Thursday, June 26, 2008

‘LilDude, Love & Logic

Today, ‘LilDude (age 5) went to visit his best friend, “T.” T’s mom happens to be one of the most awesome moms I know…and the queen of Love and Logic. If you are a Love and Logic parent, you’ll appreciate the events that transpired…

‘LilDude and T are playing with T’s two older siblings, B & K. First, B has a little rock throwing incident. Not too long after, B & K have an argument. Mom comes over to deal with the situation. ‘LilDude looks at her, grimaces, puts his hands over his ears and says, “They are DRAINING MY ENERGY!”

Edited to add...

The teacher in me was thinking... Some kids come to school swearing and the teacher figures they learned it at home. 'LilDude goes to kindergarten in the fall. Wonder what his teacher is going to think????

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wisdom from an Elder

One of the reasons I most enjoy Sunday School? An older gentleman, probably close to 80, who tells amusing stories and has fascinating reflections on life.

Here's a recent quote...

There's nothing wrong with thinking folks are idiots as long as you recognize your own idiocy.

Thanks, Calvin!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Save $ With Seeds + Weather VENT!

Just heard that one dime spend on seeds equals one dollar spent on produce. I'm excited about our garden this year...both for the savings and for the attempt to go organic. I've got tiny little celery plants coming up...a first for me. Cabbage, broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, lettuce, peas, dill and spinach are all slowly coming up. The tomatoes and peppers are hanging in there, trying to survive the cold.

Now if it would just get sunny enough for all the seeds to germinate. I'm pretty sure that the squash and cucumber seeds I planted about 2-3 weeks ago DROWNED. We also put in a few cucumber plants, about half of which succumbed to root rot.

Today I put on my heavy winter coat and stopped at the farm store to get cucumber and squash PLANTS. (It seems pretty late to be reseeding, although I'm going to do that as well.) I was talking with the cashier, asking if she thought I dared to put them in the ground since today's high was in the 50s. She half scolded me saying that Old Timers say that you shouldn't plant til after Memorial Day.


It's the 5th of June and one of the best things sprouting in my garden is winter kale. When can I plant my summer vegetables?????

My mother-in-law asked if I could bring strawberries to a family gathering this weekend. Strawberries? You mean those hard little green balls in my raised beds?

So she asks me to buy bananas. I have lots of guilt about buying bananas, but I did it. Then I watch Jennifer's link.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spring Quiche Trio

Here's a favorite seasonal recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Simply in Season. In the cookbook there are several crusts and fillings to choose from, but I'll just list what I did when I made these...

Spring Quick Trio

3 eggs
1 c. evaporated milk (since 'LilDude is dairy intolerant, I modified and used some thickened rice milk)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Beat together and set aside.

Prepare a crust. I chose the potato crust:

3 c. uncooked potatoes, coarsely grated
3 T. oil
Mix together. Press into bottom and sides of a 9" pie pan. Bake in preheated oven at 425 until just starting to brown, about 15 mins. Add filling and bake as directed.

Prepare selected filling (below) and pour into crust and top with egg/milk mixture, ending with sprinkling of cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 425 for 15 mins. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until browned on top and set in the middle, another 25-30 mins. Allow to cool for 10-15 mins. before cutting and serving.

Asparagus filling (I modified the recipe in's what I did...)
1 - 1 1/2 c. asparagus, cooked and chopped
1 c. cheese (they call for Swiss, I used mozzarella...and make a separate little pie with no cheese for ds)
1/2 c. bacon (fried, crumbled) or cooked ham (diced)
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped

Mix together, adding herbs to egg-milk mixture

I made a second filling (I doubled the recipe) with broccoli, ham, and cheese.

Black Bean Chicken Chili - Crockpot

Here's a longtime family-favorite recipe from a longtime favorite friend...

I've made it in the crockpot and on the stovetop...both work great.

Black Bean Chicken Chili

2 lbs chicken breasts (I just use a handful of leftover, chopped chicken that I freeze after we eat chicken dinner)

2-3 cans black beans

1 can diced mild chilies (optional, esp. since $$$, but YUMMERS!)

2-3 cans chopped tomatoes (I use a quart of frozen tomatoes)

some chopped jalapeno, optional (I freeze this in the summer and use
a spoonful at a time)

chili seasoning to taste

If you use raw chicken, you may want to saute it briefly before adding to crockpot. I always use leftover, cooked chicken. I dump it all together in the crockpot at the "low" setting if it's all day and "high" setting if it's half a day. Or I dump it all in a large pan and heat it up on the stovetop.

This freezes well. I'm making a double batch tonight so we have extra to take on a camping trip.

Goat's Milk

If you're a local friend of mine and want fresh-from-the-farm, organic goat's milk, let me know. We buy from a local source that's wonderful...and overflowing in milk right now.

China Earthquake

A couple years ago, a Chinese woman lived with a family from our church and volunteered at our local school through an exchange program. She lives in the Sichuan province where the earthquake struck. Although they are some distance from the epicenter, her husband has been hiking in on foot to a very remote region to bring medicine, food, tents and other supplies to survivors. Here are two photos he took. The shelter in the picture was made by local people with whatever they could find after the earthquake.

Although I don't have a way to easily connect you to this particular village, Mennonite Central Committee is collecting donations to assist with earthquake relief.

Join the Cool Foods Campaign!

Global food crisis: What you can do

Consider what you eat

Today, the average item of food in the U.S. and Canada travels more than 1,000 miles before it lands on our tables. Through stories and simple "whole foods" recipes, Simply in Season, a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) cookbook from Herald Press, explores how the food we put on our tables affects our local and global neighbors. The cookbook shows the importance of eating local, seasonal food and invites readers to make choices that offer security and health for our communities, land, bodies and spirit.

Increasing meat consumption has helped drive up demand for grain, and with it the price. MCC just signed on to a campaign called the Cool Foods Pledge. Amongst other consumer actions, this campaign is calling for lower meat consumption.

The Cool Foods Campaign "educates the public about how food choices can affect global warming and empowers them with the resources to reduce this impact. Join [the] “Cool Foods” Campaign and help take a bite out of global warming by changing the way you eat."

According to the Cool Foods site, the top five things you can do to take a bite out of global warming:

1. Eat Organic

I'm working on this. I'm focusing on the dirty dozen (see earlier post) and filling in anywhere else I can. It's a slow process, but do-able.

2. Reduce meat and dairy consumption.

We've never been huge meat/dairy eaters. Often as not, we have a small amount of meat distributed in a larger vegetable/rice stirfry with a small amount of chicken or taco soup with a pound of hamburger (that feeds all of us with leftovers.) We greatly reduced our dairy consumption when we learned that Lil Dude was dairy intolerant. The toughest one is breakfast. I have a family of cereal addicts. The cereal is highly processed and dh isn't big on the double expense of buying organic milk. This is the worst meal of the day for us.

3. Avoid processed foods.

Except the cereal, we do pretty well. Again, the gluten/casein free diet that LilDude is on has helped us immensely. But the cereal is our downfall.

4. Buy locally grown foods.

I'm trying. But it's hard. It's been terribly cold and wet here. I can't even find local lettuce yet. I've been buying local spinach (but it's not organic and it's on the dirty dozen, so I hate that) and asparagus, but not much else. Yet. I'm eagerly waiting for garden produce. I have been slowly harvesting lettuce from our raised beds. We've happily eating taco salad several times over the last few weeks (with our locally grown, grass fed beef). All year we have chicken, beef and vegies thanks to canning and/or our freezers. But fresh? It's rough this year.

5. Say no to packaging.

That's automatically easier when we aren't buying much processed food. The biggest habit I lack is using my grocery bags. I've repeatedly had to send one of my big kids back out to the car to get them before we go to checkout. Do they say 40 times make a habit? Working on it...

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