Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sticky Chicky

Tonight I made Sticky Chicky (I decided to make it because it was so much fun to say) and it ended up being a big hit! Very tasty and also very easy to make (of which I am always a big fan). I whipped up some mashed potatoes with garlic and added some corn to the table and we had a great meal that also had the benefit of being gluten-free! Oh, I was out of chicken thighs and so I substituted chicken drumsticks and they were still delicious.

Sticky Chicky

16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)


1/2 c. your favorite BBQ sauce (hickory flavored is nice!)
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. honey or maple syrup
1 Tblsp. chili powder
1 Tblsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tblsp. grated ginger (I used about 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tblsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange chicken thighs in pan in single layer.
Whisk together all sauce ingredients (not cornstarch) in a medium bowl and pour evenly over chicken. Turn pieces to coat both sides with sauce. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Carefully pour sauce from pan into small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water and mix until smooth. Add to sauce. Cook until sauce is bubbly and has thickened, about 1 minute. Serve hot chicken with extra sauce on top.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Big Buck"

Papa (my dad) enjoys a hobby and side business of taxidermy and currently has several "projects" throughout the house. Eileigh has always been avidly interested in the various animals and tonight she successfully learned to say "big buck". Noting our humored approval, she continued to repeat "big buck" over and over while moving and pointing back and forth between two large deer heads my Dad is currently working on. Now I'm wondering just exactly where this puts me on the "You Might Be A Redneck" scale. I might be a redneck if my daughter can identify and appreciate a quality four-point deer? Or I might be a redneck since she learned how to say that in the first place? :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A little bunny love

Eileigh's "lovey"/security item happens to be a sweet little brown bunny. It is definitely one well-loved little rabbit. After almost every nap Eileigh grabs her bunny, lays it on her shoulder and rests her head on it and then waits to be picked up. That seems to be the mode of transportation in general for the bunny- always cradled on her shoulder. Mike was able to capture a couple pictures right after Eileigh woke up from a nap- note the fuzzy hair, red cheeks and bunny on her shoulder.

Bear Attack!

Eileigh has discovered a little black bear puppet that was given to us when she was born. She hugs it and carries it around everywhere she goes. On this date she even ended up laying on the floor as she was holding it (she was tired but still going). I only caught the end of it but right before the picture was taken she had the bear's nose in her mouth and she was growling at it...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My little helper

Eileigh gleefully "helped" me do some laundry tonight- that is, she removed every cloth diaper I had in the laundry basket and relocated them to the laundry room floor, the living room, and everywhere in between. She's been so fussy lately and was so excited to devastate the pile that I just enjoyed watching her go! It was a nice little ray of sunshine into the somewhat stormy last couple of days.

Paprika Beef and 7-up Brownies

Just wanted to share these recipes- Paprika Beef is one of my all-time faves!!

Paprika Beef

2 lb. beef chuck or round, cut into 1" cubes
1 med. onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. shortening
1-1/2 c. water
3/4 c. ketchup
2 Tblsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tblsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 c. cold water
2 Tblsp. flour

Cook beef, onion and garlic in shortening until browned, drain. Stir in 1-1/2 c. water, ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and cayenne. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beef is tender, 2-1/2 hrs.
Blend flour and 1/4 c. water. Stir gradually into beef. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over hot noodles.
*Note: Can be covered and frozen up to four months. To heat, add 1/2 c. water to meat mixture; cover and cook over med-low heat, about 30 minutes. (But we never have leftovers!!) :)

7-up Brownies

2 sticks margarine
1 c. 7-up
4 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar

Boil margarine, 7-up, cocoa and buttermilk. Cool. Add eggs, baking soda, vanilla, flour and sugar. Pour into greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and begin to make frosting. **Note: You can make your own buttermilk by using 1 Tblsp. of lemon juice or white vinegar and adding enough milk to make 1 cup.


1 stick margarine (room temp)
4 heaping Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tblsp. milk
3 c. sifted powdered sugar

Mix together with electric mixer. Frost brownies while still warm.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I decided to plan an Irish-themed dinner. That plan tanked severely when I realized I had just made a beef and cabbage casserole two days ago. So instead I decided to make Paprika Beef- one of my favorite meals and although not Irish or corned, it is beef. So that fulfilled one requirement. Next, I thought I would make some brownies with green mint frosting like my mom always made for us every year. After I decided I would make 7-up brownies from scratch (I didn't have a brownie mix) I realized that the frosting is chocolate and would not turn green no matter how much food coloring I added to it so I scrapped the mint flavor too. Therefore, we had a very sedate, no longer themed dinner of Paprika Beef over whole wheat noodles, green beans and 7-up brownies. I also omitted the lime green jello that we traditionally enjoyed every year growing up- just because I never seem to get around to making jello no matter how many boxes I might have stashed in my cupboard! As always, I save the beaters from my electric mixer for Mike- and now Eileigh, who has gotten quite adept at signing "Please" whenever she realizes there are goodies to be had. I think she may have ended up wearing more than she ate, though- and that's okay with me!! :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Our little saplings

Obviously a bit windy....

Eileigh's twig has yet to bear fruit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Planting

Today we took a trip to our local BiMart (one of Mike's favorite stores). Mike browsed the hunting/outdoors/ammo area and I browsed through all of the gardening sections. Eileigh split her time fairly equally between the two. We walked away with some ammo and a bugle for Mike and some veggie starts, seed packets, and two pear trees! We bought one Bosc pear and one D'Anjou pear tree. I really want to get one more, a Bartlett pear tree- but they didn't have it at BiMart so I'll have to keep looking. While Mike planted our trees I started to plan our garden. We have three raised beds but we might be building a few more! I'm not sure we have enough space now- I have starts for strawberries, Walla Walla onions and cauliflower, seeds for corn, bell peppers, lettuce, and green onions, and plans for tomatoes, basil, and various other herbs. It's so exciting to plan, plant and enjoy our very own garden! Last year the summer went by so fast and I was so busy with Eileigh and EPing that I feel like I hardly ever got outside, much less invested time in the garden. So I'm really looking forward to this year. Now I just need to figure out my flowers- the front of our house needs some help!! :) It was dark by the time Mike finished planting the pear trees so I wasn't able to get a picture of them but I did take a picture of our little starter plants!! :)

Homemade Laundry Soap

In my quest for bargains and cheaper, better ways of doing things I have discovered something new (to me) and decided to give it a shot: Making my own laundry soap. The cost savings are incredible when you figure out it will now cost me a penny ($0.01) a load!!! The other upside for me is I can use it for Eileigh's diapers, for which I'm not supposed to use any detergent with fabric softeners or additives (which generally costs more anyways). So I am pretty excited. It didn't take long to make, either- pretty simple process. I didn't add any essential oils to make it scented since this was my first try but we'll see how it goes- I might decide to add some for my next batch.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha, grated
1/2 c. washing soda (Brand to look for: Arm and Hammer Washing Soda- not baking soda!)
1/2 c. borax powder (Brand to look for: 20 Mule Team)

Place grated soap in sauce pan. Add 6 c. water and heat until the soap melts. Add washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour 4 c. hot water into a 2 gallon or larger bucket. Pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir.
Add 1 gallon plus 6 c. water and stir.
Let soap stand for about 24 hrs. and it will gel. Use 1/2 c. soap per load.
Optional: You can add 1/2 to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil for scent.
*Note: The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look. This soap is a low suds-ing soap. If you don't see suds, that is okay- suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap. We have a high-efficiency front loader and haven't had a problem since this is a low-suds soap.
**All ingredients were purchased at WinCo.

Two soup-er recipes!!

The weather being a bit on the chilly side, I have been cooking up some good ol' comfort food perfect for fending off the cold: soup. One recipe I received from a friend for my bridal shower and the other I could swear was passed on to me from my mom (who declared she had never tasted such a great taco soup before and wanted the recipe... *sigh*).

Lasagna Soup

2 oz. Italian sausage (I used our homegrown pork sausage)
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 sm. onion, diced
1 lg. garlic clove
5-10 mushrooms, sliced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato puree (I think my can was only 10 oz but it worked fine)
1 beef bouillon cube
4 c. water
1 tsp. each basil, oregano
1/2 tsp. each thyme, crushed red pepper (or less if you don't want it quite so spicy)
8 lasagna noodles
2 c. ricotta (I omitted)
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Remove sausage from casing, crumble into 4 qt. stock pot and cook until browned. Add onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Saute veggies for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, puree, bouillon, water and spices.
Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Break lasagna into pieces and add to soup. Cook over medium 15 minutes or until noodles are tender. Serve topped with cheeses. Serves: 6
*You can also do this in the crock pot! After browning sausage, add everything to the crock pot except all the water (2 c.?- experiment). Add noodles the last 30 minutes. Cook 4-5 hours on high in all.

Taco Soup

1 lb. boned chicken breast
6 c. chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. ranch dressing
1/2 tsp. cumin
Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream and avocado as desired

Cut chicken into pieces. Place chicken in broth, onion and garlic salt. Cook until done, about 10-15 minutes. (I used chicken breast I had baked previously and added it to the broth while the onion simmered). Add rest of ingredients, cook about 20 minutes.
Serve over crushed tortilla chips, place shredded cheese, sour cream, and avocado on top! *Even better the second day!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Tonight I had the privilege of being Eileigh's first bite victim. I'm just thankful I didn't drop her, since that was my initial instinctive response. She'd been clingy since it was getting close to (early) bedtime and I was holding her on my hip while wiping off the dining room table after dinner. All of a sudden I felt a searing, blinding pain to my shoulder and I screamed this very sissy, very high-pitched scream that would definitely stop an attacker in their tracks. (And in fact, did). I managed to squelch my initial reaction to FLING the cause of my suffering to the floor (this would be Eileigh) and instead set her down quickly. I don't know if it was my scream or being put down that had Eileigh in tears right along with me but I think she grasped the concept that biting is NOT okay. I had been somewhat surprised that up to this point she had never bitten anyone since she's always seemed to enjoy chewing on and biting toys, the bottle (and prior to the bottle: me- but that was before she had teeth, thankfully). I am REALLY hoping that this was an isolated, one-time event that was traumatic enough for her to not attempt again!! Or if she decides to, maybe it can be a light nibble on someone else's shoulder....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tub Surprise

In the interest of sharing the latest "ew", I thought I would relate my most recent experience with the seemingly never ending poo-tastrophes. Our regular habit is to follow breakfast time with bath time, resulting in a generally much easier clean up on Eileigh's part. Yesterday was a different story altogether. Eileigh has pretty much gotten into a routine: up in the morning, drink milk, walk around and poop, eat breakfast, take a bath, get dressed, poop, etc. Pooping takes up a significant portion of the day although she is frequently able to multi-task and I am unaware of her accomplishment until she careens by and I catch the rather fragrant essence trailing along behind her. So as is my custom, prior to dumping Eileigh in the tub I peeked into the backside of her diaper to ascertain the need for a full change and clean up. Nothing noticed, I stripped off her diaper as she stood there peering into the tub, letting the diaper fall to the floor- face down. I swung Eileigh into the tub, bent down to pick the diaper up and realized after doing so that there was poop all over my floor. Soggy, vegetable mush. I stared dumbfounded at the floor, progressed to staring at the diaper in my hand and (finally making the connection) turned my eyes toward Eileigh- now contentedly admiring all of the floaters whirling and swirling around her. I was stricken for several seconds, torn between the need to wipe up the floor to reach Eileigh and my desperation to keep Eileigh's hands OFF the new tub toys. As I hurriedly scrubbed the floor I kept one eye on Eileigh and informed "No, Eileigh, icky, no touch!" She then enjoyed running around naked while I drained the bathtub turned toilet and scrubbed everything from the tub to the smeared bath mat to every single toy that had simmered in the sewage. Finally finished, Eileigh enjoyed a freshly scrubbed bath tub while I made a strong mental note to always, always fully check the diaper PRIOR to plunging Eileigh into the tub.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy girl, lots of teeth!

Just thought I would share a couple recent pictures of Eileigh and her mouthful of teeth! She currently has eight in the front, a ninth bottom molar, and is working on two top molars- one on each side! They definitely do not seem to bother her as much as when her other teeth came in which is a blessing! I was reading somewhere about the effect inflation has had on the Tooth Fairy- apparently it's not uncommon for her to bring anywhere from $5-$20 a tooth! I'm pretty certain that will not be the case in our household... I figure 5 cents to a quarter sounds about right. :) I remember as a little girl accidentally swallowing one of my teeth and having to write the Tooth Fairy a letter... something along the lines of "Dear Tooth Fairy, I swollowed my tooth. Please send me a quarter." Misspelling is all mine. But she did bring a quarter!! I'm looking forward to experiencing that with Eileigh- not the losing teeth part necessarily (kinda gross) but the excitement of the Tooth Fairy visits. I even have the tooth box already!

Ear Muffs!!!!