Rack of Lamb

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Like many families around the world, when it comes to holidays, we all have our traditions. Growing up for me, it was going out for Easter lunch with my mom’s side of the family and later that night dinner with my dad’s side. As we grew older it started to change to eating dinner at home with mom and dad then desert at my aunt’s house. Things change as the kids get older, but being with family is and always has been at the core of my family holidays.

Being far away from my family, the holidays can sometimes be a little sad, so my husband and children pretty much let me cook what ever I want. I stick with my tradition of honey ham for Christmas and Easter and my roasted turkey for Thanksgiving. Nothing crazy simple and elegant.

Well this year I decided to rock the boat. Crazy! Rack of Lamb! Yup, that’s right! I tried cooking rack of lamb for Easter lunch with no back-up plan, so if it sucked ,we were eating peanut butter and jelly.  I spent a week looking up recipes and watching videos to see how the pros do it. And let me tell you, that made it even worse. No two recipes were the same. Even the temperature and amount of time kept changing. How was I going to make this and have it come out perfect? Answer: do what I always do, combine recipes and hope for the best.

My son, who is usually done eating after round one, ate three lamb chops before finishing his mashed potatoes. And my girls who would normally trim every ounce of fat off their meat, ate everything without hesitation. I would say it was a hit. The lamb turned out medium-rare and tender. It just melted in our mouths, and the fresh herbs made a world a difference. We may have found our new Easter tradition.

Rack of Lamb

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks of lamb (1 1/2 lbs each)
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, I used old french bread and pulsed it in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard
  • 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven 375˚F.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
  3. In a medium bowl mix freshly chopped herbs and breadcrumbs. Set to the side.
  4. Season each rack of lamb with salt and pepper on both sides. Then place lamb in skillet and brown on all sides. Remove from heat and place on cookie sheet. Repeat for this step for second rack of lamb. Remember in the words of Gordon Ramsey, “No color, no flavor!” 
  5. In a small bowl combine garlic and brown mustard. Using a pastry brush, brush all over both racks of lamb.
  6. Once coated with the mustard sprinkle the breadcrumb-herb mixture over the entire rack of lamb. Repeat for second rack of lamb.
  7. Cover the ribs of the lamb with aluminum foil to help prevent burning.
  8. Make sure to place your oven rack so your lamb sits directly in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through. This will get you a medium-rare lamb. You can adjust the time to get the doneness you want, just be careful not to over cook the lamb.
  9. Remove from oven and wrap with a loose foil tent. Let rest for 15 minutes. This will help get the juices back into the meat.
  10. To serve the lamb chops, cut in between the bones.

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This was the finished lamb before the kids started eating. Look at the gorgeous pink center.

Pork Roast Served with Potatoes & Carrots

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Picture this, the kids are complaining that they are hungry and you just walked through the door and are tired. But you are calm and ready. You got this, cause you had dinner cooking all day long in your slow cooker. Now that you are home it is time to eat without having to worry about what to cook or who is delivering.

Just like many families out there, my is busy and there are days when I think will it ever stop. Enter the slow cooker. OMG this is the best $40 I have ever spent. Ten minutes of prep time in the morning and that is all it takes to give your family a hot and healthy meal any day of the week.

Chili, soups, stews, pasta sauce, roasts, and even ham! I love coming home to the house smelling yummy and dinner ready to go. Who ever invented the slow cooker had busy families in mind and I thank them. And not even for busy weeknights, I want to spend time with my kids before they are all grown up. Start dinner in the morning and you have the rest of the day to play, hang out, go shopping, whatever you want.

Pork Roast with Potatoes & Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork roast
  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 7-10 large carrots, peeling
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in 1 cup of water. Place pork on top with the fat side facing up. Layer onion slices on top of pork roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper over entire slow cooker.
  2. Set time for 8-10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

And there you go dinner for the family in ten minutes! Enjoy your hot, healthy meal and relax.

Saving Money with Laundry

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I want my family to eat better and use less chemicals. I have been looking into laundry soap for over a year now. My kids have light colored uniforms, so getting stains out is a big concern for me and my husband has very sensitive skin when it comes to soaps, dyes, and/or perfumes. Talk about a loose loose for me.  So usually we would buy a popular name brand of the no dye or perfumes laundry soap, but with three kids and a husband it never seemed to last long. And at $13 per small bottle the cost really adds up.

One thing that I noticed during my research is that recipes would say 1 bar of soap but never tell you the amount of soap used.  One 5oz bar is going to have a small amount grated than a 14oz bar.

After doing a ton of research on this and doing a few test loads myself, I think I have found a mixture that works how I want it to at a price that I can afford.  Just something to watch for,This is how it breaks down:

  • Borax: $3.99
  • Arm and Hammer Washing Soda: $3.99
  • Zote: $0.97
  • Oxiclean: $3.99

When you total everything up it is roughly $13. Now you are probably thinking that is the same price for a bottle and you don’t have to do extra work. Well that is true but you don’t use all the ingredients at once. You will have enough left over to make at least another batch, minus getting a new soap bar and Oxiclean. You really don’t need the oxiclean, I only added it to give it an extra boost. So if you take that out it makes it even cheaper to make and per load. This is my break down of my soap and the popular name brand. Both are for roughly 64 loads of laundry.

Homemade Laundry soap                                    Popular Brand

  • total price: $7.34                                                              $12.99
  • per load: $0.11/per load                                                  $0.20

I know that the break is only showing a $0.09 difference per load but that adds up. That adds up to $5.65 saves over a 64 loads of laundry and my in house that is goes fast. I say I wash between 6-8 loads a week. At that rate I am making more soap about every other month or buying it. Now add that up a year, that is a savings of $33.90 per year! Keep making this small changed I bet you can start saving a lot of money.

Now some of you are probably saying that it is hard to make the soap and take a lot of time. And the answer is no it doesn’t. I was done with making my first batch in less then ten minutes. That is including the time it takes to grate to soap block, stir it together and put it in air tight containers. This really takes no time at all to make, I swear.

This is the recipe that I used.

Homemade Laundry  Soap

  • 3 cups Borax
  • 3 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 Zote bar (14oz)
  • 2 cups Oxiclean

Directions:

  1. Grate the bar as fine as you can.
  2. Measure all powder ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Stir until well mixed
  4. Place into air tight containers.

There is zero smell when the laundry is done. My husband even made the comment that it was too weird not to have any smell. So I guess I will be on the hunt for a fabric softener that he can handle. 🙂

I swear my next post will be a tasty summer time treat. Better than anything you can buy in the store at a fraction of the price. 🙂 I am all about saving money without having to give up on flavor.

Back to Basics- Butter

I love two for one deals. Who doesn’t? This is a definite three for one. Butter! Who would have thought that making butter would have such a great return. Around here we pay about $3.50 for a quart of heavy cream. I can make whip cream, butter, and get buttermilk out of it. I think that is a great deal!

The whip cream that you get out of it is better than anything in the store. Hands down.

But the butter is the sweetest butter that you have ever had and is effortless to make. Besides scrapping down the sides every once and a while the mixer does all the work. This is where that two for one comes into play, while making the butter you get the byproduct of the buttermilk that is being taken out of the cream while you are whipping it into butter. You show me where you can buy a pound of butter for under $2 not on sale and still get buttermilk!

And don’t throw out that buttermilk there are still plenty of uses for it bread, muffins, scones, biscuits, etc. I usually make scones and cakes they are so moist when they are pulled from the oven.

How to make Butter

How to make Butter

Easy Italy

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About ten years ago I had a chance of a life time. In my senior year in high school my school went to Italy. I fell in love the art, culture, people, and the food. Seeing everything in person beats looking in a book any day. And the food. Nothing beats a freshly made pizza from a brick oven brought to your table on a warm spring afternoon.

I can get 36 raviolis from one batch, you could save half for another day or for lunch one day. But then again it is so good you may not want to stop eating it. This is a great make a head meal for those cold winter nights when you want something warm to eat but don’t really want to cook. Enjoy.

Ravioli with Pasta Sauce

  • 2 1/3 cup flours
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Mix the first five ingredients together until a ball is formed.
  2. On a floured surface knead dough for about 8-10minutes until soft and elastic. Let rest for 10minutes.
  3. Mix cheese together and set aside.
  4. Split dough in half and work in batches. Roll dough out to very thin (1/8 inch). Cut dough into shapes, using a biscuit cutter works great. fill each piece with 1/2 tbs of cheese filling.
  5. Make sure to seal the edges completely.
  6. From there you can either cook right away for 8-9minutes or you can freeze them. Place ravioli on cookie sheet and place in freezer. Once completely frozen place in an airtight container.

Note: After you fill the ravioli and to not but the fresh ravioli on top of each other, they will stick and be gross. Trust me I have done that before. You should get about 36 raviolis.

Pasta Sauce

  • 6 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 onions, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. Saute onions ans garlic together until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes.
  3. Cook until very hot.
  4. Add salt and pepper and Italian seasoning to taste.

Note: I have learned that I want my sauce to taste like sauce and not tomatoes with a ton of extra stuff in it that is not healthy. Freeze any left over sauce and enjoy for another day, if you can.