Category Archives: Homemaking&Cooking

Chocolate Floors

I think one of the best things about blogging is reading the search terms people use to find their way here.

My blog gets a lot of hits from people searching for kitchen makeovers. If you are one of those people, you can read about my story here and here.


Today, though, one searcher particularly tickled me. They searched under “kitchen makeover chocolate floor.” MMmmm, looking for a Hansel and Gretel house? How about a dark chocolate floor? Bittersweet? Or maybe you already have so much chocolate on your floor you need a makeover? I know, I know, it was probably something more mundane like, “I really want a kitchen makeover and I want my floor to be chocolate brown colored.” But it sure made me smile!


Filed under Homemaking&Cooking, Uncategorized, Words and Writing

Meanwhile, only a month later…

…I finally got my Christmas boxes put away. When my hubbie came home he almost tripped because he was trying to step over the now non-existent boxes that his body has been trained to manuever around ever since I optimistically had them out since Epiphany. That man must really love me. Or is very blind. Seeing as he is a pilot for a living, I think it is the former.

Here is a great idea for those of us who have a thing or two not yet crossed off on our January to-do or honey-do lists.   So cute…I love her attitude.  I would have followed her example but somehow the hearts stuck to my boxes would not have had the same effect.

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I found it!

Nita, this one’s for you!  I knew it had to be in the house somewhere!

Mango Salsa 

1 c. diced tomato

1 c. diced mango

1/4 c. diced red pepper

1/4 c. red (or green) onion

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

3 T. lime juice

1 T. minced jalapeno

salt to taste

Mix together.  Great over fish tacos!

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Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Homemaking&Cooking

Around-the-World Gluten-Free Biscuits

These are an easy Saturday morning breakfast…using oil simplifies the process. The bittersweet chocolate tempers the earthiness of the biscuit. I named them because the ingredients come from China, South America, Africa, North America, the Mediterranean, the South Seas, and the Middle East. Can you figure out where each ingredient is from?

1/2 cup tapioca starch (aka cassava flour)

1/2 cup amaranth flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup teff flour

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 bag (more or less) bittersweet choc. chips

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup extra light olive oil

3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients, including the chocolate and almonds, together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, mix the oil and buttermilk together. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until just mixed. If too dry, add a little more buttermilk. Turn out on waxed paper, knead 5-7 times, using the waxed paper instead of your hands. Pat out and cut into circles. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown.

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Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Homemaking&Cooking

This Meal Planning Site is Great!

A few weeks ago I wrote that I was going to start using Menus4Moms, a free, weekly meal planner site that includes recipes, shopping lists, freezer tips, and bulk cooking tips.  They have now added a daily reminder for a household chore.  It is kind of like Flylady, but not nearly so involved (no thousands of emails!).  This is just one reminder to spend 15 minutes on a chore in one one area of your house only.

I have really loved the meal planning.  I especially love the shopping list.  I am quite forgetful, so it helps to see a comprehensive list that includes spices, etc. just in case you happen to run low on a staple such as oregano.

The best benefit is that my family is feeling very loved.   I have meal planned before, but I never planned the side dishes very well.  We are now having a great variety of sides and we are definitely eating more vegetables.  I have had the time now to add a special dessert here and there, too.  The extra time has freed me up to make from scratch things that I used to make, such as pie crusts, but no longer made due to time.

Nothing says love like a table full of good things to eat!


Filed under Babies & Kids, Homemaking&Cooking

Dangerously Low Resources, Part II

The last few days I have been pondering the term “dangerously low resources,” the crisis message that recently appeared on my computer screen. Too bad that we don’t all get a message that pops up on our foreheads when we are dangerously low on our own resources.

For example, when I have skipped too many days in prayer and Bible reading, and I am crabby with everybody, disrespectful to my husband, and generally a disorganized mess, wouldn’t it be great if the message “dangerously low resources” popped up before my eyes?

Or, if my husband and I have been busy with the children and their activities, stingy with babysitting money, have had too many nighttime critter companions, and suddenly find ourselves out of sorts with each other, wouldn’t the dangerously low resources message be a sweet kick in the pants?

There have been times when I have been out shopping, say, at a specialty foods store like Whole Foods or even at the disorienting and numbing Wal-Mart, when the DLR message would have saved me some pain later.

Inventory your life today and see where your resources are dangerously low. Perhaps you haven’t had a bubble bath in a while, or a novel you have been wanting to read is still on the shelf. Maybe it’s been since your last baby was born that you have spent real time on your face before the Lord. Maybe you’ve added a bit to your credit card rolls, thinking a little here and a little there won’t hurt you. In any case, we are so often too busy to see where our resources are lacking and almost kill ourselves trying to make things happen without the fuel required.

Jesus would recognize the daily depletion of his resources, and would often arise early and go away from others to be alone with the Father. If even He needed to re-fill his resources, just think how much you and I need to do this. And just think what can happen in our lives if we do.

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Filed under Babies & Kids, His Banner over Me, Homemaking&Cooking, Homeschooling, Thoughts

It’s January 12th, do you know where your Christmas decorations are?

Mine are still out…tree is crunchy but still up with all the ornaments on, garland in place, creches still out, kissing ball still hanging, wreath on my door, etc., etc.

Anyone else with me?


Filed under Homemaking&Cooking, Uncategorized


The combination of my love of spicy food and a year-long craving for cabbage (is that odd!?) birthed this goofy-named salad. It is a combination of cilantro and cole slaw, thus “Slaw-Rantro”. I know, it falls flat. If anyone wants to come up with a snappier name, I’d be much obliged (although I doubt my family could stop calling it by its current name, we’ve grown rather fond of it). The following recipe is not exact…I’m an eye-baller, so make yours to taste.



1/4 c. (or more) olive oil

juice of 2 limes (can substitute white vinegar)

Lowry’s seasoned salt to taste

2 garlic cloves

huge handful of cilantro

1 jalapeno, top 1/4 near stem chopped off

Blend in food processor. I think it might also work in a blender, but I’ve never tried. Pour into a bowl. Note: I always blend it first without the jalapeno and pour a little off to mix up for the kids.


1 sm. head cabbage, shredded or chopped in food processor (I don’t wipe out the bowl after making the dressing, yum!)

1-2 green onions, sliced (optional)

Toss cabbage and green onions with dressing in the bowl.

My husband loves this salad and he normally won’t touch cole slaw. Two of my four children love it, too.


Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Homemaking&Cooking

A Schedule for All Seasons

It seems to be in my very nature to resist schedules.  As immature as it sounds, schedules are very boring to me, so as soon as a new schedule’s novelty wears off, I find it very hard to follow.  Being that routines are mini-schedules, I have very few.  I recognize this as bad.  And it sometimes gets me into trouble.  It certainly explains how I can forget to put on deodorant from time to time.

Thankfully, God has not given me a child that absolutely must live by tight schedules.  Or if He has, I have not recognized it yet.  But I do recognize the need for order and a good schedule definitely has its place.  My struggle has been to find the balance of variety and spontaneity with good sense and order.  Over the years, I have swung the pendulum between ultra-scheduled with every minute tidily assigned to  under-scheduled, as in complete chaos under the charming euphemism of creative scheduling.  Neither works for me.

In my search for the answer, I turned in the Bible to the Book of Self-Management…oh, wait, that’s not in there, is it?  Actually, I’m sure it’s in there, with pieces scattered throughout the whole, but I’m not wise (nor disciplined) enough to read it and apply it with such aplomb.  I am still wading in the shallows and the answer is probably found in the deep after years upon years of searching.  I will probably have to rely on the word of others who have plumbed that particular depth.

In the meantime,  I have been amused by the answer I have found in the book of nature.  God has shown me that schedules can be comforting and exciting at the same time.  Take the seasons for instance.  He provides regularity and rhythm -winter, spring, summer, fall – yet dazzles us with dramatic change.  And never does he leave us to get too comfortable with one season.  We find that just as we are tiring of one, we witness little signs of the next appearing.  Yet, just as soon as the season we were just in passes, we find ourselves looking forward to it again next year.

This is the kind of schedule I want for our family.  The question is what does that look like in our house?  How do I apply the same principles of rhythm and regularity but keep just enough variety to keep our spirits burning with creativity?   Or, in other words, how do I cook three meals, get everyone dressed with chores done, grow minds and bodies and make everyone look forward again to the next day, wondering what new adventure might befall?

I see the blueprint all around me…it’s just making it happen that’s the tough part.


Filed under Babies & Kids, Homemaking&Cooking, Homeschooling, Thoughts

Meal Planning

I never realized how much useless brain energy I used up daily to make dinner until I started meal planning. After I began, I also realized how much money I had wasted on rotten produce forgotten in the netherlands of my fridge. I think I probably save $200 a month or more by planning my meals in advance.

But, like many things in my life, I am inconsistent in my monthly plans. One month, I’ll have a plan that I follow with spectacular results, but if I get behind another month and don’t start planning right away, I just wing it until I get it together for the next time.

I am not into New Year’s resolutions, but I do feel the need to reorganize this time of year. I found a meal planning website that I am going to try. Menus4Moms is a free monthly meal planner. One thing I like is that the planner reminds you to chop and saute a ton of onions and freeze the extras for another meal. She is always thinking ahead, something that I am prone NOT to do. She is also realistic, and will incorporate left-overs into the subsequent meals. I will, of course, have to substitute and make them gluten-free, but I am excited to let someone else do my thinking for me! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Homemaking&Cooking, Uncategorized