Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Eats & Artisan Bread

Still-recovering-from-nausea Foodie here! I *so* missed being able to read about food & actually enjoy it! I was kinda living vicariously through several food blogs, since I've been unable to cook as much as I'd like and eat as much as I'd like. {Sure helps with the pregnancy weight gain though!} Here are two of the bloggy kitchens {complete with mini-reviews} you'll find me in on any given day:

Smitten Kitchen : I nearly moved into this kitchen for awhile there. The food photography is just downright amazing, not to mention the recipes seeming downright delicious! A "must" for any food-lover.

Simply Recipes: I've been slowly changing my cooking style from somewhat purist/pretentious to a little more simple. *Gasp*, I know. Great straightforward {a.k.a. uncomplicated} yet creative recipes of all types, neatly organized into different categories, and nicely photogged. Perfect.

Speaking of good eats, yesterday morning I made this:

Even I'm impressed with myself. I made it following this recipe. Seriously. No kneading! It totally fits into my new "simpler is better" philosophy. My old-fashioned grandma could not believe that all you need is 1/4 t. of yeast. For anyone who bakes, you'll know that that is a crazy amount, barely any at all! It's an artisan-style bread, crusty on the outside, slightly chewy yet tender on the inside. You can't really cut it into neat slices because of the open craggy interior. It's more of a tear-it-by-hand type loaf.

I loved it slightly warm, spread with butter. A tiny drizzle of honey would've been the proverbial cherry on top, but alas, I was all out. The second loaf is fermenting as we speak for baking off tomorrow. So super simple & super yummy to boot. Two thumbs up from the kiddos as well!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

School can be....


Probably not the adjective you'd most likely pick when describing school, right? Unless you're a homeschooler & get to use food for science class and as counters for math. Last week while studying clouds, we actually made 4 different types of clouds out of whipped cream as a visual display.
The best part? know.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Abc Game

On our way to an activity yesterday, Tatiana and I were playing the ABC game, the one where you pick a topic then take turns with the letters of the alphabet naming something in that genre that starts with that letter. Of course, topic number two was Food. My foods went something like this: Asparagus, Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Grapes, Ice Cream, Kale, Mango, Okra, Quinoa {yes, even I can't believe I thought of a "Q" food}, and so on. Tatiana's went something like, Banana, Ding-dongs, Hotdogs, Jellybeans, Nuts, Popsicles, etc. It was just so comical how, according to my foodie nature, I picked somewhat exotic items and my seven year-old picked, well, more kiddie foods.

P.S. Any foods start with X?

Friday, February 06, 2009


In honor of my birthday {yesterday}, here's 31 randomish things about me.

1. I love Chai. The spicier the better.

2. At one point as a child, our family had a dog, a cat, a bird, and some fish. I think might explain why I am a NO-pet household.

3. I have a thing about spoons and forks. I like the smaller ones, not the dinner sized ones. If the spoon is rounder, as opposed to elongated and pointy, that's a bonus. I always go for those first in my utensil drawer.

4. My mom's due date with me was Valentine's Day.

5. I've never tried Brussel Sprouts.

6. I've visited 5 different countries, including this one.

7. I can be very forgetful. This is why re-runs are perfect for me. I can never remember who-dunnit.

8. My first car was a silver Toyota Corolla.

9. It's been 8 years since I've flown anywhere.

10. I love being near the water, as in big lakes or the ocean. There's just something that makes me feel so small & God feel so big that is both energizing & calming at the same time.

11. There's a spot in my quadriceps muscle that has been twitching while I'm writing this. It's driving me crazy.

12. I *heart* berries. Strawberries. Blueberries {semi-frozen with sugar & cinnamon}. Blackberries {with vanilla ice cream}. Raspberries {my grandma used to grow red & orange ones}. I've even had gooseberries {grandma grew those too}!

13. There were 13 steps leading to the basement in my childhood home. I'd always skip one. Something about 13 being unlucky.

14. I got my first speeding ticket at 29, even though I'd gotten pulled over about 6 times before that {different reasons}. I guess the po-pos can only let you slide so many times.

15. I wrecked my first car {see #8} when I was 17. Then I got my beloved red Pontiac Sunbird. It was a two door coupe with a spoiler & a neon license plate holder. Golly, how I miss that car.

16. I almost got stuck in a booth at Red Lobster once. I was probably about 8 months pregnant. Thought I was gonna have to use some of that lobster butter to slide myself out....

17. I've never been TP'ing.

18. I've never smoked a cigarette. Not a one.

19. I learned how to cashier when I was about 8 years old. My great-aunt owned a White Hen Pantry {convenient store} where my mom worked. I had to stand on a milk crate to reach the buttons.

20. I've broken one bone, my collarbone {see #15}. Coincidentally, Hubs broke the opposite collarbone in a bike accident, so we have semi-matching lumps from where the breaks healed.

21. I used to love eating raw instant oatmeal. Cinnamon & Spice. When I was a kid, I just started using less & less water to intensify the flavor, until I was eating it dry. Weird, I know.

22. When I was in 4th grade, my private school went on a "field trip" to visit historical sites. We went to Independence Hall, the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Memorial, the Capitol Building, and the White House. I missed meeting President Reagan by one day.

23. My maiden name is CANARY. {It felt really weird to type that.}

24. I used to be a figure skater. It's something I wished I wouldn't have given up. I was even asked to join a precision team. Why I didn't want to is beyond me.

25. I'm a gift card saver. I get them for holidays or special occasions & wait months and months til the perfect time to use them. I still have a gift card from two Christmases ago waiting for its perfect moment.....

26. I hate driving at night. I think it has something to do with not having binocular vision. Add rain or snow to the mix and I'm just a nervous wreck.

27. Romance by Ralph Lauren is my signature scent. It was my "something borrowed" on my wedding day & I've been wearing it ever since.

28. After getting married, I had 5 permanent addresses before having what I now call home. I hated moving so much.

29. I used to be a night owl, especially when I was learning to knit. I would knit until 12 or 1 am. Now I go to bed before 9 pm. Hopefully once my nausea goes away, I'll be able to stay up longer to have more time with Hubs or for crafting.

30. I love checking the mail. Some days that's the only time I ever leave the house. I especially like getting sales ads, greeting cards, and magazines.

31. I never in a million years thought I'd have 4 kids at age 31. I never even imagined having 4 kids. Guess God had other plans.

And since it's not too often that I post pictures of myself, here is one of the girls and I doing some pre-birthday baking:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Easy BBQ Pork

Are you seeing a trend yet? Last week's OAMC recipe was EASY too! My grandma blessed us with 2 big pork loins, so I had to do something with 'em. Enter Pork OAMC recipes at Recipezaar. I tweaked this one a little, since I like my BBQ to be, well, more barbecue-y.

Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)
Makes 6 servings

2 pounds pork roast (shoulder or butt)
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup ginger ale
1 18 oz. bottle BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's!)
*The original recipe calls for 1 bottle for 4 pounds of pork.*

Place one sliced onion in bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top. Top with other sliced onion. Pour ginger ale over. Cook on low for 12 hours (overnight!). Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. (I just kinda drained out all the liquid using the lid to keep the meat & onions in the pot.) With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away. (My pork didn't have any bones, fat or skin. See note below.) Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW. Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.

**I used pork loin, which is relatively lean compared to the recommended cuts. I found it to shred quite easily and be plenty tasty. My crockpot could only accomodate a 2# roast, so I made the recipe twice. If you've got a large crockpot, you could make more pork at one time. I freezed the entire second batch in ziploc freezer bags.**

P.S. I'm considering this recipe for the rest of the pork. Sounds yummy!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Well, not really since I a) don't own a truck and b) couldn't watch the Super Bowl since I don't have subscription TV. Does getting updates on The Big Game from the internet count? Here's my one-girl-party meal:

:: Chicken quesadilla made with a whole wheat tortilla & served with salsa & homemade guac ::

Got any Super Bowl recipes you'd like to share?

Monday, February 02, 2009

What a Quarter {or a couple} Will Buy

All of these deals were found at my local Wal-Mart. I think one of the best things we can do as saavy grocery shoppers is to know where, in each store we shop at, the discount groceries are located. For example, at my Wal-Mart, the clearance groceries are found in the "Seasonal" aisle and at Woodman's the discounted items are in shopping carts at the front of the store and in carts in the produce section. What's even better is if you have a coupon for an already deeply clearanced product; it usually means free or next to free!

So, even in today's economy, a quarter can buy more than just a gumball from a vending machine. See:

:: Crystal Light On-the Go Packs - 25 cents ::

:: Big Bag of stuffing - 50 cents ::

:: 4 pound bags of sugar - $1 ::

:: Ground Fair Trade Coffee - $2 ::

Not pictured:
Generic Crystal Light Drink Mix - 25 cents {!!!}
Dented Box of Pasta - 50 cents
Gatorade Mix {for Hubs} - $1

The craziest deal was probably the Crystal Light On-the-Go Packs. Even the check-out ladies were Oohing and Aahing, when I was paying. It's not something I normally buy as they are too expensive for my budget at $2.50 per box. I figured since I am pregnant & drinking a lot more, especially on the go, they will come in quite handy. {Oh, and I bought some for a friend too!} The rest are all items I would've bought sometime in the near future, so it really is a long-term savings for my budget. All my goods will go hang-out in my basement pantry until I'm ready for them.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Longing for my Home

::photo by Heather::

Excerpt from lyrics of Steven Curtis Chapman's Not Home Yet, thoughts in italics my own.

From one who walks with you. On this journey called life's road. It is a long and winding road. Sometimes too long & too winding. Lately I feel like I have a rock in my shoe.

And one who's cried like you. Wanting so much just to lay down and die.

I know You know my pain, but some days, Lord, I just would rather be with You.

So close your eyes with me. And hear the Father saying, "Welcome Home".

Yes, I can hear You, Father.

Let us find the strength in all His promises to carry on.

Your strength is sufficient for me. Help me to keep carrying on.

So let us not forget.
No. I can't forget.

We are not Home yet. Keep on looking ahead. Let your heart not forget.
I gotta keep moving forward. Gotta remember that I am just a Pilgrim here.

I know there'll be a moment. I know there'll be a place. Where we will see our Savior and fall in His embrace. So let us not grow weary or too content to stay.....
Oh, how my heart aches for this moment. I love the picture of finally falling into your arms after my life here on earth is over. Help me to finish my race well.

We are not Home yet.

Not yet. But one day....