Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Tips: Summer Crock Pot Cooking



Sometimes there is a recipe I really want to make, and it's just so darn hot outside that I cringe at the thought of using my crock pot and heating up the house even more. I love that the house smells so great, but the extra heat? Yeah... I could do without it.

Simple problem, simple solution!

We set our crock pot in our mudroom or our garage in the summer time when we use it!

Our mudroom is closed off from the main part of our house via a door, and the garage obviously is, too. Of course, you want to make sure you have the garage door shut, or you might attract pests with the delicious aromas!

Do you have any crock pot tips?

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Turkey Chili (crock pot)



I've been looking to try something new as of late, and our local grocery store gave me the perfect opportunity with some reduce-priced meat (sell-by date). I had never cooked with just a slab of turkey breast before, but the price really couldn't be beat! I decided to try my hand at making some turkey chili!

The following recipe was definitely a hit with the family. Bobble ate it (which meant it wasn't too spicy), hubby ate it (which meant it wasn't too bland), Squiggle ate it (...which really just meant it was food. She loves food!), and I ate it. The fact that I ate it says a lot, with as picky as I am.

I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, as I had never really had chili with poultry before. The more bites I took, the more I enjoyed it. It is especially good with corn bread, and I absolutely enjoyed every bite I sopped up with the corn bread!

I actually chopped up my peppers and threw them in the crock pot for storage while I prepped the other items. It doesn't really matter if you throw the beans and peppers in the crockpot (OFF) to wait for the other stuff, or if you chop them and throw them into the pan with the tomato mixture (after you turn that off). I was just trying to save counter space and dirty less dishes.



Turkey Chili
  •     2 cups cannellini beans (or 1 can)
  •     2 cups garbanzo beans (or 1 can)
  •     1 tbsp oil
  •     3 shallots, finely chopped
  •     1c celeriac, chopped
  •     2 tbsp minced garlic (or roughly 6 cloves)
  •     1 tbsp cumin
  •     2 tsp dried oregano
  •     1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  •     Zest of 1 lime
  •     2 tbsp fine cornmeal
  •     1 cup veggie broth
  •     1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  •     1-2 lbs skinless boneless turkey breast, cubed
  •     2 cups cut green beans
  •     1 tbsp chile powder, dissolved in juice of zested lime (or roughly 2 tbsp lime juice)
  •     2 bell peppers, diced - any colours (Ideal would have at one of them green)
  •     1 chilaca pepper, finely diced (If not available, substitute a poblano [slightly less kick])

1) Heat oil in a large pan (I used a 5qt. T-fal Jumbo Cooker w/lid ), and add shallots and celeriac. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, stirring well.

2) Combine ground pepper, cumin, oregano, and lime zest. Add to pan, stirring well to fully coat. Add in cornmeal, coating well.

3) Add in broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour into 6 qt. crock pot.
Broth added (tomatoes not added yet)
4) Stir in beans, bell peppers, chilaca, lime juice/chile powder mixture, and turkey breast.

5) Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with cornbread.





Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. This is an original recipe, and all opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Post contains affiliate links.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Slowing Down

I'm sure you've noticed the blog slowing down again. Between the illnesses with both children, I've run out of quite a bit of steam. I think I'm going to do a weekly recipe post, and was wanting to do at least one more weekly post... I just don't know on what.

What topic would you like to read about every week? Something diaper related? Cleaning related? Activities for kids? More recipes? Something I'm thankful for? Brand reviews?

Throw ideas at me!





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Canning

Many of you realize that hard times fell on our family a little over a year ago when I lost my job. We have been trying to find ways to stretch our dollar, but to still maintain our "green" lifestyle. Being eco-conscious is great, but sometimes it can be pricy in some aspects. Usually only when starting being green in an area, like the initial cost of cloth diapering. Despite it saving you significant amounts of money down the road, sometimes it's hard to get that initial bit of money.

Well, our biggest problem since our income change has been food. I am not willing to sacrifice certain things like avoiding artificial flavours, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, or HFCS. Whenever possible, we want to avoid GE/GMO goods, and would prefer local and organic. Obviously, this isn't always possible. We try, though.

That being said, there is one thing we could be doing that we don't: CANNING.

I have never canned. Husband has never canned. Our (immediate) families have never canned. We simply don't know where to start. We have a garden and it has a good yield, particularly for beans and squash. We tried freezing some squash last year, but lost it all to horrible freezer burn. 3 whole gallons of squash, gone. That's makes us even more hesitant to try canning. Freezing seemed so fool-proof!

We have zero canning supplies (well, wait, I do have some mason jars...), zero idea how to do it, and zero funds to start doing it. Still, we feel this would be an option for us and want to learn. I have looked up a few things that might be useful, but there seem to be a few ways to can. One seems to use an ordinary pot, the other a pressure canner pot (like shown below).


We already have some mason jars (below):


Any tips? Brands? Advice?

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own. Post contains affiliate links.

Monday, August 18, 2014

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clipping Nails

Clipping nails has always been a pain with Squiggle. I get it, I get it... no kid likes being held down or held still for anything. Yes, it's not fun for them. For Bobble, however, I was able to do this with much more ease than Squiggle. I would swaddle him up (as an infant) and just pull out one arm or leg at a time, or I'd nurse while my husband did the nails. As he aged, I would put on a Signing Time or a Baby Signing Time, watch with him for a few songs, then start trimming while he watched on my lap. Easy peasy.

Squiggle, however, is a different story. She doesn't care what show is on, what you are doing to entertain, who is doing it, if she has milk.. NOTHING. She just wants you to NOT hold her still.

Finally, about 2 weeks ago, I found my perfect weapon. Weird Al.



Not just any Weird Al, but his music video of TACKY. For some reason she loves it. He has many videos, and many animated ones. She doesn't care... she just wants to see them dancing at the camera to TACKY. Not only does she sit still and let me move and hold her fingers/hands any which way, but it is the PERFECT amount of time for me to trim all the nails on both hands! I'm finishing up the last nail just as the video ends.

I don't mind, of course, as I love Weird Al. His new album, Mandatory Fun, is only $10 on Amazon right now, and that includes a digital MP3 copy, as well. If that wasn't a good enough reason to get it, the fact that Bobble starts trying to dance like the people in the (above) video is! Every time he hears "Tacky", he starts dancing like mad. Love it!

What weird things have you done to trim your kids' nails?


Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own. Post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Zapped



This past week has been pretty rough in this house, thus the lack of posting after the scheduled posts were done. Bobble has childhood asthma, and that acted up while we were visiting family, resulting in a 3am ER visit for a breathing treatment. He caught what Squiggle had.


Squiggle has been super needy, crying at everything. She cries if I hold her, she cries if I put her down. If I wear her, if I don't wear her. If I nurse her, if I don't nurse her. Everything makes her cry. She had bronchitis, an ear infection, a stomach bug, and is cutting 3 molars. I'd cry, too. She won't nap unless I lie with her or I hold her right now, and that makes doing anything very difficult... especially blog writing. Since she cries for everything right now, babywearing is the ONLY way I have gotten ANYTHING done. Unfortunately, she only is content while babywearing if I'm moving. Sorry, readers, but I'm not going to try and walk around holding a laptop in one hand and typing with the other. I'm sure you understand!


Sooooo, I've barely gotten sleep in the last week, but I'm here. I just am lacking the ability to write much since I have the above going on.

I hope you've enjoyed the recipe posts as of late. I think I'm going to start doing a new recipe on a weekly basis instead of the near daily frequency I have for the last couple of weeks.

Are there any particular types of foods you would like recipes for? Leave a comment at let me know!


Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. Post contains affiliate links.