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Entries in Edith Tarter (14)


Mom to Mom: Giving Up Facebook and Pinterest for a Modern Lenten Sacrifice

In the Christian calendar, Lent is the 40-day period stretching from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Traditional observances of Lent include penitence in preparation for Easter. This tradition teaches that employing self-discipline during the Lenten season will give someone a sense of self-control and a purity of mind and body.

In my house, that means ... Good-bye, Facebook and Pinterest. Hello regained time and renewed friendships.

Photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina} on Flickr.I don’t often have the opportunity to see family and friends scattered around the country. I love the sense of connectivity Facebook has brought me for long-lost contacts. Instead of the annual holiday card, I can now vicariously watch their kids blossoming before my virtual eyes. I can’t say I love how Facebook has replaced my efforts at seeing local friends, even neighbors down the street. These days, I am far more likely to PM the backyard neighbor, instead of calling or even better, walking to the fence line.

Pinterest is my newest addiction.  It’s replaced those old, musty magazines I was saving for those projects I’d get to one day. Some call it electronic hoarding and that’s not terribly off-base. I use Pinterest boards to store recipe links and to remember brilliant ideas for our as-of-yet-unfinished basement. I pin cute animal photos for my kids to enjoy and collect household tips for helping me clean the grout. The resources are endless. The downside of all those pins is feeling a sense of overwhelming stress to bake the perfect whole-grain muffin, craft more with the kids and decorate my home to look like those magazines I once clipped and filed for future reference.

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Simple Dessert: No-Cook Ice Cream

One of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter, passed along this recipe for homemade ice cream. The weather has turned cooler recently, but you know we'll likely see the return of ice cream weather soon. (Oh who am I kidding? It's always ice cream weather in my world.) - Tara

Here's a simple recipe for homemade chocolate ice cream that requires no cooking! I use an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer that streamlines the process. (I store it in the freezer, so it's ready to use when I am). Readers should note that the recipe calls for WHOLE chocolate milk. I found such at Woodman's and Wal-Mart. (Check labels closely; most chocolate milk is made with lowfat milk.)

Today, I amended the recipe to make Strawberry Ice Cream, substituting plain whole milk and strawberry syrup for the chocolate milk and chocolate syrup. The possibilities for new flavor combinations are endless, given all the flavored sryups in the market today (maple, caramel, mint chocolate, cherry, raspberry, butterscotch, etc.). If your family likes crunch, throw in chocolate chips, nuts, chopped candy bars and such before you transfer to the freezer.

Since there are no eggs in the recipe, this would be great for anyone with egg allergies. My family gives this recipe 10 thumbs up!



1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

2 cups whole chocolate milk (or plain milk if making a different flavor)

2/3 cup chocolate syrup (or other syrup flavor)

1 cup add-ins, (choc chips, chopped candy bar, etc.), optional

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Weeknight Dinners: Cheesy Chicken and Shells Casserole

The latest in our "Weeknight Dinners" series comes from one of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter. She's one of those talents who can actually pull together a last-minute dinner based on what she happens to have in the house. Excuse me while I return to writing up my detailed grocery list now ... 

Photo by iStockphoto.One night I found myself with nothing on the dinner agenda. Here's what I pulled together from the pantry/fridge, using what was on hand.  A quick search of the fridge gave me a half of a leftover rotisserie chicken, some red pepper strips and a bunch of parsley that was fading fast.  I rounded up a box of pasta, some milk, mayo, cheese and a bit of seasoning and bam!  I had a casserole on the table in 20 minutes.

My kids are not huge fans of cooked veggies, but I could see this dish including chopped broccoli or green peas if those foods are kid-friendly in your household, or adding corn, cumin and bottled salsa for a southwestern taste.



1 (16 oz.) pkg. noodles (shells, penne, bowtie, etc.)

2 cups chicken, cooked and diced into bite size pieces

1 cup veggies, diced (optional)

½ cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 tsp. onion powder

½ cup milk

Salt and Pepper

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Ask the Expert: A Bargain Hunter Gives Her Tips on Children's Resale Events & Garage Sales

Today's "Ask the Expert" feature comes from one of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter of Geneva. "I shopped my first club resale when my triplets were 10 days old," Edith says. "I remember this because it was the first day I was cleared to drive, and I chose to swing by the local multiples sale on my way to visit the babies still in the NICU!  From that first sale, I was hooked on resale shopping for the kids, and still get a thrill every resale season -- eight years later!"

Many years ago, shopping for used clothing and toys was almost looked upon as something to hide. If your family did not have the money to shop at the mall or at the department store, you certainly did tell anyone. In fact, you'd do whatever you could to avoid anyone knowing that your clothes came from the Salvation Army or Goodwill store. Well, the days of secretly shopping a thrift store or rummaging through used clothing at resales and garage sales is over for most people. 

Photo courtesy of the Tri-Cities Mothers of Twins and Triplets Club.Green is in! The 3Rs of conservation -- Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle -- take on new meaning when outfitting growing kids! You can find consignment shops and resale events, along with the typical thrift stores, widely available in the western suburbs. Whether you’re looking for upscale labels or basic play wear, you’ll find it at great prices if you’re willing to clothe your darlings in gently-used items.  The savings can be astonishing if you’re open to using like-new equipment, such as strollers, high chairs and bouncers.

One-time resale events, such as those hosted by multiples clubs and school PTOs, usually occur in March/April and August/September.  Most of the spring sales have concluded, but check out the club/school websites for fall dates. Add your name to their mailing list, if possible. (Editor's note: Of course keep an eye on Go West's Garage Sales, Etc. page, too!)

As the weather gets nicer in our area, signs start popping up for neighborhood garage sales and church sales.  Our local area is fortunate to have several resale, consignment shops and thrift stores, which offer bargains throughout the year.  Buying clothing and equipment at these events, stores and within the local neighborhoods can save a lot of money, obviously. But, you still have to be careful to make sure that you are getting a good deal. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Make a shopping list of must-haves: Take an inventory of what clothing, equipment and toys your kids will need for the coming season.  Spring resales focus on warm weather apparel and outdoor gear, while fall resales offer costumes, coats, boots and heavy clothing. Did the kids outgrow their bikes over the winter?  Are you ready to introduce new toys that will challenge their budding skills? Do you have a special event coming in the months ahead where you’ll need a dressier outfit? Do you need a few ‘rainy/snowy day’ items, such as DVDs, games and books, to help pass those frequent indoor play days? Having a shopping list helps you focus on what you really need and avoid being overwhelmed at the volume of items for sale.

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Simple Breakfast: Honey Nut Granola

We’re changing it up today, featuring a breakfast recipe from one of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter, instead of one of our “Weeknight Dinners.” 

Here's an easy, inexpensive and relatively low-fat granola that is very tasty!  I found the base recipe on AllRecipes.com and modified it, based on reviewers' comments.  I used chopped walnuts in my batch today. Once the granola is cooled, I add in dried cranberries, raisins and even chopped dates and store it in an airtight container.  I hope it lasts a few days before being gobbled up a bowl at a time.  This is a great breakfast cereal, with milk poured over, and works as a crunchy nutty topping to yogurt and ice cream.  Enjoy!

Honey Nut Granola


•          3 cups old-fashioned cooking oats (not instant!)

•          1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

•          1/4 cup wheat germ

•          1/3 cup honey

•          1/3 cup brown sugar

•          1/4 cup vegetable oil

•          2 tablespoons warm water

•          1/2  teaspoon salt

•          1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

•          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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