Dec 28, 2008

Oh. My. Word.

Save me. Please save me.

Meals, Day 11: Tom Kha Gai soup.

Had this at a party recently and it was soooooo delicious I had to try making it at home. I didn't realize, though, it had chicken in it, until today when I looked up recipes for it online! ... I don't think accidental ingestion of meat should count against me in my resolve. But now I know I like it, and I can vegetarianize it for my family pretty easily, too.

Here's the original recipe:

1 whole chicken breast
2 chicken thighs
1/2 pound of cleaned shrimp (optional)
4 stalks fresh lemongrass
4 1/2 cups coconut milk (NOT coconut cream)
1 1/2 cups basic chicken stock
20 quarter-sized slices fresh galanga (fresh ginger makes a fine substitute)
10 whole black peppercorns
12 fresh wild lime leaves (available at Asian markets; if unavailable, substitute the grated peel of 1 lime)
1 cup well-drained, whole canned straw mushrooms, halved lengthwise (sliced fresh button mushrooms work fine too)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Here's the recipe "nosurf-ized" (made simple, no chicken, and less expensive)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/2 tbs powdered fish broth
1 can coconut milk
1/2 onion, cut into long, thin strips and sauteed until soft
2 drops lemongrass essential oil (you're supposed to use real lemongrass stems, as you'll see in the recipe above... get those at an asian grocery or asian foods market)

I didn't have any of the other ingredients at hand and so I added some salt and soy sauce for a little bit of flavoring. If I had the option though, I think I'd use the lime juice and try to hunt down lime leaves during my weekly trip to the asian food market. I also would go ahead and put in the mushrooms, but I didn't have any fresh.

You serve it with white rice, adding a little bit to the soup when you serve yourself.

So, it turned out pretty good, mad crazy substitutions notwithstanding! Me: **** out of **** stars. Skywalker: still at church doing his calling, so the vote's still out on that one. Kids: *** and a half out of **** stars. :)

Seriously guys. It sounds weird but this soup is sooooo good.

My Mafia name

Your Mafia Name Is Ella "The Chop" DeCicco

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

resources for young moms, and new links

Heather has been a best friend for a long, long time. Her mother makes the best homemade bread I have ever ever had ever. She has a couple of blogs! Hooray for blogs connecting people! I'm going to link to her very interesting blog about cooking from food storage and healthful recipes... it's called Healthy Families, Warm Hearts. I think a lot of you will enjoy this blog and benefit from it.

Also, I'm adding Dallan's blog to my blogroll. She and I are blogging kindred spirits... when it comes to bedmaking, Barack Obama, and it seems, just about everything in between. She also has lots of blogs. I'm linking to her random randomness one, which I find entertaining.

Another friend has started a blog with all kinds of games, quiet activities, felt-board patterns and educational fun things for toddlers. This is an area where I am weak, in the parenting category... finding activities to do with my tiny kids! And this is such a great resource... I have always wondered where LDS parents go to get their file folder games, and there they are, right on her website. Fun times!

Also, Shannon from back home has been coming by... old friends. She has cute girls like me. I like having her around.

Go check them out!

Dec 27, 2008

Meals, day 10-- making sushi

I have been wanting to try sushi making for a long time. I loooooove sushi, but it's expensive. The reason why I've never tried before is I thought it was too tricky. But a friend recently reassured me; she said it wasn't hard at all and she frequently sends her husband to work with a sushi lunch. So I thought I'd try it! And I soon found she was right; Sushi is easy as making a sandwich. THe only time-intense part is making the rice, but mostly you're just letting that sit, and so it's at least not time-absorbing; you can do other things while you wait for the rice to be ready.


short-grained white rice (3 cups)

Water (3 1/3 cups)

step 1: rinse the rice. put the rice in a bowl, fill it with water, and scrunch the rice together all over with your hands. Pour off the water, repeat 3-4 times until the water is fairly clear.

Step 2: Put water in the rice again (until rice is submerged)and set aside for 30 minutes or more.

Step 3: Pour off the water again. Add the 3 1/3 cups of water back in. Put on the stove, on low until simmering (or low boil); simmer for 12-15 minutes. Try not to take the lid off...if you have to peek to see if it's simmering, do it quickly and try to do it only once or twice.

Step 4: After rice has simmered 12-15 minutes, turn stove off. Leave top on,let the rice sit another 15 minutes.

While this is happening put these ingredients in a saucepan:

rice vinegar (1/2 cup)

salt (1 tbsp)

Sugar (1/4 cup)

you can also add 1/2 tb of powdered dashi (japanese fish broth)if you want.

Do not boil. Just heat until the salt and sugar are melted.

take the rice and put it in a plastic or wood bowl. Pour the vinegar in while you "stir" the rice, by taking a wooden or plastic spoon and making "slicing" motions into the rice. Don't stir, don't smush the rice,just use the edge of the wooden spoon to "slice stir" the vinegar into the rice and then keep stirring until it's room temperature.

While this is going on, the rice is supposed to be fanned. The recipe I read called for hand-fanning... instead, we use a small electric fan and aim it at the bowl.

once the rice is room temperature, you can stop fanning and start rolling!

For the sushi-making part (the funnest part, IMO)

you need bamboo sushi mats (can find at any aisian food store)

Nori (roasted seaweed sheets- can also find at any aisian food store, and also the grocery store, but it's more expensive there)

Sesame seeds (you can roast these in the oven to make them more delicious)

And whatever you want to put on the inside. For our first attemtps we did two different kinds. For one, we took tuna fish (in a can) and just mixed it with mayo like we'd do for any tuna sandwich. For the other we did avacado, fake crab meat, and cucumber. Slice any solid ingredients into long, thin, rods.

Rolling a sushi roll is fun. you take the nori and place it shiny-side down on the mat. You take the sushi rice and glop it onto the nori,then pat it and spread it until it's about 1/4" thick over the nori sheet, leaving about an inch free on the bottom edge. You take your ingredients and lay them across the top edge of the sheet of nori-with-rice, leaving about an inch of room at the top. And then you roll it up, using the bamboo mat as a shaper, and to squeeze it tight. The tighter the roll, the more it'll stay together after it's sliced.

The sesame seeds can be sprinkled over the rice before the ingredients are put on.

the whole thing will stay firmly stuck together after you're done rolling, you can take it out, layit on a cutting board,and slice it up!

And then you have yummy sushi!

Condiments: Pickled ginger, Wasabe, and soy sauce, of course! I also like tempura dipping sauce, adds a little extra kick.

Dec 23, 2008

A bit of real Christmas Spirit

This story
made me get all sniffly. I think that Janet might be one of my most favorite people ever.

Dec 22, 2008

Picture update

THese are on the old side (taken last February) but I just got around to rounding them up so we could send them to grandmas. So here they are. :) Merry Christmas, blogosphere. Hope everyone travels safely, and stays in good health, and has a wonderful time with family and friends.

**credit for these images goes to my sister in law, who is a really good photographer.

Dec 21, 2008

Something fun

Image hosted @

Here's how you do one of your own:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. four columns and three rows, also choose individual URL's)
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your nickname.

Found this on Sherpa's blog...

I tag anyone who wants to do this cool thing.

Dec 18, 2008

meals day 9

We had Random Soup tonight. Meaning, lots of veggies thrown in for wierd variety.

To be honest, good soup is all in a few ingredients. They are:

good vegetable broth (I've only had one kind I hated... it comes in a greyish brown package. If you ever find veggie bullion in a flat, greyish brown package, stay away. stay far away.) Powder is usually better than cubes, anyway.

onions. 1 whole onion diced for a big pot of soup, less for a smaller.

garlic. 1-2 cloves, crushed.

celery. Trust me. It's soooo important.. I hate celery but it really MAKES soup. two or (for a large pot) three stalks, thinly sliced.

seasonings: salt, pepper (white or black, depending.) for a yummy twist, add creole seasoning (accompanying okra or hominy in the soup, of course. :) chili powder and cumin for a taco-ish thing.

other options:

potatoes to add body,

cream to make it "cream of" something (or you can use plain yogurt, we do this usually)

tomato puree or tomato juice to make it a tomato-base (like minestrone)

flour or cornstarch to thicken.

Add lots of veggies. Lots of colorful veggies. There are a few veggies that don't work in soup, usually. For example, Mushrooms, cucumbers, olives. Cabbage, unless you're making Borcht or Miso soup (but that's another recipe).

Anything that will get really gushy that you wouldn't want to be part of the broth is pretty much a thumbs down... anything else is a possibility!

kids: usually they love it, but of course it varies with the veggies. Tonight's was a solid *** out of **** I think.

US: *** out of ****.

A Christmas message

My little sister just got home from a mission this summer, and my brother left on his two weeks later. He's in Brazil right now. I was very touched by this video... I listen to and watch all these amazing young people out there serving, and I think of my brother, away from his family on Christmas. And I feel proud and happy.

a little too much Christmas Spirit

This is for those of you who are already tired of Christmas music.

Generally I'm opposed to making fun of people's (inability to perform) but in this case I make an exception. Because it is obvious that either this guy's doing it on purpose, or he's had a little too much Christmas Spirit. If you know what I mean.

Loli: "That sounds really awful."

Kids don't lie.
Click here to watch 'Oh-Holy-Night-56'

Upload at Putfile

Dec 17, 2008

meals day 8

Vegetarian pizza

us **** out of ****

kids **** out of ****

pizza crust: usually I do the stuff from the box. But sometimes I do this really yummy one:

2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 tsp yeast
mix in 1/2 c. warm water(not really hot, but hotter than skin temp)
wait 5 min.

add 4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. olive oil.

add 1 cup water, mix with a fork.
knead 8-10 minutes, add flour if sticky.
oil a bowl and put the dough in. Put an oiled cloth on top and put in a warm area of your kitchen.

let it rise 1 hour.

punch down, let it rise 45 minutes.

stretch the dough out (a good way is to take it out and let gravity do the job, let the dough droop into a flat, fairly even thing. or you can do it the traditional way and try to throw it. I've not had good results that way). Sometimes I cheat and use the rolling pin a little... but go easy on the kneading/rolling at this stage.

bake for 10 minutes.

Add toppings and bake for as long as the pizza takes to be done.

Toppings we like:

garlic alfredo sauce
baby spinach leaves
tomatoes,sliced thin
onions, sliced thin
sliced olives
sliced mushrooms
zuchini, sliced thin
mozzarella cheese (soooo much more delicious on pizza than cheddar)

it's so good. Seriously, guys... try this one. Vegetarian or not, your family will love it.

Dec 15, 2008

Gems From My Mother

"My house might have been messy when you kids were growing up. But I realized after I became a mother, that I could either have an immaculate house, or play on the floor with my kids. To me, playing is more important. I don't feel guilty about that."

"My biggest job when the kids started coming was holding people on my lap. For the times when I had so many of you at home, that's pretty much all I did some days; lap-sitting. It was my biggest, most important job... and if I didn't get anything else done, that was OK."

These two things have given me a lot of hope and peace. I have these days... you know, where the laundry takes all day to fold because I keep getting interrupted. When I stop and remember these things that my mother has said, I realize that I'm not being 'interrupted' by my children... I'm doing my most important job. If I can get housework and other stuff done during the day, that's really kind of a bonus.

One thing I have learned... if I do my housework before the kids get going in the morning, it takes one-tenth the amount of time to do it, and I feel much MORE peace spending hours holding children on my lap, or helping them with their math, or playing or talking to them. It makes me feel good to know, though, that my priorities are on straight, even when my house looks like a dryer eploded across the living room and there are yesterday's dishes still in the sink when I start to make dinner.

motherhood, gotta love it.

Dec 14, 2008

People are waiting for me on Classmates

I've been getting weird messages in my inbox lately. Have you been getting them? Those ones from Classmates (which I think I might have done a free trial on, like, four years ago) that say, "Bob Jones is waiting for you, Nosurfgirl! Join classmates for 10.99 a month and see what messages you have recieved."

It's a little unnerving. Some of the names I actually recognize. And in the context of Mormon Culture the term "waiting for you" has some strange connotations. In a way, it's fun, though... I assume the information they pull is from people who have veiwed my profile. And so, seeing who has been nosy enough to look at mine (or just who has a little time to waste, and who possibly has some unresolved high-school issues) is a little entertaining. Maybe it's terrible of me, but I chuckle a little when I see which people have been used to try to entice me into paying a membership fee.

Let's face it. If I'm all that interested in keeping up high school associations... they're already being kept up. Know what I mean? I already have an email address or a phone number, or less that, I've added them on facebook. My high school friends (the ones that weren't more than that... and you figure out who is and who isn't pretty quickly after graduation) are good people. They are. And I admit I'm curious every once in a while as to what they're doing. But not enough to snoop around or join a service, or (I know, this is terrible) even attend any reunions.
And then there's this story that came out lately. I just don't understand the mindset of someone who has that much angst, still. I mean, I had those wallflower experiences... being a Mormon where I grew up warranted a bit of shunnage. Except from those who got to know me enough to see past that... and again, those are the people that I already talk to.

Obviously, some people still have a lot of angst about what happened at high school. It's a jungle! Which was why I was somewhat glad to leave it behind. And why I don't necessarily feel compelled to go back.

Dec 13, 2008

meals, day 7 (and the ward party of death)

So, this ward party was nice. Because there were cheesy potatoes in addition to the meat, rolls, and salad that are the usual fare. So I actually got something substantial! Bless the food planning committee for that.

Honestly though, ward functions are where it is hardest to be meat-free. Usually meat is the meal, with little else to garnish it. That is when I have the hardest time sticking to my (current, and past) principles.

I remember, for instance, one ward party which was a dutch-oven potluck. Everyone brought a meal in their dutch oven. And almost without exception (there might have been one or two meatless meals) none of it was Skywalker-friendly. At the time I was pregnant and a carnivore, so it wasn't as big a deal for me.

Skywalker is used to making potato-salad-potato chip burgers, dining heavily on salad, rolls, and deserts (not so good calorie-wise), or just making do with whatever meat-broth based soup is avaiable.

Not to say I don't appreciate ward stuff. I do. I love ward functions. And it is so wonderful that there are opportunities for wards to get together and eat and have a good time. Such great memories.

Tonight, with skywalker gone, I was flying solo. Not doing so well at it, either. At one point I had a squirming baby in my arms, a toddler racing back and forth across the stage with her pants falling off while a men's quartet attempted to sing, and a six year old crouched on the top of the stairs, trying to decide if she was brave enough to follow in her toddler-sibling's footsteps.

Honestly, that six year old. SOmetimes I wonder.

Anyway, We came home as soon as possible and my arms ache and I'm about ready to throttle someone.... so I'm calmly venting here on the blog before I read them goodnight stories and put them very much to bed. So that I can self-medicate by watching an old Buffy or Angel or possibly Bones episode.

G'night blogosphere. Tommorrow is another day.

Dec 12, 2008

Adoption and meals day 6

So tonight we ate the dinner I made last night, because last night was crazy. Anyway, it tasted better this time than I remember it being!! I think i might up my star-age to *** out of ****.

And both girls finished theirs (with some prodding,) so maybe it's a **. Anyway.

Well, in other news. We're going to have some information soon to post about adoption stuff. Yay! So now that I"ve got your breath all bated... I'm going to say that we can't post much yet because we're not sure it's going to work out. I"ll just say we might know whom we are bringing home, right now. And if it works out the way it's supposed to, we will likely be traveling (that's right, to AFRICA!!!) in March or April.

Cross your fingers, say some prayers... when we get a court date I'll give some names and ages. Hooray! It's been a long, long, emotional roller-coaster...

Dec 11, 2008

meals day 5

Well, today was funny. Had so much to do. I made dinner, got the house clean, we did one (yes, just one) class today. And guess what. We didn't have time to eat the dinner I so painstakingly prepared because we had to get out the door so that mom could go to her homeschooling thingy. So I made it, but we have not eaten it yet:

Potatoes, Carrots, and Turnips Au Gratin (a Molly Katzen recipe, modified)

2 large carrots
3 med-large potatoes
3 turnips

Slice these up in thin slices. add

1 diced onion or 1 cup diced scallions (onions are cheaper, but scallions are more delicious, we usually do onion)

Mix in one jar of garlic alfredo sauce (can be found with other pasta sauces)

Sprinkle bread crumbs and parm. cheese over the top

cover tightly with tinfoil

bake at 350 for one hour.

Last time we had it, I liked it. But I would only give it two and a half stars. This is a recipe Skywalker likes more than I do (translated-- less non-vegetarian friendly. His taste buds are more accepting of vegetables than mine are.)

The kids seemed Ok with parts of it. For them, it's probably a one and a half out of four stars.

If you love veggies, you'll like this. If you don't, you might not as much.

Dec 10, 2008

meals day four

Tonight we're having fish. I gave Loli a choice, we could either have the turnip-potato-carrot au gratin casserole or fish. And she chose fish. (I knew she would... she loooooooves fish. Loves it. Can you believe it?) Anwyay, I purchased a pound of sole filets at the grocery store yesterday. My two fish recipes are:

1) For white fishies

melt garlic in butter or oil, spoon over the raw fish in a casserole dish. Add sprinkles of dill, parmesan, and bread crumbs.

oh, forgot to say, I put a little salt and pepper on the raw fish, too, and line the sides of the tray with veggies. Tonight I did baby carrots and broccoli.

2) For red fishies (this one is specific to red snapper. It's yummy.)
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
* 3 or 4 drops Worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or your own favorite seasoning blend, with salt
* 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
* 1 teaspoon snipped fresh or frozen chives, optional
* 3 to 4 tablespoons plain or seasoned bread crumbs
* 2 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

Place snapper fillets in a baking dish which has been sprayed with a butter-flavored baking spray.

In a skillet, melt butter with garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning blend, pepper, parsley, and chives, if using.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the biggest pieces are flaky and white and tender in the middle.

I have a couple salmon recipes too, but never use them, because, well... I can't afford to buy salmon. I bought salmon steaks once, for fourth of july barbecuing purposes. They were sooooooo good but soooooo expensive, too.

Watch out for bones! Even boned fish filets have little pieces in them. I always find one or two. If you're serving to a child under 5, you probably need to cut it up in little pieces and find them yourself; bones can choke. And nobody wants that.

Day 2 of Skywalker Absentia went all right, despite the craziness of taking a toddler and an infant to a crowded ballet recital and having to do hair and run around looking for teachers, etc.

I'm wonder woman! Yes I am.

Dec 9, 2008

Meal Chronicles day 3

Tonight we had one of our favortes: nachos with homemade salsa and gaucamole.

And as to life without Skywalker...

it's not worth living!!! Waaaah!

Nah, just kidding. We're doing just fine. At YW tonight the girls were holy terrors and got some talkings to but overall... this week is the busiest week I've had in a long time. Wow. So I won't have much time to think about what sort of cool jazz Skywalker might or might not be currently enjoying or what kind of geek networking he may or may not be doing. I'll just be slowly going insane. No, still kidding. I'll be doing what I do best: multitasking while juggling a challenging schedule and remaining calm and fair. The iron hand in the velvet glove. That is Nosurfgirl.


Dec 8, 2008

Meal chronicles, day 2

My husband is leaving town tommorrow morning for 6 days. As part of my moping, I did not cook tonight. Instead, we got chinese. Which is a good segwey into a topic very near and dear to would-be vegetarian hearts: where to go out to eat, if you want to find lots of vegetarian choices. Here is my list of suggestions:

Nice Italian places tend to have a handful of options that are absolutely divine. A certain famous local italian place (you who live by me know which I mean) has a to-die-for portabella ravioli, and their lobster ravioli is perhaps the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. (If you're OK with eating fish, that is.)

Indian Food has many vegetarian options. And they are all very delicious. In India, there are certain religious groups who are strict vegetarians, and they make up a large percentage of the population. And so you can expect to find what you need at an Indian restaurant. Malai Kofta is one of my all-time favorite vegetarian meals.

Thai food is very very heavy on the vegetables, and those Thai people know how to cook their veggies, let's just say that. Soooo goood. Oh my word. Peanut sauce is like ambrosia from heaven when it comes to spicing up a veggie stir fry. I'm still trying to find the best recipe to make at home... so far, nothing matches what I've had eating out.

Japanese: Again, if you're OK with fish... sushi. The first time you have it, you might find it wierd and scary. The second time you'll say, "I can see how someone might appreciate this." Then you'll start having dreams. You'll start salivating in your sleep. Pretty soon you'll be using every excuse to get sushi; birthdays, anniversaries, the relatives coming to town. You'll start glancing longingly at tins of flying fish eggs and nori sheets in the asian food aisle of the grocery store...
that's as far as I've gotten. Because Sushi is one thing I think I'm willing to pay someone else to make. At least at this point. But the bad thing is, it's pricey. We've found a relatively inexpensive place nearby, but it's still too much for us cheap people to have as a regular date.

Chinese places with a large selection tend to have enough vegetarian options to get by on. Even the cheap places.

Mexican food... that's a little harder. Usually they have one or two menu options, but usually they're pretty bereft of appeal... just cheese, beans, and rice or a mix thereof. But one of my favorites is Chile relleno. Any good mexican place with have a version of that dish.

If you're eating Greek food, Falafel is one of the most delicious vegetarian entrees. We enjoy falafel often in our family.

: Of course there's always the option of cheese. When we buy frozen pizza, we buy cheese or four-cheese, and pile veggies on it before we bake it. But the very, very best take-out vegetarian pizza is by far, Papa Murphy's gourmet veggie. Sooooo good.

English, German, Russian or Eastern European: really can't help you there. Pretty much expect to be able to handle just eating the bread and the salad. If you somehow wind up at one of these places (which, as a non-vegetarian, I absolutely loved), maybe order yourself a delicious drink or dessert to make yourself feel like it's worth it.

OK, and if you're dying for a fast food fix:

Taco bell. Has the most veggie options, though you have to realize their refried beans are probably made with animal fats. The 7-layer burrito is pretty good.

Other exampes: there are the sides, of course.

My favorites, when I need a fast food fix and I'm being strict are:

1) Curly fries at Arbys

2) Fried Mozzarella sticks at Arby's

3) Fried Zuchini at Carl's Jr.

4) Fish filet sandwich at McDonald's.

Not very good for you. But sometimes we need a junk food night. Just every once in a while, you know. On days where self-medication seems to be a good idea. LIke when your husband decides to go on a crazy trip to some wierd southern state and talk to a bunch of geeks about something you can't pronounce.

OK, done whimpering.

Dec 7, 2008

New series: Nosurf Meal Chronicles, day 1

After a comment on one of my last posts I realized that it might be a cool thing if I put some recipes and ideas out there, just in case there are people who want to use less meat but don't know how to. This has been (as I said before) a journey of sweat and tears for me and so if I can make someone else's life easier and less stressful trying to use less meat, I'm more than willing. Maybe all my frustration will count for more that way, :)

I'll give each of these meals "deliciousness" ratings based upon how kids take them and how grownups (skywalker and I) take them.

so to that end: tonight's meal.

Main dish:

Leftover Eggplant Lasagna
--Kids give it ** out of **** stars (based upon reaction)
--Grownups give it **** out of **** stars. it really is yummy, even if you hate eggplant (which I do.)

1 eggplant (slice it in 1/4 inch disks)

3-4 eggs (depending on size of the eggplant)


spaghetti or flavored tomato sauce

parmesan cheese

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups spinach

Take the eggplant disks. dip them in the egg, in the flour, and then fry them in olive or other vegetable oil, on each side, until golden.

take the spinach and ricotta and 1/4 cup parmesan, mix together.

layer the eggplant as if it were lasagna noodles; put a layer of eggplant, then some of the cheese mixture, then more eggplant, then the sauce, then more eggplant, then sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan across the top. Oven at 375, cover the casserole dish in tinfoil and bake for about an hour.

Salad: romaine lettuce, red cabbage, olives, shaved onions, corn and garbanzo beans. Served with litehouse ranch (the only kind worth buying... you will not go back) and sesame-sticks (buy in bulk at health-food store) as a crouton-like topping.

We also had rhodes rolls and pie, because we were all crazy hungry after fast Sunday. The pie was chocolate pudding, a store bought crust, and Kool Whip.

nutritional notes:

Sesame seeds are one of the most calcium rich foods in the world. Many cultures use them in the form of sesame seed oil, as well as the whole seed. Both are very calcium-rich. Also, sesame seeds have a high amount of protein.

Dec 4, 2008

housekeeping blind spots...

OK, Apparently I'm in slight venting mode, so this is another post about my inadequacies as a mother and housekeeper. Haha.

Anyway, Do any of you have housekeeping blind spots? Things you just never notice, so they never get done/cleaned? Here are mine:

1) I never, ever make the bed in the morning. And I don't make my kids make theirs either. Rooms tidy, yes. Linens clean, well, tolerably clean. But the bed is always an explosion of pillows, comforter, twisted up sheets, until nighttime when it is quickly made so that all people involved can sleep comfortably.

2) The art area. There is a small corner of my laundry-den room thing that has my children's old art supplies in it. We don't even keep the new ones there anymore... and yet I cleaned it for the first time today in probably two years. It wasn't too bad... but there were some ooooold crayons on the floor and a corner that needed a little mopping.

3) Dusting. Only one area of my house gets dusty at all... the bookcase in the living room. So I forget to dust for a long time. The other day I looked at it, went "ew" and dusted it... probably for the first time in several months.

4) Under the stove top. I clean the burners, clean under the burners, clean the surface of the stove and the oven and... forget to lift the metal top to clean UNDER the surface of the oven. Last time was probably about six months ago. I'm kind of afraid to look.

5) Yes, Aunt Linda, I clean out the lint trap every time. Or at least, every other time. But I forget to wipe the tops of the washer-dryer and they collect awful hordes of lint before I notice them enough to give them a good cleaning... again, probably once every six months or so.

And the absolute worst offence:

6) I never scour my sink. I don't know why. I rinse it out, clean it out, scrub the counters around it, scrub under the dish drainer. My bathtub gets officially scoured every two weeks but I never scrub the sink... it gets gray. I've had two separate instances where my loved ones have felt it necessary to intervene... my mom scoured it once when she was staying with me, and my sister, once, when she was visiting. They wouldn't have said anything except I went to look at it and said, "Oh, look! It's so white! Wow!" And then they sort of ashamedly admitted to their little piece of charity.

Well, lately I've had an epiphany about cleaning. I'm organizing myself differently, and so far it seems to be working much better! I get much more done, and things stay clean longer... usually I'd go around madly scrambling to clean EVERYTHING everyday and now I'm doing it one-room at a time, with tidying overall for the rest of the house. It gives me the opportunity to pay attention to the little (OK, maybe not so little) details I usually miss. It's so much better! Today I even scoured my own sink. And as I said, this week I dusted the bookcase. And I finally exorcised our aged art-room demons.

But I still haven't made my bed.

Dec 2, 2008

re-committment to vegetarianism.

Those of you who know me and my family, know that we have issues with food. Not as in, we don't eat it or we eat too much of it. I think we eat an average amount for an American family. I don't really worry much about calories, or about fat grams or any of that sort of obsessive stuff. I just try to cook as healthy as possible, and at the back of my mind is always that little ticker that makes sure we get enough fat, protien, and oils. Because "we're" vegetarians.

That's in quotes becuase I have had struggles with vegetarianism. My retreat from animal products started about five years ago when I began getting recurring ear infections... yada yada yada several months later found out it was because I'd been eating too much dairy. And then I met DH, who had been a vegetarian, nearly vegan, for seven years before he met me. We talked a lot, and what he believed resonated with me because I have always felt that the standard american diet containes way, way too much meat.

As a Mormon, I think I have always felt the cognitive dissonance associated with Mormon Culture and meat eating. On the one hand, the D&C 89 clearly states that meat should be a sparing part of our meals. ON the other hand, meat-eating is a very ingrained, deeply-rooted part of diet and meals. Likely this is because of where a lot of us come from; Europe. England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark. I don't know if any of you have visited Europe, but if you do you'll notice that meals are very meat-oriented, and scarce of vegetables. It is because Europe has traditionally been a nation in power, and so, culturually, they could afford to eat a lot of meat. It was a sign of affluence to serve meats at a meal.

I think we feel that way in our culture, too... a meal is not "complete" without meat as the main helping.

Now, here comes the diverging of doctrines. Some Mormons feel strongly that eating meat "sparingly, during winter and times of cold or famine," means meat is only one course of the meal... you need to include lots of other items, too, and that diversity of nutrients is what was meant. Others say that the verse, which reads, "And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine," literally means what it reads: that God wants us to use it as more than a suppliment in those stated times.

However, if you read the previous several verses, I think the message is pretty clear.

So as a society, do LDS people follow that facet of the Word of Wisdom? What does "sparing" mean to you? What does "cold or famine" mean to you?

For me, it has been a difficult call. I have not been able to entirely divorce myself from regular meat eating during certain events in my life; eg, pregnancy. I'm an iron-deficient type. Meat is the way I've learned to cope, instead of turning to other, perhaps even more efficient sources such as prune juice, green drinks, or unrefined grains. My body has learned an association: a certain irritable, weak feeling means I need meat. Therefore, I have eaten it.

But the more I learn, the more I read, and the more I take in what effect our cumulative diet has had on my husband (the introduction of more dairy, and more oils, for instance, has caused him to gain a lot of weight where, before, he was very fit) I realize that I might need to keep reindoctrinating myself.

Meat, only in times of winter, cold, or famine. Sparingly. I need to recommit to this. To me it means, you only eat meat every once in a while. Every once in a while, to me, means it is a treat. A special occasion. Something to be grateful for and not wasted, or thought of as the usual fare.

So now I'm reccommitting. My goal: now that the extended family's Thanksgiving turkey is all gone, I am going to abstain from meat (except for the occasional meal of fish) until at least March of this year, when traditionally I make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. (The only meat I ever cook in our house.) Because I"m still nursing my baby boy a lot, I'm going to make a conscious effort to seek out sources of iron and protien outside of animal products, so that I don't feel drained and tired and grumpy all the time, and try to make it a good experience. I'm going to try to re-convert myself to total meat-abstention.

I know that some of you don't feel as I do, and have other ideas of what the WOW means. That's OK. We don't have to agree. The reason why I'm posting this is because it's much more likely that I will achieve my goal if there are others around who know that I am working on it, and who might check in on me.

And if you want, this can turn into a WOW discussion... let's just keep it openminded and non-accusatory. :) I'm always interested in a discussion of this, because it seems like one of those things that most people aren't really sure about. Discussion could do a lot of good here, I think.