Tag Archives: easy cooking

Day 172- Reusing pickle juice and half-eaten bananas

This is one of those posts where you’ll either think this is SO GREAT or you’ll think this is SO GROSS! Don’t worry, I’ll like you either way.

Ok, the first comes via Amy Dacyczyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette. This is a super fun book with so many frugal ideas. It’s a real delight.

So, one of her tips is how to reuse pickle juice. (This is so incredibly easy I cannot believe I had never heard of this before.)

Finished with your pickles? Don’t dump the juice!

Buy some small cucumbers, cut them up and put them in!

Cover and put back into the fridge for four days and you’ve got yourself some new pickles for a fraction of the price! (Note: this is my first time trying this, so I’m not sure if four days will really be enough time for the brine to work. But it’ll be fun to see.)

Ok, the next one I’m guessing that many folks already do. Perhaps they don’t admit to it? I’m not sure. At any rate, if your kids are anything like mine, especially if they happen to be about…oh, 2 1/2, then you may find half-eaten bananas are a part of your life. I know the simple solution would be to cut the banana in half, but many times the little booger (er, child) insists on a whole one and I’m too spineless to keep up with insisting she have a half. So I quite often end up with this:

Not wanting to be wasteful, I cut off the bit ends,

slice them up and put into a baggie for the freezer.

Many people do this one right?

Those frozen bananas, plus some ice, milk, vanilla extract, and spoonful of cocoa powder make a delicious chocolate breakfast shake.

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 161- Dandelion Flower Tea

No matter where you live, it can be like an Easter egg hunt every day when kids start hunting for dandelions. This becomes especially fun when they have a specific reason from Mom to collect them- Dandelion Flower Tea.

It was from Robert Fulgam’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things that I learned of the vast benefits of the humble dandelion. Fulgam writes:

Now I happen to like dandelions a lot. They cover my yard each spring with fine yellow flowers, with no help from me at all. They mind their business and I mind mine. The young leaves make a spicy salad. The flowers add fine flavor and elegant color to a classic light wine. Toast the roots, grind and brew, and you have a palatable coffee. The tenderest shoots make a tonic tea. The dried manure leaves are high in iron, vitamins A and C, and make a good laxative….If dandelions were rare and fragile, people would knock themselves out to pay $14.95 a plant, raise them by hand in greenhouses and form dandelion societies and all that. But they are everywhere and don’t need us and kind of do what they please. So we call them “weeds”  and murder them at every opportunity. Well I say they are flowers, by God, and pretty damn fine flowers at that.

I was quite taken aback by his heartfelt tribute to a flower I’d associated with weeds and wishes. I didn’t know dandelions are actually healthy when consumed. A little bit of internet research uncovered several articles that do attest to their numerous benefits, and so since then I’ve been making my own version of Dandelion Flower Tea.

Step 1– This is the best part! Send your kids to collect dandelions!

The kids collected all of these on the walk home from school

Step 2– Rinse thoroughly to make sure there are no little buggies hiding.

Step 3– Put the rinsed flowers into a coffee filter and put into your coffee maker.

Step 4– Add about 6 cups of water to your coffee maker and brew it up!

It makes a lovely yellow tea that tastes very nice with a touch of honey. Your children will enjoy drinking this special tea too! This has become an exciting spring activity for them on our humble suburban streets.

Have a wonderful day!

Like Mother, Like Daughter


Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

Day 127- 12 Days of Christmas


For the first time, we’re observing the 12 days of Christmas

with the Christ candle and one lit for Mary too.

I always thought the 12 days were part of Advent!! Wrong! Being that I wasn’t raised in the church, many things never made sense to me. What is the Eucharist? What is Pentecost? What is Epiphany? Maundy Thursday???

Well now I know. So hopefully these small rituals will help guide my children into knowing the church calendar and major events. With all the gift-giving these kids have experienced in the last week, I’m deciding if they should open one last small gift on the 6th. Hmmm?


My favorite gift! Oh boy! Ever since I had that moment of brilliance to put together puzzles on a foam board (because you can pick it up and move it out of the way when you need to use the table!), it’s become my favorite way to kill time.


My other favorite gift! The most unattractive pajamas of all time. I feel super-silly in these, like a big ol’ rabbit. But they ARE really warm and cozy!


Need to do any last minute gift-giving? Like for a family member who comes into town that you didn’t know you’d be seeing??? Make this Winter Granola. It’s really tasty and people appreciate having a healthier snack after all the holiday cookies. A great way to re-purpose spaghetti and pickle jars!

Have a wonderful day! (I can’t believe it’s warm enough in late December to be sleeveless with flip-flops. But I’ll take it!)

Like Mother, Like Daughter


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 124- Graham Cracker houses

We had a lot of fun today decorating these Graham Cracker houses that I saw on Smockity Frocks.

This idea seemed just easy enough and cheap enough to warrant a try. (You know how I am!)

Anyways, my sweet former neighbor spent the day with us today and she helped me with construction. The cardboard at the bottom is from a cereal box.

Once they’re put together then just PUT ALL THE HALLOWEEN CANDY TO GOOD USE!!

You know that sound of quiet concentration? That’s what it sounded like at the table. Thinking, thinking. Absorbed.

It sounds silly, but this honestly felt like a decluttering craft. It’s hard for me to just throw away candy. Repurposed! The graham crackers cost a couple of bucks and I already had the frosting. BAM!

Even Nattie could do it! Here’s her house. I’d frost pieces for her and she’d stick them on.

This is what my neighbor came up with. She’s 14. Cute huh?

She also took my picture. She says she always takes diagonal shots! So I figured it was good to just go with it. Here I am again in those black flats with that sweater. Yup. Redundant’s my middle name. I never said this was A Year In Many Different Interesting Skirts And Shoes And Shirts.

Recipe for Royal Icing (used to hold the houses together. Note: mine came out runny so we had to use the hairdryer to quicken the drying process.)

4 cups powdered sugar, 3 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

For applying candy, just use store bought frosting.

Have a wonderful day!



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Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 115- Chinese Chicken Salad

I love chinese chicken salad. I love it even more when I already have most of the ingredients in the house. You’ll need:

napa cabbage, purple cabbage, green onions, (cilantro is nice if you have it), carrot, slivered almonds, chicken, mandarin oranges, dressing. (Sesame oil is also nice if you have it).

I was feeling all smart this week because I made up a bunch of chicken in the pressure cooker last week, and shredded it and put 2 cup servings into little zip loc bags. So I was able to just grab a bag of chicken for this salad. Doesn’t stuff like that make you feel so proud of yourself?? It does me.

Anyways, I made this twice last week and the chicken tastes even better if you saute it with some sesame oil before adding to the salad. Yum! So do that if you’re able to. Also the cilantro really adds a great flavor so add that too if you can. (I didn’t have it the first time I made it when this picture was taken.)

Cut up the napa cabbage, use 1/4 of the purple cabbage, and the rest of the portions I eyeball. I didn’t have any mandarin oranges on hand, but this salad tastes good without them. I have never been great at making my own dressing so I just buy it. I had a sesame ginger dressing and also bought Girard’s Chinese Chicken Salad dressing which I really like.

One tip: I’d recommend you add the mandarin oranges right before serving and let people dress their own salad. This way you can put the salad in a large zip loc and it’ll stay good in the fridge for several days. Pre-dressed salad just doesn’t taste good to me after it’s been sitting.

Have a wonderful day!

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Day 61- That mom in preschool who wears skirts

That’s me.

Being sneaky with my camera's self-timer at preschool again.

And for my Tuesday crock-pot meal, I’m starting off strong with chuck roast yummyness.

Chuck roast, garlic, salt, 1/2 can of beef consume, bit of red wine. Set on low. At the end add some mushrooms and fresh ital. parsley. Serve with rice.

Linked to What I Wore Wednesday and Real Momma, Real Style

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 54- Ok, back on board! And my easy meal

The kids started Mommy and Me preschool this week. The way Adam drags me out the door you’d think we were going to go see trains or something.

I did some more stealth action to get today’s skirt shot. While the kids were playing in the sand, I snuck around the corner and propped my camera on the “sized for tots” table.

Hence, this “take one”

aaand “take two!”

Fine, whatever. “Take three!”

I’m hoping none of the other moms saw what I was doing. “Why is Jamie taking pictures of herself!? That’s weird.” Well, yes it is. I’d have to agree!

Ok, so here is my super easy meal that we make when we have no time and few groceries. Jason’s actually the one who started making this.

Yup. Beans and rice. Heat up the beans. Make some rice (and if you happen to have some cilantro put it right on top while the rice is simmering and it’ll be cilantro-infused rice and that is so much more fancy!) Put some salsa on it, and maybe some cheese if you have it. This is more tasty than it looks and also makes a very good burrito filling if you have some tortillas on hand.

Have a wonderful day!

Linking to What I Wore Wednesday


Filed under A Year in Skirts