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Saturday, October 24, 2009

7 quick takes friday

1. This is the first time I have played along with 7 Quick Takes Friday - hello to everyone!

2. I am rereading for the 6th or 7th time Happy Are You Poor by Fr. Thomas Dubay. It changed how I see Gospel Poverty. From the back of the book:

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with
destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled
sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of
this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus Himself.

3. H1N1 has hit my house. Poor Ellie is down for the count. Thankfully vomiting isn't one of her symptoms.

4. 5 Christmas gifts down, a hundred or so to go. Seriously. This is with all the usual - draw names, only buy for godchildren not all nieces and nephews etc. I just have a huge list. (1 husband, 8 children, 1 grandchild, 1 gf, 1bf, 9 godchildren, 5 exchanges, a mom, a dad, a mother-in-law, assorted teachers and coaches - and I am sure I am missing someone important tonight)

5. I got out the Cookie Recipe Books this week, starting to plan my baking....yummy! Snickerdoodles ROCK!

6. I am sad, I will miss Tessa's semi-state competition in band tomorrow because of that vile H1N1 and next week because my favorite cousin in the world's son is being Ordained and I won't miss that. Pray for Deacon Jake that he be a holy priest!

7. I hope my kids will say of me what Thomas Edison said of his mother:
My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt
that I had someone to live for; someone I must not disappoint.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spicy Peanut Sauce

(I usually double or even triple this batch)
1 1/2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter (organic)
2 Tbs. oil (I use coconut oil)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. rice vinegar (or distilled white)
1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil - dark if possible to find
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Stir together in small pot and warm until ingredients are well mixed.We eat this over sticky rice but the recipe can also be used for chicken satay.My family absolutely loves this.

My dear friend Laura gave me the recipe and an authentic Asian Hat looking thing to cook the rice in.
I never got the hang of the hat but love love love my rice cooker.
I have tried bottled peanut sauce but it doesn't come close to this yumminess.
Linked to: Kitchen Stewardship's Octoberfest and Fight Back Friday's at Food Renegade.
This post is also linked to Food on Fridays - no button today. ;op


Updated 4/8/10 to add to Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap: Using Herbs and Spices 

Why We are THAT Family

Kristin over at We Are That Family is celebrating her 2 year blogoversary and has asked us all to share in the fun and share a THAT Family moment. There are fabulous giveaways to be join in!

Over the years I have had MANY That Family Moments. Let's see, there was the time my toddler fell out of the barn loft onto his head - (he is perfectly fine - miraculous, but that is another post) and all day long whenever anyone assessed him I had to keep saying "no, the BIG knot on his forehead was already there when his big sister pushed him into the coffee table"

Or maybe when that same toddler drove his dad's truck into the house?

Perhaps the time I called 911 because I couldn't find my 2 year old and I was sure she was dead or abducted but in reality she was sleeping in a closet.

Or maybe when my youngest called 911 on the boyfriends cell phone and the police arrived at my parents home.

Just a couple of examples of why we Are That Family!

Happy Blogoversary Kristen!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ouch Relief

Sometimes my back hurts, a lot. This is what I have used to help with pain relief:

Needed - 1 old sock (or you can make these for Christmas gifts, in that case 1 new sock)

Cheap white rice

Fill sock with rice, tie the end. Stick in microwave for a minute or so - till warm.

Apply to sore spot.

You can use this over and over and over again. I know people use oatmeal (but heat in an oven according to the directions). Beans would work also.

When my back aches this Works for Me!


When I feel scared, unsure about what is happening to our country, to our world I try and remember to Hope.

G.K. Chesteron said it well:
Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be

While I don't think things are desperate just yet, being cheerful is a great
antidote to those feelings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things to do with leftover Rice #1 Quick Jambalaya

Sometimes I just want me some jambalaya. It is so yummy. Here is a quick recipe that helps to use up some leftovers, sometimes though I make the extra rice and chicken just for it!

Quick Jambalaya
2 thick slices smoked bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 small green pepper chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup canned tomatoes and juice
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 to 1 cup diced cooked ham or chicken or combo of both
8-12 cooked shrimp (optional)
1 TBS soy sauce (I omit this and use fish sauce because of Joe)
frest ground pepper and salt to taste

Cook bacon in a deep heavy skillet. Cook over low heat until crisp, remove with slotted spoon. Drain. Set aside. Remove all but 1TBS of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are limp. Add remaining ingredients and reserved bacon. Fork-stir until well blended. Cover skillet. Turn heat to low and let mixture cook until heated through.
Makes about 6 servings.

Linked to: Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday
updated to add to Christy @Fudge Ripples Tuesday Night Supper Club!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Best Ribs Ever

I posted a recipe on my other blog - The Rock Spot - for the best ribs ever! They aren't frugal, or crunchy so I am just going to link to the post in case you are curious. (I am not kidding though, these ribs are fall off the bone stinkin' delicious!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mashed Cauliflower

This is a post from last year I am recycling for AlphabeThursday - because seriously,

C is for Cauliflower!!

I have been wanting to try mashed cauliflower for a long time. Today was the day. I had a small head of cauliflower that I needed to use. At first I was going to make the cauliflower pizza crust I found at this lovely site, but didn't have enough cauliflower. So I went to here and tried the mashed cauliflower recipe.

You all know I couldn't make it exactly the same - 1st because I didn't have everything and 2nd because of Joe.

Here is my adaptation:

Mashed Cauliflower

Chop up one head of cauliflower, cook on stove until very very soft. Drain.
Mash with a food processor or hand mixer till smooth. If you use a hand mixer it will be lumpy.

Add 2TBS of heavy cream (I used coconut milk)
Add 2 TBS butter (I used ghee - my milk allergy son is able to eat this)
I added a pinch of organic low sodium vegetable broth powder.

Then to make up for the low sodium I sprinkled some onion salt in.
When I make this again I will saute a little onion and chopped garlic and add it when I mash.

Mix mix and mix some more.

Then I "buttered" 2 small corningware bowls with coconut oil, then put half in one and half in the other.
To one I added a couple dots of real butter.
Cook at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The original suggested a little paprika on the top to make it look pretty.

This made a perfect amount to feed 5 or 6 people one small serving as a side dish. I will make 2 heads next time to feel my large family. I think this would be good with a little cheese also.

As I was making this my kids where circling me - "what are you doing?"
"Can't we just eat the cauliflower plain before you add stuff to it?"
" You aren't going to ruin it with weird spices are you?"

Then when I got it out of the oven they stood at the stove and ate it like a snack - which I wasn't going to discourage. This is what I heard
" This is delicious"
" you should make this for Thanksgiving to take with us"
"Write this one down so you don't forget"

So I would say this is a winner! It uses cauliflower and onions and garlic- Super Foods. And Butter, ghee, and coconut oil - all good fats! The bonus was the coconut milk.
It is frugal (ghee is a little pricey but you probably wouldn't need to use it).
It is crunchy also - I used all organic products purchased from my co-op, the cauliflower was local!

I submitted this to October Fest Carnival of Super Foods at Kitchen Stewardship, there are lots of great recipes using Super Foods!
I also submitted it to Fight Back Fridays also - another great place to find wonderful recipes using Real Food!
and Friday Foods at Momtrends.
I am linking this to Mrs. Jenny's AlphabeThursdays - lots of great links all about the letter C!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cream Sauce

In an effort to cut out all the premade canned stuff I have grown used to using I needed to learn to make a cream sauce or white sauce.

Who needs a recipe for a simple cream sauce? Me for one and I am sure there are others who would love a little help.

First some Do's and Don'ts
  • Do use a heavy saucepan. If you don't have one use your double boiler over simmering water. Do not allow water touch bottom of upper pan.
  • Do use LOW heat when melting butter - be patient, it is worth it!. Don't allow butter to brown. Keep heat LOW while blending in flour. Don't allow the flour to brown.
  • Cook sauce slowly.
  • Stir with wire whisk.
  • Cook until no trace of starchy taste remains.

Basic Cream Sauce
2 TBS Butter
1TBS flour
1 and 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
Sprinkling of white pepper (I use regular old pepper - my family isn't picky!)

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in flour. When flour is blended in, slowly add milk, stirring with a wire whisk. Cook, stirring over a low heat until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Medium Cream Sauce
Increase flour to 2 TBS.

Thick Cream Sauce
Increase butter to 4TBS, flour to 3 TBS.

Now for some yummy VARIATIONS!

  • Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup homemade chicken stock for an equivalent amount of milk.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup white wine for an equivalent amount of milk.
  • Stir in 1-2TBS of good cognac, other brandy, or dry sherry just before serving (isn't that elegant!)
  • Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheese. Stir until blended.
  • Stir a little hot sauce into 2 well beaten egg yolks, stir yolks into rest of sauce, and remove from heat immediatly.
  • Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup sour cream for an equivalent amount of milk. Stir in a little prepared horseradish just before serving.
  • Stir in 1TBS tomato puree.

Add a 1/4 cup of any of the following:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Pimiento slivers
  • Sauteed-in-butter mushrooms
  • Ripe olive slivers
  • This slices of water chestnuts
  • Diced cooked shrimp
  • Julienne strips of ham
  • Chopped oysters
  • Chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • Crisp garlicky buttered homemade croutons (serve immediately, before they get soggy)

I don't know about you but we are having Cream Sauce with Dinner tonight!

Submitted to: Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Fight Back Fridays.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mediterranean Stew over Couscous

This is a yummy Crock Pot Meal - with lots of fabulous flavor. I got the idea from an old Pillsbury Classic Cookbook - the kind in the checkout lane.

2 cups cubed peeled buttercup squash (I cheat and use frozen)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup unpeeled eggplant (1 small)
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 small onion cut thickly ( almost in wedges if your family will still eat them that big - mine won't so I dice them)
1-28oz can of Italian style peeled plum tomatoes, undrained, cut up.
1.5 cups cooked garbanzo beans (15oz can or homemade)
2 cups chicken broth (mine is homemade)
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3/4tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups uncooked couscous
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot EXCEPT couscous and raisins - Mix Well.
Cover, cook on low for 7-9 hours.
Cook couscous, stir in raisins.

To serve, spoon 1 cup couscous into individual soup plates; spoon stew over couscous.

This is a great fall recipe - and wonderful Lenten Recipe. It is frugal, crunchy, soy free, milk free and stinkin' good!
Submitted to Dining with Debbie Crockpot Wednesday
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlams
Favorite Crockpot Recipes at Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap
Just Another Meatless Monday @ hey what's for dinner?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keeping Tortilla's Warm for a crowd

I often serve chicken soft tacos for crowds up to 25. "SOFT" is important. I have one of those wonderful brown tortilla holders like you see in Mexican resteraunts. But that isn't always big enough.
HMMMM what to use? My handy dandy crockpot, set on warm. I have always just warmed them one by one - not very efficient - but if you wrap them in aluminum foil and put in the crock they will warm up perfectly.

This is submitted to Works for Me Wednesday, Kitchen Tip submitted to Tammy's Recipes and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Check the blogs for great tips! And by request Dining with Debbie's Crockpot Wednesday.(thanks Debbie you made my day!)

Friday, October 2, 2009


Last June I posted about Reconomics on my other blog The Rock Spot. I thought it would be nice to list how I have been practicing this lately.

But first what is reconomics?

Reconomics? Yes, if you have ever bought something used - book, car, or house you are a reconomist.

The Reconomy is good economy. Good for the planet, good for the pocket book. Recycle, resell, reuse, rehab. Buying, selling, donating and sharing "gently used" items rather than always going for the brand spankin' new gizmo or gadget.

The Reconomy also promotes simplicity. By getting rid of the stuff you don't want or need anymore through selling, donating or sharing your life becomes simpler.

Not only does each item that is reused, recycled, rehabbed and or resold help both parties it one less thing that needs energy to be produced, it reduces the size of your personal environmental footprint and one less thing landing in the landfill. I love reconomics!

So how have I practiced reconomics lately?
  • Gave my sister all of my youngest's hand-me-downs.
  • Used my fall "decoration plates" as plates - that's right we are eating off of them.
  • The glass jars that my juice comes in I have been using to freeze homemade chicken broth.
  • Used what was left of sausage, potato and cabbage stew to make potato pancakes.
  • Gifted some of my homeschooling friends with curriculum that I have from my homeschooling days. (Still have tons to give away!)
  • Bagged up and donated a lot of our toys - downsized to only needing 2 small toy boxes. (Not bad remember I have 8 children!)
  • Use regular old clothespins to keep my bags closed instead of buying chip clips.
  • Made garlic bread with old-ish hamburger buns and hot dog buns. (mix butter with garlic powder, spread on bread, broil till brown, flip and toast. Yummy!)
  • Begun my Christmas shopping - at the thrift stores (don't tell my kids tee hee)
  • Using thrift store glass jars to store my grains, sugar, tea etc.
  • Put old high school long sleeve T's in my husband's work shirt pile so he can wear them as undershirts this winter.

What about you? How do you practice reconomics?

Check out Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays for more great ideas.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Check out the great giveaway at KitchenStewardship

Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship is giving away Soapnuts!

If you’d like to try soap nuts for washing laundry (or anything else in your house), TWO WINNERS will each receive a 4 oz. (40 load) Soap Nuts AND an EXTREME 18x Soap Nuts Laundry Soap 1 oz. trial size.

These are all natural and can be used in all washers even my fancy schmancy HE washer.

Go here to enter.

I just love giveaways don't you????

Repost: Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup

Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup
Makes 6-8 Servings

1lb ground beef, or bulk sausage, browned. (I have used ground buffalo also, may try Quorn)
4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
3 - 8oz. cans tomato sauce
Salt and pepper liberally (1-2tsp's each)
hot pepper sauce to your liking (1/2 to 1 tsp usually) or a roasted sweet chipotle sauce for a different flavor.

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Add enough water to just cover everything.
Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high for 5 hours until potatoes are tender.

I sometimes throw in some sliced celery and carrots also. Depends on how much time I have to put it together and whether I have them both on hand.

I really like this simple, cheap, gluten free, milk free, beef free (if use alternatives) soy free and all around Ok for all our various dietary needs.

submitted to Life as Mom:Ultimate Recipe Swap:Soup's On! and Life as Mom:Ultimate Recipe Swap: Where's the Beef? (oops - didn't mean to do that! - almost a double post, sorry)

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!