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Family meal time has always been important to us, but it came in many different forms in our normal busy lives before social distancing. I cooked often, but we weren't always home for dinner. Sometimes dinner was sandwiches or whatever we could find, quickly scarfed down at the breakfast bar after returning from swim practice. I know that sports, band, school clubs, etc. are good for our kids, but I don't miss the busyness, at least not yet. I'm sure I will at some point and when we do get to enjoy community again it will be exciting for all of us. Maybe we will appreciate each other so much more.
Since we are home all the time now including my husband who always had work trips, meetings, dinners, etc. we have been really enjoying family dinner time. I have been cooking every day. I think most of us are cooking more now that we are all home. I recently made fried chicken which I hadn't made in years. I originally posted this recipes way back in 2012 and it is still one of my favorite home cooked meals.
This is the best cream sauce for making creamed peas or spinach. This is also a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables. My boys love creamed peas or spinach.
White Sauce for creamed vegetables
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 Cup milk
Frozen peas or spinach
1. Melt butter in saucepan over low to medium heat.
2. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute.
3. Stir in milk. Cook until a thick sauce, stirring frequently.
4. While making sauce, cook frozen vegetables according to package instructions in microwave or saucepan on stovetop.
5. Add cooked peas, spinach, or other vegetable to cream sauce and stir to combine. Sprinkle with extra freshly ground pepper for flavor.
You can also use canned vegetables in a pinch, but frozen are better. Drain before adding to white sauce. As you can see in the picture the peas are two different shades of green. I only had ½ bag of frozen peas on hand so I added a can of drained peas.
There is something wonderfully comforting about our favorite home-cooked meals. This flavorful crispy fried chicken is one of my family's favorites. I hope you enjoy it too.
Peanut or Vegetable oil
Whole chicken cut-up or your favorite assortment of cut chicken pieces
Cajun seasoning (I useTony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning) (Amazon link)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat about ½ inch oil in a heavy skillet (I use an iron skillet) at medium high heat.
2. Pour some milk into a shallow dish and put flour in another shallow dish. Season flour with the Cajun seasoning-I have never measured the seasoning, but you can be liberal I would guess at least a teaspoon or more.
3. Dip chicken pieces into milk then into seasoned flour. Lower chicken pieces gently into hot oil. Sprinkle with more Cajun seasoning. Loosely cover skillet with a sheet of foil or use a splatter shield and cook until the bottom side is browned. Using tongs gently lift chicken pieces to turn them over. Sprinkle again with Cajun seasoning. Recover and cook until evenly browned and cooked through. Salt and pepper for more flavor while frying. Remove to platter to serve.
Several potatoes depending on how many people you are serving (I use 6 to 8 potatoes.)
Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold are my favorites to mash.
Half and Half or part cream & part milk (If all you have is milk, use straight milk)
1. Peel and chop potatoes into large chunks.
2. Put in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender.
3. When potatoes are tender, drain and mash them with a potato masher (amazon link). If you don’t have a potato masher, you can use a mixer.
4. Add half and half or cream and milk or just milk to thin the potatoes. Stir in butter for flavor 4 to 6 Tablespoons should be good. Stir in salt for flavor. Continue to stir and mash until you get the consistency that you want. You can always thin with more half and half. Taste to make sure you get the flavor you want.
Mashed Cauliflower (low carb)
We have been eating lower carb mashed cauliflower which we love. I first steam the cauliflower til soft enough to mash. I use my emersion blender (amazon link) to mash cauliflower because it takes more than a potato masher to get the consistency of mashed potatoes. I then make it the same way I make mashed potatoes.
2 Tablespoons meat drippings from fried chicken
2 Tablespoons flour or 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
If you would like to make more gravy, simply double the recipe. If you like your gravy thinner, add more water. Flour will give you a cloudy gravy and cornstarch will give you a clear gravy.
1. Heat meat drippings in skillet.
2. Add flour or cornstarch. Cook and stir to make a paste called a roux.
3. Add broth and continue to cook and stir until gravy thickens and bubbles. Salt and pepper to taste.
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So this isn't even really a recipe, but I realized that with more people cooking at home during the quarantine, people want ideas for things they can stock in their freezers and pantries and prepare quickly and easily. We have been making these semi-homemade pizzas for a several months and love them. Honestly, we like them better than any takeout pizza available locally and they're less expensive to make.
Bonus: Your kids can make dinner and they will probably really like getting to help. Now is the time to take advantage of all of this family time at home and let the kids learn some life skills.
The boys keep begging to make more cooking videos since we did a facebook live making banana bread. We had trouble with our internet connection during our facebook live so I put this video on YouTube. This video was a last minute decision so it's real...no makeup and I wore the same lounge pants and t-shirt for two days. #quarantinestyle
You'll see the ingredients in the video, but our favorite pizza crust is Stonefire (purchased from Kroger). I keep a few extras in the freezer. We also like this pizza crust (amazon link) although it's less expensive at our local grocery. I also keep shredded mozzarella and pepperoni in the freezer. Some pepperoni is shelf stable so you can keep it in the pantry. If you purchase it from a non-refrigerated shelf in the store, it's shelf stable. Onions can store for a couple of months in a pantry. You may like to keep some canned olives and canned pineapple in your pantry too. Pizza is so versatile you can use your favorite toppings based on what you have available.
Preheat oven before assembling pizza. Use oven temperature and recommended time from pizza crust package. Assemble pizza then bake. We bake right on the oven rack (no pan) for a crispier crust.
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I have been making this recipe for years and we love it. I love it because it is not only delicious, it is super easy. You simply put the ingredients in your bread machine and make the dough, then put the dough in a pan and bake in the oven.
You might ask, Why not bake it in the bread machine? I don't like the shape of bread that I have baked in my bread machine. I much prefer the more natural looking shape of a bread pan and the warmth and aroma of baking in the oven.
Anyone else been baking more during quarantine? There is something so wonderfully comforting about both the process of making something and enjoying the fruits of your labor (although this is really not difficult).
If you don't have a bread machine, you can see the original recipe at Tammy's Recipes. Her original recipe is for whole wheat bread.
1 cup warm tap water
1 tablespoon milk or coconut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1. Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed.
2. Run your machine on the dough cycle.
3. When the dough cycle is finished, take the dough out and shape into a loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
I have been giving my kids probiotics for a couple of years. They take them daily which helps with regularity and overall health. The boys are rarely sick and hardly ever have any tummy issues. I do think probiotics have made a positive impact on their health.
The boys tried Wakunaga of America Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotics and they love them! They are easy to chew, vanilla flavored tablets. There is no refrigeration required making them easy to store and take along on trips.
It is amazing what a difference probiotics have made for the boys. I remember years ago before we introduced probiotics, more issues with upset tummies and constipation. I can't say they never have any issues, but they are very rare. I have four very healthy boys full of energy running around (full time now that they are out of school). They spent the entire day outside in the creek, climbing trees, and in the barn and pastures.
Did you know 70% of your immune system is located in your gut (your gastrointestinal system)! It's amazing when you think about it.
Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotic maintains good bowel regularity, relieves occasional digestive discomfort, and promotes healthy immune function. Wakunaga of America Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotic is available to purchase at local health food stores, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, as well as online at Swansons Vitamins and Amazon.
Life has really been crazy lately. We are all homeschooling now or maybe you could call it co-teaching since teachers are sending the work home and grading it. All we have to do is help our kids and make sure they do their work and learn something. It is a big change for all of us though. We are all together all of the time which means there is less quiet time, more meals to serve, more dishes etc. We have lots of space and luckily the weather is warming up so the boys go outside a lot, but there are still moments when they are so loud and just generally driving me crazy that I have to send them outside. We all need to make sure we get lots of fresh air and sunshine and this mama needs a break every now and then! I should make it part of our routine, Mom's afternoon break, except we should call it something fun like recess or outdoor adventure. Everyone goes outside and Mom gets 20 minutes of quiet and a cup of hot tea. Sounds like a plan. (Today the boys are outside digging for worms...I love living in the country!)
With busy households and limited grocery options right now I know a lot of you are wondering what to make for your families. I went through all the recipes on Home Ec @ Home and selected eight of our favorite slow cooker recipes that rely heavily on pantry and freezer ingredients. I hope you find something useful. Here is a link to more slow cooker recipes.
Butter Bean Soup
Butter bean soup is one of my favorites because it is delicious, easy, and budget friendly. The ingredients are mostly pantry items. I keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge since its so easy to use and I cook a lot. Onions can keep for a month or two in a cool, dry, dark place like the pantry or garage. They will keep even longer in cooler weather. If you don't have vegetable broth, use beef or chicken broth or make broth with bouillon. Butter stores well in the freezer too. This is one of our favorite simple hearty meals. The boys love it too. Such an easy meal to throw together in the morning and have a hot cooked meal at night.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes
This slow cooker chicken and stuffing with sweet potatoes is one of our absolute favorite meals. Simple to prepare and complete comfort food. Since we are all about pantry and freezer staples right now, there are several substitutions that can be made too. You can easily substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs for chicken breasts. If you don't have chicken broth, sub vegetable broth. You could use any brand of stuffing mix that you could find and since you are only using half the bag, you could just use a smaller boxed stuffing. If you don't have herb seasoning, use any seasoning you like on chicken or even just salt and pepper.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
An old classic from the archives, Chicken Tortilla Soup, is super easy to make and it relies heavily on pantry staples like canned beans and corn. I have always used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you could use chicken thighs or even canned chicken. If using canned chicken, it should be ready in less time too.
This slow cooker potato soup has been one of our favorite meals for years. I always make the whole package of bacon and serve the extra bacon on the side as a treat for the boys. Bacon freezes really well so in this time of social distancing and staying in, you can keep a couple packages of bacon in the freezer, thawing it in the fridge when you need it. This recipe uses simple produce that lasts well, potatoes, onions, and celery. You can also substitute a can of evaporated milk for the half and half.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
Slow cooker split pea and ham soup is hearty and delicious and it is made from really simple ingredients. Dry peas, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 rib celery, 2 potatoes, butter, ham and a few standard spices come together to create this creamy, filling, healthy meal.
Slow Cooker Cuban Black Beans
Slow cooker cuban black beans is always a treat and has really simple ingredients. Beans store well in the pantry. You can leave the bell pepper out. Remember onions and garlic store well and you can keep a jar of minced garlic in your fridge. You can freeze bacon and thaw in the fridge when you need it. You can keep chorizo in the freezer until you need it, but I always leave it out because I like it better without the chorizo. This is pretty versatile. You can even adjust the seasonings if you need to. It's a simple, delicious and inexpensive way to feed your family and add some variety to the menu.
Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole
This lazy cabbage roll casserole is always a treat. Simple ingredients and easy to throw together, it is one of my favorite family meals. It is great with ground venison or beef. It does call for a bell pepper, but you could use frozen diced peppers which are a good idea to have on hand in the freezer. Whole cabbage stores well in the produce drawer in the fridge for 3 weeks up to a couple of months.
Easy One Pot Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner
Easy One Pot Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner has been one of my easy, go-to family dinners for a long time. This one is really easy...layer vegetables and chicken in the crockpot, season, cook on low. Your house will small amazing and your family will love it. This is so flexible too, use your favorite chicken cuts or a whole chicken. Use any kind of potato you want or other root vegetables. Potatoes will store well too so this is great for meal planning.
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I've seen the chaos happening around us mostly on social media and online. It hasn't quite hit our small midwestern town yet. I went to our local Walmart in our town of 6500 people on Friday morning and it was business as usual, shelves well stocked. I do not know if they had toilet paper at that point because I didn't check. I saw pictures from friends and family in other states whose grocery store shelves were bare and was glad that this had not happened in our small corner of the world yet.
,We were driving to what I'm sure was the last fish fry of the lenten season when I received a text from the kids school. We found out that our kids will be missing school for a few weeks. I am glad that they will be home with us, glad that I am home with the kids so it's easy to be flexible in these situations, and glad that my husband's university will be going to online classes. I know that things are a lot harder for so many others going through this, so I don't take it for granted.
We are kind of an unusual family in that we go to two churches on a regular basis. We have always gone to both Catholic and Methodist. We get to be part of two church families this way and we always go together as a family. We still had church today, in fact the kids have one last day of school tomorrow to prepare for their long break. I know church may be cancelled soon, but I felt so blessed and reassured to be in church today.
The message was on target with our current situation! You can listen to it too at fumcduquoin.podbean.com. The service went much longer than usual. Since today was a national day of prayer, there was a lot prayer. I will admit I have felt some uncertainty with all of the news about coronavirus, it would be hard not to, but pastor April was so reassuring. My mom has been reminding my sisters and I to pray Psalm 91. Someone in church reminded us all of this verse today during the "sharing praises and concerns" segment.
The message today was about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego. We may be in harm's way, but God will be with us, he will not abandon us. Pastor April said the most repeated command in the Bible is "Do not fear". Here is the link again, fumcduquoin.podbean.com. If you need some reassurance listen to this message. To give you a little background, Pastor April is phenomenal. She is spirit filled and gives an incredible message week after week. If you want to fast forward to the message, feel free, otherwise enjoy some good prayer and worship in the beginning.
I don't say any of this to say you shouldn't be prepared to feed your family over the next few weeks, but to say that we shouldn't live in fear because God is with us. We will be social distancing with the rest of you and have stocked our pantry so that we don't have to go out of the house, but we will pray and listen to God's command, "Do not fear".
Since we are all staying in, I will try to post more recipes especially recipes using freezer and pantry staples. If you need an easy recipe idea, here is a video I posted on instagram last night. You can see it on facebook too.
Even when we cannot attend church in person, we need to take comfort and peace in spending time in his presence. I have two devotionals that I love. One was gifted to our family at our open house this Christmas. It is a Guideposts devotional book, the other is Jesus Calling (amazon link). This is the easiest way for me to spend time with God. Plus I usually take a moment to look up the Bible verses for each day which gets me in the word. Whatever works for you and is your easiest way to spend time in prayer and devotion, do. You will feel more at peace in his presence. We have the Jesus Calling children's bible stories (amazon link) and the kid's version (amazon link) of Jesus Calling too. I have been meaning to read these with the boys so with our time off, I want to start on these again.
I have started doing yoga again on a regular basis (for a couple of months now). Nothing fancy, youtube videos and a yoga mat (amazon link) . I love how it makes me feel. It is so calming and I feel myself getting stronger. I usually watch yoga with Adrienne (the best), but I recently searched for Christian yoga and found some nice options. I tried one which included prayer and bible verses while doing yoga.
Do what works for you to spend time in his presence and not in a spirit of fear.
Just for fun, hear is a cute video of my littlest in the rain.
Disclosure: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
I have been giving my children DHA fish oil supplements for years. When my second son was preschool age, we were told he was sensory seeking. Adhd was used in conversation, but my son's pediatric psychiatrist said he didn't like to label children so young. He was really interested in nutrition and how it affected developing brains in children. On our first visit to his office, he gave us some information to read on this topic. One of his recommendations was to start supplementing with DHA. In fact he suggested we give it to all of our children.
Our children have been taking DHA supplements ever since. I have been ordering our previous brand online to get better quality fish oil, but they did have a fishy taste. The boys were used to them, but they said they had to brush their teeth after taking them because their breath would smell fishy.
I gave them these Kids Smart DHA-Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements to try, and they love them! No fishy taste or breath.
The boys just pop them in their mouths and eat them, but you can also twist off the tail and squeeze the liquid out into food or directly into a child’s mouth. I tried them too to see what they are like and they are delicious.
Kids Smart is specifically formulated to assist in providing children with adequate levels of Omega-3 Fish Oil nutrients DHA and EPA. These can help to support and maintain healthy brain function, eye health, and nervous system health. They also support learning as well as healthy behavior and temperament in some children.
I am a firm believer in supplementing with DHA. My second son is now in 4th grade. He does not get in trouble at school, in fact, he hasn't had any trouble in grade school at all. To be honest, when we were in the midst of his preschool years, I thought we would have a tough road ahead and we haven't.
He was recently identified as gifted and represented his school in a Team Quest competition in which his team placed 5th out of over 40 teams and he is so excited to go on to the regional competition. I am so thankful for our pediatric psychiatrist who recommended we supplement with DHA. We only saw him for a couple of years before moving, but what an impact he made on our lives.
Kids Smart Fish Oil contains a high amount of DHA fish oil (133 mg) which is higher than many options available. Since my kids like these so much (they have made it clear...these are their favorite) I will be buying more of these in the future.
A 30-count bottle typically retails for $9.99. A 180-count bottle typically retails for $54.99. Kids Smart High DHA Fish Oil Chewable Burstlets can be purchased on Amazon at momsmeet.link/ kidssmartamzn.
Save 20% when you purchase a 30-count bottle of Kids Smart High DHA Fish Oil Chewable Burstlets on Amazon with the promo code 20MM20KS. Offer ends March 14, 2020.
I updated our old favorite ground beef and vegetable soup. The boys love this soup so much, they always ask for it. I started making it on the stove in the afternoon and transferring it to my slow cooker to finish on low until we get home from swim practice around 7:30 pm so we have a hot meal to come home to. One of the boys even checked the slow cooker when we got home one day last week to see if we had soup, on a day I did not make soup. I had already made it a few days before, but he was ready for more beef and vegetable soup. Here's the recipe for our favorite ground beef and vegetable soup. Bonus: It's really easy to make!
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Disclosure: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet. com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
Being a mother of four boys is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I always knew that I wanted kids and that I wanted lots of them, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done.
Parenting is messy (so much laundry and dirt), loud, chaotic at times, challenging in big and little ways. Pretty much everyday there is a disagreement between two or three of them so I have to be a referee. But then, they also love each other, cheer for each other, and look out for each other. Sometimes they get along so well… they love to play board games, play in the creek, and visit with the neighbor’s dogs. They do all of these things together with excitement and joy.
I really enjoy calm and quiet. I could stay home all day and not talk to anyone. I am rarely home alone, but cherish any quiet peaceful moments that I get. To help me feel calm and more peaceful in my messy, chaotic, wonderful life, I have been taking CBD oil and feel that it does help me.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a compound that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. These series of receptors regulate pain, mood, the immune system, memory, appetite, stress, and other important functions.
In addition to helping me feel calm, I think CBD oil helps me with normal stress. There are just so many things on my to do list that I find it hard to wind down at night and get some rest. I make lists which helps, but part of the busy mom gig is having so many things going on and having to keep track of them all. I have been taking a little Social CBD Broad Spectrum Drops before I go to sleep each night and I feel like I can fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
I think Social CBD drops are really easy to take. You can add Social CBD into your favorite foods and drinks, or take it directly from the dropper. When taking from the dropper, hold under your tongue for 30–60 seconds for the most effective absorption. I take it directly from the dropper.
Social CBD Broad Spectrum Drops come in four all-natural varieties: Unflavored, Pomegranate Tea, Meyer Lemon, and Vanilla Mint. I like all of the flavored oils, but my favorite is Pomegranate Tea.
A 375 mg bottle of Social CBD Broad Spectrum Drops typically retails for $40.
Use promo code MOMSMEET25 to save 25% on all Social products on their website through August 31, 2020.
Have you ever tried CBD oil? Do you find it helpful? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post may contain affiliate links.
For Christmas this year I got an Instant Pot Duo Crisp with air fryer (Amazon link). I have really been enjoying using this new appliance and can’t believe how much I have used the air fryer function. It is so easy to use and works incredibly well. Meat comes out crisp and so juicy inside.
Since we have a garage full of sweet potatoes from last summer’s crop I decided to make sweet potato chips in the air fryer. I used to make them this way, but frying in grease is such a messy situation.
To help these chips crisp up, I soak them in water first to remove some of the starch. I also slice them thinly. I usually use a knife, but you could use a mandolin or food processor. Soak the sliced sweet potatoes for an hour or even longer. You can soak them overnight or even a couple of days in the fridge until ready to use.
Towel dry your sweet potato slices then air fry for 15-17 minutes until they are perfectly crisp. I cook for 15 minutes, remove any crisp chips and add a couple more minutes as needed for others to finish. These are so easy and delicious, but should be eaten the day you make them. Leftovers tend to get soft. You will need to make in batches so that they are in a single layer in the air fryer. If you have an upper tray (mine does), you can add a second layer.
1-2 large sweet potatoes
Olive oil in a spritzer bottle (amazon link) or cooking spray
1. Thinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. Soak potatoes in water for an hour or more.
3. Towel dry potatoes.
4. Spray air fryer basket with olive oil or cooking spray.
5. Place a single layer of potatoes in air fryer, two layers if you have a top rack.
6. Spray olive oil on potatoes. Sprinkle with salt.
7. Air fry at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Remove crisp potatoes and cook thicker potatoes for an additional 1-2 minutes until done.
8. Salt as needed, set aside and continue with rest of potatoes.
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Yum on Yummly to easily save this recipe.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned work at home Mom blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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