Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe # 2

I hope some, or one of you were able to try the Slow Cooker Indian Stew , or at least inspire you to cook with the cultures great spices. If that didn't tickle your fancy, this one, out of the three I made on my 7 days of internet fast has to be my favorite. There is no heavy sauce and the flavors are so fresh. It's a perfect way to use up the last summer tomatoes.

No-bake Lasagna

Preheat oven 25o(just for melting cheese)

1/2 cup part skim ricotta
3 Tb grated fresh Parmesan
1 1/2 cups of pre shredded mozzarella/provolone mix
3 Tb plus 2 tsp evoo
course salt & pepper
8 lasagna noodles
1 small garlic clove minced
2 pints grape tomatoes halved
2 zucchini/halved if large, and thinly sliced
1 Tb torn fresh basil leaves

Start by getting your pasta cooked as directed on package. Drain and set aside.

In nonstick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tb of olive oil. Add garlic and halved tomatoes with a little salt & pepper. Cook about 3 minutes until broken down a bit, and transfer to a small bowl.

In same skillet over medium heat add 1 more Tb olive oil, thinly sliced zucchini, and little salt pepper.

While those saute about 5 minutes, prepare your cheese, and pasta.

Stack your drained pasta and cut in half. ( It will seem sticky, that's normal)

In small bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan with 2 tsp of olive oil, little salt & pepper.

At this point add the basil to zucchini, stir, and transfer to a small bowl.

On 4 individual oven proof plates, start assembling your personal Lasagnas.

: a few cooked tomatoes on plate
: half a lasagna sheet
: spread 1 Tb of ricotta mixture on pasta sheet
: some zucchini slices
: some shredded cheese (mozz/prov
: a few more tomatoes

Repeat layering two more times and end with fourth noodle topped with shredded cheese and tomatoes.

Put plate in preheated oven to melt cheese and assemble the other servings. My husband ate every bit of his, but I shared mine with Avery, and still had a ton of leftovers.

I looooved the textures of this dish, and I didn't miss all the sauce a typical Lasagna calls for. 


Monday, September 27, 2010


We have exactly 10 days and 20 hours before embarking on our trip to Disneyland. You know; the happiest place on earth. Were quite excited to experience Disney in a whole new way, and looking through much smaller eyes.

You see, it's been a few years since our last trip.

Hence the clothes, and mid-drift, and jean on jean. Yikes! I was out of control.

Ohhh man, those socks with sandals, Hot dog! And why is his head so small and hair parted right smack in the middle. My man definitely looks better with age.

All in fun, we really are looking forward to going. For me the best part is the weeks before. The anticipation of getting there, hotel, food, and of course the park itself. We also have the privilege of taking this trip with our great friends making the experience that much more exciting. 

I decided to wait to tell Ave until exactly one month before, due to the constant nagging of, "when are we going already, and why is it taking so long to get here." It's worked like a charm and it's really given her an idea of what 30 days is like. We made a chain and each day she cuts one less link off and gladly puts it back until tomorrow. 

You can imagine the look on ones (4 year old) face when receiving such a surprise. It went something like this.

We present to you something really special. 

Drum roll please!

The faces tell it all, they were thrilled, they were ecstatic, they had no idea these were tickets to Disney, rather just pictures of Snow white. I could have stopped right there and saved a whole lot of money, but Matti figured it out, and they were over joyed.

Even Olivia was excited!

Actually I just told her to say cheese, cause she does it so well.

After an entire 30 seconds of jumping up and down they took notice of the princess stickers in there bags leaving the Disney trip in there long term memories. Reminding us that this trip just wasn't for them.

It took me a long time to convince my husband why it was so important to me to take Avery while she was still little. I could see his point in her not remembering all that much, and a lot of money spent on someone who couldn't really appreciate the value of it. So it came to me one day that this wasn't just for her. It was for us to see her in these tiny feet, and in her tiny mind, still enjoying tea parties and princess dress up while imagining living in a castle colored in pink. When she's 10, her ideas and imagination will be vastly different. Not a bad thing; just different. So he fully agreed!

Oh and I think a retake is in order!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Extra blessings

If someone would have told me 5 years ago that this is the road you'll be walking, I would have begged to differ. My desires are God's desires, right? True, but never assume that the path leading up to your dreams will be every thing you visualize. What has seemed to be far less than my desires has actually worked far better for this road I travel. This is out of my league, I would say, only to be shown that I'm capable of more than I thought.

To keep it as simple as possible, my hearts desire for more children just isn't there. I watch all of my friends having children number two and some three, with nothing but peace and joy for there decision. Maybe I'm selfish, I would ask myself, maybe to vain, or just not capable of loving more than one. Both my husband and I were ready and ecstatic when we were expecting, and how blessed were we that the timing was right and we both agreed. And even now, we both lie on the same fence, equally feeling at this time, our desires remain the same.

I let go a long time ago, and decided that the desire was there once, if need be, it will be there again. So i put my focus in another direction, as this has always been my dream. To bless and encourage other wives, and someday help restore brokenness in ones marriage. I have a lot to offer, and some days i feel i may explode with information and insight into my own journey. But again, never assume the path leading up to your dreams will be every thing you visualize.

So once again I'm taken in a different direction, and forced to leave behind for now my own thoughts and ways and trust that his thoughts and ways are much better.

Over the past year we were reunited with our 11 year old nephew, whom has been a ward of the state since he was 5. Due to situations, he hasn't had the family support that every child needs, and unfortunately can't always have. But as i sat in my room one day, a few weeks before our first visit with him, i prayed that some how, some way, we would rekindle that relationship with him. I couldn't imagine how that would play out or how we would even begin, but on January 9th as the greatest grandma i ever new passed away, she left with us her passion to see that her great grandson was taken care of. So while a life ended that day, new beginnings began for this boy who needed hope.

I could write a book on the past year, and all the events leading up to this day. The twists and turns he has been through, and the time and sacrifice our family has made. But a sacrifice worth every bit, for a chance to share our lives with him, but also his life with us. You see, Colby isn't the only one being invested in. He has shown us the real world in ways we purposely shielded ourselves from. He's shown us true loss, because without a mother and father to guide you completely, your left to fend for yourself, and fight your way through a world already limited with support. What I see, so clearly now, is my daughter is far from missing out on a sibling, and my desires to not have another child at this time; well, I understand this now also.

Although Colby does not live with us full time, he is a part of this family, and I know in my heart that what were doing for him, is as equally as important as what he's doing for us. 

My own hopes and dreams still remain, but as i journey to get there, I'm fully confident that God will give me joy and peace, and these extra blessings in between.

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Days

I know I vented to at least a couple of you about my internet issues i've had the past 7 days.(I've been without) In my attempt to save money and cut back on things we really don't need, we actually spent more money just trying to change a simple one line phone connection. We don't have a home phone anymore, however, high speed 7.2 is a must according to my wonderful husband. My intentions were good in eliminating our extra bills. His intentions were good in making the downloading process much quicker. Myself.....I could care less. But sometimes it's not the point, but to rather do what you can in reason to please your spouse. (don't even go there!)

So here I am, 7 days later writing to you, (whomever it may concern) with so much to say, but only a 4 year olds nap time to do it in.
The week was full with school, work, and the endless house chores, but lookennn good I might say. Plenty of time spent in the car, and lots of cooking.

Many of these 7 days started like this

and ended with this.
So crispy cold that was. But while the computer clearly for me is a go to for Everything, I was surprised in my anger of not having it, just how much I got done, and how much I rely way to much on it. 
Don't get me wrong, I'm back in full force, and while the time was really quite nice, my addictions to write, and doodle around are going strong.
Do things in moderation I say. (actually the bible says so, and that it loves you too:) But really, can you think of one thing that would be hard to give up for a week, and not be forced too? It's harder than you think. Call it a fast, or a break in the routine, with a positive outlook, and good purpose the time could be really liberating and well worth it.

She seemed to think so and went right along with the mishap in deep thought.

Let me see........
 I'll call my people,
Uh huh,
Great! Thanks Mr. N.O.B.O.D.Y

If it's not broke, don't fix it! Solution
Your so smart Ave, why didn't I think of that? :|

I can't leave you today without giving you a recipe in my last 7 days. I have three meals to share with you over the course of the next 5 days. One made with meat, and the other made vegetarian. Although you can substitute the meat one, which I'll share now, with Tofu.

Slow Cooker Indian Stew

2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
(or 8 oz firm tofu drained & cut in cubes)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained (to make sauce fresher, I used the fresh tomatoes I had and reduced them down to about 2 1/2 cups worth and eliminated the caned tomatoes)
1 cup good quality chicken stock(or vegetable stock)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Hot cooked brown or white rice
To substatute the canned tomatoes I chopped about 4-5 medium sized tomatoes, put them in a sauce pan, add a little salt to taste and reduce down about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly coat your 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add diced chicken,(or diced tofu)onion, and garlic.
 Add curry, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Stir to coat, and add beans, tomatoes, chicken stock,(or vegetable stock) and bay leaf.
Stir lightly again, and cover on high-heat 4-5 hours, or low-heat 8-10 hours.

Stir lime juice into fully cooked stew along with spinach and cilantro.
Let stand 2-3 minutes to wilt leaves a bit, and serve over your favorite rice.
This is the perfect dish for those of you who like a little heat.(it's not for wusses)

Some really great things can happen when your pleasures are taken away, and it usually affects the people you love most in your life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Solo time

I would say for the most part, I'm a pretty good steward of my time. It's important to me to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of my day. I'm at home more than I expected after becoming a mom, so surely there should be plenty of time to get everything done. But anyone who has ever birthed children weather there home full time or not, the word time  seems like a distant memory. Things pile up, and the cycle never ends. So you do what you can with the time your given.

Ave is two days into her first week of school.
And loves it.

Don't get me wrong, I will/do miss her, but Iv'e been anticipating the time I will have to go to the gym, run some errands, and be at home a little with no distractions or demands. 
While Monday I took full advantage of the 3 hours by working out harder than I have all summer, today I stuck with my list. I skipped the gym, (do to my lower half feeling like Jello, and muscles pushed beyond there ability), and was determined to use my time the best I could.

Ave headed in for her second day with a lot of her own anticipations, and I was off solo.

Kind of,

but still manged to breakdown my list, and save the best for last.

I considered this the upper body part of my workout. 
I broke a sweat, that counts! 
It may seem strange to share this next part after my toilet seen, and the color looking all to familiar, but a good workout deserves a good smoothie.
I have been drinking these over a year now, and I still crave them daily. There nutritious, and loaded with all sorts of vitamins, and protein, just the right amount of healthy fat, and is a great post workout treat. And it's so easy!

Spinach, banana smoothie.

1 frozen sliced banana 
1/2 cup Nancy's regular or organic nonfat yogurt
1 Tb peanut butter(I use Adams creamy brand and do a heaping Tb)
2 Tb Wheat germ
1 cup baby organic spinach
1 cup chocolate soy milk

Note: I buy bananas in clusters, slice them, and put them in individual baggies in the freezer. It makes the smoothie nice and cold.

Put all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy.

Not everything got done that I planned, but it was enough. I found that balance between the needs, and the can waits. Solo time is wonderful, and everyone needs it. But at the end of the day,(or in my case the 3 hours) she's my need now, and my time is her's.