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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

On the Menu

I recently wanted to try making Chicken Tortilla Soup. Dude really likes it but the rest of us can take it or leave it so he doesn't get it unless we go out to eat somewhere. 

One of the groups I'm in is doing a Eat from the Pantry challenge right now. I do it a couple times a year to clean out all that stuff that gets pushed to the back. So I used a few things (suggested by comments) I had instead of buying more. 

I am a total wimp so I didn't make it spicy either. If you prefer to do that, you can throw in some peppers or use a spicy salsa. Or just set our some hot sauce. 

So this is the version I made:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Tablespoon oil
1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup flour mixed with 1 cup water
1 cup water (or 2 cups if needed)
1 cup chunky salsa (or enchilada sauce)
2 cups cheddar, cubed or shredded
2 cups monterey jack cheese, cubed or shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Garnishes: sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar, pico de gallo

Place oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth and mix well. Add flour slurry and whisk to combine. Pour in water (start with one cup and add more if needed), salsa/enchilada sauce, cheeses, and spices. Mix well until cheeses are combined. Bring to a boil. Add chicken and reduce heat. Simmer until thick. Serve with garnishes.

Original recipe is here.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Experiment Day

Learning about surface currents and gyres

Learning about deep ocean water pressure

Friday, August 10, 2018

Object Lesson

Rugrat's object lesson in Bible was a pretty interesting one the other day.

The gist of it was that the vinegar was like the teachings/example of Jesus and the cups were how people reacted to them.

Some people are like the oil. They refuse to even accept them much less make them a part of their life.

Some people are like baking soda. They fizz up and get really excited about it but then they decide they can't  keep it up and their excitement dies away.

Some people are like milk. They take in the teachings of Jesus but it curdles them. Even if they try to live that way, they complain and get bitter about it until His teachings are made void by their attitude.

And, finally, there are people like the water. They take in Jesus' teachings and live them to the point that not only do they look like Him but they even smell like Him. When you look closely, you can't even tell the two apart. And if you wanted to separate them out again, it would be impossible.

It occurred to me that we all fall into those categories at some time or another. But we should also all be working toward becoming more like that water.

So that eventually, it's impossible to even separate us out. And when people look at us, they have no trouble seeing what Jesus is like too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

First Day of School 2018/19

Decluttering of a Different Kind

A couple of weeks ago, we had a refrigerator malfunction. We had had problems with ice build up in the freezer for a couple of years. It meant the occasional defrost but wasn't too bad. The problem got progressively worse. Then, leaking refrigerant forced us to replace it suddenly.

It quit on a Tuesday. Unfortunately, although we ran out and purchased one after some quick research, they couldn't deliver it until Friday. So we got to live out of 3 ice chests and a portable freezer (adjusted to a refrigerator temperature) that my work let me borrow for 3 days. It wasn't fun. And my back hurt after all that bending over to reach in and out of the things. I was quite grateful to have them though.

As a result, however, we threw pretty much everything from the freezer into our chest freezer in the garage. And set something on the lid to make sure it stayed closed. haha

We actually decluttered a lot of the condiments and such just deciding what to put in the ice chests/portable and what wasn't worth the limited space. But the freezer was basically a mass dump as fast as possible.

What's more, after the new one was delivered and came to temperature, I noticed as we began moving things back that the chest freezer had a pretty thick layer of ice inside. It's definitely in need of a defrost itself.

And, so, that brings me to this week and probably the next couple. I informed the family that we will be doing a "Eat from the Freezer" week, maybe month, until I get the freezer empty enough to defrost.

The fridge was decluttered out of necessity. Now it's the freezer's turn. And that should be interesting. Chest freezers work kind of like a purse. All the small things fall to the bottom. To find them, you stick your hand down as far as you can and feel around to find what you need -- hoping that it will feel like it is supposed to and that you don't find anything wet or sticky.

It's always nice to do "Eat from the Freezer" weeks regularly, so you don't find something from 1985 down in there. So I will try to buy only have-to-have groceries for however long it takes and use up the majority of what is in there. It usually takes some creativity with our meals and means we get to have some things we haven't had in a while. 

I do really like my new fridge. After getting the freezer cleaned out, I'm guessing it will feel brand new too.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pudding Pops Time

  I came across this recipe recently and I had to give it a try. I have a vague happy memory of eating pudding pops at one of our church elder's homes while visiting. I'm sure I had them at some other times as well but I think that might have been the first time I ever tried them.

When I saw this recipe, I was sure I had to give it a try. So I did. I got a bite off the first one because I was too full from my dinner that night. And then they were gone. Chick would have happily cleaned out the entire batch on her own but Dude gave her some help. When she grabbed the last one, she declared sadly that there weren't any more.

I did remind her that I had the recipe. But I didn't make anymore just yet. Our refrigerator had just died and we had a 3 1/2 day wait until the new one was delivered. Trust me, that's a whole 'nother story for a whole 'nother post. So she had to wait for more.

Suffice to say, however, that these were a hit. Doesn't hurt in the least that they are real food and good for you too. Win, win!

I imagine you could substitute something for the coconut milk. It's probably just a matter of googling subs. I just haven't yet. The original recipe is here. Now go get you some pudding pops made!

Paleo Pudding Pops

1 can full-fat, unsweetened canned coconut milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 TBSP honey or pure maple syrup

2 TBSP cocoa powder

1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Note: you could eliminate these, and the popsicles still taste great, they just aren’t as chocolatey)

Melt the chocolate chips into the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat (or if you’re not using the chips, you can just mix all the ingredients together). You don’t need the mixture to get hot, just warm enough to melt the chocolate chips. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cool for about 15 minutes, then pour into popsicle molds and freeze until hard.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

DIY - Part 2

Previous Post Here

As I mentioned, my successes began to spur me on to bolder attempts at making my own products. My next experiment was weighted though because it was something that people see not just something we were trying at home.

I have used loose face powder as a part of my makeup routine for literally decades now. Once I discovered the loose powder, I pretty much never bought another compact of pressed powder. But I was running out. And you don't get that much in the stuff you buy at the store. Not to mention the fact that it was something I used almost daily. Even if I didn't put on liquid foundation, I would brush on some face powder to run to the store or wherever. Did I mention I had oily skin? Again, on a per ounce basis, this stuff was pretty expensive. And knowing how much junk they put in everything else, I really didn't want to keep buying it. Did you realize that everything - EVERYTHING - you put on your skin is ingested just as if you were eating it? You take it into your body and bloodstream just like you do the food you eat. Knowing what they put in lotions and makeup and soaps -- well, gross!

Fortunately, I came across this recipe. So, I thought, why not? I already had everything (though there were only a few ingredients) in my pantry and it didn't take a lot of anything. I have been using it ever since. Not only does it feel wonderfully light on my skin (like it can actually still breathe underneath) but my skin smells good too. And it doesn't clog my pores and make me break out. Another win win! It is super easy to mix up too - 2 tablespoons of arrowroot (cornstarch), 1 1/2 teaspoons (for me - super fair skinned but you might need more or to use cinnamon or nutmeg for darker colored powder) cacao (cocoa powder) powder, and 5 drops of essential oils (I use lavender) or a carrier oil. I used the powder container I still had from the store bought powder until I managed to break it. Then I got these sifter jars and I love them. I have one for my face powder and one for my blush.

Recently, Chick wanted some more face powder but she likes the pressed powder in a compact. So I mixed some up for her - slightly darker for her skin - and followed the directions to make it into a pressed powder. We just put it back into the (cleaned) compact left over from her other powder although you can also buy empty ones of those on Amazon if you want. She seems to like it quite a bit so I'm going to say that is also a success.

Any guess what I tried next then? Well, it's actually a toss - up because my memory isn't quite perfect. But yes, blush was one of the choices. I don't use blush much but I do like to when I think of it so when my little compact of that was done, I mixed some up. I honestly don't remember if it was this recipe or this recipe that I used. As I said though, I don't use it much. And really, you only need to google blush makeup recipe or some similar thing for tons of choices.

The other thing I made around the same time was lip balm. Now, a long time ago (really) in a land far away (South Carolina), Chick had a birthday party where I let them make their own lip balm. It was one of those fun things that elementary kids do for kicks with a parent but not something you maintain. It required Gulf Wax. Do you remember that stuff? No idea what it was really intended for but none of my lip balm now requires it. Nor will it likely.

Instead mine used beeswax and essential oils (like peppermint, yum). For Chick's birthday party, we bought little round pill boxes from the travel section at Wal-mart (which they all thought was uber cool) but I ordered and waited on actual lip balm tubes like these before I made mine. I also discovered that the no-longer-needed test tube holder from Chick's school chemistry class worked perfectly for holding them while I poured in the stuff and then let it cool. hey hey. I used this recipe and instructions but have recently discovered this Burt's Bees clone that I think I will try next.

Now, I was really getting brave so I pulled out the big guns. Deodorant. What!?! Yep. I made my own deodorant. I used this recipe which only required me to buy bentonite clay. While I liked it and it worked, it was summer and just a little soft in the house. That caused its own problems because it tended to leak a little oil when my older kids used it. So I'm still playing with it some, adding more beeswax and even trying some other recipes. I hope to find one that everyone likes. Not just me. Until then, I can use my recipe and tweak it when I make more.

My most recent experiment went back to makeup. I have been making my face powder for years but I had been too scared to try liquid foundation. Well, I got up my gumption and gave it go a couple of months ago. I'm on my second batch and I have to say it turned out better than the first. Plus, I added non-nano zinc oxide to it this time so that it also has sunscreen in it now. This is the recipe I used and I have to say that I really like it. Especially now that I have a silicon squeeze tube - again from the travel section at Walmart - to put it in. Making a lotion base is not something I am ready to try so I used to the natural Shea Moisture lotion as a base. But who knows, I may be making that next.

Other things I've tried are multiple shampoos (none of which I have liked - in fact, I gave up on that for now but may come back to it), conditioner of a sort (rubbing coconut oil into your hair before bed -if you shower in the morning - is an awesome conditioner that lasts about 3 washes... if you can remember to do it in the first place, oops), blemish remover (it works!), armpit detox, and other fun things.

Things I'm waiting to try include mascara,  eye shadow, dog ear wash, and possibly tooth paste at some point. I usually wait until we run out and/or have ingredients on hand.

My new mantra is "It's worth a try" instead of an automatic "I couldn't do that." How about you? What have you tried making lately?