My baby is turning 18

I wonder if most parents start to feel anxiety when their child is about to turn 18. I’m not talking empty nest, because I still have three more daughters that will be home. She is moving out this summer after she graduates and turns 18 in just 20 days!

I certainly have been feeling the pressure and scariness. It’s not magical, my kid won’t be “grown-up” just because she turns 18 but it is a milestone. I can’t help but think of all of the things I still haven’t taught her yet and the areas that I have failed. Isn’t that always the way? You think of the failures and not of everything you might have taught your child, all the positives.

I worry that she really doesn’t know how to cook. Maybe a couple things at the most. She doesn’t know anything about finances or managing money and budgeting. I worry she will be shocked in the real world and feel lost. Or will be excited by it and get involved with bad things or people. She just learned how to do her laundry last year. I didn’t mind doing it, but then I realized I was hurting her more than helping her. She will need to know how to clean and organize a home and keep it running. Make a grocery list, make a doctor’s appointment, order prescriptions online, learn to drive a car…want to drive a car. How to read a map, how to take public transportation, how much to tip and when. Aghhh, the list is endless.

But, she does know about stranger danger, bad touches, you can always speak up – even if it is to challenge an adult in a respectful way, do the right thing, having a good work ethic, compassion and caring towards other, loving everyone and trying not to judge others, all of the sneaky things boys say to try to get in girls’ pants, she knows everything I know about sex and probably more, she knows about preventing pregnancy and guarding her heart from heartbreak and not jumping into any serious relationships. She knows what she should look for in a partner and hopefully I have been a good enough example of how to treat her significant other with love and respect.

Instead of being anxious about all of the things I need to do with her and teach her I have decided to start doing them with her and talk to her about them and take it day by day. After all she’s not falling off the face of the earth just because she turns 18 and I’m not going anywhere either.

Still so much to teach her. 18 years just truly is not enough time. Like all of us parents, I have to trust that I am continuing to do my best to teach and guide my children.  It is helps to just give my self a break sometimes and take it one step at a time.

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Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

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1 cup uncooked rice

1 lb ground meat

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 cans tomato sauce

1 jar sauerkraut

1/2 onion, diced

paprika

salt and pepper

garlic

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Core and then steam the head of cabbage until tender and starts to fall apart.  Carefully remove leaves from the cabbage head being careful to keep them whole.

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Dice onions and saute with seasonings, garlic and raisins.

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Mix raw ground meat and uncooked rice.

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Grab a leaf of cabbage and place a handful of meat mixture in the center.

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Wrap it up like a present. Folding the sides in and rolling up, kind of like an egg roll.

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Pour cans of tomato sauce into sauce pan along with paprika, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the crockpot.

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Dump jar of sauerkraut into crockpot along with all liquid. Layer the rolls of cabbage in the crockpot.

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Pour the tomato sauce mixture over everything in the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Do not cook less than this or the rice will not cook through.

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In my picture there is swiss cheese draped over the stuffed cabbage that I decided to add to it last second.  I do not recommend this as it was really overpowering.  It seemed like a good idea at the time that swiss cheese would taste really good with sauerkraut but it took away from all of the other flavors.

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Honey Shrimp and Walnuts

OMG. I’m obsessed with this dish. It is so decadent and tastes even better than take-out. I’m still so excited that it is gluten free too!

1 lb bag of large deveined, peeled shrimp

6 TB sweetened condensed canned milk

3 TB honey

1 TB lemon juice

cornstarch for coating shrimp, maybe 1/2 – 1 cup

1 1/2 cups walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 egg whites

vegetable oil for some light frying

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Butterfly the shrimp and set in bowl with egg whites that have been whisked. Let shrimp sit for 15-20 minutes while you make the nuts and sauce.

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Bring water to boil and add sugar. Simmer sugar water until it becomes thicker like a syrup like sauce. Add cinnamon and nuts and coat nuts well with sauce.  Take nuts out of saucer and let dry and harden on a cooling rack. Separate nuts if necessary. You don’t want to end up with a clump of nuts.

In a bowl add lemon juice, condensed milk, and honey and whisk. Set aside.

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Take pieces of shrimp and coat in corn starch, letting excess egg white drip off beforehand.  Get that cornstarch into all the cracks and crevices so it will crisp up real nice. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry shrimp on all sides.

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When shrimp is done cooking set individually on cooling rack so it keeps it’s crispiness.

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When all the shrimp is done cooking toss in the sauce with the nuts and serve immediately.

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We had fried rice with ours and it was tasty.

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Valentine’s Accordian Card

This is one of the cutest things I have come across. Although it takes some time to do, it is totally worth it. I can’t wait to send these to my niece and nephews. You can use as many different prints of paper, stickers and embellishments that you want.  Here are the materials that I used per card:

3 pieces of cardstock 8″ x 8″

2 piece of cardstock 4.5″ x 4.5″

5 different colors/prints of scrapbook paper cut into 4″ x 4″ squares and then some cut diagonally from there into triangles ( I had 2 squares and 12 triangles)

assorted stickers and embellishments

Photos that will be cut/cropped to fit into a 4″ x 4″ space

Ribbon to tie around the card

Name tag to secure to front

Glue, Mounting squares, scissors, paper cutter

 

You may be able to find 8×8 and 4×4 cardstock and paper, but I cut mine down to size as my first step.

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Fold the 8×8 cardstock in half lengthwise and then unfold.

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Then fold the cardstock in half width wise and unfold.

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Then fold the cardstock diagonally one way and unfold. Do not fold it diagonally again. Do this to all 3 of the 8×8 cardstock pieces.

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Yes, I switched colors of the paper I was using since I thought it would be easier to understand with different colors. Also, I took random pictures and didn’t think about it. 🙂

Match up the corners of 2 of the 8×8 cardstock pieces and glue down. Grab the 3rd piece and glue it to the other side corner. Now you have your full accordion card ready to decorate.

Fold it up and make sure everything is secure. The first two points that are green fold inward or towards you and the middle points fold outward or away from you.

 

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Glue the 4×4 squares one on each end and then the triangles alternating patterns all over the card. I ended up leaving on the two square spaces in the middle of the card blank so I could put a photo in that spot.

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After gluing down the square and triangle shaped papers inside the card, glue the 4.5″ cardstock squares to the outside of the card to cover the ends. Now you can decorate with stickers and embellishments.  I will leave a couple of spots without stickers, etc. so I can write a message inside too.

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Secure the card with ribbon tied into a bow after you are finished. I even added a name tag to it since I am making 3 and sending them in the same package.  You can decorate the name tag all fancy too.

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They are so adorable! Here is another finished card I did.

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I got this idea from the video below.

 

Simple Healthy Pureed Soups

I love pureed soups.  They are so simple to make, healthy and delicious. I even use them as a snack between lunch and dinner. They are pretty low calorie so it’s a perfect snack or appetizer. I don’t add cream, butter or anything fattening like that.

There are a few pureed soups that we keep in the mix over at my house.  Cauliflower, carrot and celery soup. All of these soups have onion, garlic, broth, water, the veggie of choice, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  You can add a potato to the cauliflower soup if you’d like it to be creamier but I think it’s perfect as is.

Cauliflower Soup

2 cans of chicken broth (or veggie)

water, fill one can from empty broth

1 head of cauliflower

1 sweet onion sliced

1 TB minced garlic

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Sauté onions on low with olive oil until translucent. You only need enough olive oil to sauté, don’t over do it.  Add cauliflower and cook for a few minutes while stirring.  Add broth, water and seasonings and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

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Remove the bay leaves and puree with handheld immersion blender until smooth.  That is it!

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You can substitute the cauliflower for 6-8 carrots, peel and chop carrots.

Or you can substitute 6-8 celery stalks, or a bulb of fennel, the possibilities are endless.

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Just had to add this picture of the fennel I picked up from the farmer’s market! It’s so beautiful and some of it will make a great soup.