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

Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to


17 years ago on the 13th of August, I met our doctor at the hospital in San Diego expecting to give birth to my son. Unfortunately, he was pretty happy where he was and decided to stay there...

Until 25 hours later, we took the choice away from him with a little surgery. I'm really proud of who he is and I can honestly say that he was worth every minute of those 25 hours -- even if it took me 17 years to be able to say that about labor. :)

So, Happy Birthday to Dude today!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our First Big Harvest

With the construction of some more houses along the main road of our neighborhood, the wind was not able to have quite as big an effect on one of our apple trees this year. As a result, we had to do some harvesting last week.

We had already picked up 2 or 3 that had fallen or been knocked off. So those along with the 8 we picked made for a larger harvest than the 2 or 3 we have gotten off of it the previous years.

We may become suburban farmers yet. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday's Menu

There is great rejoicing the Born Blonde household this month! The reason is simple -- processed cheese.  Not that I bought any but rather that I MADE it!

One of the things that has been most missed in our home since changing to real food is processed cheese -- the kind known by it's brand name that comes in blocks: Velveeta.

It wasn't missed on sandwiches. I've been getting actual, real, live slices of cheddar to replace our sandwich slices. The kids and husband like that.

It has been missed because of one recipe -- macaroni and cheese. In the post about it, I talked about taking a Wilton sheet cake pan (like double a 9x13 pan) full to a Scout party and how it was gone before anyone but my son got any. It's some good stuff!

So I can understand the mourning over it's loss. But I simply couldn't find any good real food substitute. I've also tried several recipes for baked mac and cheese as well real food in-the-saucepan mac and cheese. None have been very good. I found one that was deemed acceptable but it is basically a white sauce with cheese added that is then poured over cooked macaroni.

So I've been holding them off with organic boxed mac and cheese. Until now.

There are actually a LOT of recipes for homemade 'Velveeta' out there. A surprising number. The first one I tried was not great. Which is why I only made half a recipe of this one. It however was just the ticket. It looked like Velveeta. It had the same creamy texture too. And it worked in our mac and cheese. Yayyy!

I tried making some cheese dip as well. It doesn't melt down to the same smooth texture but it did taste good. I probably will only be making it to use for our macaroni from here on out though so that really isn't an issue for me.

I would like to find some way to get rid of the dry milk powder. I've read a lot of stuff about such things at this point and I think I would rather use something else. I successfully changed the macaroni recipe over to liquid milk so I know I can.

But I was truly just so happy to have a recipe that worked that I figured I'd suck it up and use it until then.

The recipe originally came from  Brown Eyed Baker and can be found here.

Homemade Velveeta Cheese

1 Tablespoon (1/4 oz. packet) unflavored gelatin
6 Tablespoons dry milk powder
1 cup boiling water
16 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap, covering sides and leaving excess hanging over.
Place gelatin and dry milk powder in food processor. Drizzle boiling water in while pureeing. Add cheddar cheese and puree until smooth.
Immediately pour into prepared pan scraping sides of processor bowl and smoothing top of cheese loaf. Fold over excess plastic wrap, pressing it on top of cheese and ensuring that it is completely covered. Refrigerate 12 hours until set. Keep tightly wrapped in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dog Burgers - Update

About a year ago in mid July, we decided to try making Rocky's food rather than using the bagged dry food or canned food that you can purchase. That post and the recipe is here if you want to refresh your memory. After a year, we have decided that knowing what is in his food is definitely a plus!

The first thing I began to notice about him was that his hair was much shinier. After a bath, he would always look like a wet seal. It would be sleek and shiny but that quickly faded as the day wore on. BEFORE! Now he is always shiny and sleek, whether he's had a bath or not.

The next thing I noticed was the throwing up -- or rather, lack of throwing up. He used to do that regularly at least once or twice a week for all of his 8 years of age. He has always had a sensitive stomach -- he's gotten pancreatitus twice. I honestly can't remember the last time he threw up. The new food seems to agree with him much more than any bagged food we ever gave him.

The biggest thing is the weight. Despite the fact that he is eating a higher calorie food and that he is eating MORE of it daily, he has lost about 25% of his body weight and is now at an appropriate weight. In fact, on a recent vet bill (from boarding during a weekend trip), it showed his weight history. As of April 18, 2014, the vet showed him as weighing 18.8 pounds. As of July 16, 2015, the vet shows his weight at 14.4 pounds. When Hubby weighed him this morning, he showed at just over 13 pounds.

This is a picture from last July. It gives you an idea of how much heavier he was. We had been laughingly calling him Stocky Rocky as a result of a comment the vet's assistant made over a year ago. And, in fact, the reason he went in on the occasion of the "stocky" comment was because of a fat deposit that appeared under his front leg which can happen as a result of too much accumulating fat. We had to have that surgically removed -- another downside to his being overweight.


These pictures were taken this morning. You can see how much more defined he is. And shinier despite the fact that he is soaked in the above picture.


 He looks good, he looks trim, and he obviously feels better too. No more 'Stocky Rocky' for him.

I highly recommend trying this dog food recipe. Rocky loves it and prefers it. Our recent addition, Yogi, is pretty happy with it too. They both dig right in.

And, frankly, I've had more than one child come down to check the pot after smelling it cooking before they realize it's more dog food.

Let me know if you have a question. I'm happy to share our experience with you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday's Menu

A week or two ago, we hosted our home group meeting. We made pulled pork sandwiches for the meal. Then Hubby suggested we have some coleslaw as well. While he generally does NOT eat coleslaw, I will eat it occasionally even though it isn't my favorite thing. Because of that, where I have eaten coleslaw is usually a restaurant or someone's house. I don't really make my own.

But Hubby knew that some people like to put it on pulled pork sandwiches and he thought it would also give us an extra side dish to accompany the chips I had already purchased. So I looked up a recipe.

I know you can buy a bag of slaw and just mix mayo into it but that really isn't very good in my opinion. Plus I was hoping to find something that would give me softer slaw. It seems like the cabbage is always hard or, at best, crisp when you do it that way. I didn't really find how to make the cabbage soften up though so I just decided to make it ahead and let it sit in the dressing which might soften it up.

 And it did, though not as much as I had hoped. I think the key to that would be to shred it yourself into thinner shreds so that it could soak up more of the dressing. I also did not add the onion because one of our home group members doesn't do raw onion. I might the next time I try it though.

I found that this dressing was very pepper-y. So I made a note on it to not add any pepper next time. It comes from Bobby Flay and Food Network. It didn't taste pepper-y to me when I first made it so I think it got stronger as it sat in the refrigerator.

Otherwise, I thought it turned out really well. And everyone, while agreeing that it was pepper-y and some, as it turned out, really liked it that way, told me they thought it was quite good. And it was.

That's why it's a keeper. Hope you enjoy it too.

Creamy Cole Slaw

Slaw mix (finely shredded cabbage and carrots)
3/4 cup very good quality mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons grated or finely chopped Spanish onion
2 Tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and mix with slaw mix. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Big Doll #3

 Last Saturday, we went out to check out the Neighborhood Garage Sale going on in a subdivision a couple of blocks over from us. It was rainy though and we weren't really into it. Neither were the sellers.

As it turned out, we only one thing despite checking out several all throughout the neighborhood. That was a "big doll" that Rugrat found at one. I looked up the brand name later and found out that it was an Our Generation doll -- Target's knockoff of American Girls. Works for us.

Unfortunately, her hair was a M-E-S-S. Two little braids that hung from the front of her head had survived but everything else was pretty tangled. I went ahead and took down her two little braids and got ready to do a Downy Dunk.

If you don't remember, I discovered Downy Dunking when trying to untangle the other two dolls' hair. You don't actually have to use a specific name brand of fabric softener. Any will do. Mine was a Dollar Tree fabric softener.

This time, however, I remembered to take pictures. Here she is getting ready for treatment (her first blonde big doll):

You can see just how tangled it is. The kinky parts are where the two little braids were.

I got to work with a good tv show going to work by. Here she is with half done.

I always prefer to stand them up overnight to dry. That way, they aren't lying on it and it all dries hanging down too.

The next day, I just ran a brush through the now dry, untangled hair and here it is:

The next step, in my opinion, is to prevent further tangles. I always think the little clear rubber bands they put on doll hair for packaging look much better than what I have available.

Then one day it occurred to me to buy some of the tiny little bright colored rubber bands in the ethnic section. They are so small that they work perfectly for doll hair too. I would have preferred clear but didn't see those until a day or two after I bought the colorful ones. Oh well.

And here she is with her cute little braids that will prevent or, at the very least, reduce the tangles she'll get while Rugrat is loving on her.

So there you have it. Pictures of the Downy Dunk in action.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday's Menu

Last week, Rugrat announced that she wanted Broccoli Cheese soup for her meal. Each week, one of the kids is responsible for choosing a menu and then making that meal (with my help) for us on whatever day is least busy that week.

It teaches them to make a menu plan, budget and shop for the ingredients, and how to prepare it. They all understand how to incorporate ingredients/parts that will make a healthy meal. And they usually look forward to their turn. Not to mention that we've gotten to try some interesting things as a result too.

I had no problem with Rugrat's soup but I thought we might need something more. She couldn't name anything else she wanted to have with it though. Even after several days. So I suggested some sort of hot sandwich. She was good with that but wouldn't say anything more than ham when I asked what kind.

Not too long ago I was eating lunch with some ladies and one of them ordered a Cuban sandwich. I had no clue what that was although I guessed that it had some kind of ham. So I looked up a recipe.

Although we didn't put the condiments on automatically for everyone, they were pretty good. If you knew everyone liked the condiments, I would go for it. We just used some homemade rolls rather than the Cuban bread. I had no clue where to get Cuban bread or what it was. We also just heated the sandwiches in the oven.

I got the recipe here.

Original Cuban Sandwich (makes 1 sandwich)

1 loaf Cuban bread or sandwich roll
1 oz. mustard
4 dill pickles
5 slices ham
2 slices roast pork
1 slice Swiss cheese
1 oz. butter

Cut bread to 7 inches and slice open bread or sandwich roll. Spread mustard across top slice and place 4 pickles on top of mustard. Lay cheese on top of pickles. On bottom slice of bread, lay ham in folded slices. Place roast pork on top of ham. Put bread top and bottom together. Grill in sandwich grill or waffle iron after buttering breads. Grill until crispy and cheese is melted.