Monday, March 30, 2009

Asparagus - My New Fav Veggie

I have discovered that I love asparagus...and apparently this is the perfect time of the year to indulge, because it is asparagus season.  When I first started investigating how to cook this veggie that I have spent my whole life not eating (my mom ate canned asparagus and I hated it as a kid), I did not have a clue where to begin.

When in doubt, stir-fry!  The first meal I tried was an asparagus and shrimp stir-fry over angel hair pasta. Mmmm....
Last week I picked up some and decided to try roasting it.  The stars of that show were my can of extra-virgin olive oil spray and a jar of McCormick Roasting Rub - French Herb flavor (this stuff is great on veggies and meats too - thanks Fran). 

I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and sprayed with oil.  After washing the asparagus and snapping off the ends, I laid it on the cookie sheet, sprayed it with oil and sprinkled the herbs over the top.  I then baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Yummo! Sometimes I impress myself.  (ha!)

If you would like more tips and recipes for asparagus, check out the website here.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It Won't Be Like This For Long

I don't normally listen to country music, so I had not heard this song until this morning when I found it on another blog, BlessedwithGrace

If you have little ones, enjoy today, because this song is sure won't be like this for long.   

It Won't Be Like This For Long
Darius Rucker

Friday, March 27, 2009

Egg Salad & Fresh Bread...Honey Hush!

I have been busy today.  It started out when I noticed my poor neglected Kitchen Aid mixer sitting on the counter this morning.  I decided that it had been WAY too long since the smell of fresh baked bread wafted through the kitchen, so I rectified that situation.

While the wheat bread dough was rising, I was checking out a few blogs.  My buddy Deanna posted her recipe for egg salad here.  It looked so good, I decided to make a batch...with a few twists (recipe to follow).

Then my son came over to see if he could figure out why the water dispenser on my fridge quit working.  His suggestion was to turn the whole thing off and defrost it to see if the line is frozen. 

Ugh....what a pain!

I have a side-by-side and it stays full (well, most of the time anyway).  First, I had to rearrange my other freezer (which is pretty full too) so it would accommodate the extra food.  Then I filled an empty clothes basket with frozen food to transport to the big freezer.  After doing that, I took stuff out of the fridge and stuffed it into two small ice chests.  I called him back to find out how long I have to keep it off.  I did not like his answer: 24 HOURS!

Anyway, at least I had a good lunch of fresh bread and creamy egg salad. 


Here are the recipes:

Egg Salad

8 eggs, boiled and peeled
1/3 c. of mayonnaise
4 oz. cream cheese
2 T. sweet pickle relish
salt & pepper

Sit the cream cheese out a while to soften.  Add mayonnaise, relish, salt and pepper.  Chop the eggs fine (I used the food processor).  Stir all together and enjoy!  (This is not an exact science...feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste.)

Honey Wheat Bread

1 envelope yeast 
2 cups warm water (120 degrees) 
1/4 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup honey 
1 teaspoon salt 
3 cups whole wheat flour 
2 - 3 cups white flour 

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. (I add a pinch of sugar) 
2. Combine butter, molasses, honey and salt and mix well. (I use my large KitchenAid bowl)
3. Add yeast mixture.
4. Gradually add flours, a cup at a time, mixing after each cup. (It's kind of tricky to know when enough is enough. I keep adding a little at a time until it starts to come clean from the bowl as it kneads.) 
5. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth. (I let my Kitchen Aid do the work!) 
6. Place in buttered bowl and let rise until double. (I leave it in the KitchenAid bowl & cover with a towel) 
7. Punch down and let rest for a few minutes. (Since I left it in the KitchenAid bowl, I just turn it back on for a minute) 
8. Divide dough into 2 parts and shape into loaves. 
9. Place in 2 greased pans and let rise for about an hour. (I turn on the oven to 200 degrees, just until I feel heat, then turn off heat, turn on the light and put the loaf pans inside to rise.) 
10. Bake at 375* for 35 to 40 minutes. (I leave the pans in the oven and turn on the need to preheat. It's done when it's browned and the top sounds hollow when thumped.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Riding Happy

Big girl got her first real bicycle. We bought it used at a consignment shop...of all places.  

Oh. My. Gosh. She loves it!  It has a bell on the handlebars and she has had so much fun with that. There is also a little seat in the back so that she can strap in her teddy bears and baby dolls and take them for a ride.

Now we just need somewhere for her to ride it safely.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Change Has To Come

My husband teaches in an inner-city school.  Today there was yet another fight in his classroom, but today one of the kids shoved another kid into my husband.  He was thrown off balance and fell, hitting his head on a desk. Fortunately he is okay...this time. 

Y'all...seriously...there is something wrong with this picture.

There is no way that a teacher can effectively teach in this kind of environment. It is so sad, because for many of these students, this is their last chance at having an education. They just don't realize what they are throwing away.

I don't have any answers...just lots of questions. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Left Turns

Today while I was taking BK to story time at the library, I started thinking about how many left turns I have to make. When I pull out from my street onto the main road, I have to turn left. Then to pull into the library I have to turn left.  All of these left turns require me to stop and wait for oncoming traffic...sometimes from both directions.

Last year I had a car accident while I was pulling out to make a left turn (the accident was TOTALLY not my fault, but that is another story for another post).

So today I was kind of thinking that it is just not fair that I have to make so many left know how it goes..."why can't life just be easy?"

Then I felt really dumb when I realized that I have just as many right turns as I do left turns...that is if I want to go back home.  Duh!

I wonder why we focus so much on the irritations in our lives, but the blessings are often if we just expect them to be there?  

Garden Criminals?

Have you heard about the proposed bill that has the potential to make backyard gardening illegal? It appears to be another of those crazy bills that on the surface "protects" American citizens, but in reality only ends up giving the government more control in our lives.

It does not plainly state that food grown by individuals for their own consumption would be illegal, but the problem is that the language is so vague that it could be interpreted in that manner.

This kind of thing just makes me shake my head in wonder. The lawmakers in our country seem so out of touch with the people who sent them to Washington in the first place.  I think that there are already more laws on the books than the authorities have the resources to enforce.  Give us a break and let this one die a peaceful death.

If you want to read about the bill (or better yet, pick up the phone and call your legislators), Google HR 875 and S 425.  I found an article about it here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The 10 Cannots

According to Wikipedia, the following was written in 1916 by Rev. William J. H. Boetcker.  There is much wisdom to be found here.  

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

  • Monday, March 16, 2009

    Coming of Age

    I went to Wal-Mart this afternoon.  As I looked at my list, I realized that the bulk of the list was comprised of things for my four-year-old.  

    Kid's shampoo (a first for her since we have always used baby shampoo)
    Colored floss picks
    Fluoride mouth rinse
    Bubble bath  

    When I got home, I pulled each item out and showed her. She was SO excited! I was excited for her.  It's so much fun having a girl.  We had to carefully open each thing and let her see and smell...over and over.  

    As I put her things up, I couldn't help but smile. One day, my baby girl turned into a toddler...and then when I wasn't looking, she grew into a pre-schooler. Now she has her own corner in the bathroom cabinet for her stuff. 

    Later we giggled as I rolled up little pieces of a napkin to put between her toes so I could polish those tiny toenails pink.

    Sugar and spice and everything nice
    That's what my sweet girl is made of...  

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Loving Clara

    I have recently discovered ninety-three year old Clara and her wonderful videos of Depression era cooking.  The videos are around 5 or 6 minutes long.  Clara tells amusing stories of her life during the Depression while she cooks many different interesting meals.  What a neat lady!  You can check out her videos here.

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Maxine Wisdom

    I love Maxine!  We can learn a lot from her.

    What are you thinking today?  

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Affirming Words For Our Children

    My friend Tammy Davis sent me an email a couple of days ago that really spoke to my heart.  I asked her permission to share it here.  How true it is that our children need our affirmation daily to be able to survive in today's world. Tammy is the Children's Ministry Director at Lakeland Presbyterian Church in Flowood.  


    I was reading the Hitting Home blog site (it is listed below) last night and thought I would share this one with you. It served as a reminder of how important affirmation is to all our kids (husbands and wives too). This blog is aimed at the ministry of preteens so this article, Affirm Them, Now! Is aimed at dealing with preteens, but they aren’t the only ones who need it.

    I remember Elayna coming home in Kindergarten upset one day because she was told her clothes were not cute enough. She came home from church one night a year or so ago upset that she wasn’t, according to someone else, “skinny” enough. Will hated riding the school bus because of the name calling. Caleb had to look up the word retard in a dictionary after being called that. His response when he got home was “I am certainly not slow in my ability to learn. I don’t know why they would say that.”

    I hear kids at church call other kids stupid (I do tell them that stupid is certainly not a polite word and that I don’t want to hear them use it at church.) among other less than friendly things. SO, it is not just the world of school and the neighborhood where our kids are being torn down on a daily basis. Sometimes it is at church or even at home by misguided words from family members.

    We would love to protect them at all times, but we can’t. However, we can affirm them and build them up so that can withstand what the world throws their way. Hopefully at home who we are is OK. 

    I am trying to drill into my kids minds and hearts that they were woven in the womb by a God who loves them more than I ever could, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe in His image, that they are a child of the King of Kings, and they will spend an eternity in His presence. How much more fantastic could they possibly be?

    You can read the Hitting Home blog post here

    In Christ,


    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    New Recipe - Cheeseburger & Fries Casserole

    Here you go Leslie...just for you! : )


    4 pounds lean ground beef

    2 cans cream soup

    2 cans cheddar cheese soup

    2 packaged (20 oz each) frozen crinkle-cut French fries

    In a skillet, brown the beef, drain.  Stir in soups.  Pour into two 13x9x2 baking dishes.  Allow the mixture to cool, then freeze. On cooking day, take the baking dish out of the freezer in the morning and allow to defrost. Arrange French fries on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until the fries are golden brown.

    Chocolate Eclair Dessert - Guilt Free's GOOD!

    Chocolate Eclair Dessert
    Serves 18
    Calories 171

    1 box low-fat graham crackers
    2 small boxes sugar-free French Vanilla pudding mix (or white chocolate)
    4 1/2 cups skim milk
    2  8 oz. tubs sugar-free Cool Whip
    1 large box sugar-free Chocolate pudding mix

    In a medium bowl, combine vanilla pudding mixes with 3 cups milk; refrigerate 5 minutes. While waiting for pudding to set, line bottom of a 13 X 9 baking dish with 8 graham crackers. Gently fold in Cool Whip to the pudding; spoon 1/2 over the graham crackers.  Top with another 8 crackers.  Spoon remaining pudding mixture over crackers.  Top with last 8 crackers.  Mix chocolate pudding mix with 1 1/2 cups milk; pour over top layer of crackers.  Crumble remaining graham crackers over top.  Refrigerate overnight for best taste. 

    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Freezer Cooking Frenzy

    I spent the weekend cooking.  Now my freezer is full and I'm sick of looking at food.

    Here's what I ended up with:

    Baked Ziti - 5 meals
    Cheeseburger & Fries Casserole - 4 meals
    Mexican Chicken - 4 meals
    Black Beans & Rice - 5 meals
    Beef Roast - 3 meals
    Veggie Beef Soup - 2 meals
    Sloppy Joes - 3 meals
    Chili with Beans - 5 meals

    There was more that I wanted to do, but I just ran out of time/energy/motivation, so I put the last three pounds of cooked ground beef and a pound of cooked chicken in the freezer to use later.

    Sleep The Pounds Away?

    Yet another reason for me to turn off the computer and get to bed earlier.  Read the story here.