Quick and Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

Quick and Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

I really had no intention to make peanut butter.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of homemade nut butters.  I've done sunbutter before, and it was great.  But I try to prioritize my time and making all my nut butters at home has never really made it to the top of my list of things I should be doing.

But I love peanuts.  I mean, I love roasted, salted peanuts.  A quick handful or two is an awesome snack - it satisfies my need for crunchy and salty, and gives me a little protein.  I bought some peanuts a couple weeks ago, thinking I was buying roasted and salted peanuts. Only to get home and realize that what I had grabbed was roasted and NOT salted. (That's what happens when you're trying to squeeze in a quick grocery trip in between pickups and dropoffs.) As far as I'm concerned, there is no place in my life for snacking on nuts that aren't salted.  I know you raw nut lovers can disagree, but I love my salt. 

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Free Christmas Printables

Free Christmas Printables For Kids

I made up a couple of quick printables for my kids for this December & holiday season, so I thought I’d share them here with you.

Click the image to download and print

Click the image to download and print

Christmas wish list printable

The first thing here is a free Christmas wish list printable.

I like the ideas I’ve seen folks talk about that focus on four gift ideas - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read - so I went with that structure.

I also wanted to encourage them to think about someone else this Christmas, so I added a section for add their thoughts about a wish for someone else.

You can click on the image to get to a downloadable and printable pdf.


click the image to download and print

click the image to download and print

December Kindness Bingo

The second one is a fun little Kindness Bingo activity for the month.

I wanted something to help get us in the spirit of kindness and giving this year, without spending a lot of money. looked at a bunch of “random acts of kindness” things for kids online, but frankly they all looked like a whole bunch of work for me.

I wanted to come up with something that would get my kids thinking of and being kind to others, without just straight up creating a lot of extra work for myself. I’m exhausted enough as it is.

So I came up with this. They are mostly things the kids can do at home, independently, with supplies we already have. The younger ones might need a little help with a few these, but I mostly tried to add things that I knew my kids were capable of doing on their own. I wanted this for two reasons - one, because it’s less work for a lazy/tired mom; and two, because I think the act of kindness means a lot more when it’s really their own work.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and have some fun with these!

Can you color brown eggs?

Yes! You totally can! 

I think we all got in such a habit of dying white eggs that we've just been convinced that brown eggs won't work. But they definitely do, and I think they make some of the prettiest colors. You have to let them sit in the dye a little longer to get the color to really soak in, but the wait is worth it. You end up with beautifully rich colors that I think look more "earthy" than the same store bought egg dye applied to white eggs. 

We did a little comparison - these eggs were all dyed with the standard old store bought egg dye, mixed with vinegar according to the package instructions for vibrant colors. The group on the left are brown eggs (except the blue row), the group on the right are white eggs. (and all the little white marks are just where my kids drew on the eggs with the wax crayon).

Can you dye brown eggs for Easter?

Brown eggs are usually more expensive, so I don't know that I would go out and buy them just for Easter egg dying. But if you have them and weren't sure if you could use them - go for it! I absolutely love how they turned out. 

 

 
 
How to dye brown eggs for easter! from WhatLisaCooks.com
 

Homemade "instant" oatmeal

Homemade "instant" oatmeal

It totally kills me that my kids prefer those instant oatmeal packets over real cooked oats.  But lately I'm really trying to focus on choosing my battles, and trying to force people to learn to like oatmeal with some texture over the creamy, mushy stuff, just seems like a fight that's not worth fighting at this stage, especially on an already manic school day morning.  But instant oatmeal packets have all kinds of strikes against them, and I just can't bring myself to buy them any more.  The artificial flavorings in so many of the mainstream brands, the amount of sugar, and the cost - with 4 kids eating two packets each, we would use whole box at one meal.  I have bought some organic ones before, which are a little better, but they still have so much sugar and are even more expensive. I had seen several mentions on various food blogs and pinterest boards about making your own, so I thought I'd give it a try. 

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Lazy mom's fish tacos

Taco night is practically a ritual at our house. We take it seriously. But that doesn't mean it has to be a ton of work - it just means it has to be good!

We also don't want to have the same thing for taco night each week. I like to keep it as an easy meal, but mix up the ingredients a bit so it doesn't get boring. We do tacos with ground beef, or beans, or chicken cooked any number of ways, and one of my favorites is fish tacos.

 
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This is one of my favorite weeknight dinners, and a super easy way to do taco night just a little different. If you like fish tacos, but feel like you can't have them at home - you need to try this.

Basically, you just find some good quality fish sticks and cook them in the oven according to the package directions. (I like to let them get a little crispy.)

We like the fish sticks from Costco, and Trader Joe's has some pretty good ones too. Use any ones you like. I've also done this with other kinds of frozen fish - frozen filets meant for fish & chips, or other kinds of breaded fish. Whatever you like works great - as long as it's quick and easy!

 
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And then, you just do all the usual taco stuff - lettuce or cabbage, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, green onion...

For fish tacos I like to add a squeeze of lime, and some fresh cilantro is really nice if you have it. Basically, anything goes!

This is a great meal to have kids help with - small amounts of cutting, picking off cilantro leaves, mashing avocados, filling bowls. They can really feel like they are participating in the meal, even though there is very little actual cooking involved. There are plenty of opportunities for lots of jobs for little hands. 

 
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My family loves this kind of meal because they all get to make their own. I have found with my kids that the most successful meals are the "make your own" type of meals - kids love having some control over what goes on their plate. I try to give them a guideline that they have to have some protein and they need to choose at least one vegetable, and beyond that they can control their own.

Let me know if you try it - and what kinds of combinations you come up with!

Lazy Mom's Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Good quality fish sticks (or other frozen fish that you like)
  • Taco sized tortillas - flour or corn
  • shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • limes
  • sour cream
  • guacamole or avocados
  • cilantro
  • diced tomatoes
  • green onions
  • salsa
  • any other toppings you like!

Optional:

Serve with chips, rice, beans - whatever extras you like. 

Directions:

Cook fish according to package directions. Serve fish, tortillas, and all toppings buffet or bar style. For standard sized fish sticks we do 2 fish sticks in one taco sized tortilla. You could also use bigger tortillas and make fish burritos.

 
Must try! the easiest way to have fish tacos at home.