Monday, October 24, 2016

Menu Monday

Bravo to all you working mamas who still get dinner on the table!

Last month I began working "away from home" and I've found meal planning and prep to be much harder than when I was working at home. I finally feel that I've adjusted to my new roles and am happy to say that I've started this week with a menu plan and all the prep that can be done in advance has been done!

Dinner with my family is a priority - even if it means we gobble down everything in 10 minutes so that we can get out the door for an evening activity. We are a family that eats together and planning/prepping helps eliminate stress (because dinner isn't so enjoyable when mama's stressed. not that I would  know....)

MONDAY: Vegetable Pot Pie

Frozen Pie Crusts (package of 2)
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 cup of cream (milk would work too)
1/2 cup of water.......or less - thin gravy if needed ( broth can also be used)\
1 package of frozen mixed vegetables

Make roux from butter and flour.
Add milk/cream, whisking constant/often. Add water if it gets too thick.
Add vegetables and cook 5-10 minutes
Pour into pie shell
Cover with other pie shell. Cut a couple "breathing" slits into top pie crust
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes.

TUESDAY: Slow Cooker Enchilada

WEDNESDAY: SOUP NIGHT! Wild Rice and Vegetable Soup

Just throw stuff in! Seriously.

Mirepoix (I'm using about 2 cups of chopped parsnips, carrots, celery and onions sauteed in 2 T. butter) after sauteing for 20 minutes or so I'll add 2 cups of water to create a broth.

Wild Rice

*I happen to have about one cup of vegetable pot pie filling that didn't fit in my pie tonight and one cup of homemade cream of mushroom soup in the freezer (leftovers from last week's soup night) so I'll add those in to add a slight "creamy" to my soup.


Stir fry is a good stand by in this house and I'm afraid that, like most my cooking, there is no recipe in which I follow but it goes something like this........

Combination of vegetables  - this varies to what I have in the fridge. this week it's red and yellow peppers, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Other good stir fry options are mushrooms, scallions, bok choy, cabbage, celery....any vegetable I guess. Except beets. and potatoes....those just sound weird in stir fry.

I always start with the "hardest" vegetables so that the soft veggies don't get too soggy so......

In a large saute/wok style pan heat 1-2 T. Sesame Oil, 1 T. fresh diced ginger root and add in this order:
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
While veggies are stir-fryin', bring 3 cups of water to boil for rice. Once boiling, add 1 1/2 c. rice (I use a combination of long grain white rice and long grain brown -- the white rice  to appease my family, the brown to make it a little healthier) Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a pint size glass canning jar add 1 T. cornstarch, 1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce) and 1/2 cup water --- put a lid on the jar and shake! Dump into vegetable pan

*If sauce gets too thick add a little more water. If too runny shake up some more cornstarch/aminos/water. Don't add cornstarch alone to pan of veggies or you will have icky lumps!


Oh, who knows....sometimes we do "FEND FOR YOURSELVES", sometimes we do pizza, or sometimes I take all (some) of our leftovers and make a totally and creative meal (this is really fun!).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


This sweet boy wasn't like many of the other children who struck silly poses when they'd see me with my camera. This boy observed me from a distance. When I asked if I could take his picture he nodded slightly and gave me a small, gentle smile. 

His friends on the other hand...........

Friends, these are the future game-changers, world-changers, hope-for-the-nations children. 

Even that one in your arms - that one which kept you up all night. Snuggle in tight for soon enough that child will be wiggling away. 

Even the three year old that is stilling holding on to the "terrible twos" and is making you think that this potty training thing is going to last forever. The struggle is real for that little one who is stuck between a desire for independence and yet still has a desire to stay mommy's little boy.

Even that face-always-in-the-mirror teen girl whose vanity may cause you to worry about her shallowness. Yes, one day she will see past herself and see others. Right now she is questioning her worth and is seeking your validation.

Even the permit driving boy who just might give you a heart attack. He's seeking his independence. Guide him. 

Breathe deep, count to ten and remember that you just might be raising the next Mother Theresa, Dr. Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. 

Breathe life into that child of yours. Live in a way which will influence these children in your care to do better, to dream big, to build hope and to love well. 

There is hope. Not just a hope to survive motherhood but a hope for something even bigger. Hope for a better world. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Refrigerator bread dough turned pizza crust

"festering" on top of the refrigerator for the afternoon
My new favorite and EASIEST bread recipe comes from Gwen's Nest and can be found HERE
Spinach and feta on my side and plain old cheese for the kids

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When the refrigerator is bare.....

I was going to go to the grocery store after work last night. I just needed a few supplies to get me through the day as I'm heading to the "big city" tonight to get the bulk of my groceries (some things are cheaper and well worth the drive). But then there was Downton  - yes, we may have three different PBS stations with our antenna but we don't get the "right" PBS station to watch DA when it airs. Thankfully we also have a Roku so we can watch it the next day. I'm also thankful that I didn't see any spoilers on Facebook before I was able to see the episode. 

By the time we finished watching Downton and dried our eyes, our little, hometown grocery store was closed. Today I will just work with what I have. 

Opening the freezer I found ice cream (my son would be just fine with ice cream for dinner), a bag of frozen California vegetables, two salmon fillets, walnuts, one pie crust, a box of puff pastry, and frozen radishes. 

The refrigerator didn't have much either. Milk, butter, condiments, celery, carrots, one sweet potato, 2 dozen eggs, a small chunk of cheddar cheese. The pantry has the normal stuff - flour, sugar, rice, noodles, etc.

Last night I was in the same predicament so I made vegetable fried rice (I'll share that "throw-it-together recipe" recipe too). Tonight I'm making up a recipe. Let's call it "Vegetable Stromboli". 

Easy Fried Rice (click HERE for printable)
1 ½ cups brown rice
3 cups water

3-4 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

1 T. Sesame Oil
⅓ of and onion, diced
1-2 celery stalks
1 cup (approximately) diced carrots
3 eggs

  • Bring water to boil
  • Add rice
  • Simmer for 20 minutes. While rice is simmering….
  • Saute the vegetables in sesame oil for 15-20 minutes or until tender. While veggies are cooking……
  • Scramble 3 eggs in a bowl and set aside
  • Once veggies are tender add eggs.
  • Once eggs are cooked stir in rice and aminos/soy sauce.


Don’t have carrots or celery? No worries. Use what you have - peas, broccoli. No veggies? Just add the egg. Have a slab of leftover ham or chicken? Dice it up! Maybe I should call it Left-Over Fried 

Vegetable Stromboli (Printable recipe HERE)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups vegetables (I’m using frozen California blend)

White Sauce:
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
approximately ½ c - 1 C. milk

  • Spread out pastry sheet.
  • Heat oven to 400
  • Bring water to a boil, add vegetables and remove from heat. (Since I’m using frozen vegetables I am going to do a quick boil to warm and remove “icicles”. I’m thinking fresh vegetables such as hard carrots would do well with a little softening too.).
  • In a small sauce pan warm flour and butter on low/medium low to make roux
  • Slowly add milk to roux, whisking often...looking for a THICK gravy not runny white sauce
  • Add Salt and pepper and/or preferred seasonings to  “gravy” to taste
  • Add roux to veggies
  • Place veggies and roux down the center of the pastry
  • Fold 2 opposite side of the pastry to the center and press to seal.
  • Place pastry, seam side down, on to baking sheet and tuck ends to seal
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

I do have a little chunk of cheese in the refrigerator so I'll cube that up and add to my vegetable "gravy". Scratch that. Someone got to the cheese before me. Instead I added a little Wildtree Basil Pesto and a good "shaking" of garlic salt.

I'll let you know how it turns out and if I remember I'll take a photo! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Help My Unbelief

Ever have one of those days when you feel in a funk? A day when you just can't shake the crabbiness?

Today was such a day. Work started steady, and then it just got a little chaotic. The chaos that comes when I needed to be doing ten things at the same precise moment.  And the organized perfectionist in me who couldn't control her environment started to feel a little stressed. Stress brings out the crabby me.

And then I got home from work, later than I wanted. Missed church. And my feet hurt. And the moment I even thought about complaining of my sore feet I felt guilty because I had vowed, after hearing of neuropathic pain that my friend with cancer experiences as a result from her chemotherapy, that I will never complain about my aches and pains. My achy feet don't even compare to the pain which she experiences. I vowed that I wouldn't complain about my achy feet because I should be grateful that I can work. Grateful that I have my second "bonus" job on the weekends that I really enjoy which also helps pay the bills.

And then I reflected on my shortness with others. See, when I am striving to do my job well and all is chaotic I focus only on the task at hand and forget to see the person (or people) that are right in front of me.  I don't ever want to not see people. And I'm angry at myself. Me, whose goal in life is to love others well really failed today. In fact, I really sucked at loving well. And that regret? That regret of not loving well today? It just makes me sad and disappointed in myself. And crabby.

And then with a little more reflection, trying to get to the root of this crabby that has overcome me, the funk that I can't seem to shake,  I realize that the way down deep root of my problem is fear.

Fear of failing. Failing at loving well. Failing at commitments that I've take on. Commitments, each one very important to me and important to this life long mission of loving well. What if I fail? What if I'm just a big fat loser?

And God whispers, "Laurie, I've got this."
And I reply, "I KNOW! .........or at least I should know."

And then I'm disappointed once again in myself for my lack of faith and for my desire to control when I know that everything in this egg basket of mine needs to be placed in His mighty hands.

He has me in the palm of His hand. He is always faithful. He is always GOOD!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
And waves of grace cover me. And the crabbiness disappears. And I believe.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Three gifts that start with N

On this third day of November I search for three gifts that start with "N".

A new day, a day in which I embrace. A day in which gives me another chance to whittle down the to-list. A new chance of loving others better than the day before. 

Night, a chance to rest. A chance for my body to recharge.

Original Photo Credit

Never ending love. Knowing that He loves me no matter how many times I fail. He knows me yet still loves me. Forever. I am humbled and thankful.

What are you thankful for today?


A few years ago I was in the practice of counting my gifts daily. Unfortunately I let that habit slip away and I can tell. I've forgotten how blessed I am, I'm easily "stressed out" and negativity flows from my mouth. This is a practice of gratitude is one that I need to revive in my life and what better month than November, the month of thanksgiving. Would you join me?

Ann Voskamp makes it easy by offering a pretty printable to place on your refrigerator, in your planner or on your bathroom mirror. This can either be used as a reminder or you can follow her word prompts as you search each day for three gifts.

I missed yesterday but I'm not going to fret about that - I'll just do yesterday's today!

November 1 - Three gifts eaten

1. Oikos Triple Zero Banana Cream Yogurt with a handful of walnuts ~ breakfast on the run as we rushed off to church in the morning. On a day designated as "International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church", I am so thankful that I am able to worship freely.


2. Birthday cake with a hint of almond flavoring to celebrate my fun and feisty twelve year cousin.

3. Dinner, although the chicken penne alfredo was delicious, it was the lively, joyous conversation with my family that I am most thankful for.

November 2 ~ Three gifts worn:

1. Yoga pants Mondays.........which has turned into yoga pants Tuesdays and Wednesdays and....alright, so yoga pants have become my new work attire since I can no longer wear shorts. I'm all about comfort. Today I am thankful for the gift of working at home and being able to wear what's comfortable!

2. The fundraising t-shirt I'm wearing was designed and sold by a new friend of mine. She sold the t-shirts to help raise the money needed to join in World Help's medical mission trip. When I wear this shirt I think of both her and Guatemala. I am thankful that we had the chance to meet on that trip!

3. My worn out study Bible, frayed around the edges from use.

Your turn. What are you thankful for?