Saturday, February 19, 2011


This has taken me way too long, I know. I apologize!! Here are a few of the recipes that i promised to post though. Some of our favorites.

Minestrone Soup
1 1/2 cups chopped onion

5 cloves garlic

4 tabs butter

1-28 oz can whole tomatoes ( I use whatever I have)

4-15oz can veg all

4-14oz can vegetable broth

2-15oz cans kidney beans

1-6oz can stewed tomatoes chopped

1/2 of 6 oz can of tomato paste

1-10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach

2 tab basil ( I usually only have dried basil)

1 1/2 cups small pasta ( I bought the mini shells they seem to work well)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Cook onion and garlic in butter until tender . Puree whole tomatoes add to onions. Drain veg all cans and reserve juice, add broth, beans, stewed tomatoes and tomato paste, spinach, and basil. Cook 1 hour (i don't think i always make the one hour) Remove half the soup or less and puree. cook pasta alone and add to soup. Cook 20 minutes, stir in cheese. Use the liquid from the veg all to thin the soup if necessary.

The pasta called for is a Tubetti pasta or small tubular pasta, but I always seem to have a hard time finding it.

I have used regular mixed veggies in the past instead of veg all, and last time all I had was frozen veggies, so I just did the best I could with what I had, and it still turned out fine.

Cheese and Spinach Manicotti

1 8oz package manicotti

1 8oz can Italian tomato sauce (I always just use spaghetti sauce normally the hunts cheapy, then put in extra seasoning if I want)

1/4 c chopped onion

1 clove garlic, crushed ( you can use the already minced stuff too)

1 tbsp butter

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese ( i just use the powder)

1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook manicottie using package directions; drain. cover bottom of 9x12 inch baking pan with 1/3 of italian sauce (or spaghetti sauce) Saute onion and garlic in butter in small skillet until onion is tender. combine 1 cup mozarella, cottage cheese, pramesan cheese, spinach, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and onion mixture in bowl; mix well. Spoon into cooked manicotti. Arrange in pan. cover with remaining Italian sauce. sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Yield; 8 servings.

approx per serving; Cal 249; Prot 15 g; carbo 27 g ; Fiber 3 g; T Fat 9 g; 34% Calories from Fat; Chol 28 mg; Sod 5552 mg

Elaine Baird, Saginaw

Taken from "Great Cooking From the Great Lakes"

This is a book that Steve's mom gave to that was put together by the telephone company "Great Lakes Chapter #90 Telephone Pioneers of America" In Grand Rapids in 1992

Gini does not eat spinach but every last child of ours chows this down big time!!! Of course the sauce and cheese amounts on tops are just "guidelines" i always put more :) hope you like it if you try it!! It looks like a lot, but once you've done it once, it is quite easy, and this time I am going to put it in shells.

Best Granola

This is a recipe that was given to me by some very good friends of ours, the Wanner family. It is so good!

10 c. Oatmeal

3c. Coconut

1 1/2 c Wheat Germ

1 c. Melted butter

1 c. Honey

1 c. Brown sugar

2tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp Maple flavoring

1 c. Applesauce

In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, coconut, wheat germ and brown sugar, mixing thoroughly. combine honey, butter, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple flavoring and pour over oatmeal mixture, stirring well. bake at 300 -325 for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. store in an airtight container. Serve w/milk :) Makes 20 servings

I didn't have everything this time to make it, I was out of coconut since we don't use it much. I was looking for coconut that has not been sweetened. that will have to wait til my next visit to the natural food store. I used coconut oil instead of butter, and I use unsweetened applesauce that I make just for baking purposes. I was out this time, so I used the cinnamon one. for maple flavoring, we use Maple Syrup. They make their own, and we used to for a couple years before we moved, now we make do with Costco's maple syrup :) I use honey that we buy from the native american tribe near us. It is amazing! We buy it at least 4 jars at a time when they make it. I also threw in some flax seed meal this time, and some Wheat Bran since I didn't have wheat germ.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Cookies

I found a recipe online for whole wheat oatmeal cookies, and just changed a few things to make it what I wanted. You can vary this recipe, almost any way that you want to.

2 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp baking soda

6 c. oats

app 1/2 c of flax seed meal

lots of cinnamon whatever you want, you can call it 2 tsp :)

1 1/2 c butter ( I used the coconut oil this time instead)

1 1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c unsweetened applesauce ( I try to have enough when I do apples just for baking)

1/2 c. honey

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

Mix your dry ingredients together except for the oats, cream your wet ingredients together then mix the dry with the wet, and add the oats. At this point you can decide whether or not you want to add any dried fruits, chocolate chips, etc. We like choc chips in there, and I have put raspberries in with them as well, very good! Use your imagination!!! i use about 18 oz choc chips but you could make do with 12. I bake them at 350, just until they are starting to turn brown, then take them out and let them cool. they are nice and chewy, and I would say healthy compared to most cookie recipes!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!!! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meal Planning

In the past few months I have been doing a lot more meal planning. I have found that it makes my job much easier, no scrambling for something to make for dinner, you don't "run for pizza" as much, and you manage to save money as well. It doesn't take long to sit down, come up with a list of meals, and then set them to the days you think they will work the best.

What I have been doing is first, looking at what is on sale at the grocery store. I refuse to buy things like Hamburger Helper, rice sides, box potatoes, etc. . They are unhealthy, and don't taste as well either. I try to think of things that will freeze well also, that way I can just double the recipe or more, and freeze it for dinners later to make things even quicker. Once I see what is on sale, then I make a list of dinners that I can with those ingredients, and then make a list of things I know to be inexpensive, and that will go a long way, and also try to throw in one "treat" meal, something that may be a little more costly to make (not a lot) but that is a favorite. Say, like Sesame Chicken, Steaks, whatever a favorite may be at your house.

Then I put my list together, and make sure everything is on it. Go through the cupboards, etc and make sure that you have all ingredients you need to make the dish. The less you go to the store the less you spend. If you are out of something for the dish that doesn't really matter, then don't bother stopping at the store for it. You will most likely walk out with other things that you don't really need. Then, it does help (though I don't always do it) if you cut, sort, and bag into portions that you are going to use the ingredients for. Say you want to make Fajitas. If you buy chicken that is fresh or beef, cut it into the strips ahead of time, then bag and label it, and freeze it. I have been buying the colored peppers at Costco, because they are such a good price. So tonight I cut them into strips with the onions as well, bagged them in quart bags, and put them in the freezer. I bought a Chuck roast that was on sale, and cut that into strips for the meat, labeled it fajita meat, and froze it. (You can also go ahead and put your seasonings in at this time if you want to) then you can get everything out in the morning, thaw it, and cook it that evening, with minimal time needed, since you won't need to cut it. Wala, you have a quick meal, even quicker than pizza, and it's healthier to boot! :) I serve ours with rice, as the kids don't usually eat it with tortillas, so they just mix it with rice, cheese, and sour cream, and eat it that way.
I plan to make a Minnestrone soup recipe that my mother in law gave me a while back. It is amazing!! I am so glad she shared it with me. It freezes really well, and makes quite a bit. Broccoli soup freezes well, you can even make up your own breaded chicken strips ahead of time and freeze them, then thaw and bake when you want them! By the way, if you want any of these recipes, I'm happy to share, just let me know and I will post them asap. Lasagna is a great one to make and freeze! Personally I think it is cheaper to make 2 at one time, and then freeze the second one before you cook it. Get it out first thing the morning you want to eat it, and then bake it that evening, and you don't even have to prep it at all, and less dishes! I also make double my Cheese and Spinach Manicotti, Chili, Veggie soup ( keep in mind if you make your with potatoes that they do not freeze well, so I would leave the potatoes out if you plan to freeze it). I like to make ahead and freeze Cabbage Stoup, and many more as well!
After I get the meal plan, the shopping, etc done, I also make sure that I have put meals to the days for that week or two weeks, whatever you have chosen. Sometimes I have one or two extra meals planned, just in case I decide to change one, etc. . I have found that I am more likely to stick with my meal plan if I know what is going to be for dinner that day, even though you can flip flop them if you'd like. If I know ahead of time that we have evening plans (say like on Monday's Gabe has wrestling now) I will make that day something easy like tacos, a one dish casserole, or even a crock pot meal so that we can still sit down and have a family dinner without being rushed, and make it to wrestling on time.

That's my 2 cents for the day! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Halloween Thoughts

*sigh* It's that time of year again, when halloween comes around. Normally I don't think about it too much. However, this year, Gabe is in kindergarten, and Gini is in preschool, and many of the projects they are doing, revolve around halloween. We personally, as you know (if you know us), e do not believe that as a Christian/Follower of Christ, we should celebrate Halloween. Why? Not because I think that dressing in costumes is bad, or even going and collecting candy in and of itself is bad. The origins of the holiday, and where the customs originated from are what makes this holiday, in our opinion, not fit to celebrate.

There are bible verses that tell us things that God absolutely will not stand for, that are absolutely evil. Witchcraft, divination, enchanter, an observer of the times.

  1. The art or act of foretelling future events or revealing occult knowledge by means of augury or an alleged supernatural agency.
  2. An inspired guess or presentiment.
  3. Something that has been divined.
Fortune telling, ouiji boards, crystal ball, tarot cards, tea leaf reading, psychics
  1. One that delights or fascinates.
  2. A sorcerer or magician
  3. one who casts spells or bewitches
When a person claims they have spoken with the dead, it is not the dead they are contacting but evil demonic spirits who pretend to be the deceased.

Observer of the Times is another form of divination. It is a person who looks at the stars for guidance. (Isaiah 47:12-15, Jeremiah 10:2, Daniel 1:20, 5:7, 11, and 15) We even need to beware of horoscopes , astrology, numerology, palm readers, and other things such as these. They are practiced by people who believe in astrology or stargazing, which the bible says is wrong.

Witch- a person who practices magic, deals with demonic spirits. They practice black or white magic. Both are from Satan

Deuteronomy 18:10 KJV
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.

In Exodus 11:18 it says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

In Acts 16:16 KJV "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her master much gain by soothsaying"

The Bible says divination is actually a spirit!

I bring up these verses because the very first celebration of what we now call Halloween, was created by the ancient Druids who were Celtic priests, teachers, diviners, and magicians.

" Originally the holiday was called Samhain (sow-in) Eve. The ancients believed that spirits walked the Earth as they traveled to the afterlife. They also believed that fairies, demons and other creatures were present." They believed that this was a very magical time (the time between seasons) when the dead could walk among the living and veils between past, present and future may be lifted in prophecy and divination. We saw the Bible talked about this in Acts, and Deuteronomy. Both are wrong according to the Bible.
On this night before the Celtic new year, costumes were a part of the celebration. This is where the costume part comes in. They wore costumes to confuse spirits and avoid being possessed. Most often the costumes were animal skins/heads, sometimes they wore masks, and blackened their faces, and even impersonated the dead. They were trying to ward of roaming ghosts. The ancients would also build huge bonfires, and make animal and plant sacrifices to the dead.

In the mid 1800's taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, which eventually turned into today's trick or treat tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors. Again, divination.

The traditions of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain time, and frightening. Food often ran low. On Halloween, (Hallow's Even, which came from All Hallow's Eve from the Roman's) to keep ghosts from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Many of these things in and of themselves, dressing up in cute costumes, going around and collecting candy don't sound all that bad. However, the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to "Abstain from all appearance of evil"

The things we do today for Halloween may not seem all that evil, but the origins of them are. Today, still, for those that practice witchcraft and sorcery Halloween is the most evil time of the year, one which the Wiccan believe still is the best time for speaking with the dead. The dead can not be contacted, instead, these people are contacting evil spirits who pretend to be the dead.

So for our family to abstain from ALL appearances of evil, we do not celebrate this holiday that began with demonic origins. I say demonic, because the practices that the Druids and people did, were considered evil and demonic, by God, and still are. His word never changes.

Appearances of evil to us are even businesses nearby that advertise things like Valley Scare and the Trail of scare that are near us. Even the advertisements should be enough to warn you to stay away from these places, and not join in the celebration. However, each of us must make our own choices. I hope that you take this information, and read the Bible, and really ask God if this is for you.

Have we as churches and people become part of the world in this, just so we don't stand out? As churches we have supposed "Harvest Parties" that you come dressed in costumes and collecting candy. Isn't this still a Halloween celebration with a good twist? Yet the Bible says to abstain from ALL appearances of evil. We are just offering them a safe place to celebrate this holiday. Compromising. So we don't stand out. Yet the Bible says to set yourself apart from the world. To be in the world, but not of the world.
We are far from perfect, God is still working on us, until the end of the world. I hope to teach my children, though, to stand up for what they believe, and to abstain from all appearances of evil, to stand out even if they are not liked. Because this is what God has asked of us. To follow Him, not the world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime 2

I posted a little about the last couple of weeks in my last post, but this picture is for a contest. I am no photographer, but I love capturing things on camera!
I love watching out babies sleep, and capturing their cute sleep positions on camera. too bad I missed the one of him standing on the floor leaning over the bed sleeping on his toddler bed that he is now in! lol


Summer is so much fun!!! We have been so very busy here! Planting a little garden (no room for a big one. We used to have a 60x60 garden). I got rid of all the flowers that were in the beds here at our rental house, and planted some tomatoes, chives, basil, thai hot peppers, bell peppers, green beans, cucumbers, and zuccini. I do believe we may have enough zuccini to feed Jodan AND Shakopee!!!

Last week I took all 4 children, and picked 10 ice cream buckets of Strawberries in Monticello, and The Strawberry Basket. Amazing berries, so much fun! The kids were sooo good. The lady at the patch kept saying that (we were there for 3 hours) and I didn't even realize, she was telling the other people at the patch as well! That made my day. Especially since it was about 90 degrees out, and full sun, and they had nothing to do! So we have some berries in the freezer, some jam in jars. I made homemade yogurt, and we have been having smoothies. Yummy!

It can be so tiring!

But oh, so worth it!

60 lbs

of bright red and purple berries.

On a different note, I was talking to Steve while he was at work the other night and saw something move on the floor. I looked over, and this salamander walked by!!!! I yelped, Oh my gosh, what is that!??!!!?? Steve is trying to figure out what is going on, while I'm freaking out on the phone. hehe All the neighbors were sleeping, so that left me to get it out of the house, or risk stepping on it (or worse finding it in my bed if that's possible) if I had to get up in the middle of the night for the babies or bathroom. Needless to say, once I got it out (which I did by using a belt and gently guiding it the way I wanted it to go) it took a while to get to sleep that night! :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Yellows and a pair of wet pants

All three students passed their yellow belt tests. Now the house has three yellow belt Shotokan-Do Karate students. Watch out bad guy, they will kick your @$$. Life is great when the children accomplish tasks that are instrumental in their development as adults. Hopefully this karate class will help them maintain focus throughout all tasks that they are presented. Also the self confidence that these classes bring to them will pay off dividends later in life. No one will walk all over my children unless they let them. Oh yeah the wet pants....LELE did it. Thought this phase was over for her, but if Gini is a gauge of the girls, this may go on for a few years. Hopefully this will not come to pass. Smell smoke......Pizza is done....Time to eat.

Daddy's Turn

The last three days have been my turn to be Mr. Mom. I do not see what is so hard about this job. Women get all outta whack because they are not organized. They rely too much on their own strengths to get the jobs done. The children know how to clean up after themselves and get dressed. Letting them do the work that they are supposed to do helps eliminate the stress level. Oh yeah another tip, cook outside in the summer. NO pans to wash and dry!!
We recently were blessed with a washer and dryer from our karate instructor. Thank you Adam and Christy. Laundry has taken half of the time and is cleaner. Nessa is happy and it will help to make her job easier. It already is but you have to give her a chance to sound off. Nessa has been working at the horse ranch for a couple of days and it has been great spending time with the children. Lele has more energy than the sun. Michael thinks everything is funny. Gabe and Gini are themselves of course. Riding bikes and running all over the neighborhood is a normal day for them.
Today is the belt test for Gabe, Gini, and Dad. Testing for the Yellow Belt in Shotokan-Do Karate is easy for the children, they do not have to do all the steps that I have to do. Well it is good that they are in Karate. Gabe's focus is sharp and pays attention in class. When the other students are goofing around he is like a pillar in the class. Gini has pretty good focus, although she does start to goof off, she sees Gabe not doing it. This really helps her to re-focus on the class. She has come close to hitting one of the goofing off kids for getting in her face. She has controlled her anger pretty well and stopped before she leveled him.
Watching all the children playing together is magical. They all get along, and sometimes have their spats with each other. At the end of the day they pray and give each other hugs and kisses for bed. It is interesting to see them outside of their environment and how they react to uncomfortable situations.
I am glad that I have two boys to protect....Not the girls but the boys that the girls might have problems with. The girls have no problem taking care of themselves and I am sure that the boys will also join in the defense of their sisters. Maybe the girls can help the boys in their time of need.
Well I have to go and do school work. 25% done with school this summer and can not wait until I finish the degree. I am hoping that this will open more job opportunities in the future. Only time will tell.

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