Monday, June 28, 2010

Tonight's Menu: Lemon Lentils Recipe with Kale, Cumin and Turmeric

Recipe here. 

Image from link.

Update: This was so good, and even better as a leftover! I added some curry,  pepper flakes, seasoned salt, and a little homemade syrup  for extra taste. My husband wanted some meat, so it also had about a cup of shredded chicken. A little lemon juice would have been tasty as well.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's for Dinner: Senegalese Black-eyed Pea Fritters and Senegalese Lemon Chicken

The World Cup coverage has inspired me to explore African recipes, especially the countries whose cuisine had been influenced by many different cultures. I really like the multitude of spices used in North African recipes. I'm trying this recipe for bean fritters tomorrow night, but I haven't decided on an accompaniment. Maybe Poulet Yassa(Senegalese chicken with onions and lemon).

My taste buds have been happy with all the variety. I must also try some spicy Moroccan recipes soon.

Tutorial: Iron-on Decals from Plastic Shopping Bags

Click here. So Clever!
Image from tutorial.

Friday, June 25, 2010

DIY Low Cost Floors

Thinking about converting carpet to something low cost, allergy friendly, and green - polished concrete floors. More in about two weeks.

A few helpful links for DIY polished concrete floors:

How to Polish a Concrete Floor 

DIY Polished Concrete Floors

 Floor Grinder Rental with Diamond Pads

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pink Potato Casserole

Boil potatoes, a rutabaga or two, and a beet until soft. In a casserole dish, mash together all with sour cream, butter, and seasonings. Top with sauteed  onion ringlets and Parmesan cheese. Pour a little evaporated milk across top and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Use leftover pink boiling water for pink homemade bread, or for other baking recipes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's for Dinner: West African Jollof Rice

"Jollof Rice, also called 'Benachin' meaning one pot in the Wolof language, is a popular dish all over West Africa. It is thought to have originated from Gambia but has since spread to the whole of West Africa, especially amongst members of the Wolof ethnic group.

There are many variations of Jollof rice. The most common basic ingredients are: rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper. Beyond that, nearly any kind of meat, vegetable, or spice can be added." ~ Wikipedia
Image from BBC Good Food.

I use a recipe close to this one. Tonight I used what I had on hand for the base vegetables: collard greens and beets. I have packs of pre-made rice and shredded chicken ready in the freezer, so this is a quick meal for us.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Iced Mint Tea Concentrate from the Garden

Take a two quart bottle and fill half the bottle with clean mint leaves. Add one cup of sugar and fill with boiling water. Let it sit for a few hours, or overnight in the refrigerator once it cools down. This is very refreshing on a hot day. Add a little fresh lemon, if desired, and serve over lots of ice.

Recipe from: More-With-Less Cookbook

If you find this too strong, use a bit to flavor some regular ice tea, or even better, use some as a complement to green tea. Green tea and mint really complement one and other.

If it seems strong at first, it will mellow. I filled my two quart bottle up all the way with leaves, and it was so strong it unpalatable until the next day.

What's for Dinner? Ethiopian Split Peas and Rice

Easy Peasy Kik Alicha

You can increase the volume of spices as you like; this recipe is not very spicy:

* 3 cups water
* 1 cup yellow split peas
* 2-3 Tbsp chopped onion (this amount varies depending on how spicy you want it)
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 tsp ground ginger
* 1/2 tsp turmeric
* 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

1. Cook water and split peas together for about 30 minutes in a pot. While you are cooking the water/split peas, cut up the onions and garlic.
2. Heat up oil in a small skillet, and add onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Brown these ingredients.
3. Once you’ve cooked the split peas for about 30 minutes, the split peas should have soaked up most or all of the water. Add the oil/spice mixture to the pot and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring often. I had to add a bit more water to this mixture, but that depends on how hot you cook the mixture. The mixture will be a lumpy consistency (like lumpy mashed potatoes or mushy baked beans).
4. Serve with rice, with injera (Ethiopian “bread”), or eat it plain

Makes 2-4 servings

I added Adobo seasoning and pepper for stronger seasoning, an entire onion, and a heaping spoon of minced garlic(jar). Delicious meal, although it looks a little unappealing. My son said it looked like baby food. I used green split peas instead of yellow.

Split peas:

Carbohydrates 60 g
Sugars 8 g
Dietary fibre 26 g
Fat 1 g
Protein 25 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.7 mg (54%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.7 mg (34%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 274 μg (69%)
Iron 4 mg (32%)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Garden is Coming Along

Our tiny kitchen garden/jungle in a sunny corner is doing well this year. It's full of squash, carrots, onions, Roma tomatoes, and various herbs, including fragrant lavender. In between grows wild flowers and day lilies. All were grown from seeds, so it's been inexpensive to grow.

I threaded a soaker hose purchased at Dollar General through the plants when they were small, but I have not had to use it much. We've had a enough rain to keep the garden from wilting. It's also helped that plants are packed together; they are creating their own ground shade which in turn blocks weeds and preserves ground moisture.  I do have to step in periodically to trim back the edges of overlapping plants. This is especially needed with the quick growing mints and sage that can crowd out other plants such as the delicate carrot.

List of beneficial companion plants

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homeschool Elementary Freebies: Printable Flag Day Stories

Vintage Flag Day stories(1914) for elementary school students. Betsy Ross(pages 137-138)  and The Star Spangled Banner(Pages 138-141).

In order to print pages, right click on images of pages at link. Entire book can be downloaded as well.

A book of the flag, The Little Book of the Flag By Eva March Tappan, 1917.

Free vintage clip art and more about Flag Day here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hands-on Homeschool Mathematics: Learning Mathematics in the Garden

Primary Arithmetic and the School Garden
By Harriet L. Peet, State Normal School, Salem, Mass.
A school garden offers rich opportunities for primary arithmetic work. The laying out of a garden calls for work with perimeters, and division of beds into rows and rows into spaces for single plants. The preparation and planting necessitates many simple calculations as to quantity of seed to be purchased and time for planting; and the gathering, valuing, and disposing of crops requires measuring and some little work with accounts. Read more here.
pages 350 - 351.

50 Healthy Foods for Under $1 a Pound

Read here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fun at the Beach

A lovely restored building along the boardwalk, built in 1881.

A climb to the top of Lucy the Elephant(1882), and more climbing up a WWII lookout tower and light house(1859) at the Cape May Point State Park.

We meet up with family who traveled south to meet us on the beach Sunday.

Fountain light show at the pier shopping center.

Next year, maybe we'll get to Amish country, or Philadelphia during the slow season.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quick Meals with Frozen Basic Ingredients

Not a new idea to those who make freezer meals, but I've been freezing my rice, beans, and chicken(and other meats) for convenience. Staple ingredients are simple to make and freeze with very little effort. I tend to make stock from leftover vegetable water, and bits and pieces of leftover vegetables. Celery tops are excellent for stock. I freeze it in large plastic containers until I get about twelve cups. Then next time I make rice for a meal, I make a huge pot, cooking six cups of dry rice in a stock pot with the vegetable water. This makes 18 cups of cooked rice, about eleven packets of rice to freeze. I cook beans in mass too, cooking an entire bag instead of just what I need for the meal, then the individual packs get popped in the freezer. If a chicken meal is planned, I cooked the entire ten pound bag of leg quarters in the stock pot. The meat comes off the bone easily, and gets packaged and frozen along with the chicken stock.  

To keep things inexpensive, I use plastic wrap rather than freezer bags. Inexpensive small reusable plastic containers might be good as well; I need to switch to this in the near future. I use recycled plastic food containers for liquids; however, they tend to crack after the third freeze.

All this cooking and freezing saves me about two to three weeks of cooking. All I have to do is re-heat when I plan meals with these staples.

Tonight I made a super quick meal with my frozen ingredients. Heat together two packets of black beans(about 2 cups), a packet of shredded chicken(about 1 cup), 1/3 a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a pre-seasoned(spicy) can of Margaret Holmes Triple Succotash(.79 cents). Serve over a packet of rice(about 1.5 cups). Inexpensively feeds three people. Big taste!

Vintage Scarf Pillows

This idea has been kicking around in design circles for some time now, and I am warming up to the idea of making my own vintage scarf pillows. I thought about trying this after seeing a bin of beautiful vintage scarves at a thrift last week. These pillows would blend especially well with the modern neutral home design themes. They could be switched out seasonally according to color and pattern for a fresh look.

I was thinking that the scarves could be sewn to the fronts of existing pillows to save time and effort. This would be super thrifty if you could find secondhand pillows in good shape(clean them in bleach water) at a yard sale or thrift.

See this post for tutorials.

HT to Allyson for image.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: