gnocchi love

Here we go. 2012 is nearly done. How was it? Did you learn anything? It was a busy year, for most of us I’m sure. What do you want to do different in the next year? What do you want to do more of? Less? The same? Anything work out just right?? 

 

I made Gnocchi again a few nights ago. There is NOTHING like home made, from scratch gnocchi. recipe:

 https://wannebechef.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/food-post-gnoc…cooking-school/ ‎

The family was all gone, which is a rarity that I stay home and hubby does the appointments and errands. He ended up driving 5 kids to town (3 ours) and I had the house to myself for a few hours. I sweetened the deal by promising to make a good dinner if I had the time and wasn’t rushed after picking up son from a 4pm physical therapy appointment. Hence gnocchi. 

 

I put some 80’s Love songs on the stereo, because I was feeling the love!! and wanted to share it, put it into my food for my family. So I got my groove on while I riced the potatoes with the ricer I picked up at the antique store last year. I love stuff with a history, a life before I met it…I wonder how many times a housewife pulled it out to work up potatoes for her family? Did they live on a farm? In a town house in the city? I have a strong pull inside me towards things with foundation, with a past, with roots. Probably because I don’t have much in the way of a root system of my own. 

 

While working the ricer and listening to the love coming out of the speakers, I realized ow good I felt. How I didn’t mind interrupting my crochet session to prepare this meal. I was ready to be selfless for the ones I love. The memories of the first time I made gnocchi came flooding back. Hubby and I had rented a small cabin for a couple of nights over New Years. I wanted it to be so special, I spent the day preparing an Italian feast, downloaded Italiano restaurant music, collected the candles, cards and cribbage board.

The evening was perfect. No phones, no TV, just candles, good food, soft music and each other’s company…I can still see it in my mind’s eye. Image

The amazing thing was it truly became a comfort food for me that night, and now when I make it, the same contentedness comes along. So, there really is such a thing as comfort food, for me. I often wonder about things like that. Its a way for me to communicate to those I love. Food. Love. (I even still make my high-schoolers’ lunches, so they know I love and think about them. Yes, I know they are completely capable of packing their own, but I enjoy it..lecture me late about parenting)

 

What’s your comfort food? What memories come back when you prepare it?

 

Since the new year begins tomorrow, I am giving some thought on focus. There is a trend of choosing yourself a word for the year and then living that word with intention through the year…I am pondering a word. You??

 

Till next year,

Adrienne

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blog re-vamp coming next month

The summer has been BUSY. We’ve had a loss of a loved one, a road trip that I’d never like to repeat which included losing my wallet on a 75mph interstate, we’ve had horse shows, catered dinner events, boy scout camps, 4-H events, trail rides. There is canning and processing piling up all around me, never ending fund raising baking to head to a national competition in Ohio in just 13 days.  Elk season is right around the corner. Football season is in full swing. Physical therapy appointments are still demanding. Next month we can breath steady. Next month I can reconnect, re vamp, re-prioritize, re-commit. There are so many things I want to share, to learn, to experience. So until then,

 

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EASY home made whole wheat hamburger buns

With the help of your bread machine:

place all ingredients in the bread pan, select dough setting ans press start:

1 cup water

1 egg

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup sugar

3 tsp yeast

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when dough has risen enough, the machine will beep. Turn off and remove bread pan, and turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. gently roll and shape into a 12″ rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces for hamburger buns, or 12 pieces for hot dog buns.

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grease a baking sheet. Roll pieces of dough into balls and flatten for hamburger buns, or shape into 6″ rolls for hot dog buns. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 10-15 min. until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 12-15 min. until golden brown. When ready to use, split buns in half, these will keep in a plastic bag in the freezer for 3-4 weeks.

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enjoy!

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North West Salmon Chowder (lactose free)

The Rainy Season is here in the Great Northwest! Its beginning to feel like we should be swinging from the vines in the rain forest! What better way to warm up than a steamy bowl of Salmon Chowder!

A great afternoon, soup simmering and a bit of quiet time to study His Word.

This isn’t quite a recipe so much as a jumping off point for you to get some inspiration for your own chowder:

Heat up a TBSP of oil, dice up some potatoes, carrots, onions and celery…..I usually do about 1.5 potatoes per diner and add to the pan. Put a lid on and let the veggies soften.

add 1/2 cup of flour to the veggies, this will coat them and act as the thickener.

sprinkle in some oregano and thyme, add chicken stock, enough that your veggies are swimming a bit, bring to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer, put a lid on and let simmer for 12-15 minutes. The potatoes will soften and help make your chowder creamy.

add cubed salmon, I used a 1 pound fillet.

put the lid back on and let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t scorch. Taste the chowder and season with salt and pepper. I actually brought mine up to a lively simmer, then put the lid and put it in my oven at 175 degrees and ran into town to pick up my son from physical therapy. Its about an hour drive (give or take) round trip. We came home to a wonderful hearty soup, that pushed the gray, wet, rainy day into the back ground. We gathered around the table, shared the day’s events and served the soup with a crusty whole wheat Italian herb and garlic bread.

stay dry!

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Home Made Honey Graham Crackers, Never go back to store bought!

I was nearly finished with the bi-weekly marathon grocery shopping. My shopping cart was getting more difficult to maneuver around sharp corners. It took lightning quick reflexes, a steady hand, strong quads, and a lot of core strength to move that full, heavy cart out of the path of those people who drive their carts one way (directly at me) while cranking their necks in the complete opposite direction. I have no idea why WM was so busy that particular Wednesday afternoon. I was nearing my uppermost limits of tight smiles and thinning patience. I was nearing the check out lines, the end was in sight. I was okay with settling into a line to wait and just stand still for a bit. As I ran through my mental list I realized I had all the items for s’mores except the graham crackers. Dang it! GRRR. Okay, time to put on the thick skin, the thin smile with a glint in my eye that was designed to make people just move out of my way, head back down the center aisle, looking for the cookie and cracker aisle. Once I got there, I didn’t even make it down the too-narrow-lane of parallel boxes and bags; it was so clogged of people who seemed to be in a fluorescent induced stupor. I took one look at that congested aisle and thought….ahem, probably said out loud: “Screw it! I’ll make my own!” Whipped that albatross of a cart back towards the light at the end of my people clogged, cart clogged  shopping experience and headed back to check out.

I have been striving to clean up our family’s eating as much as possible. The thought of buying “food” that has traveled many conveyor belts, landed in a plastic bag, then encased and glued into a card board box, made my decision easier with the graham crackers.  

We have a fire pit outside that we’ve been gathering around the past three Saturdays. What a great way to bond, to share the week’s stories and events, as well as spend time with the Tribe and their friends.

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Oldest with her best bud DJ, at the fire pit…

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Making Survival bracelets around the fire.

But nothing, NOTHING, beats home made graham crackers in the s’mores:

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We will probably never BUY graham crackers again. Yes, they were that good. Crispy, yet not dry, moist, sweet, they passed the Tribe’s taste buds, and The Man was tempted into making a genuine s’more, as opposed to just toasting his marshmallow and eating it sans chocolate….

recipe:

3-1/2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour.

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1/2 cup sugar (**next time I will try all honey, I think I’ll have to increase the flour 1/2 cup at a time until it reached a good consistency)

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup almond milk **you can use whatever milk you have

sift together the dry ingredients. Beat the butter with brown sugar, honey, vanilla and milk until smooth and fluffy. 

add the the wet and dry ingredients together and mix well. 

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divide the dough into 4 sections

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roll out a section as thin as you want your crackers, then square it up by trimming it with a ruler, OR use a cookie cutter (hearts for V-day, eggs for Easter, trees etc)

I cut mine into rectangular sections, like the traditional crackers, then poked a fork into the crackers where the break lines would be. (see pictures above)

I lightly spritzed mine with water then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar (yes I know, NOT clean) The water was to help the sugar stick….

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned. The crackers will harden more as they cool.

I tried a few times to get a picture of the whole s’more, but alas, the fire light got the best of me. Take my word for it, they were perfect.

Yes, I know that sugar is not considered clean in anyway, hence why I will try it with only honey next time, at least its not processed, out of the factory and conveyor belt land…..BUT it felt so cool to give the Tribe something I know the complete ingredient list.

Give them a whirl. Let me know of your personal adjustments, lets see how better to improve the humble graham cracker. How to Clean it up. the variations……

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Time.

Time.

We all get the same amount of time, per any given day. 

Doesn’t seem like it, does it?

Time.

How much do we have? Only HE knows, in HIS ultimate plan for our good.

So what do we do with the time we have today? God willing; tomorrow? How about for the next hour?

For some, time is already claimed. Work. Deadlines. Schedules. Appointments. Could be claimed by the unknown, the unplanned, the unforeseeable. Accidents on the route home. Drop in, unexpected visitors. Illness. 

This is something I am wrestling. My time. First off, its not MY time, is it? I am a Wife, Mama, teacher, cook etc. All I know is when that “Free” time comes along, I am nearly paralyzed. Guilt begins to rule my mood. The Man is out working 10 hour days, I feel like I am letting him down if I am not busy. He has never alluded to this, it comes from within. Anyway. Time. My struggle is with the priorities that clamor for front of the line. I also have to have a proper perspective on what I can expect to achieve, change, happen in time. For example, no one is going to notice if I work out 4 weeks, but in 12 weeks–people will notice. Patience. Time. They are so much better when they work together, side by side.

Have to’s:

Bible study and time in prayer.

cardio—-walking, jogging, hill running. 45-60 min/day

weightlifting. 40 min/day

feeding the horses

schooling Little One

cooking….family meals, school lunch prep for the kids, healthy snack items

Want to’s:

cook book writing

hiking, bike riding, horse back riding

sewing projects

painting projects

As I ponder these things and how to best arrange my days, let me share something that I experienced. The day time sssslllooooowwwwed way down; 

yesterday.

 

The power went out during an amazing storm, gale force winds, rain, snow, sleet, hale, that lasted for hours. It flickered for the last time around 7:45am, as I was finishing my study.

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this was near the end, when I actually thought to take a picture outside….

When the power is out and the lights are natural, time just seems to pause.

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Little One snuggled up in a chair by the window to do her school work. So nice not to be in front of a computer screen clicking away…Image

There are no windows in the kitchen (bizarre I know) but just look at the beauty of a simple jelly jar and tea light candle…something I would not have been blessed with had the power stayed on and time just whizzed by as normal.Image

I figured I’d try to keep the coffee warming for The Man, since he was out working in the crazy weather, after pouring most into an insulated carafe, I put a jar of coffee over a candle to heat it. I think it warmed up in 10 minutes. (Yes those are tuna cans holding my jar above the candle) The simplicity of this act made me so happy! No buttons and beeps and bangs with opening the microwave, setting the jar on the glass tray, pushing beeps, listening to a fan whir, then the loud, obnoxious beeps to let you know its done. Quiet. Peaceful. Simple. Jar over candle. ahhh. Do you feel it? Time slowed down, HE slowed it so we could cherish this moment. Life is best when its not complicated by our efforts to make it easy.Image

Maybe I am trying to hurry time along, bring some Spring in before it arrives outside, but the daffodils were so pretty in the natural light. They are 5 inches taller today than in this picture! Amazing what HE can do with a little time!

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Little One and I found time to make some of these while the power was out. They are for the kid’s lunches, little rainbows in a bag with some gold at the bottom. St. Patrick’s Day. Admit: I found the idea while spending time on pinterest.Image

You are the treasure at the end of my rainbow.

Time.

Time Saver. Is there such a thing?

Maybe, depends on how you look at it. Crock Pots. My secret weapon in finding more time.

Lentil and rice crock pot

http://www.thenakedkitchen.com/slow-cooker-lentils-and-rice/

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this got approval from the Tribe. I did add some left over Mexican flavored ground beef from our burrito night. Give it a try, let me know what you think. Super filling.

until next Time.

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Week. End. Peace.

Weekends.

Week.

End.

Those words have so much meaning attached to them. The week is long, its usually routine, day in and day out. We normally know what is going to happen on any given day–for the most part. Hum. Drum. Then the week ENDS itself of the hum drum, day to day routine.

Thursday arrives, with the promise that the end of the week is near…..

Friday can be hectic, get it all done, check lists checked before you clock out for the weekend.

Finally Saturday comes calling. What a blessing Saturday can be. In my house, its wide open, no plans do what you want. This  year our Saturdays are going to be awesome all through Spring and into summer, because the Man and I have vetoed soccer season for the Three. I can foresee camping, hiking, fishing, horse back riding, gardening….oh the joy of a soccer season OFF!

This Saturday, the girls and I went for an amazing first ride of the year. We were pleasantly surprised with no bucks, no crow hops, no sour attitudes from our mares. This is an accomplishment and no small thing considering our last ride was over 2 months ago. Yay!

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Little One needed to give her mare a spring hair cut, gotta find a place to rest the bridle. Notice the Peace signs? They are everywhere. What a great reminder. Peace is ours for the asking. HE can give us peace.Image

They have no idea they are heading out today, look at the peaceful bliss.

Weekends are a time I have been really trying hard to get outside. I have not let rain nor snow hamper my efforts. For the past 5 Sundays I have gone out for a long hike, either by myself, or with a kid or hubby.ImageImage

This was our last hike. Looks picturesque doesn’t it?? What a joy to leave the house, dishes, phone, TV, computers at home and get out to hear the peace of the birds, the wind in the trees, the crunch of the gravel, the tinkling of the brook. The added benefit of extra cardio for the week is a great incentive as well! Its brings me to an inner peace, to work my heart, work my lungs, work my muscles. Peace that I don’t freak out over the extra cup of coffee and creamer, because I know that I am using the fuel I put into my body.

Saturday is meant for easy times, relaxing times. Time around the camp fire in the back yard.

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ImageImageImageImageImageImageThe cameras are never far away. They come out to capture the moments of peace, even he moments of excitement and anything in between. Is there anything in between?

I hope your weekends are filled with a rejuvenating peace. I hope your week to come is do-able and not overwhelming. I hope you find time for you.

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Put on your B.G.P. and begin, THEN we can talk.

Beginning.

Its the hardest part about nearly every single thing we do.

Get out of bed….hard to do when the thermometer reads below freezing and the fire has burned out.

Get outside, on the road to work your lungs….hard to do when you have to layer so many clothes just to be comfortable, knowing you will be uncomfortably warm w/in 10-15 minutes of your hill climbs, but back to shivering on your way down those very same hills.

Get in the garage with the iron, or in front of the DVD, or into the gym, whatever it is you do, especially hard when your workout clothes are dirty, when you didn’t get adequate sleep, when your schedule is already so full for the day, when you don’t know if you should eat first, eat after, work your lats, your quads, shower??

Get the house chores done, hard when Pinterest calls your name, when Facebook beckons, when favorite bloggers are writing what they live….

 

Get the finances in order, hard when you don’t want to open the mail, when the paycheck isn’t going to be enough to do all you hoped to do, when email is full….

Getting your poor food intake habits changed is hard when you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, when you’re addicted to convenience, when its so much easier to be lazy, when you’re trying to over come a lifetime of bad choices, poor habits, a lifetime of excuses, its not your fault you gained weight, you had surgery, you had babies, you work late shifts, you don’t have money to buy good food, you don’t have time to cook…..need I go on?

Here’s the thing. The beginning is always the hardest part, but once you are in motion things seem to take care of themselves. There isn’t much more for you to think about, to plan out, to prepare ahead for…

…as you slip out of bed, you’re already moving forward to the next task…getting dressed (in work out clothes) getting to the bathroom before your 15.5 yr. old daughter, getting that first cup of coffee…..the worst part was the beginning, and it was so short, so quick, over so soon, can you believe you even wasted any energy on whining about it??

….face it, it really doesn’t take but much more than maybe an extra 15 seconds to pull your long johns on first, before your workout pants, and once you’ve spent that 15 seconds on the task, you’re done, ready to head out….what were you whining about again?? Just give it another 10-15 minutes, you’ll be warmer, your endorphins will kick in and regardless of rain or shine you’ll be so much happier and proud of yourself that you BEGAN….

…oh my. The garage was a hard one for me today. Whatever it was, I was reluctant to get out there among the weights and benches. I just didn’t want to. BUT, knowing as I do that I always feel so much better about myself (this is a BIG thing for me) I figured I’d better just get out there and BEGIN. 40 minutes later, my legs are shaky and I am dripping in sweat and I feel like I can take on the world (or the laundry that NEVER ends!—or heck, even the soap scum that’s been pissing me off lately) You know what? It didn’t take long at all for me to get past the beginning of the work out to feel better…maybe 5 minutes, maybe.

…housework. I’ve timed it. I can get the breakfast dishes and the few carry-overs from the night before, washed in the time it takes for my oatmeal to cook in the microwave and my eggs to cook on the stove top…..simple.  Beginning is the worst part. I’d rather whine, moan about why the Dish Fairy wants to go on strike.  In the time I whine, the time I think about it, its done, if I would have just BEGUN it would have been done sooner.

…..money sucks. I hate money. I wish we bartered for things. Ugh. My mail piles up over the week and I finally reach a critical day, when I know that this or that is due and I HAVE to do it now. I even procrastinate the day its due, I’ll do it after lunch, I’ll do it after study. Just look at that pile, I don’t wanna even begin. blah. BUT you know what? Most of the time, it takes me 15 measly minutes to get everything financial in order, taken care of, paid, saved etc.  The hardest part is just sitting down with my check book, mail and computer…..just the beginning. Go figure.

…..Poor food choices lead to so many other poor choices. Why have we succumbed to prepackaged, factory produced crap? ugh. This IS hard. If you don’t start, you’ll never change. If you don’t BEGIN taking a record, being responsible for what you voluntarily put into your mouth, you’ll never change. How could you?  You can exercise until you’re blue (or bright red as the case may be) in the face and if you continue to eat crap, you will not BEGIN to see anything different, feel anything different other than frustrations, bitterness, woe-is-me crap. I have a bit of “tough love” in me. I cannot deal with those (especially women) who don’t help themselves, who don’t even try to help themselves. I cannot pardon a “victim” mentality. I lose patience and become angry with those. You make your choice. You choose to BEGIN a better day, a better habit, a better life. Do you know I worked with a lady who was constantly “on a diet”, only her choices sucked! She ate toast…white-add-elmers-glue-to-and-make-a-craft-project bread, toast with fake butter, the stuff that is one molecule from plastic and cinnamon and sugar…as her breakfast. Then nothing for lunch, and dinner would be a small take out meal from a fast-kill-your-liver-food-restaurant. She walked miles. Couldn’t figure out why she didn’t feel better. I suggested drinking h2o instead of diet sugar water….get this: h2o upset her tummy. BAH! That was it. I was done. Patience threshold exceeded beyond returning to care anymore. If you don’t take responsibility for you, your choices, your excuses, don’t come whining to me. I will tell you to BEGIN….put on your Big Girl Panties (B.G.P.)  and BEGIN. Then we can talk.

 

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homemade larabar recipe and site reccomendation

made these today:

VERY good! so VERY pleased to have something good for the kids’ lunches, all natural fruit sugars, nuts and grains. If I get the chance, next time I will add some protein powder as well.

  • 1/2 cup raisins (80g)
  • 6 T quick oats (30g)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (40g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pulverize the oats in a food processor, then add all other ingredients and blend very well. Form into balls or bars. (If you want, you can portion the dough into plastic bags before smushing the bars, so your hands don’t get sticky.)

**I used 1/3 cup walnuts and the 2/3 cups pumpkin seeds, as that’s what I had on hand. SUPER forgiving recipe. Just keep processing until the consistency becomes sticky.

pic and recipe from: chocolatecoveredkatie.com a fantastic blog for healthy snacks.

enjoy!

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Mama’s Love Muffins!

Mama’s Love Muffins!.

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