About Michele

Michele, wife of 18 years to Robert (affectionately known as The Excellent Husband), and mother of three wonderful children, desires to encourage women to recognize their worth that is far above rubies. She serves her Savior, homeschools, gardens, spends time outdoors, cooks and bakes from scratch, knits, sews, and enjoys anything related to family. And now she carries around a little book in her pocket where she scratches notes on what to blog about.

Sorta Blueberry Banana Muffins

These sweet snacks are muffin-ISH. Sort of muffins. You know how some recipes claim you’ll never know the difference between their end product and that of a famous bakery or coffee chain? I’m not claiming that here. Let’s face it: these are basically gluten-free, non-fat, no sugar treats. Personally, I think these muffins are pretty tasty but they do not have a cake-like crumb to them as most flour, egg, and oil containing ones do. Nevertheless, their moist texture goes nicely with the blueberries, sweet bananas, and especially the lemon zest. Don’t skip the lemon zest!

Hope you enjoy these Sorta Muffins as a healthy alternative to the Real Thing as much as I do. 

3 ripe bananas
1/4c apple sauce
1/2c egg whites
1t lemon zest
1/2t vanilla
1/4c sweetener of choice (sugar, stevia, truvia, etc. – but not liquid sweetener)
1c oats
1/2c oat flour
1.5t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
1/8t salt
1c frozen or fresh blueberries

 

Heat oven to 350 and put cupcake papers in 1 muffin tin (or grease muffin tin).
 
Mash bananas in a bowl. Add apple sauce, egg whites, lemon zest, vanilla, and sweetener. Stir to combine.
 
In a separate bowl combine oats, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix. Then add to the banana mixture and stir till just combined. Add blueberries and fold in.
 
Fill 12 muffins cups almost to the top and bake for approximately 17 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Let cool. Enjoy!

 

 

Food Dehydrator, Here I Come!

Looking forward to the arrival of my new food dehydrator. Will gladly take any dehydrating recipes, tips, and advice in the comments. Bananas and apples are ready for when the Amazon truck pulls up!

I settled on the Presto 06301 based on both the reviews and the price. I’ll definitely post some pics soon – especially of a fantastic-looking recipe that I’m hoping to try.
 

Dehydrated apples!

Tonight’s Dinner: Sausage & Gravy on Biscuits

I love this meal because it’s fast and can almost always be made with ingredients on hand if you have some sausage in your freezer. I crumble, saute, and drain sausage in advance, then freeze it in small and large freezer bags. The small ones come out on a weekend to add to breakfast, or get tossed in a soup for some extra flavor, or can be used for a quick pizza topping. The large ones can be used for sausage gravy or as a main pasta dish.

Sausage Gravy with Biscuits
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds crumbled sausage, cooked
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 3-4 cups milk
  4. salt
  5. pepper
  6. refrigerated, frozen, or homemade biscuits
Instructions
  1. Add sausage to a pan and cover with the flour. Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in milk. You can adjust the amount of milk as the the gravy thickens. To thin it out, simply add a little more milk at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over warm biscuits.
Notes
  1. In my opinion, this dish needs a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper!
The Excellent Wife http://theexcellentwife.com/

Some Eclipse Links for You and Your Family

Here are some of my favorite links about tomorrow’s eclipse:

This short National Geographic video will psych you up to see the eclipse.

This article at Vox does a nice job of answering the questions you may have been too embarrassed to ask. And there’s just enough science thrown in to make you feel smart!

Of course everyone knows that you cannot safely look directly at a solar eclipse of the sun, right? NASA explains each phase of the eclipse and how to view.

Finally, if you’d rather watch the eclipse safely from the comfort of your own home, then watch the event live at NASA.

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Also check out Lunar Eclipses in the Bible.

5 Free Reads for August with Amazon Prime

Did you know certain Audible narrations come free with your Amazon Prime membership?

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From Amazon:

If you never seem to have time to read all the books on your list (and who does?), Prime Reading with Audible narration could be your new best friend. It’s easy to switch between reading and listening on multiple devices, so you can zip through books while driving, doing yard work or preparing dinner.

Click HERE for August’s selections.

12 Ways to Get Your Child to Eat Anything

 

A question I get all the time is, “How do you get your children to eat so well?” As toddlers my children enjoyed foods like salmon, beets, spinach, and pork. Today as teenagers they eat all kinds of international cuisines and even try odd foods like goat and alligator! Many parents struggle with picky eaters. Here are a few ideas to get your young ones eating more of the foods you desire them to eat:

1

attitude – Your attitude means everything! We never made a big deal out of new foods to try. Instead, we’d simply serve dinner as usual without comment. Our children were used to constantly trying new things, and rarely questioned what was put down in front of them. They simply started eating as we did. 

2

never say “you wont like this” – Oh my goodness, never use those words or anything similar! Going along with the suggestion above, try to stay positive about new foods and serve them without hesitation. 

3

start early and squish it – Once we introduced all the major food types (to be sure there were no allergies) we started feeding the children everything we were eating. By using a food mill we squished up basically anything and everything. Add a little water to chicken and squish it up. Same with veggies, fruits, soups, etc. Our babies ate the same meals we did. We rarely bought baby food and saved tons of money as a result. This didn’t require any extra baby-food-making time either. Which leads me to…

4

parents have to be willing to eat, too – Are you or your spouse a picky eater? If you want your children to try new foods then you might want to give them a shot, too! Children love to look to parents as role models. Try not to show your dislike too dramatically when you don’t care to eat something.  Which reminds me…

5

try not to use the words “I don’t like it” – Rather, we asked our children to say “I don’t care for this, thank you.” First, it sounds more polite – especially when you are the guests of friends or family, and second it helps prevent a negative, complaining attitude about food.

6

never feed them junk at home – don’t buy mac-n-cheese in a box, chicken nuggets, or hot dogs. Avoid convenience foods. Stick to as healthy a diet as possible using fresh meats, dairy, and produce. You’ll save money this way and trust me, they will not be deprived! Why not? Because when you go to Little Jimmy’s birthday party, Grandma’s house, or the next class field trip there will be plenty of hot dogs and chicken nuggets. I promise your children will never miss out on these things if you don’t serve them at home. P.S. we used most breakfast cereals as treats here, not breakfast. 

7

order off the adult menu – What do you always see on the kid’s menu? Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders, and the likes. If they’re too young, just have them share some of your meal, and if they’re not – order them a real adult meal and take the leftovers home for tomorrow!

8

never cook two meals – Serving pork chops for dinner? If your child won’t eat, don’t cook a separate meal just for them. Take note of meals they absolutely do not care for and perhaps serve a healthy side dish next time that will substitute for the protein they don’t enjoy. But don’t take a box of mac-n-cheese out of the pantry and make a whole different meal for them!

9

don’t cave in when it comes to dessert – If your child refuses to eat dinner, tell them they may make that decision, but there will be no dessert afterward. It’s so easy for a child to ignore their meal knowing they will have cake later! Even if your dessert is an apple cut up on a plate, try not to cave in.

10

teach them to cook – Involve your children as much as possible in the planning and cooking of meals. Even little ones can hand you items as you cook or help set a table. Older children can learn how to prepare a meal with a protein, vegetable, and carb, and they can also learn how much each meal costs to prepare.

11

try new meals and don’t give up on old ones – I try new meals every week. The Internet has so many recipes to try I could make a new one every day and still never run out! Don’t give up on meals that your child didn’t like the first time around. They say (whoever they are!) that tastes change as a child grows. Maybe if your child didn’t like grilled salmon, you might try serving it in a lime-honey glaze next time. Keep a list of meals your whole family enjoys and mix in these tried-and-true ones with new and exciting meals. See a cool post on that here.

12

smaller portions – I’m not a Food Waster. I just can’t throw it out. Start off with smaller portions of food when trying something new. Children can always come back for seconds and mine almost always did. 

 

Do you have other suggestions? Leave comments below. Happy eating!

{xo} 

 

Weekly Meals for March 5th, 2017

I haven’t posted one of these in a long, long time!  Back in the day I posted what our family would eat in a week and how much our grocery bill came to. Back then, with three little ones, the cost was usually around $100/week. Now those three babies are three hungry teenagers and the meals come to about $150/week.

Here’s what we’re eating for dinners this week for about $150:

Image result for PRESSURE-COOKER BEER-AND-MUSTARD PULLED TURKEY

This is a beer and mustard pulled turkey dish served with warm, soft tortillas and pico de gallo. The recipe can be found here.

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Pho Ga is a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup! We love it because you can top it with all kinds of healthy veggies and herbs. Make it as spicy as you want. The recipe is here.

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Cowboy chili! Served with a salad and all kinds of tasty toppings, this one is always a favorite at our house. Recipe is here.

Image result for kidney bean etouffee epicurious

Kidney bean etouffee with a scoop of white rice in the middle. An inexpensive and protein-filled meal that goes well with a salad on the side. Find the recipe here.

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Bowls of spiced coconut chicken and rice. Recipe found here.

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Mmmmm. A shredded flank steak cooked in red wine sauce. It’s spicy and, to make it Cuban-style, we add lots of sliced green olives. Recipe is here.

In addition to these fabulous dinners we will have meatball subs and salad. For lunches, everyone gets leftovers from whatever we ate the night before. And breakfasts consist of homemade granola, eggs, English muffins, pancakes, waffles, or sometimes a special dish like Dutch Baby pancakes. 

Hope this inspires you to plan ahead, shop from your grocery store’s circular, and come up with a delicious menu that will save you money!

XO

 

 

A Free Cookbook for Cooking on a Budget

These frugal recipes look fantastic!

Sheet Pan Dinners- HERO IMAGE / Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Ali Nardi

Find the free cookbook HERE.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a poet and essayist who recently published The New Economy Chapbook Cookbook: Volume 1, a collection of fortifying recipes for cooking on a budget that’s available for free on the internet. Its contributors are largely poets, other writers, activists—and passionate home cooks. Calvocoressi, who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, solicited their recipes on Facebook and compiled them into a zine-like volume: casually organized, refreshingly anti-aesthetic, and filled with tender personal stories of getting by in tough times. I called her up to hear more about the project.

You can read the entire article on the Epicurious website here.