Monthly Archives: November 2007

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat

The Winter Bazaar

A few months ago, I bought a children’s book by Naomi Howland with this title.  It is a Chanukah Story about a pan that keeps frying up latkes until the secret words are spoken to make it stop.  It’s a neat, old folk story that appears in different cultures with a different form.  It’s the same story as Strega Nona, but with latkes instead of pasta.

We’ve been reading this book over and over for a while.  Now, we are going to make our own Latkes as Chanukah starts in about a week.  My kids have very little exposure to Judaism, and what better way to connect with another culture than by food?  You could also try teaching your children the art of kvetching, like one of my friends did but I think I will stick with the potato pancakes.

Unless you have a magic pan, you will need to fry them up yourself so obviously the kids can’t help with that part.  The easiest way to make them is simply to use a box of Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix.  It’s in the ‘ethnic’ section of pretty much every grocery store in town. 


Simply follow the directions on the box, and serve with applesauce. If you need some, head over to my house because I still have a freezer full of it.

For more seasonal ideas, head over to Scribbit’s Winter Bazaar.




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Tasty – Uhhh, Thursday?

Burrito, Taco

The other night at work, I stayed late to finish a project.  My boss, Cleaver Mama, absolutely loves “On The Border“.  She had some leftover chips laying around.  I was alone.  I was hungry.  I figured they were fair game. Also, she is too busy to read my blog right now so I’ll tell you all… I ate the chips.

The need for more chips was the main reason for choosing On The Border as the weekly lunch date with my kids. The secondary reason was that I had a coupon.  Do you know how cheap I am? The coupon was for $5 off a $20 meal.  I went online before we left, looked up the menu, and figured out how close I could get to $20.  

I had fajitas. My kids were so excited about the ‘assembly’ aspect of it they wrapped everything in my tortillas.  Corn dog? Wrap it up.  Guacamole? Yup.  A few french fries? Mmm! I would seriously recommend that On the Border develop some type of Kid Friendly Fajita meal, similar to the ‘make your own pizza’ deal at Pietros.  Just do away with those sizzling hot plates for the kids and I think it would be a big hit. 

Our waitress was wonderful.  She was a Napkin Ninja; quietly swooping in and delivering more napkins before I needed them. She very discretely told me the kids’ meals came with desert if I wanted them to have it. It was a small (but perfectly sized) ice cream sundae with one scoop of ice cream, a little tiny bit of chocolate syrup, about a tablespoon of whipped cream, and a cherry.

And the coupon? The bill came to $20.07 – $5.00 = $15.07. Stick with me, kid.  I love a good deal. And chips.

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An Award I Won! And One I Didn’t.


Well, get this! I’ve been give the Wise Owl Award from my pal at The Diaper Diaries.  I am truly flattered, thank you! I would agree that I have been given a good deal of wisdom. Unfortunately, I would also have to agree with anyone who says that it is underutilized a good portion of the time.

Here is an award I will most certainly NOT need to worry about writing an acceptance speech for.  That would be Mother of the Year.  Yesterday, while I was having a brief meeting in the lobby of the Health Department, Maybelle pushed the elevator button, and stepped on when the doors opened.  They closed, she went up a floor, and got off. 

This was about the time I noticed she wasn’t standing by me anymore. 

Poor A.P. was in complete distress.  The person I was meeting with very kindly went up to the next floor to retrieve her, and I stayed put in case she came back down on her own.  A few moments later, she emerged from the elevator, all smiles.  Just going for a little ride, you know how it is.  Or hopefully you keep better track of your children and you don’t know how it is. Wise? Maybe. Observant? Not so much.


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This Weeks’ Eats

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I have a few more weeks to work, so please bear with these next few Menu Plan Mondays!  My husband has been doing an AWESOME job with the ‘evening’ duties at home and I am really trying to make the dinner stuff simple for him.  My poor crock pot is begging for mercy but it’s work is not done yet.


Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Bakery Rolls

  • meat from 1 cooked chicken; cubed (If you wonder why I have so much cooked chicken in my recipes; it is because I slink around the Meijer deli at closing time until they mark their rotisserie chickens down to 1/2 price. I grab as many as I can and then freeze them for later.)
  • mayonnaise
  • celery sliced very thin
  • mustard
  • Lowry’s Seasoning Salt

Mix ingredients, seasoning to taste and adding mustard/mayo to desired thickenss.

Crock Pot Baked Beans

  • 1 pound navy beans, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 or 6 pieces of bacon, diced, or about
    1/4 pound salt pork, sliced
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup sorghum molasses or regular molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Soak beans overnight in a large bowl. Drain; put in a large stockpot. Cover with 5 cups fresh water and simmer over medium-low heat on stovetop until tender, about 1 hour. Drain beans, reserving 2 cups of the liquid. Add beans to the slow cooker. In a skillet over medium heat, fry bacon or salt pork until browned; stir into the beans in crockpot. Combine tomato juice, the chopped onion, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, black pepper and chili powder; add to beans and stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, until beans are tender and flavorful. Check and add a little of the reserved liquid as necessary.

Frozen peas (cooked of course)


Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, eggs, toast, and fruit


Individual strombolis made with salami, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and thawed frozen bread dough for a crust. No recipe; just thrown together then baked at about 400 for about 20 minutes.

Served with extra sauce for dippin’, and a green salad.


 Beef Pot Pie

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups cubed leftover beef
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas and carrots, cooked and drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • pie pastry for 1-crust pie
  • evaporated milk or regular milk

In a medium saucepan, cook onion in butter until onion is tender. Stir in flour and salt until smooth and bubbly. Stir in beef broth. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly.

Add leftover beef, peas and carrots, and parsley; heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if necessary. Pour beef mixture into a 2-quart casserole. Prepare pastry; roll out to about 1/2-inch larger than casserole top. Place over hot beef mixture. Cut several slits in the top for steam escape, turn edge under and crimp all around. Brush lightly with milk. Bake beef pot pie at 450° for 20 to 25 minutes.

This recipe is from Allrecipes.  How convenient; I have exactly one pie crust left over from Thanksgiving Pie Making.


Pizza night 🙂

For more Menu Plan Monday (or lots and lots and LOTS of ideas about how to get your home in order), head over to “I’m an Organizing Junkie!”


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Let It Snow!

j0189254.gifI brought you the news about the Grand Rapids Public Library winter adult reading program.  Starting December 1, it’s time for you KDL-ers to have your fun too.

If you’ve participated in KDL’s reading club in the past, you know that they do a ‘bingo’ card. You have to complete different categories of books.  The details for the “Let It Snow!” reading club are here. You have until March 1 to complete it.  Let’s get reading, Grand Rapids!

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What? More Books?

Earlier this month, when Christmas seemed waaaay far away, I wrote a “Recall Free Christmas List for Young Grand Rapidians“.  I have an addition to that list, and I will add it to my Calendar as well.

Twice a year, the Scholastic warehouse in Caledonia has a huge book sale (8280 Broadmoor SE – look for the big Clifford truck.  It’s on the east side of the road).  There are a few intermittent smaller sales during the year too, but in my opinion they aren’t really worth it. The May and December sales are the biggies. 

If you are among those of us who clip coupons, use a budget, but have no qualms whatsoever about spending endless amounts of money on children’s books, come to this sale!

The sale is Thursday, 12/06/2007 through Wednesday, 12/19/2007.  The specific dates and times are:

  • Thurs & Fri, Dec 6 & 7, 9-7
  • Sat, Dec 8 & 15, 9-3, Closed Sundays
  • Mon-Fri, Dec 10-14, 9-7
  • Mon-Wed, Dec 17-19, 9-5

As usual, I have a strategy. 

First; I go without children.  This is a warehouse, with shelves full of books. For whatever reason, pulling stacks of books off of these shelves  it is completely irresistable to children. No problem; put them in the cart, right? Whatever.  These are very small carts.  I have one child who is very coordinated and can climb out, and one who is very clumsy and falls out. 

Next, I get the most for my money. If you ‘sign up’ for a Fast Cart Pass on the website ahead of time you can get a coupon for $10 off of a minimum $50 purchase.  Take a calculator and paper so you can keep track of what you have spent and when you get to $50, stop. 

If you spend more than $50, the percentage you are getting off goes down.  Try and get as close to that $50 mark as possible. The books are half off the cover price so $50 buys a LOT of books.  Restrain yourself. There will be another sale in May. This is your mantra. 

I can’t always say this for Big Binder. but I have good news even for those of you who don’t live in Grand Rapids! There are warehouse sales all over the country! Just click on your state to see if there are any near you. 


Filed under Breaking News