cheese quesadillas on the go…

Tuesday:  Torio’s are graciously bringing us a meal.

Wednesday:  Pork Chops and Pierogis

Thursdays:  Meal incoming from the Swain family

Friday:  Crockpot Corn Chowder

Saturday: Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin and roasted potatoes

Sunday:  Turkey Divan

Monday:  Another ‘On the Go’ meal:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Lunch Ideas:

Quesadillas, Tuna Salad, Pasta & Sauce, Eggs and Sausage,  Beans and Corn chips, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,  Homemade Pizza,

Our School Season Menu

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  We started our new chore assignments two weeks ago and it is running very smoothly.  We are still spending alot of time outside and the lawn and garden need tending too,  so that throws a kink in the inside upkeep.  I know that will slow down when the weather cools.  

  Last week we implemented our three week menu rotation.  I listed each week in our Homekeeping Journal.  I also listed each recipe and the ingredients needed to make each dish.  This has made my meal planning, list making, and shopping so much easier.    The nesting urge is also in full swing,  so most of the meals I doubled and froze an extra.  As of right now I have five dishes and two meatloaves (giant ones at that!)  in our freezer.  We always get TONS of much appreciated meals from friends and family after having a baby. So many, that when Molly was born that we had a warm meal delivered every other day for over a month!  My goal is to make my postpartum time simple,  enjoyable,  and memorable for the entire family.  I know proper meal planning plays a big role in this. 

  First I thought I’d share our lunch menu.  We have the same thing each day of the week.  This way the older children learn how to make these simple meals well,  my shopping list stays the same for lunch items,  and we know exactly what to grab out of the fridge each day after spelling lessons! 😉

*fridays are aways meatless

Lunch Menu

Mondays:  Beef, bean, and cheese quesadillas/burritos,  tortilla chips and salsa/nachos.

Tuesdays:  Soup,  (homemade or canned, depending on circumstances) peanutbutter      bread, milk

Wednesdays:  Pasta with alfredo sauce and broccoli and homemade rolls

Thursdays:  French bread pizza,  cheese cubes, baby carrots

Fridays:  Egg or tuna salad sandwiches, yogurt

Dinner Menu Week 1

*unless otherwise noted,  I have steamed spinach with each meal and we all have some form of either frozen veggies or fresh salad.  Drinks vary from milk to icy lemonade, and of course a Killians for Dh ! 🙂

Monday:  Magnificent Casserole,  corn muffins.  (made three, ate one, froze one, Mary and I took one to a family that just had their third precious child.)

Tuesday:  Son of a Manic Mealoaf is on the menu (from Leanne Ely’s Frantic Family Cookbook) but we had a pleasant visit with unexpected guest during dinner prep time.  I threw some steaks under the broiler and made a quick salad instead.  I made up the meatloaves yesterday and tucked them both into the freezer.

Wednesday:  Baked Chicken.  It was Samuel’s birthday and he requested pizza,  so Papa John’s delivered dinner this night.  I made two baked chicken dishes up and froze them both.)

Thursday:  English Muffin Casserole was on the menu for this night but one of my dearests friends showed up with a piping hot meal for us at 6 o’clock.  We enjoyed her delicious chicken chili over brown rice, green beans, fresh bread, and chocolate pudding! 🙂 Her 5 children made the most adorable cards for me and the kids!  I made the English Muffin Casserole up yesterday (2 of them) and tucked one into the freezer and one is ready for us to enjoy after Mass this morning.   

Friday:  Baked Macaroni and Three Cheese.  (I made two and froze one)

Saturday:  A Saturday favorite, made by Tony  and Abby,  Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese!  (They talk about opening up a diner one day,  they would call it D&D Diner.  Dad and Daughter…funny, those two!)

Sunday:   We will have one of the English Muffin Casseroles I prepared yesterday.

  So week one had some change ups,  but I always had something on hand to make no matter what cropped up.   Yesterday afternoon Dh took most of  the kids to play some baseball while Molly and I did our shopping for the upcoming week.  (I won’t share with you the ugly details of my stereotypical pregnant woman breakdown in the parking lot…)  We plan on begining our lesson times on Monday.  I  am hoping to have few to no distractions while we try to get back into our schooling groove. (you can laugh at me later! LOL!)    Following is our menu plan for next week.

Dinner Menu Week 2

Monday:  Chicken and Rice Chowder.  I plan on making a big simmering pot for dinner,  and the base for another night to be frozen for later.

Tuesday:  Red Beans and Rice with Keilbasa.  I have enough to make one/freeze one.

Wednesday:  Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks.  I have enough for two meals,  one to eat, one to freeze.

Thursday:  Pot Roast and Potatoes.  I will make two roasts,  one to eat,  one I will shred for another time. 

Friday:   Creamy Tomato Pasta.  Again,  one to eat one to freeze.

Saturday:  Spicey Hoppin’ John – YUM! (and of course,  one to eat one to freeze)

Sunday:  Chicken/Pasta/Greens salad and bread.