Category Archives: Homemaking&Cooking

Slaw-rantro

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.

Slaw-Rantro

Dressing:

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.

Salad:

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.

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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.

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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

I’m not cryin’ over spilled milk, but…

…for those moms who are coveting those deep kitchen storage drawers that are just perfect for pots and pans, you might think again:

Suppose your 7 y/o son, being very self-sufficient, pours himself a big glass of milk on the counter above your drawers.  Now suppose that one of the drawers just happens to be left slightly open.  Your son spills the glass of milk and the milk spills into the open drawer.  Your son, again, being very self-sufficient, cleans up the milk, but neglects the inside of the drawer.  Hours later, you start to cook dinner, reach inside your super handy drawer for a pot and… YUCK!

Now suppose, just a week or two later, your son eagerly pours himself a big glass of eggnog in the same spot…

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Filed under Babies & Kids, Homemaking&Cooking

The Greatest Christmas Gadget Ever

Last year after Christmas, my mother, knowing her absent-minded daughter a little too well, bought me the greatest Christmas gadget ever invented. It is a sensor that you stick in your Christmas tree stand. When the water level falls too low, a special snowman ornament (attached by a wire to the sensor) blinks with strobe-like majesty.

No more crispy trees!

The sensor is called the Water Me Now Christmas Tree Water Monitor. The number on the package is 1-800-645-3867.

UPDATE:  Ok, so maybe it’s NOT the greatest Christmas gadget ever.  Three days after we set it up, the ornament won’t stop blinking, even though it’s sitting in a FULL stand of water.

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Transformations

I love meeting new people. I love how a stranger can walk through your door and you suddenly find a connection and a conversation begins. An editor of the home and garden section of a large city newspaper, Tracy, traveled to my home to interview me about my kitchen makeover. Somehow during the first few moments of introductions, my oldest daughter informed her that we were adopting.

“Oh, I have two adopted children. My youngest son is 4 months old.”

Wow. Tracy talked about her two boys, the domestic adoption process, and how quickly time passes with each new child. What a delight. She came here to talk about the kitchen but, as she put it while talking, you never realize how adoption touches so many lives until you are involved in the process yourself.

But, alas, we were there to talk about my kitchen. Being a doula and childbirth educator, I have been accused of seeing the birth analogy in every area of life. I am finding it is the same thing with adoption, only more paper driven. As I talked about the kitchen transformation, I was beginning to see connections.

I am in the planning stages of our adoption, much like I was back in January and February with my kitchen. I am currently awash in the ‘I can’t-believe-this-is-happening’ feeling. I am a little fearful of the unknowns and questions: will we have enough money? what if it all goes wrong? what if I don’t like the outcome? I am fascinated with families who have adopted, reading every article and blog I run across. This past year, I probably bought every Kitchen and Bath magazine to hit the newsstands. I wonder how many books and articles I will amass this coming year on adoption.

I also find there is much creativity and flexibility involved in both processes. How will I fit five children in two bedrooms (don’t worry, they’re huge bedrooms)? How will I help the siblings to adjust to each other? Will we have to move? Should I start color-coding the children’s belongings? How long am I willing to wait for a referral? What will we do if a match dissolves? The questions and possible outcomes seem endless…

I did find some things out about myself and my family during the past year. I found out that I am more creative than I gave myself credit for. I found out that in areas that I am not so good in, a little self-education at the library helps tremendously. I found out that, after years of neglecting my checkbook, I can keep a ledger of expenses successfully. I found out that my family of 6 could exist with one bathroom in the house (did I mention that we renovated the children’s bathroom at the same time?) I found out that no one went crazy while having a temporary “kitchen, ” complete with refrigerator and table, set up in our bedroom for 5 months. I found out that our family works really well together as a team.

I like to think that all of our experiences in life will, if we let them, help us grow and become better. I know that winning the makeover was the most unexpected thing to ever happen to me. It certainly was such a visible blessing, though it came not without hardships. I am confident that when we meet the newest little person of our family by adoption, that little stranger will suddenly be family. This kind of makeover will hold far greater blessings, the kind that will last much longer than a kitchen.

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Filed under Adoption, Babies & Kids, Homemaking&Cooking, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Twice-Baked Pizza Potatoes

Sometimes a celiac gets a little desperate for the wonderful flavor of pizza but doesn’t want to go through the work of making her own crust.  I made this recipe up tonight and everyone, especially the kids, loved it.  The amounts I used were based on 8 medium potatoes.  This is actually my estimate, I just threw the cheese in until it looked right.

8 baking potatoes

1 1/2 c. mozarella cheese

1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese

1 can pizza sauce

dash of salt

1 bag Hormel turkey pepperonis, chopped

Bake (or microwave) potatoes.  Cut them in half and scoop out the insides and put into a bowl.  Arrange the potato skins on a foil lined tray.  Mix the mozarella, 1/2 can of pizza sauce, salt, and 3/4  of the chopped pepperonis with the potato insides.  Stir well until creamy.  You can microwave the mixture if your cheese won’t melt.  Fill the potato skins and top with parmesan cheese and the reserved pepperonis.  Broil until the pepperonis are crispy.  I suppose you could also bake them at 350 F for a thoroughly twice-baked potato, but we were all hungry!

Heat the rest of the pizza sauce for dipping.

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