Friday, April 26, 2013

Foodie Friday: Cheater Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were a sick house last week. I needed to find meal ideas that were bland enough that our stomachs could handle them, but also nutritious enough to help us get healthy! One day I ended up making this homemade chicken soup, but mine had a secret. I started it at 11 and we ate it by noon., but it was still had a great flavor. The secret? I started out with store bought chicken stock.
Peachy before chicken noodle soup.

Cheater Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


-32 ounces store-bought chicken stock
-2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
-chopped carrots, onions, and whatever other veggies you have on hand (You could also substitute a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.)
-1 cup uncooked noodles (I used elbow, but any pasta would do.)
-salt and pepper to taste


1. Pour stock into large pot. Add in frozen chicken and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. (Check with a thermometer or cut it open to make sure it is no longer pink.)
2. Remove chicken and chop into bite-sized pieces. Return to pot.
3. Add in vegetables and continue simmering until vegetables are tender.
4. Add pasta and return to a boil. Cook according to package directions.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And there you have it. Easy and quick, but yummy and hardy chicken noodle soup.
Peachy after eating the chicken noodle soup. *Results may vary.*

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kid Activities: Tubes and Poms

I have all of these great pins on activities to do with the girls, but so much of the time I just do the same old activities. I decided to try to start being more intentional in the activities that we do. (Thanks to the wonderful Emily of Imperfect for inspiring me!)
I started by looking through my Preschool board and making a short list of activities and pojects that we could do. I tried to keep them limited to simple ideas that made use of items we already had on hand.
Here is one of the successful activities that we completed. The idea is from Imperfect Homemaker's list of 15 (more) Independent Activities for One-Year-Olds. I used painters tape to attach paper towel tubes to the side of the cupboards, making sure that they lined up to make a clear pathway. The girls could put pom poms through the tunnels and watch them come out the bottom. Sometimes we let had them fall to the floor and sometimes we had something under to catch them.

 While this was aimed toward the younger crowd, both girls enjoyed playing with the tunnels together.

 Later in the day, while Cream was napping, we changed the path to make one that connected the tubes and zig-zagged back and forth.

And then Peachy tried her hand at designing her own path. She even tried to incorporate wooden blocks. When we were done, I simply removed the tubes and stashed everything away for another day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boden Inspired: Felt Circle Shirt

A while back, my friend had given me some pages from a Boden catalog of their felt embellished shirts as some inspiration.  Of course they were seasonal and I can no longer link to the actual shirts, but here is one from Ebay.
When that friend's daughters birthday rolled around, I knew just what to make for her. I decided to go with felt circles and a found a great stripped shirt at Target.
I layered mustard and grey wool blend felt and sewed a simple navy line through each one. I love how it turned out and may need to make one for myself.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foodie Friday: Homemade Yogurt

Three or so Christmases ago I asked for a yogurt maker. I used it twice, wasn't happy with the results and stashed it away on a shelf for the next three years. One of my friends recently was telling me about how she makes yogurt at home. (She doesn't use a maker, you can check out the various methods online.) I decided to give her recipe a try. I also decided to give the yogurt maker another try. And great news, it worked! I think that the trick is to add any fruit or sweeteners just before eating, rather than part of the yogurt making process. (I am not expert, but that is what I think.) Anyway, I thought that I would share the yogurt making process with you today. It is really not all that complicated.

Homemade Yogurt (1 quart)

1 quart milk (whole, 2%, and skim all work fine)
½ cup dry milk powder
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (While you can purchase yogurt starters, I think the easiest way is to purchase a small container of plain yogurt and use some of that as a starter. I have been using Fage, but others should work. Just make sure they have live active cultures.)

1. Combine milk and milk powder in saucepan, heat over med to med high heat until it reaches 190° (about 15 minutes, but use a thermometer). 

2.  Remove from heat, partly cover (to prevent a skin from forming) and cool to 110°.  (You can either just let it cool by taking it off the heat, although I like to speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in an ice water bath in my sink.) *The reason for heating the milk is to kill any bacteria, therefore it must be cooled before adding the yogurt or the live bacteria you want to grow will also be killed.*

3. Once cooled, mix ½ cup milk with yogurt until smooth, add to remaining milk and stir well. At this point, I scoop the milk mixture into the individual containers that my yogurt maker came with. I put them into the yogurt maker, uncovered, and pour in hot water around the jars. (While this isn't part of the directions on my yogurt maker, I think it keeps a more even temperature.) 

4. I keep my jars in the yogurt maker for 8-10 hours. Remember, the longer you keep them in there, the thicker the yogurt. I like mine thick, like Greek yogurt.

5. Remove jars from yogurt maker and cover and place in refrigerator. I like my yogurt with honey and fresh fruit. Sometimes I add a bit of vanilla or granola.

*If you don't have a yogurt maker, here are my friend's directions for hot water method. Pour milk/yogurt into very clean (or sterilized) quart jar, cover with saran wrap and keep undisturbed between 110° and 120° for 4-8 hours. To keep yogurt mixture at 115° fill a large stockpot with hot water, place jar in water and place in 115° oven  OR fill two quart jars with hot water and place with yogurt jar in a cooler, keep replacing hot water jars with new jars every couple hours. She does this in her oven by cycling the warm setting on and off throughout the day.*
**If you are looking into purchasing your own yogurt maker, I would suggest one that uses one large container rather than the individual ones.**

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ballet Bag and Shirt

One of Peachy's friends recently turned 4. (Okay, by recently I mean back in November. Time is really a relative thing on a blog, right?) We decided to give her a ballet themed gift that she could use for her dance classes.
I found this shirt on Etsy for inspiration:
Using a freezer paper stencil, I painted a ballerina silhouette on a plain shirt and a bag. Then I added some pink trim as the tutu and as edging on the bag.