Friday, January 29, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

My hubby has to be out the door by 8:45 a.m. each morning to get to class on time. This means that he doesn't usually get a warm, hearty breakfast. I'm stumbling around trying to pack his lunch and supper for the day, feed the kids, and remember where I put my cup of coffee. I know, I's not that early, but I stay up late so I can actually spend time with my hubby these days and have an early morning wake up call that comes in a super cute, little, chunky body.

But this morning hubby's first class was canceled so I set about to make something yummy to give him an extra bounce in his step.

I like oatmeal ok but wouldn't pick it over regular cereal unless I'm pregnant and craving it. NOOOOO, I am not pregnant but I did crave it with my first pregnancy along with spinach and V-8! Anywho...many years ago at a conference I had baked oatmeal and it was so delicious. I found a recipe online and made that for hubby this morning. It was so easy, the ingredients are cheap and it was YUMMY. Win, Win, Win! It is trifecta!

Again this recipe came from All Recipes. I liked that it had dried cranberries. I would pick a dried cranberry over a raisin anyday. I love to add substitute cranberries for raisins in many of my baking recipes.

Baked Oatmeal
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
We just put it in a bowl and poured milk over the top. I think that next time I may add some pecans.

To close have you ever stumbled upon the Cake Wrecks blog? I laughed my hiney off today. I do have to say that she can be a bit crude in her humor and language, so beware if you are faint of heart. The cakes, oh the cakes. They are priceless. It's like that People of Wal-Mart site. You don't want to look but you just can't help yourself. Cake Wrecks got me throught this long, hard day at home alone with two children, one of which was GRUMPY!

Lighten It Up

So I promised to be back with a recipe and to lighten the mood. Geesh, it got kind of heavy here. Ha! I am ashamed to admit that I am not a frugal poultry consumer. I will always buy the skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs that cost more before I would even think about looking at a whole chicken. Can we say MESSY? BUT I did buy a whole chicken back in....ummm...well September. She had a nice spot in my freezer and I kept meaning to cook her up but she just sat there. Finally I cooked her today and boy was I excited at how she turned out. The meat was oh so tender and yummy and it was so easy. Lesson learned...that whole chicken isn't as big a pain as I thought it would be. My next attempt will be to make homemade chicken stock from that nice carcass. Here is the recipe that I found on All Recipes and used.

Juicy Roasted Chicken
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon onion powder, or to taste
1/2 cup margarine, divided
1 stalk celery, leaves removed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place chicken in a roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Sprinkle inside and out with onion powder. Place 3 tablespoons margarine in the chicken cavity. Arrange dollops of the remaining margarine around the chicken's exterior. Cut the celery into 3 or 4 pieces, and place in the chicken cavity.
  3. Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings. Cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes before serving.
YUM! Even the baby liked the tender meat. This will be happening again very soon. I have a Martha Stewart recipe for Lemon Roasted Chicken that I think I will have to attempt soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Showing Up

So it is a new year. I haven't been quite sure what to do with it. I have learned not to make resolutions because I never seem to stick to them. A few weeks ago I came across a list of questions for the new year that really struck a chord with me. I had not had time to really sit down and think about my answers until last week. My husband didn't have classes and it was his day off from work so we made a plan. I would get the day to myself to go out and do whatever I wanted to do and he would get the evening to go see Avatar at the IMAX theater with some friends.

A day out...all by myself = BLISS! I adore my family and love being with my girls, but I really need that alone time every once in a while. I have done many of those personality tests over the years and mine always come back saying that my personality type needs time alone to re-energize. I started out my day at a coffee shop downtown, just me, a cup of coffee, the list of questions and my journal. I love to journal. I have a horrible memory when it comes to memories. It has to be something pretty big...I hate to say it and I hate that I am this way, but I have a hard time recalling the little things which are typically the most important things. My journals help me so much in this because I can go back and read and remember. So, I do love to journal but haven't done it in so long. I ended my day out at Starbucks with another cup of coffee and the rest of the questions.

The list of questions can be found HERE. I stumbled upon them while reading another blog and was so struck by them.

The questions were hard for me to answer. I had to be honest about some things and those things hurt. There are some deep wounds that have not yet healed. The healing process has been so hard as new wounds have opened along the way and I haven't been able to focus on healing old wounds. As I sat at Starbucks answering question 2, "What is the most humanly impossible thing that you will ask God to do this year," I was struck by the date, January 18, 2010. It was exactly two years and one day ago that we learned we had lost our second baby. That was the day that things to spin downward for me. In those 2 years we lost our second child to a miscarriage at 17 weeks, watched my mom get sicker from the horrible effects of Alzheimer's Disease, found out we were pregnant again, watched my mom pass away, walk through a cancer scare with my dad, hubby started college again, had a baby, moved away from many things that I knew and loved to a new town, among all of the normal life things that come up. As I looked at this list, I was reminded of a list of life events that I have seen before. It tells you that if you have more than like 2 or 3 of these things happen in a year, you might not handle it well! This all has happened in two years but I can tell you that I have not handled things well.

I have been a person who has found little joy in life, gets VERY overwhelmed by normal tasks in the past months. I have no idea really how I managed our move. I do know that I had some incredible prayer warriors on their knees for me during that time. I have a dear, dear friend that I spent several phone conversations with her sobbing. If you don't have yourself a prayer warrior friend, GET ONE NOW!

I don't want to continue like this. My first few months in our new community went ok but to be honest, I really struggled with just being flat out depressed. I kept the girls and myself busy doing stuff but when were just home, it was bad. My oldest daughter has seen mommy cry more than she should have. I have felt hopeless at times. It just hasn't been pleasant. But I want change. I'm tired of surviving each day. I want to be fully alive. I have the sweetest, most beautiful little girls and I don't want to miss out on them or for them to miss out on Mommy at her best...let me reword that...Mommyh striving to be her best.

I have a very favorite music artist that I have shared about on here before, Sara Groves. Her Add to the Beauty cd is awesome. I have had it for 4 years and it still touches my soul. The lyrics hit me between the eyes. It is amazing. I really feel like it was written and sung for me at times, for right where I am. There is a song on it that has really stood out to me in the past week. The lyrics speak perfectly to where I am right now.

Just Showed Up for My Own Life

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Don't you just love that? I do. It speaks to me. It makes me want to long for be changed. I know I will fail some days. I will fall flat on my face, but I want to strive for change. I urge you to read through the questions. Answer them for yourself and do something about those answers.

If you need music that really speaks to you...I can not speak enough of the Add to the Beauty cd by Sara Groves. I could post almost any of the songs from that cd right now. They are so profound to me.

Back with a lighter note later. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Soup and Jane

This is a recipe I scored from someone I worked with many years ago. It is super yummy and super easy which is quite a wonderful combination! It also makes a big pot of soup which means left-overs and we love left-overs. It was a great way to end a rainy, dreary last night. It was also a perfect addition to my love affair with Jane Austen. Masterpiece Theater is showing Emma by Jane Austen on PBS. IT.WAS.AWESOME! And there are two episodes left on the next two Sunday evenings. Ahhhh...I love that time period. Anyways...where was I? Mr. Knightely? Mr. Ferrars? Mr. Darcy? Oh, no potato soup!

Potato Soup
6 medium sized potatoes, diced thin
2 large onions, diced
1 c. celery, diced
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
3 c. water
1 T. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 egg
4 T. butter

Prepare the potatoes, onion, and celery. Place in large pot, add water, salt, and pepper. Cover and turn heat on high. When steam begins to escape from lid, switch to simmer and cook about 15 minutes. Then mix the milk and soup together. Add to the pot and bring to an almost boil again using high heat. While this is heating, measure the flour into a bowl and break in the egg. Stir the egg and flour until thoroughly mixed with a fork. (Jab and stir until nice a8-9.nd crumbly.) Slowly sprinkle this mixture and butter into soup. Turn switch to low and cook 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to let soup stick to bottom of pot.
Serves 8-9.

This is seriously one of my most used recipes. I have been making this for my hubby since we were married. It is a cheap, hearty meal!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Broken Hearted

It is late and I should be in bed, but I have to write. My heart is just broken this evening. A dear friend called this evening and shared some hurts in her life that she is dealing with and my heart broke for her. I was convicted greatly for not being the friend that she so desperately needs. My heart has been called to change. To look beyond my circumstances and to get on my knees and pray for her, for others, for my family.

I was just winding down my evening, getting ready to head to bed and hopped online to check a few things. There is a blog, Isabelle Hope that I used to check frequently. I stumbled upon this sweet woman's blog after we miscarried our 2nd child. I was so drawn to her and broken by the road that she was walking. Their family had lost their 4th child due to Potter's Syndrome. We commented on each others blogs a few times and that was that. Life went on, moved forward and I hadn't been to her site in months. Tonight for some reason, I clicked a link I have to her blog and my heart sunk. In October they lost their 5th child due to Trisomy 13. I read her posts and cried.

My heart is so heavy this evening for my sweet friend and for this precious woman whom I really do not know outside of the blogging world. I do not understand why some are called to walk such hard roads. I do not understand the plan that God has. I do know that it is not my job to understand, but it is my job to trust Him. To trust that when our world is spinning out of control, He IS in control. To trust when we do not understand, He has a perfect plan. In my limited human mind, this is hard. I want to get mad and question His plan. Why God? Why so much pain? Why so much heart ache?

As I was putting my final load of laundry in tonight and praying, it hit me, "Lord, we're ready. Call us home! There will be no more heart ache, no more grief, no more tears. Your plan will be fulfilled." The lyrics to a song playing on the Isabel Hope blog were exact, perfect. "Give me Jesus, You can have all this world, but give me Jesus." Click HERE to listen to the whole song, the powerful song, the beautiful song.

Tonight my heart is broken, but it remains filled with hope.

Buttermilk Pancakes

We like pancakes here in our house and it is such a cheap last minute meal. It's also fun to have breakfast for supper every once in a while. Last night it was just my girls and I. I have a hard time cooking a full blown out meal when it is just us. We usually eat left-overs and such but we decided on pancakes. I got online and searched for a new pancake recipe and found Cakey Buttermilk Pancakes on The Food Network site. They were really yummy! I didn't have any buttermilk on hand so I used the buttermilk substitute that I always use and it always works.

Cakey Buttermilk Pancakes
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons for cooking
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons butter until evenly combined and moistened thoroughly (some small lumps will remain). Set mixture aside to rest while griddle heats or cover and store in the refrigerator to rest up to 12 hours before using. (If batter rests, stir briefly before using.)

Heat a large seasoned cast iron skillet, frying pan, or griddle over medium heat. To check that the pan's properly heated, sprinkle a few drops of water on pan or griddle and water will "dance" around before evaporating.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan. When it foams, ladle 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles cover the top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown, another 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.