Welcome Morelands

Being away from San Diego gets tough from time to time, but having visitors helps. A few weeks ago our friend and her four kiddos came to stay for a few nights. It was so nice to spent a whole day with her and her kids (husband had to stay home and work-boo!). Luke took the day off and we took them to the train museum in Old Sacramento, had a picnic and then found a hole in the wall dessert place that has yummy shave ice and ice cream. Despite nowhere to sit, we all enjoyed our cool treats. Here are a few pictures from our day.

Homemade Plum Jam

Last week my sweet Italian neighbor knocked on my door and asked me to come over and pick some plums as well as apologize for talking forever outside in the hot sun while I was holding my 2 year old. When we were over at her home, my children were misbehaving and seemed to have A.D.D. They wanted to look and touch everything and kept asking where the toys were. Ha! It wouldn’t have been so bad, but she was so talkative and excited to have a visitor it was hard to leave. She ended up feeding the boys banana muffins, almonds and soy milk. When I told her we really had to leave because they needed naps and misbehaving, she went through her refrigerator and gave me orange juice, lemons, grapefruit and a ton of plums. It was pretty hilarious. I kept saying no, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer and I didn’t want to be rude.

When I got home I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all this food especially all those plums. Making jam was the first thing that popped into my head, but didn’t have a clue how. Thankfully Stacy was familiar with canning and walked me through the process as well as let me use her tools. The process was much easier than I thought, but still very time consuming and if you don’t measure exactly then you may end up with plum syrup rather than plum jam.

If you are interested in making your own jam, I would recommend this site – http://www.pickyourown.org/plumjam.htm

Chicken Tortilla Soup

On many occasion I have ventured into Costco and left with a rotisserie chicken. They are tasty, a great price and make many meals from one bird. Awesome! Allrecipes.com has a fantastic Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe that is a cinch to make when you have a rotisserie chicken and want something hearty to eat. I forgot to take a picture, but try to imagine a hearty bowl of shredded chicken and vegetables in a warm chicken broth smothered with Monterrey cheese and crumbled tortilla chips. Yum!

2 cups – Shredded Chicken (buy the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken & you’ll save at least 10 minutes)
1 – 32oz Chicken Stock
1 – Can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 – Onion, Chopped
2 tsp – Chile Powder
1-2 cloves of Garlic (I used 1-2 tsp garlic powder)
1- Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 cup – Frozen Corn
1/2 cup – Zucchini, Sliced Thin
1/2 cup – Yellow Squash, Sliced Thin

For Garnish – Monterrey Cheese, Tortilla Chips, Avocado Slices, Green Onions

Homemade Play Dough

I couldn’t help but share these photos of my kids enjoying the homemade play dough I made for their afternoon activity. They were so excited to play with play dough! I love that its really easy to make, I don’t have to go to the store, it saves me money, the kids have entertainment for at least an hour. Perfect!

Super Simple Play Dough
2 Cups Flour (White or Wheat)
1 Cup Salt
2 Cups Hot/Warm Water
2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar

Mix dry ingredients together and then add all ingredients in pan and cook on medium heat. In minutes you have play dough. Allow to cool and divide play dough into how many parts you want. Add coloring by using food coloring or use dry jello, koolaide, cocoa or even spices like turmeric to add color.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cranberry Granola Bars

The last time I made homemade granola bars I said I would never buy them in the store again. My last trip to the grocery store I remembered to pick up a can of pumpkin puree and chocolate chips so I could make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cranberry Granola Bars. Just saying the words makes my mouth water. I found the recipe on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. Corbin helped me make them and it was a great bonding moment.

I think they may be cool enough to taste test….bye!!!

Orange Blueberry Bread Recipe

In an attempt to bring a snack to game night, I came across this recipe – Orange Blueberry Bread Recipe . I did not however look at the last step of the directions where it says to let the bread sit for an hour to cool and to not cut into until it’s completely cool. The bread came out of the oven at 5pm and game night started at 6pm. I also believe I am not a great baker and when I do decide to bake and the recipe doesn’t come out looking as beautiful as the photo and I can’t smother it with frosting, I can’t bring myself to share it. Even though I baked mine for 55-60 minutes when the recipe called for 60-70 minutes, the outside was darker than I would have liked and a little toasted on the edges. Yes, I had a whoa is me moment, but I got over it pretty quick. I had to get my game on. It was Catan night! We also knew there would be plenty of snacks at the party and we already had dinner. So, yet again, I brought nothing but me and my family…oh, and our games. Next time! ha!