Monday, April 29, 2019

Menu Monday - April 29, 2019

It's another Menu Monday! We have a busy week with four baseball and t-ball games and two days of dance rehearsals, but fortunately leftovers from the weekend and throughout the week will help with meals.


Breakfast: Cinnamon toast, strawberries
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Creamy pasta shells, corn, salad


Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: Southern chickpea salad, crackers, fruit
Dinner: leftovers


Breakfast: Tropical smoothies
Lunch: sandwiches
Dinner: Chik’n katsu, potato-mac salad, rice
Dessert: Chocolate Haupia Pie


Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, sliced apples
Dinner: Sesame Tofu w/ brown rice, salad


Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Pizza


Dinner: Black bean & rice enchiladas


Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Sloppy Joe’s, tater tots

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Pasta Bolognese

Monday night is pasta night at our house and I'm always 
searching for new ways to jazz things up. This time, I went 
for a "meaty" sauce in place of our usual marinara. 

Pasta Bolognese

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) + 7/8 cup hot water
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 16-ounce package of fettuccine (wider noodles are preferred, but spaghetti also works)

1. In a bowl, combine TVP and hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until tender. Then add garlic.
3. Add diced tomatoes, nutritional yeast, herbs, and sea salt. Stir until combined.
4. Add tomato sauce and prepared TVP. Bring to a gentle boil.
5. Add bay leaves and let simmer 2-3 hours.
6. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
7. Drain pasta and combine with bolognese sauce.
8. Top with dairy-free parmesan cheese, and serve!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tip Tuesday: Cleaning the Washing Machine

If you own a top-loading washing machine, this cleaning tip is for you! 

Most people don't bother cleaning their washing machines because they assume it is being cleaned as it is washing their clothes. Think about this for a minute. Do you ever need to clean your shower or bathtub? Why? Aren't you just cleaning your body in there? In theory, it should always be clean, right? But it's not. Dirt and grime collects and even mold begins to grow. Like your bathtub, your washing machine does the same.

The process of cleaning your washing machine can take 2-3 hours, but the manual labor involved may only take 15-20 minutes.

Here is what you need: 
2-3 cups of chlorine bleach
paper towels or a sponge you're willing to throw away when done
2-3 cups of cleaning vinegar (optional)

Step 1: Fill your washing machine all the way with hot water. Add 2 cups of bleach (3 if your washing machine is extra dirty). Allow the machine to agitate for a couple of minutes to mix the bleach in, then turn it off and let the bleach sit for about an hour.

As it sits, now is a good time to clean the dispensers and surrounding area of the machine (where the bleach and water cannot reach). The dispensers should twist or pop right off. I like to soak the dispensers in a bathroom sink in hot water and bleach.

After replacing the dispensers, set the machine for the longest and most heavy duty wash and spin cycle.

Step 2: Use a sponge or paper towels to scrub the agitator. Sometimes this needs a little bit of elbow grease to get clean. Then run a second cycle of hot water, this time with no bleach.

Optional Step: If your washing machine needs a little extra cleaning, in place of the second hot water load, add a vinegar wash cycle. Do the same thing as the bleach cycle, this time with vinegar. When you're done, run a hot water only cycle to get out any remaining bleach or vinegar.

You should clean your washing machine every 3-6 months, depending on your family size, husband's job situation, how often your children play in the dirt, etc. The more loads of laundry you do, the more frequently you'll want to clean the machine!

Another tip: My husband suggests that the first load of laundry to be washed after cleaning the machine with bleach are the whites, "just in case". Clothing is expensive, so I listen to his advice!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Menu Monday - April 22, 2019

Whoops! It was a busy Easter weekend and Monday is half over, but here's our menu for this week!

I'm excited that we don't have much going on this week with extracurricular activities. Public schools are on spring break, so there are no baseball games or dance lessons. The boys do have t-ball and baseball practice, but it won't interfere with our dinner schedule for a change.


Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: sandwiches/leftovers
Dinner: Pasta Bolognese


Breakfast: Smoothies
Lunch: BLT sandwiches
Dinner: Mexican Lasagna


Breakfast:  Cinnamon toast, fresh fruit
Lunch: Hummus, chips, cucumber, carrots, oranges
Dinner: Hawaiian-Style Tofu w/ brown rice


Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Chik’n patty w/ bun, fruit
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese w/ steamed broccoli


Breakfast: toast w/ peanut butter
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, sliced apples
Dinner: Pizza


Dinner: Baked Falafel w/ pita, hummus, cucumber


Brunch: Pancakes w/ sausage
Dinner: Philly cheese-steaks, fries

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easy Tofu Scramble

A heart healthy and cholesterol-free alternative to scrambled eggs. 
The combination of spices and a bit of "cheesy" flavor from the 
nutritional yeast makes this a delectable protein packed breakfast.

Easy Tofu Scramble

1 block (15 oz.) of firm tofu
1 Tbsp. non-dairy butter
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
pepper, to taste

1. Open the package of tofu and drain the water.
2. In a medium skillet, melt the butter.
3. Add the block of tofu. Using a wooden spoon, break about the tofu into pieces until it resembles scramble eggs.
4. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.
5. Cook in skillet until tofu is at least warmed through. If desired, cook a little longer to "brown" the tofu.
6. Remove from heat and garnish as desired. Serve hot.

I grew up eating scrambled eggs often and I can honestly tell you, this is by far the closet I've ever tasted to the real deal! My children (who had never before had scrambled eggs) love this served with toast and fruit preserves. They pile the tofu scramble onto the toast for a salty-sweet combination. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Southern Chickpea Salad

If you live in the South, you may have had chicken salad in just about every way imaginable. Growing up, my dad would make it using large chunks of chicken, and we'd eat it with Wheat Thins. 

I've also had chicken salad croissant sandwiches, or topped on a crunchy green salad, and I've also had it in lettuce wraps. When we stopped eating meat over 3 years ago, I thought that would be the end of my chicken-salad eating days. Then I realized that I might be able to get away with using chickpeas as the chicken substitute. It worked!

My children and I enjoy this for our lunch during the hot summer months. They prefer it with Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers, but you could really enjoy it the same way you'd enjoy your traditional chicken salad.

Southern Chickpea Salad

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet relish
black pepper
sea salt or celery salt

1. Using a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until desired consistency. (See note.)
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, vegan mayonnaise, and celery. Mix well until combined.
3. Next, add the sweet relish, and salt and pepper to taste. (I like the flavor of celery, so I'll often use celery salt in place of sea salt.)
4. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Note: While I grew up eating chicken salad with bite-sized chunks of chicken, I've noticed that most people here in the South tend to eat it almost pureed (store-bought chicken salad is often this way). I prefer mine somewhat in between chunky and pureed. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Menu Monday - April 15, 2019

Welcome to my first "Menu Monday"! 

On my old blog, I would frequently post weekly or monthly menus and on a blog all about homemaking, I thought it would be great to continue here. I'm always curious what other's have planned on their menus.

This week, we don't have too much planned but there are two holidays to consider. On Friday, we're having a small Passover dinner. Sunday is Easter, so I'm doing something special there too.

As a side note, I don't plan all meals for Saturday because sometimes we have company, go out of town, or the Mister may surprise us by taking us out to eat. This way, I don't buy groceries that won't get used.


Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ brown sugar and raisins
Lunch: Pizza and sliced apples
Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan, angel hair w/ marinara, garlic bread


Breakfast: Tofu scramble w/ toast
Lunch: burgers and sweet potato fries
Dinner: Burritos


Breakfast: Smoothies
Lunch: Orange Tofu w/ rice and vegetables
Dinner: Leftovers


Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Fishless filets on bun, pineapple, salad
Dinner: Tempeh Piccata, mashed potatoes, green beans


Breakfast: Charoset
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Matzo Ball Soup, Macaroons


Dinner: Balsamic glazed tofu, couscous, salad


Brunch: Hot Cross Buns
Dinner: Vegetable Pot Pie
Dessert: Carrot Cake

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Preschool Science: Insects

Teaching young children about the world around them is an exciting time. My 4-year-old absolutely loved studying insects. We read a few pages out of our animal encyclopedia, walked outside in search of bugs, and got a little messy with paints. He made the cutest little fingerprints which I later turned into bugs. We added it to his science notebook and will forever have it as a keepsake.

After our lesson, we made a yummy snack of edible "bugs".

It doesn't take much to teach young ones while keeping them entertained. Many of them are eager to learn. It is important to keep the lessons fun and simple. While reading from a book is a favorite pastime, in my experience I have learned that the more "hands-on" I make a lesson, the more memorable it will be for the child. The reward comes when the child says to me, "Mommy, remember when we..."

Cherish these younger years. They go by fast!