Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Asparagus Soup


Last week, with an abundance of asparagus and not much else in the refrigerator, I decided to make asparagus soup for dinner. I kinda winged it so measurements are guesstimates.

2 cups Asparagus
2 1/2 cups Bone Broth
1 cup Milk
2 T. Flour
2 T. Butter
Salt
1/2 cup Cheese

I started by sauteing a few hand fulls of asparagus in coconut oil. Once the asparagus had turned a brilliant green, I added the chuck of frozen chicken broth (probably close to 3 cups) into the skillet. While the broth melted and the asparagus cooked, I made a roux ~ 2 T. butter, 2 T. flour (fresh ground whole wheat), and a few sprinkles of sea salt. Once the butter was melted and the flour mixed in to make a thick paste, I added a little milk (maybe 1 cup). Keep an eye on the roux so it doesn't get too thick or scald (I've done this before). I also added a handful of parmigiana/asiago cheese to the roux. Once roux is just right (thick but not too thick), take off the heat and set aside. 

When the broth was melted and the asparagus soft, I added small batches to the blender. I added the puree to the roux. Mix well. I made mine while I cleaned up after lunch I added the finished product to the crock pot (set on "keep warm"). Dinner was quick and easy. Even The Boy, who doesn't care for asparagus, liked it.


Hearth & Soul Hop

Monday, May 28, 2012

Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


This picture helps me to remember the importance of prayer. Not only is it a vital way for me to communicate with my heavenly Father but I'm modeling the importance of such relationship to the children that spend their days with me. 


Years ago I dreamed of being on the mission field of some exciting foreign land. I was humbled when He revealed to me that my interest in foreign lands may just have been more important to me then following His will. He also taught me that He can use me in my own backyard. He uses me in simple, everyday ways as I demonstrate His love, in the words that I use to tell the children how special they are to Jesus, and by leading the children in daily prayer. 

Our daily lunch time prayer is, "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let this food to us be blessed." Nothing earth-shattering, just simple enough for the children to grasp the concept of prayer. The other day I asked the kids if they knew what the "be our guest" meant. I told them that we were asking Jesus to be HERE. To be present with us. One little girl, wide-eyed in excitement, exclaimed, "Jesus is HERE? (points to empty seat next to her) Like sitting right there?" After explaining that Jesus is always with us, that he loves us and wants to spend time with us, the same girl covered her heart and with enthusiasm said, "Well, God is here! I have God in my heart!" That, my friends, is sweet music to my ears. 

The above picture is not "staged" and the girls weren't told to pray. After saying our lunch prayer together, these two girls decided to keep praying their own silent prayer (something my son does every day). Precious. My heart swells at this sight and as I serve lunch I have my own silent prayer.  "Lord, keep these children close to you. May they grow to love you and serve you. May they know you, REALLY KNOW YOU. May they know your grace and may they tell others of your love." 

I am thanking God for teaching me to serve where ever HE calls me. My calling right now is to serve my family and those around me. Maybe someday I'll be teaching children in Africa but today I'm teaching children in my small community and it's a good place to be. 


May you find peace right where God has placed you today. For "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord...." It's all in His hands. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ Opportunity

On Fridays,  Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama, gives a writing prompt and inspires fellow bloggers to write for five minutes. The rules are "no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking".

Five minutes is tough for me. I like to process my thoughts and then process my words to best voice my thoughts. But five minutes is good. Sometimes when one is short on time and pressured to produce, honesty can flow. The writing may not be polished but the real shines.

Today's word is OPPORTUNITY

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We may not all have the same circumstances, the same opportunities, the same hardships, or the same blessings but we all have the same amount of time in our day.

24 hours. Oh, how I waste many of those hours. 

A gift of time has been given to me, for each day IS a gift.

How will I use today? Will I use it productively? Will I in someway use this day to bless another?

Today, I will finally get the laundry folded. Today I will dig in the dirt. Today I will dance around the yard with the children. Today I will take the time to sit with a little one and read a book. Today I won't waste the moments. I will make the most of each minute that has been given me. 

Today is a beautiful sunshiny day, the day after the rain. I welcome today.


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Check out what others wrote at:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Best Bread Pudding EVER


Sorry. I can't even share a picture because we ate it too quickly. The kids loved it. Hubs said I have to make it again. So I must document the recipe so I don't lose it. :)

Date Bread Pudding
8 or so slices oat or whole wheat bread (covering the bottom of a 9X13 pan)
3 cups milk
Splash of vanilla
6 eggs
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup dates, pitted and snipped into small pieces

Cut up bread, throw into pan and bake for 10 minutes on 350.

While bread is baking, mix sugar and eggs. Add milk and vanilla. 

Once bread is done, add chopped dates and pecans.

Top with milk-sugar-vanilla-egg mixture. The original recipe suggested letting the bread soak overnight. I didn't have the time for that step. Mine soaked for 20 minutes instead. Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

So good...... 




Hearth & Soul Hop

Bath Salts and Candles for Mama

As a daycare provider I struggle with finding gifts for the kids to make for their parents that are useful. Really, I don't want to send home another scribbled drawing that a parent may want to throw away but the guilt of doing so causes the parent to add the artwork (artwork that looks like the thousand other pieces of artwork) in the stack of all the other "art" the child has made for them. I know. Some of you may be shaking your head in disbelief that I can even suggest that one would want to throw away Jr's precious abstract of dinosaurs caught in a tornado. But let's be realistic.  A few mementos are great but a closet full becomes a burden. When we use all our household space to keep memories, we tend to be too busy organizing the clutter to MAKE memories.

My first challenge was finding something useful. Something that would either be used up or something that is genuinely worth putting in that memory closet. My second challenge was finding something the KIDS could make....not something I could make. Because then really the gift is from me, right? I like doing crafty things but I don't like doing all the work and putting someone else's name on it. I don't mind someone else taking the credit, it's just not what I'd call a perfect gift. So with these challenges in mind, my first thought was to find something that could use up some of the baby food jars .  Hmmm........what to fill them with?

BATH SALTS! CANDLES!

The kids couldn't exactly help with the candle-making. Although I have them help in the kitchen often, I shy away from having them help around the stove. I don't like kids getting hurt on my watch and I guess telling a parent at the end of the day that their child has a "good" burn from pouring candle wax won't win me the title "Daycare Mom of the Year"... so we just avoid the hot things (and sharp knives) in the kitchen. The kids did however gather around to watch me cut up old candles to melt. I taught the kiddos that we can use old things to make new things. I pulled out the old wicks and talked about how a wick is needed in order for the wax to burn. So the kiddos might not have gotten a "hands-on" experience but they definitely learned how to make candles which was evident in the conversations that proceeded days after.


Using the wax as "glue" the s into position the wick into the jars

Filling the jars in stages to prevent the wick from floating all over. The wax also seems to settle better when layers are able to set a bit before adding more wax.


Here I'm using paint brushes to hold a couple stubborn wicks in place.

TADA! I did run out of wax after I filled the jars half full so I had to melt another batch which gives some of the candles a two tone look. 


The kids were involved in making the bath salts. As they sat at the kitchen table, we'd took turns measuring and dumping in the ingredients in a big stock pan. After all the ingredients were added, the pan made it's way around the table a few times while the kids took turns stirring. I allowed the kids to determine how much essential oils to add to our salts and it was cute to watch them stick their tiny heads into the big pan to take a whiff.

 BATH SALTS:

3 parts Epsom Salt
2 parts Coarse Sea Salt
1 part Baking Soda

optional: favorite essential oil
These three bottles were delivered "May Day" style to three friends. I think I'm going to start a new Mother's Day tradition of recognizing a few of the fabulous Mama's that I am honored to know.






Pansies

















I found this cool "tea cup" planter that I loved. I wasn't sure how I was going to add dirt and pansies without the dirt falling out. I looked around the garage and decided to use the "lining" of a hanging basket. I cut a small piece for the bottom and a strip to go around the sides, filled with potting soil, added the pansies and topped with a little sphagnum moss. Easy and the cost was less than $15. Cheaper than a bouquet of flowers and it will last all summer.




Friday, May 11, 2012

Identity

Today I am joining Gypsy Mama and others in writing for five minutes. No editing. No draft. Just writing from the heart. Today's prompt is IDENTITY
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My identity? Wow, I don't think I can sum that up in five minutes but I'll give it a go.

Who am I though under all my titles of mom, sister, daughter, wife, etc.?

I love babies and the laughter of children.

I love being a mom even though sometimes I'm not very good at it.

I love the birds singing and everything in nature (except spiders and mosquitoes).

I dislike disorder, injustice and ignorance although my home is often disorderly and I can occasionally be quite ignorant.

I love people and thrive on personal interactions with others.

I make mistakes. In my life I've made HUGE mistakes. I've hurt others. I've made bad choices. Yet I've left those failures at the cross and pray for new beginnings each day.

My identity is found in Christ and I praise Him for His grace and compassion. May others see Him in me.

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Check out what others wrote about today at
 

A Weeks Worth of Soaked Oats



2 cups of milk
1 cup oats
1/4 cup chai seeds
1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup craisins (or other dried fruit)


  • Dump all ingredients into half gallon jar
  • Cover
  • Shake
  • Store in frig. 
  • In the morning scoop out a serving.
Really. It's that easy and so good!


UPDATE May 14, 2012 ~ Unfortunately I didn't eat my soaked oats fast enough. I can't even remember when I made them (another reminder for me to label my "stuff") and even in the refrigerator my oats spoiled. I was very sad. SO....keep an eye on your oats. Maybe start out with smaller batches. 




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quick Breads with a New Twist

Cranberry Marmalade

2 1/2 cups Master Baking Mix
1 cup milk
2 T. sugar
1 egg

1 pint orange marmalade and a couple handfuls of pecans and craisins.

**I skipped the oil and applesauce that the recipe calls for because I was using a jar of my very runny orange marmalade that I had canned last fall. I should have also reduced the milk as the bread turned out a little too moist/doughy.

Baked for an hour at 350.


Cranberry Pumpkin with White Chocolate
Pumpkin Bread was made the same as above, however instead of the orange marmalade I used 2 cups of pureed pumpkin and a handful of white chocolate.


Both experiments were pretty good. The pumpkin bread was good but not great but the orange marmalade was fabulous!


Shared:


Friday, May 4, 2012

Garage Sale Season Begins!

Remember this post from last year? Yeah, that is all the treasures that I found during our city wide garage sale weekend.  This year may look a little differently.




Most of these items are still being used. Many of The Boy's clothes are now too small. The football cleats and the snow boots? Definately too small. The chicken journal in the middle of the table? I still use it and it is my favorite. The hockey table? Well, it was great for summer when my daycare was full of boys. But after a month they all lost interest and I grew tired of tripping over it's bulkiness. The little money I spent on it was still a good investment. The hockey table was given away to a special little boy who I hope will enjoy it for a couple of years. The duck footstool has become very useful in the washroom for my little people.


I may be hitting a few garage sales today but my main focus this weekend is to PURGE! My word for 2012 is "LESS" and I intend to follow through. As I drink my coffee and make my mental to-do list for the day, I look around and still see some things that could be brought to the garage. I'm selling it all! (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration)


Hubs, on his way to the garage last night to help with this purge, asked what I wanted to get rid of. My response, "If it hasn't been used in a year and if the item isn't intended to be used in the next six months it GOES!" He didn't find anything. I guess he's planning on taking the MG for a few rides this summer. 


The last month I have been moving from room to room. As my eyes scan each room I search for items that don't belong, items that have lost its purpose, items that I just don't love anymore. I've even stumbled across things that I love but have lost their usefulness. I have a beautiful rack that I love but the shelves are too narrow and little fits nicely on it. I have a daybed on my front porch that somehow collects piles or is mussed by the dog. I had big dreams of spending afternoons snuggled on that bed with a good book. Truth? It's not that comfortable not to mention that I have a difficult time finding a free afternoon in which to cuddle with a book. 


Here's the list of questions that I ask myself while purging:


1. Do I LOVE it??
2. Does it serve a purpose? Do I USE it?
3. If it has sentimental value, why? Was it my grandmothers?  Oh, it's an antique that my grandmother picked up at an auction......so do I love it? Does it serve a purpose? Does Grandma want to store it at her house? :) 




Sentimental does have a place but I'm learning that every little nick-knack does not have sentimental value. The ceramic water pitcher that my grandmother, when just a girl, purchased as a Mother's Day gift for her mother, along with the teapot (a gift I purchased for my own mother for Mother's Day many, many years ago) which sits next to it.....those hold sentimental value. They hold a story, a story of a child's love for her mother. 


No, I don't need anything but I'll be checking out a few garage sales anyway because I love 'em!  Besides, who knows what treasures I may find. ;)