Monday, August 25, 2008

Sale at Values Driven Family

Value's Driven Family is having a great Ebook Extravaganza right now that you may want to check out! Click here to find out more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Potato Curry

We found some gorgeous red potatoes on sale at Country View Bulk Foods, and so we bought a 10 lb bag. One thing that these potatoes are good for is stews, soups, and chutneys (russets can't really be used as they fall apart when cooked...though that makes them good for baked potatoes and mashed potatoes). On today's menu: a potato curry.

I began by slicing up 2 vidalia onions, and 2 lbs of stewing beef, both of which I browned in a heavy, high-sided skillet.

I then sliced up about 3-4 pounds of those red potatoes, skins on, and added them to the mix.

Next I added my spices: Curry powder, Garam marsala (a spice blend), ginger, salt, pepper, and red pepper. I also stirred in a jar of diced tomatoes, and I let it simmer until the potatoes and meat were cooked through.

As an accompaniment, instead of rice, I used couscous, which I find to be lighter, and a good side dish with a curry.

I garnished it with fresh herbs from my little herb box on my window sill.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Joyful Momma is at TEACH Magazine Today

Well, ladies, it's Monday and that means I'm bloggin' over at Lorrie's Publisher's blog at TEACH Magazine. Today I talk a bit about my methods for planning for the coming school year, and what works for our family. You can read more here, at TEACH.

Breakfast Casserole

Tabitha wrote,
I'm going to need to get the recipe for that breakfast casserole thing, I have the basic idea, but that's a scary way to make something new

Here's the recipe, Tabitha (and everyone!):


Mix together 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup and 10-12 eggs. Season to taste (Ruth added Rosemary, parsley, oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper to the one she brought you).
Butter a 9 x 15 baking dish
Pour half a bag of cubed stuffing or a box of are basically looking to cover the bottom of the baking dish.

Cook up some meat: sausage, bacon, etc. (your choice) We used turkey sausage (Italian flavored).

Put the crumbled meat or bacon over the croutons, and then pour on the egg/soup mixture. Add the chopped veggies of your choice (Ruth used onions, bell peppers, and green onions). Top with cheese.

Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F and pop your casserole in there for about 45 minutes, or until the eggs are well set.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Using the Leftover Whole Grain Pilaf

Remember that whole grain pilaf I made with the grilled chicken the other night? Well, we had more than half of it leftover, and I wasn't sure what to do with it, since we ate all the chicken. I finally decided on repurposing the rice pilaf into something else entirely.

First, I had thawed some ground beef for spaghetti only to realize at the last minute that I had no spaghetti noodles to speak of, so I heated up my wok, browned (and drained) the ground beef, and seasoned it with a variety of oriental style seasonings, such as chinese five spices, sesame oil, a splash of rice vinegar, some lemon grass, and ginger.

I had a touch of that peanut sauce left over, and so I poured out the rest of the bottle in there, and added some teriyaki too.

Next, I mixed in the rice pilaf, and stirred it well, allowing it to gently simmer with the lid on, until it was fresh and new again. Garnish with sliced up green onions.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Grilled Chicken and Whole Grain Pilaf

Dinners for summer time seem to work best when we have simple things going on. Sometimes I can just be satisfied with nothing but corn on the cob, and why not? It's amazing!

We don't really grill too much, mostly because meat is expensive, and it doesn't seem to stretch as far as other things can and do. Still, I like to grill food...but today when I grilled this Thai peanut chicken, it decided to start raining so we actually cooked on the cast iron griddle--stove top style.

We just got some meat from our friends' amazing Amish meat market, "Heflings Amish Farm Market", where you will find great high quality meats as good prices (please pay them a visit, if you live in Greater Detroit Area). I ran out of freezer baggies like a total dunce, and so the leftover chicken breast that I couldn't bag up as individual breasts, I decided to cut, marinate and grill.

I started by cutting the double breasts in half, and then slicing into them somewhere in the middle on the side, to cut them in half thickness. Hefling's always has HUGE chicken breasts, and no one person could eat all that try as they might..ok, well maybe my teenage son could. Growing boy and all...

I mixed up a marinade using the leftovers of a bottle of Peanut Sauce...I poured in water to fill the bottle, gave it a good shake, and poured it over the chicken along with some oriental five spices (a spice blend), lemon grass, onion powder, garlic powder, and some teriyaki. I let that marinade while I prepped the rice pilaf.

The rice pilaf was started by melting 2T of butter in a large shallow pot, and saulting some minced onions, garlic and carrots in it, until lightly browned. I also added some fresh ginger. I then added 1 c. of brown rice, 1/2c. of wild rice, and another 1/2c. of wheat berries. I saulted these for about 2 minutes, and then poured on 4.25 cups of water with some chicken stock mix (also available from Heflings, by the way).

I brought it to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer, and covered it tightly, allowing it to simmer until all the water was gone and the grains were nice and soft but not mush. :-)

I preheated the griddle (since it was raining on my barbeque), and began to grill up the chicken on the griddle. Having that chicken cut in half also helped them to cook more evenly on the griddle. Raw in the middle steak = good, raw in the middle chicken = bad.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oriental Salad

We had a get-together thingy at church recently, and I always struggle with knowing what to make. Maybe because I have weird food tastes? Hm, not sure. I don't do "potato salad" in the American style (with mayo)...and I don't like traditional pasta salad either...but no one seems to touch my potato salad when I make it nor my rotini pesto salad (maybe because it's green? hmmm)

This year, I decided to make Oriental Salad. It's pretty easy, and probably pretty healthy too.

Start by shredding a head of cabbage (any kind), and crunching up a bag of raman noodles (oriental flavor). Toss the two together.

Add in 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced red onion, a bag of slivered almonds, some sesame seeds, and shredded carrots.

For the sauce, I mixed in a wide mouth jar:

2T of sesame oil
the flavor packet from the Raman Noodle Soup
1/4c. of rice vinegar (it can be seasoned or unseasoned)
1/2 c. of oil of any sort.
2t of ginger
2t. of garlic
1/4c. of sugar

About an hour before dinner, I shook the dressing well, and poured it over the top of the salad, and tossed it well. With sitting the noodles (uncooked) soften a bit.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baking Cookies with Ruth

My daughter, Ruth, is an AWESOME baker...when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, she's the best...which is why this photo recipe tutorial thingy features her and not me...and of course, her recipe. She was making these cookies for a special get together with the youth group at church. I keep trying to get my daughter here to blog once a week on my blog, but this is as close as it gets so far...;)

Of course the second we started to bake cookies, we realized we were out of brown sugar...but no worries. If you have white sugar and molasses, you can make some brown sugar. Mix 2T. of molasses for every 1 c. of white sugar.

First we creamed together:

1 c. butter
1c. brown sugar
1c. white sugar

Next, we added 2 eggs and a splash of vanilla, and beat it well.

In a separate bowl, we mixed 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 2t. of baking soda, and a pinch of salt, then added it to the mixer, along with a bag of chocolate chips and of course some walnuts.

Using a mini ice-cream scooper, create cookies 1 inch apart on a baking stone or pan (stones seem to keep things from burning badly!) Bake for 25 minutes at 325 F for chewy cookies :-). Shorten the bake times for metal pans.

And, of course, share the beaters with your little sister.

Defeating Depression

One of the things that took me most by surprise when I had children was depression. I knew that the primary source of the problem had to be physical since it seemed to arrive like clockwork as soon as I conceived, as one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, and left as soon as I weaned my last child almost 10 years ago. As I struggled with my feelings in this regard, I also struggled to find a solution to the situation. On the one extreme were those who believed that "real Christians don't get depressed" (and a few even caused me to doubt my salvation), and on the other hand, were those who saw it as solely a medical issue needing little more than the right pill. While medicine does help some, I was not willing to risk my unborn and nursling's life by taking medications that couldn't be guaranteed to help me without negative side effects, after reading up on it more (I suggest, as does the writer of the book I mention below, that you don't discount medications if you need them, but that you do some research into the pros and cons). Instead, during this time, I began my love affair with the Psalms and Proverbs, my two favorite books of the Bible, and I did a lot of crying out to God.

During that dark period in my life, as I struggled with wanting a large family, but not wanting the emotional rollercoaster I seemed to be on with each pregnancy, God showed me so many good things in His word, and helped to sustain me. I can't say that I read the Bible enough and it all went away, nor can I say I always handled it well (understatement of the century), but I can say that I serve a faithful God, and a good God who does all things well. When I came out on the other side of that season, I saw how much God had done in my life to prune me for His glory.

Because of this issue in my own life, and running a website with resources for moms, I have kept my eyes peeled for a great book, audio, or program that would be a blessing to Christian women who value children, value family, and love the Lord who still struggle in this area. As I looked around, I found things that seem to fall on the one side or the other, but never in good balance until now.

Cynthia Carrier, of Values Driven Family, created a program that I feel does strike that Godly balance I've been looking for. Her package, "Defeating Depression: Cooperating with God to Experience Victory over Negative Emotions", is a biblically based examination of depression and other negative emotions, with practical helps and encouragement. Mrs. Carrier's Audio Seminar Package is packed with good things to bless and encourage you: a 45 minute MP3 audio, an ebook, a workbook/journal, 20 designed Scripture memory cards, Cindy Rushton's "Mommy Care Package" Audios, and some uplifting audios from OneVoice.

After reading Cindy's Ebook and listening to her audios, I was encouraged that finally someone got it right, and had created such a helpful resource, but I also wished I had this available to me when I first began struggling in this area myself as a first time mom. Though the ebook is small (just 15 pages of text), it is absolutely packed with meaty encouragement and uplifting, practical advice. Everything she says, I felt, was spot on for any momma struggling in this area.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finnochio Del La Pomodoro

The title sounds fancy, but what it means is "Fennel with Tomato soup" of our favorites.

What is fennel? It's a veggie that looks like this and is sometimes called "Anise" or "bulb Fennel" or even "Finocchio".

Start by soaking and cooking some chick peas (or thawing some chicken). Next, cut the tops off of the fennel, setting aside the feathery leaves for a later purpose.

Cut each bulb in half again, right through the root, and then carefully cut away the root end.

Slice two fennel bulbs, and slice 2 onions as well.

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat, and add olive oil and orange zest (dried or fresh...also called orange peel). Add your fennel and onions, and brown them until lightly browned.

Stir in finely sliced chicken breast if you are using chicken, and let it brown.

Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 3 quarts of chicken or veggie stock, and about 2 cups of cooked chick peas.

Simmer until chicken is cooked through if using chicken. Garnish with the fennel leaves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ode to my WhirlyPop

On a recent trip to Frankenmuth for the day, we walked though the Riverplace shopping center, and stopped in at the Popcorn Wagon, where something I had been looking for caught my eye: a shiny new Whirly Pop.

I like popcorn.

I like popcorn ALOT.

I do NOT like Microwave popcorn (ew). The only think it has going for it is the smell. Smells good but tastes, to me, like butter flavored cardboard.

A few years ago, I got a whirly pop for Christmas...and I use it every day, sometimes a few times a day, until It looked like this:

A quick cell phone call to my husband gave me permission to go in and buy it :-) woo hoo.

We made some kettle corn today in it...preheat the pot, and add 1/4 c. of oil, 1/4c. of sugar, and the popcorn (I used more like a half cup of popcorn...:-)), and a touch of salt. Amazing. As I type this I'm eating some...and making my keyboard all greasy! LOL.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pesto, Pesto!

I always say this...I almost feel like I posted this before (maybe I have) but one of the benefits of growing herbs in you garden is to be able to eat things like Pesto salad in the summertime. Fresh Basil is one of the most amazing flavors in the world.

I start off by going out to the garden with scissors and a colandar...and I cut off several handfuls of basil, wash it well, pull off as many stems as I can, and process the leaves in a blender.

Added to that, I mix in some parmesan or romano cheese, some walnuts (traditionally, pine nuts are used but walnuts work just fine), a splash of lemon juice, and some olive oil. Salt to taste.

Cook up some pasta....rotini noodles work great, and gnocci works well too. Toss the cooked pasta with some pesto, diluted with olive oil if needed. You may want to chill it before serving.

Pesto also tastes good as a sauce on pizza in lieu of the traditional tomato sauce.

Yes, it's green. But it's good for you and tastes great too. :-)

Joyful Momma Blogs at TEACH Today!

Blogging again at TEACH Magazine today....this time on the topic of internet filters. Do ya got one? We do! Read more here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Joyful Momma is blogging at TEACH Magazine today

It's Monday, and that means that I am blogging over at Lorrie's Publisher's blog at TEACH

This week's topic is my totally terrific Tiramisu...with a photo tutorial on how to make it yourself.

Check it out:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=103&cntnt01returnid=56

Friday, August 01, 2008

Even Bigger Sale

Now the sale is even bigger...because I need to call a plumber/septic repair person soon, and so I am having a bit of a fundraiser sale with which to do it! (very unglamorous).

Now EVERYTHING in the store is 20% off until next week Friday, in addition to the sale on Quiet Times in Loud Households previously announced.

Furthermore, I am discontinuing selling the Insight Tech Ed Books, so while supplies last, they are 40% get your art books now for the coming school year...just $6 plus shipping and handling.