Monday, September 1, 2014

My Vegan Week

So I decided to have a vegan week.  Not only is veganism great for your health, it's great for the environment, and I am curious to see if I can make a whole week of it. I recently found out that my cholesterol is much higher than it should be for someone of 34 and I'm hoping that some significant diet changes and more exercise will make a dent in it. As heart disease and high cholesterol runs in my family, I am anxious to avoid all that.

I don't expect to become a total vegan for the rest of my life. I love trying new foods and don't want to be restricted to a diet that would make me have to say no to an occasional experience. My goal is to eat vegan six days a week.

Day 1: Monday, September 1st, 2014

I started planning last week and today it went into motion.

So far today, the kids and I have made a coconut curry lentil soup and naan bread for dinner, there are roasted chick peas happening in the oven for snacks, and last night I made hummus for mediterranean style wraps. The only deviation I made on the lentil soup was that I didn't have vegetable broth so I just used water and added a whole can of tomato paste instead of the two tablespoons. The roasted chick pea recipe called for a packet of ranch seasoning which I'm sure the kids would have liked but grossed me out so I opted for fresh lime juice, chile powder, and salt.

While I'm not forcing the vegan diet on the kids (they've already had cheese sticks today) I'm going to cook vegan dinners and that's what they'll get. I will also encourage them to eat healthier snacks. Since today is Labor Day, we're all at home but tomorrow I go back to work so I have a few lunches planned that I'm excited about.

Hummus & veggie wraps with roasted chick peas.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Goals for 2014!

I've never made resolutions but this year I do have a few goals:

  • For every two non-edible items that come into my home, three must go out. This goes for toys, clothes, crafting supplies, appliances. Whatever. The number of items in this house must decrease! 
  • Backyard chickens! Looking for a non-chemical way to get rid of all of the yellow jackets around our home. Chickens seem like a do-able option. Plus a good experience for the kids.
  • Garden-scape the remaining backyard. 
  • Start down the yellow brick road... I mean our Journey from Shadow to Light...
The last is my main goal, one I've been dreaming about for several years. I need to invest in a few more tools, mainly a tiller, to make it happen. This afternoon I went out there to try my hand at double digging but stopped after my first 20' row. But the idea is to turn all of this:

The yard.
This whole line needs to be cleaned up to allow the most possible sunlight.

Two trees that need to go.
The far one is dead and the close one isn't even a tree.
It's an overgrown shrub of some sort.

Where my chicken coop will go.

Back/under side of the shed.
The runoff from one of the downspouts comes through here.
Want to cover the area with lattice and divert the water into a rain barrel.

Into this:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where did the last year go?

Life has gotten in the way of blogging. I can't say that I've done any projects in a while, which is primarily what I used this blog for and probably why I haven't had a post in nearly a year!

Six weeks ago we added a new member to our family and that's definitely been keeping us busy!

Meet Jocelyn!

The last time I posted, Janelle was only six months old. Well, now she's 17 months. She was Sophia the First for Halloween. 

And of course Izzi is still Izzi. 

Three girls under the age of five are certainly keeping me busy!  I have been home from work for about eight weeks now and expect to return next Tuesday.

Today the Mexican and I went to a thrift store to see what we could find. I got two large bulletin boards that I hope to use for a project here in my office/craft room. And he got a leaf blower that he was quite pleased to play with when we got home!

I also got this nifty ceramic wing tray for $2.50 

Hopefully, I can remember to update regularly as I really do enjoy keeping a blog. Even if I'm the only person who ever sees it!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Raisin Filled Cookies + Update!

Wow! I haven't had a blog post in 4+ months.  In August I started a new job with the State of Tennessee. I work Monday - Friday and that keeps me pretty busy. Evenings and weekends I spend with the Mexican and the girls so there's not a lot of time left for blogging.

But it's the season for Christmas cookies and I thought I'd share my favorite cookie from my childhood: raisin filled cookies. My mother has been making this cookie from the same recipe for as long as I can remember and I figured it's time I did the same!

Raisin Filled Cookies

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
Add brown sugar and raisins to a medium sauce pan. In a bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture to raisin mixture. Stir on medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and cool. (Don't do like I did and sit down to write a blog post about raisin-filled cookies and burn half of the mixture to the bottom of the pan...)

Cookie Dough:
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4-5 cups flour
In a large mixing bowl combine wet ingredients. In another bowl combine dry ingredients. Add in flour mixture one cup at a time until dough is dry and thick enough to roll. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3" rounds using a water glass or similar cutter.

Place one cookie round on a baking sheet, spoon 2 tsp filling onto the round. Place another cookie round on top and pinch edges together. Repeat with remaining dough/filling. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

One of the best things about this cookie is how well they freeze.

I have two four-day weekends coming up soon with Christmas and New Years so hopefully I will be able to share a little bit of what the family gets up to over the holiday. Until then, enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Busy Week!

I haven't had any posts in the past week because I haven't been making anything. I spent Monday - Friday this week in training for a new job with the State of Tennessee.

While I've enjoyed the time off to spend with my newborn, I'm not really cut out to be a stay at home mom. That and I needed to get back to something that provides benefits. The new job also allows me time off that I never before had in the restaurant industry. I don't even know what it will be like having nights, weekends and holidays off while still having a job that pays me money and provides me insurance. The money is obviously nowhere near what I made as a restaurant manager but that's a trade off I was willing to make when I left restaurants almost a year ago. It has taken me that long to find another job that wasn't "cashier at Home Depot" but the Mexican has been supportive all the way. 

With the start of my new job, the girls started daycare. They are at the pre-school where Izzi has been for the last year. She was very excited to go back and Janelle seemed to take to her first week just fine.

Hopefully, once we get into a groove as a family with my new schedule, I will be able to get back to a few projects a month and will be able to share them here. In the meantime, I will try to post photo updates regularly about what we've been up to.

I lead off this post with a picture I took this morning of an Asiatic dayflower. It's considered a weed here in North America and admittedly grows like one on the side of my porch but goes to show that with the right perspective and proportions even weeds can be photographed to look lovely.