Like many of our blogger friends, we first discovered this week's Featured Friday when she shared a recipe of ours. As a busy mom of seven, Carmen has quite a collection of recipes of her own and her blog does a great job of sharing them with all of us!
Among the recipes, you'll find helpful kitchen tips and recipes for fun, like this one for fingerpaint. She shares stories about the kids as they've grown over the last year, photos from family celebrations and peeks inside her home. Her blog feels warm and comfortable and when we visit, we feel like part of the family too.
We're happy to introduce you to...
We asked Carmen some getting-to-know-you questions and she was gracious enough to give us a sneak peek behind the scenes...
Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live.
I live with my family (husband, seven children, and my mom) in an old Pre-Civil war farm house in Amish country outside of the small town of Spencerville, Indiana (known for it's covered bridge). My husband is a full time history and Bible teacher and a part time Discipleship Pastor. We homeschool our 4 girls and 3 boys who range in age from 13 down to 2 years old. We enjoy being together, playing with our goats (we have two; a Nubian and a Nigerian Dwarf) and chickens (16 total), having a garden, and camping. We plan to go up to northern Michigan next summer for a few weeks!
What originally inspired you to start blogging?
I found myself typing up various recipes repeatedly for different friends so I started putting them into a computer system that I use. I figured if I am typing them for the computer system I might as well share them with everyone by blogging. That began in February of this year and it's been so much fun!
(We're betting that her recipe for Grandma Fray's macaroni & cheese was one of the most requested recipes!)
As a homeschooling mom of seven cuties, how do you carve out time to write?
Some days are definitely more productive than others! Our computer is in a central location where the kiddos do their schooling, so it helps that, if I need to be on the computer, I'm right there with them. I have been working on time management in all areas of life lately and it has been a big blessing. I do most of my blog writing in the morning when most of the kiddos are still sleeping or in the afternoon while the littlest one is napping, the younger ones are watching a video, and the older ones are working on their studies. It can get pretty crazy around here so sometimes I have to jot ideas down on paper so that I don't forget them later!
What's the best thing to happen as a result of starting Old House Kitchen?
Getting to know other ladies, their blogs, their families, and hearing how much they enjoy and appreciate the recipes. It's a big blessing!
We love the so many of the recipes you share on your blog. How did you get your start in the kitchen?
Why thank you so much! I share this story on my blog that, growing up, I didn't really learn how to cook. Before my husband and I got married, we decided that since we were both college students and he was home before dinnertime, he would cook our dinner meals. Well...the first week, we had stir fry every day. I quickly got started on the cookbooks! I called my mother-in-law and my husband's grandmothers a lot! We didn't have stir fry for a long time after that!
Care to share a favorite recipe?
A favorite that the kids beg for every weekend are my Parmesan Crusted Chicken Sandwiches.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Sandwiches
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (I'm cheap so I use Kraft from the can)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 t. Italian herbs
1 1/2 t. basil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/3 tube of butter crackers, crushed into little bitty bits! (the rectangular kind that are mouthwateringly good...yummy butter goodness!)
1-1/2 T. Parmesan cheese
3/4 t. oregano
1/2 t. garlic salt
The goal to cooking the chicken right is to have them the same size. You will want to cut each chicken breast into at least 3 separate equal sized pieces. Cut them on a slant not in three chunks...you want it to look pretty! :)
Place the chicken in a 13" x 9" baking dish. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, Italian herbs, basil and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture over the top of the chicken.
Mix the crumb ingredients and sprinkle over the chicken. Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until cooked through.
When cooled enough to handle, slice chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and lay on each half of 6 French bread sub sandwiches (or any other roll you like). Sprinkle generously with colby jack cheese. Bake in a 325-degree oven until cheese is melted and the rolls are a bit crispy on the edges, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Top with lettuce, tomato, black olive, onions...anything you like! Enjoy!!
Fill in the blank: In my kitchen, we never run out of _____ !
Helping hands! Our kiddos love to help in the kitchen! For Thanksgiving they are looking forward to all the homemade pies we'll be making the days before.The day of they enjoy setting the table with the china and getting the turkey and trimmings ready for the table. They have regular chores every day of the year, but this is one of those extra special days. One of our goals for our children is to be handy in the kitchen. Whether it be cooking, baking, canning, freezing, cleaning...I want them to know how to do all the things that I never did. I want to give them a head start in case their future spouses only know how to make stir fry. *wink*
When you're not taking care of your family, what's something you like to do, just for you?
I enjoy scrapbooking, and just being plain ol' artsy/crafty. I have an Elementary Education degree with a major in Art so being artistic is something that is part of me, something that I have to do. The things I make might be items for other people but I enjoy the time listening to books on my mp3 player while crafting when the kiddos are in bed. It's relaxing.
Tell us something that no one would guess about you.
My nickname that my husband calls me. Back in high school, we used to go down the street from his house and play basketball. When I'd shoot a free throw, he'd giggle and tell me that I hopped like a bunny rabbit. So he started calling me Bunny or Rabbit. It's now morphed into Babs (after Looney Tunes' Babs Bunny). He never calls me by my given name anymore. I like it. It's special. It's funny, too. You should see the looks we get when new friends hear him call me that for the first time. They get so confused!
Thanks again for joining in the fun today, Carmen...we so enjoy visiting your blog to see what everyone's up to and what's cookin' too!
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