Wednesday, December 17

Baby Dreams

I've neglected my blog. I know you are all fine with that and surviving. :)

I've had two baby dreams so far.

A month or so ago, I dreamed we had a boy, blue eyes, light hair and skin (like me) and we were in the car leaving a church. I was holding him up front (!) and he was a pudgy older baby maybe 5 mo, and I reached around to put him in his facing-forward car seat (!) and remember thinking, I hope whoever put him in the seat to come to church had read the instruction manual for the car seat, and I was thinking, I really need do read it myself.

So strange!

Last night, I dreamed that I had a baby girl and had to go away right away for whatever reason for about a week, and I came home to my old neighborhood and a neighbor offered me a piece of pita with hummus on it that I snacked on as I crossed the street to go to my parents old driveway. My mom came out with my baby and handed her to me, and I got a good look at her face: light hair, blue eyes, light skin, and I was so excited to be home and be with her again. She looked to be about 5 months old and not a newborn though I was only gone week, she wasn't pudgy like my son in the other dream. lol.

So far, I've put my kids in danger and neglected them! Thankfully I am not overly concerned that this will flow over into reality.

Tuesday, November 18


A couple months ago, a friend at church graciously taught me how to make her whole wheat bread and let me have the recipe. The previous recipe I was using resulted in bread that I wasn't proud of, nor wanted to eat once it was a day old. It was called whole wheat, but wasn't 100% whole wheat. I don't know if it was the recipe or me not working it enough. I do know it wasn't the flour because I used the same whole wheat flour the first time I made this new recipe at home, and it turned out great. For the old recipe, I used my mixer for all of it, but actually enjoy doing it all by hand now, as my friend taught me.

She recommended I do that, particularly to learn how the dough feels and progresses. I should add that my mixer can't really handle 8-9 cups of flour for half the recipe, let alone 15-18 for the full recipe! She works in the last few cups of flour while working it by hand, out of the bowl.

Half the recipe makes two large loaves and one small one, which happens to work with the three loaf pans I have. I have only done this twice at home, but both times, made a cinnamon-sugar loaf with the small one.

Tuesday, November 11


Do you all like grapefruit? If so, how do you eat it?

Pink Grapefruit is pretty delicious, though I always sprinkle sugar on it. I cut around the wedges to free them for eating, a habit I got from my Dad. For years, he'd meticulously cut grapefruit halves for the first part of our Christmas breakfast every year (for as long as I can remember). we still have it.

What about you? Leave a comment.

P.S. My mom's mom eats it with salt!

Monday, November 3

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Before today, I don't think I ever ate pumpkin seeds. I knew Ryan liked them so I went on the search for a couple seasoned pumpkin seed recipes. Of course, I couldn't roast them all just plain and with only salt. I had about 4 cpus of seeds, so I used four different seasoning combinations. We liked each of them pretty well.

Plain with butter, olive oil and salt. I used popcorn salt because it's so fine.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (rosemary, salt).

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (salt, cayenne pepper)

Lime Toasted Pepitas (surprise, surprise) Actually, these seeds are from the butternut and acorn squashes that I roasted for Velvety Squash Soup for dinner on Saturday. They turned out tasty like the pumpkin seeds. I had a little less than a cup of them.

Saturday, November 1

Pumpkin Puree

Pioneer Woman illustrated how to make your own pumpkin puree, and I couldn't NOT do it since we received a couple pumpkins from the CSA farm.

Strangely, while the pumpkins roasted, they smelled like hay. It must have been the stringies that I couldn't completely remove.

My yield from three pumpkins was 10 cups of puree, which I froze in quart-sized bags, 2 cups in each. I don't know the cost to me of the pumpkins, but 5-6 cans of pumpkin puree would be at least $10.

Coming soon: roasted pumpkin seeds

Friday, October 31

Coconut Oil

I've been meaning to post about coconut oil all summer and haven't...

We love it. We eat it. We put it on our skin. I've read a lot about it. I plan to use it on our baby's skin for "baby acne".

Robin posted about it recently over at Whole Food Nation and it's a quick summary of its benefits. She has summarized what I've read in many places. Please check it out!

I have always bought the Nutiva brand, though there are many others. I get it from Amazon using the subscribe and save option I mentioned a while back. The key is to get cold-pressed, virgin, organic coconut oil. It should smell like coconuts.

Monday, October 20

I haven't been around....

Blogging has been the last thing on my mind in the last several weeks since all of my energy has gone to working, sleeping, eating, and incubating our baby. Oh, and keeping my food down.

Our baby??? Wha-? Yep! Due in mid May to two very excited parents-to-be (and some very excited grandparents and aunts and uncles).

To God be the glory!

Thursday, September 25

The Slow Cooker

What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes? I've been wanting to use mine more, and now is as good a time as any. I haven't used it nearly enough in the last three or so years despite the fact that I love to come home from work and have dinner prep so well progressed already. I thankfully have the option to come home at lunch or any time in the afternoon to start a recipe that doesn't require all day cooking. I really should use it more. Help me!

Saturday, September 20

Now the Lightswitches Work!

At five pm on Thursday, our electricity came back on. We were sooooo happy to have it back (and still are).

Here are some pretty amazing pictures of Hurricane Ike damage.

Wednesday, September 17

I still flip the switch anyway

Wind on Sunday night. No power until Friday. That is our story.

The longer version is our area was hit by high winds from Hurricane Ike on Sunday night. As we drove home from the RP Home where Ryan preached, there were branches around and areas without power. Minutes after arriving home, we lost our power. It's been off ever since and the power company says "late Friday" for our area. Around noon on Monday, we moved the food in our fridge and freezer to the church, and it's still there, nice and cold. Some good friends invited us to shower at their place, which we took them up on the last two nights since we don't have hot water. They also invited us to dinner last night and for Thursday. Tonight, there is a meeting and pizza at church.

I've enjoyed going to bed earlier but it would be nice to have light to clean the kitchen and be able to cook or have cold food. I have food at work in my mini fridge, but Ryan has had to scrounge for breakfast. I'm thankful that we haven't lost anything and that it's been cool enough to sleep comfortably at night.

What's funny is I sometimes still turn on light switches or lamps out of habit. Obviously, nothing happens. Who knows how many lights will be on in our apartment when the power comes back.

What's the longest you have ever gone without power?

Monday, September 15

35 Ways to Save on Groceries

Money Saving Mom linked to this helpful post on MotherLoad which lists 35 ways to save on your grocery budget. It's worth a read -I bet there is something you can implement from the list. Check it out.

I've done many of the things on the list. A few months ago, Ryan and I started using cloth napkins for the two of us instead of paper. We have a good stock of paper napkins, and they will last a long time! The cloth napkins last us a while since we aren't messy eaters - we see no reason to wash them after one or two light uses.

I've been making my own cheese biscuits using whole wheat pastry flour and sometimes half all purpose flour. I use palm oil shortening, and they are so much better than using Bisquick! Earlier this summer, I stopped using canola oil in my own cooking in an effort to reduce our consumption of damaged oils. I haven't made tortilla strips for tortilla soup yet though since doing so, and will need to find a good, flavorless substitute.

There are also many other things I prefer to make myself instead of buying the product or a mix to make the product: salad dressing, pancakes, waffles, bread, guacamole, salsa, spaghetti sauce, cookies, and cakes.

I have yet to cook a whole chicken...I don't know why they scare me!

Talk to me. Are there things on this list you do or other ideas you have?

Friday, September 12

When to Buy Organic

I've known of some foods that one should try to buy organic, because of how heavily they receive pesticides (raspberries, peanuts/peanut butter). I've known of other foods where it isn't as much of a concern, because there is an outer skin (oranges, bananas). I read a helpful post on Whole Food nation summarizing what types of you should try to buy organic and which are ok being non organic. I summarized the info below but there is additional helpful info in the original post, including why certain foods should be bought organic and how many pesticides are sprayed on the foods (most are 25 or more).

Non organic is ok:
Sweet corn
Sweet peas

Organic is safer:
Beef, Pork and Poultry
Milk, Cheese and Butter
Strawberries, Raspberries and Cherries
Apples and Pears
Spinach and Other Greens
Peaches and Nectarines
Red and Green Bell Peppers

I would like to add that I believe buying local produce when you know how it is grown (like from a CSA) can provide a happy middle ground to the expense of organic and the lack of quality and nutrients of the non organic, conventionally grown items above. Cost is unfortunately prohibitive of our buying more organic.

Are there particular foods you regularly buy organic? There are some for Ryan and I, though I don't think there are any foods we always buy organic. I prefer organic raspberries, for the lack of chemicals and because I have found them to taste immensely better. We have never bought organic meat. By the way, don't be fooled by "all natural" or "100% natural" labels on chicken - there are no established guidelines for what constitutes natural.

Monday, September 8

Perhaps you should try it

The most common search that sends people to my blog is "Ancho and Coffee Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho Mushroom Sauce". It comes up at least weekly (which is pretty common for my low traffic blog).

Have you seen the recipe? It's the first Bobby Flay recipe I ever made, and it is delicious. A special occasion dish. Spicy. Flavorful. The method of cooking the steaks is perfect and superior over the grill, and there are components of the recipe that you can make ahead.

Check it out. Ancho-And-Coffee-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho-Mushroom Sauce

Saturday, September 6


Micah and Asher could go all day with playing frisbee! Throw, fetch, tug, rinse and repeat.

My parents also do agility with each of them, and they can hardly wait to get out on the course to practice! They whine and whine when it's not their turn and see each other getting to do agility.

Practice at dusk in the backyard

Thursday, September 4


We went and are back already. Man, did it go fast. We looked forward to this trip for about seven months and can't believe it's already over! We had a great time with my family. Thankfully, we did not have any flight delays! Here are some photos. Check out the rest here, if you'd like.

My husband, the rock thrower.

My younger brother Adam, being goofy in the surf. The water wasn't as cold as it normally is.

We picked peaches again this year.

Monday, September 1

The Chocolate Pudding That Wasn't

It was last time though. It was very good. This time? Something went wrong. I took pictures, chronicling my pudding-making extravaganza, expecting to end with a lush, thick display of rich, dark chocolate. Not this time. Not like last time. Fear not, for you can make this successfully, as Catherine did, as I did before, and as Smitten Kitchen originally posted. But because I'm humble and want to capitalize on a teaching situation, I'll show you what happened. The end result was a less-than-thick pudding that tasted wonderfully chocolaty. The consistency was the problem.

Starting out, I make my own double broiler. The clothes pin, or something like it, is essential to let the steam out. It's smart to put it at the back of the pan to allow the steam to escape out the back and not up on your wrist.

I made a double recipe to use some milk that wasn't going to last much longer, and I used agave nectar in place of the sugar. Not being a pudding expert, I wonder if this did me in right from the beginning. I haven't baked with agave but we like it as a sweetener for coffee, smoothies and yogurt. It gives pure sweetness (as opposed to honey) and is raw and unrefined and doesn't cause your blood sugar to spike. So I tried it with this recipe. Since the cornstarch seems to "make" the pudding, I thought this would be ok. I used up most of the agave I had. I now wish I had saved it for coffee and such. I've since ordered more though, so it's ok.

Since I used agave, I added another tablespoon of cornstarch.

After an hour (AN HOUR) it had only thickened slightly. The recipe calls for 15-20 minutes. I realized it just wasn't getting hot enough to cook. I finally decided to add the chopped chocolate to see what would happen:

The first time I made this pudding, it quickly melted and became smooth and shiny. I finally resorted to straight heat and it started thickening, though a little lumpy. I think during all this I added even more cornstarch (whisked into a little water first to be lump-free; don't dump it straight in). I was so ready to be done with it that I stopped there and put it in dishes.

When I tried it after it chilled, it tasted GREAT and with a full chocolate flavor. The only problem was it was set very firm.

My mom didn't think the double broiler was actually necessary since there wasn't anything to curdle. Maybe the double broiler cuts down on the lumps though.

Friday, August 29