Thursday, August 23, 2012


I am a serious list maker.

I absolutely adore them.

I absolutely have to have them.


Somewhere between child #1 and child #4 my brain decided to take a vacation. As in it decides at random to simply hang the "Gone Fishing" sign on the door frame...or "Out to Lunch", "Gone Shopping", "Be Back Shortly", whatever and whenever and never with advanced notice. (This has been a source of comedy relief to my husband on more than one occasion.)

So, not only do I simply love lists, but I have to have them to get any job of any real size accomplished. Plus, I think I get some sort of immediate gratification from being able to mark things off. I get this sense of accomplishment when I have a neat little list of to-do items all marked off. Oh, yes! I really did something today! See! See!

I prefer to explain it that way. The other alternative is to equate my love of checking things off with the same pleasure a toddler gets when she adds a sticker to a chart and while my attention span may rival that of a toddler...well, anyhow...

And while organizer/list apps for my Droid are great and all...but there's nothing like having a list on paper that I can scribble on, doodle on, mark up, add to, and vent all my frustrations and celebrations upon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mmmm....Roasted Chicken & Felippo Berio!

 Time for that chicken! I love deli-roasted chicken It's so easy to tear apart and eat as is or use in other easy meal recipes, and my kids LOVE the crispy, delicious skin....but, honestly, the chickens at the deli seem to be getting scrawnier and scrawnier while the price is going up, up , up and I've been looking into roasting my own. No, I don't have a rotisserie, but I have discovered you don't have to have one to make delicious roasted chicken.

  To start you need a chicken...preferably already dead and, yes. These are about 3.5lb-4lb each. Let your chickie sit at normal room temperature for about 30 minutes.

  Next, oil or butter your chickens, then apply your seasoning. Don't forget to salt/season the cavity of the chicken...this will help flavour the meat all the way through. You can also loosen the skin on the breast and stuff seasonings right up underneath it, too. 

I wanted to see how yummy the olive oil I'm using from Felippo Berio is, so I stuck with really simple seasoning on these chicks...just salt and pepper. If you want, you can add all sorts of herbs/seasonings: rosemary, thyme, sage, herbs de provence, lemon pepper, lemon slices, onions...if it tastes good with chicken you could probably use it.

Another thing: you can truss up your chicken by tying the legs together with kitchen twine. This will help your chick retain it's shape and cook more evenly...but I didn't have any, so I didn't, it's not mandatory. ;)

 (Sorry about the lighting in my pictures.)

You can also place a layer of onion slices on your baking sheet and then put your chickens on top of the onions to have a simple edible rack for them to roast on. This will allow the juices from the birds to drip off and your pan gravy (should you decide to make one) will have additional flavouring from the onion. Again, I didn't do's not if you don't have any onions on hand don't despair.
Once your chickens are oiled and seasoned you just stick them in an oven that's been preheated to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Easy, peasy!

And cook for 60 to 90 minutes. To make sure they are cooked through, check your bird's internal thigh and breast temperature with an instant read thermometer. The thigh should register about 190 degrees while the breast should be about 180 and all juices should run clear when the bird is pierced.

If you don't have a thermometer, you can also just check the juices, and wiggle the leg...if it's really loose you're probably good. Just to make sure, I like to slice a bit into the meat and double check that there isn't any pink left. Pink chicken meat is not a good idea. At all.

Should the outside of your chicken cook faster than the inside and you worry about burning, just use a sheet of aluminum foil to tent your savoury chickies and deflect some of the direct heat.

Lovely, crispy, golden chicken kids love the stuff and I figure they are getting a good dose of vitamin E when they eat it. Plus, they're still young and skinny...

All that golden juice in the bottom of the baking sheet can be used to make a delicious gravy. And I just realized I never mentioned that you really do NEED to use a rimmed baking sheet to cook your chickens on, otherwise, all that lovely, golden, good-ness will end up on the bottom of your oven in a nasty, not so golden mess.

Definitely a cheaper alternative to picking up an already roasted chicken at the deli. Plus, if you cook a couple birds early in the week you'll have them ready whenever you need one.
And for the record: the EVOO from Felippo Berio worked wonderfully and tasted absolutely delicious! A winner! Thank you Bzzagent for sending me a free sample and letting me in on this fantastic product!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mmmm....olive oil! Or EVOO...whatever tickles your fancy either way it's delicious.

So, via I have the opportunity to try out Filippo Berio Extra Virgen Olive Oil: YES!

Project #1: Roasting Chickens...coming up!

Live Below the Line

 Introduced to me via the Live Below the Line campaign introduced our family to an interesting challenge, here's what the LBtL site says:
The challenge?
Spend 5 days feeding yourself with $1.50 a day – the U.S. equivalent of the extreme poverty line.
The reason?
To give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make $1.50 cover a lot more than food…
Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organization whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty.
The Global Poverty Project educates and activates citizens to become effectively engaged in the movement to end extreme poverty, and is best known for its world-class multimedia presentation 1.4 Billion Reasons. This feature presentation has been seen by over 100,000 people since 2009 and is delivered in schools, businesses and communities around the globe.
We're passionate about equipping people to make a real difference in fighting poverty, and so we focus on connecting people up to the organizations and issues that have the biggest impact. We run Live Below the Line because we think that to really fight poverty, we've got to try to understand it – and the challenge provides a glimpse of what it is like to live on $1.50/day – a challenge that is faced by 1.4 billion people in our world today.
We've teamed up with some of the best U.S. charities that fight extreme poverty around the world and have provided you with the opportunity to support their work through personal sponsorship as you undertake Live Below the Line.
In 2012, Live Below the Line iis running in the U.S., UK, and Australia simultaneously, with more than 20,000 people spending 5 days living below the line.
Our family decided to partner with Malaria No More as we attempted to Live Below the Line.

I wish I had blogged, photographed, discussed each day, but life was busy and I didn't. Instead, here's a recap of what I did manage to updates to my facebook page:

"Live Below the Line update #1:
So this has been an interesting couple of days...and harder than I thought.
On Monday we went over our $9.00 (family total) for the day. I had a small pork roast in the refrigerator that I had thawed the week before and intended to cook over the weekend....but never got to it. Letting meat go bad in the name of poverty just seemed wrong somehow, so I cooked it and added to our supper. Monday's total = $12.90 ($3.90 over)
Tuesday was a better day. We managed to eat for $8.35 ($0.65 under). We're hoping to balance out from Monday by the end of the week.
Today is going far.
My kids like cereal(on sale) and berries(u-pick in the freezer) for breakfast. Milk was on sale. Breakfast like that has worked out to about $0.80 for us. For lunch I made rice and sauteed some veggies and leftover pork roast with a little soy sauce to came out to about $1.60. Snack was lightly salted popcorn $0.45. For dinner we had potato soup and homemade breadsticks $5.20. And I had 3 clearance packets of easter chocolate that were $0.10 each that I let the kids have when they wanted a sweet.
My biggest challenge has been balancing out the meals so they aren't so carb heavy. I want us to eat balanced even on this project, but it is definitely harder.
Michael has said he thinks this is something we need to every year just to keep our blessings in perspective.
Live Below the Line update#2:
Well, here's our Wednesday and Thursday update:
Wednesday we totalled $10.79 (over $1.79).
Thursday we totalled $8.58 (under $0.42).
To make it to our goal of $1.50 per person per day for 5 days (6 people = $45.00 for the week) we'll have to keep it under $4.38 today.
I honestly don't know if we'll make it or not, but we are trying.
This has been a pretty eye opening ex
perience. I thought I had a handle on how cheap things were/were not...and I kind of did...but it's definitely more of a challenge than I thought.
I had to remind Jonathan last night that Ranch dressing wasn't in the budget and Michael had to forego the pickles with his beans. Seems like small things...
On Wednesday night we had a missionary service with Bro. Craft from Eastern Europe. Michael shared with the congregation what we have been attempting in the Live Below the Line campaign and Bro. Craft shared some further info with us on E. Europe.
Did you know there are a lot of people in E. Europe that only make $10-$20 a month for food? That blows the $1.50 a day per person out of the water. And seriously, Europe was one of the last places I would have labelled as fitting this description. Africa, yes...Asia, yes...Europe, wow. Bro. Craft told us that they typically eat a barley mush one to two times a day to fill the belly cheaply.
Michael looked at me and asked if I would please not try that! I had to tease a little so I shared with him the fact that I *do* have some barley in the cabinet...and at the rate we've gone we may have to eat it to make the goal, lol!
Well, off to finish our day. :)
God bless you! And if you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator/cabinets, and clothes on your back He definitely has. ♥"

And now it's over.

On our last day we totalled up the cost of our food for the week. Our grand total was $45.47...$0.47 over what our goal amount was. All things considered, I was very proud of my family. Each of us is a little more aware of how blessed we are...and we're definitely planning to get under the target amount next year...stay tuned...


So, what's the buzz?

A couple years back I got connected to It's a word-of-mouth advertising type thing-a-ma-bob...basically, company's contact Bzzagent because they want their product promoted, Bzzagent puts together a sample pack/offer for the product, locates people who are potentially interested in it, offers the opportunity to try the product out, and what they ask in return is if the sampler(bzzagent as we are called) like the product would they please talk about it to their friends/family/sphere of influence.

So, in the last couple years I have had the opportunity to sample a variety of products...milk to shampoo to car related stuff (that I declined because I wasn't interested) and have really enjoyed the chance to try new stuff and talk about it, too.

I say all that to give you a heads up...the next couple posts are going to be related to things Bzzagent has introduced me to recently.

These posts are NOT the start of an advertising campaign that is taking over my blog. Only the opportunity to share with you some things I have enjoyed.

I really am planning to start blogging more about all the different areas of our life: faith, fun, and family. And as I think I am getting a new computer (oh, please!) sometime this summer, blogging should get easier for me. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Wowzers! Who knew? There are some things that really ought not be invented (but I am so glad they were!)...and currently topping that list is . Awesome! And seriously eating up any extra time I happened to have had in between teaching my fifth grader (um, is it actually possible that I have a FIFTH grader?!?!?!) about past participles with irregular verbs and attempting to figure out what happened to the January budget because I think December ate it.

(By the way...I love run-on sentences...)

So, without further ado...if you haven't seen/heard of/checked out Pinterest yet, hurry! Your time will never be the same and your head may actually expand a little with all the amazing inspiration you find. Seriously.

Friday, January 28, 2011

When life gives you lemons....

Make lemon curd!
Or not...since in my case it wasn't lemons, but oranges. In which case, you make orange curd! (Although, I must admit, a good lemon one is my favorite. Shhh...wouldn't want the oranges to get jealous.)
Actually, before I start this off, I am going apologize and say that from this point on I will no longer tell you that I will have something out on such and such day. I homeschool, and cook, and homeschool, and sew, and homeschool, and chase a hyper german shepherd mix puppy out of my house, and deal with an awesome husband who is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Math (UGH! to the Math not the husband), and did I mention we homeschool? I love blogging things, but I'm finding my time doesn't usually go the way I plan, sooo.....I will spare us all the anguish of waiting around for something I promised and then can't seem to get to when I say I will (I'm also sparing myself a HUGE guilt trip!) and just let my posts be random surprise things that are fun and maybe a little informative.

Back to the oranges.

A couple of the recipes I tried out from the January SL citrus stuff used orange curd as a base. I've made a lemon one before and, honestly, it wasn't that great, so I figured I'd give this one a whirl.

Oh, and in case you're curious, you can find this recipe right here: Buttery Orange Curd.

You'll need orange juice, it doesn't have to be fresh squeezed, granulated sugar, corn starch, butter, salt, an orange, and an egg.

First remove the zest from your orange. That's the orange part of the skin. You don't want the white stuff underneath because it's really bitter! I have a microplane grater/zester and absolutely love it. All you have to do to remove the zest is pull it across the skin of the fruit and, viola! (Make sure you only pull it across the fruit because if you miss and get yourself, OUCH!) You don't have to use a microplane, the fine side of a regular grater will work too, you just have to be extra careful not to include any of the white pith.

Next, whisk together your sugar and cornstarch in a good heavy pot on the stove.

Then whisk in your orange juice.

Just mix gently until everything is nice and smooth.

Then whisk in the egg. I got a litttle carried away with the whisking and it really foamed up. I was worried, oops!

But no worries, after bringing it to a boil and whisking it constantly as the recipe stated...

It all evened out and I was able to add the orange zest, butter, and pinch o' salt.

Pour it into a bowl...

And cover it with plastic wrap. You want to press the plastic right onto the curd. This keeps the top from forming a thick skin. Ew! (Please, forgive the reddish pink color...I'm still trying to use up all the holiday plastic wrap I bought by accident at Christmas.)

Now, stick it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. I used this as the base of a Panna Cotta (that recipe will come next) but this would also be good in miniature tart shells topped with some sweetened whipped cream, or on a toasted English muffin. The recipe says to only store it for 3 days and this is a good guideline. I kept some of it in a bowl for a couple days longer, just to see, and the curd began to break down and got rather watery.

Also, next time I make this I will probably omit the zest. The curd had a good orange taste, but I thought it was a little bit strong. I think if I cut out the zest or at least halve it, the flavour will be just right for me.