Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Food

Quinoa Scramble
Cook quinoa in chicken broth (I boil my chicken bones for 4 or 5 hours after I've deboned it and then strain it to make a thick, healthy broth.) While quinoa is cooking, chop carrots and zucchini and green peppers. Saute in a pan with olive oil. Add in frozen corn and leftover chicken (I had a bit of ham too, so I threw that in). Saute until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over warm quinoa.

Harry Potter Movie Night! 
Miss Molly's Meat Pies 
(the easy way)
Ground beef, ketchup and cheese
grilled quesadilla style on a flour tortilla
Carrot Wands
and POPCORN of course

Korean Beef
I found this recipe on Pinterest, but can't access it today for some reason. It is a welcome change from our usual fare. I added black rice and mixed asian frozen vegetables.
Here it is from the best of my memory:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar (I thought it was really sweet--you could probably do less)
1/4 cup soy sauce ( I put a little bit more)
1/4 teaspoon ginger
chopped garlic to taste
1/4-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons oil
Heat oil in pan, add chopped garlic and ground beef. Cook until all pink is gone. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and hot pepper flakes. Stir and heat through. Add frozen vegetables, cook until tender crisp. Add rice cooked to package directions.
P.S. If you cook your beef in batches and your rice in batches, this is a 10 minute meal! I usually cook 5 or 6 pounds of ground beef at a time, either on medium low on the stove or in the crock pot. After it's cooked, I drain it and put it into baggies and freeze it. 
I do the same thing with black rice. (and brown rice) Cook according to package and then put into family-size portions and freeze. 
In the mornings, I try to decide what we're going to do for dinner. If it involves beef or rice, I pull those bags out of the freezer to thaw. 
This is kind of my half-way cooking ahead of time. I don't have to do any planning ahead of time, but I get the benefit of having the meat already done. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Enjoying the Winter

So I wanted to post an long overdue update here and I was wondering how to group all the things I wanted to say. And then I realized that they all fit rather nicely under the heading of "Enjoying the Winter." I often hear the comment, "I don't know how you do what you do." Well, here it is folks. All laid out nice and simple.

QUIET TIME: This time for me to study the word becomes my sword against the doubts that creep in throughout the day. When I forget to plan breakfast so that we're eating the crumbs of the cheerios, or when I lose it at the school table because I'm repeating for the twelfth time how to change a percentage into a fraction, or pretty much any time at all, this is the thing that gets me through. This year I'm falling back on one of those trusty one year reading plans.  I'm using a Bible app on my phone that gives a handy list of reading for each day that you can check off.

I'm also journaling a bit--nothing fancy, whatever is on my mind, a prayer, some notes on what I read, or just a list of what I have to do that day--committing it to the One who rules the universe and cares about the little details of my life.
TEA: I got a new mug from a friend for Christmas and I am discovering that a well-timed cup of peppermint tea can make all the difference in my day. Plus I just discovered that you can wed two of my favorite things in a tea: chocolate and mint! Who knew?
CHOCOLATE: I told you it was a favorite thing. I don't drink coffee, so I think a nice dark bar of chocolate is my stand-in. I've been allowing myself a small bar each day at rest time. It's probably not doing wonders for my waistline, but it is amazing for my psyche. My favorite right now is a very inexpensive dark chocolate found at Aldi: Moser Roth (also available on Amazon, but for no where near as good a price.) 
Plus there are all the chocolate treats I love making. I try not to make too many of them, but I'm planning to make these yummy coconut flour chocolate cookies for friends coming to dinner on Saturday. I'm going to top them with this chocolate coconut whipped cream and some shavings of my Moser Roth to make a fun dessert out of an already yummy cookie.

MUFFINS: All my categories are starting to blend together, but I just have to share this chocolate muffin with you. The ingredients are (no joke) a banana, an egg, some peanut butter, some cocoa, a tiny bit of baking soda, and some honey. Oh, and you make them in the blender and it only takes about 30 seconds to mix them up. (Yay!) I've made them twice and the second time I put in half the amount of cocoa suggested and they were much better. That's a bit crazy since usually I double the cocoa, but for these half the amount was much better. No flour, no sugar, lots of protein, and most importantly, CHOCOLATE. And, if you know me at all, you probably know that muffins are a major coping mechanism for me. If I'm disturbed or grieved or feeling helpless, I usually end up in the kitchen throwing ingredients together for some kind of muffin. I didn't realize this about myself until a year and a half ago when I heard about two friends who had miscarriages in the same week. I cried, I prayed, and I made muffins. I didn't know what to say to them, how to grieve with them, but I made a big mess in my kitchen and left muffins on their front doorsteps.

BOOKS: Reading fiction is, for me, a major part of parenting five children and being a wife to the hubby. I escape, I learn, I adventure, a relax into fiction--the more fantastic the better. I recently read The Circle Series by Ted Dekker. I have to admit that I checked it out of the library because it was one FAT book and I wanted a lot of reading material for the holidays. It was great. A good story, fun characters, mind-stretching fantasy, AND some great Biblical themes. My favorite was the idea of the Great Romance. I know it's all throughout scripture that Christ is a husband to us, but that's always been a bit of a hard concept for me. This book made it all make sense. Christ thinks of us as His bride. You know the picture of the love-drenched groom who can't get enough of his beloved and thinks she's wonderful and would do anything for her? That is Christ for the church!! It is really an eye-opener to think of my fellow Christians as His beloved. His blood has covered our sins and he sees us as beautiful and desirable! 

DANCE: I really love dancing. Whether it's marching and dancing in a silly way to Put on the Armor (we're studying the armor of God for Bible this semester) or doing ballet clinics at our neighborhood or taking advantage of our clean, slippery wood floor to get in a few pirouettes, I love to dance! I miss the workout dance class that I used to attend. For fun I've been watching Bunheads, a kind of corny drama about some ballerinas and their teachers. I don't know if I really recommend the show, thought it has its moments, but I LOVE the dancing part! 

WALKING: I used to spend so much time outside. It really is therapeutic. The best way these days for me to get out and to exercise (and to get in much needed conversation time) is to WALK. The hubby and I are able now to get out and walk around the block on our own without necessarily getting a babysitter every time thanks to having an oldest daughter who is so capable. I love that. I also try to walk with a friend once a week. There is something about crisp, cold air and a blue sky that can wash away the cobwebs, for sure. 

How do you enjoy the winter months?