"So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy"
~Colossians 1:10-11

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I know......... I haven't posted in a while.......... I will try and be better......... next year........ this is what slowed me down this December......... 1st trimester and it's accompanying joys make for low productivity!...... but that's okay....... I don't mind!



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup

Not from the Campbell's can............ but based off it!


Italian Wedding Soup

8 cups chicken stock/water
(I used about half and half, obviously if you have alot of stock, this would be wonderful with all stock, but I used half and half cause that's what I had out! And I started with about 6 cups but ended up adding a couple more cups during cooking, so you could either just start with it all or add more as needed!)

Add:
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp basil
2 tsp salt
(might need more - I would let people add their preference while serving though)
1 tsp pepper

Bring to a boil and add:
1 cup acni de pepe pasta

Let cook 7-10 minutes and add:
2-3 cups COOKED mini meatballs - think child's bite size
(I used 1/2-3/4 of a pound, made the meatballs and cooked in the oven earlier in the day. I often make a couple cups of mini meatballs when I make other meatballs and freeze them to make meals like this a little easier!)
2 cups fresh or frozen spinach

Cook till everything is warmed through and spinach is cooked down - maybe 20-30 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh bread!


This post is part of Pennywise Platter at Nourishing Gourmet

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breakfast Bags & Granola recipe

(yes, that's my baby girl.... last Christmas.... she'll be 1 next week..... where did my baby go?)


I am hoping no one on my Christmas list is reading this............ if you are either stop reading or act surprised come Christmas!

This year most everyone is getting some form of this idea, some more then others, some a portion of it..... depending on the person, family and such.


I am taking a basket
(Goodwill often has nice ones, reasonably priced!)
or a reusable grocery sack and making
"Breakfast Bags/Baskets",
here's my current thoughts on what's going inside!


Granola (see recipe below)
(I am thinking in a clear sack, tied with a pretty ribbon!)
Biscuit mix and a jar of homemade jam
( I just followed the directions on the Pomona Pectin insert for the kinds of fruit I used, so far I have made peach, strawberry and blackberry and I am planning on make THIS recipe later this week when my pears get ripe)
Pancake/Waffle mix
Hot cocoa mix
Box of tea
(watch for sales and coupons to stock up almost free!)


I am still working in my biscuit and pancake mix......... combining some "classic" ones I have and trying to make a little healthier, while not requiring refrigeration! I will share down the road when I figure out my recipe exactly. BUT, basically, it will be all the dry ingredients all ready mixed with a note attached on how much water/milk and eggs to mix together before making.


Granola

Mix together:
6 c. oats
2 c. bran cereal
¾ c. slivered almonds
¾ c. sunflower seeds
1 c. flaxseed meal

Heat in saucepan till blended:
1 c. honey
½ c. maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut oil

Pour over dry mixture and blend thoroughly

Pour into a shallow baking pan and cook at 250 for 2? hours, stirring every 30-40 minutes - (I forgot to time how long I actually cooked it!)

Cool completely

Add:
1 c. assorted nuts, chopped
1 c. coconut flakes
½ c. raisins
1 c. dried fruit
½ c. dark chocolate chips (if you like chocolate in your granola, my husband didn’t care for the chocolate, but liked the rest!)

Store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or over yogurt.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colossians 3:12-14

"Put on then,
.... this isn't gonna happen by itself..... it is a choice I make... each day ... every moment throughout the day.... I will do this.....
as God's chosen ones,
.... this is WHY I can and do this..... God has chosen me for this task..... He and only HE can give the power and strength to do this.....
holy and beloved,
..... doesn't it warm your heart and give you such encouragement to keep on keeping on ..... to "put on" another day when we are called holy and beloved ........ we are loved by God......
compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
.... oh, it's not easy, especially when they people you deal with most... most often.... every day..... all day..... are preschoolers........ who have such a knack for stretching your compassion...... requiring kindness often........ exercising your humility and meekness........ and don't even start on the patience!
bearing with one another
..... to come along aside and encourage...... am I being faithful to do this to those around me...... who can I encourage today?
and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
..... this isn't an option, it is a command...... we have been forgiven so much......... how can we not forgive those around us......
And above all these put on love,
..... if we could just love perfectly......... everything else would be so easy..... oh it's easy to say "i love you".... but do you show it..... in your thoughts...... in your expressions....... in your words..... in your actions...... do the people closest to you feel loved by you.........
which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
..... perfect harmony........ it all works together....... as we ACT, in God's power...... because of His love.... displaying compassion, kindness, patience, whatever is needed at the moment...... we can encourage, build up and tear down..... and when keep in mind all you have been forgiven..... it's possible to forgive completely...... and IF NOTHING ELSE just love them...... love them when they aren't lovable ..... when they are unforgiving ..... when they are not kind.... impatient ..... rude ...... just love...... because in love you can find that perfect harmony....... regardless of the "tone of the music" around you ...... it will be perfect harmony as the Lord works in you.... through you..... taking another step into Christ-like-ness.........

Colossians 3:12-14 esv, with my thoughts added

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

Melt:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter

Add:
2 cups conf./powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups (or a 12 oz can!) evaporated milk
Stir into chocolate/butter mix
Bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes

Add 1 tsp vanilla

Ready to serve, store or whatever you like!

This made just shy a full quart jar-full.

I like to spoon some over a banana for a semi-healthy dessert or stir into milk or just eat some off a spoon when you need a quick chocolate fix!

This recipe is from my friend Laurie..... who according to the recipe card copy I have got it from her mother-in-law......... I cannot take any credit for it, but it sure it yummy!

Stuffed Peppers

This is one of my classic stand-by meals.
I often make it ahead and stick 4 in the freezer and cook 4 that night.
It's very easy to adapt and don't tell my husband, but I often use up leftovers this way...... you can only serve them so many times before they start getting tired of them, but add a little rice and another spice and stick it in a pepper........... TA-DA - new dish! :-)

Stuffed Peppers

4-8 peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

(I can only get 4 peppers in my crockpot at a time......... and it's just me and my husband and 3 small kids so we usually do one for each adult and the kids all split one and one left for husband's lunch the next day!)

1 pound ground beef, browned
2 cups cooked rice or barley
1 cup corn (usually frozen.....!)
1 can diced tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp oregano, basil or cilantro
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin

Mix everything together well and spoon into peppers, I sometimes replace the tops and often don't - chopping the tops and throwing into a salad!
Place in crockpot and cook on low 4-6 hours - till pepper is desired tenderness.
Can place in crockpot frozen........ increase cook time a couple hours.

Like I said, I often make this "cleaning out the refrigerator" - I might mix some sausage gravy, rice and zucchini......... chicken soup trying not to get too much broth......... chicken, rice and brocoli casserole........... the possibilities are endless and make for a wonderful "re-use" of food and the ease of the crockpot! Obviously, please adjust the spices and such to your taste and what combinations of food you are using!

This post is linked to Sarah's Musings "For the love of a Slow Cooker" Carnival

Roasted Cabbage

One of my favorite crockpot side dishes - and really quick and easy too!
This is from A Year of Slow Cooking's blog - my notes or changes are in italics.

ROASTED CABBAGE

--1 small head of cabbage
--12-14 colorful baby potatoes (or regular potatoes.... or red ones..... I've used everything!)*
--10-12 whole cloves of garlic
--1/4 cup olive oil (maybe a little more, closer to a 1/3?)
--2 T balsamic vinegar (I use AT LEAST this, honestly I usually just pour over the top..... probably more like 1/4-1/3 of a cup!)
--1 t kosher salt
--1/2 t black pepper

*Depending on how much cabbage I have I would use maybe 2-3 cups largely diced potatoes, more like chunks and if I have carrots, I usually throw in 1-2 cups, again large chunks of those as well cause my boys love cooked carrots!

--wash vegetables
--cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks (I didn't peel them)
--cut cabbage into wedges--don't worry about separating the leaves (maybe 4-6 pieces depending on how large your cabbage is)
--throw veggies into the crockpot with the whole garlic cloves
--add olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar
--toss with hands to coat thoroughly.

DO NOT ADD WATER.
cook on high for 3 hours, low for 4-6. (I might cook mine a little longer..... closer to the 6 hrs? usually get it in by lunch time or sooner for dinner, BUT I am also at a higher altitude which might affect it too!)
the vegetables are done when the potatoes reach desired tenderness.
the cabbage will get a little caramelized and crispy around the edges where they touch the crock walls. That's okay--it tastes good!

This is wonderful hot of the crockpot, looks a little "wilted" the next day, but still tastes fine. I often will mix with some chicken or something and broth and make a veggie soup of some sort with the leftovers............. (or chop it smaller and feed it to my 11 month old!)


This post is linked to Sarah's Musings "For the love of a Slow Cooker" Carnival

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

today

Do you every have those days when you get alot done? I love those days. I have been "meaning to" get a list of things done in the kitchen and it keeps getting pushed aside, but I decided this morning I just need to do it. So, I did!
~3 pumpkins - cut, cooked, cooled and jarred for the freezer (still have 3 sitting on my counter too, but the oven is only so big!)
~6 pounds of organic carrots, peeled, chopped and frozen for use in soups or side dishes
~3-4 pounds of zucchini, sliced and frozen
~ 1 quart of hot fudge sauce made (you know this was really the priority!)
~ 1 large pot of vegetable broth cooking on the stove (gotta do something with all those carrot peels, zucchini ends and stringy bits of pumpkin!)
~ fed poor dying sourdough starter and was thrilled to see it seems to be coming back to life!
~ have pumpkin seeds cooking in the crockpot at my 4 yr olds request - I had no idea he even knew pumpkins had seeds that could be cooked and thought to ask as I was having husband cut the pumpkins for me this morning! Couldn't say no, even though I have never really gotten pumpkin seeds to cook well, oven or crockpot!

I still have an acorn squash and sweet potatoes to cook - still trying to decide though if I want to just make them into dinner or into baby servings for the little girl!
And I really wanted to get some more tortillas made this week, but that will have to wait till another day. Maybe if the afternoon goes well I will get it soaking and mixed up this afternoon!

Plus, I even know what is for dinner, it's all ready to put together later this afternoon! And I have leftover focaccia bread to go with it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Egg Nog

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the fact that Egg Nog is now in stores. Till the New Year anyway. I love egg nog. I often get it and enjoy a cup for dessert in the evening. My husband thinks I am crazy cause he is not fond of egg nog! My mom always made egg nog on Christmas Eve growing up. It was really the only time of year we had it. Till I grew up and realized I could buy it from about October - December. :-) But I took her recipe and modified it a little - okay, alot. It still has most of the same ingredients I guess........ I just used healthier options, full fat options and didn't use canned sweetened condensed milk!

Egg Nog

1 cup whole milk
1/4 c. butter

Warm in a saucepan till butter melts and milk is warm but not boiling. Stir often!

Combine, mixing very well, 2 eggs and 3 TB sugar
(I used organic unrefined cane sugar)

Slowly add the eggs/sugar to the warmed milk, stirring constantly till milk is very hot but not quite to a boil. Mine took about 4-5 minutes on Medium heat.

In a blender whip 1 cup of cream (Briefly - you don't want whipped cream!)- maybe 15-30 seconds. Add in egg and milk mixture and blend. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp nutmeg and blend.

Chill and Serve - makes 2 nice size cups

This was warm when I finished making it and of course had to try it before it cooled. It was really good warm too. In fact, if it was a cold snowy day, you might just pour into mugs and enjoy it hot. Like this view from my front door this morning! Can you see the snow falling?



Also, as it sits and cooled mine separated a little. So, if you were serving cold, you might want to just let it sit in the blender in the refrigerator and then give it another quick blend before serving. Or put in a jar and shake first. Or grab a knife from the dish drainer and stir around your cup a bit like I did!

As I was drinking it, I was also wishing I had made a little coffee. This would make a wonderful egg nog latte - mixing the coffee and egg nog together. I guess I will try that tomorrow! - Scratch that - did it already! It was yummy, of course!


Just another thought/note and question!
My original recipe didn't cook the eggs, just blended raw. Though I am not currently pregnant, I know sometimes raw eggs are not recommended to pregnant ladies and I wasn't sure if it was okay for children. So, I made my recipe to cook the egg mixture, kinda like a custard, so I didn't have to wonder. But I would be curious to know what YOUR thoughts are on raw eggs and the safety of them in pregnancy as well as for kids. I hadn't really worried about it in the store bought stuff cause they do enough pasteurizing and such I think it is okay. I don't know if it makes a difference but I usually buy the "nicer" eggs, but not always organic or true "free-range", unless they are marked down at the store and I hit a great price!
But, if you were okay with raw eggs, just take the above ingredients and blend in a blender, skipping the stovetop part, till throughly blended and enjoy.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

It was snowing yesterday.
I thought it was a good day for making soup.
I wanted to make my version of Campbell's Italian Wedding Soup.
I realized I didn't have the right pasta -
- after I thawed some chicken broth and my mini-meatballs.
So, I started making something that I wasn't sure what it would end up being.
I started with chicken broth in the pan, added the vegetables I had around and needed to use.
It ended up really good. Good enough to share :-)
And since it was a totally random and clean out the refer type dish,
it ends up being pretty cheap too!

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced/shredded
3 red peppers, sliced
2 potatoes, diced large with skins on
1 head garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth + water enough to mostly cover vegetables.
Mix everything in saucepan and bring to a boil and let simmer. Add water if needed. I let mine simmer for about 6 hours. I ended up with about 6 cups of cooked vegetables and broth.

Put everything in the blender and blend smooth.

Return to saucepan and add:
1 TB salt
1/2 TB pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp cumin

Add 1-2 cups cooked mini meatballs and about 2 cups fresh spinach (I tore mine slightly, but it mostly cooks down small so it isn't really necessary)

Heat everything through and allow spinach to cook down a little. Serve hot over pasta or rice or your choice of whatever :-)

Easily opt to leave out the meatballs or serve on the side to have a nice vegetarian option too!

I served it with this foccacia bread recipe I found on allrecipes.com - it ended up good and it really was a quick option for that evening when you didn't get around to making something that needed a long rise time. (Just FYI - I used 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour, eliminated the salt and rosemary on top and used dried basil and an Italian cheese mixture of shredded cheese on top, and cooked it my rectangle stone rather then a pan)

I really surprised myself at how tasty this was - it ended up looking like a tomato sauce, though slightly more brownish - has a little spice kick - and packed with good foods! Sorry - no pictures - my husband has the camera at the moment!

This post is part of Pennywise Platter at Nourishing Gourmet!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sauce recipes

Before I realized what this week's "Super Food" focus was going to be I did a post last weekend on making my own Cream of Mushroom soup. And a couple weeks ago I did my version of "Classico" Pasta Sauce.
So, since I didn't get my homemade version of Campbell's Italian Wedding Soup made today (Cause I didn't have the right pasta in the house and it's snowing and I'm not going out!)
- these will have to suffice for now!



And just a note - as I made the boys afternoon snack yesterday I thought of another nice "Un-Processed Foods" idea - Homemade Popcorn instead of that processed AND microwaved stuff! I actually stopped buying the microwave popcorn awhile ago and got some nice organic corn to pop. My husband had a stovetop popper (that he has had since I have known him and we never really used cause the microwave was "easier" and I was ignorant of other facts!) - the boys and I often get it out and pop a bowl of it for snack - drizzled with real butter and salt it's oh, so yummy and a nice healthy snack. Would have taken a picture for you, but I didn't have the camera home, but you know what popcorn looks like!



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cream of Mushroom soup


I love being able to make my own "cream" soups and broths and "those canned things that are expensive and full of junk" - this is a recipe I have adapted a little from THIS WEBSITE. It's one of my favorite crockpot websites, I use my crockpot alot! I have mentioned my adaptions in italics.



This recipe is for a LARGE crockpot.
Don't attempt these proportions in anything smaller than a 5qt.


--2 lbs mushrooms
--2 cups water
--2 cans (4 cups) vegetable broth
--1 qt of milk (to add later)
--juice of 1 lemon
--1/2 t salt
--1/2 t pepper
--1 T dried minced onion
(I have used fresh, depends on how much time I have at the moment!)
--2 T Italian seasoning
(I use oregano cause my husband doesn't care for some spice in the Italian seasoning!)

The Directions.
Wash your mushrooms well and cut them into fourths. Put into your stoneware and add the spices and lemon juice. Pour in the vegetable broth and water. (I used organic mushroom broth this time, but I usually just use vegetable broth)
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

CAREFULLY use an immersible hand blender and blend until soupy. If you don't have an immersible hand blender, very, very carefully blend in batches in a regular blender.
(I don't have one of THESE cool gadgets, so I just use my blender and it works fine)

Stir in an entire quart of milk. I used fat free cow's milk. You can use any percentage you'd like; even cream.
(I used half heavy whipping bream and half organic whole milk, please oh please, don't use fat free!)

Let cool on the counter for quite a few hours, then pour into freezer bags to store or plastic containers. I used 2 cups per bag--which is 16 fluid ounces. A can of cream-of-soup is 10 ounces.

(I didn't let it hardly cool, cause I wanted to go to bed. I freeze this and then thaw and use as needed. Freezing doesn't seem to affect the milk product at all, but I do always use it in a recipe not by itself, so that might make a difference)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pizza

I had a craving for pizza last night.
I was thinking I would make something wonderful for Katie's Super Foods carnival,
but I wanted pizza.
So, I made pizza.
Then I realized how many Super Foods I had used.
It was yummy and it worked to share!
Enjoy!

Pizza

1 pizza crust

Top with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, spread all over and to the edges.
Sprinkle dried oregano on top

Add 6 thinly sliced organic Roma tomatoes all over
Add 1/2-3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
Add 1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
Add 1/3 cup diced artichoke hearts
Add 4 cloves minced garlic

Top with 1 - 1 1/2 cups grated cheese

Bake at 450 degrees - 20-30 minutes
Cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing


Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

(this is adapted from THIS recipe at Money-saving Mom!)


3 cups oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup honey (or other sweetener)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
(can substitute butter or other oils for the applesauce & coconut oil to equal about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp vinegar

Throughly mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9" square baking dish. Drizzle top with molasses if you would like! Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Serve hot the way it is or top with butter, jam, maple syrup.........

(I have also made this in muffin tins and that worked nicely. It also doubles well, bake in a 9x13 pan. Stores well for leftovers or morning snacks!)


and




Monday, October 12, 2009

just my thoughts

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

I have to admit........ quiet times are hard with 3 little ones. :-) I am sure I am not the only one who could say this. Oftentimes, I open my Bible and just read something........ a Psalm, a Proverb, a chapter from the Epistles....... then sometimes I just keep coming back to something I read last week. I have been mulling this passage above over for the last week. I guess it's hitting home and has some stuff for me to work on cause I keep coming back to it and re-reading it! It's pretty simple really, nothing challenging in the language - it means what it says......
Patience - it's a challenge with small children. So often I feel like I am repeating myself ALL. DAY. LONG.
Peace - in today's economy it's easy to get sucked into worrying about where the rent money will come from and how many tanks of gas will that work truck use this week, but God is in control and He gives peace, He will supply all our needs.
Thankfulness - when the day is getting long it helps to just focus on the good for awhile, turn on some praise music and just let the kids play. When the baby girl gets up AGAIN. in the middle of the night. AGAIN. and AGAIN and just wants to be held. I try to not resent the lack of sleep, but rather be thankful. Be thankful we are in a warm house, comfortable rocking chair and she is healthy - so many are sitting in hospital rooms holding their sick babies, just wishing they could be home and be complaining about night wakings!

So - read thru the passage - what can you work on this week?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicken Soup

We have been fighting a cold around here this week. So, last night I decided a pot of chicken soup was in order! I looked at some recipes I had and then ended up just making my own. :-) It turned out pretty yummy I think!


Chicken Soup

40-64 oz chicken broth (see note at bottom of directions) *
1 large potato, diced
1 red onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp oregano
2 chicken breasts
(I used uncooked, cut into large chunks, but diced or already cooked and cut small would work as well!)

Put everything into the saucepan and bring to a boil.
Turn down and let simmer till chicken and vegetables are cooked.
(I then took the large chunks of chicken out and diced into small bits and returned to the pot, call me crazy but I HATE cutting raw chicken and would much rather spend the time cutting it smaller after it's cooked! You could skip this step if you just diced the chicken to begin with!)
I let it simmer a couple more hours till I was ready to serve it, but really once the chicken is cooked and the vegetables soft - you can serve anytime. I ended up adding another maybe 3 cups of broth about halfway thru the afternoon cause I thought it needed more. If you served when it was first done, you probably wouldn't need to do this!
Serve hot with homemade bread!
Serves 4-6
I loved the little kick that the cayenne pepper and lots of garlic gave. I like spicy soup!
And it was just as good for lunch today.

*(I used half homemade and half organic Pacific Chicken Broth cause that's what I had! I ran out of my homemade stash and was waiting to make more this week 'cause Katie teased us and hinted she had some good ideas on getting the stock to gel and I decided to wait and see what she was doing before I made my next batch! Which she did :-) Thanks!)


This post is part of Pennywise Platter at Nourishing Gourmet and





Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Classico" Cream Sauce

Another one of our favorite "stand-by's" is the Classico cream sauces. Kieran loves them, I love the convenience. But they can get expensive :-) And I've been trying to make my own. Here's what I have come up with so far. It's pretty good I think, I have used with both breakfast gravy and cut back on the garlic and dinner with pasta and added more veggies. I have also made this up in the morning and put into a jar and kept in fridge till dinnertime and just warmed up on the stove and then poured over pasta. If it gets too thick, just mix in a little more milk!

Cream Sauce

5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 butter
Saute in a saucepan till butter is melted and garlic is soft

Add
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
(these can be adjusted to taste!)

In a separate bowl or cup
Mix 4 TB cornstarch or flour with 1 c. cold milk - stir till cornstarch/flour is completely mixed in.
Add 1 cup cream
Mix into butter and garlic
Stir constantly till thickens to a sauce consistency.
(I have also doubled the milk and cream and left the butter and garlic amounts alone and it turned out good!)

~Add 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped roasted red peppers and serve over pasta
~Omit garlic or reduce amount and add a pound of breakfast sausage and serve over biscuits
~Add sauteed veggies of your choice and chopped chicken and serve over pasta
Make your own version!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Refried" Beans



Spicy Refried Beans
(that I don't actually re-fry!)

2 1/2 cups pinto beans, soaked 12-24 hours
Strain water and replace with fresh water- enough to fully cover beans plus an inch or two

Add spices:
1 onion, minced
8 garlic cloves, minced
4 TB cumin
4 TB chili powder
1 TB sea salt
1/2 TB black pepper
1/2 TB cayenne pepper

Mix well with beans and water - Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to simmer.
Simmer 6-8 hours - replace water as needed
I usually take the lid off the last hour or two and let the water cook down till the remaining water is enough to just mix in and smush with the beans. And I usually cook till the beans pretty much are mushable with a potato masher or firm spoon.
Mash/Smush/Blend beans to a pasty consistency - leave chunky if you like it that way!

If you would like additional seasoning you can add salsa at this point.

Or serve with a warm tortilla and cheese.

I enjoy adding Chipotle Tabasco Sauce to mine :-)

This is also a great crockpot recipe - after soaking put the beans and spices in the crockpot and let it cook. You typically do not have to replace water using this method, but it is also hard to cook off the water too :-) BUT, it works great when you aren't going to be home and the beans are ready to cook! Depending on your crockpot and whether you use high or low settings, it should take anywhere from 4-12 hours in the crockpot. I have also left them cook overnight....... :-)

The beans also freeze well. I will often cook up a large batch and then freeze some and use some during the week.


Soap nuts

Have you heard of soap nuts?

Want to learn more? Try your own?

Go HERE for a giveaway!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"I don't know what that is Mama, but I'd sure like to find out!" ~Caeden

It's THIS!

Somedays.......... it makes the perfect afternoon snack! I gave the boys a couple bites with a spoon, it was a little thick :-) They loved it but I stopped when I remembered it did have coffee in and giving a 2 yr old and 4 yr old something with coffee in it probably wasn't the best idea! Alannah wanted some bites too so I gave her "bites" off my empty spoon and she kept asking for more!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bugaloo giveaway

I found these online and would love to get Alannah a pair sometime. They are so cute!
Found a giveaway on another blog I read and thought I would share with you!

(these are my second choice!)


And these are the ones I would get Colm........ I think he can still wear the 18-24 month size judging from their sizing measurements. Maybe he would keep these shoes on!




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Red Beans and Rice w/ Sausage

One of K's favorite side dishes is Popeye's Red Beans and Rice. I have been experimenting with a recipe trying to somewhat mimic it. This is what I have so far!

Red Beans and Rice w/ Sausage

Soak & cook about 2 cups of red beans, drain off most of the extra water

In your crockpot - put in the beans (you want around 3-4 cups of cooked beans).
If you would rather use canned, use 2 cans.
Put in 1-1 1 /2 cups of dry, uncooked rice
(you could probably soak this first, but I didn't this time)
Add 4 cups of liquid - I used a combination of water and beef broth
Add 1 onion, chopped fine
Add 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
Add spices:
2 TB chili powder
1 heaping TB cumin (adjust this down for a little more mild spicy!)
1 tsp salt
1/2- 1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (can leave out, especially if you are serving little ones!)
2 TB dried parsley

If you like, add sausage. I used the large links, a mild Italian sausage. It would also be yummy if you cut these links into "rounds". I let the rice and beans start cooking for about 2 hours before I added the sausage, frozen.
(Because I knew we were going to be gone for the rest of the day and I didn't want it to over cook and my crockpot doesn't have a warm feature! )
This would also be a good vegetarian dish, just leave the sausage out!

Mix well and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. If you can check halfway thru you may need to add a little more water or broth as the rice cooks and absorbs most of the liquids. And really all you need to do is cook the rice and sausage, so once they are cooked you can serve anytime or turn to low and wait till dinner time!

Serve with fresh, homemade sourdough bread!

I let mine cook for a good 8 hours - we ended up coming home later then I had planned, so it was for sure done when we got back! Besides wishing I had had a way to add a little water a few hours earlier, it was still really good. The beans and rice were pretty mushy, but very flavorful and had a good spicy kick. If you don't care for too spicy, tone down the measurements above till you find a good flavor for you!


This post is part of Pennywise Platter over at Nourishing Gourmet!

Monday, September 7, 2009

meal plans

Meal plans..............
these are so helpful for me, I am not having to think of dinner off the top of my head. We eat with foods we have here and when I plan ahead the evenings seem a little less rushed and full of cleaning and cooking and dealing with kids at the end of a long day.

I tend to make a list of dinners and a list lunch and breakfast ideas for the week and then work off it as my week starts to develop. Some weeks I can tell you what we will have each day and other weeks I don't decide till that morning what I am going to make. But, I find it really helps to have a list of dinners for the week. And since I do quite a bit of breakfast "prep", making breakfast quick in the morning - knowing what I am planning on helps alot in the evenings too when I want to get things started.

I have toyed with the idea of main dish themes for each day of the week - Like "Meatless Mondays", "Vegetarian Tuesdays", "Beans on Wednesday" .......... or Chicken on Wednesday, Beef on Thursday, Fish on Friday, Soup on Saturday............. you get the idea. But, I never really seem to stick with it. And depending on our week we sometimes have more of one thing - like chicken or refried beans cause I make up enough for a couple different meals.

So, right now I am sticking with my rather generic lists. :-)

Lat week I wrote down what we had, thought I would share and over the next couple weeks I will try and share some of the recipes as well.

Monday
B: yougurt & leftover biscuits and gravy
L: pasta
D: smothered bean and cheese burritos with green chilies sauce and homemade tortillas

Tuesday
B: pasta & toast
L:
D: leftovers

Wednesday
B: eggs w/ gravy and tortillas
L: pasta/chips & homemade guacamole
D: Talapia and roasted potatoes

Thursday
B: yogurt muesli
L: cheese crackers and apples
D: cream cheese chicken and l/o roasted potatoes

Friday
B: French toast
L: yogurt
D: Cabbage soup and homemade bread

Saturday
B: yogurt/breakfast burritos
L:
D: Red Beans and Rice w/ Italian Sausage

Sunday
B: Eggs w/ green chili sauce
L:
D: Salmon w/ rice & cauliflower

Now, off to work on next week's list!
(We're having leftovers tonight......... your choice of cabbage soup, rice, cauliflower, red beans and rice and whatever else I might find!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Starbucks-style Frappuccino!

Oh my - this is yummy..............!

I adapted the below recipe slightly - instead of the ice and instant coffee (cause if you know my husband he doesn't do instant coffee in this house!) - I froze sweetened coffee in ice cube trays and used that. And because I wasn't sure if I had made the coffee sweet enough, I did go ahead and add another 1-2 TB of sugar to the mixture.

Oh - go try it - you'll love me!

Starbucks-style Frappuccino

makes 2 grande (16 oz each)

  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. instant coffee - I use decaf. A good national brand tastes best, but even the cheap stuff will make you regret you ever paid $4 for a frap.
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream - Not strictly necessary, but makes it even yummier. Try this at your own risk.

Blend til smooth and enjoy. Drink with a straw. Remember to share, because this was 2 large servings.

options:

  1. Mocha: add 2 Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder.
  2. Java Chip: blend in chocolate chips
  3. Caramel Macchiato: replace the sugar with a 1/3 cup of caramel sauce.
  4. Get really fancy and top it with real whipped cream.
  5. Try drinking it all yourself.
thanks to This Blog!

Monday, August 17, 2009

a thought for this week

As I was cleaning out some stuff I came across this quote I printed and was reminded once again of it's timeless truth and thought I would share it.

"Busyness is not Godliness. God is not impressed with your production capacity as much as He is concerned that the product of your home--your own children--be chiseled and molded and perfected to the best of your ability. You may tire of this mundane task, but the Lord admonishes you not to grow weary and promises to supply the energy and strength as needed in this all-important task (Isaiah 40:28-31). God's strength is for what He plans for you to do--not stamina for everything you might want to do."

--Dorothy Patterson

Do not grow weary in doing good - Keep on keeping on - Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quinoa Taco Salad


This post is part of "Pennywise Platter Thursday" over at


I love making "taco-seasoned" quinoa and I decided to get creative this week and I made it into a taco salad. It turned out pretty good. This recipe would probably feed 4 adults, or maybe closer to 6 with some kids in the mix. Keep in mind when you make it though, it doesn't keep well, make what you can eat 'cause the leftovers get pretty mushy!

Quinoa -
Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa according to the directions (2 cups boiling water, add 1 c. quinoa- simmer and cook till water is absorbed)

Add taco seasoning -
I usually do something along the following, but add what spices you like - it's pretty forgiving!

1 can tomato sauce
1-2 TB BBQ sauce, chipotle flavor is my favorite
couple dashs of Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce
2-3 TB chili powder
1-2 TB cumin (vary depending on your preference for hotness)
1-2 tsp garlic powder - or fresh garlic
1-2 tsp onion powder - or fresh onion (I like red onion best)

Mix throughly

Prepare 1 head of lettuce in a large bowl
Add a couple chopped tomatoes (fresh is best but especially in taco salad you could get away with canned if you had to, I would add to the quinoa above and mix there)
Add 1-2 cups crushed/broken up tortilla chips
Add 1 cup cheese
Add 1 cup of kidney or black beans
Add quinoa mixture

Mix everything together and serve immediately.

We all enjoyed this and even my 2 year old ate a full serving and my 4 year old declared it his favorite salad!



Friday, July 31, 2009

salad dressing

One of my favorite blogs is the Nourishing Gourmet - Kimi is having a giveaway for a free case of (really yummy looking) salad dressing - go here to enter!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

find joy

I often remind myself of 2 words - "find joy". In whatever is happening, find joy. Whatever you are doing, find joy. We are not suppose to be living this life and going about frustrated, mad or just bored at our life, we are to have joy. Whether we are planning the meals to serve our families, compiling a grocery list, watching and playing with little kids, folding laundry, washing dishes...... we should have a joyful heart and attitude. I don't always, but I try. And I am trying to remind myself of this more often throughout the day.

I often find myself wanting to share a thought, a recipe, a good book with those around me, but often by the time I find the time I have forgotten about it. So, I am going to try and write some of that stuff down here and let you have that way. I have been focusing recently on concentrating on keeping good meal plans, planning the grocery trips and being more intentional about discipline and training the kids. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.
Below are some of the verses I enjoy that remind me about being faithful to find joy in my life.

"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation"
~Habakkuk 3:18

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
~John 15:10-11

"So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy..."
~Colossians 1:10-11

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
~Hebrews 12:1-2

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
~1 Peter 1:3-9