Thursday, November 3, 2011

Soup Weather Is HERE!

It finally feels like Fall and I am so glad! I have been missing soups and it is so hard to eat a steamy bowl of soup when it is 98 degrees outside. Last night I made (decaf) Pumpkin Lattes for everyone and we all enjoyed them. The kids were squealing as they drank their "coffee." I used canned pumpkin puree and had half a can leftover-assuming I would just make another batch another day it was saved. Come lunch time today all I wanted was soup-it didn't matter what kind but I HAD to have soup! Then I remembered the pumpkin! My creative juices started flowing-though not as much as I was salivating. The concoction I came up with is both delicious and wholesome, it is also low calorie (until you start dipping saltines into it...) it also is not overpoweringly pumpkin-y like many pumpkin soups I have tried in the past. Right now the kids are diving into theirs, Elijah took a break to spoon feed Addie and complain that she got food on "his" rock and roll shirt-from when he was a baby. I made half of the recipe below for myself, Addie, and Elijah (who had just eaten a pb&j also). This should make about 6-8 side servings or 3 good size main dishes, For around $4 maybe less.

Easy Peppered Pumpkin Soup
6 carrots -or more if you wish -diced or sliced
1/2 stalk celery-diced or sliced
1/2 small yellow onion-diced
2 bouillon cubes (I use "No-chick'n")
1 15oz can 100% pure pumpkin puree
Cornstarch (for thicker soup)

Place carrots, celery, onion, and bouillon into a medium to large sauce pan. Add just enough water to cover veggies. Bring to boil then simmer until veggies are tender. At this point I mashed some of the veggies with a whisk so there weren't any large chunks-but not completely I like some chunk. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk in well. Add a dash or 2 of pepper. If soup is too runny put 1-2 tsp cornstarch in about 2 Tbl COLD water and mix well, then add to hot soup and bring back to low boil. Once placed into serving dishes sprinkle on more pepper. We ate ours with saltines. Enjoy!
Some stores sell a frozen "mirepox blend" which is carrot, onion, and celery- here it is 88 cents-though fresh is always better!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Yawn, I have been lazy...or overworked. I never find the time to keep up on here anymore, I'm sorry. I know so many of you enjoy laughing at my days, so here is a quick laugh and a recipe (sorry it has to do with poop, yeah I know it doesn't go well with a recipe).
A few days ago Addie walked up to me in the process of going number 2, I asked if she was and and she replied "poop" then went and got the potty chair-better late than never? The following day I saw "the look" and asked if she needed to go poop-we haven't been potty training her up to this point. She immediately ran to the bathroom and brought the potty out, then began undoing her diaper, then went-YAY! Later that day she pointed to her hiney and said "poop" stripped down then, again, ran to the bathroom and fetched the potty chair. She set it down and was instantly distracted by daddy's laugh from the other room. She paused and watched him for a moment then headed back to sit down on her throne-but wait! Who ids that cute thing in the mirror? She climbed up on a bench and began dancing. Naked. In front of the mirror. Then pooped. While dancing. In front of the mirror. So it looks like we have a ways to go as far as distractions are concerned, but I will enjoy her desire to be potty trained-unlike her 3 1/2 year old brother who just last week went back to underwear!
Now, forget about the poop, on to the recipe!
When my husband asked for theses this morning and I Googled recipes I wasn't happy with any, so I winged it.

Pumpkin pancakes

2 1/2 c flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 Tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Combine dry ingredients, then add;
1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree
2 Tbl flaxseed
2 Tbl oil
1 Tbl molasses
2 cups soy milk
1/4 water -more if batter is too thick
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Stir well and cook like a pancake. If you need more instruction on that part I am sure there are tutorials ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Luscious Lips! Ooh La La!

Sorry it has been so long since I have graced your screen with my words, life has been a bit crazy for some time now. For starters we have another little bit on the way, due February 3, 2012! A bit of a surprise to us and others considering my husband "got snipped" early this year! We are excited though as clearly God willed this little bundle into being!
So what pearl of wisdom can I leave you with today? Just a touch of fear and a resolution to one tiny part of it.
Lip gloss and chap stick!
Little girls beg for it so they can feel a little more grown up. At first I allowed chap stick and avoided giving Chloe lip gloss at all cost. Eventually, however, she attained it, one way or another. An entire container of it. So the other day when I saw her applying it, I asked her to bring it to me so I could read the ingredients.
First let me say that the FDA does NOT have control over cosmetics, those companies can put almost any chemical, toxin, and even known carcinogens into makeup, shampoo, mascara, and baby lotion (that goes for diapers, wipes, washes, shampoos, creams, you name it). Some of the most popular brands are the worst of the worst. (You can check out brands you use here and see how they rank). It is scary, it is sad, and it sucks that these companies advertise to our emotions and pretend that their products are "gentle" and that they help us care for our children. They don't, most (there may be a few good ones), they care about green-but it is not the earth.
So, what is in this little tube of lip gloss, that is marketed towards little girls? Mineral oil, Hydrogenated polyisobutene, ethylhexyl palmitate, silica, BHT, Propylparaben, and fragrance. So I checked them out (already knowing that mineral oil is not good for you, parabens are linked to cancers, and BHT is bad) many of the ingredients have not been tested-let alone for use on kids!
So we made our own! And you can too, the hardest part was washing out the roller tubes full of chemicals-which gave me a migraine just from breathing in around them, how safe can they be?
Once you wash them out-or think you have, roll up a napkin, squeeze it in and twist. Then fill half way with water, add a drop of dish soap, shake then rinse thoroughly. Now you only need 2 ingredients
olive oil or coconut oil
pure extract (peppermint, vanilla, or almond work great)
Fill the tube about 3/4 of the way and add 2 drops of extract. replace the roller ball and lid, then shake well. Your done! You did it, you made a safe, moisturizing lip gloss that is safe for your children to lick off their lips! It works better than chap stick at moisturizing and will assist in healing dry, cracked, burned lips. Did I mention that olive oil is also used by many women to prevent aging? Your lips will love you for it! We also did one tube using 1 drop of pure lavender oil-do not put more than 2 drops max. Then you have an age defying aromatherapy lip gloss! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Meaning To Easter Eggs

My daughter Chloe always asks the deepest theological questions when I go to tuck her in bed. Maybe I need to start accounting for that and send her to bed 30 minutes earlier... So tonights question is one that is hard for people of any age to grasp "How did God start? Cause he didn't just go 'bloop' and appear-I mean when did he get made?" Did I mention she is 8? I was speechless for a moment. I told her that he has been around forever. Then I admitted that this is an area I struggle understanding and that it is really hard for any adult or child to truly grasp no beginning or end thing. Eternity is hard to describe if you think about it. Then I saw half of an Easter Egg on her floor. (thank you Lord I know it was left there for a reason!). I held it sideways then asked her what shape it is.
"A circle," there was a look of 'duh' with the answer.
"So where does the circle start?"
As I am explaining this it is being explained to me as well, I was taught in school that a line <-> is never ending...but what if there is a wall 5 miles -> that way? And there is infinity but that doesn't come up much in my daily life.
I am glad it clicked with her and that she then asked with a big grin "so that means Heaven will never end?" I love seeing what we have been teaching sink in!
So why do we not have a symbol for God? The cross represents Jesus and how he died for us-I would rather have a loving symbol than a torture device though. I purpose a circle! Never beginning, never ending. It seems like a great reason to be using (plastic) Easter eggs this year!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dalmas! What You Have Never Heard Of Them?

All the cool people are doing it! Like Italians and Greeks...and stuff.Dalmas are stuffed grape leaves. Stuffed with what you ask? I'm getting there. We all know the benefits of grapes and wine :) so you can imagine the benefit of eating the actual leaf-go ahead imagine, because there are more than I am going to list. Things like reduction in edema, heart healthy stuff, and only about 2 calories per leaf. Traditionally they would be stuffed with a rice mixture usually containing meat of some sort. Lets just say that when I made them they were gone almost instantly, and I thought I had made enough for a few days-silly me! First of all, where do you find this oddity? I found it at HEB I am sure some Kroger's carry them but I did not find them at the one near us-though I can not seem to find most forms of healthy food there so I am not surprised. Second, prior to making these you will need to do 2 things cook rice (I use whole grain), and blanch the leaves.
To blanch the leaves, remove the amount you will be using-what the heck use the whole jar. Gently un-roll them and lay them out, then place them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Don't stir just let them be. Carefully remove them from the water and let the leaves cool while you prepare the rice mixture.
Here it goes-Im sorry I dont measure things when experimenting
Zingy Dalmas
Cooked Rice approx 3 cups if you are using the whole jar of leaves
Lemons 2 (reserve 2tsps juice for later)
Italian seasoning
Garlic pepper
sauteed garlic and onion (optional)
olive oil

Mix the seasonings to taste into rice. zest one lemon and mix that in as well. Then squeeze in some good ol lemon juice, again "to taste". Add onion and garlic if using.
Then comes the hard part-rolling! You will use 1-2 TBL of the rice mixture per leaf. Place the mixture in the center of the leaf then fold the side closest to you over the rice. Press down gently to pack the rice snuggly, then fold the sides over (right and left side) then roll forward till it is a snuggly wrapped dalma. Why is this hard? You will find out for yourself once you start, but the leaves tear easy! They are pretty small when finished-about the size of a womans thumb. Place in container and use remaining lemon juice and olive oil to drizzle over dalmas to keep moist and add an extra zing. The reason I do not use salt is that the dalmas come in a salty brine, if you were to be so fortunate as to have fresh leaves you will want to A. blanch them longer, and B use salt.
Use hummus to dip them in-but that is a whole post in itself! So for now I will recommend the Sabra brand-the original, roasted red pepper, and roasted pine nut are all great-oh and the roasted garlic.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thankful For The Pancakes & Toes

Today was going to be a fairly simple day. It was Bobby's day off and we had a few small tasks on the agenda then family time. Our kids all came in and cuddled in bed with us when they woke up before us-which rarely happens with everyone home. We tickled, rhymed, and giggled. So I did what I love to do on family days-I made pancakes for breakfast. This morning they were extra special because I put chocolate chips in them and because Chloe helped me make them. Then we sat down and pretty much swallowed the whole stack in a gulp.
On to task #1-start cleaning up Granny's apartment. You see she has been in the hospital for a while now and was going to be moved to hospice. The kids were surprisingly well behaved and we got more done today than we thought we would.
Then before Tasks #2&3 (visiting Granny and my father, in the same hospital and getting new shoes for Chloe) we stopped for coffee and lunch. Thats it...we stopped. Then my husbands phone rang. The nurse told him that we should come soon because Granny only had hours left. Less than 10 minutes later we were pulling into the hospital parking lot when the phone rang again. She had passed.
This mornings giggles and cheer seem like the distant past, yet it was only 12 hours ago. I'm so glad we enjoyed those few extra bad calories instead of fighting our kids to eat something healthier (which we will still be doing the other 13 out of 14 days-just sayin'). I'm so thankful we had no alarm clock set this morning so we had the joy of silly munchkins with cold toes climbing in with us. Thank you Lord for the little moments of peace and joy that sustain us through the (seeming) drought.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Mom, whats a condomee?"

I know it has been forever! So here is my day today...
I woke up with no plans for the day-except doing Addalene's pictures for her birthday card, and grocery shopping, and making dalmas (which I never got around to) and visiting Bobby's grandmother who is in ICU, and...but otherwise a very "slow" day. While I had dinner cooking-okay it wasn't really cooking it was just sitting on the stove waiting to cook its self-Bobby was watching "Bizarre Foods"-I know I know vegans watching "Bizarre Foods (BF)", it just does not make sense. So on BF the guy goes all over the world and tries, what Americans would see as the most bizarre foods. Well on this episode he was trying cow penis stew...and Chloe walked in the room. Chloe's mind is still "innocent" up to this point and we see this look on her face as she begins focusing all too intently on the television-so we begin whispering about what is going through her head. (Now she has a brother so she knows what this body part is)
Me to Bobby "ooohhhh, thats what you do with them!" At which point we begin laughing all to hard and she looks at us completely confused. Then BF takes us on a journey to Thailand where he is going to eat at a place called...okay I do not remember the name but it was something "and condoms"-no joke. The owners goal is to spread the word on rubber, with condoms used as balloons, as hats (well replicas), in place of mints, and oh yeah IN the food!
So as I say "oh cra-"
Chloe asks, "Mom, what is a condonee?"
Me, "I have no idea what a condonee is-I gotta go cook!"
Chloe pauses then asks Bobby, "Daddy, what is a condome?"
Bobby,"Go ask your mom!"
Chloe, "Mom, what is a con...condom?"
Sigh...this was not on my to do list!
I started with, "well what do you know about sex?"
Chloe, "nothing."
Though later she told me she thought it was if you are a boy or girl.
I started simple and will not be destroying her little innocent mind at once. So for you moms out here this was my intro into future talks;
"God created sex for a man and a woman to show their love for each other,and to make babies. He intends for it to be between married men and women. Sex can spread diseases called sexually transmitted diseases, and condoms are used to help prevent those from going from one person to another-though they do not always work. There is alot to know about sex, but at your age you do not need to know it all. If your hear kids talking about it, always ask me questions. Kids tend to talk about it even though they have no idea what it is and they confuse other kids. So please always come to me if you hear anything from other kids."
Chloe, "ok, is that my plate?"
So now to plan out the next talk...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Black Forest Cake -Part 2

So now you have your 2 layers of cake, what else will you need?
1 can Cherry pie filling-extra cherry
1 batch icing, buttercream (recipe follows), whipped cream icing, or sour cream icing
optional: maraschino or fresh cherries and chocolate shavings for decoration.

Place your bottom layer of cake on serving platter. Pre-ice layer with a very thin layer of icing. Put 3/4 can of cherry filling on top leaving 1/2 inch around edge free of cherries. Top with second layer. Pre-ice second layer. This will prevent crumbs from getting onto the final layer and give it a cleaner look. If you'd like you can make the icing a little on the thin side for pre-icing then add more powdered sugar to thicken it up for the final icing. Next spread the final layer thickly onto entire cake and sides and smooth out. Top with chocolate shavings and remaining or fresh cherries. If you Google images of Black forest cake there are photos that will put my cake to shame-I suppose I will just have to make another cake just to make it pretty like theirs and get a decent photo sometime! ;) Store iced cake in fridge.

Butter-cream Icing
1/2 cup butter (or Earth-balance)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
1 Tbl milk or soy
Beat until smooth! Store in refrigerator.

As promised! Black Forest Cake -Part 1

One of my favorite cakes! Apparently no one in Texas has heard of this delight, so I will share with you the very easy recipe!
First you make a chocolate cake in 2 round or square pans, you can use your favorite recipe or use mine which follows. My recipe is a version of "wacky cake" which was made during the depression when people could not afford milk and eggs. I have tried similar recipes that I did not like at all, I tweaked it some and came out with this delight. I made this chocolate cake for Elijah's birthday party and it was a hit. In my opinion it holds up much better than box cake-it isn't super crumby- which is great for when you cut it up. Enjoy the fact that it is cholesterol free too!
I have only made this in a square pan and it made one, nice, thick cake so I would recommend doubling it for a layered cake.

Perfect Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
6 Tbl cocoa powder-I recommend Hershey's Special Dark YUM!
1 tsp baking SODA
3 Tbl vegetable oil or canola oil
3 Tbl applesauce
1 Tbl vinegar (dont worry you cant taste it)
1 tsp almond extract(or vanilla)
1 cup water/milk (true "wacky cake" uses water-I use soy-you can use cows milk)

Pre heat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients. Then make 3 holes in the mixture. Put the oil and applesauce in one, vinegar in another, and extract in the last. Then pour the water/milk over it all and stir. I am not really sure if doing it in that manner makes a difference but all of the recipes I found for "wacky cake" did that. Grease a round or square pan. Then bake-I honestly do not know how long I baked it-until it smelled good and a fork stuck in the middle came out clean...about 34-40 minutes. Sorry I am so bad about that. I do everything by feel not by rules. Note* if you dont like dark chocolate use 4Tbl of the traditional Hersheys cocoa powder.
The picture shows the cake once I cut it up and "pre-iced" it before I put rolled fondant on for Elijah's Train Cake.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Last Hour

"Awwwll night, Awwwll day! Angels watching over me, my Lord!"
The last hour has been quite interesting. It started at the post office in Conroe. I have always been uneasy about putting the kids in the car, because whoever I put in last is left temporarily exposed. Today I decided to put Elijah in first so he wouldn't flip the stroller trying to get away (yeah I know that means he is too big to be in one now). The parking spaces at the post office are slanted, narrow, and always full. I had the stroller against the car beside me with Addie in it, as I leaned into the car to buckle Elijah. I never heard the lady get into the car next to us, or turn on her SUV (now that cars have gotten quieter, the government is asking makers to make them louder), or even her tires begin to reverse. I did hear her bumper hit the door that was leaning on me and I felt it push on me. I did see her stop just short of hitting little Addalene! Before I (or the driver) could register what was happening, I got Addie, still in the stroller, and myself behind our car and out of the way. The woman stopped, got out and began apologizing, her SUV really did have a huge blind spot. It was then that I noticed something, I wasn't angry, I didn't want to punch her lights out. I had peace, but it was more than peace, it was a knowing that she didn't need a lecture from me-she was sorry and I had forgiven her before she finished her apology.
As I type this I realize that is the way God forgives-he forgives us from the moment we become aware we need forgiven, before we can get the words out. If she hadn't been apologetic I would have left angry. I think God was teaching me a lesson, that I can learn to forgive like he does. I no longer have to accept apologies like a five year old ("say sorry and hug"-both kids glaring at each other all the while). I heard somewhere once that from the moment we are forgiven-God forgets, he doesn't remember what we did, it is gone-now if only we could forget too. Not just what others did, but what we have done.
Back to my story. No anger. She waited as I packed the kids into their seats and got into my car safely. While she was waiting I heard her curse, "SWEET MOSES!!!" I nearly busted out laughing, but I was still shaking. Hey, I still have adrenaline even if I have a dose of peace to go with it. Everyone was fine, the car too. We left and headed home.
I get home and let the dogs out back, somehow Opi found his way out of the yard-he is still out but I am not leaving the kids to go catch him. Lucy came back in. I headed to the bathroom and found that she had tore up a roll of TP-a HUGE peeve of mine toilet paper not on a roll it grosses me, like really badly grosses me out. I cleaned it up. Then took my turn, midstream I hear the handle on the front door, and I know I didn't latch the child lock. Now, I have always wondered what I would do in this instance and now I know. I run with my pants around my ankles and catch Elijah just as the door creeps open. I am so glad that I didn't have to run in the front yard like that! So that is my hour 1:45-2:45
I am so glad that I have the best security guard of all! Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crazy Doesn't Cut It!

Time is flying by so fast! I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted. I am still alive but life has gotten crazy! Things are slowing back down-or at least I hope! Elijah's terrible 2's became the terrifying 3's. Addalene is now walking, with support, but that has put everything into arms reach! Chloe is looking more like a teenager everyday and assumes that the teenage attitude must come with it! Bobby is about to go to Chicago for 4 days for training. As for me, I am trying to keep little pieces of Lord knows what, off the floor so Addalene doesn't choke on them-its a full time job plus overtime! Oh, and I am trying to schedule some sort of birthday fun for Elijah (3 on the 21st) between Bobby's days off and my photography sessions.
Christmas? Oh it was great! Really, I saw my family, Bobby's dad, met my newest niece, and Addalene met one of her Aunts (Uncle and cousin too)for the first time. AND it was a white Christmas! So I got to take a stroll in the snow with my husband-who was too cold to hold my hand- have a snow ball fight, and go sledding! Very picturesque and wonderful memories were made!
I will get back on here-soon I hope! Lots of love and Happy 2011!