So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Things

Someone was recently asking me about how to do something and I said in the course of the conversation, "I think I had a post about it on my blog."

It occurred to me later that maybe it would be a good thing to have a list of some posts besides recipes. So I added some stuff.

The first, if you'll look right over there to the right, is a search feature. Which I've already used. I think I might have needed that. So now you can use it too.

The other, with which I'll need YOUR help, is on the right there under that list of recipes. It is a few of the tutorials and tips I've put on here. I need your help with this one. If you find or know of one that I should add, please let me know.

I looked through and found what I thought of or came across. That was a lot of fun by the way. I tend to forget everything that has been added to this blog over the years and it was quite a trip down memory lane for me. But I think I am actually going on seven years now of posts so it would be pretty easy for things to get lost. So, if you think something should be there, let me know, please.

I hope these changes help someone out. Maybe one of these days, I'll get real tech savvy and make it a truly cool site.

The Difference between an Elementary School Student and a Teen

Last night, the books and supplies arrived from the virtual school. Rugrat was beside herself! With each box I opened, she 'ooh-ed' and 'aah-ed,' often finding something every few books that she wanted to look at and check out. She was even excited about the few books that arrived for Dude.

She was particularly pumped to see a whole new set of readers for Phonics.

She was very excited!

Dude, on the other hand, was not the least bit interested in the contents of his box. Nor has he looked in it yet. He has been steadfastly ignoring it, determined to forget that the beginning of school is on the horizon.

He is not excited at all!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday's Menu

I love Chinese food. I have since I was introduced to it. But I have always had a hard time cooking it.

I have always quailed at the idea of making egg rolls especially. But after seeing a recipe with photos for them on one of my new favorite sites, I decided to give it a try.

And they were very good!

It requires purchased egg roll wrappers, but I figured even with that I cut out a lot of the nonsense that came in the ones in the freezer section. Ones that I haven't been buying since we started changing how we eat.

 I have seen and used to have a recipe to make my own wonton skins/egg roll wrappers so I know it's possible to cut out even the junk in that. But since this was my first time to even try these, I figured I could give myself a break and work up to a totally home made egg roll eventually.

It was totally worth it to make them. And, since it made about 19 egg rolls, I was able to put a bunch in my own freezer so that I now have home made ones for the next time without spending the time to make them.

You can fry them or bake them too. So, it's up to you how to cook them. The original recipe is here and she shows you exactly how to roll them there with pictures. It's pretty easy and quick. I probably spent maybe 10 minutes rolling mine and I used a tablespoon to measure out the filling exactly. I did leave out the red pepper that she calls for so if you use the original recipe and add it, you might get more. I also would prefer not to use canola oil if I could help it and probably stick with coconut oil or the baking option.

So there you are. Get adventurous and give them a try!

Home made Egg Rolls
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 6 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • oil for frying (optional)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce,honey and rice wine vinegar. Set aside.
Brown ground pork over medium heat until cooked through.
Meanwhile, warm 2 tbsp canola oil over medium heat.  Add peppers and onion and sauté for 3 - 5 minutes, until translucent.  Add ginger and garlic, and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add cabbage, carrot, cooked pork and reserved chicken broth blend and stir.  Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Add sesame oil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
To roll the egg rolls, lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate or cutting board, and add 2 tbsp of filling mixture to the center of the wrapper. Grab the end nearest you, and fold over the mix, then pull back to tuck the mixture in. Fold over the right side on top then the left side on top. Using a drop of water on your fingertip, trace the triangle tip of the egg roll with water to make it sticky and adhesive, which will bind the wrapper to itself.  Then roll the egg roll forward. Keep the egg roll wrappers and egg rolls under a clean towel while rolling, to keep them from drying out.
Over medium heat, warm 4 tbsp canola oil in a wok or skillet.
Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, and fry until browned, flipping halfway through.  Remove from oil and let cool on a paper towel. If you don't want to fry these egg rolls, you can bake them instead! Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cooking with God

We're having a deep spiritual discussion this morning. Rugrat pointed out that God "made us."

Then she asked "Where God make us at?"  Huh? I don't remember what I said but apparently it was good enough to make her move on to another topic.

I think she was thinking that God went to his kitchen, pulled out a mixing bowl, and mixed us up so that when He was done, out we popped.

I love the way her brain works.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I have determined that we did not get a cat from the shelter a couple months ago. I am fairly certain we got an orange dog that looks like a cat.

She is unlike any cat we've owned as a couple yet. Which basically means any cat I've ever owned.

But that's okay because I'm pretty sure she is a dog.

For example, she seeks us out to get petted on. No cat I've known or heard of does that - at least not with the several times a day frequency that she does. The dog doesn't even ask to be petted or cuddled as much as she does.

She will even WAKE ME UP in the middle of the night to get attention. Anyone who knows me just said, "oh no!" in a deep scared voice. I need my sleep.

She also will push her nose under the edge of your hand to get you to pet her. Only dogs do that, right?

She will crawl into your lap to get petted and go to sleep on it.

She chases balls and carries them around in her mouth.

She likes to sleep at my feet when I'm in bed.

She DROOLS when you pet her.

She begs for our food (I know all animals probably do that until they are taught better but still).

She chews shoes. grrr

And the mother of all of them: I caught her drinking out of the toilet yesterday. Our dog doesn't even do that.

I think Rocky has decided that she must have some dog in her too. They play a strange game of tag where they take turns chasing each other. First he'll chase her into the living room, then she'll chase him into the hall. Then they switch and do it again. I have to admit it's pretty funny to watch.

I guess we chose well when we picked her. She fits right in with our weirdo family.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Freezer Clean

I don't really have a recipe today because I am currently cleaning out my freezer somewhat. That means we're having Manicotti (with my frozen ricotta), Pizza with toppings that are not our normal fare, Creamy vegetable soup from the frozen clearanced half and half, Pot pie (with the frozen collected leftover mix of veggies), Apple Pie (with a bag of frozen apples I found in the back) and other yummy stuff.

 Having a freezer that is actively being rotated is good for any household. When you do this, at least once a year if not more, you're making sure that food doesn't get freezer burn or end up buried for seven years so that it has to get thrown out.

That means you don't waste food -- which is kind of the reason you throw it into the freezer in the first place, right? So it doesn't go to waste.

It can also be fun, believe it or not. Finding something in there and determining to use it forces you, at times, to think creatively with your menu. Or, at the very least, to make something you haven't had in a while. Most of the time, if that 'something I haven't made in a while' is a thing that everyone likes, the reason I haven't made it in a while is because it is time consuming or I have to think ahead to make it. So that gives me a good excuse.

It also is self-supporting in a way -- seeing that little bit of space you made keeps you going. Seeing that empty shelf you cleaned out encourages you to work on another one. And so forth. When you're all done, you can look inside and see everything you have, probably a little bit organized, and it makes you feel pretty good.

If you need a more gradual approach to cleaning out your freezer, you can always just make a list of things in it that you'd like to use and then incorporate one or two meals a week that use those ingredients until you've emptied your list.

This can be good for your budget too. It means you're using things you have already rather than going out and buying more. And you can make room for when you come across that great deal at the store or farmer's market.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This One's for the Dogs

 The last time Hubby took Rocky to the vet's office, as he was checking out, the receptionist said, "There's that stocky boy." Hubby looked at Rocky and said, " You hear that? She's calling you fat." She said something about not using that particular word and they chatted some more.

But the little experience led to his designation at home as 'Stocky Rocky.'  And he has always had a bit of a weight problem. While he is full - blooded Min Pin and supposedly his father was only 9 pounds, I have had less and less confidence in the breeder we bought him from as the years have passed.

And, frankly, I think we might end up in trouble for it if we somehow managed to keep him below 10 pounds. He just seems more muscular than that. He is overweight though and by several pounds.

That is something we have been working on -- well, I have. Part of the reason he is overweight is that Hubby seems to believe he should have dog treats on a regular and consistent basis.

In addition to the fact that this makes him overweight, it also tends to upset his stomach (which is particularly sensitive -- he's had pancreatitus twice already). I got a little pushy about it a couple weeks before we went on our little trip to Arkansas for Independence day. That's why he has a little bit of a waist in these pictures.

Now that we've gotten back, Hubby and I were talking about this and we've decided to try something different.

I've lost weight solely from taking a lot of additives out of our diet so why not the four-legged members of our family as well. A couple of years ago, I remember one of the bloggers I read regularly discussing how she fed her dogs. She had done it the same way for all of their 10 years and they had only needed one vet visit for an issue (a parasite). In addition, her vet had commented on their good health and diet.

So we decided to give it a try. A lot of the recipes I've found called for raw meat but her recipe is cooked due to stomach sensitivities in one of her dogs. Sound familiar? It sounded like just the ticket to us.

We've been giving it a try. Rocky loves the food so far and would gladly take more of it. The other reason he's overweight is that he's kind of a pig.

We've been giving him 1/4 cup three times a day plus his CET chew (for his teeth). This is based on his ideal weight of 8 to 10 lbs as opposed to the 18 pounds he currently weighs.

I had to google how much he needed to have per day. I tried to use a dog food calculator that calculated his ideal weight but it was very confusing. So, in the end, I just converted her dog's weight (she is in Australia and uses metric) to pounds and divided it to come up with Rocky's serving. If he were more active or younger, I might increase it slightly or conversely decrease it for a much older dog.

We initially planned to give him 1/4 cup twice a day by using that conversion and his chew in between but he walked around staring at us like we were starving him and began banging his food dish in protest. Since he's quite a bit larger than his ideal weight right now, we decided it might be better to take his amounts down to the correct one a little more gradually. That way he wouldn't think he wasn't being tortured and we didn't have to endure his mournful looks. And we seem to have hit the right amount with the three times a day.

He seems to think that his new food is awesome and the only time he's had stomach issues was the morning after Hubby gave him two or three treats one night. I pointed out AGAIN that they are pretty rich for his tummy.

Another benefit -- one that I really like -- is that I now know exactly what is in his food. No chemicals or additives I can't pronounce.

And I'm looking forward to comparing his health once we complete our little experiment.

Once he is eating twice a day, this recipe will make enough to last just over a month. It costs around $8. The bags of food we've been buying have been about the same so knowing he's getting something better in quality is worth it.

And if it saves us just one vet bill (like the $500 one for his first bout of pancreatitus), that will have been well worth the little bit of time it takes to make this.

You can read about her experience with the recipe here, here and here. This is her recipe which we used (converted).

Appx. 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1½ cups raw brown or white rice
1 cup raw barley OR lentils
1 cup raw pasta
2 cups chopped vegetables - it can be whatever you have on hand but NOT ONIONS or LEEKS.
1 spoonful of Vegemite or peanut butter (optional - we didn't use it)

Place all the above ingredients into a big stockpot. Cover with water and stir to break up the ground beef. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When it's finished cooking, top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool.
When it's cold, place into portion sized plastic containers and freeze until you need them.

One note: Dogs are omnivores so this works for them. Cats, however, are true carnivores. You would need to use something different for them. Since Calista is still a kitten, we haven't changed her diet and probably won't, at least until she is an adult. She still needs more calories as a kitten not to mention other needs as she grows.