Thursday, February 18, 2016

Boiled Peanuts and Coke & Peanuts

slow cooker peanuts

We Love Peanuts!

We do not live in the south.  While shopping for garden plants, we found you could actually grow peanuts here if you started the plants early.  We were so excited to try and grow peanuts.  We were told how they grow, and it sounded fascinating.  Pods grow out and then bury themselves in the ground. Something fun for the kids to grow.

Our plants started doubling in size, we were so excited.

Then, I walk outside and the peanut plants looked like my husband had run them over with a lawnmower.

Not a happy wife!

Confronted my husband and he assured me he did not run them over.  
Sorry Honey, my bad.

Then, a rabbit comes running into our yard under the fence from the neighbors yard.  
We live in the suburbs, and were shocked to were it came from.

Of course, the kids chased it and it ran away into another yard.  Unfortunately, he kept coming back and he was starting to look dirty and skinnier, and eating our garden.  We found out he was a neighbor's pet. They didn't want him because he keeps sneaking out and ruining neighbors gardens.  Did they come and try and trap it, NO!  They washed their hands of him.  He had to go.  

The kids actually saw him sneak into our yard, blocked off the exits and tricked him into a live trap cage.

Victory is ours!

Of course they wanted to keep him.  
He was really cute!

But we have a dog and Mom gets allergic to animal bedding, so we called animal control for suggestions.  We are animal lovers and didn't want him put down.

They told us of a Bunny Rescue place they take them to, with all the unwanted bunnies bought at Easter.  They find the bunnies new homes.  So, we had to say our goodbyes!

Needless to say, if it wasn't for the rabbit we'd have peanuts fresh from the garden to try and to make boiled peanuts.

Boiled Peanuts
*warning peanut allergy

I had a friend from the South, who's mom once made boiled peanuts, when I was much younger.  I can't remember anything about them other than she cooked them in a slow cooker, and I ate them.  I really don't even remember if  liked them.  I thought it would be fun to try and make them at home.  Expose the kids to a different culture.

raw peanuts

Well, I was shopping and saw these peanuts and that is what actually reminded me of the boiled peanuts.  Some people have recommended green baby peanuts, and others fully mature raw peanuts.  They were the only peanuts at the store, so we thought this is what we'd try.

The bag included a safe food handling warning. 
 I never would have thought you'd have to cook your peanuts properly before eating them.  I'm glad I saw that.  Otherwise, I would have just eaten a few.

I thought is was a good idea to wash and rinse the peanuts thoroughly.

I put them in a pan and filled it with hot water.  I swirled the peanuts around and around to wash off the shell.  I rinsed and repeated this four times since the water was so dirty to start with.

On a side note, it actually worked as a good exfoliate for my hands, leaving them so soft!

I filled a pot with about 6 cups of water to completely cover them.

Ah, they float!

Mix in 1/4 cup of salt.

Stir it up to help dissolve the salt.

Let soak overnight.  I placed a plate on top to help keep the floaters under water.

I decided to drain the water and start with fresh.  
Completely cover the peanuts with fresh water, it took about 6 cups.

Since they soaked in a salt water brine overnight, I decided to add only 1/8 cup of salt to the water to cook in

As you can see they are floaters.

I placed a plate on top to help hold them down.

Cook on high 7-8 hours depending how soft you like your peanuts. 
I cooked mine approximately 7 hours.

Drain water with a strainer or a slotted spoon.

Crack open the shell and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

At first we were a little on the fence if we liked them or not.
The more we ate the better they got.  SO GOOD!

Refrigerate for 3 days or Freeze for later.
Warm up to eat if desired.

Definitely worth a try!
It's a Southern thing!

Coke and Peanuts
Adult Supervision highly recommended!
Warning-Choking Hazard and nut allergy

I've been hearing a lot about this lately on the radio, on T.V., and on social media.  I would've never even thought of mixing these two.  My initial thought was:

 "Won't you choke on the peanuts?"
"That can't possibly be good!"  
And "Huh, whatever for?"

I guess it's a huge thing in the South.
I try to expose myself to different cultures, and thought I'd give it a try.

Soda and Peanuts

I used a 1 5/8 oz. bag of peanuts.
20 fl. oz. bottle of Coke, Dr. Pepper, or your favorite soda.  
Name brands do not matter.

Drink a gulp or two from your selected beverage, to make room for the peanuts.

pop and peanuts

Pour peanuts directly into the Soda Bottle.
Be careful, it will fizz up a bit.

 I really thought I'd choke on the peanuts. 
I thought the nuts would just come pouring out with the soda.

In my initial taste testing, the peanuts really only came out a few at a time through the skinny neck, so it wasn't an issue for me.  

However, I can see how you could easily choke and I still wouldn't offer this to kids and recommend even adults take precautions.

I have to say, this was actually pretty good!
The nuts gave gave the soda a much more salty flavor.
I have to admit I am not really a big Cola drinker and this actually improved the flavor for me.  I can also see the benefit of freeing up a hand, by mixing your snack and drink together at an event.

Four of our five family members liked it and would drink it again.

In a nutshell, take precautions, and try something new from a different culture.
You may actually like something that looks odd to you!

If your liked this, you might also like roasting pumpkin seeds check it out here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pi Day-March 14


Pi Day is celebrated March 14.  

The older my daughters get, the more they have declared themselves Nerds.  No self respecting Nerd could let Pi Day come and go without indulging in it.  It became apparent to me that Pi Day was a big deal to my girls, when they kept talking about it over and over again.  Like another holiday May the fourth. 

So, I thought I'd be a good fun Mom and embrace this new unusual holiday.While, I think it would be super fun to teach the girls to make pies from scratch , I was strapped for time.  I decided to take  a trip to the store for a lazy Mom's Pi Day.  I thought personal pot pies for dinner, and a pie for dessert is just what we needed.  I grabbed the brand that was on sale, but any will do.  

I surprised the girls with our simple Pi Day celebration, and they were ecstatic.  
Mom win!

 Learn more about the meaning of Pi Day.

I think this year we might have a pie eating contest!

Sometimes it's the little stupid things we embrace that make the best memories, and put the biggest smiles on your kiddos faces.

So add this crazy new holiday to your family calendar and embrace the Pi.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fast and Easy Ground Beef & Noodles

So easy kids can make it.

This is my kids go to meal when they are in charge of dinner.
It is super easy, and they love it as much as mac and cheese.
*Adult supervision is always recommended when kids are in the kitchen.

I love the cute Faralle bow tie pasta, but you can use whatever you like or have on hand.

Boil you noodles according to the package al dente.

When cooked, drain water and set aside.

Brown 1 lb. ground hamburger seasoned with salt and pepper.  
Add 2 cans of your favorite cream of chicken.

Add 1-2 cans (from used cream of chicken) of milk.
 (I usually use about 1 1/2)

Stir up until sauce is smooth and well blended.

Add more pepper to flavor sauce.
(salt is desired)

Bring to a boil. let simmer about 10 mins.

Add cooked pasta.

Stir until evenly blended.

Cover and let simmer 10-20 mins.  
The longer it simmers the more sauce the pasta will absorb and the thicker the sauce becomes.

Serve and Enjoy!

This is a simple quick meal that is a great starter meal when teaching your kids to cook.

If you liked this recipe you might also like our creamy Italian Chicken.
You can make it on the stove top or in a slow cooker.

or our super simple Baked Ravioli.
This is so good and crispy.