Stepping Stone Playdate

12IMG_20130908_184747IMG_20130908_184107Sunday, September 8th was Grandparent’s Day and this year was the first time we celebrated (last year Josh was just too small). We have 3 sets of grandparents all close by so we knew that we needed to do something that was easily replicated. I decided on stepping stones after viewing a few tutorials. I knew I would need a bag of mortar and I figured why waste! I will invite some of Josh’s friends over for a playdate and they can make some as well since I have to buy a whole bag of mortar anyway!

Mortar sets up quickly so we waited for all of our friends to arrive before we started mixing it up.  We started mixing with a shovel but it was just so much easier to get our hands in there and get dirty! We scooped up enough into pie tins and the kids (some with Mom’s help!) decorated and did hand and foot prints in them! They made great gifts and the grandparents loved them…and the kids and Mom’s had fun! It was a great and easy playdate!

Materials needed:

  • 12 9″ pie pans
  • Decorative Stones
  • 1 bag mortar

Directions:

  1. Mix mortar and water until the consistency of a thick pudding.
  2. Pour into pie pans
  3. Decorate immediately
  4. Allow to set for at least 24 hours before removing from pie tin (try not to move it as much as possible during this time)
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Homemade Cloth Diaper Detergent

I have had so many people ask for my cloth diaper detergent recipe that it would be easy just to direct them here, so here goes:

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup oxi-clean baby

That’s it! Just mix them together and add 1-2 tablespoons per load! I always dry my diapers in the sun so any stains that may remain come right out! Easiest trick in the book!

And, just for fun, my lovely Applecheeks out on the line after a wash with this detergent!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been using this laundry detergent for about 9 months now and I absolutely love it, so I thought I should share:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap (I like the lavendar)
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • About 3 gallons of water

 

Directions:
    1. Shred soap with a grater. Heat about 4 cups of water over medium high heat and slowly add soap until melted.
    2. Pour 3 gallons of water into a 5 gallon bucket. Add borax, washing soda and melted soap.
    3. Seal bucket and let sit for 24 hours. It will turn kind of gloopy.
That’s it! I pour it into my old store-bought laundry detergent containers for easier access. Add about a cup per load into your laundry and enjoy clean, lavendar scented laundry for about half the price of Tide!

{Recipes} No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

I’ve been baking my own bread for a while now so I thought it was about time for me to share my recipe. I started with this recipe from vegan baking and changed it up a little with a few mixins. I needed a recipe that was easy and did not have honey as my one year old son would be eating it as well.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp. ground oatmeal

1)In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, agave syrup and yeast. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.

2)In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and salt.

3)Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon in a circular motion for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Alternatively, place this in the refrigerator for about 12 to 24 hours. Remember that we want our dough to double in size regardless of whether it spends a full 24 hours in the refrigerator or rises at room temperature. Feel free to let it rise in the refrigerator for some of the time and outside of the refrigerator the rest of the time.

4)Vigorously mix the dough again with the wooden spoon for 30 seconds and allow it to rise once more, covered, at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

5)Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Stir the dough one last time for 30 seconds to degass it. The dough can now be ‘proofed’ by gently forming it into a lightly oiled loaf pan and allowed to sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of it’s intended size, which should be about 40 minutes. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it’s shape. It’s important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.

6) Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes. Due to the high water content in the dough it may begin to spill over the sides of the loaf pan. In this case, take the edges of the dough and stretch it over the loaf to the other side, working your way around the perimeter of the loaf pan as you go. Stretching the dough over itself will also help keep the loaf in its proper shape as it bakes. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran.

During baking, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of it’s intended size in the process known as oven spring. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread registers 180-190F (82-88C) when read by an instant-read thermometer. This should be about 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees in the oven halfway through the baking duration for even baking.

7)Remove the bread from the loaf pan after about 30 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack until it’s cooled to room temperature. This bread is best stored covered in a cool dark place or pre-sliced and stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. Makes one loaf of No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.

**Please note that I did not have the right size loaf pan so I made two smaller loafs.

 

{Recipes} Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

This recipe was born of a rushed mother with not much food on hand, and since I have made it several times over! It is really simple and tasty!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved in thickness
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

    1. Coat chicken with pesto and put in a casserole dish
    2. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through
    3. Top with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes and broil for 3 minutes
That’s it! I typically just serve it with pasta and sauce and it is a complete meal in no time!

{Recipes} Homemade Taco Seasoning

 

I posted this on my instagram account (katie_osterritter) and was asked by several people for the recipe, so here it is. I used this recipe as the base and then changed it to suite me (I like spicy!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
This makes about 2 tbsp, enough for 1 pound of ground meat. I made four times this so I would have some to store for next time…we are huge mexican food lovers!
Enjoy!

{Recipes} Spicy Lime Fish Tacos

We went to the beach to visit some family yesterday and Jon worked a 16 hour day so I needed something really easy for dinner. My aunt suggested fish tacos and that was it! I had to have them!

Ingredients:
 (For the slaw)
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp mayonaisse
  • juice of 1/4 navel orange
  (For the fish)

  • 1/2 pound white fish (I used tilapia)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash sea salt
  • dash pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Red Onion
Directions:
    1. In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the slaw and set aside to marinate while you prepare the fish.
    2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season the fish with cayenne pepper, sea salt and pepper. Cook fish one each side for 4 minutes, until flaky and tender then squeeze the lime juice onto it and cook an additional 2 minutes.
    3. Flake fish onto to of your favorite whole grain wraps, top with broccoli slaw and juice mixture and serve with cilantro, red onion and orange pieces.