A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

May Moving Madness! Catering Amongst the Madness! May 19, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings!,May Moving Madness!,Teenagers! — Janine Chance @ 11:24 pm

Whew! Only…

Well, I’ve got about 80% of my packing done…not so bad! Today I have my home economics class coming all day to prep for tomorrow night. We are catering the Graduation for their school. Am I crazy? Probably. But it’s gonna be awesome! This will determine their final grade for the year. We will prep and make food today, and tomorrow, and serve the Graduation Party afterwards. We will be preparing hors d’oeuvres (yes, I had to look that one up….boy was my spelling way off!) and dessert for 100 people…in my little kitchen which is inundated with boxes and packing tape. Yup, I’m nuts. Must be from smelling those big ole sharpie markers I’m using to write on my boxes. Oh well, we’ll just pretend we’re doing an episode of ‘Dinner Impossible’! I’ll be sure to post pics of our craziness and my pretty cardboard box decor this weekend!

In the meantime, here’s the modest menu:


Turkey, Ham and Salami ‘Fake Out’ Sushi Rolls

Bruschetta Rounds

Oreo Truffles

Mini Caramel Cheesecake

Punch (provided by Ms Linda…thanks!)


Not bad, eh?

Stay tuned for pics and recipes next week!


Scooby Snack~ Tip of the Day! Prelude to a recipe… April 19, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings!,Scooby Snack~Tip of the Day — Janine Chance @ 7:00 am

I love garlic. My family loves garlic. Being Sicilian (that’s way down in the boot Italian), I grew up with garlic in every way shape and form. My dad would pop whole cloves in his mouth like it was candy. Ok, I’m not that extreme. Needless to say, there are very few of my recipes that don’t have garlic in the first few ingredients. It’s a good thing that it’s good for you, and fat-free! Go here to see the nutritional and medicinal properties. It might surprise you what these little stinky nuggets have to offer!

Having said all of that, one of my favorite ways to use/have garlic is roasted. Roasted garlic is definitely one of my top 10 faves as far as flavor goes. Garlic goes from strong and pungent to sweet and nutty in just one hour with little preparation or work. It’s so simple to do it’s almost sickening, so I decided to share this little morsel of cooking 101 with you, so you can utilize it in your future menu planning and recipes.

Here’s how we do garlic in our house:

I told you we love garlic! I even gave it a spotlight!

3 lbs. at a time baby…gotta love Sam’s Club!

Ingredients for roasting garlic:

Garlic cloves

(No duh! Seriously, though, I usually use about 20 cloves. Once you mash them up, it’s really not extreme.)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt (or whatever you use)

Fresh cracked black pepper

Tin foil


What to do:

1. Fold a decent-sized piece of tin foil in half to make it sturdy.

2. Place garlic cloves in the center in a pile.

3. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top of the garlic.

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

It will look like this:

(I used a piece of my ‘recycled’ foil…that stuff’s not cheap!)

5. Fold the foil around the garlic tightly to form a nicely sealed pouch.

(You don’t want garlic leakage in your oven! Yikes!)

6. Place the sealed pouch of goodness into your oven at 400° for one hour.

I use my countertop convection oven…LOVE that thing! No need to fire up the big ol’ oven for this!

(Time to clean off the crumb tray…eek!)

After one hour, this is what you’ll have:

Click Here.

We REALLY love garlic.

Stay tuned for my recipe for Roasted Garlic Turkey Burgers coming next week!

What are some of your recipes that call for roasted garlic?

This post was linked to:

the Tuesday 30-minute blog challenge at steadymom.com .


Home Economics Students Shine! April 14, 2010

Filed under: Home Ec Happenings!,Homeschooling,Teenagers! — Janine Chance @ 6:26 am

I had a very specific topic of instruction for my Home Economics students this week.

Not just for their benefit… it’s for their moms, their future wives, and husbands… an invaluable lesson.

Someday, they’ll thank me for it…I hope.

It’s my job as the instructor to provide the opportunity to learn.

This is how it went down:

Warning : The images you are about to see may be extremely disturbing for SAHM’s.

They are not for the faint at heart. Proceed with caution…and coffee.

Yes, my girls and I made the mess….on purpose. It was extremely difficult.

I still shudder at the thought…making the mess, and walking away. Gulp. It was a sacrifice, but worth it.

The lesson begins…

Folding their towels and aprons…organizing their bins…

Look at it sparkle! Ahh, yes, the look of ultimate satisfaction! They’re getting it!

I didn’t know cleaning could be so much fun! (Yes, those are my words, not his.)

The end result, summed up:


In the end, they proved to me once again, that these awesome teenagers are capable of getting the job done.

Great job, guys!

Give them a round of applause!

This post was linked to Wordless Wednesday at 5minutesformom.com and Wordful Wednesday at sevenclowncircus.com.


Herb Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Cauliflower and Wild Rice April 7, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings! — Janine Chance @ 11:40 pm

This recipe was a part of the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom.com.

Even my seven-year old can eat her body weight in this flaky fish dish! Enjoy!

Ingredients for herb crust...

Herb Crusted Tilapia


4 – 6 Tilapia fillets

1 1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. minced flat leaf parsley

1/4 c. minced basil

kosher salt and pepper to taste

olive oil spray (or reg. olive oil)

Preheat oven to 200°.

Always a character!

Spray fillets with olive oil and set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients. Dredge filets in bread crumb mixture, pressing the mixture into the fish so it adheres.

Heat about 1/4 c. peanut oil in a cast iron skillet. Pan fry the fish about 3 – 4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Place in a dish in the heated oven to keep warm while cooking the rest of the fish. (I use my countertop convection oven to keep my regular oven free to make the cauliflower.)

Looks like serious business! ATTACK!

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, washed and broken into flowerets

3 cloves of garlic, coin-sliced

zest and juice of one lemon

kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450°.

Even my ‘non fish-lover’ ate it up!

In a baking dish, add cauliflower, and add garlic, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss, coating all of the cauliflower. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until soft and slightly charred looking. Turn oven off and keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

Wild Rice

Pretty self-explanatory…make rice of your choice. = )

Have you ever seen a cat beg?….

‘One piece…just drop ONE PIECE…’

'I implore you...just one bite!'

I implore you…just drop one tiny morsel…..

Sweet Victory!!!!

My husband said it’s the best fish he’s ever put in his mouth…I’d say it was a hit all the way around!


Yummy springtime dessert! Fruit and Pudding Parfait April 1, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings! — Janine Chance @ 6:36 am

I have been making this dessert forever! Well, as long as I’m married, anyway. It is light, cool, wonderful for summer, and easy as pie to make, well, easy as parfait, anyway!

This can be make a little bit ahead of time, but not more that an hour or so, because of the bananas…no one wants to eat brown bananas!

Fruit and Pudding Parfait

2 packs. instant pudding (I use either vanilla, white chocolate, or cheesecake, depending on my mood! You can also use sugar-free if you so desire!)

2 cans pineapple chunks (in juice)

2 bananas

2 cans mandarin oranges

1 pt. fresh strawberries, quartered

1 large can fruit cocktail (in juice)

1 container cool whip

maraschino cherries for garnish

Put all fruit, (drain all EXCEPT pineapple!) in a large bowl. Sprinkle pudding mix over fruit and mix together. Let it sit a few minutes to thicken. Use pretty tall glasses, parfait glasses, or anything that would show the layers and be pretty. Layer the fruit mixture and cool whip to the top of the glass, finishing with cool whip and a cherry. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. They are so pretty and a healthy dessert alternative! Enjoy!

This recipe was posted as part of lifeasmom.com’s Ultimate Recipe Swap Thursday! Check out the site for more great dessert ideas!


Family Recipe~Lemon Splash! March 30, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings! — Janine Chance @ 9:44 am

This post is linked to kellythekitchencop.com’s Real Food Wednesday!

This is a recipe that I made up one night with available ingredients and my daughter named it. She said it was like getting a ‘splash’ of lemon in every bite!

It’ s turned into a family favorite, and can definitely be modified!

Lemon Splash


1 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP. butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, minced (I used 1/2 of a red onion last night because that’s what I had, and didn’t want to waste it!)

zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 c. chicken broth (one paper container)

1/2 – 3/4 c. white wine

1 pt. heavy cream

1/4 c. fresh grated Parmesan-reggiano cheese (or just parmesan would work)

3 TBSP. minced fresh parsley (I prefer flat Italian flat-leaf parsley, but regular curly parsley will do)

1 lb. pasta (any pasta of your choice will suffice…I use whole grain thin spaghetti…trying to throw in the healthy stuff, too!)

1 1/2 – 2 lb. chicken breast

salt and pepper to taste

steak seasoning (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

3 TBSP. olive oil

1/4 c. white wine

Boil pasta, adding 4 TBSP. kosher salt to the water, to al dente.

Place chicken in ziploc bag with steak seasoning, olive oil, and white wine. Squish around and let marinate while you prepare the sauce, turning bag every 15 minutes or so.

Start your grill to get ready to make the chicken. (If you don’t grill, you can roast the chicken on 400° for about 10 -12 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.)

In a heavy-bottomed deep skillet on medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and shallot (or onion) and cook until shallot is translucent. Add lemon zest and juice and let reduce about one minute. Add white wine and allow to reduce about 4 – 5 minutes. (This is when I put the chicken on the grill)

Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let reduce about 5 minutes and add cream. (Turn the chicken!)

Keep at a low simmer for about 10 minutes. (At this point, check your chicken and pull it off the grill when it is no longer pink)

Add parsley and let simmer on low, stirring every 5 minutes until chicken and pasta are done.

Once pasta, chicken and sauce are all done, place pasta on plate, slice cooked chicken breast on pasta, and pour sauce over the top. Garnish with additional cheese and parsley (optional).

(Sauce will not be thick. I tried changing it up so that the sauce would stick to the pasta better, and my family didn’t like it as well! Go figure! Oh well! If it ain’t broke…!)

I always like to incorporate some ‘green’, so roasted asparagus goes great with this meal! A little olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper, roasted at 400°. Perfect side dish every time! Also, serving crusty bread (I usually make garlic bread) is important for mopping up the yummy sauce that is left on your plate. My husband says that it’s necessary so he doesn’t pick up his pasta bowl and drink the sauce! Manners matter! = )

What is a family favorite that you invented in your kitchen? Share your original recipe with us in the comment section below!


Amazing Recipe! Greek Pitas with Grilled Chicken and Red Wine Vinaigrette~Yum! March 28, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings! — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

Marinade/Vinaigrette ingredients

I’ve linked this recipe with Angie’s Healthy Living Blog.com and Watch My Weight Wednesdays.

Check out these links for more great recipes!

I got this recipe idea from a Rachel Ray cookbook..AMAZING!!!! Only changed a few things, and this is definitely a family favorite!

Here Goes…don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients…basically you’re building a salad…that simple!

Greek Pitas with Grilled Chicken and Red Wine Vinaigrette


Zest and Juice of 2 lemons

4 cloves of garlic – minced

1/4 c. red wine vinegar

4 – 5 sprigs fresh oregano, minced

1 & 1/4 c. olive oil

1 package whole wheat pitas

2 lbs. chicken tenders

3 hearts romaine lettuce, washed

Salad ingredients

1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 hot house cucumber (seedless) diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/3 c. fresh italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 -4 oz. cans sliced black olives, drained

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1. First things first: Wrap pitas in foil and set them in a 200° oven.

2. For marinade/vinaigrette:

Whisk lemon juice, zest, and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk in olive oil, then add garlic and oregano. Whisk together.

Marinade in the bag for easy cleanup!

3. Chicken:

I use the bags of individually frozen chicken tenders. I open the bag, pour in 1/4 of the marinade you made above, squish it all around and let it hang out until you’re ready to grill it, turning the bag over a few times to make sure they’re marinated. That simple! (Tip: Using the bag the chicken comes in avoids extra dirty dishes, or the wasting of another ziploc! Love it!)

4. Salad:

Salad~before tossage!

Tear or chop lettuce, add onion, tomato, cucumber, parsley, olives and feta cheese into a bowl. Cover, set in fridge.

5. Grill chicken until no longer pink. At this point, toss the salad (only what you’ll use now) with a small amount of the vinaigrette, and pile into the center of a platter. Arrange grilled tenders around the outside. Take pitas out of the oven, cut in half, and place in a basket covered by a bread towel.

6. Serve meal with extra vinaigrette and feta cheese.

Wa-La! Platter full of healthy yumminess!

Gorging instructions: Open pita halves, fill with chicken and greek salad, top with vinaigrette and feta…dig in! Yummy!

What is your family favorite healthy meal idea? Share it with us in the comments section! I’d love to hear from you!


The Best Strawbery Cake You’ll Ever Put in your Mouth!! March 25, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings! — Janine Chance @ 7:59 am

Lifeasmom.com has a recipe swap every Thursday. Today is…..(drum-roll please)

BAKED GOODS! YUM! Here is my delectable offering!

The Best Strawberry Cake You’ll Ever Put In Your Mouth!

We made this cake for my daughter's 12th birthday...fresh strawberries were out of season, but still yummy and pretty!

1-3oz. package strawberry flavored gelatin

1/2 c. cold water

1 package white cake mix

4 eggs

1 c. vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1-10 oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed

6 Tbsp. softened butter

2 c. confectioners sugar

1 container white frosting

1 pt. of fresh strawberries (for edible garnish)

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour 2 9 in. round cake pans.

In a large bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the water. Stir in the cake mix, eggs, oil, flour, and 1/2 of the strawberries. Beat 5 minutes on medium speed. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool on wire racks.

Cream the butter, 10x sugar and remaining strawberries in a bowl until fluffy, adding more 10x as needed. Add the container of white frosting and mix well.

Ice the cake, and cut fresh strawberries in half, using them to decorate the top of the cake. Beautiful, and yummy!

Note: I have also made this recipe with raspberry gelatin and raspberries, or blackberries. Whatever floats your berry boat!


Egg Recipe~Ultimate Recipe Swap @ Lifeasmom.com March 18, 2010

I’ve been enjoying this blog at www.lifeasmom.com and happened upon the Ultimate Recipe Swap. Today’s theme was egg recipes.

Here’s my recipe contribution~This is a great ‘breakfast-for-dinner’, or ‘brinner’ as another cool mommy blogger once said! It’s very savory and may be too much for your taste buds first meal of the day, although I happen to love it…hope you do,too!

Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

1 – 2 TBSP. olive oil

4 – 5 medium red skinned potatoes, sliced thin

3/4 c. diced roasted red peppers

1 & 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 shallot, minced (you certainly could use 1/2 of a small onion)

1 tsp. fresh basil, minced

6 eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream, 1/2 & 1/2, or even skim milk (depending on whether you’re counting calories today or not…; )

1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches or so from the top.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan (you can use any oven safe pan, but I love using cast iron) over medium heat and saute garlic, shallot, and peppers until the shallot is just translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove pepper mixture from pan and put aside. Place potatoes in the pan in an even layer. (You may need to add a touch more e.v.o.o.) Cover the pan and cook potatoes until they are tender, about 8 – 10 min. Stir in the pepper mixture with the potatoes, adding salt and pepper to taste, and cook altogether for another minute or so. Stir in basil.

Whisk the eggs and cream (or milk) together and pour over the veggies in the pan. Sprinkle the top with the goat cheese and a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook about 4 minutes until the eggs are set, but not completely done. Uncover the pan, turn off heat, and put it under the broiler until the top gets browned and melty, about a minute or two. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT WALK AWAY WHILE THE EGGS ARE UNDER THE BROILER !! I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE! THIS IS NOT A MULTI-TASKING OPPORTUNITY!!!

These eggs are way yummy served with ciabatta toast triangles. Also great for when you’ve got company for a nice brunch served with fresh fruit for sweetness to balance out the savory!



Extra Extra! Read all about it! March 9, 2010

Kaitlyn and Madelyn tearin' it up on their ripsticks!

A lot of people think that when you home-school you have to miss out on extra-curricular activities for your kids. So not true! Since I have been a home-school mom, I have always felt it was extremely important to make sure my kids got P.E., music, art, and other courses that they would have gotten in a public school setting. These are just some of the ways we’ve made it possible for our family:

Physical Education:

McKenna getting in her 30 minutes on the treadmill...

Now, this is what we’ve been doing recently, because we live in a small town without a lot of options for sports teams, etc.

When it was possible, they participated in soccer, and took dance, which gave them great opportunities to work well with other kids their age.

Different times in life call for different activities. We just roll with it!

When the weather is permitting, I kick them out of the house and require a certain amount of time be spent on their bikes, scooters, ripsticks, or other cardio activities of their choice. Getting time in the sun is extremely important, too, since schooling around the table doesn’t supply much vitamin D!

Home Economics:

Madelyn cleaning onions from the garden...

Kaitlyn bustin' out the laundry!

I’ve said it before, cooking is a lost art in today’s society, for the most part. I have always tried to instill in my girls the importance of knowing how to grow, pick, prepare, and cook food. I just think it’s important. We started a garden last year, and the girls were a big part of it. It was great! Whenever possible, I involve them in the dinner-making process, besides having times when I teach them individually how to use different kitchen tools, or cooking methods.

I teach a home-economics class on Tuesdays in my home for 9th-12th grade kids, and allow my girls to help and be a part of

Madelyn took this picture with her mad photography skills...also extra-curricular!

that as well. They are the ‘junior sous chefs’!

I tell them all the time…”You don’t have to love it, you just have to learn how to do it. If you and your husband someday choose to eat out every night, that’s your prerogative, but it won’t be because I didn’t teach you how to cook!”

McKenna making her fave...chocolate chip cookies!

I also think it’s important for them to learn how to run a household and keep up with every day chores. Allowing them to realize how gross it is to find bunched up, dirty socks in the hamper, or letting them see that cleaning up their room and throwing clean clothes in the hamper only makes for MORE LAUNDRY! Ugh!

It gives them a feeling of ownership in the home and allows them to take a little more pride in their surroundings.