Tag Archives: food

A Gift Idea for that Child who loves to bake and cook

My youngest just turned 12 and she has been baking and cooking for a good long while now. But I knew that something to encourage her baking and cooking was what I wanted to get her for her birthday. I looked and looked at subscription boxes for her, knowing she would love getting mail and getting to cook. But I just couldn’t justify it. The cost was high, HIGH! And, you had to buy the food to make it with. It might come with some of the spices but that was often all it had. Plus, she already knew how to cook the sorts of things that I saw in the examples. So, what to do?

I thought I would go buy her a bundle of good baking and cooking things. Then the winter storms hit and we have not left home since last Wednesday. (Her birthday was yesterday.) So, that left without a gift. Time for a brainstorm. . .

Birthday Baking Subscription to the rescue. I whipped out this simple tabbed card just for her.

And it was a hit. She spent some of her time that afternoon planning out her first bake. She scanned some of her cookbooks for a recipe and then decided what she wanted. Now, when it thaws out and it is safe for us to hit the grocery store and/or the craft/baking store, we are tackling hot cocoa bombs. Unless she changes her mind. 🙂

It spreads out the cost for something that she is excited about and it feeds her interests and curiosity. It is the gift of experience and time, both of which are invaluable for our children. She is so excited to have unlimited opportunity to explore recipes that may be technically out of her reach. But she can try!

Lori, At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew Round Up for more great posts to read.

Christmas Time = Sucker Making Time

Holiday traditions are special. This is just another one of them because it has a long-standing history in our family, dating from my mother’s childhood. Enjoy the pictures of making cinnamon suckers.

Lori, At Home.

Breakfast ~ a list of options and ideas

Breakfast ideas

As I did with snacks, I am going to attempt to do with breakfast. We do a “get your own” breakfast because we allow the girls to sleep until they wake naturally and my husband works hours that mean mornings don’t start until at least 9 am. So, options are always good and appreciated. Especially when you have children that don’t like the typical breakfast foods on a regular basis. They have learned that high carbohydrate breakfasts don’t last them very long so they do tend to eat a pretty good breakfast, when they eat. I do have one child, who has always needed lots of sleep. (She slept through the night from birth and was a premie child at that! Yes, I count my blessings with that.) She tends to wake late enough in the morning that she gets more a of snack when she is hungry rather than a full breakfast.

So, ideas –

  • leftovers
  • oatmeal (regular, not the sugary prepackaged kind)
  • nuts
  • fruit (oranges, apples, canned fruits, bananas, etc.)
  • lunchmeat
  • cheese
  • bacon (we cook it as needed in the microwave)
  • eggs – scrambled, omelet, hard-boiled
  • homemade granola
  • Greek yogurt – adds in can include granola, maple syrup, fruit
  • cottage cheese – often add fruit
  • breakfast casserole – like with eggs, spinach, and a meat of some sort
  • breakfast burritos – scrambled eggs with your choice of add-ins like cheese, green chili, bell peppers, onion, meat, etc.
  • smoothies – all sorts of options here!
  • homemade pancakes or waffles with pure maple syrup (I do a wheat-free, corn-free version for myself and my husband)
  • homemade donuts (lots less sugar this way and we can add applesauce and other healthy things; again, I have a wheat-free, corn-free recipe that I use for myself and my husband)
  • muffins (see note on donuts)

There are probably more options that come to mind for you and I would love to add them to my list. Grab-and-go options are definitely the most common option around here or those with simple, short cook times. Obviously, you could add cereals and poptarts and granola bars or breakfast bars. We just don’t tend to use those things for breakfast so they aren’t listed here. But please – add your favorites in the comments. I like adding more to my list.

Lori, At Home.



Fermentools for Easy Fermenting ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Fermenting made Easy

Have you heard more and more about how good fermented foods are for you but are a bit timid about getting started? Me, too! Fermentools is a company that really simplifies what is needed to get started and has kits available that get you going right away. I received the Starter Kit for this review.


Fermentools is a family company, begun in 2013. Cassie and Alex Deputie are the current owners and they have a passion for healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. They want to share this with others and run Fermentools as a family. Every package shipped from Fermentools is packed with care.

The Starter Kit contained the following pieces to get me started on my fermented foods journey:Starter-Kit

  • 1 stainless steel lid
  • 1 glass fermentation weight (fits into a wide mouth jar)
  • 1 air lock
  • 1 rubber stopper with hole for air lock
  • 1 rubber stopper without hole
  • 1 rubber gasket
  • Himalayan powdered salt
  • Instruction guide and information, including a basic sauerkraut recipe

I had to find a wide mouth canning jar but this system will fit on a pint or quart jar. I used a quart because it is the only wide mouth jar I could find at the house.

All materials in the Starter Kit are of the highest quality. Surgical quality stainless steel and thick glass weights allow you to have an easier time of learning to ferment food. The salt is powdered, which means it dissolves more easily, and it is high quality containing many of the trace minerals our bodies need. Whether you are ordering a started kit or any of their other sets and pieces, you will get this same high quality and it will be packed with care.

Sauerkraut getting ready with Fermentools

Fermentools air lock system with sauerkraut

I started with sauerkraut since it was inexpensive (a head of cabbage was only a couple of dollars), just in case I made a mistake and had to throw the whole thing out. I chopped the cabbage, pounded it until the liquid came out, packed it into the jar, and added the brine (based off of the size of jar and using the measurement on the salt package).I added the thick glass weight to keep the cabbage submerged during the fermentation process. I added the lid and the air lock system, designed to allow some safe air flow but to keep out pests and bacteria that you don’t want. I covered it and left it sitting in a dark corner of the counter for about 10 days.

sauerkraut made easily with the Fermentools Starter Kit

I bravely took the cover off and then the lid and air lock system. The sauerkraut smelled right and looked right, so I braved a taste, absolutely sure I had bombed somehow. It tasted – well – good. Salty but good! The briney taste was just right. I was so surprised but pleased. I replaced the air lock lid with a regular canning lid and put it in the fridge. I have eaten a couple of tablespoons a day since, especially enjoying it with sausage one night at dinner. No one else has wanted to eat any but that’s okay for now.

sauerkraut with sausage and cauliflower made with Fermentools

My other food trial was fermented Israeli salad. I was, happily, educated on this yummy salad by another Crew member. When she talked about it, I just knew I had to try it. I mean, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions? What else could you want? Plus, it had a short ferment time. That was really good because I really wanted to try this salad.

fermented Israeli Salad

I found a recipe for it on the Fermentools site and just layered it all into the jar.  I added the brine and let it sit for about 24 hours. YUM!!! I ate about 2/3 of it for dinner that night. The rest I ate for dinner tonight. 🙂 This is a definite recommend!

I am going to continue trying a few different fermented food using this simple system. I know that with the family medical history I have, eating fermented foods is a great way to try to stay healthy and keeping a healthy gut. This system makes fermenting small amounts of food easy.


However, if you have a bigger harvest or find a great buy at the farmer’s market, Fermentools has kits in larger quantities and/or you can buy the pieces you need. I highly suggest that if you are interested at all, take advantage of the coupon the company is offering right now. You just might find yourself surprised at how easy it is to ferment food and change one small part of your diet to be a bit healthier.

Coupon Code: CREW2020
Amount: 15% discount
Good through: June 30, 2020

If you have questions, the Fermentools website has lots of answers and a contact form to ask questions through. You can also connect with them on social media:




Lori, At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew had over 60 families trying Fermentools and their Starter Kit. Visit the Crew to read what they had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

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Snacks – a list of (mostly) healthy ideas


Years ago, I made a few different lists of healthy options for various times of day that we need to eat. I had two young children at the time and the lists were invaluable for my scattered thought processes. It made it possible for me to quickly pack a food bag for my husband who was working 12-18 hour days and I could also get a healthy snack for the girls without too much thought.

We have been talking about needing to redo those lists since we don’t eat so many of the food on them now, mostly due to allergies. This list will not necessarily be allergy specific since our allergies are all so varied. Here’s the “new” list:

  • fresh fruit – apple, orange, banana, grape, blueberries, peaches, pears
  • dried fruit – dates, apricots, raisins, craisins
  • nuts – we keep almonds and pecans
  • cheese – stick or cut a couple of slices
  • lunch meat roll-up – just a piece of meat, maybe with a piece of cheese
  • applesauce
  • almond butter and honey
  • peanut butter and honey
  • graham cracker with almond butter or peanut butter
  • hard boiled egg
  • granola
  • yogurt (can add granola)
  • cottage cheese (can add fruit)
  • goldfish (two of the girls like to mix this with crasins)
  • Cheez-its
  • canned fruit – mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, mixed fruit
  • homemade pudding or jello
  • veggies – carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers
  • hummus (dip with veggies or crackers)
  • tortilla – can add cheese
  • crackers – I prefer the HEB store brand of rice crackers
  • salad
  • leftovers
  • smoothies – tons of recipes out there to choose what you like
  • popcorn – air popped on the stove top is our favorite

Few of these require pre-planning, other than shopping, which is important for us. We often need to grab a quick snack on the way to dance classes and I need to add 2 or 3 each day to my husband’s food bag for work since he works 10 hour shifts now with unpredictable ability to stop and eat. I know he likes to have something different so having a list like this helps me vary what I pack for him.

What would you add to the list? Choices are fabulous to have!

Lori, At Home.


Linking up with the Crew for a healthy eating post over at A Net In Time.

snack ideas

Pizza Yum ~ recipe


I have been trying to find a decent recipe for wheat-free, corn-free tasty pizza crust for a long time. We have, over the years, found a couple that were fine. Nothing made with a bought mix. Those mixes, for some reason, do a number on my stomach. A few weeks ago, though, I thought a good deal about what I like in a pizza crust and what there was in the crusts that were “okay”. I then took that and wrote my own.

It must be cooked on parchment paper and we have found that it cooks best on parchment paper over a heavy-duty aluminum cookie sheet. A stone works fine but it does prohibit some of the crispness. Toppings are totally your choice. We typically have turkey pepperoni and cooked ground turkey on hand. We make our own sauce using a can of tomato paste and adding the desired amount of water to get it to the consistency we want. We also add Italian seasonings to it. I like onions and bell peppers and black olives on my pizza, too.

So top it with whatever you like. I’ll bet a garlic butter sauce instead of the typical tomato would be yummy, also. Maybe this week I’ll try that.

Wheat-Free Pizza

2 T ground flax seed
4 T water
6 T almond flour
2 T white rice flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t xantham gum
6 T grated parmesan cheese
6 T grated mozzarella cheese
1-2 T milk or water

Combine flax seed and water and set aside.

Mix together the remaining ingredients, except milk or water. Add the flax/water mixture to the dry ingredients and 1 T milk. Mix until it all comes together to form a ball. Add more milk if needed.

pizza crust

Crust after the first cooking time. A little brown on the cheese just adds to the yummy taste!

Dump it onto the parchment paper and use a wooden spoon dipped in water to flatten it out as thin as you can. Continue to dip the spoon in water and flatten with the back side of the spoon as often as needed so that the mixture will spread and not stick to the spoon.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degree F.

Take out and top as desired.

Bake for 5-10 minutes more. 5 minutes will get your cheese melted. 10 minutes will get it really gooey and just a tidge of brown on the melted cheese (my perfectly cooked point).

Let sit for 5 minutes or so and then cut and enjoy.


We have tried this recipe a number of times now and I feel like we have it down to a decent place. It is still pretty easy to feel like it is a bit salty so if you are sensitive to salt, you might want to cut that back some.

Lori, At Home.

Linking up with the Crew through A Net In Time in this week’s healthy eating challenge.

Allowing Cooking (and an idea to make it easier on you, Mom!)

Allowing Cooking

Does the thought of allowing your child to take over the kitchen scare you? It does me! At least in some ways. I KNOW I will have more clean up. I KNOW I will have a ton of questions. I KNOW I will be exhausted by the end of it. But, I also know that it will be good for her.

Miss J absolutely loves cooking. I mean it is one of her favorite things and she gets super excited to get a cookbook as a gift. She has been gifted a number of cookbooks over the past couple of years and she reads through them, dreaming of making the lovely food found inside.


For Christmas a few weeks ago, she received The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs. She has gone through it over and over, marking recipes she wants to try. Tonight, she dove in. She made dinner and dessert for me. She made the tear-and-share pizza rolls for dinner and she made cakepops for after. She did a fabulous job.

One idea I want to share about helping youngsters learn to cook well – I acted as sous chef. By getting out and putting away ingredients, cleaning up small messes as they occur, helping prep and guide, the recipe ran smoother and I was able to guide before an issue happened. I was able to do the clean up for her and she felt very confident in her ability. She made a beautiful dinner and we had a great time cooking together. But she was in charge.

** I know someone out there is thinking “But she needs to learn to clean up after herself in the kitchen!” True. I agree. She does. And we talk about that. But we enjoy cooking together and, as I said before, this is a great way to guide the process without the child feeling like mom is watching over her shoulder and not trusting.

Learning confidence in the kitchen is a huge life skill. It is one that can save literally thousands of dollars. I know people who claim they have to eat out a lot because all they know how to make is frozen pizza and cereal. That is not a good claim to fame. So, let’s teach our children better, healthier, cheaper ways. And they will love it. The more they cook, the more they will enjoy it.

Yes, it will be challenging sometimes. Yes, it will be rough. Yes, it will be messy. Yes, it will require lots and lots and lots of clean up. (Did I mention I still have a floor to sweep and mop?) But it will be worth it all in the long run.

So, what is your family going to cook tonight?

Lori, At Home.

Allowing Cooking and idea


Yummy Nuggets ~ recipe

a tasty wheat-free recipe

My mom called the other day to let me know about a recipe she had come across for some wheat-free, healthy cookies. These little nuggets are YUMMY! And they are so simple. I don’t know where she got the recipe but it is a winner.

Do you remember Shaklee? They had these protein bars that I remember liking. A lot. These little nuggets taste like those protein bars we used to get to have once in a while when we were kids. They have a chocolatey outside and a creamy, nutty, sweet, fluffy inside. They are fabulous. And they take just a few minutes to whip up.

At Home Dad thought they were more like a truffle but you can call them whatever you want – cookie, nugget, truffle. I’ll just call them tasty.

The Recipe:

1/2 C nut butter – I used almond. Mom used cashew. You can use peanut or whatever you’ve got.

1/2 C coconut flour

1/4 C maple syrup

Mix these three together. Then roll the mixture into balls. I did mine about 1 inch across. Let them chill in the fridge while you do the next part.

Melt 1/2 C chocolate chips or the equivalent. I did this in the microwave in 15 second bursts at 60% power, stirring in between.

Take the balls out of the fridge and coat them in the melted chocolate. Let them chill a bit longer in the fridge to set the chocolate and you are good to go. You might want to store them in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting.

Makes about 12. (I halved the recipe and it made 6.)


Yummy Nuggets

Lori, At Home.


Ginger Cookies

As I was making granola today, I flipped past a recipe from my childhood – ginger snaps. I haven’t had these in quite a while and they suddenly were something I wanted. Have you ever had that happen to you? Well, I caved to the craving and figured I would write a recipe that would do the job. And I did! No wheat. No corn. No dairy. No soy. Reduced sugar. Total yum!

ginger cookies (1)


1/2 C coconut oil
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
1/4 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t cloves
1 t ginger
1/2 C coconut flour
1 1/2 C almond flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer bowl, combine the oil and the sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix. Then add the molasses and mix well.

Add the sale, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to the mixture and combine.

Slowly add the flours to the mixture. Mix on medium until well combined.

Scoop out in balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes. Remove to a towel to continue cooling.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Lori, At Home.


Chicken with Onions and Tomatoes ~ recipe

Are you ready for another easy one? I mean, put it in the skillet, cover, and let cook. No standing over it waiting and turning and adding, etc. We loved this and it tasted so yummy!

chicken with onions and tomatoes


  • 6 pieces of chicken (I used large tenders and this is what fit in my skillet; use whatever fits)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • 1 15 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
  • one medium onion, sliced
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder – to taste

Directions –

Put the oil in the skillet and heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides. Add the tomatoes over the top. Layer the onions on. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover and let cook over medium heat about 30 minutes or until done.
Remove the chicken and simmer the tomatoes and onions until the liquid is gone. Watch so that it doesn’t burn.
Place the chicken in a serving dish and pour the onions and tomatoes over it. Serve.

I served this with brown rice, steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower, and some corn. It was a filling, healthy, and yummy dinner. The girls discussed who was going to get the last piece of chicken. (Turned out – no one ate it since I had also decided to give them something sweet to eat – ice cream sodas – another yum!)

chicken with onions and tomatoes copy

While this isn’t a 30 minute recipe, it is simple and doesn’t take even an hour start to finish. Most of that time, I wasn’t even tending to the cooking dishes. I did check them but didn’t have to hover. It was lovely.

Don’t you just love it when a meal goes well?

Lori, At Home.

Part of the Homeschool Review Crew Homeschool Collection. Click the image below to see the entire collection for March 2019.


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