Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No process apricot jelly

I super love apricot chicken.  It's really good as leftovers on salads too with it's awesome fruitiness.  Back when we believed Cheyenne to allergic to peanuts I could not find apricot jelly without a peanut warning.  So I asked my mom is she had some jelly to spare.  She didn't but she had a bucket of apricots just chilling in her freezer she gave me...which is fantabulous of her. 

Even though I could buy it from the store I just don't want to.  I like making homemade stuff.  It makes me feel awesome.

Apparently apricot jelly recipes must be kept highly secretive because I had a hard time finding one.  Here is the recipe I used but since there doesn't seem to be a plethora of them I think it's worth repeating.  I like jelly recipes that use the juice amounts rather than the pounds of fruit so this is perfect.

Here it is...

7 cups apricot juice (unsweetened)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package fruit pectin
9 cups sugar

I just dumped all of my (thawed)apricots out of my bucket into a pot and basically heated it up properly.  It already had lots of juice so I didn't add any water.


Then I strained it threw my cheese cloth. Your basic jelly making process, nothing special.

Combine the apricot juice, lemon juice and pectin and heat to a boil. Add the sugar and heat to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute.

Put it in your jars. Put on your super boiled lids and tighten those rings down tight.  Turn your jars upside down for 5 minutes. After that just turn the jars right side up and done!

My mom taught me this method(come to think of it why doesn't my mom have her own blog for all this stuff?!?). If you want to use this recipe but don't like in 'no process' method just put the jars in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.

My jelly turned out amazing.  We have already had peanut butter and apricot jelly sandwiches and I can't wait to make some apricot chicken!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I love thanksgiving and I'm glad my husband is home for the holiday.  He almost had to work.  We were supposed to go be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday but the kids came down with the stomach flu.  So our little family had Thanksgiving together, just us.

It was a complete bummer to not be around other family but it was also completely perfect. It was so relaxed.  

Cooking together with our kids is awesome. One of Harlee's favorite jobs is to wash potatoes. She is such a goof, her MOST favorite chore is cleaning the toilets. 

They were so excited they had to 'cheers' their forks.

Turkey veggie platter

I threw this handsome gobbler together on a whim this morning.  It was fun and actually really really easy.  I'm sure you could use any veggies you wanted in the body but I used yellow and red bell peppers, olives, and cucumber.  The carrot legs and the face really top it off.  I used a triangle piece of cucumber for the beak, a bit of red pepper for the waddle and olive for the eye. 

My kids loved eating him up! Turkey veggie platters are way cooler than regular veggie platters.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Make ahead stuffing recipe

OK this recipe isn't mine.  It's my Mom's so of course it is the best.

Here is what you need.

3 loaves of bread
1 celery stalk
4 medium onions

Kitchen Helper
8 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
6 tablespoons Poultry Seasoning
2 tablespoons Sage
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
4 cubes beef bullion

At our house, we don't like to eat the heels of the bread.  So I save those all year long(in the freezer of course!!).  I also save all our hamburger and hot dog buns leftover form birthday parties and BBQs.  I like using buns better than bread, they are easier to crumble.  Bread you have to tediously tear apart.  Buns are for lazy efficient people.  So I just pile all my heels and buns up til it looks like 3 loaves worth. 

Crumble all your bread.  Chop onions and celery in a food processor until it is very fine. Add all the Poultry Seasoning, sage, salt, pepper and beef bullion to 4 cups of hot water and dissolve.  Pour it over your bread/onion/celery mix. Add the eggs and melted butter. Get your hands all up in it and mix it up....way easier and funner than using a spoon. Add 2-4 MORE cups of water.  It should be juicy.  Pour into greased loaf pans.  Double wrap with foil.  Pop those babies in the freezer.  The night before you wanna cook them unwrap one layer of foil and them in the fridge.  Bake for 3-4 hours at whatever temperature you cook your turkey.  Whalaa  easy as pie.

Remember stuffing is easy.  It's forgiving.  Only have 7 eggs? No problem!  Wanna use a whole cup of butter? Knock yourself out!

Now I have all my stuffing done for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  Score!  After that color some turkeys.  Turkey Coloring Sheet 1 and Turkey Coloring Sheet 2

Harlee can't get enough projects so I had to come up with one more. I seen this on pinterest and we gave it a go.  I thought it was more of a pintrosity than anything.  But Harlee said it was "super duper cool".  And for that I am thankful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The National Jewish Hospital is an amazing place

Upon the first tour of the pediatric day program ward I realized I over-packed and worried a lot more than necessary.  I had pictured us being put into a doctors office and left there for two weeks while I try hopelessly to control my children, while feeding them a hundred packages of fruit snacks on a daily bases. 

I even pictured myself leaving the two week program early because of it being to hard to handle...looking back I'm embarrassed of that thought.  How could I be so weak? I hadn't even started and I could envision myself being a quitter! What a horrible example to set for my children.  Thankfully that was not what transpired.

Upon arriving we are given a tour of our unit.  It is small but everyone has smiling faces.  There is a fridge, with snacks for the kids...whoa why am I lugging this junk food around?  I still need this bag though so my kids have stuff to do.  I spent a lot of time preparing small art projects and activities for Harlee to do while waiting.  A few small toys and coloring books and crayons, my kindle is full of new apps and there is Team Umizoomie on my phone.  I am ready for the boredom of sitting in a hospital for two weeks.  Wait...what is this, is this play room??  Only child appropriate TV allowed here, which is great for a TV natzi like my husband and I.  We are very picky about what our children watch.  There was a 'teen room' down the hall for the older kids to watch more adult TV.

Cheyenne playing in the little playroom.

We are shown to our room which not the dreaded doctors office but a real hospital room and it's baby proofed, that in it's self is a mother's dream.  First things first, Cheyenne is giving a ton of toys.
Cheyenne and some of her loot...as in they gave her more than you see here.

Every child is rewarded for all the stuff they are required to do. Everyone has a sticker chart. Each required activity has a sticker value, once your chart is full you go to the reward closet. Cheyenne loves the stickers but the overall idea is lost on her, so the nurses bring her toys every once in a while.

After her first prick allergy testing they bring her a baby! Her favorite thing!

So then they have this super play area that is sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House.  This place is amazing.  It has indoor play area AND outdoor play area.  This place is awesome!  I would take my kids here even if we weren't in the hospital.

At this point she thinks we are on vacation. 

This super play area isn't open all the time, only when a child life specialist is available to be in there to watch the children.  On another day the child life specialist came with us to Cheyenne's throat X-Ray to help distract her from the 'big scary machine'.  I had never even heard of a child life specialist before...now I wish I could hire one to come live with me. 

My husband and I went on a 'date' to the hospital cafeteria for lunch.  They happily kept both of our children even though Harlee wasn't a patient.  In fact it was their idea.  Apparently we are in desperate need of more date nights.  I don't think the girls even noticed we were gone and Harlee keeps asking me for these markers.

In the end there was no worries.  Being here was comfortable.  Being here was easy.  I feel so blessed to have been a part of this program and even more blessed after seeing the other children here and the miraculous things they do here for extreme allergies and eczema.  I would recommend this program to anyone who has a child with allergies and/or eczema.  The toys I brought went unplayed with, the projects for Harlee went undone and my snacks went uneaten, which was just fine with me. I even kept my kindle to myself and got a little reading done.  I didn't need to worry about anything before coming here. 

Now that it's all said and done  I look back at our time in the hospital and feel grateful and I see memories instead of they suckyness I imagined.

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