Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A little fruity

I have a bad habit of buying produce in excess.

Unfortunately, it rarely ripens one piece at a time. I don't plan on changing my produce buying habits, sooooo.... whatcha gonna do??

One of my favorite solutions to the problem of too much ripe fruit is sorbet.

I don't know that I have a specific recipe I work from. I remember making Orange and Lemon Ice in middle school for French class... I think that the recipe resembles something from that.

Today's sorbet was made with Mango and Peach.

I peeled 2 large mangoes and 4 very large peaches with my magnificent Cutco Veggie Peeler. Pureed in the blender with 1/2 cup sugar. Fruit puree transferred to a sauce pan, added 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, 1/2 can water, 1 package of unflavored gelatin. Cooked over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just enough time to allow everything to dissolve and mix thoroughly. Transferred to metal 9 x 13 pan and put into the freezer.

After 2 hours, pulled out the pan and stirred with a spatula.

Return to the freezer for 2 hours more.

Removed pan and scraped out with an ice cream scoop.

Found taste testers who review this as "a yummy special desert."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soup's on Saturday - Tomato Florentine

I am so excited about my friend Tiff and her new blog carnival - Soup's on Saturday!

If you've known me for long, you might have heard me talk about my love for soups. No weak, bland, condensed cans....Rich, hardy, delicious...


Maybe, some day, way off in the distant future, when my kids are grown, maybe I'll pursue a dream of starting a soup restaurant... Maybe....

Anyway, here's my first recipe for this week...

Chicken Tomato Florentine

1/2 lb boneless chicken, cut up.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs rosemary
1 tbs ground mustard
2 tbs lemon juice
2 cups water

Cook in small sauce pan, till tender or falling apart, reserve liquid. (You can use any pre-cooked chicken, its a great way to use up some leftovers. I like the seasoning combination added, even if using leftovers)

1 tbs oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 box frozen, diced spinach, thawed, drained, pat dry with paper towel.
2 cans diced tomatoes, don't drain
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup seasoned spaghetti sauce (Prego)
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry basil
2 cups pasta (I like small shells)

In stockpot, sautee onion and garlic in oil. Drain oil. Add chicken, tomato, reserved chicken water, broth, spaghetti sauce, and spices. Heat to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for one hour. Add pasta noddles, cook 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally to keep noodles from sticking to the bottom. Garnish with grated parmesean and crispy warm bread.

If you want to make it to freeze, don't add the noodles until you are ready to serve.

Extraneous soup lesson extra: any time you have a meat on a bone, make broth. about 6 weeks ago, we had a large amount of fried chicken left over from church event. I stripped off the meat, which went to the freezer, and took all the skins and bones and tossed it in the crock pot for 4-5 hours. I strained out the chunks and froze the rich and tasty broth. The last time I made tomato florentine, the chicken and broth both came from that batch.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pass it on....

This has been a busy week for our family. I am consigning kids stuff for sale, as well as working as a volunteer for the Pass it On Sale.

It's really an amazing thing to watch, with in a few days, we go from a large empty room

to filling up

to over flowing.
(if you really want to see just how much, you'll just have to come and check it out. The 3000 sqft is packed full of goodies!)

I really enjoy being a part of the sale as it comes together, fellowship with other moms, change of pace from the "SAHM" grind for a week, the chance to clear out the excess that come with having kids AND the chance to find some great deals on great stuff for the kids.

If you are in the Portland area and have kids, come check it out and tell your friends.

September 26-28, 2008
New Location!
Heritage Christian School
(Click here for location and directions)

(many items 50% off on Sunday!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sparrows and Tree Frogs

Matthew 10: 26-30
"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
You probably don't spend much time thinking about tree frogs.

Around our house, tree frogs are often the topic of conversation.

Last September, we brought Fanno home from Grandma and Grandpa's back yard in Dallas, OR. Fanno was Noah's pet but all of us were connected to this little frog. We developed a makeshift habitat for him (or her... we really weren't ever sure). We would search for insects and spiders and provide Fanno a feast. Even as the insects became few in the winter months, we would buy crickets from the pet store. We were all sad when we returned home from vacation last month to find Fanno's habitat empty.

In an effort of "life goes on," we journeyed to the pet store. Although we didn't come home with another frog, we did acquire a froggy condo. The new terrarium has an artificial bark wall, a front glass door that swings out (more secure), waterfall and built in filter. The clerk at the store even said "that's one lucky tree frog."
On the way home we put a call into Grandma and Grandpa to see what they could find. A few hours later the habitat was arranged and complete and we welcomed "Lisa" a small, mostly brown speckled Pacific tree frog, and "Bart" a slightly larger, bright green Pacific tree frog.

Last week, while playing on the back porch, we moved a bin to find a much larger tree frog (about 2 times the size of Bart). He was a stellar, bright green with dark brown stripes. His name - Homer Simpson, of course! He moved in and the search for frog food is again a high priority. We need to acquire approximately 10-12 spiders or insects every 2 days.

Noah actually took these pictures himself (not bad!) We don't have a pic of Homer yet.

Tonight, as the kids were getting into PJs, Shane looked into the terrarium and was unable to find Lisa. He was worried because earlier in the evening, he had come into the room to see our 2 and 4 year olds opening the door (which they aren't supposed to be doing). He spent 15 minutes or more, moving rocks hoping to see Lisa. He was convinced that she was gone. He had looked in every possible corner, nook and cranny.

"Well, let's get to bed, maybe she'll show up in the morning."

Kisses, prayers and good nights... 30 seconds later, Noah has erupted into tears. He is beside himself, he's so sensitive, he cares for these pets. So we talk about how God will take care of Lisa, if she got out, God will take care of her and help her get outside where she can live better, or maybe she'll miraculously appear again in the morning. We prayed, asked for God's covering and protection for this little creature, and we asked that God give Noah peace to rest well and trust in Him to take care of her. As I was leaving the room, I thought I'd take one quick look. I flipped on the light and there she was! All three of them on the bark wall. Shane asked where she was, my response, "in the hand of God, clearly!"

If God cares this much for a tree frog, how much does he care for us? I'm so grateful for God's infinite wisdom in His Creation and am so privileged to be a part of it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Birthdays come but once each year...

Happy Birthday to Janet... my mom-in-law.

From the time we met, way back in the fall of 1995, she's been so special to me. Not a typical MIL by any means, one of my closest friends and a support and encouragement in the best and the hardest of times. I'm so blessed to have a great woman in my life who reminds me that I'm loved, teaches me so many new things, is thoughtful and considerate and keeps me in line. I think my husband is a wonderful man, and since he grew up with a single mom most of the time, I give her so much credit for setting the right foundations in his life, and ultimately affecting so many others for good.

She is the best Grandma I could hope for my kids to have. They absolutely love her and she adores them too. Janet recently had the opportunity to be featured in a newletter for her work. In the article she was asked a myriad of questions, one of which was "who inspires you the most?" Her response was that it was her grandchildren.

If you have the chance to meet her (and haven't) just take a minute to say hi. She is easily the friendliest person I know.

Happy Birthday "Mom"!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shrewsbury Renaissance Festival

We enjoyed a jousting show...

...with some very well trained horses and impressive theatrical performances...

...grubbed some tasty morsels...

... wandered the shops...

... and enjoyed the festivities.

By the time we left, we had accumulated a collection of many of the exotic costumes.

Say "Spam!"

What a friendly and happy place!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A totally new approach

This is exciting. I can't vote in Colorado, but I will be praying for the success of this amendment, which will bring forth so many opportunities to stand for those who can't stand for themselves. Watch this:

You'll probably need to pause the music player on the right - I tried to turn it off, but I can't seem to find it tonight

Colorado for Equal Rights Personhood Amendment from Personhood USA on Vimeo.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Party in Heaven

Today was my mom's birthday.

I was talking with Noah before bed tonight.

I said, "Ya know, today was my Mom's birthday. She would have been 62 today."
"But she died." He responded.
"Yes, she did, but I still remember that today was her birthday."

(this is the best part)

"So, she's 62 in Heaven? I bet they're having a great big party in Heaven."

(love that kid)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Birth stories

My friend Jenny (womb-mate of my friend Julie) is a doula. She and her family are working towards missions in Nicaragua. She asked for birth stories to share.... here is mine!

Check it out - Radiant Motherhood

Skillet days

Do you own a big flat electric skillet?

This is easily one of my favorite tools in the kitchen.

Generally when it comes out, there is a days worth of meals done quick and easy.

Today was one such day.

Breakfast - Bacon and French Toast
Lunch -Grilled Cheese
Dinner - (will be) Cheese Quesedillas

Stuff I love about it:

Big cooking surface - 6-8 pieces of French Toast all at once.
Grease catcher - a tray that hangs on the front - easy catch for all the bacon / burger grease.
Easy cleanup - nice no-stick, usually just a quick wipe and away it goes.
Travels well - we've taken it camping! (when there is electricity at the camp site)

You should get one.... I love mine.

P.S. on the subject of mine quirks:

I grew up eating jelly or jam on my grilled cheese sandwiches. Thank you DAD! It is a generational "blessing" that I have passed on to my children. Most people get grossed out at the mention, but it is yummy - you should try it.

My husband has, but today preferred plain.