Monday, March 31, 2014

Red Barn Chowder

    Soups are great comfort food for me. What I love about this soup is that , it is very filling. It has a little bit of sweet and spice to it . This is an inexpensive and easy soup to make. Serve it with warm honey wheat rolls or just plain saltine crackers.


1 lb ground mild ( or hot) Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 green bell pepper , chopped
2 cups quartered zucchini
4 cloves, chopped garlic
28 oz stewed tomatoes
10 oz tomatoes with chilies
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup homemade garbanzo beans ( this is how I cook our beans , see here ) or 1 cup of canned garbanzo beans ( drained and rinsed)
1/2-1 tsp sugar

Chop away..

Saute the sausage and the onion together for about 2 minutes,

Add in the celery, bell peppers and zucchini , Saute until the sausage is no longer pink.

Add in all your tomatoes , also the tomato paste and water.

 Mix in salt and pepper  and dried basil. Cook until heated through and vegetable are all tender. Add in your sugar..this is to off set the acidity in all the tomato products..

Mix in garbanzo beans , just until heated through.

This soup serves 8 to 10. We are only four in our family so our left over are handy the next day.

A little sweet and spice..who wouldn't like that?  Delicious soup that is filled with sausage and vegetables.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Layered Banana Muffin


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Tired of your boring banana muffins? Well..time to whip up some layered banana muffins and I promise you..You will feel like there is a Betty Crocker in you . This is so easy to make, even my 4 yr old helped me and I made her happy. She just absolutely loves to be involved in our kitchen..lucky me. It would be nice if she would stay like handy helper until she gets older. Let's say 9-10 years from now..teenage years! That will be awesome right?


Topping and Layers
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed  brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate and peanut butter chips ( or just use semi-sweet chocolate chips)

1 1/2 cup very ripe mashed bananas
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg
3 tbsp milk

Mash the bananas and prepare your muffins tins.

Pre heat your oven to 400F degree
Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl ,

Make your sweet layers and toppings , just mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.

Beat the sugar, butter, and egg in a large bowl unti it is fluffy. Mix in milk and mashed bananas..

Using a wooden spatula or just a regular spatula , mix in the dry ingredients ( flour mixture). Do not use your electric mixer. Do not over mix.

Spoon a layer of the batter into your muffins cups ( about 1 tbsp).  Put about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of sweet toppings on top of the batter.

Repeat the layering, batter then the sweet toppings..of course ending with the sweet toppings.
Bake muffins for 5 minutes at 400F degrees. Lower the  temperature to 350F degrees and continue to bake the muffins for  15 more minutes or do the " toothpick comes out clean technique" . Let it cool.

It is really good with my morning coffee.. 

or just a snack..

see that goodness inside? 

Happy Baking!

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Have a sweet tooth? I got you covered .. stay a while !

Friday, March 21, 2014

DIY Lacing Set

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 Why teach your preschooler or toddler (when ready) to lace? Lacing is a good way to enhance their fine motor skills. Why enhance their fine motor skills? Because it is a necessary tool for learning how to write. In addition to developing fine motor skills, it is also good for hand-eye coordination skills. It reinforces their decision and problem solving skills by threading a string in and out of  the holes in a piece of cardboard or lacing card.

                   A lacing set can cost around $10-20.  Depending on what type of materials you use, you can make your own lacing set for less than $10.

You will need:

cookie cutters of various shapes
a sheet of craft foam
shoe laces

All you have to do is trace all your shapes using your cookie cutters.

Cut it all out, and punch holes on the surrounding sides of the shapes.

Take a piece of a shoe lace and tie a knot at the other end. This will serve as a stopper.

Just that easy...

You can also make an alphabet lacing set.

These foam sheets came in 12 pcs in a package , Imagine how many lacing set you can make or save the rest for a craft day.

 (To purchase or to see product info , click on photo or link)

If you are not a big fan of foam sheets , you can also make one that is a little bit more durable. Just print a picture ( or any picture) that your child is into , and laminate it. Same thing , just punch holes and use a yarn or shoe laces for the stringing.

 Here's a good deal for a laminator :

Now , If you really want an indestructible lacing set, because you have kids with " hulk like" grip, we have these set from Lakeshore Learning.

Jumping bean likes it too, she's not even 2 yet..

It came in 12 different  and colorful designs.

Here's something similar from Amazon..

and something for a little boy too..


Have fun with your kids , 

Lots of love,


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