Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sloppy Joe Casserole

Here is an easy casserole to throw together. I sat on the original recipe for this after finding it online for awhile because it just seemed like it would be a little odd. I finally made it one night (ok, well at least a couple of the ingredients were the same as in the original recipe!) when I gave the Chewy Kid the chance to choose between two new recipe ideas - and he picked this one.

1 lb. ground beef or turkey, crumbled, browned and drained
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cloves garlic chopped (or 1 teaspoon prepared garlic)
3 cups cooked rice (I use brown)
1 can sloppy joe sauce
2 - 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup shredded co-jack or cheddar cheese

mix everything but the cheese together and put in a 2 - 3 quart casserole. (I definitely recommend giving the dish a spray of non-stick spray!) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

When I made it this week, I sprinkled some french fried onion rings on top along with the cheese. They were a hit!

Of course you can substitute, especially for the veggies - use what you have on hand, frozen, canned, mixed, whatever your family will eat!

When we were eating this earlier in the week, we all commented how it is a strange combination of stuff, but it comes together into one of our favorite meals. Unfortunately, I missed getting a photo!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ants are Marching...

and they are marching right into the Chewy Tot's Room. It appears they are cruising in through the window area somewhere. I do love nature - and even the smallest critters out there, but not in my house, thank you.

So, it was time to Google "child friendly ant deterrents" which let me to a variety of homemade ant killers. The best collection I found was at It also had some basic information about ants and why some baits work one time, but not another. I was looking to try something with Borax since I was going to be picking up some for other uses anyway. After looking at some of the "recipes" I went into the kitchen and went to work - just like when baking, I only used the recipe for inspiration!

I decided to make two different baits:

Bait #1 - equal parts borax and peanut butter
Bait #2 - equal parts borax and honey

After mixing (and labeling the containers as ant bait and NOT-FOOD!) I put about 1/8 of a teaspoon of bait on a small square of paper. I did two of each bait and set them on the windowsill in the Tot's room. A few minutes later, there were already ants munching. An hour later, the ants were "shoulder to shoulder" crowded around the bait loading up. The visible population of ants in the room had exploded. Not a surprise with the honey and peanut butter available to all.

Now the question is - what happens when they take it back to the nest? Well, my understanding is that it should "take care of the problem". Obviously, it will take a few days to see if that is the case or not - or if I have just opened up a soup kitchen for wayward ants.

Does anybody else have any experience getting rid of ants or other crawlies? I am open to any tips or tricks -- especially any "chewy" solutions that are child safe and frugal!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cinnamon Biscuits

The past few days, I've been thinking of Hardee's, back when there were Hardee's everywhere, and I even worked drive-through at one for a summer during college. Then I started thinking about the cinnamon biscuits, and I decided they shouldn't be too difficult to make. I've embraced the biscuit over the past year, and have found them a fast, easy, and frugal way to add hot, fresh bread to dinner. So now, it's time to branch out to breakfast.

Cinnamon Biscuits

2 1/4 cups of biscuit mix plus a little more for kneading (I make my own and keep on hand - recipe here)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2/3 cup of milk

Mix the mix, sugar and cinnamon together. Add milk and stir to combine. Put dough out on surface dusted with biscuit mix and knead 8-10 times. Pat down to about 1/3 inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter (or knife) to cut into biscuits. Gently reknead scraps and repeat until you are left with one mini drop biscuit left. Bake at 450 for 9-11 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

While baking mix together a simple powder sugar glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T. Milk
1/2 t. vanilla or cinnamon (optional)

When you pull them out of the oven, allow to cool for a minute or two, then drizzle with the glaze.

Here is the result:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Go to Camp!! an essay by the Chewy Kid

The Chewy Kid wrote this essay. We told him he needed to write a persuasive essay - and he totally ran with the topic and main points. He did have some minor editing help. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have. We are also excited about the message he is sharing - Going to summer camp is a great rite of summer for kids - and many never get the chance to go. If you are looking for a camp for your child this summer - be sure to check out for more information on finding the right camp for your child.

Go to Camp!!

by Joe Cackler - 9 year old experienced day and overnight camper

Have your kids ever wanted to go to camp? This is your lucky day! This essay will tell you the answer. Read on to find out why!

Sometimes, all the time if the staff are good staff, your kids will have fun. When I go to camp, one way I have fun is horseback riding. If your kids have fun, they are happy. You all like your kids to be happy right? Well, I hope so! You may be thinking, “What does my child get besides happiness?” Skills! Read on to find out more.

If you go to the right camp, your kids will learn new skills. One I learn is acting. Your kids may also learn horseback riding, knots or archery. You may be thinking “what do I get?” a break! Read on.

Ever think “I need a break!?” If you are a stay-home parent, sending your kid to camp will give you a break. (This is for parents that are home in the summer too!) The aftermath: “aaah! I can relax today! aaah!” Still need a break? You can sign your kids up for multiple days and overnight for even more relaxing!

Parents: “You can go to camp this summer.”
Kids: “Yeah!!!!”
Well, I hope you now know why you should send your kids to camp: They have fun, learn new skills and you get a break! That wraps things up, so please send your kids to camp.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Yes, it's been a long time since I've posted. Life has been busy between illness, work, family events and such. I've been working on posts - and will be posting more this week. If there is anything "chewy" that you are interested in seeing more of (reviews, recipes, family activities, etc.) please let me know!

The Great Diaper Change!

This Saturday, we'll be taking part in "The Great Diaper Change", a worldwide event to set the record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.

We'll be attending the event in West Des Moines, at the Val Air Ballroom at 11:00 a.m. If you are not from the Des Moines area, you can find a location closer to you here. The Ballroom makes a great location for this event, since it opened in 1939 -- back when cloth diapers were just called "diapers". In recent years, the Val Air has been updated and had a rebirth to fit the needs of the community -- sounds like a perfect match!

Ok, it may sound a little odd - but I am really excited about this - for a few reasons:

  • What a great opportunity to raise awareness of how far cloth diapering has come in the past 10 years. Press coverage, and a chance for people to see cloth that is not the cloth diaper that they are imagining in the press.
  • A chance to see the scope of the cloth diapering community here in Des Moines and meet other parents. (And see a lot of cute babies and diapers!)
  • The Chewy Kid is obsessed with Guiness World Records (aren't most 9 year old boys?) and I must also confess to reading several World Record books cover to cover when I was his age. We've been looking at the rules, and he's excited to go be an observer. He is also learning about the technicalities that go into a World Record.
  • I hear there are going to be goody bags and/or door prizes!
Even if you only cloth diaper part-time, or are just considering - please consider joining us. If you are in need of a diaper - I'd be happy to lend you one for the event, and even take it back home and wash. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP on the FaceBook event posting here.

Hope to see you there!