Weekend Links – Reluctant/Resistant Readers, Book recommendations and more

I woke up the other day thinking about our homeschool plans for next year. Of the two students I’m still homeschooling, one is a reluctant reader and one is resistant.

Since I love books and reading, it makes me a little sad that I haven’t been able to instill that same love in my kids. So, I started thinking about how to renew my efforts. Learning to read was a bit of a chore for both of them, so it stands to reason that reading for pleasure might not be high on their list.

They do like being read to. I read to our kids, even when they are in middle school and high school. Yes, they read to themselves too, but we love a good read-aloud. I love this article about the benefits of reading to older kids.  But I also want them to grow up to be readers.  Maybe not nose-in-a-book-all-the-time type readers, but hopefully, several books in a year.

That led me to google something like “making readers out of kids who hate to read”.  And that led me to several interesting articles.   [Read more...]

Farm Rich Snacks, Horseradish Dip Recipe and a Giveaway!

Farm Rich Appetizers and dip

Giveaway is now closed!

I served this platter of snacks to my family and they loved it!  I think we had grilled burgers with all of this, but I don’t remember.  The Farm Rich snacks overshadowed the rest of the meal.

Farm Rich asked me to sample several of their many, many frozen snack offerings.  We tried Mozzarella Sticks, Toasted Ravioli, Crispy Dill Pickles and Jalepeno Poppers.

Farm Rich appetizers

 

If you’re hosting a party, these snacks would be perfect.  I put a variety of them on a baking sheet and baked them all together.  I also served two dips with them – pizza sauce and Horseradish Sauce (recipe below).

Let’s talk details for a minute.  The Jalepeno Poppers were surprisingly delicious.  I don’t like my foods too spicy, so I wondered if I would like these, but they are great!  The peppers are on the mild side and the cream cheese that stuffs them cools off each bite.  Crispy coating on the outside is a perfect combination to the soft cheesy inside.

My kids loved the Breaded Mozzarella Sticks.  The cheese was melty and the breading crispy.  These tasted great dipped in the pizza sauce.  A classic!

Have you ever had Crispy Dill Pickles?  I love these little snacks! They sound kind of strange, but they are so good.  I’ve had them dipped in ketchup, but this time I made a homemade Horseradish Dip for them.  I could have eaten and eaten those Crispy Dill Pickles in that dip!

Finally, we tried Toasted Ravioli.  Another winner!  I’d never had Toasted Ravioli before, but it is really good.  The outside is crisp and inside is cheesy.  Different than the Mozzarella Sticks, but perfect for dipping in pizza sauce.

Farm Rich has lots of other snacks to try too: Mozzarella Bites and Meatballs (including gluten-free!), Buffalo Blue Cheese Sticks, Pretzel Crusted Cheddar Cheese Sticks, Potato Stick Crusted Ranch Flavored Cheese Sticks, Chocolate Cream Brownie Bites and Apple Cinnamon Pie Bites.

And if you want something hearty to go with the snacks, try their Smokehouse BBQ items. So many choices!

You can find lots of quick meal and appetizer recipes on the Farm Rich site.  But you much also try this Horseradish Dip, especially with the Crispy Dill Pickles!  Here’s what you’ll need to make it:   [Read more...]

Weekend Links

I’ll have another recipe in our 100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker series later today.  The response to the series has been fantastic so far!  We’ve got lots of great recipes lined up to share with you and none of them are repeats from last year’s 75 Days of Summer Slow Cooker series.

But now I want to share a few links for other things that don’t involve slow cooking.

summer-reading-guide-2014

 

I love the new Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I’ve found quite a few good books through Anne’s recommendations. And now my summer reading list is looking nicely filled out.  I’m looking forward to many evenings on the back porch with a good book in hand!  You can get your copy of the Summer Reading Guide by signing up for the Modern Mrs. Darcy email list.  It’s free!

white dishes

 

I thought this post from The Kitchn on 6 Helpful Things to Consider When Shopping for New Dishes was interesting.  I’ve been thinking about getting new dishes for a while.  Ours are getting pretty chipped.

One piece of advice in the article is to buy white dishes.  I have a set of white dishes, and I agree they are versatile.  But I really like having color too.  I’ve been pondering Fiestaware.  What do you think?  Do you agree with the advice in the Kitchn article?

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut – 100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

Crockpot Lemon Chicken baked on a bed of Sauerkraut

 

This is one of those recipes that sounds so strange, but tastes so good!  The chicken is perfectly moist and so full of flavor.

Even if you’re not a sauerkraut fan, this is worth a try.  It’s not overly krauty.  And it’s perfect if you’re trying to reduce carbs.

Find the recipe here.

If you love using your slow cooker, check out our All Slow Cooker Weekly Meal Plan.  It’s got all the planning done for you (including the grocery list) so you can go enjoy summer!

100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

Free Disney Dining and My Favorite WDW Restaurants and Treats

My favorite Walt Disney World promotion is back!  Free dining!

I have to say, this is so very, very tempting to me.  We’ve been to WDW several times on the free dining promotion.  A couple of years ago, Jim and I went on a long weekend trip together to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  We had free dining on that trip.

I have a hard time justifying eating at very many of the table service restaurants when we go without free dining.  It can cause the cost of the trip to really add up.  But it’s so very fun to be able to book restaurants that we’d never eat in ordinarily.  And snack credits are included too.

Today, I’m going to share a few of my favorite WDW treats and restaurants.  But first, if you’re as tempted by the free dining promo as I am, check out the details from our site sponsor, The Magic for Less Travel.  They’ll give you a free, no-obligation quote so you can decide if it’s in your budget or not.

Hungry for a great vacation?  Fall FREE Dining has been announced for Walt Disney World!  FREE Dining is offered on non-discounted room and ticket packages at select Disney resorts and is available August 31-December 23, 2014 (Blackout dates apply).  Are you ready to plan that Magical vacation during FREE Dining?  Contact The Magic For Less Travel for your FREE no-obligation quote!  Don’t forget to ask about their Disney Gift Card offer with select Walt Disney World packages!

Magic Kingdom Treats and Restaurants

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 1.42.33 PM

 

One of my favorite places in all the world is the Magic Kingdom Confectionary.  I love walking in here just to absorb the sweet scent.  But I do have a few favorite treats that can be found here.   [Read more...]

100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

 

We’re doing it again!  And this year’s line up of Summer Slow Cooker Recipes is going to be even bigger than last year’s!

You won’t find any soups or stews in this series.  We’ll save those for fall and winter.  Instead, we’ll be focusing on meals that have a bit of summer flair or that can be enjoyed year round.

The main thing is we want to keep the cooking simple this summer so you can enjoy other things.  And we’ll keep our kitchens cool too!

You can expect to see main dishes, sides and dessert recipes too.

The series starts on May 12 and will run for 100 days, until August 19.  I’ll be adding the links to all the recipes to this main post as we go along.

Each day we’ll share a new Summer Slow Cooker recipe.  Some will be from Eat at Home.  Some will be from around the web.  I’ll be throwing in a few brand new ones that I create, as well.

If you love using your slow cooker, check out our Slow Cooker Weekly Meal Plans with grocery lists, printable recipes, slow cooker freezer meals and more!

I’ll also be posting other types of recipes, cooking tips and the sneak peeks at the Weekly Meal Plans each week.  That means that some days we’ll have more than one post for you.  Don’t worry if you’re an email subscriber though, you’ll still get just one email daily or weekly, depending on which you opted for when you signed up.  All the posts for the day/week will be in that email. (You are on the email list, aren’t you?  You won’t want to miss these summer slow cooker recipes!)

Day 1 - Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut

Day 2 – Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Mango Cucumber Salsa

Day 3 – Slow Cooker Enchiladas 

Day 4 – Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Day 5 – Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Day 6 – King Ranch Chicken

Day 7 – Breakfast Casserole

Day 8 – Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with Apple Cole Slaw

Day 9 – Mushroom Risotto with Peas

Day 10 – Teriyaki Wings

Day 11 – Ham and Swiss Frittata

Day 12 – Freezer Friendly Homemade Pizza Sauce

Day 13 – Blueberry Crisp

Day 14 – Pulled Pork and Mexican Cole Slaw

Day 15 – Honey Ginger Chicken

Day 16 – Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Day 17 – Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Day 18 – Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Day 19 – Orange Pot Roast

Day 20 – Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Day 21 – Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks

Day 22 – Blueberry Butter

Day 23 – Bacon Cheeseburgers

Day 24 – Chicken Tika Masala

Day 25 – Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

Day 26 – Cheesy Chicken, Bacon and Tater Tot Casserole

Day 27 – Shredded Pork Tostados

Day 28 – Chicken Bruschetta

Day 29 – Greek Rice

Day 30 – Healthier Refried Beans

Day 31 – Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Day 32 – Hawaiian Luau Meatballs

Day 33 – Pizza Casserole

Day 34 – Banana Foster Bread Pudding

Day 35 – Chickpea Curry

Day 36 – Moroccan Chicken

Day 37 – Mexi Style Pulled Pork

Day 38 – Jambalaya

Day 39 – Salted Caramel Cobbler

Day 40 – Greek Chicken Pitas

Day 41 – One Hour Bread

Day 42 – Creamy Cheesy Chicken Rice

Day 43 – Thai Style Pork

Day 44 – Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Day 45 – Mississippi Roast

Day 46 – Chicken Artichoke Lasagna

Day 47 – Vegan Fiesta Baked Beans

Day 48 – Chard, Bean and Sausage Panade

Day 49 – Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

Day 50 – Sweet Tea

Day 51 – Bourbon Mango Baked Beans

Day 52 – Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer BBQ

Day 53 – Caramel Apple Pie Cake and Caramel Apple Crisp

Day 54- Bratwurst

Day 56 – Spicy Chicken Thighs

Day 57 - Brazilian Feijoada Pork and Black Bean Stew

Day 58 – Stuffed Bell Peppers

Day 59 – Triple Chocolate Brownies

Day 60 – Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

Day 61 – Apricot Chicken

Day 62 – Mediterranean Pork with Couscous

Day 63 – Pancake Bake Breakfast

Day 64 – Creamy Chicken Nacho

Day 65 – Vegetarian Fajitas

Day 66 – Peach Chutney you can store in the freezer

Day 67 – Corn Casserole

Day 68 – Hard Boiled Eggs

Day 69 – Cuban Sandwich

Day 70 – Scalloped Peaches

Day 71 – Coconut Milk Poached Fish Fillets

Day 72 – Chicken Gyros

Day 73 – White Bean and Garlic Hummus

Day 74 – Easy Shredded Taco Beef

Day 75 – Rocky Road Chocolate Fondue

Day 76 – Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Day 77 – Meatball Stroganoff

Day 78 – Huli Huli Chicken Bacon Bites

Day 79 – Corn on the Cob

Day 80 – Cheesy Cauliflower

Day 81 – Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake

Day 82 – BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Day 83 – 7 Slow Cooker Meals in One Hour

Day 84 – Pad Thai

Day 85 – Brownies and Cherries

Day 86 – Chocolate Chip Granola 

Day 87 – Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Day 88 – Tamale Balls

Day 89 – Poached Salmon

Day 90 – Sweet and Sour Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Day 91 – Poached Stuffed Pears

Day 92 – Vegetarian Taco Dip

Day 93 – Red Thai Curry Turkey

Day 94 – Cowboy Casserole

Day 95 – Mango Meatballs

Day 96 – Zucchini Italiano

Day 97 – Basque Tuna with Potatoes

Day 98 – BBQ Nachos

Day 99 – Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

Day 100 – Cranberry Apple Butter

 

 

No Recipe Required + Simple Side Dish(es) = Easy Dinner!

Sometimes you just want to cook without having to put a lot of thought into it.  Or any thought into it.

A while back I wrote a series on No Recipe Required ideas.  Simple things to do with chicken, fish, beef or ground beef.  I may add to this series in the future and cover smoked sausage, ham, pork chops, etc.  But for now, this seems like a good time to show off these posts again.  Sometimes the good stuff gets buried on the blog.

no-recipe-required chicken

 No Recipe Required – Chicken

no-recipe-required-beef

 No Recipe Required – Beef

no-recipe-required-fish

 No Recipe Required – Fish

no-recipe-required-ground-beef

 No Recipe Required – Ground Beef

And because side dishes can get monotonous sometimes, here are 32 simple ideas to pair with the easy meals above.

32 Simple Side Dish Ideas

 32 Simple Side Dish Ideas

What are your favorite no recipe required meals?

Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in 1 Hour – May Plans

I put together another video for you (embedded at the bottom of this post), showing how I assemble 5-6 slow cooker freezer meals in just one hour.  This time, I grabbed my oldest daughter, Meredith to help me.

Meredith is getting married in less than a month, so I thought it might be good to show her how to stock the freezer quickly with slow cooker meals.

The thing about Meredith is that she is very picky.  She doesn’t like beef or comfort type foods.  She doesn’t like ketchup.  In fact, after the video she told me she tried not to make a face when I added the ketchup to the round steak recipe.  But you can see that she did make a face of dislike!  So funny!

Even after doing quite a few of these videos, I’m still not very comfortable with it.  I’m certainly no professional video maker!  But I hope they are a help to you in getting your own freezer stocked.

The plans, grocery list, recipes and instructions for the May Slow Cooker Freezer Meals are all included for members of the Weekly Meal Plans.  They are scheduled for the week of May 21, but members get access to the whole month at once, so they are downloadable now.

eat at home weekly meal plan slow cooker button

Here are the recipes included for this video.  The plans also have side dishes included.  I didn’t make the Blueberry Crisp in the video, but it’s also freezable and the instructions are included in the plans.

And here’s the video:

Recent Reads, Doppelgängers and Derby Day

Recent Reads

I decided to go back and finish The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I’m glad I did.  It was a lovely book, where the characters learn about love, forgiveness, grace and extending all of that not only to others, but also to themselves.  I’ve learned that I only like books that offer hope in the end.  The Language of Flowers offers that in abundance.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 4.19.00 PM

 

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith is the first book I ever preordered.  It came in the mail on Tuesday.  I am really enjoying it.  It’s worth getting the hard copy  instead of a digital version.  I’ve been doing most of my reading on my phone lately (Kindle app), but this book needs to be held in your hands.  It’s beautiful to flip through, but the words draw in the reader and are full of encouragement.

One of the first chapters tells the story of the many rental homes that Myquillyn and her family lived in.  It had me remembering all the places that Jim and I have lived.  I’ve thought about what I liked and didn’t like about each place.  What we did to decorate.  What I was too afraid to do, but wanted to (paint the harvest gold refrigerator and the cabinets in our first house).  If I’d had this book back then, that kitchen would have looked a lot different!   [Read more...]

Sweet and Sour Chicken Skillet – Basic Chicken Skillet Variation

Sweet and Sour Chicken Skillet

 

It’s amazing how many different ways you can accessorize chicken, onion, garlic and green pepper in a skillet.  It’s such a versatile and easy combination of food.  Everything I’ve made that started with Basic Chicken Skillet has tasted so different from the dish before it.

We love Sweet and Sour Chicken (old post, terrible photos) at our house.  The homemade recipe I use is a favorite, but it’s a bit of a pain to fix.  It’s just so messy.  The chicken gets marinated and then dusted in cornstarch and fried.  I make a huge mess doing it and it’s a little time consuming for an average weeknight.

This skillet version of sweet and sour chicken is really quick and easy though.  It skips the breading step, which saves a lot of mess and work.

Here’s what you’ll need for this simple version:   [Read more...]

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