Meatless Monday – Banana Bread & Kids in the Kitchen

I think this is the recipe that started it all.  We had some ripe bananas one day, so I looked for a banana bread recipe.  We got out the flour and the sugar and I taught Miss Love how to measure.  I think this is the recipe that makes her think all recipes should have flour and sugar.

The best thing about this recipe is the confidence in the kitchen it gave all my kids from the very beginning.  Even when one time we miscounted the flour and had way too much.  They were never discouraged to try it again.  Even Big G (or I guess I should say especially), who is not quite 2, loves to get in and help.

And hot banana bread with melting butter is always a crowd pleaser.  Some day, I imagine my boys will use this recipe to impress friends or maybe even a girl.  Who knows.  I am just happy to be able to start them on the right path.

Banana Bread

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

bake at 350* in a buttered pan for 1 hour.

Serve hot with melted butter.

Feel free to join me with a recipe or tip for Meatless Monday.

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A Tribute to a Prayer Warrior


Hubby’s grandparents, William and Virginia were pioneers in Television evangelism. Hubby’s Dad grew up on the set of the longest running non-news shows in history, Faith For Today. The show has a variety of features: music, sermons and christian dramas. Each week, the people would be invited to write into the show to share how God had been working in their lives, or to ask for prayer.

Every week Virginia faithfully took home a folder of all the letters that had been received so that she could spend personal time in prayer over each request. She knew that these people had trusted her with their hopes and fears, and she knew the power of prayer.

 One night, staying up late waiting for their daughter to come home from babysitting. Virginia noticed a funny smell. The house was on fire! She quickly woke the family up and they went to the neighbors to call for help.

 In the morning they went to look at the damage. The fire had started in the basement, and everything in the house had been destroyed. Virginia approached one of the remaining firemen to ask if she could look inside.

 He tried to convince her that there was nothing of value left in the house. But she was insistent. Thinking that Virginia must be after something very valuable, he carefully led her back into the house. Everything was burned to ashes. She asked to go to their master bedroom, despite the damage.

 She went to the bed, and threw back the covers and found a file of papers all in tact.

The fireman said, “that is the luckiest thing I have ever seen.”

No,” Virginia said, “that is an answer to prayer.”

So, I bet those papers are worth a lot of money then?”

No, these are prayer requests. I promised these people I would pray for them.”

Hubby’s grandma, Virginia, died last week at age 92. Up until the very end, she was still praying for people.

 Often when people meet Hubby, they wonder if he is related to “that William and Virginia.” We get to hear stories about how their family was brought into the church by watching the show. These are the people whose prayers were in that folder.

It is amazing to think that each one of us is here because of somebody’s prayer. Somebody knew the value of prayer and prayed for you, and that is how you are here.

Somebody prayed for you and that is how you are able to give.

 *originally published as A Call to Offering – March 2010

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Outside Jobs in the Winter

Our house in the winter

Despite the blue skies and sunny weather we still have a lot of snow outside.  During the summer, there is an endless list of jobs that can be done, but that list gets significantly shorter when all is covered in snow.

I just have a short list of jobs, that I would love to add to.  If there are some jobs that you can think of, please tell me.  Miss Love enjoys being outside and is always looking for work.

This is all of I’ve got:

  • sweep the front porch (especially after a fresh snow)
  • pick up recycling (the wind and my bad aim are not a good combination)
  • shovel the walkway (it turns out they won’t deliver mail if you don’t)

I have debated adding walking the dog to the list.  It would only involve walking back and forth in front of our house and the neighbors a bunch of times.

It seems like one of those things that should be a chore, since he is everyone’s dog.  But he keeps running away wandering off, and it may just be a lack of good exercise. 

Right now I am at the point that I would pay somebody to do almost anything that keeps me from having to call up and down the street looking for our dog.

What do you think?

Meatless Monday – Easy Minestrone

One crucial thing to getting kids in the kitchen is teaching them that there is always a job for everyone.  To me, this is also a crucial lesson when it comes to money. 

There is always a job for everyone.

This recipe is great for even the smallest helpers.  You can add all the ingredients before the pot gets hot.  So if they can dump and pour, the job is theirs.

  • 3 Tbs. Vegetable bouillon ( I use Mckay’s beef substitute seasoning)
  • 2 C. boiling water (adult should add this)
  • 1 12 oz. can corn (I use 1 1/2 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 16 oz. can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 1 18 oz. kidney beans
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onions ( I use the frozen ones when I am in a hurry)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni

Dissolve bouillon cube in water in pot.  Add remaining  ingredients.  Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

If you pre-measure the seasonings in a little bowl then your helper can still “make this himself” cooking-show style.

Now it’s your turn.  Share a meatless recipe with me.  It can be easy, yummy, cheap, or quick.  It can be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It can be an entrée, a side dish, salad, snack, or dessert.  You can share it in the comments, or link up with McKlinky.  We would love to have you.  And check out what everyone else is sharing.

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This Weeks McKlinky Blog Hop is about favorite recipes.  Click below to see the whole list.  And leave me a comment letting me know how you found us this week.

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Debt Free at Age 5

Miss Love owed her daddy some money.

Because she did not take care of his stuff, something expensive got broken.   based on the circumstances, we decided that Miss Love needed $25 to pay daddy back.

$25 is a huge amount of money for her.

This was money that was not going to come out of her Long Term Savings, and it wasn’t just going to come out of Xmas or Birthday Money (Although she did get a $2 bill for Xmas that I let count, because what else is she going to do with it.  Daddy kind of collects them and we are not starting that with Miss Love, but more on that in the future.) This was money that she was going to have to earn.

We have a list of jobs that can be done, and whenever I think of something new I ask her if she wants a job.  It’s not the same as chores.  She can say no if she wants.  At Nana’s house over the holidays she did some work.  They pay more for washing windows than I do, but like Papa said, their windows were bigger, and probably dirtier.  She did a collection of odd jobs, windows, floors, bathrooms, etc. to collect dimes and quarters to pay off her debt.

It took her a couple of months, but today we counted up the money.  And she had earned $23.  I was really proud of her.  When we first agreed on the repayment plan, I was worried that it was too much for her.  She is only 5.  But I think she has felt good about making this right.  She has worked hard and had to give up things that she wanted to buy.  But I don’t think we could have come up with a more powerful lesson on many if we had tried.

But she was still $2 short.

So we made a plan.  We looked at the jobs that she could do, and how much money she would earn doing them.  She chose enough jobs so that she could earn the money (minus tithe) to pay Daddy back today.  She was actually quite giddy when she was dusting the stairs.

I joked that she could call in to Dave Ramsey and yell, “I’m Debt Free!…”

She just looked at me.

I think I am going to have to learn to love that look.

I think she has learned that having debt sucks (can I say that here?)

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Leave me a comment.  Tell me you stopped by.  And do you think I am a terrible mother for making my five-year old earn $25?

Collecting/Organizing Box Tops

I am cheap.  I will admit it.  So any time I have a chance to show support with actually having to give money, I am all for it. 

Saving Box Tops and Campbell soup labels is just the thing for me.  I also have to confess that we are soup snobs.  Unless it is made from scratch, it better be Campbell’s.  We have tried the store brand.  We are not going back.

Usually we don’t have many Box Tops (we’re pretty store brand loyal besides soup), but ever since the big Cheerios stock up, we have been collecting those, too.

The trouble is where to store all these labels.  I hate clutter (don’t look at my sink right now).  Then I got this idea from a friend, who had to admit that they got it from another friend.  I haven’t confirmed this, but that other friend is pretty organized, so I think it was her idea (Thanks Jen).

Unfortunately my camera and my computer are not on speaking terms, so you will just have to visualize this.

  • take 2 or 3 baggies or envelopes (I use the business reply envelopes from junk mail.)
  • Label the envelopes: box tops, Campbell soups, coupons, etc.
  • Open a cabinet door (I have mine by our cups)
  • tape the envelopes inside the cabinet door, make sure the opening is facing out.
  • Put your labels in the envelopes
  • close the cupboard
  • say goodbye to clutter

Even if your kids aren’t in school, or you don’t even have kids, saving Box Tops is a great way of showing support to your local schools.  Box Tops sends an actual check to schools to spend however they need.  And Campbell’s sends out a catalog to help schools get sport or science equipment.

And you can find Box Tops and Labels on many products that you already buy.

If you don’t have a place to donate your labels to you can always send them to me.

And that’s what works for me.  Check out more great ideas at We Are THAT Family.

Meatless Monday – Cheese Enchiladas

Mexican is often my go to meal when it comes to quick, cheap, and easy.  I mentioned these cheese enchiladas when I talked about using cloth napkins

This stage does not last forever

One goal that I have for my kids when they grow up involves them being able to feed themselves.  Beyond proper spoon and fork technique, I want them to be able to cook their own food.  I know this will save them hundreds and thousands of dollars in their future. 

They don’t have to be gourmet chefs, but I don’t want them to only survive off fast food.  I know this habit is the worst during and right after college, when kids are less likely to have that kind of disposable income.

I have many recipes for different kinds of enchiladas, but this is the easiest, and definitely kid friendly for helping in the kitchen.

Basic Cheese Enchilada

  • 1 can 10 oz. Red Enchilada Sauce (we like the mild)
  • 1 Cup shredded cheese
  • 10 fajita size flour tortillas
  1. mix 1/2 can of enchilada sauce with 3/4 c. of cheese
  2. fill fajitas with about 2 T. of cheese sauce mixture
  3. roll and place seam down in a greased baking dish
  4. pour remaining sauce over rolled tortillas
  5. sprinkle with remaining cheese
  6. bake @ 400* for 15 to 20 minutes

The beauty of doing this recipe meatless means you can cut the prep time in more than half.  You don’t have to thaw, or brown any meat before mixing, and the enchiladas are done when the cheese is melted, you don’t have to wait for it to get to a certain internal temperature for any amount of time.

These are great served with refried beans and rice (we just mix a bit of salsa into our rice and ta daa, instant spanish rice). 

I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week for Meatless Monday. Check below the link list to see Monday’s Give Away.

You don’t have to have a blog to participate, you can leave a recipe, tip, side dish, dessert, etc. in the comment section.  We would love to hear from you.  Don’t forget to check out everyone’s links and spread the word.

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For Day 22 of 28 Days of Give Aways, I am giving away some fun vegetable friends stickers in honor of Meatless Mnday.  Link up or leave a comment to be entered into this Give Away (open until Sunday, February 28).

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