Weeknight Meatball Stroganoff

I’m always on the lookout for easy meals I can put together quickly on weeknights. I usually don’t get home from work until almost 6pm, and with two hungry little ones, I try and get dinner on the table by 6:30pm. Leftovers are great at helping achieve my goal, but I’m not the best at planning ahead so most nights I have to come up with a new meal. 

 I came across a recipe on Pinterest for beef  stroganoff that looked interesting because it used meatballs (http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2011/06/meatballs-stroganoff.html). I love recipes that use a little help from the store like the frozen italian meatballs that this recipe called for. It helps speed up the cooking process. 

 The rest of the recipe was pretty standard. It included egg noodles, beef stock, heavy cream, sour cream, and seasoning. I added mushrooms because I love them in stroganoff (or anything else for that matter). Also, much to my husbands dismay, I used whole grain egg noodles. He prefers the regular, but I love the taste of the whole grain and the fact that it’s a little healthier. 

 The recipe took about 30 minutes to make and only used two pots, so cleanup was relatively easy. It was pretty tasty, I would make this again for sure. The only thing I would change is the size of the meatballs. I accidentally bought regular-sized meatballs instead of the mini ones, so it made eating them a little challenging. It would be easier if you didn’t have to cut them up.

   





Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

We’ve only gotten above freezing one day in the month of February! That means, as much as we love going outside sledding in all this snow, the wind chill temperatures at zero or below keep us inside most of the time. I don’t know about you, but when I’m bored inside all day I tend to want to snack more. I try not to keep much junk food in the house, but granola bars and string cheese gets old after a while.

My son loves popcorn and we always have some in the house (we pop our own kernels, it’s so much better than microwave). We usually just sprinkle a little salt on it, but I wanted to try something different. I searched Pinterest and found a great recipe for cinnamon and sugar popcorn (http://www.serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com/2012/10/cinnamon-sugar-popcorn.html?m=1).

I started by popping the popcorn in our Whirley Pop. If you’ve never heard of it, search for it on Amazon. It’s a stovetop popcorn popper that is reasonably priced and pops popcorn perfectly (thanks Lisa, one of my favorite Christmas gifts)! The website called for 12 cups of popped popcorn, but I only made about 6 cups, so I cut the rest of the recipe in half. Next, I melted some butter and added a little vanilla extract and poured it over the popcorn. Finally, I mixed some cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkled it over the popcorn.

This ended up being an easy and delicious snack! Our fingers did get a little sticky, but licking it off was pretty tasty. Definitely a thumbs up from my three-year-old 🙂

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Heart-Shaped Suncatchers

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I wanted to find a fun Valentine’s craft that my three-year-old could help me with. When I was looking through Pinterest, the picture of these heart-shaped suncatchers really caught my eye (http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2014/01/heart-suncatcher-craft-for-toddlers.html). They looked so pretty!

The items for this craft include, coffee filters, liquid water color, paint tray, and eye-dropper (or the syringe from infant pain reliever in my case because I couldn’t find an eye-dropper). First, I started by flattening out the coffee filters. Next, I put a coffee filter on a paper plate and poured the liquid water color into the paint tray (we used red and yellow). Finally, we used the syringe to pick up the paint and squirted it out onto the coffee filter. Once we liked the way it looked, we laid it on a paper towel to dry.

The next morning I cut out heart-shapes from the dried coffee filters. The website I found cut out the heart shapes first, but I didn’t think it would matter. I put one of the hearts in the window and it looked beautiful!

This was a quick and fun craft. My son had so much fun making them. It was easy for him to paint, and clean up was easy for me. They came out so pretty and I bet you could use the same method to create other suncatcher shapes, like leaves for the fall. We will definitely be making these again.

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Snow Ice Cream

Here in New Hampshire, we have more snow than we know what to do with! Last week we had a storm that dumped almost three feet of snow on us, and yesterday we got another foot. Why not make the best of it and turn some of that snow into delicious ice cream?

I found this great, and super easy, recipe for snow ice cream on Pinterest (http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/how-to-make-snow-ice-cream-recipe/). You only need a few ingredients, and I happened to have all of them on hand. It’s a combination of milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt that you mix with fresh snow. It only takes about three minutes to make.

This was absolutely delicious! It was sweet and creamy, but much lighter than regular ice cream. I didn’t put any toppings on it, you could definitely get creative with toppings. My three-year-old thought it was the coolest thing to make ice cream out of snow. I think this will become a regular treat for our family during the winter!

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Winter Bird Feeder

This week’s post comes a few days late. This is due to a combination of some crazy winter weather we had and my project not going so well at first try.

I saw these super cute bird feeders on Pinterest made by freezing birdseed in water (http://hellonatural.co/birdseed-ice-ornaments/). Here in the northeast we’ve had a few snow storms over the past week, with more coming in the next two days. It’s harder for the poor birds around here to find food this time of year, so I thought this was the perfect project to help the little guys out.

The website I found used a bowl with a cup in the middle. You pour the birdseed in the bowl, around the cup, and then pour water over the birdseed. The idea is that after the water freezes, you end up with a hole in the center where the cup was so that you can hang it. Well, I guess my cup wasn’t heavy enough because when I took it out of the freezer, the water had gone under the cup and I ended up with a bowl-shaped feeder. I tried to pour hot water in the center to create my own hole, but it melted too much and the whole thing started to fall apart.

After cleaning up my melted birdseed mess, I looked around my kitchen and found a bundt pan. A bundt pan is a ring-shaped pan with a built-in hole in the center. Now I wouldn’t have to worry about water freezing in the middle! I poured some new birdseed into the pan, then poured water over it. I put the whole pan in the freezer. The next day I took it out and put the pan in a little bit of warm water to loosen the ice. After about a minute or two in the warm water, I popped out my frozen bird feeder. I tied some twine around the hole in the middle and hung the feeder outside. Once I figured out using the bundt pan was much better, it was so easy! I will definitely be doing this project again, and now my birds will have plenty of food for the winter!

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