Category Archives: Food

Weekly update of sorts

I am in some super slow recovery type mode, so writing (book, blog, Facebook, journal) is not really happening. And that irritates me, but then I get irritated that I am so irritated. Vicious cycle. So today I am just going to bore you with this…

I had a rough walk to the bus stop this morning. I think the dog has gotten too big for me, and with her energy and drive, I can’t hold her back. She throws me off balance constantly. And with my balance issues, that’s a recipe for disaster. So I think we’re done with that program until she gets a little older and can be trained to behave better while walking. That is a thing with dog training, isn’t it?

So after the rough walk I put the pup back in her crate and went back to bed. The sleep probably helped, but I can’t tell. I’m still struggling with fatigue. However, I have managed to do the dishes and make dinner. Chili in the crockpot, and it smells delicious so far. Ground venison, onion, diced tomatoes, black beans, and chili powder. A simple recipe I don’t remember ever trying before, so I hope it turns out ok. We will have cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Fritos to top it off, so that can help with flavor. I thought about adding the can of spicy chili beans that has been in our cupboard forever, but the kids really don’t like spicy, and neither do I. We’ll see how the chili tastes in a couple hours, and I may still decide to add some.

I mailed an application today for the local public transportation service for disabled people. They drive the van right to your door and take you where you need to go. I’m excited about it. As my husband put it, it will give me a level of freedom back. I wouldn’t need to rely on him to take me grocery shopping, or to my umpteen doctor visits. It’s hard to describe how helpless it makes me feel, not being able to drive. I don’t miss the driving so much as I miss being able to go where I want to go. I am an introvert, so one of my favorite things is to go do things alone. Sit at the coffee shop and read or crochet, walk around a bookstore or mall just to browse the merchandise. But if you always need a driver, someone is always waiting for you, and that’s pressure I don’t handle so well. I HATE feeling rushed.

But this Spec-Tran, you plan each ride one-way, so no one is waiting. You tell them when you need a ride back, and they’ll send another driver. At least that’s my understanding. We’ll see how it actually works, but regardless there is no cause for guilt because this is their job, and they aren’t just doing it out of the kindness of their heart. Why is it that we feel guilt when someone does something for us out of the “kindness of their heart”? I mean, by definition they are doing it because they want to, not because they feel obligated. I know it’s not just me. But that still doesn’t make it rational or right.

Oh well. I declare that today is not a day for solving things. It’s a day for reflecting briefly and moving on! Coffee is waiting!

A Dessert Too Awesome for Words

>>>Insert delicious dessert photo here

I am in the process of making a dessert for the family gathering tomorrow. This is my third time making it. The first time I made it, it turned out fabulous, and I brought it to my mother-in-law’s for Christmas. It was a huge hit. The second time I made it for another family gathering, which was cancelled due to weather. It was a good thing though, because I totally screwed up the marshmallow element. So the family gathering was rescheduled for tomorrow, and that brings me to my third attempt.

While I like recipes, they bore me at times, and I like to take a risk now and then. Attempt #1 involved a makeshift double boiler to melt down giant marshmallows we had left from summer camping trips. Attempt #2 involved skipping the makeshift double boiler method, which proved disastrous. If you’ve ever hated getting taffy stuck in your teeth, multiply that experience by 38. It was bad.

Attempt #3 is still in progress. I plan to come back and add a picture, but we’ll see. The twist on this attempt can’t be seen in the picture anyway. I won’t really know how it turns out until it’s done, but I can tell you the batter was amazing. What is the twist? Haitian Vanilla. Straight imported from a friend of mine who visits there often to do mission work. I absolutely hate using store-bought vanilla, as all I can smell is the alcohol (and not the good kind). I have always loved using Mexican vanilla. It’s a much smoother, purer alternative.

But this stuff from Haiti? A totally different animal. Simply sinful. I get high just sniffing it from the bottle. It’s amazing. And adding it to the brownie batter (did I forget to mention this dessert involves brownies?) seemed to work very well. I tasted it and it was heavenly. A perfect blend of bold sweetness, but rounded out with a darkness that is just, well, sinister. That’s the best way I can describe it. I’m not so good at the putting the words together thing. 😉

I realize I never mentioned what the dessert was. The recipe I found on Allrecipes.com calls it Krispy Brownie Delights, but that name seriously doesn’t do this creation justice. It’s just too awesome for words. So that’s what we call it! Too Awesome For Words.

*On a side note, my daughter actually doesn’t like it (what?!%?@!) so my husband has been calling it Too Awesome for Natalie. I reject that title because that doesn’t even sound like something you would want to eat.

So, batch #3 is chillin’ in the fridge. We will find out tomorrow how it turned out, and maybe we can get some suggestions, take up a vote, and find this delectable dish a proper name!

Lunch-No, Pee-No, School-No, Heat… YES!!

First, let me tell you about the lunch I had planned to eat today. It’s something Mike came up with, and it’s super easy. It’s pasta (usually penne) with marinara sauce, Italian sausage, and green and red peppers, all topped with mozzarella and baked. Adding the peppers was Mike’s idea, and though it’s extra work, it’s totally worth it. The kids hate it, but It has become one of our favorite dinners. Mike buys fresh links of both spicy and mild sausage, so I make a spicy batch for him, and the rest is for me and the kids. We always have leftovers, which is part of the reward. So that’s what I was really excited about eating for lunch today. Only when I opened the container as I was walking toward the microwave, I dropped the whole damn thing on the floor. All of it. On the floor. And immediately after dropping the delicious pasta onto the floor, I dropped a big, fat f-bomb. You know the one. I try not to use it often, but situations like these call for it.

Now, onto the main topic of the day. It’s friggin’ cold in Michigan this week. I don’t mind the cold. I grew up here, it’s not a big deal. Unless, of course, your furnace dies as the sun is going down, and the cold starts invading your living space. Mike noticed the temperature on the thermostat was low and thought the air filter just needed to be changed, but upon further inspection discovered the problem was much more serious. From what he explained to me last night, it sounds like our house very possibly could have gone up in flames when he changed the filter. Thankfully it did not, but at midnight it was clear to him that something needed replacing, and would have to wait until the morning. So when we awoke this morning, the thermostat was down to 47 degrees, which only sounds chilly if you are referring to outdoor weather, but in your home it becomes quite a nuisance. We are used to 65. After an entire day of almost completely dismantling our furnace, Mike was able to get the parts he needed, and with the help of a friend managed to get it rebuilt. By 7 pm, we had heat. The temp is only up to 55 at the time of this writing, but it’s heading in the right direction.

As it turns out, the culprit was a heat exchange with two gaping holes in it. I know nothing of heat exchanges and furnaces, but Mike explained a bit and showed me the holes and they look scary dangerous. Those holes were potentially allowing harmful chemicals into the air we breathe. If that’s the case, I am so thankful that it’s fixed, and that nothing serious happened.

Oh, and this you will not believe. Surprisingly, on this crazy cold day surviving cooped up with blankets and space heaters, my dumb dog did not pee in the house. Not even once. She even led me to the back door a few times, waiting for me to let her out. We’ll see how she does tomorrow, but it’s a miracle, if you ask me!

So we are praising God for keeping us safe and providing us with the means to a solve a very serious issue with our furnace. And I am praising Him for helping my puppy hold her bladder.

Oh, and I just found out school is closed for my kids tomorrow. We’ve had sub-zero temperatures across the state all week, and it seems all the schools around us keeping calling snow days, but not us. No, we had to be the troopers. Well, it’s about time. The kids are already in bed so we’ll share the excitement with them in the morning.

That is all! Rest well and keep warm!!

A Saner Me

The kids are off to school, hubby is at work, the puppy is sleeping at my feet, and I am sitting at the dining room table with a hot cup of fresh coffee and the whole day ahead of me.

I feel like I can breathe again.

It’s amazing how different things can look depending on your mood. I’ve had some pretty rough days these past couple of weeks. I’ve had the kids home with me but with the added challenge of a new puppy. There have been plenty of good  moments, yes, but there were also many moments I don’t care to remember. Moments I’m not proud of.

I am not one to make New Year Resolutions, but this year the timing worked in such a way that it made perfect sense to make one. So I resolved to stop the yelling. It’s only been five days, and I’ve failed a few times, but I have had victories as well. And the victories outweigh those few failures. Especially considering they are more recent, showing that I am making progress.

I thought breathing and counting was the secret to not losing my temper, but that proved to be ineffective. I think the problem runs deeper with me, and therefore requires a more extensive solution. I think the key is in changing my perceptions, my expectations, and learning how to pause and really relax. “So what if she pees? Clean it up and move on.” “The kids left their toys all over the couch? Calmly and firmly ask them to put them away.” If I practice these kinds of attitudes throughout the day, practice them in moments of calm, then they become second nature when the calm suddenly turns to chaos. The result? A saner me. One who deals with the issue at hand, rather than reacting to it.

So, here’s to a new beginning. A saner me. Go forth and be sane 🙂

Who knows how many knives

Brian Regan on Goober PB&J – ““You know I could go for a sandwich, but uh, I’m not gonna open two jars. I can’t be opening and closing all kinds of jars. And who knows how many knives!”

Today I made PB&J sandwiches for the kids. They both wanted different flavored jam, so that made for three knives. I made myself a sandwich with the strawberry jam, which is what my son had, so I didn’t have to dirty more knives. And then when I sat down to eat it, he asked for another sandwich. And I had already put the knives in the sink. So I gave him my sandwich and headed to the kitchen to make a new something for myself. Only I was frustrated with the three dirty knives, and thought five would just be over the top, so I opted for a bologna sandwich, requiring only one additional dirty knife for the mayonnaise. So four, four was good. And then Mike came home and decided he wanted a PB&J as well, only I think he read the look on my face immediately, and wisely opted to make it himself.

So, three plus one plus two = 39 dirty knives in the sink. And that was the worst part of my day, so I can’t complain. I wish you a joyous evening and may God grant you no more dirty knives than you can handle.

Today’s potato soup

I’m not much of a cook, but I am learning to master some basics, like easy pasta dishes, perfectly-cooked bacon, chicken noodle soup, and as pictured below: potato soup.

My mother-in-law taught me years ago how to make it, but with the years I neglected the practice. I was working full-time, going back to college, having babies, etc. But now that I am home all day I have the time to play around. And with time and the cooperation of my family (well, my husband at least) I am gaining more courage to try new things.

Not that potato soup requires a lot of courage. It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes, butter, and milk. But I don’t like a dull soup, so I add things, tasting as I go. Today’s batch was by far my favorite. I used sautéed onions, salt and pepper, garlic powder, dill weed, corn, and ham. The dill weed I added because I tasted the soup and felt it needed a little more sweetness. After sniffing around the spice cabinet and taking a suggestion from the internet, dill weed proved to be the perfect addition.  I added the corn and the ham at the end since they don’t need so much time to cook (the ham was already fully cooked). The ham and corn turned out to be good choices, and made for a hearty soup. We have a ton leftover, so I may just freeze the rest and save it for later. I love having leftovers for my lunches, but you can only eat so much potato soup.

So, in lieu of a cohesive conclusion to this post… Here’s to potato soup, and trying new things!

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Secret ingredient soup

My kids may kill me for stuff like this some day, but I like to live on the edge. Luke and Natalie both love Ramen noodle soup – or, as we like to call it around here (for you Kung Fu Panda fans) – “Secret Ingredient Soup”. It’s easy to make (I use half the seasoning packet) but all the noodle slurping involved with eating them gets quite messy.

I have captured some precious Secret Ingredient Soup moments for you with a couple of photos.

Please note the concentration and gusto displayed by the boy as he eats. And then note that the young lady is enjoying some light reading while she scarfs giant gobs of noodles into her face. That is, if you call arachnology a light read.

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Sadly, that’s all this writer has today. Happy Monday!