Thursday, May 29, 2014

Homeschool Rabbit Trail...

I am not a homeschooling parent, but have been reading some about it, and looking forward to that time in parenting!

I read some about Susan Wise Bauer and enjoyed perusing her blog.  I did come across a critical post on her curricula, but nevertheless look forward to gleaning much from her books "The Well Trained Mind" and "The Well-Educated Mind."


"I am concerned that her underlying philosophy of Scripture will influence how she writes about ancient history especially." - Rachel Miller

Recommended by Rachel Miller:  
 Answers In Genesis’ History Revealed,  for older ones.
 Youngest children’s level Mystery of History or My Father's World.

People I trust also recommend Tapestry of Grace.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

15-Minute Tortellini Soup

Famous Healthy 15-Minute Tortellini Soup

adapted from    Get a printable version of this recipe here.

1 T. olive oil
2-3 t. jarred minced garlic (or to taste)
1/2 cup dry-tasting white wine (I have used all kinds; it always seems to turn out fine)
3 (15.75 oz) cans chicken broth (I use the healthiest kind)
2 (9 oz) packages three-cheese tortellini (I use Buitoni whole wheat most of the time)
1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach (or regular leaf is fine)
1 T. butter
Parmesan cheese (optional on top)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute garlic for 15  - 30 seconds.

 Stir in wine and broth, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add tortellini and cook for 6 minutes. [My kind said cooks in 2 minutes, so I just moved onto the next step immediately.]

Stir in chopped tomatoes and spinach, and cook for 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts (this doesn’t take long).

Add the pat of butter and serve immediately once it has melted. We like to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

 It yields about 4 large servings. (A single recipe used to be enough to feed our two adults plus 3 small kids, but now that the baby is eating her fair share all ground up, I am doubling it.) I don’t recommend freezing this one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spinach+ sun dried tomatoes in creamy goat cheese pasta


Spinach+ sun dried tomatoes in creamy goat cheese pasta
Pasta- I used whole wheat shell because A. its what I had and B. I like the way the sauce and the veggies stick to the shells.

Fresh Spinach
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Light Sour Cream
Goat Cheese aka Chevre
Pasta- whatever you like or have around- use whole wheat as a way to up the fiber factor!
Parmesan+Romano+Asiago Cheese blend


Boil Pasta ( I used 4 servings worth or in this case about half the box so we could have leftovers for lunch)
1. Heat EVOO ( about 3 Tbsps) in a skillet
2. Saute 2 Tsps of minced garlic about 15 sec. til aromatic.
3. Add spinach, 3/4 of a bag-or more.
4. Add S+P to taste
5. Add chopped  sun dried tomatoes. ( I love them so I used probably 10-12 tomatoes)

5. Add 3/4 cup of the hot pasta water to the spinach mix once the pasta is done cooking
6.  Add 1/2 cup -3/4 cup light sour cream  and 2 oz, or 2-3 tbsp worth ( sorry I eyeball everything)  creamy goat cheese to mixture.  Combine all and sprinkle with Parmesan.

All together this took about 20-25 minutes to put together. 2 pans and a cutting board to wash at the end and a yummy satisfying meal for a cool fall night!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up: May 24

To-do's and Goals for the Week: 
- start making casseroles again, now that I've added starch back in our diet - bye bye, GAPS! I needed a break from that learning curve.  One pot meals - another good notion.

A Few Facts: 

-Tulip poplars are so beautiful.  Time for cut flowers inside all the time!

Awesome thing of the day: Shane's cecropia moth hatched this week, woke me up with its flapping!  It's huge, and laid eggs the next day.   Quite the animal man, my husband.

Friday, May 23, 2014

2-3 Ingredients Main dishes and more (Or Cooking with No Time)

What works for me when I'm having trouble planning/ cooking meals....

Must fit in to categories:

2-3 Ingredients Main dishes
One (stock) pot meals  (I cook for leftovers
Fix it and Forget it One Crock pot meals  (for those days when...)
The all encompassing tossed salad: protein, veggies, fat, carbs...

The2-3 Ingredients Main dishes

for slowcooker: 

MANGO Salsa Chicken

Bake/Slow cook Whole Chicken with homemade seasoning mix, make crockpot stock, add veggies, rice/pasta,

 Bottom Round Roast

Close enough to easy: Teriyaki Chicken

One pot meals

Tortellini Soup from the Harvard Homemaker
Chicken Veggie Pasta/Ragu, Lazy Vegetable Lasagna, or similar (like Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta) eggplant opportunity!

Rice Stir Fry (add eggs, fried first) try curry variation

For the Oven:

Meaty Mexican Chip Dip 

Meat Loaf
 Broccoli Cheddar Quiche


Gluten Free Cupcakes book recipe :2 ingredients: white chocolate and almond flour, I think
Baked Fruit
Texas Style cobbler


1 lb. ground beef
3/4 to 1 c. chopped onions
15 oz. can refried beans
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. grated Mozzarella cheese
Brown ground beef and onions in skillet. Drain. Place meat and onions in slow cooker. Add beans and taco seasoning mix. Mix together well. Spread sour cream over mixture. Sprinkle cheese over top. Cover. Cook on low 1 1/2 hours or on high 3/4 hour. Serve warm from the cooker with tortilla chips.

I'm a Fan of Just 2 Ingredients...

Thanks to Amy J. Bennet!  

 Slow cooker Salsa Chicken

Frozen or regular chicken breasts or tenders
One jar of salsa
Dump them in.  I usually put it on high and it’s done in 4 hours.  Just before it’s done, I shred the chicken and let it simmer on low in the salsa.

I'm going to use  MANGO salsa. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dire Diaper Days

Excerpts from :

1. Bananas

Bananas also contain a good amount of inulin, another soluble fiber. Inulin is a prebiotic, a substance that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the intestinal system.

  White Toast and Crackers

  Yogurt [kefir, etc...]

  Dried Blueberries

Herbal Tea

 Two teas in particular are especially good for quieting a diarrhea episode: peppermint and chamomile.


 Cooking the apples makes them easier on your system to digest, thus allowing you to benefit from the pectin, sugar and other nutrients that lie within.

 White Rice and Mashed Potatoes

  Steamed Chicken [Chicken Soup too, add white rice/potatoes]

Reportedly, dried blueberries have a long history of use in Sweden as a treatment for diarrhea.

Cook's Country Tips

I love everything from America's Test Kitchen - doesn't everyone?

I wrote these tips down while perusing my mom's collection of that awesome magazine.

Hand diced tomatoes will fall apart while canned diced will keep shape.

Refined coconut oil = veggie shortening

Clumps in flour dip for fried foods makes extra crispy crunch.


White fish are delicate types, including sole, cod, grouper, haddock, hake, halibut, poll, and
and flounder (bottom dweller, not kosher).

Make PIZZA MONKEY BREAD.  Mmm, pepperoni.  Also, hasty pudding and apple flan.

New ideas:

Think of food that hide (like the book, Deceptively Delicious)
Potatoes (veggies)
Ground meat (liver)

Biscuits and gravy (what to do with a large batch of breakfast sausage )

Berry season: make salads with them

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why I Live in Survival Mode

Fall 2011: Had my wedding two weeks before my last college semester started.  Adjusting to new life (Insurance...what's that? budgeting? utilities? MEAL PLANNING?)  and home (this is cramped) while I grew my studio.

Spring 2012:  Graduated and found out we were expecting.

Fall 2012: Moved, birthed Astrid Elizabeth.

Spring 2013: Moved to Virginia (with a 6 month old, in the dead of winter. Ay.); reestablished studio, spent about 2 months total visiting Florida over the next year.

Spring 2014: Moved to a different apartment.  Found out we're having #2.

The ways that I've grown have been tremendous.  I can think and accomplish so much better than I did before I was married.  My faith is stronger from many different challenges.  But it's been very tough.

Besides prayers, reading has been the most helpful to me as I try to overcome the tremendous new challenges over the past 2 1/2 years.

I'm so hesitant to buy books, first because I haven't found many recommendation sources, and second because, will I actually make time to read them? :) Each baby has pushed me to get and read a great book that pulled me through and pushed me forward. 

First Baby: Large Family Logistics, Brennaman
Second Baby: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, Crystal Paine

Books I think WILL help once I read them :)

  Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind - 99U

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Covey
 Drive: The Surprising Truth About Which Motivates Us  Daniel H. Pink

Most of these were recommended by, the blogger who wrote one more I'll add to the list:

How She Does It: An everywoman's guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life. 5$ [Kindle Edition] Anne Bogel

Recently, Anne Bogel wrote something on her blog that I took to heart:

"I’m stopping to read for a full hour during rest time. This feels so indulgent, and it is, but it’s also a huge source of renewal for me.  I’m writing first thing in the morning and I’m not checking my email before breakfast. (Quote that made me say ouch: “It’s better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing your potential for the illusion of professionalism.”) 
"...I want to work hard, but I’m also building renewal into my days."           

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meat Loaf - again

Meat loaf - again.  Why?  I'm pregnant and can't stand the smell of raw onions.

I will experiment with gluten free breads!

1 cup [butter] milk [with a tiny bit of water]
6 bread slices[soft]
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry's[ celery salt]
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley [ 8 T. dried]
4 eggs, beaten (try not beaten next time using my standing mixer)
8 to 12 thin bacon slices [didn't have!]
Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash or 2 hot sauce (more if you like) [2, cayenne]
Dash or 2 Worcestershire sauce[2, soy]

For the meatloaf:                  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the milk over the bread and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Add ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, salt, some pepper, seasoned salt and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the eggs. With hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a foil-lined broiler pan [didn't have and don't cook on foil], which will allow the fat from the meat to drain.[

Lay the bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf to give the meatloaf some support.

Next, make the tomato sauce:                   Stir the sauce ingredients until well combined. Pour one-third of the sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes, and then pour over another one-third of the remaining tomato sauce over the meatloaf. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes; the meatloaf should be no longer pink in the middle. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with the remaining tomato sauce on the side as a dipping sauce.

Read more at:

Other meat loaf recipes that looked good:
From America's test kitchen :

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap- A New Template:)

I've become addicted to the blog of Emily Meyer's,  Check it out, and you'll see I'm mooching her style of Weekend Wrap-up posts, but I haven't made a gorgeous photo collage like she does. :o)   That might  be because I'm not on Instagram.  Twitter might need to come first... lol

It's fun to do this type of post, you should try it!  

To-do's and Goals for the Week: 
-clean the poop stain on the carpet (ugh)
- drink lots more herbal tea
-find a midwife
- research pregnancy (non-varicose causing) workouts
- have a little video shoot to hear Astrid sing "I Feel Pretty" and copying faces I make
 - sing a little more
- catch up on the laundry
 - organize and inventory the kitchen & pantry
-be brave and take the kitchen light cover down and empty the dead bugs...*shiver*
- dump the pictures off my phone

A Few Facts: 

-the new spring discoveries outside make me want to pick up my paint brushes again

and read poetry!
-I love calligraphy flourishes like this  and this
-the sound of my daughter's little murmurs and quiet coos and syllables as she  plays by herself is the sweetest thing I can imagine. Even though I can't see her, I'm just grinning ear to ear.

Awesome thing of the day: There's a cicada killer living in our mailbox, and the local black bear has been opening car doors. o_O

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kitchen Tools I Like (er, Want)

williams-sonoma Flexi Square Cutting Boards, Set of 4
Can't seem to have enough boards, and love how these funnel into the pot/bowl...

Vertical roaster, for rotisserie chickens.

To get at the library:

Reposts: Mother's Day Thoughts

Late night thoughts on motherhood   from

I was so touched by this writing....

That I went in search of more inspiration...

"I’m used to immediate results, the waxed perfection and uniformity of the produce aisle, and the fruit devoid of the sweat it took to taste it.

"But the good news is, I can come to the Lord of the Harvest knowing my ignorance, my impatience, my lack of discipline, my short-sightedness—in short, knowing all the weaknesses I bring as a parent–and pray....

"I can come asking for that which I do not have: I can ask for the patience to persevere through many fallow days... I can come in my weakness, expecting His grace, wisdom and mercy.

"And so I come knocking on Heaven’s door these days, for the strength
to be the kind of person I want them to become and to love, and live,
and parent each and every day with an eye to the harvest."

Catherine's latest Book for Expectant Mothers

Friday, May 9, 2014

Beef Roast-Food Network (never fails)

I would say serves 10!

Roast Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min

4 to 6 servings


Roast Beef:
1 (2 to 2 1/2-pound) sirloin tip or chuck beef roast
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 Roma tomatoes, cut in 1/2
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce:
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


To make the beef roast, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence.

Place a medium, heavy roasting pan or Dutch oven over high heat. Heat the olive oil. Sear the beef over high heat on all sides. Turn off heat. Place the seasoned tomatoes around the seared beef and place the pan in the oven. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees F. for medium rare, 135 for medium, about 30 to 40 minutes. Take the roast out of the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. The internal temperature of the meat should rise 5 degrees F more and the juices will redistribute into the roast.

To make the sauce, place the parsley and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, red wine vinegar and the roasted tomatoes from the beef pan and process until pureed. Add the olive oil in a steady stream with the machine running.

To serve, slice the roast and place on a serving platter. Drizzle a little sauce over the meat. Serve the remaining sauce in a small bowl alongside.

© 2014 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Read more at: