Month: March 2014

Super easy breadcrumb recipe!

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In a previous post I mentioned that I made my own breadcrumbs and I also posted a link. Well, let me just tell you: it was super easy!!! I was so disappointed by all of the preservatives in the brands at the store. I must have  looked at 6 different brands and they all had either corn syrup or partially hydrogenated something. So depressing what commercial brands put into our food.

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So, back to the super easy breadcrumbs.  As you can see by the picture, I cut up a loaf of Italian bread and put them in the oven at 250 degrees. You can really choose any type of bread you want. Next time, I’m thinking of trying a whole grain bread.  The recipe said to bake them for 30 minutes. However, mine took about 60 minutes all in all. I guess maybe next time I will try putting the oven at 300 degrees or cut thinner slices.

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After the pieces cooled, I made them into breadcrumbs the old fashion way. I put a few pieces of bread into a Ziploc and rolled over it with a rolling pin for about 5 minutes. This step definitely took longer than I expected, so I will be talking out the food processor next time. I also would recommend to take off the crust if it is thick. As you can see by the picture, many of these pieces did not break into tiny crumbs.

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I then seasoned it with a few items I had in my pantry. I used one tablespoon of dried parsley, one table spoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. I do not like to use salt but you can put salt in to taste. I mixed it all up and I had 100% real breadcrumbs! I wound up making eggplant parmigiana that night and it tasted great! And, I had enough left over for a few more recipes!

To summarize what I would do differently next time:

1. I will set the oven to 300 degrees and cut thinner slices to make the bread harden faster.

2.  I am using the food processor to speed up the crumb part! (Using a rolling pin was great for my arm muscles, but I’d rather lift my weights then crush the bread.)

I totally recommend making your own breadcrumbs! Like I said, super easy! If you can’t and are in a pinch, try looking for a brand with ingredients you can at least pronounce.

Let me know of any brands you may come across! And have fun making the breadcrumbs!

Contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

The clock struck 2…oh wait 3

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Daylight Savings Time. A phrase that is dreaded by many parents twice a year. Unfortunately, it is inevitable. My first time experiencing daylight savings time was when my son was 8 weeks old. It really didn’t have any effect on him, so of course I thought I was in the clear. It wasn’t until after his first birthday that I really “experienced” daylight savings time!

I had noticed my son was getting sleepy at around 7 the night the clocks “fell behind”. I decided to let him stay awake until his normal bedtime of 8. This way, he would wake up at his normal time. Or so I thought. It was a party at Mrs. Z’s house the next morning at 4:15. Oh joy! I can’t really complain, though. I was able to get a few things done and we had the rest of the day to enjoy our fun activities. And he did resume his regular wake up time a few days later.

So mommies (and daddies too!) of the world: I feel your anxiety about the upcoming night. Perhaps you aren’t feeling any tension towards this time change and your children will sleep peacefully and won’t need any coaching back to a regular sleep pattern. In that case, I applaud you! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth transition. Just in case, here are a few tips on how to get your little munchkin back into their routine.

Here is an interesting article on how daylight savings time can affect you. Or, like I said previously, it might have no profound effect on your life. Whichever way your life turns out, enjoy your day!

How will you handle your little tots sleep transition? Comment below!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Say NO to palm oil!!!

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I am glad there has been so much talk about food in the news lately. There is a new food label on the horizon. I think it is a step, however, a very small step, in the right direction. It is definitely important to know how much sodium, sugar, etc., you are consuming. And the fact that they are making the serving sizes a lot clearer to consumers is great too. I think we need to start looking into the ingredients if you ask me.

I saw this post the other day and it just made me sick :(. (I warn you: The image may bother you. This is a reality that needs to be stopped!) Unfortunately, palm oil is found in so many of our foods. It is actually not good for you at all. Especially if you see the words partially hydrogenated in front of them. That means it is processed in a lab. It also turns into trans fats when absorbed into the body and goes straight to the heart. Scary, huh? Not only are we hurting ourselves, but the poor animals that get in the way of the collection of this palm oil are hurt as well.

I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again: Try buying foods with 5 or less ingredients. Trust me, it is super difficult! I’m still working on changing all of the groceries in my pantry. After awhile, though, it does become easier and easier. And don’t try to change all of the brands that you buy in one shopping order. It will drive you crazy (trust me, I know from experience!). Try looking for one item that you buy often and  make the change slowly. Then the next week you can look for another item and go from there.  There are many options for us to choose from.  It just takes time to find them. Sometimes, that search becomes useless.  For example, I was in the grocery store the other day and I had to buy breadcrumbs. As I looked at each brand’s ingredients, each one had one thing in common: partially hydrogenated palm oil. I wound up not buying any of them. I did, however, find a super simple  recipe for making breadcrumbs.  Making it yourself could be another alternative.

What are your thoughts on the new food label? Any suggestions for finding healthier alternatives? I’d love to hear from you!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Fifty Fantastic Children’s Books (plus one Mrs. Z favorite!)

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I’m going to stick with discussing books with you today. Being a teacher you are surrounded by books constantly. You don’t just read a book as a teacher. You dissect it. I have so many books with post-it notes all over them. Many of these post-its have “important questions to ask”, or “why is this part of the story so important?”, or “How does this particular event affect the outcome of the story”. I can keep going. Even though I have not been in the classroom for awhile, it doesn’t stop. You never read a book the same way again if you are/were a teacher. I guess you can call it a hazard of the job. To me, it is just a way of life.

So, here is a wonderful post that summarizes 50 awesome books parents should read to their children.  I think I own about 40 of these books. Sometimes, I own 2 copies: one to use post-its and highlight; the other is my “good” copy. No one can touch that one!  I am super excited to get to Barnes and Noble and check out the 10 books I never read. To me, finding a new book is such a great adventure.

On the list is The Sweetest Fig by: Chris Van Allsburg. I love this book! To be honest, I love all things Chris Van Allsburg . He gets the imagination going and uses such magical vocabulary.  Another one of his amazing books is “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”. It is a collection of art pieces that have only two or 3 sentences attached to it. According to his notes, these paintings were left at his door and he has no clue who left them. That is intriguing enough to me. However, the pictures and descriptions get you thinking. I won’t lie: I started writing a story about one of the paintings. I could not resist. Give it a try. I’m telling you, you will be hooked!

Good night Moon and The Giving Tree are also on the list. If your home is anything like ours, these stories are heavy hitters. I can probably recite each one of these after having read them for the millionth time. They are feel good books, though, so I don’t mind.

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I would like to offer up to you my own addition to this list: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. This book is utterly amazing. It’s a story of a man who lives his life around his books. It reminded me a lot of myself. However, when I picked it up, I thought of about 10 lessons that I could do with a class if I was teaching. See, it never leaves you, no matter how far removed you are from the classroom.

I hope you have fun with this list. It was a great reminder for me to take out these classics. Just one last thought: try reading this story on an actual hardcopy. There is nothing better than holding a book in your hand. I find it very difficult to read off an electronic device. I guess you can say I am old school. I am a true bookworm at heart!

What are some of your favorite childhood books? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

This one is for you…

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Today’s post is dedicated to my grandpa.  One year ago today my family lost our patriarch. My grandfather was a man who stood strong in what he believed in but loved each of us with all of his being. My life changed March 4, 2013, as I am sure those who knew him felt the same way. I hope you are enjoying heaven Grandpa!

From as far back as I can remember, I have loved stories and the written word. I can remember reading books as a child and could actually feel myself “getting lost in a book”. Words and descriptions are so powerful to me. My whole life I have been exposed to stories of the past. My grandparents have told some many stories of their childhood and younger years. Sometimes these stories were told so often that many times they went on deaf ears. However, I can probably say many of them verbatim. Now that my grandfather is gone, I long for those days of stories and the constant repetition of his memories. It’s one of the only things I have to hold on to of him and I crave for any stories I can get.  My grandmother is now the holder of those stories. When I hear a memory coming to light in her conversation, I listen intently. She is the last link to my grandfather and to her generation.

You might be asking, “Where is she going with this?”. Don’t worry, I always get to my main point. Don’t forget, I have the gift of storytelling. It is in my genes. Of course, I digress again. Let’s get back on topic. When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to do something to capture that time in my life so that my child could experience it with me when they got older. My foray into journaling began. I wrote an entry once every 2 weeks telling my little one what I was feeling, any fears/excitements I had, any exciting adventures Daddy and I had gone on, etc. I have continued this journal for my son and plan on doing so in the future. I do not write in it as often. However, I do capture all milestones he makes and the fun adventures we go on as a family.

I wanted to do this so that when he gets to be a parent, and even a grandparent ( Mrs. Z, don’t rush your life away!!), he can pass on these memories to his children and grandchildren. Many of the stories my grandfather told I’ve either simply forgotten or I remember bits and pieces. He is not here to fill in the blanks. It hurts my heart sometimes to think about that. Life is funny, though. There are times where I am doing something and, out of nowhere, I remember a bit of a story I had forgotten. Or I say something, and it’s something my grandfather would have said. I look at my son and tell him that his great grandfather use to say that. I know he doesn’t understand what I am saying, but he smiles. And I know one day when I tell  him those stories about his great grandfather, he’s going to love them. I just wish grandpa was here to tell them.

I will take my leave now, but I want to leave you with some words of wisdom. I know I am not at an age of great wisdom yet, but I feel that I have gathered a little bit of wisdom in my years on Earth so far. So, here you go: Listen to the stories. Hold on to them. Record them. Share them. You are the link to the past. Our time here is so short. Make the best of it. And remember to live life to the fullest!

I still miss you a lot grandpa! I love you old man! <3 DJC SR.