Nuh-oh is so good for you

My youngest’s love for oatmeal cannot be denied. It is a love that is all encompassing, and it is also a love that keeps him regular – win/win! It started with my oldest, in fact, who started eating some of the oatmeal my mom would make for her own breakfast, and then it became a ritual. He outgrew his love of oatmeal but once my youngest started eating it, he was hooked.

Because of his autism, my little boy was slow to speak, and when he wanted his favorite food, he couldn’t say oatmeal, so he settled on “nuh-oh”. Now he has no problem saying oatmeal but he still prefers to call it nuh-oh and I think it will be nuh-oh until he’s all grown and out of the house.

My mom uses the packaged instant oatmeal but I’ve switched to the quick 1-minute oats that come in the big tubs. And I know, I know, everyone knows how to make oatmeal, but I just wanted to share what I do to make my boy’s breakfast as nutritious as possible.

This is about twice the amount that would be in an instant packet
The gorgeous canister label is from Leen’s shop, I love them.

We use rice milk because of my son’s (and my) allergies
Trader Joe’s has the cheapest price in rice milk, and since my son eats oatmeal 3 times a day AND drinks it as well, I make sure to stock up.

After two minutes in the microwave
I add a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter for some good protein.

The bulk oatmeal has a lot less sugar than the instant packets, but I do add some honey
both for flavoring and because it helps his allergies.

The last touch
is a bit of cinnamon, yum yum.

I usually add a sliced banana, but the ones I had were super green, so this was Sunday’s breakfast for my little guy:
Warm, hearty, flavorful, and it fills his belly with lots of goodness.

It’s so good that I’ve been known to make myself a bowl to warm up on a chilly morning. I usually skip the banana, but it gives me a good start to the day. As I was editing this post, my son came over and smiled as I showed him each picture in sequence. When I showed him the last one, he threw his hands in the air and said, “nuh-oh!”. He REALLY loves his oatmeal.

BTW, have you heard that peanut butter prices are going up? I’ve stocked up, just in case!

Beauty and Bedlam

Have you met the Queen?

If you’ve spent any time around the blogosphere, then you are probably familiar with vinyl decals being used around the home. In my case, I was longing for some order mixed with ornate for my pantry, and I found it at Leen the Graphics Queen’s site.

She has a really cute set of canister labels, which added to my new IKEA canisters, resulted in a seriously pretty addition to our pantry.


Or rather, my husband liked them so much that he asked if we could get them off the pantry shelf and put them above our microwave. They look great and bring order and prettiness to things we use often. The labels are custom-made so you can have them say whatever you wish – as you can tell, we don’t really use sugar, so one label reads Splenda!

I was not paid or gifted anything for this post, I purchased this set and was so happy that I wanted to share with y’alls. I’ve also purchased Leen’s chalkboard decals and liked them a lot. Her prices are very reasonable and she ships very quickly – go do some browsing! Now!!!

What’s the use of pinning . . .

if you don’t put your pinning to good use? This week’s menus are taken straight from Pinterest, I’ve been collecting recipes for a few weeks now and figured it was time to use them – I’ll report on the results next week, but here are the meals my family will be (hopefully!) enjoying this week:

Wish us luck!

A favorite wine

I am hardly a wine connoisseur. In fact, I often say I am a complete peasant when it comes to my tastes: I like what I like whether it costs $2 or $200. Luckily, we have friends who know a lot about wine and share their finds with us when we hang out. This is one that has remained a favorite since my husband and I first tried it.

This zinfandel is rich and spicy, and ideal for enjoying with a steak dinner – the best thing about it is that it is NOT $200. You will find it for around $12 at many super markets, and definitely at places like BevMo. Also, if you are enjoying some dessert with your meal, I would order some kind of chocolate cake or torte to add one more layer of decadence to your dinner.

If you’re up for trying something new next time you’re shopping for wine, I would definitely recommend you try some Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel – and if you think I’ve been in any way, shape or form compensated for this post, I can only say “I wish”.

New towels!

I know, I know, so very exciting. But you see, we haven’t bought new towels in about, oh, 6 years? My husband had his, I had mine, we didn’t register for them, and aside from some towels we have received as gifts, we’ve been using the same old, same old.


World Market had some on clearance – 50% off – that I thought would look smashing in my yellow bathroom, and I had one of their ‘$10 off/purchase of $30 or more’ coupons, i.e. 33% off. I lie. I had TWO of their coupons, one from a flyer I get in the mail, and one because I signed up for their Explorer program. Go sign up, it’s free.

Mine are the Jade Green Quito striped towels and I LOVE how they look with my warm yellow walls and our newly painted chocolate brown fixtures – my hubby did that for me and I love how it looks:
I got to debut my new towels for a lovely family get together we had on Saturday. My beloved Auntie and Uncle from Peru are in town and I had the pleasure of having them over for the afternoon. We had tamales (sold by a sweet old man who comes by every two weeks), lasagna, and a sinful dessert concoction that was too rich for words.

Then the next day I had an allergy attack like I haven’t had in months. Boo. I sneezed all day long and felt like crap warmed over. Thank goodness it lasted its usual one day and on Sunday I was feeling much better.

Hope you had a great long weekend!

Garden update

A quick review of some of our fruits and veggies:

Our onions have decided to get ready to flower:
I don’t know about you but seeing those bulbs remind me of being engorged with milk – I know, TMI!

Our blueberries are the right size:
Now they just need to be the right color 😀

We tried some of the peas and they were so sweet:
My oldest, Mr. I-Don’t-Try-New-Stuff, was eating them like candy.

We have serious plans for our corn:
This is only one side of the corn plantings we have.

I think we’ll have some green peppers next week
Maybe in a yummy stir-fry.

Our carrots are about as long as my finger – both my husband and I have peeked:
0521carrotstomatoesThe tomatoes are getting taller every day.

And my beloved roses keep filling my house with beautiful color:
That’s all the happenings in the garden for now, we’ve enjoyed many strawberries and a few peas and look forward to the rest of our harvest!

Obsessed with pancakes

When I was little, growing up in Lima, a favorite destination for a weekend treat was Palachinke, a pancake place that served huge, thin pancakes. I always asked for banana pancakes and was never able to finish.

Flash forward to last week, when Mom was staying with me and we headed up to IKEA – we had breakfast there and I enjoyed their thin pancakes:
I learned from a quick Google search that “palacinke” (as well as various derivations of the word) is the Eastern European name for these crepes.

As you can imagine, I am determined to make these at home because going to IKEA for breakfast every day is just not feasible. Tempting, but not feasible. I did get a jar of lingonberry jam because it was so delicious!

Organizing: Meal Planning

I’ve been slowly getting into the Once a Month cooking idea. Not completely, because with my boys being picky eaters and my husband needing lunch as well as dinner (he works from home) I couldn’t possibly cook an entire month’s worth of meals in one day. But, three times now I have cooked and made more than one “batch” of the same meal, twice to freeze for future meals and once to share with a dear friend.

The two meals I made to freeze were from Fix, Freeze, Feast and they were both delicious, but you can find freezer recipes throughout the web, and of course, at The Martha’s website. Some recipes I will try next week are Chicken and Rice soup, Mini Meatballs, and her Basil Pesto, with one modification: I prefer to make mine half basil and half spinach. The original recipe with all basil can be a bit overpowering to me, and I like the idea of squeezing in some extra veggies wherever I can.

Got any freezer-friendly recipes you’d like to share?

What’s been planted

Most of the veggie garden has been planted. We managed to get most of the plants in the ground in between bouts of rain. And when I say “we” I mean my husband.
Out lovely swiss chard, I saute it like spinach, with butter and garlic, and I have a recipe I want to try – a white bean soup with chard. We’ll see how it turns out.

This is what I call Onion Hill, there are yellow onions growing (I hope) in between the two patches of green onions.
These green onions are legendary in our house. You can grab a bunch and put them in a bowl in one corner of the kitchen and you can smell them from the other corner. Fragrant and flavorful, these have grown all through the winter for us.

Our peas and beans, my husband made a little structure for them to climb:
My picky 6-year-old who won’t touch anything green will happily pick them off the vine and pop them in his mouth.

Squash Row – we have grown baseball bat zucchinis in our garden, although I will be more diligent about harvesting when they’re smaller, because they’re much yummier then.
I have a feeling lots of zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate chip cookies (kids love them!) are in our future.

We’ll also be doing tomatoes, of course, I hope to do some canning this year as well as drying some with my awesome new food dehydrator. The grapes and blueberries are also planted, and the corn has a reserved spot as well. Thanks to my husband for all his work on “my” veggie garden 😀

Are you planting any fruits or veggies this year?

Giveaway! Urban Pantry

Today I’m giving away one copy of this awesome book – Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington.

Urban Pantry is full of tips and ideas for growing, preserving and cooking your own food, it is beautifully photographed and was named one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2010 by

In order to win you must:
1 – be a follower of this blog
2 – leave a comment

that’s it!
The giveaway closes on Sunday night (March 6) and I will announce the winner on Monday, March 7. Good luck!