Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu Monday, December 31
Photo credit

Good-bye 2012.  You had some wonderful, inspiring, and memorable times.  You also had some awfully dark, depressing, and challenging times.  You will forever live in my memories.

Now, what's for dinner?

Monday, New Year's Eve
B: Oatmeal with cherries 

D: Potluck

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Eve 80's Party & Dance Charades

You know you're from the 80's when...
This New Year’s Eve, we are looking forward to hosting an 80’s party at our house.  (Imagine big hair, big makeup, mullets…)  Most years we have friends over, but this year will be a larger gathering with families with tween-agers and older. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Readers' Choice Awards

I know you were just dying to see this.  And I was dying to tell you!  These are the posts that you most wanted to read.

Thanks for coming to hang out with me this year and I know that 2013 is gonna be even better. 

Live in Victory!

This is my go-to recipe for beef burritos, tacos, tostadas, Layered Fiesta Bake, etc.  
It is that good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

I just received "Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe" by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson today and I couldn't put it down.

As a mom, we are trying to do it all.  Many times, we are doing it without help or encouragement, too.  Feeling overwhelmed is certainly something I have felt and have felt guilty about, thinking that I must be alone in my experience.  But the authors are quick to affirm, encourage, and direct mothers to the feet of God all while giving practical advice as well.  

A Time to Plan Your Best Year Yet

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas! 

And after Christmas, it seems that most people's thoughts turn to New Year's resolutions.

I really detest New Year's resolutions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Menu Monday, December 24

Every year, Christmas seems to come more quickly, doesn't it?  And this year was no exception.  I hope that this Christmas is a joyful one for you and your family and that you are surrounded by those you hold most dear.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, Christmas Eve
B: Oatmeal with cranberries
L: Leftovers

D: 1st Course:  Caesar salad
     Main Course: Chicken fettuccine alfredo; homemade garlic bread
     Dessert: Jesus' birthday cake: Chocolate cake

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Duke's Clam Chowder
Duke's at Green Lake, Seattle
Years ago before Tom and I got married and moved away, we both lived in the Seattle area.  I lived near Northgate and Tom would come over and take me for walks around Green Lake.  Many, many times we would then go to Duke's at Green Lake for a little dinner.  As a matter of fact, it was there at that Duke's that my then-fiance and I decided over Chardonnay and clam chowder to elope instead of having a wedding.  That was a decision neither of us has ever regretted.

Shortly before that, Duke's had printed the recipe for their clam chowder on cute glossy little postcards and passed them out to patrons.  I still have that recipe card, and below is that incredible recipe for one of the best clam chowders out there.  I hope you make as many fond memories while eating this as I have had.

 Duke's Clam Chowder
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 lb new potato, blanched and diced
  • 4 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 C clams, chopped
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1/2 C half-and-half
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 2 oz. clam base
  • 1 1/4 C clam juice
  • 1 pinch garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 t marjoram
  • 2 t fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t dill
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 C fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Cook bacon until transparent.
  2. Add butter, onions, celery and all the seasoning except dill and parsley.
  3. Cook until tender. Add flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.
  4. Add all dairy products, clam nectar and base. Heat just under boiling point.
  5. Steam potatoes and cool.
  6. Add chopped clams and potatoes. Bring to a boil slowly and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add dill and parsley and serve.
This recipe also posted on Real Food Wednesdays.

Book Review: A Clearing in the Wild"A Clearing in the Wild" by Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy.

During the mid-1800's, Emma and her family were members of a separatist religous group called the Bethelites, who were led by a self-righteous man named Wilhelm Keil.  The group lived in a communal way and their mission was to convert others into the colony.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baked Pears with Chocolate

Baked pears with chocolate...  I've been making this recipe for a very long time.  It's one of those recipes that I can't ever believe gets out of our regular rotation.  Yet when I find it again, it's like finding a treasure.  I normally make this for simple family dinners, yet have served it when I know I have company coming that is very conscious of their waistline or when I want an unpretentious end to a nice meal.

Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon & Black Pepper

I made this salad from Orangette last weekend with our homemade fish and chips.  It was uncomplicated to make and had a very nice, uncomplicated, fresh flavor.  Also, the red cabbage makes a very pretty presentation and was a welcome bit of color on our plates.  We loved it and I wanted to share it with you, too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Menu Monday, December 17

Cookies I made... ya right.
The house is decorated?  Check. 

Christmas cards and letters are addressed, stamped and out in the mail?  Check.

Gifts are finished/purchased and wrapped?  Check.

Christmas cookies baked?  Nope... That's what's on the agenda for this week.  If we make them too early, Tom will sneak out to the freezer and eat all the Thumbprints.  So, we've learned to wait until closer to Christmas.  He's such a kid sometimes!  :)

By the way, yes, Virginia, you can make Christmas cookies when you are a Foodie!  Just exchange real food ingredients for the junk.  Use real butter, sprouted soft wheat flour, turbinado and sucanat.   Speaking of turbinado, it is my absolute favorite replacement for white sugar.  When I don't want large crystals in my finished product, I powder it, usually using an old coffee grinder I use for spices.

So there you have it.  Go and do!

B: Oatmeal with blueberries
L: Leftovers

D: Tacos; Spanish rice with black beans; green salad; mock frozen yogurt

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book Review: Live Second

I've mentioned it many times before.  I love devotionals.  So to get an opportunity to review another devotional?  I was excited. This one is titled "Live Second" by Doug Bender, and includes 365 ways to make Jesus first in your life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review: Still Lolo

Oddly enough, I started reading the account of Lauren Scruggs on the anniversary of her horrific accident involving a small aircraft propeller blade.  I remembered hearing about the accident in the news last year, but that was about it.  So, I was looking forward to hearing her side of the story.

Friday, December 7, 2012

FREE SHIPPING at Tropical Traditions!

Love, love, love Tropical Traditions!  I am a HUGE fan of their expeller-pressed coconut oil (we buy it in the 5 gallon bucket!), raw honey and so much more. If you've never tried them out, now is a great time!

FREE Shipping Coupon!!

FREE Shipping

Through midnight EST, Monday, December 10th, all Tropical Traditions Ground shipments within the lower 48 United States will be FREE with the use of our FREE Shipping coupon! This special offer does not apply to refrigerated or frozen items, products shipped directly from our farms in WI (Eggs, Produce, Lady Finger Popcorn, Heirloom Dry Shell Bean Mix, Heirloom Cornmeal, and Heirloom Whole Kernel Corn), or to rebounders, which are shipped by the manufacturer. It also does not apply to 3 day, 2nd day air and overnight shipments. Coupon does not apply to Healthy Buyer's Club discounted items. A minimum order of $16 dollars is required.

NOTE: To take advantage of this special, you MUST enter coupon code 112121 in your cart before checking out, and choose either Ground or SmartPost from the drop down list of shipping options! FREE shipping is NOT applied automatically. Orders placed before today cannot be refunded for shipping charges.

Menu Monday, December 10

I am posting this early because I want to share with you about a really wonderful organization, Samaritan's Purse.

Last week, I was able to get our Christmas cards addressed, signed, stuffed with letter and pic of the little gems, and out in the mail.  Whew!

This week, my plan is to finish any shopping I have not gotten done yet, which really isn't much, and get it all wrapped and ready including stocking stuffers.

If you are looking for a GREAT, easy gift for someone who has "everything", please consider a donation to Samaritan's Purse.  Not only was it easy, but it is a way to give a truly meaningful gift to someone in need.  Samaritan's Purse will also send a card to the person you are giving the gift in honor of. 

B: Oatmeal with cranberries
L: Leftovers

D: Homemade pizza; Caesar salad; pineapple

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Brazilian Bananas

Brazilian Bananas
Last night for dinner, we tried a simple new dessert that all of really loved... even those in the house who don't like coconut.  So if you are looking for a simple fruit-based dessert that would be fit for company, this one would definitely be on my short-list.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Making Dinner Special with Candlelight & More

Photo credit
On Monday, I told you I'd share about our recent at-home dining experiences.  I hope you and your family benefit from our little experiment!

Back in June, I read "French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen Le Billon.  The book really made a wonderful impact on me and made me rethink dinner time.  Although we as a family almost always sit at the table together as a family, most of the time it still seemed like a rushed affair.  I really wanted something different for us.  I wanted our family to have a more  relaxed, unhurried, conversation-filled, "French" dining experience.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Monday, December 3

Photo credit
If you look below for the weekend menu, you'll see something a little different.  This past weekend, we opted to make dinner a little more special.  I'll share about that tomorrow!

B: Oatmeal with strawberries
L: Leftovers
D: Taco salads; skillet corn bread;
fruit salad