Month: February 2016

#OOTD with Kathy M

WahmReviewer Kathy M

I enjoyed playing dress up on this cold snowy day here in Ottawa. For today’s OOTD here’s what I picked out.

OOTD
Shirt: Shelton shirt from Silver Icing
Pants: Tummy Control crops in curvy from Silver Icing
Bag: Avalon tote in blush from Stella and Dot
Necklace: Initial pendant necklace personalized in my initials KFM
Stole: Faux fur stole from Zara
Boots: cute ankle boots in leather Leopard from Zara
Scarf: Chiffon in  Rose from Voile Chic
Hat: Burgundy hat from Garage

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All in A Day’s Work

“All in a Day’s Work”

All in a Days Work
My! What a versatile statement that is. Why, it could involve so many things. A lot of the time for me it become a dismissive statement when someone verbalizes awe at something that happened in the course of my day. You see, I am the clinical director of a delinquent boys group home. Believe me, there can be a number of incredulous things that happen in the course of a day. We may have had attempted assaults or AWOLs along with sick and vomiting boys or simply complaining boys. Rarely is there a quiet, boring day where I work.
I have done this same kind of work for over 37 years. I have worked in only three different agencies and with different populations. Yet many of the same things happen each day. One must be prepared for the day being anywhere from pleasant and to total chaos. Often I feel as though I have sixteen sons and they are all on the same “cycle”. Grumpy and whiney to grumpier and whinier. They are rarely satisfied and even more rarely smiling. (I guess if I were 15 or 16 and locked in a group home with a bunch of delinquents I wouldn’t be smiling much either).
Then there is this very rare day where one boy says “Good Morning, I missed you while you were gone” or they call after being discharged to tell me how they are doing and give a good report of going to school or getting a legal job, then say “I love you” before they hang up. I do love my 16 boys. Even if they aren’t always very lovable. They know they are loved also. They are told that repeatedly over the 7 months they are with us. In fact we are known across our state as a group home that “coddles” the kids yet are successful with them. They aren’t my birth children but they were placed there for a purpose and not just randomly. I have always felt that God put certain boys in my path to help them and thus they would bless me. And, they have blessed me greatly. Yes, it is very hard work. Very emotional work as well. We have lost a few along the way and our hearts were broken. A healthy young man with a future ahead of him, falls back into old behaviors and goes to rob a young woman and ends up being shot and killed by her in her attempt to save herself from him. This one really took a toll on our hearts. I say “our” hearts as all who work there for any time at all will learn to love at least most of the boys. I cannot count the times when there have been tears in my eyes and my boss’s eyes as one or another of the boys leave to go home. They have been taught new ways to think and believe as well as learning to cope with life in more appropriate ways. Often they return to a home that has made few changes and they must try to fit back in to the family, with their new beliefs. A struggle that few would want. Then a month or so after they discharge the phone rings and that eager voice says’ Hey, Ms. Kathy, I got a job”. That’s it! That’s what makes me get up and go to work every day. We don’t fix them all, but they all will know that they have been cared about and loved for a time.
My job may be very different from many others. Yet there are some things that are the same. Crazy, frantic days, boring quiet days, tedious report writing days even exhausting days.
So, how do we all handle those days?
Why, we just sum it all up in one small statement “it’s all in a day’s work”.
Kathy Crow M.S., L.P.C.
WAHM Reviewer

Yankee Banana Bread

It’s a cold and very windy day here in South Dakota, making it the perfect day for some baking! This recipe was created by my grandpa, who was “crunchy” before “crunchy” was cool! He spent hours in the kitchen creating healthy recipes that also tasted great! My sister and I always got to lick the bowl when he was done too! Bonus!

yankee

Yankee Banana Bread

“The sweetness of molasses,

The whole wheat flavor’s zest

Join dates and ripe bananas

To make this loaf the best.”

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal (I’m sure he would recommend non GMO now)

2 tsp Best Baking Powder (recipe to follow)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 Cup mashed ripe bananas

1 Cup Buttermilk

3/4 Cup Molasses (There are carrying degrees of molasses. Black strap is going to be the darkest)

3/4 Cup Dates, cut up

1. In mixing bowl stur together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and soda.

2. Mix together molasses, banana, and buttermilk.

3. Blend wet ingredients into dry mixture. Add dates.

4. Turn batter into three 5/12 x 3 greased and floured loaf pans, or four rouind one poind tin cans.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.

6. After ten minutes remove from pans or cans and cool n rack. Enjoy!

Best Baking Powder

“Leavening that you can make;

It’s best for everything you bake!”

Best baking powder is low in sodium and free of aluminum compunds. Here is the formula:

2 parts cream of tartar

2 parts arrowroot powder

1 part potassium bicarbonate

Potassium bicarbonate can be found on amazon.

If you try it, let me know! I hope you enjoy it! ~Laura

Throw Back Thursday: The Quiet Game

Do you remember the Quiet Game when growing up?  It should be called the “Mommy/Daddy are desperate for a few minutes of quiet” Game.  Or “If you don’t close your mouths for 2 minutes I might just lose it” Game.  Or “Don’t You Ever Stop Talking” Game.  But I digress….  I was talking with someone the other day about our kiddos and the Quiet Game came up…she had never HEARD of it!  I mean she was about 5 years younger than me but COME ON!  Anyway, we were talking about travelling in the car with our kids and my contribution was how my two Bugs, who I love more than life itself (yes it’s a disclaimer because you might question the truth of that before this post is finished! lol) were on track to drive me absolutely crazy in the car! (which according to my husband is an exceptionally short trip!!!)  Anyway…my LoveBug suggested that we all play “the Quiet game.”  I of course was all for it because it meant I might actually get a few minutes of the all elusive thing called…quiet.  The game went something like this:

LoveBug (my 11 year old daughter):  “ok…1, 2,3…quiet”

*****About 2 seconds of silence passed*****

Bug (my 8 year old son):  “Pause…ok so if someone coughs or sneezes it doesn’t count.  Ok UnPause. 1,2,3…quiet”

*****About 2 more seconds of silence passed*****

LoveBug: “Aachoo!  (fake sneeze – Bug starts pointing)  Pause…I sneezed it doesn’t count.  UnPause.  1,2,3…quiet”

*****About 2 more seconds of silence passed*****

Bug:  “Pause…if you laugh without opening your mouth it doesn’t count.  UnPause. 1,2,3…quiet”

Bug:  “Pause”

Me:   STOP!!!  You can’t PAUSE the QUIET GAME!!!!!!!!

******************************************************************************

We are a busy family – like most families are. We spend a lot of time in the car between school activities, sports activities and fun family road trips. We have a permanent site at a campground that we spend A LOT of time at during spring weekends and WEEKS at during the summer.  It’s about a 2 1/2 hour car drive to get there…and to get back home.  As a parent The Quiet Game is supposed to get me through long car drives, loud dinners…apparently the game has changed dramatically since I was young and it will not help me in this area. If only we could turn back time…

Seasoned Fish

Ingredients

1 lime or lemon, juice of
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup unsalted melted butter
I tsp seasoned salt, or to your taste
¾ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1.5 lb Sole fillet (about 10-12 thin fillets)
1 lime or lemon, sliced (optional)
¾ cup roughly chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and melted butter with a dash of seasoned salt.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the seasoned salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder. Spice fish fillets each on both sides.
Place the fish fillets on a lightly-oiled large baking pan or dish. Cover with the buttery lime mixture you prepared earlier.
Bake in 375 degrees F-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook.
Remove the fish fillets from the oven and garnish with the chopped fresh dill optional.

Seasoned Fish

Served with steamed chinese mixed vegetables and just drizzled a little olive oil on.

My Homemade Granola Bar Recipe #TastyTuesday

My kids love granola bars…even my daughter who is picky about EVERYTHING! But when I read the list of ingredients on most store bought granola bars I do not feel love at all! Many granola bar ingredient lists include: corn syrup (in one form or another), sugar, and caramel color. All of which I prefer to avoid! What’s a mom to do?! Well I did a little research, tried a few recipes and then came up with one that both fit my list of “better for them” ingredients AND that my kiddos liked! It’s easy peasy with just a handful of ingredients! Try it…let me know what you think…then tweak it for your family and share with me!

Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups organic rolled oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup organic honey

2 Tbs peanut butter

2 Tbs flax seed

1/3 cup raisins

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with butter. Spread the oats and coconut evenly across a baking sheet. Toast oats and coconut in preheated oven until browned, about 10 minutes; transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add flax seeds and raisins to mixing bowl too. Mix honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until smooth. Pour the honey mixture over the oats/coconut mixture; stir to coat. Spread the mixture evenly into the buttered baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until beginning to dry, about 15 minutes for slightly chewy granola bars, a few minutes more if you like them crunchy. (Note: they will seem under done/super soft and chewy when hot.) Cool completely before cutting.

Tigger could not get enough of his Purr Packs box #toystreatstreasures

lazy Tigger

Meet Tigger. I posted this lazy day picture of my cat Tigger and much to my surprise ended up with the opportunity to review a monthly subscription box to Purr Packs. My excitement was through the roof!

outside box

I was shocked at how quickly the box arrived at my house. From the time that I was presented with the opportunity to do the review to the time when the box was delivered to my house is was less than 1 week. I was already impressed, not to mention the box was addressed to Tigger…..Come on how cute is that?!?!

Since I run a licensed daycare in my home I didn’t have time to open the box right away but Tigger….He had other plans….Tigger getting box

I had to give into his desperate attempts to open the box and I only had to cut the packaging tape from the sides for him to be able to open the side inserts of the box. He was ready to reveal his treasures.

inside of the box

The packaging was bright pink for the month of February. I have never seen a monthly subscription box packed like this before and I’ve reviewed and had many delivered to my home. This was extraordinary. The box was packed perfectly and it was very eye appealing. The treasures were all throughout the entire box (not to mention the daycare kids had a blast with the shredded pink paper).

Inside the box was a nifty card that stated everything that was included in the box as a type of inventory sheet. Included in the box was: Yeowww! Brand Hearrrt Attacks (the red heart toy that was filled with organic catnip), Purr-Packs Double-Sided Brush, Petstages Nighttime Cuddle Toy (the greyish ball that glows in the dark encouraging night time play. This toy was very SOFT!), Cosmic Catnip Kitty Family Grass Kit, Snap Cat Fish Toy, Purr-Packs Phone Stand, Feline Greenies (savory salmon flavor), and Blue Buffalo Wilderness treats (chicken and salmon recipe).

Although I’ve reviewed monthly subscription boxes before I was pleasantly surprised with Purr Packs. When I was able to evaluate all that the box included, everything was full sized! Most subscription boxes, or at least the ones I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in, provided quick little samples to use. Purr Packs included everything full sized.

Quickly after I had opened the box, I realized why Tigger had taken such an interest in this box…..besides it being a box (what cat doesn’t love a good box?). It had a smell that he has never experienced before….Catnip. As I am a relatively new cat owner (he’s my very first cat) I have never had experience with catnip. I quickly looked it up to make sure he could play with it and I didn’t have to take it from him after a period of time. I have never seen him act the way he did when he got a hold of that Yeowww! Brand Hearrrt Attack toy. By far his favorite out of the entire box. He literally held it in his paws and cuddled with it, rolling all over it, and not letting it out of his sight. Once the box was emptied from the other treasures he slept with it inside the box. Later on we were able to review the other treasures, but I had to let him love on his new found friend. Tigger Yeow

After a day I was able to continue on with the review. He then expressed interest in the treats. Since I recently took him to the vet and they were explaining what to do to help him take care of his teeth I was very excited to see the Greenies treats in the box. He had his nose pressed against my hand the entire time I was opening the bag for him to try. He LOVED the treats and was actually pretty bummed that I wouldn’t let him consume the entire package

Tigger Greenie

A few treats later, we tried the Blue Buffalo Wilderness treats. He went equally as nuts as he did with the Greenies treats. Tigger Wilderness

I was unsuccessful at getting pictures of him with the Snap Cat Fish Toy as he was jumping and pouncing all over the place and all the pictured ended up being a blurred mess. This toy had to be the kids favorite toy to play with him. When you squeezed the plush fish part of the toy it sent the feather at the end of it into a tail spin. Tigger went wild swatting, biting, and grabbing at the toy.

Overall this entire box was absolutely incredible! I was very blessed to be able to review it for Purr Packs. I would recommend this monthly subscription box to anyone who has a feisty feline as I do, or even a more mellow one. At Purr Packs, you are able to customize your monthly box or even send one as a gift.

Go to http://www.purrpacks.com to get started.

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Sinless Cookies #Theyaretodiefor

WahmReviewer Melissa

Sinless Cookies

This cookie is a favorite not only from my own children but the children that attend my daycare. I have a couple children who have a dairy intolerance, and one that also has a gluten intolerance. Finding recipes that meet their needs is a challenge by itself but this cookie has been a favorite since I introduced it to them. Pssst….just don’t tell them it’s good for them!

2 ripe bananas

1 cup oats

1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter

Add ins (your choice/optional): chocolate chips, chia seeds, walnuts, dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together. Use a spoon to drop them on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Sinless cookies

 

#TastyTuesday with carrot and sweet potato #Bisque By Amanda Ripsam

 #TastyTuesday with Carrot and Sweet Potato #Bisque  By  Amanda Ripsam

Ingredients
Sweet Potato and carrot

1 large sweet potato

1lb baby carrots (I use a small bag of baby carrots)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup maple syrup
Directions:

  1. Peel and chop sweet potato
  2. in a large stock pot, cover sweet potato pieces and carrots with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until very tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  4. Combine all ingredients and puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. The trick is to get it to the creamy texture of creamed soups or a smoothie.

 

(The recipe  that I follow says that the maple syrup optional, but being Canadian it is not optional). I find that it really makes the soup sand out. I also like to eat it cold because it has the consistency of a smoothie. Also it is perfect for moms who want to make something new for their little ones.

How I came across the recipe.

I was diagnosed with a slow digestion disorder called gastroparesis over two years ago.

That is when I started to really dive into blogging, eating healthier and taking my health seriously.

I know how difficult it can be to figure out what and how to eat while living with gastroparesis. I even at one point took suggestion of baby foods from some friends in online support groups.   I figured I could save the embarrassing grocery shopping trips and make much more of the foods I liked out of recipes that I find online and make them my own to fit my own needs.

I made this soup and everyone in my house loved it. In fact when I make the soup the kids come back for more. I think it has to do with the maple syrup flavor.

Decreasing the meal size can help with some of the fullness, distention and pain that I often have experienced with regular meals so I look for soups, smoothies and bland mushy foods . I also add a scoop of vanilla protein powder on days where I need to make soup my main meals.

I am on a low fat low fiber diet and I love this carrot and sweet potato soup. I enjoy it hot as a soup with some low fat sour cream on top or I will eat it cold and have it like a desert. For the desert part I add extra maple syrup.

If you don’t have a stomach disorder like I do, you can enjoy it between meals for a well balanced snack between breakfast, lunch or dinner. I also like to serve it to the family as an appetizer with some crackers.

Let me know what you think of the soup, and post pictures of when you make it in the Facebook commenting section below. I would love to see how yours turns out.

Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese soup – #MeatlessMonday

Hi, this is Kathy Crow and today I fixed a wonderful soup for Meatless Monday. Several years
ago I had a cup of Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese soup at one of my favorite eateries. It became a
“must have” every time we ate there. It was so very rich and creamy with little bits of vegetables
that just melted in your mouth. Then one day we went in to eat and my dear soup was gone. No
longer did they carry Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese soup.
Recently I was just very hungry for soup and for Cheddar cheese soup. Not Broccoli/Cheddar
just cheddar cheese. I began searching at first for Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese but I just couldn’t
quite get the feel of them recipes until I found this one that Emeril Lagasse used. So, I tried it
and with just a few adjustments I made it my own.
Here it is:
Ingredients
•4 tablespoons butter
•1 large onion, finely chopped
•1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
•1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•2 cups chicken stock
•1 1/2 cups whole milk
•1 1/2 cups heavy cream
•12 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
•Salt
•1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•Crumbled bacon, salsa, or creme fraiche, chopped parsley leaves, optional for garnish

Cheese Soup Ingredients

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Directions
In a large, heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and peppers
and saute until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add
flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Cheese Soup ingredients in a Skillet
Slowly whisk in the stock, milk and heavy cream. Bring soup to a low boil and reduce heat so that
the soup barely simmers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the soup is very thick and flavorful, about
20 minutes. Add the grated cheese in 1/2 cup increments, stirring after each addition until completely melted and
smooth. Do not allow soup to boil. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, to taste.
Cheese Soup - added Cheese to Pan
Serve in shallow bowls, topped with some crumbled crispy bacon bits, a dollop of salsa or creme
fraiche, and chopped parsley, as desired.
Plated Cheese Soup
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2003
The changes I made were to use Half and Half for all of the milk products, added more cheese
(you can use a mild cheddar for a portion of the cheese if you prefer a milder taste) and to add
some pimento for garnish. The chicken stock can be increased if the soup is too thick for your tastes
also.)

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