Free printable planner stickers with sunflowers and deep purple accents. Just print them on adhesive paper and cut out to use in your classic Happy Planner. This one is perfect for late summer or early fall!Read More
Our summer vegetable garden is pretty much an overgrown weed patch. Seriously. It is the weediest it has ever been and the little that was planted got out late. It is so bad that we just got our first zucchini of the year last night. Most people I know have been drowning in zucchini for weeks, so this is embarrassing. Usually by this time of year, the kids are all sick of the many zucchini recipes I try, but now they are really excited! They are requesting zucchini alfredo, zucchini gratin, and zucchini chocolate cake. I am hoping for a good zucchini crop so that we can make all of those, but last night I decided to make zucchini carrot casserole.
I haven't shared this recipe on the blog before and it isn't something I make an awful lot because I don't usually buy the key ingredient- stove top stuffing mix. Yes, we try to make food from real ingredients most of the time, but sometimes, like when the summer has been a long and challenging one, I just don't care anymore. This casserole is so easy and that is pretty much my game plan these days.
In a baking dish (mine is 9" x 13") mix cooked zucchini and carrots, sour cream, and a can of cream of chicken. I peeled the zucchini before I cooked it 'cause some of us are picky.
Sometimes I make the cream of chicken myself, but I just lack the ambition right now. I am dragging myself to the finish line of summer vacation here, people.
Mix it all up. Don't bother dirtying another bowl. It was bad enough I used two pots to cook the vegetables.
Finally, prepare stove top stuffing according to the package directions and spread it on top of the zucchini mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the stuffing starts to get a tiny bit crispy on the edges.
If you have lots of zucchini, this is a good recipe to use some up. It would also work well to take along to a potluck or picnic.
Zucchini Carrot Casserole
6 c. cooked zucchini 4 c. cooked carrots 1 pint sour cream 1 can cream of chicken 1 box of chicken stove top stuffing, prepared
Mix zucchini, carrots, sour cream, and cream of chicken in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until casserole is heated and stuffing is lightly browned.
Here are some more zucchini recipes you may like:
I love having my homemade pizza sauce on hand.
The weather lately has been HOT! I really don't feel like cooking. Making "pizza" doesn't always mean I have to heat up the oven. Here are some options to keep your kitchen cool:
~toasted cheese sandwiches with mozzarella and a little garlic salt- dip it in the sauce ~pizza quesadillas ~pizza mountain pies over a campfire ~english muffin pizzas ~pizza lunchables ~grilled pizza
Keeping sauce and cheese on hand makes these some of my quicker meal options, too.
Eating the sauce from fresh tomatoes with fresh herbs in the summer is so much better, but I also can it for later use. For our household, I like to can about 20 pints of pizza sauce. I usually make it when the tomato harvest is fading at the end of the season and my batches of sauce are smaller. I do a mixture of pints and half-pints.
If you want step by step pics of how I make my pizza sauce (for a small batch) click HERE. Since my photography skills and equipment are a little better I thought I would repost the recipe.
8 oz. tomato sauce 1 tsp .oregano ½ tsp. marjoram ½ tsp. basil ½ tsp. garlic salt 1 Tbsp. sugar (I usually add this when I open the jar to use it instead of before canning)
Combine all ingredients and let sit for a half hour to marry the flavors. Alternatively, make a larger batch of pizza sauce using this ratio, place in clean, hot jars topped with lids and bands, and process in a water bath for 30 minutes.
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How is your summer vacation going? Ours is going OK. Some days are better than others. Some days we have a lot of fun, but some days I am at my wits end because they are fighting and making messes all of the time. Some days I can't believe how productive I have been around here, but most days the house seems completely trashed. Some days we do fun things and some days they binge watch Netflix or play on electronics.
Social media would have you believe that everyone is having these fabulous summer vacations filled with educational trips and activities, siblings playing nicely together, and never any screen time. I call bologna on that. I have worked in the schools enough to know that most kids are just as bratty as mine. When I was a kid, hanging out at my grandparents' pool and watching excessive television was enough. My IQ didn't suffer. Kids need time to unwind, too. It feels like there is so much pressure on parents these days to make everything Pinterest-perfect. (If you are able to do that, rock on, but if your summer vacation looks a little different that what you see on Instagram, that is OK, too!) Yes, there are a select few who will judge you, but admitting the imperfections can be absolutely freeing on both sides.We are only showing our highlight reels. I posted fabulous vacation pictures last week, but no one got to see all of the work that went into packing/unpacking, the fighting in the car when we got lost, the sunburns, the plans that didn't work out, the car problems, etc. I am sure that everyone has some behind-the-scenes stuff, so I just want to keep it real.
On good days, the girls and I do a lot of craft projects. This one was really simple, but the girls enjoyed it! We grabbed a bag of rocks from the Dollar Tree (I didn't feel like searching for smooth rocks in nature) and painted them to look like ladybugs and bumblebees. The girls and I each painted a few of them. They aren't perfect (some of the ladybugs are sideways!) but they are a genuine kids craft. :)
We made both ladybugs and bumblebees so that they could play tic tac toe on the stepping stones outside of the playhouse. When they aren't being used to play, then can hide in the flowerbeds.
In all fairness, these rocks took a few days to make and I had my teenage stop and buy more yellow paint on the way to an auto parts store. Not everything went smoothly, but they are still cute.
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I do seasonal decorating around here. I am sort of undecided about home decor ideas- most things I really want to do require major renovations and a large budget. Instead, I do some smaller things to try to brighten things up around here. Seasonal decor fits in well with my "undecided look." I leave my patriotic decor up from late May to early September; it covers Memorial Day to July 4th. Then comes fall, which seems too early to start in the August heat. My living room still isn't finished (is anything ever finished around here?) so the best place I have to decorate is a corner shelf in our dining room. I don't particularly love that shelf, but I don't have anywhere else to put our landline phone. I have to put something else on those shelves or it looks stupid.
I like to use a lot of family pictures when I decorate. I love pictures!!! Last summer I used masking tape to paint stripes on a $1 wood frame from Michaels. (See the tutorial for the dresses in that picture HERE!) I also cut out that number four from 2x6 scrap wood and painted it to match something I saw on Pinterest. (I made my own stamp for the stars from a foam sticker.) A little red and white baker's twine pulls it all together.
On the next shelf, I added some rustic Americana decor I had hanging around from the early 2000s when that was really popular. I made another frame with scrapbook paper and tied on more baker's twine. (I have a tutorial for making the frames HERE. You can see the dresses in the picture HERE.)
I can't take credit for this one. One of the homeroom parents came up with these fun handprint crab canvases for the Kindergarten picnic/fun day. I thought it matched nicely and added some of my 9yo's shell collection.
Finally, I made a chalkboard countdown block from scrap wood that can be used for various events. This is just an example. A few years ago, the girls and I made 3D stars out of cereal boxes so these added some red, white, and blue to this shelf.
It all goes together nicely. I just need to do something about those phone wires.
I also have a few chalkboards in the dining room. One is above my desk and also has a wire basket I use to hold pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. (One jar broke and I didn't replace it yet.) I was super cranky one night so I redid the chalkboard patriotically as a way to relax.
Last summer, I taught a class to make these cute flag boards, so I have some July 4th decor outside, too. My daughter actually painted this one. (Pic from last year because my flowers are not so nice this year.)
So, that is about it as far as my July 4th decor this year. I also have my patriotic bunting hanging in the window (see it HERE.) Happy 4th of July!
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