Wednesday, March 23, 2011
For the tomato sauce, substitue 6 oz. of tomato paste plus 6 oz. of water. Multiply the herbs, spices, and sugar by 1.5. Also, I used 2 small tomatoes (plain, not cooked in olive oil, parmesan and garlic, and it turned out just fine).
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Matt's suggestion, as usual, was so perfectly simple that it couldn't help but be absolutely delicious. He reminisced about eating foil fish dinners at some hole-in-the-wall restaurant in northern Michigan with his Dad many years ago. Inspired by that, and using what we had on hand, this is what he created.
Whitefish with Butternut Squash and Green Beans
The before picture. The camera battery died before we got an after photo!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The picture on the left is Dad with Charlie several years ago. This pup is five now, and here he is with me on the right. Matt took this picture the other night when I fell asleep with the dog.
It's a good day to have this little dog Charlie. As I cry looking at Dad's picture, he hates to see me sad. He comes up to me to nuzzle and lick my face. If I smile, it will be made better. He knows this. He is just like Dad.
Happy birthday to the very best Dad.
These two songs have been the most in-my-head and dance-in-the-living-room-able.
Can't Buy Me Love
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
This morning I FINALLY took real action on my interest in volunteering. I have been wanting to volunteer somewhere ever since school got out last May. Let the excuses abound: Over the summer it didn't happen because we were out of town for 2/3 of it, not to mention I was recuperating from a very tough school year. In the fall, I was going to volunteer at a few places, but they didn't work out for various reasons. I started watching Connor though, and it was just enough "outside" time to keep me sane and connected with others. Once I stopped watching him, I mostly focused on enjoying friends for a bit, especially before they moved. Then there were the holidays. Finally, this winter I was determined to forget all my excuses and make the most of my last few months here. I decided on a place to volunteer; weeks of phone tag ensued to no avail. Alas, however -and now that it is spring, I ran into my old boss Faye at United, of course. It was decided.
I would help at my first real workplace, School for Little People.
Here I am posing with my second class of two-year-olds after our trip to the fire department. Why, yes, I believe that fire hat is flying.
I am also reminded of a metaphor (for approaching the Kingdom of God like a child) I witnessed yesterday while riding my bike. I was riding down the paved trail, the one families often walk on, too. I approached a small group of women and children. The women saw me 20 yards away and began to corral the kids. The children, however, were oblivious to the presence of me on my bike until I was riding right passed them. This struck me as I passed one of the children, and heard a small excited voice say, "Mommy, a bike!"
The mother's preparation to avoid the danger of the bike was good. Without it someone could have been hurt. I'm wondering though, was the child's presence in the moment better? Kind of like, Martha's preparation in the kitchen was good, but Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus was better.
It reminds me of something Matt read recently in Francis Chan's book Forgotten God. The author was describing how we so often say we want to do God's will in our lives. This is good, of course, but we often talk about this in terms of the whole big picture of our lives all at once. We look so far ahead that we often miss this moment. He challenges us instead to ask God's will in our next ten minutes. Maybe this is better. We probably need both. I love this idea because, in doing so, we invite God into the real action of our lives, not just the planning team. What an adventure this can be.
All this talk about children has inspired me to do another thing children often do...take a nap when they are tired. Good night!
If you want to solve a problem, do you attend to the symptoms? Where there is sadness, plant love. Where there is brokenness, bring repair. Where there is discontent, make contentedness. Yes, that seems to work, but only temporarily. Soon sadness increases and you pour on more love; brokenness resumes and you bring more reapir; discontent returns and you attempt to create more contentedness.
To really solve a problem of course, we must attend to the cause. We must transform the heart. Continually in every moment. A single moment without the heart gives foothold to sadness, brokenness, discontent. Transformation, like metamorphosis is not a one time thing. It is a cycle of life that continues to give new life.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
2. Saute for around 5 minutes, then add the seasoning and bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute more. **I just estimated the seasoning here and with the shrimp (below). I hardly ever measure seasonings. I used this recipe for the seasoning, which I also estimated...may be why it had a good kick to it! Adjust for your preferences.
3. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, water, and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. ***Looking back, I can't actually remember if I added the water in this step. Regardless, it had plenty of broth to it, so you may choose to skip the water. It's up to you.
4. Meanwhile, in another skillet, saute the 1/2 lb. of shrimp, 1/8 tsp. cajun seasoning, and a dash of cayenne pepper in 1 tsp. olive oil. Saute for 2 minutes, then stir into the jambalaya.
Curious about this idea, we ordered the book The Paleo Solution, and I read up on the nitty-gritty how's and why's of the concept. The eating plan limits the eater to meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, oils, and small amounts of natural sugars (no dairy, grains, or legumes!). The evidence was pretty convincing and we decided giving it a shot couldn't hurt, but would also be the only way to see for ourselves if it delivered the health benefits it promised.
After trying it, we agreed with others that 100% paleo eating is both unneccessary and extremely difficult. We did not want our food and its paleo-ness to act as some kind of idol in our lives. We've since switched to approximately an 80% paleo diet, and are loving it! The book comes with 30 days of recipes. Not all of them resembled food (as we're used to) and some of them contained food combinations I would hardly recommend, but many of the recipes were delicious!! I've uploaded lots of pictures of these recipes, so over the coming weeks I will continue to post them for your viewing pleasure.
Chicken Apple Hash
2 tsp. olive oil
6 oz. chicken (we used left over rotisserie chicken)
1 medium to large apple
2 tsp. cinnamon or allspice (choose your favorite...we chose cinnamon)
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over mediumheat. Shred and add the chicken. Grate the apple, then add to the pot with your spice of choice. Cover and cook on medium-low, stirring frequently. Once the apple has cooked down and become soft, it is ready to serve.
By the way, this is intended to be a breakfast.
Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is paleo, but not from our book. It was created by a couple in Pennsylvania who eat paleo and write a blog called The Food Lovers' Primal Palate with their amazing recipes.
When we tried these, Matt and I agreed they taste almost like an Almond Joy candy bar! I guess it's the combination of almond flour and coconut oil.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
My wonderful Stedman family has an amazing recipe for whole wheat pancakes. Carrie-Mom has worked all kinds of recipes to make them healthier. Her pancakes are one of them, and they are certainly top-notch. I've been making them for several years as my go-to recipe. No more boxed mixes around here.
As much as I love Carrie-Mom's recipe, I have been thinking about what kinds of baked goods would do okay with a substitution of applesauce in place of oil, and maybe agave nectar in place of sugar. The pancakes seemed a good place to start. The result is a bit lighter and fruitier. I hope Carrie-Mom approves!
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1 3/4 c. milk (for about half of this amount, I used vanilla almond milk)
5 Tbsp. agave nectar
4 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
6 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients first. Then add wet ingredients and whisk together. Drop ladlefuls (I like to use a medium-sized ladle for pancakes, muffins, cupcakes. It's so much less messy than a spoon!) onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the pancake's surface, then flip. Remove when lightly browned and cooked through.
This recipe makes 12-14 six-inch pancakes.
I like to serve this with butter, real maple syrup (Grandpa's, of course!), strawberries and blueberries. Matt prefers his with butter, syrup, and bacon!
Enjoy!! (Did I mention they come in at around 25 calories per pancake? That's about 1/4 the usual pancake calories. Eat up:)
Here is our puppy-dog being cute.
I took a random, arm-stretched-out picture of Matt and I and it actually turned out great...on the first (not fifteenth) try!
We used the birthdays and the long weekend as a wonderful reason to get together with the Killian family. Our mutual friends, the Pellegrins, also came for the visit. We basically spent the weekend eating and playing.
The restaurant right outside the hotel had the most wonderful breakfasts. Soon I will have to try to make their "Anaheim Scrambler" (scrambled eggs with thick-cut bacon, cheddar cheese, avocado, green onions, ... can't remember what else) as well as their "Baked French Toast" (cinnamon-y bread pieces baked in custard and topped with warm maple syrup).
We also enjoyed a bit of shopping, because our hotel was attached to a fancy-shmancy mall. Most of all though, we just hung out (in the four-star hotel Courtney got us for $58 a night!), and enjoyed each other's company and laughter.
At the mall play area are Connor and James on the left, Jude and Jenn on the right.
Hardworking mama Courtney takes Jacob with her everywhere. Isn't he cute?
Matt and I help babysit now and then. Nice how we just sit back and let him get into stuff, eh? That's my wallet in his hands...always teaching him such great things. The best one this weekend was how if he asks really sweetly and relentlessly, I will give him a small piece of gum (which he will swallow in five seconds and ask for more).
The end...back to the real world.