Archive for the ‘ Recipes ’ Category

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe — Family Favorite!

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Growing up, my family didn’t buy cookies at the grocery store, we always baked them at home. I love to bake and have been making cookies since I was little. By the time my sister went off to college (and I was in 7th grade), I took over the weekly task of baking cookies for my family’s lunches.  We have some pretty great family recipes for shortbread cookies, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter bars, oatmeal-raisin cookies and more!

Lots of people have asked me for my chocolate chip cookie recipe and while I’m sure this is a pretty a well-known recipe, I’ll share it for those who might be interested:

  • 1 cup of butter (softened in the microwave for 40 seconds)
  • 1 cup brown sugar*
  • 1/2 cup (white) sugar*

Mix butter/sugar mixture well. Then add (mix as you add…)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I actually use white whole wheat flour)
  • about a cup or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I never really measure, I just pour until it looks right)

Bake in a pre-heated oven (350 degrees F; 170 degrees C) for 9 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges.

*NOTE: The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup white sugar.  I tend to be generous when I put the brown sugar into a one cup measure and only have a little bit of white sugar at the top. That’s why I wrote 1 cup brown sugar above.  This makes the cookie a bit softer/chewier.  If you want a crisper cookie, you should probably stick to the original proportions.

Now my kids are starting to take over this family task (love the way the house smells when cookies are coming out of the oven!)  Enjoy!!


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Middle Eastern Lentil Soup (Crock-pot Recipe)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Life is so busy in the evenings as I drive the kids where they need to be for their sports, scouts and play dates that I rely on my crockpot a lot.  This is a wonderful soup with a tangy flavor that my kids all like as well:

  • 1 1/2 -2 cups dry lentils — soaked in water for 1 1/2 hours, then rinsed prior to adding to the crockpot
  • 8 – 8 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2/3 teaspoon fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime (I used 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 large Tablespoons of lemon grass paste (it comes in a tube in the vegetable area)
  • 1 teaspoon basic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Cook on low for 7 or 8 hours or so.

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Safe Snack Guide – Nut and Egg Free Snack List

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Lots of schools and other places are requiring nut-free snacks.  LD’s gym suggested this website as a helpful place to find snacks that are free of nuts, tree nuts and eggs:  It’s a list of the purchased types snacks. I personally wish the list had started out (in big bold letters) things like sliced apples, baby carrots, snap peas — you know the fresh fruits and veggies that should be number one on the go-to list! :) Still, I thought I’d share for anyone else attending a facility/school with a nut-free zone.

Go to the Safe Snack Guide list:

My thought when I saw this list was also that there are so many easy snacks we can quickly and easily make at home. Neither of these recipes require nuts or eggs:

We like to make homemade graham crackers:

We also make Homemade Nutrigrain Type Bars with oatmeal and jam… You’d have to make it with plain flour (we sometimes use a bit of almond meal in ours).

Do you have a favorite snack that would be great to add to this list?  Pop over to the Homeschool Den Facebook Page — I’d love to hear your ideas and recipes!!


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LD Turns 10 — IVF Reminiscing — Dragon Birthday Cake

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

After we got back from our Colorado trip, LD had a birthday. It’s hard to believe he is now 10!

As many of you know — and some of you probably don’t — LD and DD are IVF babies (not ED, though!!! She was our surprise baby!).  We had trouble getting pregnant and there didn’t seem to be much of a cause for it. Oh my goodness, what a stressful, sad, difficult time for us. It seemed like everyone we knew were having babies left and right… and there sat Hubby and I — desperately wanting kids and wondering what the future held for us.

Because we lived so remote (in central Australia) they said the only option for us really was to head straight to IVF. We had to travel 1,500km (nearly 1,000 miles) to the nearest IVF clinic. Imagine coordinating shots, medication, exams — all remotely.  Yeesh.  Plus, the only OBGyn in our town had botched some exploratory surgery and I didn’t trust him any longer.  I worked mostly with a blood lab in town and coordinated things with the nurse 1,000 miles away. Hubby did all my shots.

All things considered, it worked out well for us, though there were bumps and incredible hiccups along the way.  For example, we did the first round of IVF — and it failed.  We had four embryos frozen, so I went down to have the next two implanted on my own (Hubby stayed at work.). I took the Ghan (a cross-country train) so I would have a bit more flexibility with my travel plans.  It was a 22 hour train ride. Both embryos were unfrozen and were viable. The implantation went well and I decided to head home. I settled back and was relaxing when I heard a horrible screeching and felt a lot of jarring. Our train had just hit a bus with school kids.  When we came to a stop, I looked out my window to an absolute horror scene.  I sat right at the window overlooking the mangled bus that had been hit by the Ghan.  I still have the images implanted in my brain… the scene was horrible, sad. I won’t go into too much detail here, but a number of people died and I felt helpless being so close (within 10 feet or so) to people who had lost (or were losing) their lives.  Oh my goodness. Awful, sad stuff. I wasn’t surprised when that second IVF attempt failed.

LD was our third attempt (with the remaining two frozen embryos). The pregnancy went well, though in the end he was breech. We elected for a C-section. He looked a bit funny when he was born (I’m allowed to say that I’m his Mom!)  as his legs had spent a lot of time right up next to his ears! (Maybe that’s why he likes gymnsatics?!!) It took a while for them to naturally straighten out, but luckily he had no hip problems.

Anyway, enough reminiscing! LD had a wonderful birthday. It was low-key as he opted for a sleep-over with two of his close friends.  He’s been into dragons lately, so I made this birthday cake! It has fruit roll-ups for the wings and tongue, chocolate mints and licorice.  You can make your own dragon birthday cake by visiting the wikihow website-How to Make a Fire Breathing Dragon Cake.

Here are a few pictures I took along the way… You need two circular cakes. One you cut in half and “glue” together with frosting. The other round cake are for the legs, head and neck.


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Crockpot — Fisherman’s Stew

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Most of our activities take place in the evening which leaves me scrambling for a meal unless it’s done ahead of time.  I’ve been a bit tired of our old standbys and gave this recipe a try. Everyone in the family loved it!  It’s definitely a keeper!


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced leek (the white and light green parts–washed well)
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (I didn’t have any and left it out)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bottle clam juice
Cook for 8 hours on low. About 30 minutes before serving turn the crockpot to high and add in
  • 1 pound cod (our grocery store didn’t have any, so I chose a different white fish)
  • 1/2 pound uncooked peeled shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh parsley (I didn’t have any, so I added a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Just in case you don’t know what clam juice is, here’s what to look for at the store:

Adapted from Betty Crocker: More Slow Cooker Recipes

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