Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chocolate Banana Bread

Melissa told me once that she made banana bread out of 3 bananas and a box of cake mix. My mind was BLOWN! Here I was, pulling out the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook whenever I wanted some banana bread.

Sorting out ingredients, chasing away the kids who wanted to play with all the measuring cups and spoons.... it's exhausting! Not that the bread turned out badly, it was very tasty! Just more time consuming than I can handle on a regular basis.

So, I wanted to test Melissa's recipe for banana bread. The only problem was that I didn't have a yellow cake mix, all I had was devil's food. And whoever heard of mixing chocolate and bananas?! (tee-hee)

Here's what I have:

1 box cake mix
3 large bananas (mashed)
bread pan
I had to add 1tb of water since the mixture was very thick. I have a feeling that if I used a yellow mix I wouldn't have had to add extra water.

1. Mix ingredients
2. Put in a pan- it was very thick!
3. Cook at 350 for an hour.
If you use a different pan (like a cake pan) then you can follow the cooking directions on the box.

Easy-cheesy! And look how well it turned out!

My kids were very excited about the prospect of chocolate cake after their dinner! My oldest son, The Kid, is a very picky eater, but he gobbled up chocolate banana bread! (cake... I mean cake!)

Of course, I had to add a few extra things to make my serving a little more healthy. It needed some dairy. And a little extra chocolate to make it pleasing to the eye.

Bon Appetite!

Dye-ing to do it again...

I went out and bought more cloths pins today.

The dye and I are going to have another go at it.  Previously my evil plan was almost thwarted when I discovered that the directions on RIT's website had changed in the middle of the page from 2 cups to 2 quarts of hot water.  I ended up with some very, very dark blue cloths pins.  Today I thought I would try to follow the same directions using 2 quarts of hot water instead of 2 cups using my 2nd pack of dye called "pearl gray."  Here are all of my supplies laid out and ready to go:

I followed my new direction and dumped my cloths pins in.

So far, so good.  They didn't automatically turn a really dark shade like yesterday's did.  The directions on the website say to let it soak for 10-20 minutes.  After about 2 minutes my cloths pins looked like this:

I let them soak for a few more minutes, but I'm really starting to wonder if they even tried to do this before they posted about it.  I fished my cloths pins out with a plastic fork and put them on the cardboard to dry.  Yes, I know I used a plastic bag yesterday.  There is nothing wrong with using a plastic bag, this cardboard just happened to be on its way out the door anyway.

This is not what I would call "pearl gray."  So what I've learned from this is that when the website says 10-20 minutes they don't mean for you to go off and do something else.  What they mean is "hey don't even blink or else!"  So here's the pro's and con's of dyeing cloths pins.

-Don't have to take the cloths pins apart
-Doesn't take long at all to actually do it (15 minutes from start to finished, plus drying time)
-Cloths pins are really pretty

-Can't multitask while you wait for them to pick up the dye
-I wasted lots of dye that you can reuse again and again because I worry about it spilling and ruining other things
-Cost, for some people this is the biggie.  Each box of dye runs $2-3.  That's lots more than craft paint.

I will be dyeing cloths pins more but probably won't post about each color.  Check back later to see what I do with my pretty cloths pins!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coloring Pasta- made easy!

It looks like today is going to be a colorful day! Melissa posted about dying clothes pins and I'm coloring pasta!

I'm doing summer school activities with my kids, so thing have to be colorful and fun. Where can I find such activities? Pinterest! I have a whole list of activities that are going to be fun and educational this summer.

Pinterest link- {HERE
Science connection- making solutions/ creating colors
Skills- patterns/ sorting/ hand-eye coordination

What we used:
Pasta- Ditalini works best (1 cup per bag)
Rubbing alcohol (2tbs per bag)
Food coloring (3-4 drops per bag)
Sandwich bags (1 bag per color)
measuring cup/ spoon
cookie sheet to dry pasta 
(I covered mine with aluminum foil first)

When I was shopping for supplies, I stopped at the Dollar Store and picked these up.

 Aprons for the kiddos and a cheap tablecloth. I will have to go back to Walmart to get a $3.88 tablecloth since the cheap one was just that- cheap.

Ready for action!

Step 1- Mix 2 tbs of rubbing alcohol and 3-4 drops of food coloring in a baggie.
Step 2- Add 1 cup pasta into the baggie. Shake baggie until the pasta is fully coated.

The Kid noticed that the pasta didn't turn blue the way he wanted. We talked about how yellow pasta + blue food coloring = green pasta! Next time we will put in more blue coloring to see if that helps. Don't worry, The Kid was fine with the outcome!

Step 3- Spread pasta on a cookie sheet to dry.
I used some small disposable cookie sheets that we had around the house. My hubby uses them when he gardens, so I covered them in aluminum foil so he could use them again.

Step 4- Allow pasta to dry.
The blog recommended at least an hour, she let hers dry overnight. I let it dry during lunch and nap time.

Not bad for a first try! I have plenty of uses for this pasta!

You can use this for:
1. art projects- my kids love to glue!
2. making jewelry
3. sorting activities- talk about attributes (color, shape, size), link into using adjectives
4. making patterns
5. hand-eye- coordination- using string, yarn, or pipe cleaners

Let us know if you think of more awesome ideas!

Dye, Cloths pins! Dye!

I found this neat project on Pinterest on how to make cloths pins colorful.  Now I know what you're thinking, painting them takes way too long!  I know, I know!  I also have been guilty of spending sacred free time painting cloths pins.  My classroom has lots and lots of blond wood in it already though and I like lots of color.  So when I saw this easy way to make cloths pins more colorful I jumped at the chance to try it.  I found it at kojo Designs.

You will need:
1. RIT dye- any color
2. containers
3. measuring cup
4. clothes pins
5. gloves (or if you're really cheap put plastic bags over your hands)
6. something to lay your cloths pins out to dry on
7. a better set of instructions than RIT's website (more on that in a minute)

Now for my favorite part:  do NOT follow the directions on the package!  RIT's website says for dying wood and wicker to use 2 cups of hot water for a whole package of dye.  Yay! No leftover parts!  This means you don't have to remember where you put the leftovers.  I hate it when that happens.  There are eight pieces of tissue paper and I only need four, then I'm expected to not lose it and to let it clutter up my home on the off chance that I might need four pieces of hot pink polka dot tissue paper.  That's why I like this project.  No extra pieces left!

So I laid out all of my supplies.

I measured out 2 cups of water in a large glass measuring cup and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Then I poured it into an empty whipped cream container and mixed in my dye.  Wait a second!  This looks way darker than what I wanted...uh-oh!

This was supposed to be a nice light denim blue.  Better go back and read the instructions again.  So after I did that I discovered that they conveniently change the unit of measure from 2 cups to 2 quarts in the middle of the instructions.  That's interesting.  So since I didn't really have a bigger bowl I was willing to throw away in case the dye didn't wash out I decided to just go for it.  I stuck my cloths pins in the bowl and watched.  The instructions say soak for 10-20 minutes.  After about one minute things were already looking a little too dark.

 So I took them out after about one minute and they looked beautiful!!!  A nice deep blue, which still wasn't what I wanted but I think I'll find something to do with them.

Then I had a lot of leftover dye and since I had not used all of my cloths pins I decided to experiment and see if I could get them lighter.  I just dipped them in and pulled them right back out.  Here's what they looked like.

Now they started looking a little more how I wanted.  I like that they are now pretty colors and I didn't have to take them apart and put them back together to make them that way.  I let them dry and then put them in a bag for evil purposes later.  In case you can't see too much of a difference in color here is a comparison shot.

Next time I DIY with DYE (haha) I will use 2 quarts of hot water instead of 2 cups and let you know if that goes any better.

The Phat Girls vs. the Jolly Joggers

Melissa and I are avid walkers. And by 'avid' I mean that we have managed to pull our lazy rear ends out of bed at 6am to go walking- 3 days in a row! Being as this is the beginning of our summer vacation and we both have small children, this is no small feat!

So, imagine our surprise when this morning we ran- walked- into joggers. Not just any joggers either. These were superhuman joggers with the super power of talking. Talking! While jogging! Everyone knows this is physically impossible. Just look at Melissa and I. We can barely puff out 2 sentences together and we are merely walking.

If you're on Pinterest, you've seen this picture. It was linked to {THIS} website.

With this picture of runners/ joggers in my mind, imagine my surprise when the joggers we came across looked similar to Malibu Barbie and her sister Skipper. (only clothed)

Did this deter Melissa and I? NO!
Did this cause us to break down and cry uncontrollably? CERTAINLY NOT! (Well, not for very long)

If anything, this simply gave us the motivation we needed! We Phat Girls don't need to be perky and cheerful to be fit! A simple brush of our teeth, a decent sports bra, and some comfortable shoes are all we require! (And thank goodness for that. It would kill me to be perky in the morning)

So, TAKE THAT, Jolly Joggers! The Phat Girls will see you again tomorrow!

** On another note, I don't know if it's the endorphins talking, or just the righteous anger, but I swear my thighs didn't rub each other as much today! Progress!**

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken (Crock Pot)

Following the Mommy Trifecta, this recipe is
1. Fast
2. Cheap and 
3. Easy

I didn't get pictures of the ingredients, but you will need:

1 package chicken (boneless, skinless breasts or strips) I use chicken strips because there are more in a package and I can make it last 2 nights. And since the pieces are smaller-portion control!
2 boxes of frozen broccoli and cheese ( Green Giant is my preference!)
1 can of broccoli cheese soup (reduced fat is fine)
Skim milk- just enough to help rinse out the soup can

Put the chicken at the bottom of the crock pot.
Open the frozen broccoli/cheese and put on top. (You can thaw it out first or just put it in frozen)
Dump the broccoli cheese soup on top of that, with the splash of milk.

Cook! I have done this on high for 4 hours, and on low for 8 hours. I don't think it matters much.
Serve! I like to put mine over rice, but my hubby hates rice, so he eats his with a side of more vegetables and hot sauce.


Notice the crock pot bag? I use these religiously! Easy clean up!

Introducing... the Phat Girls!

We, Melissa and Jocelyn, started this blog as a way to share with the world what the heck teacher-moms do over summer vacation. Obviously there are the necessary things like laundry, cleaning, and Pinterest. But don't forget the kids!

Melissa's kids: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Jocelyn's kids:

The Kid

The Girl

and The Boy

Adorable, aren't they?
Well, anything that gets done this summer has to follow the Mommy Trifecta:
1. Fast
2. Cheap
3. Easy

So, follow along, and see what Phat Girls can do!