Our Family Advent and Christmas Cookie Recipes with Object Lessons

 Advent was our favorite season when we homeschooled. We did holiday math, advent writing, Christmas social studies, winter science. Everything about Christmas is a teachable moment. Here are Christmas cookie recipes with a holiday object lesson. Our family is into it's third decade making these holiday treats. Our Family's Advent and Christmas Cookie Recipes

Homemade Eggnog Recipe, Diet, Dairy-Free and Alcoholic Varieties

My family is nuts about eggnog. My grandpa got me started on it and I introduced husband and children. It's a holiday must-have. Problem is, store-bought eggnog is freakishly expensive. $3.69 for a half gallon! And it's not very diet-friendly. So how about some homemade eggnog recipes? Here are different varieties.

Regular non-alcoholic Eggnog (our favorite and I always chuckle thinking of Ted in "Jingle All the Way" with this one)  Homemade Egg Nog Recipe, Diet, Dairy-Free and Alcoholic

Kosher Thanksgiving Recipe Tweaks for Jewish Hanukkah Holiday

Hanukkah always begins on 25 Kislev in the Jewish lunisolar calendar. Ergo it's a "movable feast" on the western calendar. This year it starts early, on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving.

Metro Detroit has a large Hebrew population. AP shares ways local Jews are approaching the Thanksgiving-Chanukah overlap. Hillel Day School in Farmington has special activities. Detroit bakeries are making Challurky. Yep, you guessed it: turkey shaped challah.

We aren't Jewish, but our son is dating an Ashkenazi girl. We believe it's part of our Catholic duty to understand and respect all faiths. So we're exploring ways to blend national holidays, Catholic holy days and Jewish traditions. Example: Thanksgiving. I won't make it completely kosher, but here are tweaks. Many fit Muslim halal requirements, too.   Kosher Thanksgiving Recipes for Hanukkah Holiday

Po Boy with Debris Gravy and Remoulade Recipe Leftover Use Up

When you clean the fridge, you're faced with a dilemma--what to do with leftovers. With some, it'll be obvious by the inch layer of grey kitty fur mold. Toss. Others still have life left in them, with a little repurposing. Chef Jacques Pepin showed how to make an awesome bouillabaisse with leftovers from his daughter's fridge. Here's my fridge clean out leftover use up Po Boy with debris gravy and remoulade. Leftover Use Up Recipes for Clean Your Fridge Day

Panko Breaded Chicken with Spicy Soul Hush Puppies

I hate throwing food away. When I make breaded fish or chicken or wiener schnitzel, I usually have too much breading mix. And I can't save and use later as it has meat juice in it. That's just not healthy. I promised in my bubble on panko crumb chicken, a recipe for bread crumbs use up.

I make hush puppies. I realize that this might be how hush puppies originated. It had to be a leftover use-up. It couldn't be for the taste (blech). But my recipe is different from the doughy, bland blobs I've had. I got it after having jalapeno hush puppies with honey butter sauce at Squeal soul food BBQ in New Orleans.  Use Up Leftover Bread Crumbs, Make Hush Puppies

Ghostly Skeleton Scream Cookies for Halloween

I'm not big into Halloween and definitely not the spooky parts. But I had to make a treat for daughter's orchestra concert tonight. High school students dress in costume, pass out candy to local kids and sell post-concert baked goods to raise money for music programs. Michigan schools are slashing arts budgets another 25 percent, so we parents have to make up the difference. So I thought I'd get into the Halloween spirit (pun intended). Here's a spooky recipe I invented that should scare up some funds.   Ghostly Skeleton Scream Cookies

Weekly Kids Snack Menu Healthy School Lunches--D is for Dog

I miss teaching preschool. So I indulge my inner kid writing Five day school lunch menu themes. Check out my other themes below. This Week-of-school-snacks theme is brought to you by the letter D. D is for Dog and we celebrate pooches, puppies and pets with snacks.Weekly Kids Snack Menu Healthy School Lunches--D is for Dog

Caramel Toffee Butterscotch German Chocolate Cake

Whenever there’s a birthday around our house, I like to make special desserts. I say desserts, not birthday cake because you never know what the person might have a taste for. When Pillsbury came out with Funfetti--with colored sprinkles in the cake and the little sprinkles attached to the frosting can--that became my oldest's favorite. With bubble gum ice cream from which she dissected the gum pieces into one big wad. Those where some sugar-psychedelic parties!    Caramel Toffee German Chocolate Cake and Butter Brickle Memories

Diet Breakfast Cereal Use-Up Bread Recipe

I'm Chef in Chief around here. I demand that my recipes be frugal, nutritious and use up leftovers. Today's recipe is
Leftover Breakfast Cereal Use Up Bread.

Don't you hate it when the family opens multiple boxes of cereal and lets them go stale? Well, I've outsmarted them. I recycle that cereal into bread. Even stale cereal can be repurposed. I've used Bran Buds, Grape-Nuts, Cheerios and Life cereals all successfully. I think most any cereal could work with a little tweaking. I use up other food too. For 2 pound loaf, place in the the bread machine in this order  Diet Friendly Breakfast Cereal Use-Up Bread Machine Recipe

Domestic Goddess Tips--Multitasking Recipes, Cooking Shortcuts

I am a Domestic Goddess; my domain is cheap meal-time management. Being a busy mom, I must budget time and energy as well as money. So I make 2-for-1 meals. I do the bulk of preparation on Sunday when I have the most time. Here's one weekly

Sunday--Chicken dinner. I roast a jumbo chicken, cook 2# rice, 1 # pasta, 3# ground beef, 5# potatoes and 3# pre-cut veggies (broccoli and cauliflower crowns, carrots). I pare and bake butternut squash. I make five cups of my mirepoix--two large green peppers, one big onion, 8 ounces mushrooms, 4 large carrots, one stalk celery. Serve chicken, potatoes, veggies. Package and refrigerate leftovers and extra food.  Domestic Goddess Tips--Multitasking Recipes, Cooking Shortcuts

Diet Tip Get the Facts on Fruit

 I have 15 pounds left to lose to reach my goal of losing 100 pounds. Every day I write a Diet tip of the day and diet recipe of the day to show how I lost weight. (you can find the others in this series clicking those tags on this Bubblews article). Today's tip is to be mindful of fruit. Fruit is the healthy. It provides fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and good sugar. But it is still sugar. if you have glucose intolerance or metabolic syndrome (also called pre-diabetes or insulin resistance) avoid fruit as you would all sugar. Read more  Diet Tip Get the Facts on Fruit

Shrimp Burgers, Diet Food Substitution Recipes

I've lost over 80 pounds and every day, I write articles on how I lost the weight. Since I cook for a big family, I don't want to make special diet meals for myself. So I tweak recipes and substitute low calorie options. Tonight, they had shrimp burgers and I had on of my food swap recipes using the shrimp burger theme. Here's how I made the two recipes. Since I was in a hurry and forgot to thaw anything, this features frozen foods.   Their Shrimp Burgers, My Diet Food Substitution Recipe

Diet Leftover Use-Up Recipe to Lose Weight: Super C Chicken Salad

I have lost about 82 pounds since 2011. I still have 20 pounds to go (or until I can shed the back fat and belly fat). My diet strategies are to ruthlessly cut calories, fat, sugar, starch and salt. Each day I write a how-I-lost-weight recipe. I'm also a frugalista and like to use up leftovers. Tweaking recipes to get more protein and vitamins for less calorie count is important too. And I love to repurpose leftovers for two-for-one meals. I call these 2-4-1 recipes! Today's is:  Diet Recipe to Lose Weight: Super C Chicken Salad - News - Bubblews

Diet Recipe of the Day Phony Coney Island Veggie Dogs

I gotta admit--I don't like veggie hot dogs (aka tofu links). I can handle veggie burgers and actually like them better than hamburgers. But those rubbery soy hot dogs, gahh. But I'm also working on losing 100 pounds (81 gone). Now I could make my own, probably better than the packaged ones. But I had a coupon for Lightlife Smart Dogs and they were on sale. And when I'm working, I need quick low-calorie snacks I can grab and go (that's a diet tip, by the way--keep low-cal snacks on hand so you won't reach for the high-calorie junk when you're hungry). Veggie dogs have about 50 calories, lots of protein and no additives. Here's how I opted to dress up my veggie dogs to make them more palatable. Diet Recipe of the Day Phony Coney Island Veggie Dogs

Low Calorie Sweet Potato Tacos

I can officially say I have lost 80 pounds. What a task but well worth it. Now just 25 more to go. The road to weight loss "is long, with many a winding turn." (Thank you, Hollies). But I cannot begin to express to you how worth it the dieting has been. So every day, I am sharing with you a how-I-did-it diet recipe of the day to help if you are overweight (or cook for someone who is). Most of my recipes feature food swaps, substitutes and switches to enjoy the same meal as the family but reduce fat, sodium and calories. Today's treat: Lowfat Low Calorie Yum-Yum Sweet Potato Tacos. I couldn't find a picture so until I do, you'll have to look at me.   Diet Recipe of the Day Low Calorie, Yum-Yum Sweet Potato Tacos

Low Calorie, Low-Fat Veggie-Based Entree Recipes

I'm dieting to lose 100 pounds. It's a journey, but I'm down almost 80
pounds. Along the way, I've created and tweaked recipes to subtract calories and fat and add superfoods (fruit, vegetables, lean meat, alternative protein). Here are homemade low-cal, low-fat entrees that are cheap and quick.

Super Slimming Sweet and Sour Scramble: Heat olive oil (one teaspoon per serving). Dice and saute your favorite lean meat, diced. Chicken breast is lowest in calories with 100 per 4-ounce serving. Or or use fish: salmon, cod, pollock or yellow fin tuna steaks. Or try tofu or miso for a vegetarian option. Add diced sweet potatoes, onions, multi-colored peppers, purple cabbage, leeks, pea pods and broccoli. Season with celery seed, garlic, Bragg's Liquid Amino (healthy soy sauce alternative), lemon juice, red pepper and ginger. Cook just till meat is done. Add a cup of orange or apple juice and pineapple bits.  Low Calorie, Low-Fat Superfood Entree Recipes, Cheap and Easy

Michigan Fox Barn Winery--High Schmaltz, Taste, Meh

We stopped at the Fox Barn Winery in mid-west Michigan along the lake near Mears and Silver Lake this weekend. I've lived along Lake Michigan all my life. The wine thing is a new venture for our once auto-based economy. It's gaining popularity. I liked some of the things about the winery, but not so much the wine. Here's my review. Michigan Fox Barn Winery--High Schmaltz, Taste, Meh

Diet Recipe of the Day: Pea Crisps

 I've lost about 75 pounds with drugs. I totally revamped my eating. They say people who struggle with weight have either salty or sweet cravings. I don't know about either-or. I have both. My salty nemesis was chips with dip. I could polish off a heap, like 600 calories worth, no problem. Like right now--those pita chips are screaming my name. So here are better alternatives.  Diet Recipe of the Day: Pea Crisps

Kid-Pleasing, Leftover Use-Up Quick Dinner Fix: Cajun Jambalaya

 Looking for a quick dinner fix kids will love? Here's a cheap, leftover use-up recipe that's fast and easy. Being a world cook, my recipes feature regional flavors. I also cater to special diets. So I'll offer tweaks for health or religious diets. Today's dish comes from my daughter and son-in-law living deep in Cajun country, in Lafayette, Louisiana. They're transplanted Michiganders and great cooks. We have been privileged to enjoy many Acadian and creole treats thanks to their culinary explorations. What's cooking? Jambalaya  Kid-Pleasing, Leftover Use-Up Quick Dinner Fix: Cajun Jambalaya

20+ Graduation Open House Food Recipes for Outdoor Buffet-Style Entertaining

Oh, oh! You've been too busy and put off planning that graduation open house until the last minute? Or maybe you've been thinking about it for months and can't decide what to serve? Even if you need some last minute fillers for your graduation open house buffet, it's a good thing you clicked this article. Here are 25+ easy foods, snacks and recipes to make a nice graduation open house buffet. These can be used for wedding bridal shower recipes, first Communion receptions and other open house buffets also.  20+ Graduation Open House Food Recipes

Memorial Day Picnic Foods, Holiday BBQ, Grill Recipes for Dieters

I've been seriously dieting since last fall. Staying the weight loss course was easier in winter. But summer is my nemesis. 4th of July BBQs, beach picnics, holiday grill outs, Memorial Day parties--these can spell diet disaster. Here are diet grill recipes, low calorie picnic foods and summer weight loss tips.

* Eat a snack beforehand. If you're hosting a party or going to one, eat a light, filling snack: turkey or tuna sandwich (two slices light bread, 70 calories, 2 ounces of meat, 50 calories, lots of fresh vegetables, 20 calories light cream cheese). Or have make a peanut butter sandwich. Save enough calories so you can enjoy some of the foods, but don't arrive starved. Take two green tea, African mango, acai tablets to curb hunger pangs.   Memorial Day Picnic Foods, Holiday BBQ, Grill Recipes for Dieters

Patriotic Foods, Red-White-and-Blue Recipes for Memorial Day Parties

I love party planning, particularly the cheap, homemade kind. I'm not much for generic or commercial. My fetes are purely DIY. Themed food improvs are my magnum opus. For Memorial Day, how about creative patriotic foods and red-white-and-blue recipes? Here's an appetizer-to-dessert menu.  Patriotic Foods, Red-White-and-Blue Recipes for Memorial Day Parties

Diet Superfood Entrees, Recipes, Easy and Cheap

I'm dieting to lose 100 pounds. It's a journey, but I'm down 71 pounds. Along the way, I've created and tweaked recipes to subtract calories and fat and add superfoods (fruit, vegetables, lean meat, alternative protein). Here are homemade low-cal, low-fat entrees that are cheap and quick.

High Energy, Low-Calorie, Vitamin-Rich Taste-Good Diet Snacks

 I'm in the home stretch in to lose 100 pounds. With 30 pounds left, I've gotten my eating down to a system. And then I go and bring home a caramel-coated Dutch apple pie for the family. It taste like ambrosia (I had a tiny bite). But that one bite has about 40 calories. Even smelling it probably puts on pounds! For times like this I need an emergency snack survival kit. Here are filling, satisfying, low-calorie, high protein treats to tame sweet cravings and help avoid temptation. Read moreHigh Energy, Low-Calorie, Vitamin-Rich Taste-Good Diet Snacks

Recipes, Food Swaps to Make Diet Eating Plans Palatable

I've lost 70 pounds and have 30 left to get back to my goal weight. To lose weight, I've completely changed how I eat. Some dietary changes were easy and others weren't. Here's are tweaks and recipes to make hard-to-swallow diet foods more palatable. Cut the yuck factor and boost the yum with these food swaps. You still get  low-calorie weight loss benefits without the stomach-turning taste. Recipes, Food Swaps to Make Diet Eating Plans Palatable

Memorial Day Picnic Buffet for Dieters, Vegetarians

Memorial Day is the first official picnic day of summer. With special diets: vegan, vegetarian, kosher, lactose intolerant, gluten-free, diabetic, etc. it's difficult to plan a picnic buffet that suits everyone. Throw some picky, fussy eaters (a.k.a. kids) into the party crowd and the harried Memorial Day hosts are at their wits end to know what to feed the hungry multitudes. Here's a Memorial Day picnic buffet that will have everyone and I do mean every single picnicker totally satisfied. Read more

Recipes to Use Up Leftover Ham

Easter was last week and you celebrated with a ham. Now seven days later, everyone is more than a little tired of it. You've sliced it, diced it, baked it fried it and you're out of ideas. Small problem, however. You bought a 15 pounder and there are still leftovers. You can freeze it, but why not try some of these recipes to use up that leftover ham in new and delicious ways. Here's one I forgot--halve and clean acorn squash. Fill cavity with cubed ham, chopped apples, dried cranberries and butter (watching calories? use olive oil or sunflower oil). Sprinkle on allspice, nutmeg and corriander. Feeling brave? Add green pepper. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake. Or make pizza with ham and fresh-diced pineapple, green pepper, tomatoes and onion. Top with cheddar cheese. Recipes to Use Up Leftover Ham

Free Easter Egg-Dyeing Crafts, Printable Decorations

If you celebrate Easter with eggs, bunnies and Easter baskets here free printable Easter crafts and activities. Use for egg dyeing patterns, Easter egg decorations and holiday table decor. Here are some egg dyeing tips from a mom of four whose been coloring Easter eggs for 40 years. Don't soak eggs in vinegar solution for too long. They'll get scaly. Skip the egg dye pellets and messy egg glitter and paint. Food coloring works best and is safest. Draw patterns on white eggs with a white crayon or piece of wax. This will resist dye and make pretty decorations. You can write messages, too. Skip Easter grass, so kids and pets don't accidentally eat it. Use green-colored coconut or shredded construction paper. Free Easter Egg-Dyeing Crafts, Printable Decorations

Easy, Healthy, Cheap WIC Foods Recipes

When our four kids were young, our income qualified me and the children for WIC (Woman, Infants and Children) food coupons.WIC, a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program, gives low-income families coupons for free food. Unlike food stamps, WIC can only be used for specific foods and baby formula. Breastfeeding moms like me couldn't use formula coupons and so WIC added vegetables, rice and tuna to supplement nursing moms' diets. WIC added Project Fresh coupons (used at farmers markets) and later produce vouchers. Here are recipes using basic WIC foods: eggs, juice, milk, peanut butter, cheese, approved cereal, tuna, carrots, bread, fruit and vegetables. Use these cheap recipes stretch your grocery budget and food stamps. For transitional housing dwellers, I've kept preparation and ingredients simple. Omit anything you don't have.  Easy, Healthy, Cheap WIC Foods Recipes 

Diet-Friendly, Vegetarian Rice Recipes for Lent, Halal, Kosher

 As a Catholic mom, I fast during lent and on Fridays by serving and eating meatless meals. I'm also dieting and have had success eating vegetarian. Rice is a great non-meat food source, but gets a bad rap for being high in starch and calories. Here are rice recipes that give you the most nutritional bang with the lowest caloric intake. I've written these recipes to meet other religious dietary restricitions. Recipes of Asia gives a guide. Islamic halal, non-kitniyot Jewish kosher. Kitniyot foods, like rice, are sometimes restricted by Jews, particularly Ashkenazi, during Pesach or passover. To observe kitniyot, quinoa could be substituted for rice. AISH says this is okay. These recipes follow eastern Ahimsa practices (except for the recipe with tuna). They can be made vegan by using soy for dairy or fish or by omitting. For all recipes, use brown or white jasmine rice (white has fewer calories). Diet-Friendly, Vegetarian Rice Recipes 

Diet Foods I'll Keep Eating After I Lose Weight

I've been dieting to lose 100 pounds gained after a stint on antidepressants. It's a long, tedious battle and I'm about half way there. After I get all the weight off, there are some diet foods I'll never touch again. Other foods I'm going to keep eating to maintain weight loss. Here they are.   Diet Foods I'll Keep Eating After I Lose Weight

Louisiana Cajun Menu--Courtbouillon, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee

Our daughter moved to Lafayette, Louisiana from Michigan. Prior to that, we'd never traveled in the southern U.S. It was a treat to visit and sample local Cajun and New Orleans creole dishes. Many became family favorites. I recreated our Louisiana experience for my husband's birthday. Here's a northerner's version of catfish courtbouillon, jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish etouffee.  Louisiana Cajun Menu--Courtbouillon, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee 

Homemade Valentine Treat Recipes, Heart-Shaped Cupcakes, Cookies

Well, your child did it again. She volunteered you to make three dozen cupcakes (pink, heart-shaped, with sprinkles, please) for her class Valentine's Day party--tomorrow! And when does she spring this news? 9 p.m.--no time to go to the store. Here are super-fast, last-minute, homemade treat recipes made with on-hand ingredients. I've included DIY heart-shaped snacks and improvised frosting, sprinkles and decoration tips.  Homemade Valentine Treat Recipes, DIY Heart-Shaped Cupcakes, Cookies

Healthy Catholic Lenten Fish Fasts, Cooking Tips, Recipes

Mardi Gras is a Catholic festival season that culminates on Fat Tuesday and takes the faithful into Ash Wednesday and the penitential season of Lent, explains the Washington Post. Everyone, Catholic or not, should quit feasting on Fat Tuesday and fast for Lent. Are you thinking, how dare she push her religion on me? Don't worry, I'm not suggesting everyone should have to fast. I'm just sharing from personal experience how beneficial a Lenten fast can be. Here are tips to practice a healthy fast.  Everyone, Catholic or Not, Should Fast for Lent

Fruit, Vegetable Switches to Cut Calories, Lose Weight

In dieting, it's important to eat fruits and vegetables. But fruits and veggies aren't created equal. Some impact weight loss and gain more than others. In my diet journey, I'm looking for the most nutritional bang for my caloric investment. I also need foods that satisfy hunger. Here are fruit and vegetable food swaps to cut calories, curb hunger, speed weight loss and improve health. Fruit Swaps, Vegetable Switches for Weight Loss

Healthy Cooking Cheats for Crazy-busy Parents

Mealtimes present a dilemma for me: I want the kids to enjoy hot, hearty, healthy meals, but I generally lack adequate time to cook. If you're a crazy-busy parent who values nutritious meals, you need shortcuts to "get-er-done" fast. Here are cooking cheats from a 24-year veteran mom of four. Tailor recipe sizes to family need. These meals are easy on the budget as well. Nutritious Meal Shortcuts for Busy Families

Foods from Around the World for Social Studies

Planning an 'Around the World' theme for your school, church, VBS, scout troop, camp, library, 4H or community group? Need some quick, easy inexpensive food ideas? Most all of these foods are available where you would normally shop. You will not need to make a special trip to an ethnic deli. Take a world tour right in your kitchen! Read more


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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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