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Summer brings mangos, and we love mangos.  This time of year we take advantage of the fruit’s abundance to make many kinds of mango treats.  This Mango Bread recipe is a family favorite, we bake extra loaves to freeze so that it can be enjoyed later in the year or given as gifts for the holidays.  I use mini loaf pans for freezing single servings or gift giving.  They are easy to make.  The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup oil

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups diced ripe mango

 

 

Directions:

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

 

Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.  Add remaining ingredients, stir well.

 

Lightly oil 4 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.

 

Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.  Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean. 

 

To freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.

 

Every Sunday is barbecue night at our house.  Friends and family who are in town drop by for some good food and company.  Barbeques are a fun and easy way to entertain.  It can be as casual at throwing hot dogs on the grill or a more elaborate menu requiring more prep time.  Over the years I’ve found time saving tips and recipes to make prep time and clean up quick and easy.  Here’s my one of my favorites, it’s not just easy, it’s delicious too.  It gets lots of compliments whenever I serve it.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Jumbo Shrimps

Italian dressing

Onions

Cherry tomatoes

Zucchini

Metal or bamboo skewers

 

 Directions:                                                                               

 

Clean, peel and de-vein shrimp, leaving tails on 

 Place shrimp in plastic Ziplock bag

 

Pour Italian dressing into bag, enough to cover shrimp.

 

Place bag in refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours, turn bag once or twice to make sure all shrimp get marinated.

                                

 

Wash veggies, cube or cut onions and zucchini into bite size chunks\

 

Alternately place shrimp and veggies onto metal or bamboo skewers.

 

 

Grill until shrimp turn pink and veggies are tender. 

 

 

Our family eats a lot of chicken and we are always looking for new ways to prepare tasty chicken dishes.  This recipe is a big hit.  The spices give it a unique flavor.  It can be done with chicken breasts, but I find that chicken breasts tend to be not as moist and tender.  For a healthier alternative skin can be removed before baking, but it dries the thighs out.  I find it better to remove the skin after baking to keep the thighs moist and tender. 

 

 

Prep Time:  10mins.

Cook Time 1hour

 

Ingredients: 

 

6 thawed chicken thighs

1 small onion

1 cup baby carrots

3 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes

1 tbls. minced garlic

1 tbls. sea salt

1 tbls. ground cumin

½ tbls. cayenne pepper

½ tbls. ground nutmeg

2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil

 

Preperation:

 

Wash and clean chicken thighs.  Shake excess water off chicken and place in ungreased baking pan.

Scrub potatoes.  Cut unpeeled potatoes into quarters and arrange around chicken thighs.  Cut onion into large chunks and arrange around thighs.  Rinse baby carrots and arrange around thighs.

 

Sprinkle garlic, salt, and spices over chicken and veggies.  Drizzle olive oil over all.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked, turning thigh half way thru baking.  Do not overcook, chicken will be dry and tough.   Cooked chicken should be moist and tender. 

Serve with a small garden salad with a light dressing.  Bon Apetito!

This recipe is my version of a Middle Eastern dish popular in my husband’s hometown.  It’s called “Macluba” which I am told literally mean “upside down”.

There are special covered pots sold at Middle Eastern stores for this dish, I got this pot from a market in Jordan.   But if you don’t have one any large pot with a lid will work. 

It is usually made with lamb, but I don’t eat lamb and therefore do not cook it well.  It can also be done with beef, but I find that the beef gets tough and dry.  In my family we almost always make it with chicken.

The dish can also be made to include eggplant along with the cauliflower and potatoes, but I’m allergic to eggplant, so I don’t use it. 

It’s a great dish to serve company as it always looks pretty when it’s flipped onto the serving tray.  It is tedious to prepare taking about 3 hours, but aside from making a salad it’s all you need to prepare because the meat, veggies, and starch are all in one pot.  Servings can be adjusted by using a larger pot and adding more ingredients. 

 

 

It’s also a great idea for pot-lucks.  You can easily transport it in the pot and flip it over onto a tray when you get there. 

We serve it with a fresh salad made of finely chopped tomato, onion, cucumber, and parsley which each person can mix into their plate of “macluba”.  My kids also like to mix in plain yogurt so we usually have a bowl of yogurt on the side too.

 

 

 

Serves 8

Ingredients:

8-12 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on

1 large onion – chopped in large chunks

1 bulb of garlic – minced

2 cans chicken broth

4 cups Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice

1 large cauliflower – separate the fleurettes

3 medium sized potatoes – peeled and thickly sliced

1 large eggplant (optional) – peeled and thickly sliced

1 large tomato – sliced into wedges

4 oz. Vermicelli (Angel Hair pasta) broken into thirds

½ cup pine nuts (optional)

2 tbls. butter

2 tbls. ground cumin

1 tbls. ground nutmeg

1 tbls. ground turmeric

Sea Salt & ground pepper to taste

Olive oil for frying

Cooking spray

 

 

 

Preparation:

 

 

1.       Place uncooked rice into a large bowl.  Sprinkle turmeric on the rice and add hot tap water to fully cover the rice, water should be at least 1 inch above the rice.  Stir rice/water mixture until the water turns slightly yellow.  Set aside.  Rice will absorb most of the water and will turn light yellow.  If you want the rice to be a darker yellow increase the turmericto 2 tbls.

     

            Clean chicken.

 

2.       Sautee chopped onions in 2 tbls. olive oil on medium heat until slightly tender.  Add ½ of the minced garlic.  Sautee 1 minute.  Add 1 tbls. cumin, ½ tbls. nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir spices  to mix with onions and garlic.  Add chicken thighs, sautee for 3 minutes.  Add chicken broth and water to cover chicken.

        

            Boil chicken over medium heat until done, about 45 mins.   You will have to skim the foam that forms on the top a few times.  If liquid boils down add more water, chicken should be covered in liquid until it’s cooked.  Cooked chicken will be tender. 

   

 

           Fry cauliflower, potatoes, and eggplant in olive oil until done.  Veggies should be cooked but not soft.  Drain on paper towel.  Set aside.

        

      Sautee vermicelli and pine nuts in butter until browned – do not burn.  Set aside

      

       Cut tomatoes into thick wedges.  Set aside.

      

Assembly: 

 

1.       Spray a large pot – with cooking spray.

2.       Arrange cooked chicken and veggies on the bottom of the pot. Reserve the chicken broth.

3.       Arrange tomato wedges between chicken and veggies.

      

       Sprinkle remaining garlic, cumin, and nutmeg over all. Salt and pepper if desired.

2.       Drain remaining water from rice.

3.       Mix sautéed vermicelli and pine nuts into the rice.

       

       Pour the rice evenly over the chicken and veggies to form the top layer.

      

         Pour reserved chicken broth over all.  Liquid should be about 1” above the rice layer.  If it’s not add water to reach this height. 

      

        Cover pot and cook over medium heat for 25 mins. or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.  If liquid is absorbed but rice is still not cooked add more water or reserved broth to cover rice and continue cooking until rice is tender but not mushy.  Do not overcook, chicken on the bottom will burn.  Some of the ingredients will rise to the top during cooking. 

      

       When rice is cooked remove from heat and let rest covered for 15 mins.  before flipping the pot over onto a serving tray. 

        

Nothing is more festive than layered jello, it’s always great at any party.  You can tailor the colors to match the occasion or the party theme.  It’s very versatile and tastes great too. 

In this recipe we use the classic flavors/colors orange, lime, blue raspberry, and strawberry.  But you can mix and match different color combinations, like red, white, and blue for 4th. Of July, or red, green, and white for Christmas.  You can even use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.  The possibilities are endless, enjoy!

 

 

Ingredients:

4 (3oz. each) packages JELLO : orange, lime, blue raspberry, strawberry

6 envelopes KNOX unflavored gelatin

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

 

 

Directions:

1.       Mix condensed milk with 1 cup hot water.  Set aside.

2.       Mix 2 envelopes Knox gelatin with 1 cup hot water. Combine with milk mixture.  Set aside.

3.       Combine Strawberry Jello, 1 envelope Knox gelatin, 1 ½ cups hot water.  Cool.  Pour into 9”x13” glass pan.  Refrigerate until set.  About 30 mins.

4.       Pour 1/3 of milk/gelatin mixture over firm first layer.  Refrigerate until firm.  About 30 mins.

5.        Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the remaining Jello flavors alternating with milk/gelatin mixture.  You should end up with 4 colored layers and 3 white layers in between. 

6.       When all layers are set cut into squares or desired shapes.

Setting time may increase as the layers get thicker. 

Be sure that the layers are firm before pouring the next layer. 

Cool Jello mixture thoroughly before pouring onto set layers.

Keep milk mixture at room temperature until ready to pour, do not refrigerate.  Stir occasionally so gelatin does not set at the bottom.

Use a cool clean knife to cut thru Jello. 

I'm certain that most if not all parents have bags and bags of their children's outgrown clothes.  I'm also sure that some of those clothes have been worn only once or may still be brand new still bearing original tags.

Families with multiple kids can solve this problem by handing down the clothes, assuming that the younger children are all of the same gender.  Others  hand down outgrown clothes to friends and family with younger children.  Still others donate the items to charity.  Many of us do all of the above but are still stuck not knowing what to do with items that are just too "good" or too "expensive" to give away. 

Good quality children's clothing can be very expensive.  The reality is most of us spend a small fortune only to have these items outgrown in a few short months.  Most of these items are still in excellent condition, specially infant and toddler sizes, and there are many people out there who would buy good quality gently worn kid's clothes.  In short you could be sitting on a gold mine!  With a little effort, common sense, and a bit of business savvy you can turn that gold mine into cold hard cash.

 How to convert outgrown treasures to cash

  • Clean out your kids' closet and drawers - take out everything that they have outgrown and everything they refuse to wear.  Be brutally honest - will Tommy really wear that pink and purple sweater Great Aunt Ethel gave him for his birthday? Will his younger brother ever wear it?  Will Susie ever wear that flower girl dress again? I'm sure there will be items that have sentimental value, but do you really have to keep every single one of them? My rule of thumb, if you have a picture of the child wearing that super cute outfit you don't need the actual outfit to reminisce. Unless of course it's that heirloom lace christening gown handed down to each new generation, you should probably keep that one!
  • Sort out - make piles
  • Trash pile/rag bin - stained, torn, ripped, "holey", and faded items.  Used underwear and mismatched socks.  Yes Tommy's much loved faded and torn super hero shirt and Susie's princess outfit she used to wear daily all belong in this stack!
  • Give Away/donate - Mid-priced brands that show a bit of wear but will still be all right for another child to wear.  This is where common sense comes into play.  That pair of Carter's pajamas are a bit faded but have no holes or tears or those Osh Kosh shorts are faded but are otherwise in good shape.  Those items belong in this pile.  Good enough to hand down but not good enough to sell.

 

  • Sell pile - this is your "inventory". Items that have been only worn once or still have tags on them no matter what the brand.  High end designer brands that cost an arm and a leg.  To help decide what should be in this pile ask your self and $1 to the second you might want to put that item in the give away/donate pile. 

 

Get rid of the first 2 piles before you change your mind!

 

  • Wash/Iron/Dry Clean - follow instructions on the tags and wash accordingly. Don't do this to new items with tags. 
  • Stage & Photograph
  • Arrange the item you want to sell nicely on a clean surface. Try not to lay it out on the floor.  If the item is composed of several matching pieces, shorts sets, dress & hat, etc.  arrange them all together.  If you have a mannequin it would be great! I greatly discourage using your child as the model, it may be really cute, but there are too many crazy predators out there. 
  • Set the "stage" - add some interest by staging your item.  This can also put some size perspective on the item.  For example if you are selling a brand new infant swimsuit you could arrange it next to a small plastic bucket and shovel. It adds interest as well as gives a size comparison. 
  • Photograph - make sure the items are well lit.  Take good clear photos from different angles. If there are multiple pieces you might want to take separate photos of each piece as well as a photo of the set. 
  • Edit - crop out any unwanted items caught in the shot, zoom items in to show better detail. If you decide to use your child as the model be sure to:

  • Crop out or obscure the child's face

     

    • Disable the location GPS on your device

    • Crop out or obscure addresses, street names, and any other items that will identify the location of where this photo of your child was taken

     

    • Post/List your items

     

    • Decide which site you want to use

    • Post the edited photos

    • Describe your item - be honest in your description, include size, color, style, condition.  You might want to say the dress was worn once to a wedding or that the jeans may show some fraying at the hem.

    • Price your item well - price should be determined by the item's condition and the price originally paid for it. A pair of Burberry jeans may be slightly faded but you paid $150 for it so you don't want to sell it for $5. Ask yourself how much you would pay for it.  Decide on the lowest price you would take for the item and add a few dollars to give yourself some bargaining room.

     

    • Selling

    • Depending on which site you decide to use be prepared to promptly and courteously reply to emails, messages, or whatever form of contact that site uses.  Remember these are all potential buyers so try to accommodate their requests as long as they are within reason.  Some may ask for measurements or more detailed pictures of the item. If you can not give an immediate answer at least acknowledge their request and let them know when you can give them an answer, "when I get home", "in a hour", etc.
    • Be prepared to negotiate. Have a definite idea of what the lowest price you will
    • Try not to get insulted when someone makes a ridiculously low offer.
    • Remember some folks just love bargains and will always try to low ball sellers, sometimes I'm sure they get lucky. 

    • If you are using a site that charges a commission for allowing you to post on their site be wary of people who ask you to take the transaction off site to save you the commission. These folks may want to go thru PayPal where the transaction can be free, they may suggest that you give them a better discount since you won't have to pay commission, this may be tempting and appear to be a win-win scenario, but is it really? Check the refund policies of both the site you are using and PayPal. What may seem to be a good deal for everyone may end up getting you scammed. Anyone who asks you to take a transaction off site is asking you to cheat the website, you already know they are less than honest.  What's to stop them from cheating you by using PayPal's liberal refund policies?  All they have to do is tell PayPal that the item they received is significantly not as described and the payment is debited from your account until the dispute is settled.  (Check out my blog about PayPal and Google "PayPal refund policy" for more details)

     

    • Shipping

    • Once  an item sells package it up nicely.  Wrapping it in tissue is a nice touch. Always include a short thank you note.  You never know, a happy buyer may return to buy more things from you.

    • Ship promptly. The sooner the buyer receives her purchase the sooner you get your money.

    • Track your shipment to know when it gets delivered.

     

    • Patience and Perseverance

    • Be patient.  Sales may start out slow.  Don't expect to sell an item as soon as you post it.  Sometimes you have to wait for the right buyer to come along.

    • Promote your item at every opportunity. If the site you're using has "events" participate.

    • Be an active member of the online community. Engage anyone who comments or likes your item in conversation.

    • Post more items. The more you post the more choices buyers have, this increases your chances of selling something.

    • Spread the word about the site you're using. More users = more potential buyers.

    The first sale may take a while but when it does it will sure feel good.  The only way to make it happen is to take that first step, clean out those closets!

    Happy selling!

Every nursing mom knows that maintaining or increasing her milk supply is the key to successful breastfeeding. For many women milk supply comes easily, for others it can be a challenge. Lactation specialists, friends, relatives, and nursing moms groups will give many useful tips on the subject.  There are products out there to help increase or maintain milk supply, from Mother's Milk tea to Fenugreek capsules to prescription Reglan tablets.  These products are available at Vitamin and health food stores or even the local Walmart.  Many women swear by these products, but they can be rather costly.  

The hospital lactation consultant as well as many of the moms at the breastfeeding group I attended told me another  option is lactation cookies.  I found ready made ones and mixes online.  Again they can be pricey.  So I decided to make my own.  Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web.  I made them, they are yummy! I can't guarantee that they will increase milk supply, but in my case I feel that they helped.  

I found this recipe from Chicago Mom Source.  They are Chocolate chips and the ingredients include flax seed meal and brewers yeast.  I found the brewers yeast at the GNC and the flax seed meal in the grocery store.

For recipe click here!

This recipe from One Smart Cookie is for Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies.  It's super easy to make and taste awesome!  The recipe uses Jiffy Blueberry Muffin mix, I think you can use a different flavor for variety. 

 

For recipe click here

Mango, “the king of fruit”, is a tropical fruit chock full of health benefits.  High in fiber and antioxidants, research has shown eating this unique tasting fruit can help prevent cancer and lower serum cholesterol.  Its high levels of Vitamins C and A, and other nutrients helps clear skin, promotes healthy vision, and boosts the immunity.  A mango a day may keep the doctor away.

Everyone in our family loves mangos.  We eat it fresh, as smoothies, and use it as the main ingredient for many of our favorite recipes. 

Here’s a quick and easy mango recipe that requires 4 ingredients, a blender, and a mixer.  It’s a light refreshing treat for hot summer days, or served in glass goblets an elegant dessert for your dinner party.

Ingredients:

2 cups ripe mango (about 3-4 mangos)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup sweetened condense milk

1 tbsp. lime juice

 

Directions:

Peel and slice mangos. 

Place mango pieces into blender and puree until smooth

Add lime juice and set aside

Whip heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.

Slowly add condensed milk

Reserve ½ cup of mango puree.  Gently fold in remaining puree to the cream mixture.

Scoop into cups or bowls.  Spread a thin layer of the reserved puree on top of each mousse.

Garnish with mint leaves and fresh sliced strawberries, small blueberries, or raspberries if desired.

Refrigerate before serving.

*I recommend using a cold mixing bowl and whisk attachment for whipping cream.  I refrigerate both items until I’m ready to use them.

I am always in search of great tasting recipes that are easy to make.  I found awesome images of these garlic knots on Pinterest and decided to try them.  The recipe called for refrigerated bread stick dough, the Piillsbury cans found in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket.  Unfortunately I could not find any in our supermarkets, so I had to improvise and make it my own.   To make it pretty I added chopped parsley from my herb garden.

I made it for one of our Sunday evening barbeques and the family loved it!  I'm sure yours will too. 

Ingredients:

1 can Pillsbury french bread dough

1 Stick butter

1 tbls. minced garlic or garlic powder

2 tbls. freshly shredded parmesean cheese

1 tbls. spoon fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Using a sharp knife cut french bread dough into 12 slices - you will end up with 12 round pieces

2.  Roll each round between your hands to form a "rope" about 6" long - "knot" each bow by wrapping it around two fingers to form a loop and gently pull one end thru.  Place knots on a parchment covered baking sheet.

3.  Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl - about 2 mins. depending on your microwave.

4.  Add remaining ingredients to the melted butter.

5.  Brush butter mixture on to each bread knot - making sure the entire knot is covered with the butter

6.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 10-12 mins.  or until golden brown. 

Serve warm

The other day I decided to make garlic cheese knots but couldn't find the refrigerated bread dough it required.  I was determined to find a substitute and wandered down the grocery aisles.  I found Bridgeford frozen bread dough in the freezer aisle and came up with a brilliant idea.  I'd forgotten about these handy frozen loaves of bread dough.  I grabbed a package of three and headed home to try out my newest idea, cheese stuffed garlic bread balls!

I made it that afternoon.  They were delicious bite size balls of melted cheese cheddar wrapped in oven fresh bread.  You can use different cheeses for a different twist.

 

Ingredients:

1 loaf Bridgeford frozen bread dough - thawed

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 stick butter

1 tbls. garlic powder

1 tbls. shredded fresh parmesean cheese

1 tbls. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Flatten thawed bread dough on a floured surface.  Flatten dough to about 1/4" thick - you should end up with a rectangle about 12" in length and 4" wide

2.  Sprinkle shredded cheese down the center of this rectangle.

3.. Fold dough over and pinch it closed around the cheese - be sure to pinch both ends closed too.

4.  Using a sharp knife cut a 1" slice off the end - seal the remainder of the loaf by pinching the cut end together

5.  Pinch close the open end of the piece you sliced off.  Form it into a ball.  Place ball on to a lightly buttered baking sheet.

6.  Continue steps 4-5 with remaining bread dough.  You will end up with 12 balls.

7.  Melt butter  in microwave and stir in remaining ingredients.

8.  Brush butter mixture over each ball.

9.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 mins. or until golden brown.

Serve warm

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