Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Review: As Silver Refined

Have you ever sat down and had a heart-to-heart with a dear friend and/or mentor?  Well, that is how "As Silver Refined" by Kay Arthur reads. It's like having someone that you know who cares about you and your faith have a loving conversation and sharing insights based on Biblical truth about "stuff" that happens in our lives.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Danish Dough Hook

I gotta say it... This little baby is my new favorite tool in the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Winning Balance

 Winning Balance is the story of gymnast Shawn Johnson.  It reads very much like a diary in that she shares her personal feelings in a very innocent and endearing way.  She has also included poems she has written, lessons she has learned and great inspirational quotes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creamy Pasta & Broccoli

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I've been making this pasta dish for quite a few years and although it has taken a real-food turn recently, we still absolutely love it.

Served with a perfectly grilled steak, pan-fried pork chops, or just about anything else, it's great for a dinner with the family or special enough for company.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Monday, June 25

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Summer is arriving in the Pacific Northwest.  Going strawberry picking truly signals that event for me.

I enjoy the busyness of this time of year, putting up fruits and vegetables for another time when we question if we'll ever see the sun again through all the dark clouds heavy with rain.  And so it begins.

B: Oatmeal with strawberries
L: PB w/ bananas & honey on toast; raw veggies & dip
D: Dinner out with friends

Friday, June 22, 2012

Broccoli Salad

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Yum. That's all I've got to say about that.

Count yourself lucky that I'm a woman of few words today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baked Parmesan Basil Tomatoes

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This recipe is an easy way to use the abundance of tomatoes and fresh herbs you may have in your garden (or soon may have).  Also, this a a great one that the kiddos can help make.  And because they have helped make them and they do make such a very pretty presentation, they are much more likely to help eat them, too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Where Lilacs Still Bloom

"Where Lilacs Still Bloom" written by Jane Kirkpatrick chronicles the journey of Hulda Klager from Woodland, Washington to create new varieties of lilacs and the life she lived with her family in the early to mid-1900's.

How to Preserve a Husband

I'm getting ready for canning season and  found this little piece of advice in an old cookbook.  Author unknown.  

How to Preserve a Husband

Be careful in your selection; do not choose too young.
Take only such as have been reared in
a good moral atmosphere.
Some wives insist on keeping husbands in a pickle, 
while others put them in hot water.
This only makes them sour, hard and sometimes bitter.
Even poor varieties may be made sweet and good
 by garnishing them with patience,
well-sweetened with smiles and 
flavored with kisses to taste.
Keep warm in a steady fire of domestic devotion 
and serve with peaches and cream.
When thus preserved, they will keep for years.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chocolate Mousse (Mousse au Chocolat)

Chocolate mousse.  Who woulda ever thought that this decadent dessert could be a real foodie's dream come true?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu Monday, June 18

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There are times like this morning that I really enjoy just being able to relax a little, cup of coffee in hand, and watch the hummingbirds.  It's nice to be able to take a small break from the hustle, isn't it?

B: Oatmeal with raisins
L: Stuffed baked potatoes; raw veggies & dip
D: Cobb salad w/ simple vinaigrette; toasted sourdough garlic bread; cantaloupe & blueberries

Friday, June 15, 2012

Homemade Lemon Pine Sol ® Cleaner

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Last year, I confessed that I have a love affair with the "smell of clean".  Do you know what I mean?  Sometimes things just don't seem clean because the smell that I'm used to accompanying it isn't there.  That has been the biggest challenge for me using homemade cleaners.  They do work nicely in many cases, but where's the "clean smell"?

I love Lemon Pine Sol but cannot be anywhere near the regular stuff.  Just makes me wanna gag.  So if you are like me and like the lemon stuff, give this recipe a try and tell me what you think. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Layered Fiesta Bake

This is another recipe that I've been meaning to share with you for a while.  It's really easy to put together and a great way to re-purpose leftover beans, rice and Mexican shredded beef.  If you are a really detailed person and like exact measurements, I'm sorry!  But once you try it, you'll be glad you did!

Disclaimer:  This dish is faaaarrrrr yummier than the picture might indicate.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crockpot Shredded Mexican Beef

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I love this recipe.  It is so easy and oh so good.  And it uses the crock pot...even better.  And I use a frozen roast.  Can you say "stupid simple"?  Oh ya.

Mexican shredded beef has so many uses.  Just substitute where ever you would use ground beef taco meat for a meal that seems just a little more special. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

UPDATE: Soaked Whole Wheat Pancakes & Waffles

We normally have pancakes and/or waffles once a week.  They are a great breakfast for the weekend when we have a little more time to enjoy them and each other.  And when your whole wheat flour is soaked in an acidic medium like kefir or buttermilk, your breakfast is more nourishing and satisfying, too.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through my copy of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and decided to try her recipe for pancakes.  The recipe is extremely simple.  Although it has no sweetener, we found that we did not miss it at all.  It's amazing how maple syrup and/or a berry compote can do that, you know?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Monday, June 11

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I had confessed a couple weeks ago that I'd fallen off the menu planning wagon... gotten side-tracked... been human.  I think it's been more challenging not having a meal-time game plan than making the time to sit my fanny down to do it. 

Lately, we've been enjoying some type of dessert after dinner.  It has been a really satisfying way to end our meal.  I try to keep it to one "sugary" dessert a week and the servings are definitely modest in size.  So this week I'm sharing what's for dessert as well.

By the way, don't forget that Sunday is Father's Day!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Simple But Decadent Blue Cheese and Cranberry Green Salad

This salad is a favorite when paired with a simple grilled meat, baked potato and a nice steamed vegetable.  The flavors are amazing and I think it's best served with other dishes that don't have strong, competing flavors.  It's special enough for having company over for dinner or you just feel like splurging with the family.

If you are wanting to serve a multi-course meal, you could start off with this salad, served with a slice of well-buttered rustic sourdough bread.  Or, do as the French do and serve this after the main course.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FREE SHIPPING at Tropical Traditions this Weekend!

In addition to free shipping, Tropical Tradition's Pure Coconut Oil pints are currently on sale Buy 1 Get 1 FREE! This oil is their most affordable coconut oil. It is a high-quality, expeller-pressed oil and it rivals many more expensive coconut oils in the market in both quality and taste. This 100% pure coconut oil is a popular local product in the Philippines, and Tropical Traditions is the only one exporting it into the US market. Sale price is only $12.50 for two 16oz. jars!

NOTE: To take advantage of this special, you MUST enter coupon code 11126 in your cart before checking out.

Such a great deal!!!

Simple Vinaigrette

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Our garden is giving us a bounty of tender greens.  Leaf lettuces in green and red, kale, mustard greens, and curly leaf lettuce.  These greens are so delectable, they just about melt in your mouth.  On top of that they are so flavorful that to mask that with a heavy dressing would be nothing short of criminal.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beyond Easy Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is a staple in our house.  It's easy, good, and good for you too.

Many fruit salad recipes have some kind of special dressing.  Not this one.  Oh, no.  This is simplicity at it's best.  So if you can open a can or two, cut up some fruit and maybe grab a couple handfuls of some fresh or frozen berries, you've got fruit salad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Muffuletta Sandwich on Homemade Sourdough

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Since we started our real food journey, we rarely eat sandwiches.  It wasn't uncommon before for us to have sandwiches for lunch every day, featuring store-bought processed lunch meat.  Now if we do eat sandwiches, it's most likely tuna or egg salad or a cheese sandwich.

A couple weeks ago, it was absolutely beautiful outside and we decided to have a picnic dinner.  I wanted something good and hearty, but relatively mess-free.  Well, these sandwiches aren't really mess-free, but they are nothing shy of amazing.  I hope you think so, too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zesty Orange Salad

I recently read "French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen Le Billon.  The book is the British Columbian author's experience with raising her two daughters in a small French village where her husband grew up, and the changes they made along the way with their eating habits.  Although at times I wondered who the child was (the mother or the girls), it was an enlightening read and has impacted how I personally look at food.

Food is meant to be nourishing...oui?  But it is also meant to be satisfying.  For food to be satisfying, it is important for us to take the time to truly savor our meals.  When we take that time eating, seated at a table, preferably with our family, it gives our bodies the time they need to be able to tell us when they are no longer hungry (you didn't hear me say "full"!) and at the same time we are connecting with the people we hold most dear.

I realize that this is a lengthy preamble to a recipe.  But my hope is that this simple and pretty dessert is the satisfying end to a meal in your home sometime soon.

Bon appétit.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Water Kefir Tribbles

Captain Kirk with Tribbles
If you are not a Star Trek fan, this analogy will be totally lost on you.  So sorry.

Last week, I purchased 1/4 C of live water kefir grains.  When I received them in the mail, I immediately dissolved 1/4 C turbinado in some warm filtered water in a quart jar and topped that off with more cool filtered water to give me just shy of 4 cups of lukewarm sweetened water.  I anxiously added my water kefir grains to that, covered with a sprouting lid (you could use cheese cloth or a clean dish towel) and set it on my counter top.  Every two days, I would strain off my grains leaving behind my water kefir...which I'm really starting to love, by the way, and I promise to post more on that soon.

Anywho, in the 6 days I have had my water kefir grains, this is how much I have right now.  (And remember, I started with 1/4 cup...)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Powdered HE Laundry Detergent Recipe

Laundry detergent.  Now that I've been making my own for the past several months, I can hardly believe the price it fetches at the local stores.  Can you say "highway robbery"?

I had been using the liquid detergent I posted several months ago.  It works great.  It's inexpensive as all get out.  But... I'm lazy.  And having a big ole jug to mess around with, well, I starting thinking about a powdered version.  After all, wasn't I going to be putting the detergent in water anyway?  So, now you have another version to suit your preference.