Thursday, March 31, 2011

Games, unplanned school and a Gluten Free Mediterranean Lasagna

With it being Spring Break, there hasn't been a lot going on at our house. We have been sorting things for an upcoming yard sale, reorganizing furniture (this is common) and generally relaxing. Turns out there has been a lot of school going on under my nose though!

Part of that was because I SCORED at a yard sale last week. I found rare and old books (collectors here, I have a LOT of bookcases). I found Amelia Bedelia (five different books!). But what intrigued me most were the games. A LOT of them. For a dollar a piece.

Awesome Learning Games!!

My camera still has no charger so the pictures are NOT fabulous but these games are awesome. The girls LOVE them and they learn a TON.

This is why I love homeschooling. Civics class was "taught", word problems were finally mastered, a unit on fractions was begun, spelling lists were made and studied, vocabulary was learned (the two new favorites are loquacious and discretion) and science has been a proficient part of every day. And this was our week OFF. No plan, no "lessons". I love my life.
I played around with food this week too. A couple of near misses and a disaster were made up for by this. A Mediterranean Lasagna that is easy, delicious and oh so flavorful. The little scholars were THRILLED with it and it took virtually NO prep work. I was really just throwing stuff in that sounded good to me and it worked. REALLY WELL!

Mediterranean Lasagna

  • 6 GF Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 large container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper (freshly ground preferably) to taste
  • 1/2 handful fresh Oregano leaves, torn to little pieces
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, quartered
  • 12 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 jar gluten free marinara sauce (I prefer Organic and such)
  • 1 cup fat free 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
  • 2 cups mozzarella, divided

*all cheese measurements are "about". I just add. I like cheese. Too much.

To make lasagna, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, salt and pepper, oregano, grated parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella. In a deep 9 x 13 casserole dish, layer in this order:

  1. 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce
  2. 3 noodles
  3. 1/2 cheese mixture
  4. artichokes
  5. mushrooms
  6. spinach
  7. olives
  8. rest of cheese mixture
  9. 1/3 sauce
  10. 3 noodles
  11. remaining sauce
  12. half and half
  13. shaved parmesan
  14. remaining mozzarella

cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about one hour.

No precooking, no chopping (if you buy pre-chopped), easy quick prep. YUM!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Okay, I realize that St. Patrick's Day was yesterday but I tried something new yesterday and it apparently didn't work. I typed it on my phone and tried publishing it through a blogger app. I either did something wrong or the app didn't work.

I didn't want you to miss out on the recipe though since my family makes it way more than once a year! If I don't make Boxty on St. Patrick's Day, I get in trouble but I make it more often. I remember my grandmother making this for breakfast with fried eggs and bacon (WARNING: NOT a low calorie food) but even though she told me that I had to learn how to make it or I would "never find a man" she never taught me. So I scoured the internet. I chose the recipe that most closely resembled the way she did it. Then I changed it. I called my aunt to confirm a couple of things since she HAS the recipe. It's in a cookbook that my aunt keeps locked up. So far my aunt and I have traced the cookbook my grandmother used through the late 1800's, and she believes it originated with a particular ancestor in Ireland, which is why I don't have the book or the recipes. Yet. "Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan..."

ANYWAY, Boxty is a fried potato patty. I say butter or bacon grease but the best way to do it is to fry the bacon in the pan first, draining the excess fat into a jar as you go. Then make the Boxty, adding more drippings as needed, then fry the eggs. IF you don't use bacon grease or salted butter, add a little bit of salt to the batter.

  • 1 medium size potato, grated, raw
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes (leftover)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tblsp milk
  • Pepper to taste

Mix the flour with the grated potato to soak up the liquid then add the mashed potatoes. In a small, separate, bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Add to the potatoes and mix well. Add pepper as desired. Drop by spoonfuls on a hot griddle or pan with melted butter or bacon grease. Cook until browned on both sides, flipping once.

That's it! Easy, huh?

Pom and Diva hard at "work"

In homeschooling news, we have been studying Ireland and her flag. We talked about the many wars and even made a cake decorated like the flag! The leprechaun was not caught of course but he did leave some cute trinkets. Probably cause the cake's so cute :)

How was your Holiday?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We're Back!!!

After an ultra long, and rather accidental, hiatus we're back on track for regular posts. It's been a crazy few months around here with surgeries, broken bones, cookie season and more.

This time of year is a little tricky for us. It's been about a year and a half since Pom's diagnosis so she still remembers Thin Mint milkshakes. She can't have them though, which can be a little rough with them taking over our house and schedule. She is a great little salesperson, as is Diva, and really enjoys selling cookies. Booth sales are one of her favorite parts of being in Girl Scouts!
She misses the eating part of it though, so I am on a mission to create an accurate GF Thin Mint. I have seen GF "Samoa" recipes but not Thin Mint types. I am also attempting to petition for a GF cookie. I can't and don't believe that it wouldn't be a godsend for many people.

With the busiest part of the year upon us I haven't been experimenting quite as much with meals. I am sticking with tried and trues. I haven't forgotten my Stumble challenge though! I found a recipe one day for "Trailer Trash Pot Roast". Definitely not gluten free. And I don't like chili sauce very well. So of course I changed it a bit. MMMMMMMMM.....and wow was this an easy roast!

Busy Night Roast

  • 3-4 lb (or more) butt roast
  • 1/2 bottle GF steak sauce (whatever your favorite is)
  • 1/2 cup dried onions
  • 1 can cola (I prefer Pepsi)
  • some baby carrots, potatoes and onions chopped into one inch (or so) cubes, OPTIONAL

Put roast and veggies in roasting pan.
Mix steak sauce, onions and cola in a mixing bowl.
Pour sauce over roast.
Put in a 400 degree oven for one hour, reduce heat to 325. Cook an hour or so longer.