Category Archives: Uncategorized

Upcycling Sterilite Drawers: Medicine Storage

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I absolutely love using Sterilite drawers around my house for storage. They are so versatile and relatively inexpensive, but they are, like most utilitarian items, fairly bland looking. As in only two colors that I know of. Could you make more than two colors please? Is that so hard? Apparently. However, it is so easy to beautify these pieces and bring them from pure function to something that is aesthetically pleasing as well. You can check out my first post on upcycling Sterilite drawers here.

This is how my medicine used to be stored. Yeah…it’s a disaster.


Plus, it was stuck in this very disorganized linen closet and I would have to drag it out and dig around until I found what I needed. Closet=Disaster zone as well.

I finally got fed up with it, because as most type A people can relate to, clutter and chaos do not mesh well with how I like to run my household. It stresses me out and makes me upset and if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. A very true Southern adage, I might add. Just ask my husband and my kids. Unfortunately, you won’t get far there as they’ve all learned to lie and tell you I’m a perfect saint all the live long day in order to keep the peace.

Okay, I’m not that bad, but I do work so much better in organized and clean environments. I bought an 8.5″ x 11″ 3 drawer set and some gold spray paint and got to work!

Supplies

  • Sterilite Drawer
  • Spray Paint suited for plastic
  • Sharpie
  • Label Stickers

Remove the drawers and set aside.

Take the Sterilite shell outside or into a well-ventilated room. I highly recommend outside. I spray painted indoors once with the doors wide open. I might have been high for the first time in my life, not that I’m proud of it. Plus the smell didn’t go away for a few days. Not cool.

Place shell on a cardboard box or anything you have lying around so you don’t have a rectangular splotch on your driveway after you’re done. I used an old dish drying rack to elevate it a bit.

Shake can of spray paint well and then begin spraying left to right or up and down in short strokes and a quick burst at a time. Make sure your can is about 6-8 inches from the shell. I have to be this close because the wind usually steals a lot of my paint if I’m any further away.

Overlap your rows slightly as you continue to spray left to right (or up and down) making sure you don’t hold the spray for too long, which can lead to clumping up of paint and drips when you get to the side. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

As the shell is drying, begin writing on your labels. I used a gold metallic sharpie to go with the gold paint. I used the following basic categories: Cough N Cold, Pain Relief, Allergy, Cuts & Scrapes, and Digestive Health. They are all pretty self explanatory, except “Digestive Health” is my cutesy way of disguising laxatives and preparation H.

 

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Once the paint has dried, insert your drawers and organize your medicine accordingly.

Now my medicine is neatly arranged and easy to find.

And now my closet looks like this.

You see that lone bottle of ibuprofen to the left? It was too big to go in the drawers and now I’m cursing myself for being so cheap that I bought the ginormous bottle of pills because it comes out so much cheaper than the smaller bottles. So almost everything is neatly tucked away in the drawers.

I’m glad I was able to organize my medicine and my linen closet and that I don’t have to lug out a big carry-all to find the medicine I’m looking for. Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to y’all again tomorrow!

Recipe Round Up

I’ve decided that once a week I will post any of the recipes I made that previous week to condense them all into one day instead of several posts a week. I am playing a bit of catch-up as these are recipes that I cooked in last months menu, but this is how I’ve decided to try and remedy that. That way if any of the recipes sounded great to you, but I didn’t yet have a link to it, you should be able to get it a little sooner now.

I hope this makes sense and I do sincerely hope you enjoy these meals! I absolutely love cooking so I am always trying new recipes every month and I love to share the best ones here on my blog for you. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Brisket

Chicken Basil Hash

Made Me Love Meatloaf Recipe

Reading Readiness Apps For Toddlers

It’s very important to my husband and I that we do as much as possible to ready our children for school. As our kids have gotten older we have taken more direct initiative at making this happen. When Izzy was about 1 1/2 years old I would sing to her to calm her down. One of the songs that she loved and would always quiet down to listen to was the ABC’s. Quite accidentally on my part, she learned her ABC’s before she was two. Tyler and I were shocked that this tiny little human who could hardly talk yet could belt out her ABC’s in her adorable little lisp. Around this time my mom found an app called Endless Alphabet, in which kids have to drag letters to match them up and form words. As the child is dragging the letter it makes the corresponding sound, and when they successfully match a letter, it says the name of the letter. I blew it off thinking Izzy was way too young for this, but over the course of a weekend my parents had her successfully dragging and dropping her letters. Soon she could point at individual letters and identify them. She still wasn’t 2 years old! Both of these events made me realize that children absorb far more than I ever thought they could at a much younger age than I thought possible. These two events led us to actively engage our children in learning their letters and, eventually, to read them.

Izzy drew this A unprompted when she was 2 1/2. As Izzy got a little older she began to show interest in doodling and making shapes other than squiggles so we began to show her how to write her letters. We started with her name and went from there. She already had the foundation of recognizing letters from the Endless Alphabet app, so it was just a simple transition to get her to translate that to paper. We would write the letters slowly, while she watched, and then let her copy us working on just two letters at a time. She still does the occasional backwards z or s, which I find adorable, but she has pretty much mastered her upper and lower case letters. She is now 4.

We went on to purchase the Endless Reader app and the Endless Numbers app. I cannot sing enough praises for these learning apps! They make it so much fun for the little ones and they learn so much from it! Lailah loves the apps as much as Izzy does and she is getting better at identifying letters. We haven’t sat down to work with her quite as diligently as Izzy, but she learns so much just by watching Izzy anyway. When I drive by an HEB, Lailah gets all excited and starts exclaiming, “ABCD’s, ABCD’s!!!” Well, at least she recognizes that they are letters.

She loves to make art and create paintings to send to all of her grandparents and great grandparents. She always asks me how to spell their names, so I began writing them out for her so she could copy them onto her artwork herself. She always feels so accomplished when she writes! I love watching her learn and take pride in her work.

We have started working on her reading now. Tyler came up with a game we call “Bookworms” where if she successfully sounds out short little words on one or two pages then we give her a “Bookworm” which is just a gummy worm. She loves it and it makes her want to try and focus on it. We typically only get a good five or ten minutes out of her at a time, but that’s pretty typical for her age. I want to emphasize that we aren’t fanatically pushing her to read. We want her to have fun, so when she is no longer enjoying it, we stop for the day. I’m passionate about reading and I want to try and instill that love in my kids early on. Our favorite books have been Hop on Pop and To Market To Market.

Neither of us are teachers and I don’t pretend to be an expert on teaching young children. God bless teachers because it is a challenging job! Here’s what our little reading “program”, if you can even give it that label, looks like broken down over time:

12 – 18 months

  • Singing ABC’s periodically throughout the day

18 mo – 3 yrs

3 yrs – 4 yrs

  • Introduce Endless Reader
  • Begin writing individual letters and numbers
  • Work with 2 letters at a time until each one is mastered
  • Foster writing through creative projects
  • Begin writing numbers

Another fun little app I found that you might check out is Wee Sing. It will sing through the ABC’s, has different animals for each letter, and has a mode where the child identifies the letters while the app slowly sings the ABC’s, among other things. The kids really seem to enjoy it.

The key to all of this is making it fun! That’s why I love learning apps so much because they give me tools and ideas that keep the little ones engaged in learning and enjoying it the whole time. I hope some of these tools might help out your little ones as well. Have a wonderful Saturday!

 

 

Survival Mode

I have not written a blog post in a couple weeks now. I’ve not forgotten about it, I’ve just been getting by here lately. To state it simply, I  struggle with depression and anxiety. If you yourself have gone through it, then you know that some days the simplest things seem like insurmountable tasks and when you have two young children depending on you for everything, it can make it that much harder.

Basically what happened is I didn’t realize I had no more refills on my antidepressant until I called in to refill it before heading out on a long weekend trip. I figured I would be okay until I saw my doctor 5 days later. I was wrong. It’s funny how you forget how bad it can be until you’re back in the jaws of depression. It’s frightening to feel your mind quite literally battling itself with my rational, normal self trying to push through all the self hate and negativity and the lies that the depression is feeding me. It shouldn’t be a battle to tell yourself you are important. It shouldn’t be a battle to tell yourself that you have worth. That you are loved. That you are meant to be here. It shouldn’t be a battle, but it is. This is my reality. This is the reality of so many people out there silently struggling with depression. It is a deadly and insidious disease that poisons your own mind against you and it can be terrifying.

Fortunately, I was able to recognize what was happening to me when I first began having the symptoms and I was able to get on a regimen that helps me feel like a functional, normal mother again. It’s such a relief to feel normal and to have the energy and drive to accomplish whatever I feel like setting out to do. I had forgotten all of that until I was off my medicine for a few days. It’s like taking your health for granted until you have the flu, and then you wonder why you never appreciated being healthy in the first place.

I’m not here to lament my sickness. I’m here to share my struggles and to try and comfort those who struggle with it as well. It’s really hard and it is in fact a real disease. I used to be one of those who thought it was about your state of mind, and that if you were positive enough you could “happy thoughts” your way back to normal. Boy was I wrong. That’s not to say that positive thinking isn’t a big part of your mental wellness, but it is only a part of the equation. Clinging to God is another big part of the equation for me. It is a great comfort for me that He is here with me even when it feels completely bleak and that even if I have no one around me I will never be completely alone.

I think the hardest part for me is feeling the deep responsibility that caring for young children is, and fighting down that panic at thinking I can’t possibly do it. Well, when depression has you in its grips, you can’t do everything. Accepting that is pivotal to getting back on the right track. The tiniest baby steps are all you need to do at first. I have been actively working on limiting the amount of TV time for my kiddos, but when this struck I knew I wouldn’t be able to come up with fun activities for them to do all day. So I knew that in this time of depression, I had to let that go and tell them that mommy didn’t feel well enough to do something fun with them at that time. It sucks. It really does. But acceptance is key. If I beat myself up over the fact that I honestly can’t do everything I want to do at the moment, I will be even more miserable than before.

Doing anything at all can be a major accomplishment too. My husband is well aware of my depression, and he has struggled with it himself. Thankfully he was home from work the day that was hardest for me. I wouldn’t get off of the couch and when he realized what was going on he began encouraging me to just get up. He had to push me a lot, because just getting off of the couch and standing up seemed impossible and something I very strongly did not want to do. But that rational part of my brain was trying to break through and tell me that he was right, so I clung to that and his encouragements and got up and got dressed and got a few small chores done around the house. His gentle words and encouragements were like manna from heaven, the delicious morsels I needed to power through.

I feel like I need to emphasize here that I am not a lazy person. I hardly sit down during the day. I always have something to do, something to fix, something to clean as anyone who knows me well can attest to. Depression doesn’t make you lazy, it just saps your will and desire to do anything at all. That was a hard concept for me to grasp until I had gone through depression myself. I can’t even imagine going to a regular job with depression. I feel for you so much. I don’t want to see anyone or be around anyone at all when I am depressed. I’ve had to realize though that this is when I need people the most. But it has to be people I’m very close to and that I trust implicitly. If no one is home, I just call my husband at work, or my parents or Tyler’s parents just to have their encouragement and positive affirmations and for them to push me to do what I need to do that day.

I’m very frank with my children on this matter as well. Izzy is 4 and Lailah is 2, so they don’t completely understand what’s happening all the time, but kids always perceive more than we think they do. When I’m crying for no reason at all, I have to explain to them that mommy is very sad right now, but I will get better and that I love them very much. I don’t want to hide this from them. I want them to be aware of depression and anxiety instead of making up excuses for why I’m not acting like my normal self. I don’t want them to grow up like I did with so many false assumptions about mental illness.

If you struggle with depression or anxiety then I want you to know that you are not alone. You do not need to suffer in silence. I and so many others out there suffer with you. I got this tattoo as a symbol that this is not how it ends. That even if it seems impossible I will keep on going.

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to.
You are the author and the sentence is your life.
This quote comes from the site Project Semicolon and it is a great site to check out if you want to learn more about their mission on helping spread awareness for mental illness.

If you have any questions, thoughts or if you would like to share ways that you positively cope with depression/anxiety please comment! I love to learn new ways on dealing with it on those days where it is just really hard. I hope y’all are having a blessed week!

Update!

Well, it has been about two years since I have done anything with my blog, but I kept holding to it thinking…maybe…someday I’ll get back into it. Basically, I had my second child and blogging went out the window. Now my youngest is two and I just realized that I should get back into my blog! So here I am! Obviously…Captain Obvious strikes again.

Here’s the very condensed summation of my family’s past couple of years. I had another baby girl and she is just a little gem like her big sister! Almost had her in the car though, so that was cool…not. I might have to do a detailed birth story because it was crazy pants, lemme tell ya. Like the kind you see in the movies.

We bought a fixer upper, inspired by my love for the show Fixer Upper and all things Joanna Gaines related. We remodeled it top to bottom and there are still little projects here and there that we need to get to. Like baseboards…we still don’t have baseboards in a few places…don’t ask. Plus I pretty much painted every room in the entire house and my husband somehow never had to pick up a paintbrush. I don’t know how he did it, but he’s a tactical genius. I must learn his ways because I never want to paint again…ever!



I planted a new garden for the spring and I’m so ready to get canning and putting back our own produce!

I think that just about covers the high points, so I will talk to you again soon! Have a lovely day!

Monthly Meal Plan and Grocery Trip #2

So if you didn’t catch it the first time you can check out my first ever post on how I plan out my meals and grocery list each month here. I plan on my subsequent posts being a little more succinct…hopefully. Some days I’m quite short, sweet and to-the-point and others I can’t stop typing, so we will just have to see! Here are the meals I have planned for the month:

Monthly Meal Plan

  • Hot Dogs
  • Arroz con Pollo
  • Jambalaya
  • Tilapia
  • Gumbo
  • Tacos
  • Chicken Spaghetti
  • Frozen Pizza
  • General Tso’s Chicken with Shrimp Stir Fry and Spicy Thai Noodles
  • Fried Chicken
  • Chicken with Beer Reduction Sauce
  • Grilled Sausage
  • Crockpot Tater Tot Casserole
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Crockpot Ribs
  • Crockpot Spicy Pulled Pork
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Pesto Chicken

I don’t plan out side dishes for my meals since we pretty typically stick to a veggie and starch combination on the side. I buy large bags of frozen mixed vegetables and steam them to go with pretty much every meal. For the starch I always have potatoes and rice on hand, both of which you can do innumerable things with. I try to keep it simple.

My goal for this month’s budget was $300.

Usually I only go to Wal-Mart, but this time I happened to know we would be in town where there was a Sam’s Club, so I decided to do some of my shopping there as well. With this being the case I decided to up my grocery budget a bit to account for getting some of my items in bulk. Here’s what I got on my Sam’s visit:

Sam’s Club

Meats: $13.57

  • 7.2 lbs chicken breasts – $13.57

Produce: $6.98

  • 5 lb bag gala apples – $6.98

Refrigerator Stuff: $19.90

  • Pesto – $7.96
  • (3) 2 packs apple juice (96 fl oz each) – $11.94

Pantry: $69.58

  • 20 lb bag rice – $8.54
  • Famous Amos cookies (36 bags) – $10.58
  • Applesauce pouches (16 pouches) – $7.88
  • Saltines (12 sleeves) – $5.46
  • 2 liters olive oil – $12.98
  • 5 lbs peanut butter – $10.48
  • Italian seasoning – $4.68
  • 14 oz dried blueberries – $8.98

Grand Total: $110.03

The blueberries were totally not on my list, but my sweet husband loves blueberry scones so I thought it would be nice to have some on hand to surprise him. The chicken was a pleasant surprise! They were only $1.88/lb which is at least $0.12 lower than what Wal-Mart usually sells their chicken breasts for. Plus they were HUGE…seriously. I got home and individually packaged them with my Food Saver and almost all of them weighed a pound or more each. :O That’s a serious chicken. I’d like to have seen what these monster chickens looked like when they were alive! I ended up with a couple more pounds of chicken than what I actually needed so we’ll have some to carry over into next months menu.

I wasn’t able to buy a lot here since most of it ended up being cheaper for me to buy at Wal-Mart. That’s one thing you always need to check since buying in bulk doesn’t always save you money. Typically, Sam’s only carries name brand products so you end up paying more when you could have just bought the off brand at Wal-Mart for a lot less. They do have some Member’s Mark stuff, which is their off brand version, but it’s not a huge selection. The apple juice is the best deal I get here as I can get two 96 fl oz bottles for $3.98 as opposed to one bottle of the same amount costing as much or more at Wal-Mart. I’m not sure if I got a deal on the saltines or not since I forgot to check at Wal-Mart but we go through quite a lot of crackers with my little one.

Wal-Mart Trip:

Meats: $52.24

  • 6 links beef sausage – $16.68
  • 2.4 lb boneless pork shoulder – $7.10
  • 2.8 lbs pork baby back ribs – $11.46
  • 1 lb turkey breakfast sausage – $3.28
  • 2 lbs ground turkey – $5.56
  • 3 lbs boneless chicken thighs – $8.16

Produce: $29.18

  • 5lbs cuties – $6.97
  • 3 lbs gala apples – $4.27
  • Whole carrots – $0.78
  • 0.89 lbs zucchini – $1.41
  • 0.69 lbs squash – $1.02
  • 1 head cauliflower – $2.78
  • 4.19 lbs bananas – $2.18
  • 6 green bell peppers – $5.52
  • Celery – $1.48
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes – $2.77

Frozen Items: $13.39

  • 65 oz California blend veggies – $5.98
  • 1 lb 12 oz cut okra – $2.38
  • 8 oz whipped cream topping – $1.16
  • Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches – $3.87

Refrigerator Stuff: $31.94

  • 32 oz vanilla Greek yogurt – $3.98
  • 4 (1/2 gal) soy milk – $10.00
  • Ranch dressing – $1.66
  • 1 lb mild cheddar – $4.68
  • 1 lb butter sticks – $2.98
  • 20 ct flour tortillas – 2.98
  • loaf wheat bread – $1.68
  • 18 pack eggs – $3.98

Pantry: $59.90

  • 8 pack popcorn – $2.00
  • Danish butter cookies – $3.48
  • 2 cans chicken breast – $1.96
  • 4 cans cream of chicken – $5.o0
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom – $2.50
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes – $1.96
  • 2 (18 oz) bottles BBQ sauce – $2.82
  • Baking powder – $1.24
  • Oregano – $2.08
  • Zatarain’s family size jambalaya – $2.36
  • Plain bread crumbs – $1.87
  • 4 boxes (10 packets each) maple and brown sugar oatmeal – $6.48
  • Coconut – $1.38
  • 2 bags light brown sugar – $2.96
  • 1 lb jalapeno Velveeta – $3.88
  • Fruit gel cups – $1.98
  • Raisins – $1.48
  • Taco Shells – $1.00
  • Mini marshmallows – $1.25
  • 3 boxes cookies – $10.44
  • crackers – $1.78

Non-Food Items: $27.63

  • 52 fl oz Ajax dish soap – $2.66
  • Dish gloves – $2.73
  • 4 pack Kleenex – $5.68
  • 3 pack travel size Kleenex – $0.97
  • 200 ct dryer sheets – $8.47
  • crayons – $1.88
  • Maxi pads – $3.76
  • Nail polish remover – $1.48

Drinks: $4.00

  • 2 Crystal Light boxes – $4.00

Grand Total: $218.28

Sam’s and Wal-Mart combined: $328.31

Goal: $300

Difference: $28.31 over

I ended up buying more snack food than I usually do. I don’t know if the pregnancy munchies struck or if my being in full blown nesting mode made me think I better stock up on as much food as I possibly could. Who knows, but I definitely went over budget for the month. Not a huge deal but I was bummed out. I’m hoping that some of the extra stuff I bought at Sam’s will carry me through for a few months and subsequently lower my next months grocery bill. Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking but we will see how it goes! A few of my meals are large enough that I can freeze half of them to eat for next month. Also, the ribs are a splurge item that I try not to do very often since they are so expensive. It was my husbands birthday last month though, so I wanted to make him his favorite meal. You’ve got to splurge every now and then!

One thing I mentioned last month is that I decided to stop buying diet coke liters for the house and substituted crystal light as another option to water. It’s been better than I thought. It definitely shaves off at least $10-$15 a month and I haven’t wanted the cokes as badly as I thought I would. There are certainly those days where I am seriously jonesing for a soda, but I try not to take advantage of the $1 fountain drinks at McDonald’s too much. Ha!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope y’all have a great week!

A Little Different

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It’s been way too long since I’ve done anything even remotely related to a DIY project. I get winded just washing a sink full of dishes here lately! I’ve got a little over a month to go in my pregnancy and then I’ll be exhausted for totally different reasons 😉 I’ve never been one to go get my nails done. I loathe paying someone to do something I could do just as easily myself. I’ve even started cutting my own hair. I know, super crazy! I watched a tutorial on cutting your own curly hair over at Delightfully Tacky and was inspired to save myself some money. I’m a bit stubborn like that.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post today. I’ve been doing my nails since junior high or high school, somewhere in there. I’ve always had so much fun doing it but don’t always get good opportunities with my little toddler around. Little ones and wet nails are not a good combination! So while I was sick and my in-laws had Miss Izzy so I could recover a bit, I got a good chance to have some fun. I saw this tutorial on Pinterest and decided to try and recreate the feather part of it. (Sorry, I would have linked the picture directly on my site, but when I clicked on the link I couldn’t find the original picture) Here are my results:

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It’s been a little over a week since I did them so you can see that lovely chip on my pointer finger. Phht. I hate that!

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These handy little brushes make doing special designs on your nails a lot easier. I got them at Sally’s Beauty Supply.

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I loved this pretty pink. It’s just so very delicate and girly. I used the sparkly polish on the spine of the feathers and then decided to use that as the top coat on my other nails. I’m not so sure I would do the sparkly top coat in combination with this look again, but I was pretty happy with the overall result. Hope y’all are having a great week!

 

Crockpot Spicy Pulled Pork

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If you read my last post, then you know the plague hit my home over the past couple weeks. Ok, not exactly the plague but we’ve all been down with either ear or sinus infections. So, cooking and cleaning and general hygiene have kind of been put on the back burner for me lately. We’ve been relying heavily on eating out, but the other day I felt pretty good in the morning so I threw this meal in the crockpot to keep us from having to run out to grab food yet again. The main appeal for this meal was its simplicity and ease of preparation. It’s only 5 ingredients which is awesome and took me maybe 10 minutes to get it prepared. So, sick or not, this is a good set it and forget it crockpot meal for anyone! We ate it on regular sandwich bread, but I bet it would be really good on tortilla wraps as well.

Crockpot Spicy Pulled Pork

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 18-20 oz bottle BBQ sauce (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 8 oz Dr Pepper (not diet)
  • 1 onion
  • salt and pepper

1. Slice the onions into thin wedges and layer along the bottom of your crockpot.

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2. Trim the excess fat from the pork shoulder and then season with salt and pepper. Place on top of the onions.

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3. Mix the BBQ sauce (Stubbs is our personal favorite) and the Dr Pepper together and pour over the meat and onions.

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4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

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5. Remove from crockpot when it’s done and shred the meat. It should be good and tender by now. Mmm, nothing quite as appealing as good tender meat in my book. Skim the excess fat off of the sauce left in the crockpot and ladle over the meat to moisten it.

Serve on hamburger buns, regular bread, tortillas, or anything else that floats your boat. Enjoy!

Just Dropping In

I plan on getting back into the swing of things here soon! Sorry I’ve been absent so long. All I can say is life caught up with me as a momma and sat me firmly down on my butt for a little while. First off being 34 weeks pregnant and chasing around a 2 year old is getting increasingly laborious plus my whole family has gotten sick over the past week and a half. My husband and I are still recovering, but thankfully Miss Izzy is back to 100%. It’s so sad seeing your baby sick! It’s the first time she’s ever had an illness bad enough to get her down. She had an ear infection that took her a little more than a week to get over even with the antibiotics. I spent many hours a day just sitting with her and holding her as we watched some of her favorite programs. She’s not a cuddly little girl so I tried to soak up all the “I hold you” (what she says when she wants me to pick her up) as I could! At least that was something positive that came out of her being a sickie.

Then I guess the sleep deprivation from caring for Izzy and my hubby, who kudos to him is an amazingly self-sufficient sick guy, caught up with me and got me down. I’m still on the up and up, with good days and bad. Being sick sucks quite frankly! Being sick and huge pregnant and puttering after a million-mile-an-hour 2 year old little girl is a little worse. At least this too shall pass. Pity party over now! Lastly let me leave you with this meme I stumbled across on Pinterest the other day that I’m sure all you other mommas can relate to. It made me laugh out loud because it is just so true! Have a blessed day everyone.

Pita Pockets

I recently found a chicken gyro recipe that me and my husband are obsessed with. I made a naan recipe for it the first time, but the bread just wasn’t quite right, so I went in search of a pita bread recipe to make the perfect Greek meal. I found this one and was amazed you could actually make your own pita pockets at home! I was skeptical that I’d be able to get them to puff up and make the real deal pocket, but lo and behold they did! I was beyond stoked and felt quite accomplished. Haha! They’re soft and chewy and they are perfect to stuff full of whatever goodies you can come up with.

Pita Bread

  • 1 pckg active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp dry milk
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Proofing the Yeast

This is the number one thing that will make or break just about any bread recipe and it’s something I had a lot of trouble with when I started making my own bread. The old adage of “practice makes perfect” fits making bread to a tee. Eventually, after lots and lots of sad flat bread, I began to figure it out and I got a “feel” for it. Hopefully these pictures will help if you have trouble making bread.

DSC08542Microwave the water for 1 minute and then stir in the honey and the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and leave for about 10 minutes, until the yeast starts to foam and bubble. If it doesn’t foam or bubble within 10 minutes, then your yeast is likely bad and you need to scrap it and start over.

DSC08545Here’s what it should look like if your yeast is good.

In a large bowl, or your Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, add the flour, salt and powdered milk then drizzle the olive oil over the top. Rub the olive oil into the flour with your fingertips, mixing the dry milk and salt in at the same time. Keep rubbing until the oil has been completely absorbed by the flour.

Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast water mix and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir to form a dough, or use the dough hook attachment for your stand mixer.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Begin kneading until the dough becomes soft and elastic (about 5-7 minutes). You may or may not need the additional 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. I’ve found that both times I added it, my dough became too sticky and wet. Just add it a little at a time and keep kneading slowly incorporating however much is needed for your dough to still be soft and elastic.

One really fun tip I got from the original recipe was how to get a smoother dough. Simply lift the dough and slam it onto your counter top 7-10 times as you knead it. Oh man it is so much fun!

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Lightly oil a bowl (I usually use the same bowl I mixed the dough up in) and lightly coat the dough ball in oil. Allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. It took about 2 hours for me.

Another tip I picked up (I don’t remember exactly where) is to turn your oven on to 350 F for one minute and then turn it off. Then let your dough rise in that warm oven.

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When the dough doubles in size punch it down and then pinch off about 12-15 pieces and roll to form into balls. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and let sit covered with a damp towel for 10-15 minutes.

Begin preheating your oven to the highest setting it will go (mine was 500 F) and be sure to preheat your cookie sheet or pizza stone along with it. Put the rack at the bottom.

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Roll out each ball into circles and then lay on a table or board covered with a dry towel and let them rest for 10 minutes. Obviously my “circles” are a little wonky, but hey, they’re edible!

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Gently place dough circles on your preheated baking sheet, being careful to not wrinkle it since wrinkles will keep it from puffing up. My super duper helpful hubby took some pictures for me and kept our little girl from getting too close while the oven door was open.

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Bake each batch for 2-5 minutes till the bread puffs up and then flip it and bake about 2 more minutes.

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Remove the finished bread and serve hot or cover with a dry towel until they cool down.

If you leave the bread uncovered and let it cool completely it will get dry and crunchy. Be sure to put it in a ziplock as soon as it begins to cool so you have soft, chewy bread. They are supposed to freeze well, so I’ll let you know how that turns out. Enjoy!