Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still Here!

I haven't abandoned this blog! Really!

To be honest, I really thought about it. I wasn't sure why I needed a second blog. I do really feel like I need to focus on my main blog, Happy Christian Home. Sometimes, though, stuff comes up that I want to express, but it doesn't necessarily fit into the theme of Happy Christian Home. I don't want that blog to be a "catch all" of everything that crosses my mind. (Come to think of it, maybe I should transfer my "Mommy's Piggy Tales" posts to this blog...hmm...) So I guess this is why "Something Bigger Than Me" exists.

For the other stuff that God is doing in my life. Maybe even the "behind the scenes" ('cause I know that's terribly interesting, right? ;-D).

In the future, I may use this blog to chronicle more personal things like our family life, and other experiences I have. In my "spare time" (we all have loads of that right?)

I am amazed that this blog is gaining followers even though I haven't posted in two months...I am very humbled that you all are interested in what I have to say. And, thankful that you've taken the time to stop by.

So this is my official "welcome" message to my new followers...welcome!

And I will aim to post more than once every two months from now on! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hope for the Chronologically Challenged?

I have a looong history of being "always late, but worth the wait". In fact, I even remember arriving to elementary school late on a somewhat regular basis. It's really something that's basically ingrained into my being. I've been late to every kind of event you can imagine.

So why am I telling you all this?

Well, I want to stop. I thought when my son came along over three years ago, that I would "magically" morph into this punctual individual that would never inconvenience anyone by arriving 10 or 15 minutes late. Hmph! I was so disappointed when my son's first doctor's appointment rolled around, and there I was, on the freeway when I should have been filling out paperwork! Surely, I would stop being tardy for the sake of teaching my son good habits...right?!

I actually had a span of probably six months to a year when I did really well with arriving on time to work and other commitments. This was before marriage and children. I don't know what happened after that. I just drifted out of the habit of being punctual. I really believe that at the time, I must have been tapping into the grace of God, mainly because it wasn't really difficult to be on time during that time period. There was a "character building" series being taught at church, and suddenly I was convicted of the importance of punctuality. It worked for a little while. It was pretty rewarding too. At the time, I worked at a job where they actually kept track of your tardies and absences and you would get penalized for both. It would affect our bonusing potential if we were tardy or absent. I stayed at that job for a couple of years and left not due to being fired on account of tardiness, but because I was offered a better job...at which I was repeatedly reprimanded for my tardiness. Go figure. By the way, prior to that, I had held a plethora of other jobs where I was habitually late. Most of those employers didn't really care.

So, anyway, here I am now, a wife and mother of two...chronically late to most every appointment, church service, volunteer commitment, birthday party...whatever. Now more than ever I feel the need to stop this horrible habit...but I just feel like I don't know how! I can get things ready the night before, get up extra early, and so forth, but I just haven't discovered the (lasting) key to breaking this awful habit. It's so bad, that just recently I told someone (quite matter-of-factly, I might add) that I realize full well when I'm late; I am fully aware of what time it is. But then I completely disregard whatever information I receive from the clock on the wall...and go about my business only to get to my destination "when I get there".

I know it's irritating to other people. Even I get irritated when people are late on my clock. You would think I would be forgiving of this fault in others, right?

Anyway, hopefully someone can come along and offer some tips or something to help me get over this annoying character flaw. I'm really going to start making a diligent effort to be on time. I will probably post about my attempts in the upcoming days and weeks. Let me know if you know of anything that helps, or if you've overcome this thing in the past. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just a Little Bit More "Green" Now

When I was growing up, I remember my mom sharing with me a memory she had of her grandmother.  She told me that her grandmother (or maybe great-grandmother???) never used shampoo on her hair (which at the time sounded repulsive!) but she said she remembered that every day her grandmother would take her very long hair out of the braid she put it in, would brush out her hair, and then cleanse her hair and scalp with witch hazel- then re-braid her hair, and wrap it up again around her head.  I don't know why that thought has stayed with me all this time, but it was brought to my remembrance again yesterday when I was thinking about my "new" hair care routine.

I had read a couple months ago about the "no poo" method of hair care. Well, I think I'm a "convert" now!  I started washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar the other day, and I like it!  I've been searching for some way to keep my hair clean, but not use so many harmful chemicals.  And I haven't been willing to pay $10 (or more) for a bottle of organic shampoo or conditioner (I know, I'm kinda cheap like that- I know people pay way more for hair care products...but whatever).  

There's no rhyme or reason to the products I'm using, this is just what I happen to have on hand right now.  I'm thinking I will get a different bottle of apple cider vinegar and save the organic unpasteurized stuff for the kitchen!

Anyway, I did a Google search for "no poo" and came across this article, and figured out how to get started.  I was a little skeptical, but after the apple cider vinegar rinse, I was convinced.  My hair felt soft and manageable (and not tangled!), and the results were similar to using shampoo and conditioner.  Plus, I feel really good about not dumping all those chemicals on my head, and them subsequently getting into my bloodstream, etc.  The first time I did it, there were a ton of little hairs sticking up all over my head once my hair dried (regrowth from postpartum hair loss), but the next time, I just used a little bit of coconut oil to smooth them down.  My hair feels soft, and smells like...hair.  I don't mind the absence of perfume-y scent, as I find most strong scents irritating anyway.  

So, let me know...would you consider doing this???  Have you done it?  What do you think?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Well, I think we are staying close to home for the holiday!  That's ok with me, though.  We actually went to start our vehicle this morning, and...nothin'.  So tomorrow we are having a friend look at it to find out what's wrong.  

We have lots of stuff to keep us busy at home though.  Hubby has offered to help out with some much needed "deep cleaning" so I am truly thankful for that!  Also, I finally got my anniversary gift the other day!  (That was oh...a month ago).  We like to stick with the traditional themes for gifts, and my husband brought home some gardening supplies to get me started.  This years theme is "fruit and flowers", though I don't plan on planting fruit or flowers...just vegetables and herbs.  Anyway, it's loosely based on this years' theme.  I'm really happy with what he got me though.  I'll get some pictures when I go out on the patio to get started.  I'm so not sentimental (usually) so I'm one of those rare women that actually appreciates practical gifts like vacuums and food processors.  Anyway, I hope to get my garden set up tomorrow...maybe.

On another note, here's a couple of blogging questions that I'm just going to "put out there" in hopes that some helpful person with point me in the right direction: First of all, I seem to have problems with Blogger as I'm typing a post, and it changes fonts on me at random...how do I fix this?  Secondly, if I need to edit something after I've already published a post, I click on "preview" to see the changes and all the formatting is gone.  It just turns into one big run-on paragraph.  Anyone know how to fix that???  It's just kind of irritatingI'm still pretty new to all this, so I'm not really sure what to do.  I don't want to be stuck with typos and other mistakes I notice after the fact.  Or spend several minutes reformatting the post.  Know what I mean???  Thanks in advance.

Happy Labor Day to all you hard-working employed individuals!  

Friday, August 27, 2010

What I'm into this Month- August

I borrowed this idea from Megan at SortaCrunchy (a great blog, by the way), and thought it would be fun to do here, just so you all could get to know me a little better!   Enjoy!

On My Nightstand: Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley (The FlyLady), re-reading A Wife After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Want To Read:  Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris, Radical by David Platt, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
T.V. Show Worth Watching: I like watching Wife Swap though it seems to be going the route of Jerry Springer (silly and shocking). 
Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater):  I watched Premonition with Sandra Bullock yesterday.  I was not such a fan!   
In My Kitchen:  Dirty dishes right now, as we're ending a pretty rough week health-wise (3 our of 4 of us have not been feeling well at some point or another).  Last night was chili, and tonight is meatballs- so yummy!
In My Ears:  "Your Love is a Song" by Switchfoot...also earlier this month I was constantly listening to "Lord Speak" and "Arise" by ShachahGood stuff...and probably not so much what you would think I would listen to!  Lol.
What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:  I hope it cools down at least a little!  We're roasting over here! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Go Away Headache!

So for much of today, I've had a headache and I've really been trying to avoid taking any kind of pain relieving medication for it.  It's mostly gone now (praise the Lord!) but I got to thinking about some natural ways to get rid of headaches and thought I would share.  

I will say that for a time, I got into the bad habit of automatically reaching for the bottle of acetaminophen or ibuprofen just because I didn't want to deal with the pain, but I feel that kind of approach opens up the risk of potential side affects.  These side affects include liver damage (for acetaminophen) and various stomach and digestive issues (related to NSAIDs like ibuprofen).  I'm usually really conservative when it comes to medication, so I just wanted to break the habit I had gotten into of relying on pain relievers. 

Headaches can be caused by many things and it's important to take care of yourself in order to avoid them.  Get enough rest (easier said than done with little ones around, I know!), make sure you're getting balanced nutrition by avoiding junk food, too much sugar or caffeine.  Sometimes throughout the day as we're chasing after little ones, we neglect ourselves, and that's no good!   Also, if you're a mom, it's a good idea to evaluate what's going on in your world.  A lot of headaches are caused by stress.  Are there some things you can eliminate from your day to day life?  It's important to avoid that whole "supermom" scene, as we women have a tendency to spread ourselves too thin by saying "yes" to everything. 

The number one natural way of getting rid of headaches that I know of is to drink some water!  It sounds simple, but I think I heard once that about 90% of headaches are due to dehydration.  So next time you feel one coming on, pour yourself a glass of water, drink it and wait about ten minutes and you should feel relief.  Another non-drug method I've used is to take a hot shower.  I just let the hot water run over my neck and shoulders, and it relieves tension (if you have a bath tub, it might be relaxing to just sit and soak for several minutes).  If you happen to have a sinus headache, letting the hot water run on your face really helps too.  Neti pots are really good for sinus headaches too.  When I was pregnant with my son, I would sprinkle lavender oil on my pillow at night and it really helped me relax.  

Those are just a few ways that you can avoid taking pain relievers if you have a headache.  There are many other ways as well, but those should bring you some relief! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Love this Time of Year!

Ok, somebody (my husband) better keep me out of Walmart right about now.  Hee hee.  I've been entranced by the aisles and aisles of back to school supplies.  I know it's probably a bit nerdy, but it's true.  Furthermore, don't send me to Staples...I could spend hours in that place.  Seriously.  I always thought I was completely in my element as an office manager (before being a SAHM)...fun times...I could buy all the office supplies I wanted.  *Sigh* 

In our house, we still have about another year before I really need to start stocking up on supplies, so I can't really justify going "hog wild" on crayons and pencils and notebook paper and binders and pencil cases and sharpeners...oh my.  Just in case you're wondering, we are pursuing the home schooling route, and our three year old son is technically already "kindergarten ready" (if he would just get the hang of using the potty! ;-))  But I can hit up the clearance items in a few weeks!  Some of that stuff is practically free.  I love it. 

It reminds me of that line from the movie "You've Got Mail"..."Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." (Aww...)  

I wish I were in New York (or some other place that's starting the transition of seasons) right now!  It's still 107 degrees where I am!  Sheesh, there should be laws.  Anyway, I look forward to the days when the weather turns cooler and the school supplies are in great abundance (at rock bottom prices).  Anybody else with me???

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Swimming Upstream- Breastfeeding from My Perspective

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival hosted by The Leaky B@@b. It's World Breastfeeding Week and the carnival theme is "Perspectives: Breastfeeding from Every Angle." Visit The Leaky B@@b for more perspectives on breastfeeding.

Ten years ago, if you would've asked me if I would breastfeed my future children, I'm sure I would have said "no way!" There are several reasons why I was not likely to do so. First of all, I was not breastfed myself. Second, none of my sisters (all three had children before me) were successful at breastfeeding. I was never around anyone who breastfed their child, and if I was, I sure was oblivious! I guess people just didn't do it around me. I have no idea how that's possible, but before I had children, I'd only really ever seen a baby being fed formula. From a bottle.

I was born in the late seventies. From what I gather, many moms of that day subscribed to the formula feeding method, and also started their babies on rice cereal early on...especially to get their baby to "sleep through the night". I was one of those babies. In fact, according to my baby book, my mom started me on rice cereal at six days old! Six. Days. Old. I can't even imagine. But, moms back then- like moms today- did what they knew was best. As far as I know, all of my sisters were fed that way as well. So needless to say, I never saw my mom breastfeeding any of my younger siblings. I don't think I remember ever hearing breastfeeding mentioned in our home in any capacity. I was pretty unaware that breasts were designed for feeding babies! Further, during my pregnancy with my first child, my step-dad asked if I was going to try to breastfeed. When I answered in the affirmative, he said something to the effect of "well, good luck with that, kiddo, your mother never could" (I've never been able to ask my mom about this, as she passed away when I was a teenager).

As I entered adolescence, I became an aunt. I really have no idea whether my sister ever considered breastfeeding. Several years later, another sister started a family. Again, as far as I know, bottle feeding was the preferred method. Good, bad or indifferent, that's just the way it was. At that point, I certainly didn't have an opinion about breastfeeding. It still really wasn't on my radar. I've seen cousins, sisters, friends and others have children and I can't remember a single one breastfeeding.

I have spent almost my entire adult life in a state where breastfeeding rates are extremely low. (I think it's something like of the 85% that start off breastfeeding, only 15% are still breastfeeding their child at six months old). I think I finally was aware of a breastfeeding mother when I started attending a church as a single in my mid-twenties. She and her family were also very committed to healthy organic eating. In fact, this mom ended up being a teacher in a health seminar that I attended at our church. Basically what I knew about being "healthy" at that point was to avoid drinking soda, and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. That was about it. Since attending that health seminar, I really caught on to even more truths about healthy living. It's been something that I've pursued wholeheartedly since that time more than seven years ago.

So, almost four years ago, when I learned that I was pregnant, the decision was an obvious one for me. I would breastfeed. I began receiving prenatal care from a midwife, and also saw a chiropractor on a regular basis who also was a good resource for natural baby care. I researched and read all that I could, and took a free breastfeeding class at a local store. I prepared as much as I knew to so that I could be successful in my breastfeeding relationship.

I was absolutely floored when I faced such a struggle during my early breastfeeding days with my newborn son. Between my postpartum hemorrhage, needing a blood transfusion, and being ordered to stay in bed for the entire day after my son was born, as well as my son having Jaundice and needing to be in the nursery (so I was told- not sure if there were any alternatives available), there were many things working against us. Add unsupportive hospital staff and a lactation consultant who had the weekend off (I gave birth on a Friday night) to the mix- and you can well imagine the drama that ensued there! It was kind of a nightmare. I left the hospital with a son who did not know how to latch on and a breast pump. He eventually learned sometime around three weeks old after I received counsel from an independent lactation consultant.

I returned to work when my son was three weeks old. Thankfully, I had really great employers who were family-friendly and allowed me to have him in my office with me. I opted to enroll him in the on site day care when he was three months old as I was not able to focus on my job and him! The first in-real-life person that I knew who was breastfeeding at the same time as me was my younger sister who gave birth to her fourth child when my son was seven months old. It was nice to finally have somebody to actually talk to about breastfeeding triumphs and challenges, and it felt good to be an encouragement to her. Aside from my experience with her, I felt basically alone in my commitment to breastfeeding. I would be on the lookout for other moms with babies- at church or what-have-you, but all seemed to be formula feeding. (I don't know the reasons or anything, but it just felt pretty isolating to not be able to connect with other moms in my "circle" about breastfeeding).

I breastfed my son until just past his second birthday. Now I am nursing my second child and this time around (I'm happy to report) it was much easier getting started. I wasn't fighting with anyone over feeding preferences or anything like that. I still get surprised responses from doctors and others that learn I am breastfeeding, and it just makes me wonder if it really is that rare to encounter a breastfeeding mom. I really hope that it's just my perception! I am so thankful for the online resources that are available for the breastfeeding community, but hopefully someday breastfeeding will be much more common with the people in my "real" world!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Farmer's Market

Today we took the family to the local farmer's market.  It was small, but I think that's due to the summer season.  We got a late start (we got there at 11:00) and it was already 101 degrees!  We were there for about 40 minutes, and by the time we left I had sweat running into my eyes, and both children had red faces.  Umm...maybe we'll return when it starts to cool down!

But...I wanted to share some of the cool things I found there.  First of all, most everyone was really friendly, and there were food samples in abundance (my kind of place)!  I especially liked the samples of pickled asparagus and green beans (I know it sounds weird, but it was really good).  I will more than likely pick up a jar next time we're there.  I wish I would've grabbed the business card from that booth.  One of the vendors there was Double Blessings Lotion and Cosmetics...her products are made with goat's milk and other natural ingredients.  I picked up a couple trial size items...some soap, a shampoo bar, and some face/hand/body lotion.  Everything smells really good, and the lotion is really great.  My hands tend to get really dry, and this lotion feels very nice.  I also picked up some awesome smelling poblano peppers that I will do something with later on.  I picked up a couple other things too, but like I said, the market was pretty small, so there wasn't a huge variety of produce (at least not like I expected).  Here's a picture of some of what I got:

In addition to the peppers, we got some peaches, shallots, and in the little tub that says "chili pepper" are some little gluten-free crackers made with flax seed. By the way, the peaches were delicious- I'm totally sold on the locally grown organic aspect of that.  They taste way better than some I've gotten from the store lately. 

Anyway, that was our morning.  We were going to drive around and look at the homes in the historic district, but didn't get that far 'cause the baby was upset.  So...next time! 

What's going on where you live???

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Random Stuff

So last night, as I was posting about our dinner (as I often do), my wonderful husband said, "so are you just going to blog about our dinner?" to which I replied, "of course not!"  I never really intended for that to be the case...and so, since I'm up for no apparent reason at 5 am, I'll take the opportunity to share some things that happen to be floating around in my head at this moment. 

  1. Hubby and I will be celebrating our "fruit and flowers" (learn more about that here) anniversary tomorrow.  I'm super excited, especially since he's able to take the next three days off!  We like following along with the traditional gift ideas, just for fun.  For instance, last year, for our "leather anniversary" he got a nice little leather pad folio and some extra paper to put in it...he's always taking down notes for some reason, and the legal pad just wasn't cutting it!  I got some flip-flops made with leather...neither of us spent more than $10 for our gifts.  I can hardly wait to see what gifts we celebrate with this year...not that it's about the gifts...being married for four years (and counting) is a gift in and of itself! 
  2. Our church is moving into a new (to us) building this weekend.  We've been in our temporary location for almost two years, so this will be an exciting event for our church family.  So, needless to say, we won't be going too far from home for random topic #1, as my husband will be helping get stuff in order in the new place.
  3. I'm looking forward to the end of summer so I can finally go outside again! Ha ha.  Ok, I go outside from time to time, but it's so darn hot out there...not really conducive to outdoor activity with two little ones!  But, on a more thankful note, we've had some pretty good storms lately for the summer Monsoon. 
  4. Speaking of the upcoming end of summer (I hope), why is this year going by so fast?  Is it speeding by for anyone else?  I find it hard to believe that it's already August. 
  5. I am excited about World Breastfeeding Week, and I am participating in the blog carnival at The Leaky B@@b...look for that post on Saturday.  My story is also being featured at Rediscovering Domesticity sometime this month (thanks Audra!). 
  6. We plan on going to the local farmer's market on Friday!  I don't think I've ever actually been to a farmer's market, so that should be a treat!  I've really been thinking about getting more produce into our diets, and especially local organic produce.  I was actually looking into joining a Community Supported Agriculture group, but whether we will has yet to be determined.  It's such a neat idea though.  Is anyone else a part of one?  My other (time sensitive) thought was to plant a small garden on our patio- yes, we only have a patio right now...no dirt to call our own at this time.  But I think I need to get that ball rolling in the next month or so if I decide to.
 Anyway, I think that's all for now!  I'm going to go back to bed (for a little while)!  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eggplant and Cumin Rice

As I was planning our meals for the week, I was looking for something new to try out.  We had eggplant on sale at our local market, so I searched for a recipe containing eggplant and rice.  Well, I came across a recipe on cooks.com, that I have adapted to be allergen-free (and I added a couple special touches just to personalize it a bit).  It sounded interesting, but worth a shot, as I love cumin (and the other ingredients-just wasn't sure about mixing them all together!)  

But first, a side note about eggplant:  I first fell in love with eggplant at a local Italian restaurant- I had it grilled on a "build your own pizza".  The first time I tried to cook with it, I was disappointed.  It tasted funny and was somewhat bitter.  Well, I found a really great Italian cookbook, and I picked up this tip once when I cooked Spaghetti alla Norma (spaghetti w/fried eggplant): Slice or cube the eggplant, and place it on a cutting board at an incline...sprinkle it with salt, and the bitter juices will run off...like so:
I just used a rolled up kitchen towel under the cutting board and placed it right next to the sink so as not to make a mess.  Leave it for about 30 minutes or so...that should do the trick.

Here's the recipe:
1 medium eggplant, peeled, cubed and salted
about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper (I used Kosher salt)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can 15 oz of diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375.  Heat olive oil in an oven-proof stock pot, and add eggplant, onion and red pepper.  
Add fresh ground pepper to taste.  Cook until the veggies get somewhat tender like this:

Add fire roasted tomatoes, rice, cumin, broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and place in the oven.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Stir the rice mixture, serve and enjoy. 

It looks like this after you serve your family and then remember to take a picture ;)

I was really pleased with how this turned out...and I'm not sure which culture to thank for this particular combination of flavors...perhaps it originated somewhere in the Middle East???  Anyway, it's a really good meatless dish, and so filling and flavorful you don't even miss the meat.   A wallet and waist-friendly meal! 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Welcome to my home...sort of!

So on some of the blogs I've been following, the ladies have posted tours of their homes.  I'm so not totally there yet...but here's a couple of pictures...there are more that I'll put up in the days to come.  But these are just a couple of recent ones I'm sort of proud of.  (Don't laugh, ok?)

Welcome to the inside of my microwave.  It's clean.  It wasn't clean last week.  It is now.   
Here's the top of my stove.  Someday I will have a gas stove.  It may not look that clean, but it is.  I may have ruined those aluminum plate thingies, 'cause I have no idea how to properly clean them. I'm guessing that they should be cleaned somewhat regularly, but that's one of my least favorite chores!  I need to get some new ones from Walmart or somewhere.  Note the tea kettle.  It was a wedding gift.  I love tea.  And the old vase I use to corral my cooking utensils.  Very handy! 

 So that's it for now.  Maybe in the near future, I'll start taking more pictures of other things around the house. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Roast Redemption pt. 1- Taquitos

I call this post part 1, just in case I come up with more ways to redeem my kitchen mishap from the other night.  Here's my first creation using the aftermath of my attempt at making a roast:


For those who don't hail from the Southwestern U.S. (or Mexico), or haven't visited the freezer section at your local Wal-Mart in a while, a taquito is typically a small amount of beef or chicken wrapped in a corn tortilla and fried to crunchy perfection. 

Here's how I made these...and bear in mind, I've never actually made taquitos before, so it may not be the conventional way.  

First, I chopped up some of the beef really finely.  If you don't have leftover roast, and you don't feel like ruining a perfectly good hunk of meat so that you can make this dish, this might work with a good quality roast beef from the deli- maybe ask them to slice it a little on the thick side, and then you can shred it at home.

Then I took six yellow corn tortillas and heated some vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  I cooked each tortilla individually for several seconds on each side until it was pliable (I don't know what it is about corn tortillas- but if you don't do this they'll probably break).  Just put them on a paper towel lined plate until you're ready to work with them.  

I put a small amount of meat on the center of each tortilla, and then rolled it tightly, and placed it seam side down on a baking dish.  (I sprayed it with non-stick spray, but this is probably not necessary).  I baked them at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Wait for them to be slightly golden and crispy to the touch- they don't have to be completely crispy- unless that's important to you...I happen to like some of the less crispy parts too.

I served mine with some hot sauce left over from my last trip to the Mexican Restaurant down the street, but you can serve it with any good hot sauce, guacamole or salsa. 

You could also do this with chicken. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Roast Gone Wrong!

I'll admit it: I really have next to no idea what I'm doing when it comes to cooking red meat!  I don't know anything about the different cuts of beef, how one is different than the other, any of that.  So I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to make a roast last night.  I originally intended to just put it in the slow cooker, where you virtually can't go wrong (except that everything ends up tasting like every thing else- you know, a carrot tastes like beef, a potato tastes like a carrot...) but I didn't thaw the roast soon enough for that to be an option.  So, I looked online to find a recipe...and I'm not going to link to it, 'cause I didn't follow it very closely.  Anyway, here's what I ended up with: 

Looks nice, right?  I thought so!  And I even used a thermometer to make sure it didn't get over-cooked.  So, I cut into it, and well...it was quite rubbery.  Actually, some parts were better than others- half of it was tender, and the other half...not.  

Anyway, so now I have about half of this left over and I don't have any idea what to do with it, other than using it for a door stop (ha ha ha).  I wonder if I can salvage some of it and make it into tacos or taquitos or something???  Does anyone have any tips?  

I guess I'm sticking with poultry from now on!  :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Turkey and Black Bean Tacos

Yum!  So tonight's dinner was Turkey and Black Bean Tacos pictured here:

Here's how I made them:

Brown 1 lb of ground turkey w/1 medium yellow onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced...and about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, about 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, about a tablespoon each of chili powder and ground cumin (just eyeball it).  When it's almost browned, add a splash of chicken stock and let it cook down.  I heated some canned black beans w/about a 1/4 cup of salsa.  Then for the taco shells, I just heated some oil and cooked corn tortillas until they were pliable (maybe 30 seconds or so on each side).  Add the turkey mixture to the tortilla, scoop a little black beans onto it, and add some salsa.  Delicious!   

I love making my own taco seasoning.  It's so much better than those store bought packets that have all that stuff in it you can't pronounce!  Cumin is the key, and I think the chicken stock really adds a lot of flavor. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jesus is My Friend too!

We are totally rockin' this song!  Yes, I am serious.  My family loves this song.  Just had to share!  Enjoy. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Allergen-Free Diet

You may have noticed my recipes for "allergen-free" food on my blog, and I feel I have some explaining to do.  See, I am not really allergic to anything (that I know of), but the young people in my life are.  My son has a mild allergy to milk and egg (that story is a whole different post), and my daughter is sensitive to dairy, soy, wheat and eggs via my breast milk. 

Baby C started showing symptoms when she was around six weeks old.  She is exclusively breast fed, and in fact has never even had formula.  Anyway, like I was saying, at about six weeks, I really started noticing that she spit up quite a bit.  It felt like I was changing her outfit several times a day, and going through several burp cloths.  At doctors' visits, the best explanation I got at first was "well, babies spit up...sometimes it's a lot...nothing to worry about".   I remember when my son was a baby and he hardly ever spit up...so that was where I got the idea that maybe she shouldn't be spitting up so much.  I didn't feel it was normal.  The other thing I noticed was that she had a rash on her face that seemed to be taking a long time to clear up.   It started when babies usually get that "baby acne" and I expected it to go away within a couple of weeks. 

Well, fast forward a couple of weeks, and she was still experiencing the same thing.  Then one evening, I changed her diaper and noticed some black specks in her stool.  I know she was only eating one thing, obviously was way too young for solids...so after some research, I read that what I saw could be blood.  I called the doctor's office and described what I saw.  They asked me to bring in one of her diapers so they could determine whether it was blood or not.  The next day in the doctor's office, sure enough it was found to be blood.  I had already read that it could be a sign of allergy, so I asked if I should eliminate anything from my diet.  The doctor said she didn't advise me to do that.  It was somewhat unnerving that I overheard her calling another doctor to ask what how she should proceed.

Ultimately, she sent me home with a stool collection kit, as she thought it best to test for parasites, infection and a couple other things.   It seemed to take forever to get any results back.  But everything came up negative.  The doctor said, "maybe you should go ahead and eliminate dairy from your diet- and go ahead and eliminate soy, too...sometimes babies are sensitive to both".  And then we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist.  

By the time our appointment came around for the GI doctor, I had eliminated milk, soy, and eggs from my diet.  I had been keeping a food journal to track the symptoms along with what I was eating.  After a few weeks, there was an improvement, but I still noticed at times the spit up would increase and at this point I started to see mucous in her stool pretty consistently.  (Sorry to gross anyone out!)  At the specialist, we talked about the baby's symptoms, and we discussed the "big eight" allergens (I think it's something like 90% of food allergies are caused by milk, soy, eggs, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish).  I was already off of three of the foods on the list, plus I didn't really eat nuts or seafood of any kind.  Because the symptoms hadn't completely cleared up, the specialist recommended waiting about another 10 days, and then eliminating wheat if things didn't improve.  I ended up doing so.  

Once I had all those foods out of my diet, I noticed a significant improvement in Baby C's health.  She was hardly ever spitting up...her stools started to clear up, and miracle of miracles, the rash she had cleared up as well.  Some days I felt like I was crazily obsessing over every little thing, and just imagining the symptoms.  But every time I slipped up and ate something I wasn't supposed to, the symptoms returned. 

Now, several months later, I'm still maintaining this way of eating.  I don't think it's nearly as bad as it sounds.  At worst, it's terribly inconvenient, and I really don't miss the eliminated foods that much.  I'm discovering foods that I can eat all the time and certainly have been stretched as a home cook.  During this journey is when my son tested positive for food allergies, so it's certainly been an interesting experience.  

I write all this in hopes of helping another mom that may be going through a similar experience, and hopefully my recipes and other food posts will be useful to families dealing with food allergies.  I know how hard it is to go down that road and still stay inspired in the kitchen.  

Breastfeeding is something that I am extremely committed to (in case you couldn't tell) so I'm glad that I've found a way to continue this relationship with my child even in the midst of dealing with food allergies. 

Spinach and Sausage Hash

Mmm...I had this for lunch today:
 It's Spinach and Sausage Hash.  This is what I used to make it:

Extra-virgin Olive Oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1lb turkey breakfast sausage
handful of fresh spinach
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh nutmeg

This is how I made it:

Drizzle about a tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil in a large skillet.  Brown the potatoes, leave them in the pan without stirring much at first.  In a separate skillet, brown the sausage (you can cook it part way, and then throw it in w/the potatoes about half way through).  Once the potatoes are browned pretty well on one side, stir them and then add the onion.  You can add the sausage to the potato mixture at this point.  Continue cooking until the sausage is cooked all the way through.  Add the spinach (you can add more than a handful if you like- I probably will next time!) Stir the mixture until the spinach cooks down some.  Add salt and pepper to taste and then add the fresh nutmeg (you can use the pre-ground stuff if that's all you have) (Use a rasp if you have one, or use the pokey side of a box grater if you don't have a rasp.)  

If you feel like sharing, this will probably serve 3-4...obviously, if you want to serve it for dinner you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Couple of Things

Ok, so if by chance you've been following along, you've seen that I've been making some changes to my blog.  I guess I'm just trying to find my voice in this beyond vast blogosphere!  So please bear with me while I try to fine tune whatever it is that I'm trying to do over here!

On a less "flaky" note, I made some delicious soup for dinner tonight, as I have no idea how hot it is outside!  It's bordering on "jacket weather" inside, so it works for us!  Bean and bacon soup was always my favorite growing up, and I haven't had any in ages due to being turned off by some of the ingredients in the canned variety.   So...I used this recipe from "For the love of cooking" and I was seriously impressed.  It was perfect and wonderful in all it's bacon-y goodness.  My husband liked it too.    Here's a picture: 

 I didn't have parsley like the recipe calls for, but it was still really good! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steel Cut Oats

Well, I'm posting this just because I'm waiting for my steel cut oats to cook.  According to the instructions it takes 30 minutes for them to cook!   Who ever hear of such a thing?!  Well...I guess the people that didn't grow up in the age of sugary processed cereal and Pop Tarts, that's who!   I'm not sure that I've ever waited 30 minutes for breakfast before...hmm. 

Anyway, I will go and do something else while I wait, and in an upcoming post will report how it tasted!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

All Better

Well, yesterday was my last day of antibiotics. (Woo-hoo!)  I am generally very conservative about medication, so I wasn't such a fan when I was told that I would need to take Amoxicillin for a hideous infection in one of my wisdom teeth.  It ended up needing to be extracted, as two Mondays ago, I woke up with pain in my mouth and a swollen jaw.  That's when all that fun stuff started.

I also learned while sitting in the dentist's chair, I wasn't as spiritually mature and peaceful as I thought I was!  I was actually kind of a baby.  I don't know why I was so freaked out about having a tooth pulled...but the dentist basically begged me to take nitrous.  Lol.  He said he normally sedated people to do what he did to me.  It didn't help matters that the roots of that particular tooth were growing up, kind of like a hook.  There was a whole lot of drilling and such that I didn't expect.  Not fun.  So I guess whenever I have the others extracted I should let them sedate me so they can just do what they need to do and not have me freaking out at the sound of teeth being chiseled out of my face. 

Anyway, thanks be to God, I am feeling much better.  Apparently I had been fighting off the infection for a while, 'cause I had been feeling really run down for the past few weeks.  I have been getting up at a decent hour more recently and am able to do more around the house, and playing with the children more.  So, I guess conventional medicine has it's place.  Now I just need to start on probiotics to get my system (as well as the baby's) back into balance!  

Friday, July 16, 2010


Ok, so I know this is like my third post in one day, but I guess since it's my blog, I can do that.  I know I'm not annoying anyone...at least not right now as I have no reason to believe that anyone is reading this.  

We had an intruder in our apartment this afternoon.  A nasty roach.  I'm not a fan of that.  I left it for my husband to kill when he got home like two hours after it appeared.  It was really in not a good position for me to get a clear shot at it, plus I used the reasoning that I didn't want to frighten the children when I tried to do away with it.  I screamed when I saw it as it was.   Scared the baby.  Lol.

It's Friday and that means it's bug spraying day at our complex.  That means that our neighbor's bugs come to die in our home.  Ugh.  Gross.  Plus it's 117 degrees outside.  And humid.  Anyway.  Summer will be over soon enough.  

Oat Biscuits

My wonderful MIL brought me some oat flour yesterday.  That was awesome because I haven't been able to find it at Sprouts.  It's been almost five months since I've had something bread-like with the exception of some gluten-free English muffins (I don't know if I'd buy them again, BTW...they were made with rice flour which in my experience seems to make the product a little on the crumbly side).  Anyway, so I had the great idea to try to make some biscuits with the oat flour, and I found a recipe for drop biscuits.  Of course it called for milk, so I just used some rice milk and a little bit of coconut milk creamer.  Here's how I made them:

2 1/3 Cups oat flour (start out with 2 cups- if it doesn't seem "dough-y" enough, add more!)
1 TBSP raw sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice milk
1/4 cup So Delicious (brand) coconut milk creamer
2 TBSP canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients.  Stir in rice milk, coconut milk creamer and oil.  I used a muffin tin to corral the mixture, as I wasn't sure what it would do, and I didn't want to end up with pancakes.  Divide mixture into 8 muffin compartments and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 

They turned out very tasty. I took a bunch of pictures, but right now I can't figure out how to upload them onto the computer!  So I will try to add them in later.  I think making these just kind of opened up a whole new avenue of food options for me!  I can modify the recipe to make sweet things like cinnamon rolls or scones. 

These are really good if you're like me and can't do any dairy or wheat...plus the oat flour has lots of protein, fiber and iron.  Yum!


Hi there…this is my first post.  I’m super excited to have a blog.  I don’t really know why I’m doing this, except that I imagine that there’s a grown up on the other side…and I’m speaking to them.  Lol.  I guess this desire just stems from my lack of adult conversation.  I am a stay at home mom, and I love being home with my children…I don’t know that any woman who chooses to stay at home would say otherwise.   I can’t imagine a SAHM saying “yeah, I’m a stay at home mom…and I really hate it”…I just don’t think that probably happens.  At that point, I think they are just considered “unemployed”.  :P

Anywho…I’ve been married for almost four years to my awesome, super patient, very “unruffled” husband (I don’t mean he doesn’t wear ruffles…which he doesn’t- you just can’t “ruffle his feathers” or whatever.  He doesn’t have feathers either, nor is he bird-like in any way.  I have no idea where that expression comes from.  Anyway, he just tolerates a lot.  I appreciate that about him.

I hesitate to be so open with blogging and all…I’ve been told that it’s hard to get to know me…I know I’m quiet, at least initially.  I don’t mean to be.  I’m just reserved I guess, and kind of prefer to hang back in a crowd and observe what’s going on.  Anyway…openness…that’s going to be interesting for me, especially knowing that any person on this planet (with internet access anyway) could be reading this.  Not that I have anything to hide.  Just hard for me to not think “what if so-and-so read this?”  I don’t really want to censor myself…that would just be boring. So, we’ll see how it goes, I guess.

That’s all for now…come back if you wanna know more!