Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 30: Pakistani Kima

I can’t believe it, but I actually caught up! This is my 18th post of the day! I was very committed to finishing what I started. I am really good at starting things, but honestly, I stink at follow through. I am not sure how many people will enjoy these recipes, but for me it has become a project I can actually say I completed! Hmm, maybe I WILL get some of my projects completed before Baby-M comes home. Speaking of Baby-M, we were able to see 5 new photos of him on snapfish this morning! He is growing! Oh how we long to meet him!!

This recipe this my favorite recipe from the “More With Less” cookbook. I have modified it slightly. I would really recommend this cookbook for those who like hearty food made from scratch! Not that many recipes are totally Shelly friendly, but many can be easily modified.

Pakistani Kima
1 pound ground beef
1 onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves or garlic powder
2T curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1t cinnamon
1t ginger
1t tumeric
2 cans diced tomatoes or equal of fresh ( I will use fresh tonight)
2-3 potatoes diced
1 can green beans drained (or frozen)

Brown meat with garlic and onions
Add spices tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Serve over rice.
I might :) add more seasoning than this as I taste!

What is for supper in September? Day 29: Sweet and Sour Pork

This is another meal we like to bring to families desiring meals. It has a cozy comfort food type of taste. It is modified from a recipe from Brandon’s mom. We do eat more pork that this September shows. We also grill it or bake it from time to time. We actually did have this for dinner last night! I can’t believe I have caught up!

Pineapple Pork
Two large pork chops (I buy the kind that is boneless and skinless)
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 can chunk pineapple
1/2 cup water
3T vinegar
2T corn starch
2T soy sauce (San-J GF)

Cut pork into bite size pieces
Brown pork in lightly oiled pan
Once browned add onions and peppers and saute slightly
Mix juice from pineapple, water, vinegar, cornstarch, and soy sauce in bowl until not lumpy
Pour mixture into frying pan and cook on medium until sauce boils
Then simmer for 40 minutes
Add pineapple chunks and cook for 5 more minutes
Serve over rice!

What is for supper in September? Day 28: Tamale Casserole

This recipe was found in a gluten free cookbook and has been modified only slightly from Bette Hagman’s recipe. I have added a few extra things and lovingly refer to this casserole as “rainbow casserole” as it has so many colors.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 can drained sweet corn (watch labels)
1-2 cloves garlic or garlic powder
1 8oz can Hunts tomato sauce 110% natural Basil, Garlic and Oregano flavor (usually I am not picky with brands, and yes their are generic sauces which are GF, but the seasoning blend in this is great)
1 cup almond milk (or other kind)
1/2 cup cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1T chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat with onions, peppers, and garlic in a large wok (or frying pan).
Add tomato sauce, corn, and heat
Add milk, cornmeal, salt and pepper, chili powder.
Pour into greased (use a bit of olive oil) casserole container
Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes
Remove cover and bake 20 minutes
Let stand 5 minutes.
Serve with yellow corn tortilla chip and taco sauce if desired. Brandon of course like to add sour cream and cheese to his servings.

What is for supper in September? Day 27: Meatloaf

This is one of the only meals that I made in our early days of marriage (before I really figured out how to cook) that I still make and we still enjoy today! We really like eating the meatloaf with boiled red potatoes served with olive oil and herbs de provence sprinkled on top. We also enjoy edamame with this meal!

1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 medium onion chopping very finely
1 8oz can Hunts tomato sauce 110% natural Basil, Garlic and Oregano flavor (usually I am not picky with brands, and yes their are generic sauces which are GF, but the seasoning blend in this is great)
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup puffed rice (gluten free, cheap in ethnic markets)
1-2T chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients (besides tomato paste) in a mixing bowl and knead together with hands until mixed well.
Form and ball and lift out of bowl and into 8x8 baking pan (bakes faster and easier than loaf pan)
Spread tomato paste on top of meat mixture and re-season if desired
Bake at 375 for 60 minutes!

What is for supper in September? Day 26: Mustard Chicken

This is one of Brandon’s families favorite things to cook on the grill. You can also bake it in the oven, which tends to be easier for me so that is how I will write the recipe

Mustard Chicken Thighs
10 chicken thighs- skinned
1 cup mustard (read label)
1/2 cup lemon juice (squeezed or 100% juice from bottle)
1.5 sticks of Willow Run margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange chicken bone side UP in baking pan.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer.
After 25 minutes, turn chicken bone side DOWN
Brush, rub, or pour half of the sauce on the chicken.
Bake for 25-35 minutes more until cooked.
Reheat remaining sauce and serve with chicken!

This meal is a great summer meal served with corn on the cob, watermelon, and other messy foods!

What is for supper in September? Day 25: Grandma’s Beef Stew

This is one of my favorite meals of all time! All the F-Family cousins remember the taste and smell of this classic. Recently I learned that even though we often ate it at grandma’s house, it was my mom who introduced it to her family. This recipe was given to my mom in her Home Ec. class and has now become a family favorite. I believe I may have written about it in the past. Sadly, I do modify the recipe a bit, but our family can find the non-modified recipe in the family cookbook!

Beef Stew
1 round steak (1 1/2 pounds typically) cut into small chunks
1 box of beef stock (read label)
2 stalks celery chopped
3-5 carrots (large ones cut into pieces, not baby carrots)
4-5 potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 c. cooking wine (read label)
water to cover veggies
corn starch

Brown meat chunks.
Mix cornstarch (2T) with some of the beef stock.
Add beef stock and veggies.
Add cooking wine.
Add a bit more water if veggies are not fully covered.
Cook on low heat 2-4 hours
Season with salt and pepper as desired

What is for supper in September? Day 24: Breakfast for dinner!

Every once in a while it tastes so good to have breakfast for dinner. We honestly don’t do it often as pancake ingredients are expensive, but we always enjoy it when we do!

Pancakes and Omelets - Shelly Style

Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Eggs (some for pancake mix and however many you want for omelets)
Olive oil
Almond milk
Maple Syrup (only the REAL stuff)
Trader Joe’s Salsa red or green

For pancakes: Heat griddle or pan and follow instructions on package. I tend to add a lot more milk than they say. This makes the mix g a lot further and the pancakes still work I also add almond milk, not soy, and olive oil, not canola.
Serve with syrup

Pancake ideas: I sometimes add banana to make the mix go farther, or I add cinnamon and raisin for different flavor. When doing these choices, I do not serve syrup over pancakes.

Omelets: For each omelet:
Mix two eggs and 1 or 2T Almond milk
Pour into heated and oiled small frying pan
Cook one side completely constantly scraping around the edges and turning pan so raw egg fills in the sides
Flip omelet and cook other side
Pour salsa on half of omelet and fold other half over
Top with more salsa (and cheese for Brandon)

What is for supper in September? Day 23: BBQ Chicken Thighs

This is a tasty meal that is baked and causes the whole house to smell great. We usually eat this with baked potatoes!

BBQ Chicken Thighs
6 chicken thighs - skinned
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves or powdered garlic
1 T olive oil
2 cans tomato paste
3T honey
3T soy sauce (San J GF)
2T mustard (read labels)
1T Vegenaise (Shelly safe version on Mayo)
1/2t crushed red pepper
1 or 2T chili powder (to taste)

Arrange chicken bone side UP in baking pan.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, for sauce, in a saucepan cook onion and garlic in oil until tender.
Stir in the rest of ingredients and heat through
After 25 minutes, turn chicken bone side DOWN
Brush, rub, or pour half of the sauce on the chicken.
Bake for 25-35 minutes more until cooked.
Reheat remaining sauce and serve with chicken!

What is for supper in September? Day 22: Tropical Beef

Brandon says this tastes like dessert! We often serve this with stir fry veggies which I make separately but we combine on our plates. We like snap peas, peppers, mushrooms, carrots etc with this one! There are frozen stir fry veggies (we used to get them in Chicago-land) available that don’t have any added ingredients. They are a simple fix for this meal. Now that I am typing this out, I need to search for them around here!

Tropical Beef

1 pound ground beef
1 onion
Garlic powder
San J soy sauce (GF)
Salt and pepper to taste
One can crushed pineapple
Sugar free coconut pieces (natural food stores or sections of grocery stores)

Brown meat with onions
Season with garlic, salt and pepper
Add generous amounts of honey, soy sauce
Add all contents of crushed pineapple
Heat through
Sprinkle generous coconut on top
Serve over rice

What is for supper in September? Day 21 Beef Stroganoff

This meal works great for us on a Sunday morning since the meat can cook in the crock pot while we are at church. Coming home to warm food after a long Sunday morning is one of my favorite simple joys!

Beef Stroganoff (1/2 crock pot style)

1 round steak
1 medium onion chopped
2 cans coconut milk
1 or 2 can(s) mushrooms
1 package fettuccine noodles Pasta Joy (look for the rabbit on bag, remember)
corn starch (as needed)
salt and pepper to taste

Place round steak, onions, mushrooms, and one can coconut milk in crock pot.
Season with salt and pepper
Cook on high about 3 hours (I pop home before the second service :)
Mix a bit (1T) of corn starch with second can of coconut milk until dissolved
Add mixture to crock pot and turn to low
Cook 2 more hours (total, this includes time with noodles)
Cook noodles following instructions on package
Break apart steak (should be tender and break easily with a fork)
Drain noodles and add to crock pot and cook 20 minutes (add more spices if desired)

What is for supper in September? Day 20: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well, this soup isn’t totally chicken tortilla soup. It is a hybrid between that and a spicy corn chowder, and possibly a couple other soups. I just mixed things until this soup happened. It is winter favorite at our house!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 split chicken breast - skinned (I bet you can guess where this is going)
1 can of corn -drained (read labels... they sneak sugar in there sometimes)
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock (Trader Joe’s box stock or other, read label!)
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies (Aldi variety)
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
4 potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks
Corn tortillas
Spices: garlic powder, chili powder, bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper

In order to cook this the fastest I have several things happening at once!
In one pan boil chicken breast in water for 45 minutes or until done.
In another pan I combine all other ingredients. I bring to a boil and simmer.
When chicken is done; debone, shred, and add to soup pot.
Taste as you cook and add spices as you desire. I usually put in about 4 bay leaves and guess on the rest.

When serving, lay a tortilla in the bottom of bowl before adding soup. Shred more tortilla on top if desired!

What is for supper in September? Day 19: Norwegian Meatballs

This is a meal that we didn’t have this month, but that I love so much. This is what my family eats each year for Christmas Eve. Well, I should say, this is part of what we eat on Christmas Eve! This makes a lot. but it is recipe I always use, and I just hope I have a crowd to serve it to!

Norwegian Meatballs and Gravy
3 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup crushed puffed rice
3/4 cup almond milk (or other)
2T minced onions
2t salt
1/2 t pepper
3/4t allspice
1/4 t oregano

5 cups beef stock (this is where I use my beef stock saved from pot roast if I have any or box stock, be very careful with labels)
5T corn starch
Spices: minced onions, salt, pepper, allspice, and oregano

Mix well; form into balls
Brown in a frying pan and place in a large casserole container (or two)
Mix one cup of stock with corn starch to dissolve starch
Add starch mixture, rest of stock, and spices to taste to frying pan juices
Simmer until a gravy forms
Pour gravy over meatballs
Cover and bake for 2 hours at 350
Yields about 20 meatballs

We serve this with mashed potatoes, veggies, and oh so much more on Christmas Eve!

What is for supper in September? Day 18: Mango Chicken

We first learned of this recipe when our dear friend Renie made it for us. I am not sure if we have modified it from its start, but we give her credit and we really enjoy it!

Mango Chicken
1 split chicken breast
1/2 bag of carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 bag of celery, chopped
1 large mango cut into small bits
San-J Tamari Soy Sauce
Ginger (as much as desired)
Basil (as much as desired)
Olive Oil

Remove chicken skin
Marinate Chicken with honey and soy sauce
With plenty of water in pan. boil chicken with honey and sauce for one hour until cooked
While chicken is boiling: chop all veggies/fruit
Heat olive oil and ginger in pan until it crackles
Add carrots with generous amounts of honey and soysauce and cook through
Add celery and cook through
Debone and shred chicken
Add chicken to stir-fry (If water has cooked down to a thick sauce, which is should, add this too)
Top with mango and basil and cook through
Serve over warm cooked rice

What is for supper in September? Day 17: Oven Fried Chicken

Our brother-in-law recommended this recipe which we have modified a bit to make it Shelly friendly. We don’t have it too often, but we really enjoy it!

Oven Fried Chicken
6 chicken thighs (with skin removed)
1 beaten egg
3 T almond (or other) milk
2 cups crushed puffed rice (this is special GF puffed rice which I usually buy at ethnic markets for a great price for a large bag)
1t thyme
1t basil
2t paprika
2t chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
3T melted Willow Run GF margarine

In a small bowl combine egg and milk
In a second bowl mix crushed puffed rice and spices
Skin chicken
Dip chicken pieces (one at a time) into egg bowl then seasoning bowl

Grease a large baking pan with Willow Run
Arrange chicken with the bone side down in pan (make sure they are not touching)
Drizzle chicken with melted Willow Run
Bake uncovered at 375 for 50 minutes (depends on thickness of chicken)
Serve with mashed potatoes and a veggie! How do I mash potatoes? I just peel and boil then add almond milk instead of regular milk after then are mashed!

What is for supper in September? Day 16: Fiesta Night!

This is Brandon’s favorite meal. We serve it frequently for guests. We often refer to it as “Mexican Meal” or “Nachos” but it is actually a collection of our Mexican Favorites! This meal uses lots of ingredients, lots of pots and pans, and lots of clean up, but it is VERY tasty!

“Mexican Meal”

Mexican Beef:
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
La Victoria Taco Sauce (La Victoria makes many great GF products)
Spices: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. I use lots of spices, note that cayenne and cumin can get to be too much quite fast!

Brown meat with onions
Add peppers and cook through
Add spices and about 1/2 cup of water (like you do for taco meat) and simmer
Add La Victoria sauce if desired (I often wait and we add at the table)
A few minutes before serving, add torn pieces of cilantro to top

Refried Beans
2 can fat free refried beans (watch the labels here)
1/2 can Diced tomatoes and chilies (I like the Aldi kind best)
Spices: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, onion flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Empty beans into sauce pan
Add 3/4 can of water and stir until a gravy is formed
Add tomatoes and spices

Spanish Rice
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 small can tomato sauce (watch labels here)
1/2 can of Diced Tomatoes (see refried beans)
Spices: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, onion flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Bring 2 cups water to boil
Add rice and onion flakes and simmer until water is gone
Add tomatoes and sauce as well as spices
Continue to heat on low until all is ready

1 ripe avocado
garlic powder, onion flakes, salt, and pepper
lime juice

Cut avocado in half and scoop out contents
Smash avocado
add spices, lime juice, and torn cilantro
chill in fridge until meal
*note place large seed in center of guacamole and put plastic wrap over bowl pressed down to guacamole. This will totally prevent the browning of the avocado!

The meal is serve over or with yellow corn tortilla chips (read labels). This meal can also be eaten on corn tortillas. You can basically stack the ingredients on top of each other. I top mine with La Victoria Sauce while Brandon adds sour cream and cheese also.

What is for supper in September? Day 15: Coconut Curry Chicken

This meal has a little kick, but is so warm and cozy. It is my personal favorite comfort food!

Coconut Curry Chicken
1 large split chicken breast
2 cans coconut milk
1 scoop Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste (World Market, grocery stores etc. Thai kitchen has many GF products and you can locate the words GLUTEN FREE on all GF products!)
2 cups of rice
Curry spice, salt, and pepper to taste

Remove skin from chicken breast
Place chicken breast in pan with plenty of water
Season chicken breast with curry, salt, and pepper
Boil chicken breast for about 45 minutes (depending on size)
Debone and shred chicken and return it to pan (make sure to dump out all remaining water)
Add two cans of coconut milk and more seasoning to taste
Add one generous (to taste) Tablespoon of Green Curry Paste
Bring to boil
The chicken will be in a green gravy like sauce
Serve over rice

We usually have mixed veggies and oranges with this. It is nice to have something sweet to eat after this meal.

What is for supper in September? Day 14 Crock Pot Roast Beef

This meal is my standard meal to take to new moms. I think I made it monthly at our last church during a baby boom!

Crock Pot Roast Beef
1 large roast (you choose the cut)
1 pound of carrots peeled and cut into slices
8 med to large potatoes cut into quarters
minced onion, salt, and pepper to taste

In the morning: place the roast and a full glass of water in the crock pot with desired seasonings.
Set crock pot on high
At noon or 1:00pm add potatoes and carrots and water if needed and turn to low
If eating after 6:00pm make sure to turn to keep warm

This tasty meal can be stretched by saving all the water (now broth) and thickening it for gravy in the future or for left overs. I always freeze my broth for beef stock as needed.

What is for supper in September? Day 13: Trader Joe’s Night

*I promised you I would catch up on the meals sometime. Well, it is the last day of September, so look for 18 or more posts from me today! Uffda!!!

*These meals were not exactly eaten the days they are featured... I can’t remember what I made each night. We also didn’t eat them all this month as we actually did quite a bit of grilling.

This is a favorite meal at our home and literally the only thing I make that is this simple “out of the bag” style. This is great on shopping day since I am usually in a hurry.

Trader Joe’s Night (Sausage stir-fry with edamame)
-1 package of Edamame (we like the ones still in shells)
-1 package Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions
-1 Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa
-2 Sweet potatoes (could be purchased anywhere)
-San J Tamari sauce (not usually found at Trader Joe’s)

Bake sweet potatoes for one hour at 400 (more or less depending on size)
Empty edamame into saucepan with a little water. Bring to boil and then simmer.
Cut the kielbasa into little circles and stirfry with the peppers and onions
Add soy sauce to taste!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Brown Eyes

Baby M has about the biggest brown eyes I have ever seen, and this is saying a lot since I read MANY ET adoption blogs and many beautiful children have big brown eyes. They are so beautiful and so deep!

Two weeks ago our lives changed forever and these eyes have captivated us ever since! On referral day I actually could not take my eyes off his face (via photo) long enough to watch the start of the NFL season! For the first time ever I can say I have watched almost no football two weeks into the season. I have, however, stared into my little mans big brown eyes!

I spent much of Sunday on Snapfish looking for photos of Baby M. His big brown eyes give him away quite quickly. After MANY hours I found over 50 photos of him on snapfish! Today I was able to print off more photos and even frame a few. I am excited to hang them up tonight so I can see them on the wall each day!

Today I was able to send our welcome bag to our agency. Our welcome bag contained Froggy, who you can read about HERE, a little all in one outfit size 9 months (will it fit?), a photo album that he can drool on, and some chewing toys. Many photos have been taken with his fingers in his mouth, so I am guessing he is teething. We were able to get Baby M's name sewn into Froggy this week so everyone who cares for Baby M will know who the frog belongs to. I took several photos of the welcome bag which I will post soon. Brandon took a photo of me with the little clothes on my tummy so we will have an idea of our big Baby M is as we see a photo of him in it! I sure hope someone can deliver this bag soon!

We still have heard nothing about court dates, but the courts open next week, I think, so maybe we will hear soon. I am still committed to waiting to call until October 8th, (two weeks from tomorrow) but praying that we hear something before that time!

Our ministries are in full swing and life is busy, but blessed! Yesterday was a day of great joy! For the first time in a long time I had the opportunity to minister out of my gifting! What a blessing it is to serve in this way!

The nursery is almost done! We have guests coming for the weekend so the timing will be perfect!

I am hoping to go on a posting spree next Monday and attempt to get my September cooking recipes up to date! This is a lofty goal, but I am going to try!

I better get back to those big brown eyes... after I fold some clothes!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Journey with us through prayer!

Prayer is powerful! Prayer is effective! In the last weeks, we have seen God answer prayers in such specific ways that we have praised Him basically speechless! I still can't fully comprehend it all! We wanted to give you several days to just PRAISE GOD for the referral news before we gave you a long list of requests to pray for us and our sweet little one. God is up to something big! Please join us in prayer:

Praise God for this referral and the miracle it is the Baby M will be with a forever family, with our family!

Pray for Sarah and Jack as they release Baby M. Pray that God will tenderly assure them of His perfect will! Pray that they will cling to each other as they process. Pray that no power of darkness would ever drive a wedge in our friendship and that our son would always have a healthy view of this very special family!

Pray for our son's birth parents! Pray that each of them would have a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel! Pray we would get the opportunity to meet some of the family while in ET. Pray that we will have a sweet reunion with all birth parents in heaven one day!

Pray for Baby M's physical and developmental needs. I won't say too much, but he is very behind developmentally! Please pray that his muscles will grow stronger each day. Pray that those who care for him will encourage him to use his muscles and will work with him while we wait. Pray that God will correct all that needs to be corrected and that our son would be healed in Jesus' Name!

Pray for Brandon and I as we wait with joy and excitement, but also with some worry and fear. Pray that we will give those thoughts to God each day, and trust they He is leading us right where He wants us.

Pray for a VERY FAST process through court and embassy. Please pray for court dates in 2010 and for an embasssy date as early in 2011 as possible! Pray that the problems Sarah and Jack had with M's file would be totally cleared up, and M would easily pass court!

I could go on and on with requests, but this is a good start! If you are involved in a prayer group, please feel free to point people to this blog who might also like to pray. We believe that God can do GREAT things in our son's life and that He will get great Glory for these things! We would love you to join us on this journey through your prayers!

Random post referral thoughts!

The last week and two day have been some of the fastest, sweetest, and most stressful days of my life. I am sorry I have failed to write a post before now, but I will try to bring you all up to speed on our journey to sweet Baby M!

Adoption News:
~For my fellow "time line obsessed" friends, we waited 7 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days from D.T.E. to referral date!

~We received Baby M's medical file and more forms to sign on Wednesday. When the mail came at 3:00pm I was determined to get everything done so things could be back in the mail before 5:00. We both signed at least 30 documents (truly, we had to sign each page of the medical file), we answered essays, we ran to the bank to get something notarized, we transferred money, we sealed the envelope, and made it to the post office before 4:30!

~We have received so many kind notes and words of encouragement! Thank you to all of you! Being the cheesy momma that I plan to be, I have kept each kind word to share with Baby M at just the right time!

~We have realized that our adoption is very unique. We are adopting internationally and also domestically to some degree. We have spent much time talking with and praying for Sarah and Jack as they work through this grieving/ letting go process. My next post will be of prayer requests, and they will be a huge part of our requests. We care about them so dearly and we recognize they are experiencing great sadness, mixed with joy.

~Baby M is in great need of prayer... see my next post.

~We have begun the painting party! Baby M's room will have very classic boy colors. We opted for blue on top/cream chair rail/brown on bottom. We were going to make it blue and green, but decided he will quickly be a big boy and the brown might be more grown-up looking and also practical for covering little boy finger prints :)

~We have filled our fridge with sweet photos and shared them with family and friends. We are falling hard for this little guy we have cared about for so many months.

~This week we had a celebration dinner and took photo we hope to include in the welcome bag we are sending next week.

~I am going to *try* to resist calling our agency until October 8th. If I learn of other news before that date I will pass it along to you, otherwise, it might be a little wait for all of us!

Non-Adoption News, Why this easily overwhelmed woman is feeling stress:
~The Women's Bible Study I am leading started last week! I am very excited about the group of women, who don't know each other now, but I hope will get to over the fall. The beginning of a class (when you sort of write your own study) can be very stressful, but it is so worth it!

~Our church's new children's outreach ministry starts this Wednesday. I have a special role in the ministry. I run the welcome room. It would take a long time to explain it, but long story short, I share the gospel each week with all new children who come (and the friend who invites them). The children are in three groups. I am busy trying to write my 20 minute lesson for the 3 age groups! I am also excited about this, but will be thankful to have the prep work done.

~Our church's adoption ministry is having a huge family event at the beginning of October. This event is the subject of 20-50 emails I receive each day. I am thrilled to be helping with this, but it does add a level of stress to things. If you are curious about this, send me an email!

~Our house is still under construction. They are just finishing up little things, but it does seem to involve multiple men in my home daily!

~We still have no blinds on the windows, but hope to be taking action on that soon! I never realized what a private person I was until I was without window coverings.

~We are hoping our dishwasher will be delivered and installed next week. It is incredible how much time it takes to wash and dry dishes. Yes, I use a lot when I cook, but on average it takes a full hour each day. I will be SO excited when we have a new dishwasher! So. VERY.Excited.

~As mentioned above, we are painting both the nursery and the guest room! We have paint supplies trickling throughout the upstairs.

So as you can see, an abundance of very exciting, special, joyous things, can still lead to stress and cause me to lose sleep and suffer from total lack of appetite. We stand in awe of God with each thing. He is so great!

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Received A REFERRAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am NOT joking! I am totally serious! I have been itching to tell you all for days, but now things are official so grab a snack (This is REALLY LONG) and a tissue or two and settle in for a story that, even though I am living it, it shocks me more greatly than words. Faith Like Potatoes prayers get answered in amazing ways!!!!
*Note* If you have been following the recipes, they will return in a few days... I will manage to get 30 on here... I will!

I have been pondering how to write this entry for so long! I have longed to be a mommy my whole life. I have cared for and loved others children. I have watched friends announce pregnancy once, twice, and truly three times in more than one case. I have rejoiced, I have loved, I have prayed, I have hoped, and I have cried and longed and cried some more.

Now, the moment is here! Our moment has arrived! Part of me wants to tell you of the excitement of this story every day for the next, oh, ten years. Another part of me wants to say very little. I know very well how hard it is to see the seemingly never ending excitement of others when your time has not yet come. If you are reading this today and you are still waiting for the call, for two lines on the stick, for a ring on your finger... I have been there. I will try to honor you as I write, and pray that your wait will not be long! I will not stoop to trite comments like, “the wait is worth it” or “your time with come” as they never really lifted my spirits. Keep clinging to Jesus friends! He is more than enough!

So, lets get this story going! Some of you will want the short version so I will start with that. Last Thursday at 1:00pm I came home from church to find a message on the phone from our agency. S asked for one or both of us to call her soon. I ran over to church (13 second commute remember) and told Brandon to call the agency. We talked with S and she asked us if we would like to view the referral information for little boy. We said YES!!!!!! He is 13 months old. He is delightful! He has huge eyes and LONG eyelashes, just like Brandon. He has delicious looking lips (well they are, will he hate me for saying that one day, yeah most likely) and an adorable smile. He has a long torso, just like me. I am totally, completely biased, but he is BEAUTIFUL! Others are confirming this to me, though what else can they say... I have never had the heart to tell anyone their child isn’t beautiful so I will just stick to knowing in my eyes he is one handsome boy!

We read through his medical reports and consulted with our Dr. We know there will be risks, (another post about this is coming, but not today) but we can see God working so many miracles here that we knew, even with bits of fear, the this sweet boy was indeed our son.

OK, for some of you that was enough, but if you really want to hear how God orchestrated this amazing story settle in, this is the sort of stuff they make movies about! I have been told once or twice that I have a lot to say. This will be one of those times, so I understand if you have to skim, or read part and come back for the rest a bit later!

This story really begins on August 8th 2009 as that is when our sweet baby entered this world. Crazy enough that is also the day we moved to the parsonage and began our new adventures near the Lake! Check out these photos of the day of baby’s birth. We were a mom and dad and had no clue! *Disclaimer* Much of the next section won’t seem important as you read it, but I promise it is!

Last fall we were quite sure we knew which agency we would be using, but then after a late night phone call, we realized we could not go with that agency. Thankfully my dear college friend and floor-mate Sarah and her husband were in the adoption process and we quickly grilled them about their agency. We were sold. We had peace. We had chosen our agency.

We paper-chased very quickly and we truly enjoyed our home visits and our training. Heart of the Matters Seminars are AWESOME!!! We so highly recommend “Because They Waited!” In the middle of our dossier element collecting we received a wonderful call from Sarah announcing they had received their referral! We rejoiced with them and prayed for there little one to come home soon. Their 4 month old Baby M sounded perfect! We were so excited to follow their journey and count up the days so we could know what to expect.

In January we celebrated paper pregnancy and our DTE of 1.21.10. Soon after that we learned that things were not looking great for Sarah and Jack’s Baby M. He was stuck in the middle of a court situation that I still don’t fully understand. I do know that the judge was not very interested in signing his papers and it appeared it would take a long time for Baby M to come home. We joined Sarah’s family and prayed and fasted and begged God to allow the judge to sign Baby M’s paper.

Around this time we also learned that Baby M was not doing great physically. He was very very sick. He had been sick for a while. I can give you more details about this in person if you are curious. We prayed for his health and we were overjoyed to hear he was able to be in a place where he could get good care. His life is a miracle! Truly and honestly, God saved this child’s life through the loving hands who rescued him and nursed him back to health!

Meanwhile, we waited and saw our names very low on the list. Our hearts longed for the call, but it seemed we were so far from the top it would never come. Everything was very slow in ET and corruption of other agencies caused areas of ET to close, areas where our agency worked. The closed areas seemed to have judges who would not sign forms... like Baby M’s judge.

Months passed and we learned that Sarah and Jack we asked to lay Baby M down. The agency said his case was “hopeless” and there was no way he would ever be able to be adopted. He would live all his days in an orphanage. Through tears and pain that I can’t imagine, they laid their “Isaac” (Baby M) down. We mourned with them, and prayed that some how, some way, he would be released one day.

This summer God called Brandon and I to update our home study. We sang, “break my heart for what breaks Yours” and He did. We realized God was calling us to a mission bigger than we had imagined. He was opening our hearts to children with greater needs.

Soon we rejoiced with Sarah and Jack at the news of a pregnancy! How exciting. This July, I was able to visit my college town and spend some great time of food eating, fellowship and prayer with Sarah! We talk frequently on the phone, but time is person is so special. We prayed for Baby M, that he would be released and be able to be adopted one day.

God heard our prayers! We were shocked to learn of another miracle which happened in Baby M’s life! He is a miracle baby. Sarah and Jack received a call that blew them away. Baby M had been released! Did they want to adopt Baby M? Of course they did, but his homecoming would most likely be the same time as “new baby” would be entering the world. Again they had to make a decision that I can’t imagine making. If you would like to read more about this I will provide a link to Sarah’s blog at the end of this post. Her entires are beautiful and you will be blessed to read them. In the end, they decided it was best for their family to release Baby M and to pray that God would lead him to the family He had chosen for Baby M.

Cool God details here I am leaving out. I would be very happy to answer any questions on email or in person.

Last week Baby M’s information was given to a family on the list. With prayer they realized they were not his parents. I pray they will meet (through photo) their little one very soon.

More cool God details here for those who wish to inquire...

Then on Thursday we received a message on our answering machine that changed our lives! When we called S and realized we were being given the referral for Baby M! THE Baby M who had overcome so much. The Baby M we had prayed for and fasted for and asked others to pray for. The Baby M we had watched our dear friends release. WOW! God is SO AMAZING!!!!! As we waited for the emails to come, we were in awe of God. We were shocked that THIS is how things were happening. We laughed as we anticipated the emails. We KNEW Baby M already. We knew much of what the medical reports would say. We knew what he looked like, we had stared at his photos for months as praying friends.

About this time I was supposed to go for a walk with a dear friend who is on her own adoption adventure. I told her I would be a little late... she knew something was up, most likely my crying gave it away :)

After Brandon and I read the medical file we prayed and cried, well I cried enough for both of us. We located and emailed an International Adoption Doctor in California. We called Sarah and cried and rejoiced and cried and rejoiced! We were just so in awe of God!

I did end up going on a walk with that friend and I KNOW it was a divine appointment as I am not sure anyone else could have quite understood the situation as she did! Yay God!

Thursday night we called our parents and printed photos at Walgreens. Our parents excitement brought tears again. My mom actually asked if it was Baby M! Brandon’s parents raced to Walgreens and called us from the parking lot as they met their new grandson.

Friday we waited all day to talk with the Dr. Finally we did and we knew we could accept the referral! We were able to tell our small group and share the joy with them! So special! Saturday was FILLED with phone calls to family and friends. Sunday was filled with tears as we shared photos with friends we were able to grab at church.

Today we talked with S from our agency and officially gave her the YES!!! There are many levels of “official-ness” Actually, we are waiting for forms to come which we will sign (yes, more forms) and that will make it officially official... our referral anyway. Passing court is what makes the adoption official!

So what is next?

*all of these dates are estimates... it might be interesting to see what actually happens here. I am trying to be very conservative here so we will be pleasantly surprised. Our God has PERFECT timing so we are trusting in that!!

This week: We should be getting his birth certificate in the next couple of weeks.

In the next month: Hopefully within the next month our case will be filed for court.

Within 2 months: We should learn of our court dates. The first date will be legal stuff without us needing to be present, the second date will be our first travel date.

Within the next 4 months: Our first trip to ET to meet our sweet boy

Within the next 6 months: Baby M comes HOME!!!!!!

Yes, we want to get on a plane TODAY and meet him, but we will have to wait. Please pray that Baby M causes NO hold ups this time and the court process goes very swiftly. I wish I could reach into the photos and take hug him right now. I am so trilled to have the opportunity to be his momma!

We are not allowed to post any photos on the blog until we pass court. The “M” in Baby M refers to the first letter in his Ethiopian name. We have not decided on a name yet, but we will be revealing that after we pass court as well. I am not sure if his full name with appear on the blog. We have not decided this yet. The meaning of his ET name is so beautiful!

I will keep you posted on all of the latest information on this journey to our little man! Today we give God great GLORY for a story he had been orchestrating for SO LONG!!!

If you would like to read Sarah’s blog click HERE, or click on “Keller’s Miracles” on the side of my blog under Ethiopian Adoption Blogs.

Thank you Lord!!! There is NO ONE LIKE YOU!!!! We are in Awe!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 12: Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash

olive oil
1-2 lbs of beef stew meat diced (I use cube steak)
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic (or powdered)
5 potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
All spices are really to taste - remember - I don’t measure anything!
5t paprika
1/2t pepper
1t marjoram
dash of salt
Spice Hunter Creole Seasoning (It is not a spicy cajun, but a sweet creole, yummy!)

Saute onions and garlic with a bit of olive oil
Add paprika
When onions are glassy add meat and brown
Add water until meat is covered
Add peppers and remaining spices
Boil, then cook until meat is tender (1 hour or more)
Add potato and crushed tomatoes
Cook 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Serve with rice to stretch the meal!
Brandon enjoys his usual condiment buffet :)
Yes, I know I have a lot of tomato recipes. I will say that we are having a bumper crop of tomatoes this year so I am cooking with them whenever possible.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 11: Thanksgiving in a Casserole

We are having leftover spaghetti, but this meal is great! This is one of my favorite casseroles. It is so tasty, hearty, and cozy! Can food be cozy? This is also a great way to use extra chicken as I mentioned in THIS post about crock pot chicken.

Thanksgiving Casserole

olive oil
6 corn tortillas
2-3 cups cooked chicken
1 onion diced
3 celery stalks diced
1 can of mushrooms (6.5oz)
salt and pepper to taste
poultry seasoning to taste
2T rice flour (Bob's Red Mill or Ener-G)
2 eggs
1/2 mayonnaise I use Vegenaise and it is VERY good
2 1/2 cups of almond milk (I get unsweetened. Coconut milk could also work here.)

Saute onions, drained mushrooms, and celery
Toss chicken, (shredded) onion, celery, mushrooms, seasonings (more seasoning= more flavor:), and flour together
Lightly oil casserole pan
Tear 2 tortillas into small pieces and lay in casserole pan
Add 1/2 of mixture on top of tortillas
Add another tortilla layer
Add second half of mixture
Add last 2 torn tortillas

In a separate bowl-
Beat eggs
Add mayo and milk
Stir until smooth
Pour over tortilla and meat layers

Bake at 325 for around one hour!

This is a pretty new discovery for our family, but I can't wait to make it this year for Thanksgiving. It tastes more like turkey and dressing than anything I have had in years! We eat it as a stand alone casserole now, but for Thanksgiving we will add Shelly friendly mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, corn, and green beans to the mix. Of course pumpkin pie for dessert is also a given! Hmm... I am getting hungry now!

What is for supper in September? Day 10: Spaghetti

I have been told by at least one pre-schooler that I "make the best spaghetti in the whole 'wold'" so get your pens ready folks! Actually, it is a very simple recipe. You might be curious about gluten free pasta. The truth is, most of it is nasty! Yuck! One brand, Pasta Joy, is so good! Look for the bunny on the packages! They have basically every kind of noodle and they taste "normal" even to a gluten eating husband!

Shelly's Spaghetti

-1pound ground beef
-1 onion chopped
-1 can crushed tomatoes
-1 can diced tomatoes (This time I used no canned tomatoes and all of our own. Our garden overflows, hence many meals with tomatoes this month!)
-Italian seasoning to taste
-Crushed red pepper to taste
-Garlic 2 cloves or powder to taste
-Salt and pepper to taste
-San-J GF Tamari (a shake or two)
-Pasta Joy spaghetti noodles (2/3 package or whatever you prefer)

Fill one pot with water to heat noodles (then follow directions on package)
Brown beef with chopped onion in large frying pan (or pot)
Add spices
Add tomato products (to the same pan... lets save dishes folks)
Simmer and serve with pasta and a veggie!
Simple and tasty!
*I love to add any other veggies I have around to the sauce for special added flavor! Brandon adds the stinky kind of cheese... what is that called? :)

What is for supper in September? Day 9: Crock Pot Chicken

If you read the previous post, you know that we actually had leftovers of dinner on the 9th, but I will share a super simple dinner idea with you that our family loves!

Crock Pot Chicken

1 Whole Chicken
Lemon Juice
Onion flakes
Salt and Pepper
Herbs De Provence

-Stick an entire thawed and rinsed chicken in the crock pot. If you are doing this for the first time make sure you pull out the center section from the chicken... have a bag to throw it right into. I know some of you keep, use, and eat the neck...
-Pour water over the chicken. I usually pour 3 or more cups of water in the crock pot
-Squeeze one lemon or a squirt or two of lemon juice over chicken
-Season with Herbs De Provence, S&P, and onion flakes
-Set on High until lunch time, then turn to low until dinner time
-30 minutes before the meal, remove 2 cups of water (broth)
-Combine broth and 2 cups water and heat to boil
-Add two cups of rice and generous Herbs De Provence.
-Cook rice
Serve with green beans! YUM!!!

These whole chickens are often on sale for great deals. I only buy the hormone free good stuff! They are also way more than we can eat in one meal. We save the extra chicken for a tasty casserole I will be writing about in a future entry!

I am behind...

Sorry friends, I am getting behind in my recipes. We had leftovers on Thursday and will tonight as well, but I will write a recipe each day anyway! We have much going on in life right now. Today I will share recipes, but soon I will type a post or two about other special things in our life!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Answering your questions

Many have asked...

Why are you posting these meals each night?
I decided to write about what I am making for dinner for several reasons:
I am asked so frequently what someone with my food issues eats, and I wanted to have a place to point people with food ideas. I wanted to provide recipes for others who have food limitations. I wanted to show how to cook healthy meals each night with whole ingredients. I wanted to have a log of recipes so I have cooking ideas when I am away from home. I wanted to challenge myself to blog more about something I enjoy doing that isn’t in the adoption/pastor’s wife realm.

Where are these “fancy places” you keep mentioning?
I realize I have mentioned Trader Joe’s, World Market, and ethnic markets. I might also mention a health food store here or there, and maybe even Whole Foods. Honestly, I very rarely go to any of the stores I just mentioned. I know what I like to buy at each of them, and when I get access, I but large amounts! At World Market I buys 4 or 6 jars of Fajita Seasoning and Herbs De Provence each time I visit. This lasts a year or more. I buy all of my rice, tortillas, beans if possible, unique spices, etc at ethnic markets. I usually buy a 4-6 month supply. I go to Trader Joe’s every three months and stock up there. Honestly, I do most of my grocery shopping at Aldi. The food is good quality, the price is amazing, and it is close to my house.

How often do you buy groceries?
We are currently a family of 2 with only one dairy consumer, so I only go shopping two times a month. I go to Aldi on each shopping trip. Every third trip I go to other stores to stock up on things Aldi doesn’t carry. I find the less I go, the less I spend!

How much time do you spend in the kitchen?
Preparing meals is one of my favorite things to do. I could use small appliances to chop veggies, but I LIKE to hand chop them. With that said, I spend on average 90 minutes prepping a meal. Some days are a lot more, some days are a little less.

Curious about anything else? Feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer!!!

What is for supper in September? Day 8: Fajitas

Tonight we had Chicken Fajitas. We were able to use our new grilling wok and the fajitas tasted SO GOOD! I think I could eat grilled peppers and onions every night!

Chicken Fajitas

-1 Split Chicken Breast
2 onions sliced
1 or 2 green peppers sliced
1 or 2 red peppers sliced
Fajita seasoning (My favorite is from World Market GF/CF and good)
lime juice
olive oil
corn tortillas (I purchase these at an ethnic market and often get 3-5 packages for 1.00. packages contain 12 tortillas!!!)

Sprinkle seasoning on chicken breast.
Boil the chicken breast in water for about 40 minutes depending on the size of breast.
While chicken is boiling slice all veggies.
Cover veggies in olive oil, lime juice, and fajita seasoning.
Grill veggies on grill in one of those stir-fry grill woks (GREAT TASTE) or on stove top.
De-bone and shred chicken. (Yes, you could grill chicken or other meat and slice it)
Add extra seasoning and a squirt of lime juice to shredded chicken.
Add chicken to grill wok and heat through.
Warm tortillas in microwave between two plates or wrapped in a dish cloth.
I add extra seasoning, rice, hot sauce, and salsa to mine. Brandon also adds cheese and sour cream. Avocados are also a great addition.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 7: Chicken Masala

I am trying this meal for the first time tonight. I will let you know how it turned out. I am sort of modifying another recipe to make it so we will see how it turns out :)

*note after dinner* It turned out great! I put in 6 tomatoes and measured (shocking I know) 3T of the spice to put in with the coconut milk. I used one can of reduced fat milk and one can of all on fat :) which made it extra creamy!
Chicken Masala and rice (super easy version)

~1 Large Split Chicken Breast
~1 box of Badshah Chicken Masala seasoning mix (it costs about 1.29 at an Indian Market/Ethnic food store and is cheaper and so much easier than using all the spices. I would say most people could get through 4 meals on one box (maybe more) I think we will use about 1/3 box (wrong I used 4 T total)
~2 cans coconut milk
~4-6 (whatever you desire) fresh tomatoes - you could use canned diced tomatoes or even crushed here.

~Remove skin from chicken breast
~Boil chicken in water (plenty) for 40 minutes depending on size of breast and if frozen
~ Season chicken with mix while boiling (1T)
~Once cooked, de-done chicken and shred the meat
~Return meat to pan
~Add tomato chunks and coconut milk
~Add as much seasoning as desired. I am going to try starting with 3T tonight.
~Serve over rice

What is for supper day? Day 6: Layer Casserole

So, we actually had leftover Chili last night. I think Chili takes even better on day 2! Since I want to give as many recipes as possible I will include one for a casserole I made at the very end of August and most likely won't be repeating in September.

Layer Casserole
This casserole can have as many layers in it as you want depending on what you have in your home! I love making this casserole in the morning and the just pop it into the oven 90 minutes before we plan to eat.

1pound ground beef (3)
1 onion chopped (3)
3 potatoes peeled and sliced (1 bottom)
1/2 carrots cut into little circles (2)
frozen green beans or peas (4)
1/2 cup rice (3)
4 fresh tomatoes cut into circles(5)
1 can rinsed black beans (I have never done this layer, but could be subbed in for the meat)
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
1 can crushed tomatoes (6)

~Brown hamburger with onions, garlic and salt& pepper.
~Add rice and a touch of water to meat and simmer for a few minutes while chopping and peeling veggies.
~Layer casserole elements in a cake pan or similar sized pan in the order I numbered them above, with one (the potatoes) on the bottom.
~Pour the crushed tomatoes on top, making sure it soaks down through the cracks.
~Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
~Remove foil and bake and additional 30 to 45 minutes depending on thickness of potato and carrot slices.
~Enjoy! I found this recipe in an old cookbook. It is a very hearty meal and is perfect after a day of physical labor.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 5: Chili

It was just a Chili sort of day around here. I am shocked by my menu so far this month because we have had so much ground beef. We don't usually eat it quite this frequently. Long time readers will remember that we purchased a quarter of a cow early this year so we enjoy organic, hormone free, grass fed goodness each time we eat. I am also not ashamed to admit, I love beef! I tolerate chicken and I stomach pork, but beef is just SO GOOD! Anyway, here is the recipe... sort of. This is one of those "shake until it looks right meals" so I have no clue how much of any spice I use. I know that I use a lot of most of them, but you can start with a little and add more!

Shelly's Chili

-1 pound ground beef
-2 medium onions
-1 green pepper
-1red pepper
-2 cloves of garlic + (or garlic powder)
- 2 cans of pure crushed tomatoes (today I used one can crushed an 12 fresh tomatoes)
-1 can diced tomatoes (I omitted this today)
-1 large can pinto beans
-1 can black beans
-rice or apple cider vinegar (I give it a good shake:)
-chili powder
-garlic powder
-crushed red pepper
-cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper
- remember all spices are to taste!

Brown beef with chopped onions.
Add red and green pepper and saute.
Add spices to taste.
Add rinsed beans.
Add tomato products.
Simmer, Simmer, Simmer!

Brandon enhances (ruins) his with huge amounts of gluten and dairy filled items like crackers, cheese, and sour cream :)

What is for supper in September? Day 4 Grill-out!

So, it is the weekend folks. I am usually not very inspired to post on the weekend. I spent over 7 hours on Saturday working on 3 bulletin boards at church. I was still working at supper time so my amazing husband decided he would make dinner! What a great guy!

There really is no recipe here, but here was the main menu:

~Grilled Hamburgers (mine was of course sans bun)
~Baked Sweet Potatoes
~Grandma's Cream Style Corn (grandma freezes corn each year and it is SO good)
~I am not sure if there was anything else? Raw Veggies?

We enjoyed it! I like to add San-J Wheat Free Tamari (like soy sauce) to my meat. The whole gluten free San-J line is great and made in a totally gluten free factory! I also add a great spice mix from World Market. It is steak seasoning, but made with whole spices (read no MSG, salt, sugar, filler etc) and it is very tasty!

Friday, September 3, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 3: Stuffed Squash

**Cooks note: Acorn squash works much better than yellow squash! Also, I forgot to mention that I add a bit of San-J wheat free Tamari (GF soy sauce) at the table.

It seems that overnight the weather turned into fall. The air is windy, crisp, and cool. Who am I kidding, you all know how I fell about the winter. The weather changed my meal ideas as well. One thing I do enjoy about the fall is a favorite recipe, Stuffed Squash. It is very simple to make and warms up the tummy on a cold day.

Stuffed Squash

-1 or 2 acorn or yellow squash (we have yellow so that is what I am using)
-1 lb ground beef
-1 onion chopped
-celery chopped (optional)
-mushroom sliced (optional)
-Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

-Half and de-seed squash
-Bake until squash is soft for about one hour around 350 depending on size
-While baking brown meat and all other ingredients
-Scoop squash meat out of cooked squash shell and mix with meat.
-Fill squash shells with mixture and bake an additional 20 minutes

*Fun alternative: Add a can of coconut milk to the above meat and squash mixture and bake for 40 minutes in a casserole container. This makes a creamy casserole on a winter day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day 2: Spicy Tomatoes and Chickpeas

*Cook's note: I ending up using just fresh tomatoes and it was GREAT! I used maybe 8 smallish tomatoes. Brandon raved about it, even the left-overs!

I modified this recipe from one I found on-line. This time I am omitting the diced and crushed tomatoes and adding several tomatoes from our garden (4 or 6 depending on size) and then a can of tomato paste to thicken if needed. I might drain off some of the extra juice, or simmer longer to evaporate it! We like things spicy so you might want to start will less “kick” and add more as needed. If you have cooked with me, you know the amounts below are totally a guess. I just shake spices until it “looks right” so I am sorry if it is too spicy or too bland. Feel free to get creative! We also like things with lots of sauce to serve over rice. You can omit the crushed tomatoes if you are not as into sauce.

Spicy Tomatoes and Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1T olive oil
1T cumin
1 t coriander powder ( I have the little seeds and I crush them)
1 t tumeric
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne
2T lemon juice
handful fresh cilantro if you have it, or 1t dried clintro
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cans chickpeas

Heat oil in pan.
Add cumin and cook until it starts to crackle.
Add chopped onions and cooked until soft and browned.
Add all tomatoes, curiander, tumeric, cayenne.
Cook until heated through.
Add chickpeas, salt.
Cook for about 30 minutes.
Taste to see if you need to add more spices.
Add lemon juice over and cilantro

Serve over rice with fruit for dessert :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What is for supper in September? Day One: Wild Rice Casserole

This tasty dish serves many and can be enjoyed for days! One of the purposes of creating this menu plan is to let people know “what I eat” without gluten, dairy, or some sugars. I will try to note specialty ingredients as I remember. Make sure to read labels!

Wild Rice Casserole

4 cups water
1 cup wild rice
3 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 can mushroom slices
1 can water chestnuts sliced
2 cups chicken broth (make sure it is Gluten/Dairy and sugar free)
garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

~Bring water to boil and add wild rice (Trader Joe’s is cheap)
~Cook wild rice for at least 40 minutes until the outsides open
~While rice is cooking brown beef with the onion and celery
~Add the mushrooms and chestnuts to browned meat
~Add desired amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
~Drain wild rice and add to above mixture.
~Put mixture in covered casserole dish
~Pour 1/2 a box of chicken stalk over casserole (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest GF stalk)
~Bake for one hour at 350
~Enjoy and serve with veggies (I made a simple veggie stir-fry)