Wednesday, April 28, 2010

more recipes...

I thought ya' all might like some more recipes. Phil thinks my pictures of food on a plate (picture #2) are kind of silly but I know that the majority of us are more likely to try a recipe if there is a picture to go with it. So, hope you enjoy my silliness.

The first recipe is for rhubarb sauce which is great on pancakes like syrup or as a jelly. Today I used brown sugar instead of white sugar and it tastes pretty good. I'm not really sure how long it stores but I know I've kept it a few months and it seems to keep fine. I just watch for mold and haven't seen any yet. Let me know if you have any other ideas to use rhubarb as it's the season and I'm sure I'll have a lot more coming.

Rhubarb Sauce

5-6 cups fresh and/or frozen rhubarb cut up in 1 inch pieces
1 c. water
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. In a saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a boil.
2. Add sugar and cinnamon, return to boil.
3. Summer uncovered for 10-15 minutes
4. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

My second recipe is homemade taco seasoning. I have found that as I try to stay away from processed food that when I do eat it, I find it quite salty or "preserved" tasting. Taco seasoning is an example of this, I like it but I don't want it to be so salty. So here's some homemade taco seasoning. I also have a fajita seasoning recipe but we'll save that for another day.

Taco Seasoning (1/2 batch)

6 tsp. chili powder (3 tsp)
5 tsp. paprika (2 1/2 tsp)
4 1/2 tsp. cumin (2 1/4 tsp)
2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (1 1/4 tsp)
3 tsp. onion powder (1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp or pinch)

Mix all together. I store extra in a little plastic container.

One more comment... I just want to share that these cute plastic blue plates were 4 for a dollar at Dollar General. They are not microwavable but they work great for meals like this. And since I do all, yes, all my dishes by hand, then they are lot easier to wash and put away (regular plates get heavy once you start to stack them 3-4 high). One last plug for Dollar General; they carry good greeting cards for $.50-1.00, dried fruit (a variety of kinds too!), different kinds of nuts, and much much more and all for a very reasonable price!

Monday, April 26, 2010

8 months old

Harlie is now 8 months old and she has changed so much in the past month. The main thing is her mobility. She can crawl now, a bit slow but she gets around. She can pull up in her crib which means sometimes I find her standing there waiting for me to get her and sometimes she's standing there right after I lay her down, but I just leave her and eventually she falls asleep. She actually has really good balance and just tonight she stood for about 5 seconds on her own but she doesn't really take any steps yet. She has two big top teeth coming through and one bottom one has broken through as well. She's also chatting more and making different sounds. The only not so good thing is that she's still not eating any types of food. Recently, I tried cut up green beans, carrots, baby puff cereal, cheese, yogurt, bread, and a sippy cup of water and no go on any of it. I would say maybe on a partial bite of yogurt but that's because it liquidized in her mouth. And possibly a bite of the cereal if it disintegrated in her mouth but for the most part she kicks it all back out. She does seem very interested and loves to put food in her mouth, it just all comes back out. I might try putting some cereal in a bottle and see what thinks of that... and I might call the doctor but I don't really think there's much we can do... just wait until she's ready. Harlie is still a good sleeper and takes naps pretty well but it does seem she's been quite crabby the last month or so and I think it's from her teeth and also because she wants to 'walk' and hold my fingers and I don't always have the time and patience to sit and do that with her for long amounts of time. Otherwise here are some pictures I took today.

This one shows her teeth pretty well. They are quite big and look like 'buck' teeth.

This one is just a funny face.

This is what I see quite often during the day.

Wendell having some fun with her... guess she doesn't like the headphones.

And totally off topic; here is a picture of our supper. Rice (didn't make rice-a-roni as planned as I was distracted with my homemade chicken broth that I dumped in too much rice), steamed carrots and asparagus, and then talapia. The fish was quite tasty tonight and all I did was put some cooking spray in a pan and cooked it up. It was super easy and quite tasty. Then for 'dessert' we had some bread w/butter and strawberry jelly (another fit and active kind from Aldi that is considered a low sugar jelly but very tasty!) which is not in the picture. Yum, yum!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

menu planning and recipes

After my last post, I decided I needed to lighten the mood and do something exciting so today I decided to post on a topic that I love, love, love and that is food. I might try a new feature and that is to post my menu and a new recipe for those of you who are adventurous. Some of you may not know that I am an avid menu planner.

On a side note, Phil and I go grocery shopping every two weeks on Friday night after he gets off work; and it just so happens to be the day he gets paid. So on Friday we were off to Aldi then Walmart. This has been our routine and it works pretty well for us. I guess you could call it a family event as we all go and we all seem to have a fairly fun time. Wendell gets to wander at Aldi's a little since its a smaller store, he also likes to check out the bathroom now that he's potty training and once in awhile we let him pick something out (like the lime he bought a few months ago, that he carried with him the next couple of days). Harlie now enjoys sitting in the cart and looking around at everything. At Walmart our list is usually short but still requires we walk all over the store and often Wendell stops to look at the 'fishy's', and sometimes we chase each other through the isles. On a side note, it took us 2 hours to shop at both places the other night (a very long night) and I wondered how many calories I burned just grocery shopping?

Anyways moving on to the fun part. My meal planning includes mostly supper during the week and lunch on weekends. Lunch during the week is usually leftovers, mac-n-cheese, or pb&J; and for anyone interested breakfast is usually eggs w/toast, oatmeal, cereal, hot cakes, or bagels w/peanut butter). And one more tidbit of information, I have a personal goal to eat fish and one meatless meal once a week. (Let me know if you have any meatless meals as I'm running out of ideas. )

So here is the menu for the next two weeks.

Part I - the menu

Saturday: brunch for lunch and pot pie (Heather's treat with the family being out of town)

Sunday: leftovers for lunch and chicken curry salad (see recipe)

Monday: fish, homemade rice-a-roni and a veggie

Tuesday: taco's

Wednesday: hotdogs (Yes we eat hot dogs, mainly to use our homemade relish that is delicious. Aldi has a new fit and active kind that are made with turkey, somewhat healthy for a dog and very tasty, in case you ever shop there.) On the side we'll probably have a veggie, fruit, and some type of dairy (***Phil and I usually eat two hotdogs)

Thursday: BLT's w/ veggies, fruit and some type of dairy (***if we're really hungry then Phil and I usually have two sandwiches)

Friday: veggie pizza

Saturday: brunch for lunch and then for supper.... grilled steak, baked beans, sweet tators, yum, yum.....

Sunday: oops, didn't fill that part out.. guess we're going out to eat for lunch : ) and grilled chicken (on the bone) for supper w/ a veggie and bread, again yum, yum...

Monday: BLT's w/ veggies, fruit and some type of dairy (this is leftover from the previous week)

Tuesday: chicken w/ rice (this might be leftover from the grilled chicken or some crockpot chicken I made this weekend; and I saved the juice from the crockpot chicken which should add a nice flavor to the rice).

Wednesday: veggie lasagna (I'm going to try the recipe on the back of the whole wheat lasagna box - it has zucchini and egg plant, I'll let you know how it turns out)

Thursday: hot dogs (see above, this is also leftover from the previous package of hotdogs)

Friday: chicken pizza - I will try to replicate a pizza similar to Pizza Hut's chicken and (purple) onion pizza.. would love to make it stuffed crust but haven't tried that yet.... not sure I want the extra calories even though it would be very tasty.

This menu is unusual that we are having a lot of sandwich type meals. Sometimes I like to have chips with these meal but I know there is no real nutritional value to it so I'm cutting them out. Hopefully we have enough side options that we feel the meal is complete.

So there you have it, two weeks of food planned.

Part II - the recipe

Curried Chicken Salad (this is a chicken salad for sandwiches and would be good on a salad)

4 small chicken breasts or or 1 1/2 pounds chicken (cooked and cut up)

1/2 cup of mayo

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 lemon juiced (I use bottled lemon juice)

1/4 cup chopped almonds (you can use different kinds of nuts)

1/4 cup raisins

basil leaves (I use the spice and just sprinkle some on, probably about 1 tsp.)

salt and pepper to taste

mix it all up and it's ready (I usually eat it cold but I'm sure it's good warm too)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

dear diary

i see i am behind on posts.. i realized i have minimal new pictures to share and life has been mostly a dud this week - so today, i'm just going to vent to my dear diary.

a week ago today, phil and i went to see a house in waterloo and fell in love with it. the right size, the right neighborhood, the right price, etc. but, being that it was owned by the bank we were unable to make an offer as we can't make two payments on housing waiting for our house to sell. then on tuesday the price dropped (yeah!) and then two different people made offers on it (boo hiss!) so basically it's sold (even though technically it's not a done deal yet until all the paperwork is completed - my way of holding out a little hope : ). so we go from extreme excitement to extreme bummedness (yes, i'm making up a word). for about three days, my nerves were on edge and then with the offer on the house i just went numb.

i knew that buying and selling would be difficult for me so i turned to God. so on a more personal level, i've been praying to God for about 3 months now to help me with the stress and emotions of selling/buying a house. phil and i got through putting our house on the market and walking through a few houses to get a feel for what we want and i was handling it all pretty well. then we found this ideal home that got flushed away. why would God allow this to happen? why the tease? the torture? in all honesty, i don't mind that we didn't get the house but why didn't God help me through the emotions side? that's what i've been praying about. i know there could much worse things that we have to deal with but right now.. this has been very stressful. right now, i don't even want to go look at other houses just to see another one flushed away. how do you protect your heart from these things? and even bigger, how do i protect my heart for God? how do i put it all on the plate (all my faith) out there and then feel like i didn't get my prayers answered? i feel like our church (and i think it's great!) has been really asking us to step out on faith. i've also been reading the Bible and it says ask and it shall be given. all i've asked for is that God protects my heart from the emotions/stress of this. honestly, i feel like he failed me and i'm very hurt. it makes me not want to step out on faith again.... i know i will heal and all will be fine with the house but really... how can i put my faith in God if i don't trust him?

on the flip side, there may be light at the end of the tunnel with work or it could get worse. i am choosing to be optimistic and try not to stress out about this as well... the lady i have a hard time with is moving out. yeah! maybe job life can go back to the way it was... but it also might mean a few changes at my job, we don't know who her replacement will be, my actual job location may move (could be good or bad), extreme circumstances are that i could loose my job or be expected to transfer to another house (options don't look good right now or i would have transferred a long time ago). i choose to be optimistic and will plan for a good outcome... and hope that the change happens sooner than later so i can check this stresser off my list.

one more update. phil took the kids to visit family for the weekend, i'm working or i would have gone. so today being home alone i decided to do my own tri training. i went to the pool and swam 17 laps (about 500 meters), then biked from river plaza to cedar falls and back home (about 13 mile) and then ran 3 miles when i got home. so if all continues as it is, i will be able to complete the triathlon as i basically did it today. it took me about 2 hours which isn't too bad. i'm very tired and sore but it felt good to know i can do it. i do have a few kinks to work out but for now i'll be pleased with the day.

right now, i'm having an open house. one couple stopped in so i consider it a success. after i'm done here, i plan to read a little, watch tv and make some popcorn (with lots of butter). aaaawww.. the freedom of being home alone. but i do miss the buggers too. they'll be back tomorrow and life will resume to normal.

thanks for listening.

Monday, April 12, 2010

update on life

  1. Wendell is FINALLY potty training. Actually 1/2 the battle is done. For over a week he has been peeing in the potty, no pee accidents and he has a strong bladder! He is now finding the fun in exploring different public bathrooms when we're out and about. He does great with initiating and completes most of the task on his own; but it's not complete until we actually see it... so he says c'm'ere (come here) and Phil or I have to look in the potty. But we are happy with the results and that it has not been a painful process. The first day he cried a little but we just said 'no crying' and he has done fine since. One funny thing is that he says 'it's not coming' and sometimes has to try 2-3 times before it actually comes out. The most recent has been that we have to listen while he goes. Anyways, it's been exciting for us as this has been an off and on battle for awhile now. Now we just have to work on poop.. that will be another struggle. At least now he agrees that 'tomorrow' he'll do it and twice today he told me he had to poop and then sat on the potty... just nothing happened. We've had quite a few 'accidents' in that department but we'll take it one day at a time.
  2. Harlie is now working on her third tooth. She was quite uphappy today and I'm not sure if it's because of the tooth or her private area that is slightly broken out. This happened with her first tooth so I'm pretty sure it's because of the tooth. So now both top teeth are coming through and a bottom one. She has quite the toothy smile and one tooth is quite large looking. One other thing with her is that she is still not eating any type of food. No baby food, no rice cereal, no cut up cooked food, cheerios, nothing.. I did try icecream the other day and she didn't spit it out... but come on, icecream?? I don't think so.
  3. Triathlon - I'm working out quite often. Running, biking and swimming. Running has gotten better now that I'm not wearing 50 layer of clothes to stay warm. I should mark out 3 miles and time myself to see what my time is as I might be able to do my best time now. With biking, I'm not pushing too hard; just trying to get used to riding a bike again. I pull the kids in the trailer so I'm not expecting to go fast with them but it does make for good training. Last week I went alone in the morning and it was 30 degree's out making for a cold bike ride. But I layered up so I was warm. My only complaint was that my tires seemed low and I felt like I was dragging. Swimming this last week was interesting, the pool was down for a week and when I went on Saturday the water was 74 degrees. Sound warm?? It's not. I could hardly breath because it was so cold. I did swim 19 laps and then gave up... called it quits. Hopefully when I go later this week, it'll be much warmer. On a side note, I wish I could say I'm losing weight but I'm not. Apparently I'm eating too much (or gaining muscle?) so I'm going to try and cut back some more. I would love to loose the final 15 lbs to be a healthy weight, then I won't have to exercise so much. I am the smallest I've been since grade school so I should be happy with that. I still enjoy the work outs but I can tell my body is getting a little tired. I did take some time off the last few weekends so now I feel normal again... I did have a couple of weeks were I was always sore from working my muscles.
  4. Moving - our house is on the market, we've had several flyer's go out but not many calls. Our major projects are done but we have a lot of little things that still need to be done... nothing to hard though. Maybe this weekend we can do some of the little things so we can relax and have fun with selling/buying. I'm sure there will be plenty of work in the next house. We have been looking at houses and have walked through a couple. Phil and I have similar but different taste so hopefully we find something we are both happy with. We're considering moving to La Porte City so that's kind of crazy to think about but it would get us in a smaller school (which we kind of prefer), closer to our parents, not too far from work and affordable. We did consider New Hartford but I just can't drive those back roads to go to work.. but highway I can handle (I think).
  5. Work- worked this last weekend and it went very well. I got to sleep and it was half way relaxing... like the way it used to be. So hopefully this streak continues!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

toothy smiles

*** requested by grandma***