Spinach Carbonara Pizza

Yay! It’s another Pampered Chef recipe!

My aunt made this for me once and I remember it being AMAZING. She used a different crust and made it exactly to the recipe. But I tend to play with recipes to fit them to the ingredients we have, so I’m going to post the version I made last night. It was still really good (not as good as the Chicken Caesar Pizza from the other day lol), but not what I remembered. I’ll have to do it “right” the next time :-P. Anyway….my version!

You need:

1 refridgerated pizza crust (or make your own)

1 1/2 cups of bacon pieces

Chicken (I used 6 chicken breast tenderloins, but you can use more/less as you want)

1 TB minced garlic

4 cups of fresh baby spinach (I would double this to 8 like the original recipe says the next time)

1 cup of Alfredo sauce

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cups of mozzarella cheese

 

To make:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spread your pizza crust into a pan (I used a bar stone from Pampered Chef. I *heart* my stones!) and then cook for 10-12 minutes. Don’t do like me and over-cook it. Remember that it will have to go back into the oven for about 10 more minutes once the toppings are on!

(see? over-cooked. Still turned out tasty, but I bet it would be better if I had paid attention)

Put your spinach and garlic in a bowl. Cover and microwave for 2-3 minutes (until the spinach is wilted). Press the spinach into the side of the bowl using a spatula and watch the water run! Blot all of that up with a paper towel.

(eww, yuck! Spinach juices!)

While your spinach is cooking, put some chicken in a pan and cook it. I just put mine in a skillet, salt/pepper it/cover it and let it cook on medium heat. No extra oil or anything. Just remember to flip it! Usually, 3 minutes or so a side is enough.

Once it’s cooked, chop it up so it’s nice and fine.

Combine the Alfredo sauce, bacon, black pepper, and 1/2 of the chicken in a bowl and mix it up. This is the sauce for the pizza (if you didn’t already figure that out!)

To put it all together, spread the sauce to the edges of the crust. Top with about half of the cheese, add the spinach, top with the rest of the bacon and chicken. Finish with the rest of the cheese.

Bake it again for about 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Yummy!

(Thanks again Pampered Chef and Aunt Hope!)

As always, let me know if you like this!

~Kelley

Kira Emmalin

I didn’t post about this on her actual birthday, but my baby turned 1. It’s been a ROUGH year (yay post partum depression and colic! Great combination!), but we made it! One of my two best creations. 🙂 Happy (belated) birthday baby!

Homemade Washing Detergent

Last week was the week from Hades. 3 out of 4 of our family got the nasty stomach virus that’s been going around. And on top of the vomiting, Kira had some blow-out diapers. This resulted in a TON of laundry. So when I finally got to feeling better (well enough to throw in a load of laundry), I made the discovery that our washing machine wasn’t working. NOT the time you want that to happen!

Thinking it was the belt, we ordered a new one. Tuesday afternoon, the belt finally arrived. And Tuesday evening, I found myself shopping at Lowe’s for a new washing machine. Thankfully, we’ve got a savings for times like these and I was able to go out and buy a new machine without having to use credit that same night. So many aren’t in that lucky!

The new machine will be here this afternoon and I’m so ready to get going on laundry. Unfortunately, we’re going from an old-school machine to a new HE washing machine (still top-loading though). And all of the detergent I had saved up? Not HE compatible. Ugh.

Pinterest to the rescue!

I actually saw a site for homemade cleaners and one of the 5 (?) I made was washing detergent. It was INCREDIBLY easy to make and it cleans really well (I tried it out in the old machine before it died). Thank goodness I had this made….we’re ready to go when they get it hooked up.

Without farther ado, here’s the recipe:

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Washing Soda (I used Arm&Hammer

1 bar of Ivory soap

Grated the Ivory with a cheese grater. Mix everything together for about 10 minutes (or put it in a container with a locking lid and shake shake shake!). It should create a nice powder for you.

And that’s it. Store it in an air-tight container (I bought my jar at Big Lots for about $5! Cute and functional!).

You only need 1 TB of detergent for a normal load, 2 if your clothes are REALLY dirty. And if you have lots of stains, you can definitely throw in some OxyClean.

It’s also cloth-diaper safe, so I can stop buying the expensive detergent for our diapers!

Let me know if you try it out and what you think! 🙂

~Kelley

***edit***

So what’s the vinegar for? Sorry I didn’t post that. Call it busy/tired brain 😛

You use it in place of fabric softener. I just put about a cup’s worth in the bin at the beginning of the wash. Total, it’s supposedly like $0.30 a load (or less). I haven’t done the math myself, so I can’t vouch for that though.

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza

My aunt has been a Pampered Chef consultant (is that right?) for so many years it’s ridiculous. Sadly, she’s pretty much stopped having parties, which means that my “in”  for cheap products is drying up. Bummer! But I have a majorly stocked kitchen and WAY more recipes than I will EVER use (and yet, I’m always getting more ideas off of Pinterest. It’s an addiction!).

Dave and I love chicken caesar salads, so when I saw this, I had to try it out. Now, I used refridgerated pizza dough, store bought salad dressing, and pre-shredded parmesean cheese. If you want to be super duper, you can make your own pizza crust (I’ll probably do this next time to be completely honest!), make your own dressing, and shred your cheese. Or you can just be lazy like me. Again, SO not Suzy Homemaker!

So first things first….you preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spread your dough out on your pizza stone (umm, you could probably using a baking sheet in a pinch, but if you make pizzas often….GET A STONE) and then cook for about 15 minutes. I started with 12, but ended up at about 20 minutes because the dough needs to be browning before you take it out.

(Pre-cooked crust)

While that’s cooking, procede on. Mix 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 Caesar dressing, 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, and 1 pressed garlic clove (or you can be lazy like me once again and use 1/2 tsp of minced garlic) in 1 bowl.

In a 2nd bowl, mix 8 ounces (1 package) of cream cheese (softened) with half of the mixture from above. Chop up about 6 ounces of cooked chicken breasts (I used about 4 chicken breast tenderloins for this) and mix it in.

If you need to, chop up your romain lettuce (again, laziness and Sam’s Club means I had bagged romaine in our fridge, so that’s what I used) and put it in yet another bowl (yeah, SO not 1 pot cooking, but worth it!) Chop up a red pepper (you need 1/2 cup) and dump on top of the lettuce. Mix it all together with the rest of the dressing mix (and add a little more dressing if you’re like me {again! You copy cat!} and like a little lettuce with your dressing).

Once your crust is done, spread the cream cheese mixture on top. Then top with the lettuce mixture, some more cooked chicken breast (I used 3 chicken breast tenderloins, chopped), and a little more parmesan cheese.

And then, the fun part! EAT! So stinking yummy!

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza via Pampered Chef

Ingredients:

Pizza crust

1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup caesar dressing

1 tsp lemon pepper seasonings

1 garlic clove

1 package of cream cheese

about 12 ounces of cooked chicken breast

4 cups of sliced romaine lettuce

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

(optional: 1 can of pitted ripe olives, sliced – add in with the lettuce mixture)

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 and spread your pizza dough out on your stone. Bake until then crust is browned (usually about 15 – 20 minutes)

2. Mix 1/4 cup of your parmesan cheese, the salad dressing, lemon pepper, and garlic together in one bowl.

3. Mix the cream cheese, 1/2 of the dressing mixture, and 1/2 of the chicken (chopped) in another bowl.

4. Mix the lettuce, bell peppers, and the rest of the dressing mixture together (and olives if you want them).

5. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pizza crust, top with the salad mixture. Add rest of chicken to top (either slice or chop the rest of the chicken), then sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top. Cut with a pizza cutter and serve.

12 Servings 🙂

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

~Kelley

Crockpot Applesauce

I am not Suzy Homemaker by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been trying to offer my children a better variety of healthy foods, so when I saw a recipe for homemade applesauce that looked incredibly easy, I had to give it a try. My kids eat a massive amount of applesauce, so while it may be cheaper to buy the bulk stuff at Sam’s Club, I like the idea of knowing exactly what is in it and really just making it as healthy as possible.

 

So yummy!
So here’s just how easy it is:
 
Peel and core apples (I used 8 in this batch, but just made a batch the other day with about 20 because this didn’t even last the weekend!). You can mix different varieties for different tastes.
Put them in the crockpot.
I then add a little brown sugar or agave to sweeten it a little (I prefer agave and usually just a couple tablespoons is enough. Just depends on how sweet you want it!).
Some lemon extract (you can also use a strip of lemon peel, but I don’t personally like to)
1 cinnamon stick
Cook on low for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
When done cooking, take out the cinnamon stick and then either mash it with a potatoe masher or blend it with an immersion blender (I don’t have one, which is why I mash).
Cool and serve!
 
My children love it, my husband actually liked it, and the little girl I babysat today kept coming back for more. Totally yummy and totally worth it 🙂
 
~Kelley
 

Our Bodies Unit Study

I’ve decided that at this stage in the game, that unit studies are going to be our best bet. The first unit is going to be about our bodies. Paige already has a pretty decent grasp on body parts, so this will introduce new ideas (like the 5 senses) and solidify what she already knews. We’ll be able to make lap books (to take on the go!), add apps to her phone that correspond, and work at any pace that we need. With what I’d like to cover, I can see some units being a month long (though I highly doubt we’ll do many of those. I can see most being about 2 weeks long (10 school days).

Goals:

Learn and be able to identify the 5 senses

Be able to identify and talk about the systems of the body (muscular, nervous, digestive, skeletal,circulatory, respiratory)

Name three parts of the brain and tell what the do in broad terms (Cerebral Cortex, Cerebellum, Brain Stem)

Name some of the major organs (skin, heart, lungs, liver, small intestines, large intestines, stomach)

In broad terms, discuss how: we breath, move, and digest food

Be able to add all single digit numbers 1 through 9 using manipulatives

Be able to write a short letter with help

Be able to answer simple questions about the books we read together

Begin to sound out words by herself

Books that go along with the unit:

From Head to Toe

The Magic School Bus Inside The Human Body

The Magic School Bus Explores The Senses

Baby da Vinci: My Body

Yo Gabba Gabba: Party In My Tummy

Once Upon A Potty

If You’re Happy And You Know It (for Paige to start reading!)

What Is A Belly Button? First Questions and Answers about the Human Body

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Human Body

Uncover The Human Body

Science

Experiement with the senses (difference between hot/cold, soft/hard, light/dark/ etc.) in the sensory boxes

Make lemon soda to taste

Math

Continue adding 1 through 9 with manipulatives

Using jumping jacks to count and add

Count fingers/toes/ears/etc., of ourselves and everyone in the family

Art

Paper Plate Faces

Color body parts

Trace and color ourselves

Make a “Me” Doll

Hugging hands valentines

Writing/Spelling

Make an “All About Me” Book

Write letters about ourselves

A New Beginning

I’ve left my old blog far too long, so it’s time to start anew.

Quick info on me and my family.

I’m married to a wonderful man (Dave) who is an Intellectual Property lawyer in downtown Cincinnati. Him working as hard as he does makes it possible for me to stay at home with our two girls, Paige (3) and Kira (1). I’ve struggled with post partum depression since Kira’s birth, but have begun to see the light. We’re hoping and praying that a 3rd child will be on the way by the end of this year, which should complete our family. We have two dogs (Chip and PJ), who are incredibly annoying, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Paige is incredibly bright for her age, so I’ve started homeschooling her. Since we started, I’ve found out that preschool level work is too easy! In January of this year, she started working on Kindergarten cirruculum. I’m more than a little nervous about putting my child’s schooling in my own hands, but I honestly dislike the idea of public school.

So why homeschool?

  • Public schools are over-crowded. Anything more than 10-1 is less than ideal in my eyes at the younger ages. How can children grow individually if they are constantly forced into a group?
  • I don’t feel that Paige should be punished for being too smart or even falling behind. Trying to put every child in into one mold just doesn’t work.
  • I personally feel that life is more than sitting in a school room for 8 hours a day. Life is about experiences, about seeing things first hand, about LIVING.
  • Children should be able to work at their own pace and with a cirriculum that works for them.
  • Children need to socialize with all different ages, not just children within a year of their own birth.
  • Family units are disentigrating and homeschooling will (theoretically) strengthen ours.
  • Obesity is a horrible problem and sitting at a desk for 6 hours a day doesn’t help (and our family needs all the help it can get in that area!). Schooling at the elementary age shouldn’t take nearly as long as it does in the public schools.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

I’ll be posting the unit studies that we’re working on and different ideas to have. I’m hoping that this will help me keep track of what we do, so I can keep the state of Ohio off of my back.

Until later.

~Kelley