Hooray for “H”

Since we just moved, I haven’t gotten our learning board back up yet, and we didn’t get much further than checking out some books on our theme for the week…”H” is for hippopotamus. Here are the books we enjoyed:

Kiss Kiss by Margaret Wild. This is a super cute book about a baby Hippo who leaves in the morning without giving his mama a kiss. As he goes about his day, he sees all the other animals giving their mamas kisses and realizes what he forgot and heads back home to give his mama a kiss kiss. This was Charlotte’s most requested “H” book.

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson. This is another fun book. Hilda the Hippo loves to dance. The problem is, when she dances she cause the jungle to shake so much that it causes all kinds of problems for the other animals. They keep trying to find her a new hobby and eventually come up with a perfect solution.

Veronica on Petunia’s Farm by Roger Duvoisin. When Veronica arrives to her new home on the farm, she is excited about everything. But the farm animals do not welcome her into the fold, and she loses interest in everything and becomes sad and depressed. The other animals notice this and begin to do things to make her feel welcome on the farm and in the end they are all friends.

We also got a new book called Big Thoughts for Little People: ABC’s To Help You Grow by Kenneth N. Taylor, which I love so far. It has a value or moral to go with each letter of the alphabet, along with a Bible verse. The theme for “H” is:

“H is for helping
Your mom or your dad.
It says in the Bible
That this makes God glad.”

I sure do like that one! For each moral/theme, it also includes three questions to talk over with your kids, as well as a verse to go along with the theme. The verse for helping is: God will bless you and use you to help others. 1 Timothy 4:16. I definitely recommend adding this book to your personal library.

And that’s all we really did for “H”. Oh…and of course Charlotte was singing “Hip, Hip, Hip, Hippopotamus, Hip, Hip, Hooray God made all of us…” all week.

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Booking It in 2011

I love to read…my problem is that I usually have about four books going at once and can never seem to just focus on one and finish it. I think I need a plan. A little accountability. So I’m going to participate in a virtual reading club–Booking It over at Life As Mom. The great thing about this reading club is that there are two paths…you can either follow along with the recommended reading list, or, you can create your own. I’m going to do a hybrid of the two. So, feel free to join us and pull from her list, my list, or create a list of your own.

January: Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist and finish Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller
February: Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge
March: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
*April: Finding Your Purpose As a Mom by Donna Otto
May: Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
June: Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
July: Radical by David Platt
*August: Organized Simplicity: Clutter Free Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider
September: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
October: Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson
November: Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper
*December: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

*These ones are on the Booking It List, although The Happiness Project is for January and I’m not doing it until December.

This is just my personal plan, and I’m going to be open to changes if another book comes up that I feel is a “must read”. I just wanted some goals to keep me on track. My plan is to try to post a review of the books I read by the 11th of each month and link up with Booking It through Life as Mom. If you like to read, and like to share about it with friends, perhaps consider joining in on the fun!

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Cooking Together…Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Here’s a recipe for us to try together next week…be sure to let me know how you like it if you try it. And this one’s gluten free for my gluten free friends!

From Deliciously Organic
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Adapted from Food and Wine, Serves 8

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups quinoa
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Bring stock to a boil in a large sauce pan. Pour in quinoa and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook until quinoa is soft  and stock has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.

Place vegetables on a large baking sheet and toss with coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables in oven until edges are golden, about 30 minutes, stirring half way through roasting. Cool. Pour the quinoa in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together tomato paste and lemon juice. Pour mixture over quinoa and stir until incorporated. Add vegetables and salt and stir. Serve at room temperature.

Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | 2 Comments

New Year’s Goals and Resolutions

Footsteps In The Sand

Photo Credit: MTSPhoto

Who says you have to start your New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st anyway? We are in the midst of getting settled in our new home…moving day was December 31st, so I didn’t exactly get a chance to think about my goals for the new year yet. Our plan is to sit down and write a family mission statement (or if you want to do a motherhood mission statement, check out Inspired to Action) for the year when we take a weekend overnight trip later this month. We’ll use that mission statement to make more specific goals for the year. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some links to posts and resources that I am planning to use when we do our goals for this year. If you’re getting a late start like I am, check out all the great resources below:

111 New Years Resolutions… :: Success Your Way **I loved this list, which included links to useful tools to help with each resolution. If you’re struggling to come up with your own goals and resolutions, this is a great place to start.**

Setting Reachable Goals :: Simple Mom **This post has a great list of questions available as a PDF to get you started with setting goals. This is one thing we plan on talking through to come up with our goals this year.**

12 Words on Selecting Goals for the New Year :: Inspired to Action **Read this one. It’s only 12 words long.**

Resolutions for Romance :: Simple Marriage **I like the idea of having specific goals for our marriage, and this post has some good ideas for marriage goals, as well as good tips for setting goals in general.**

Green Goals
Green Goals Part I and Part II :: Simple Organic **Part I gives ideas for setting green goals in your personal life and Part II has ideas for green goals in your home life. I can get a little overwhelmed with all the changes I want to make, but I’m trying to focus on just one change at a time. So, pick one thing off the list and do that until it becomes second nature, and then add something else. Another idea I read recently is bringing your own take out containers when you go out to eat. So every time you have leftovers you can just use your own containers from home to take them home. This might be the one I focus on next because I hate all the bulky take home containers I end up with.

Setting Green Goals for the New Year :: Green…Your Way

And finally, if setting resolutions and goals isn’t your thing, maybe consider choosing a purposeful word for the year. Simplicity. Gratitude. Joy.

Just throwing a few out there. What are your goals or resolutions for 2o11?


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Cooking Together…Chicken Noodle Soup

I got this recipe from my friend’s blog Healthy and Easy Recipes, where I get so many of my favorite recipes. Be sure to check her blog out for some more easy and delicious ideas to bring to your table. Some of my favorites are: Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Pesto Sauce, Spanish Potato Omelet, Banana Bread, Bean Tacos, Spicy Eggplant and Apple Crisp. On to this week’s recipe…

Photo Credit: Healthy and Easy Recipes

Chicken Noodle Soup:

2 quarts chicken broth
1.5 cups chicken (I prefer shredded)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
8 oz noodles (I use brown rice noodles)
1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
** a handful of fresh spinach for some extra greens 🙂
So, in your large soup pot, drizzle some Grape Seed Oil, garlic, and your celery, carrots, onion, thyme and S & P and let it saute for 5 minutes. Then add your chicken broth, noodles and let them cook for 5 minutes. Lastly, add your cooked chicken and parsley (and spinach if you want) and let it simmer for another 5- 10.

Ease of preparation: This was so easy to make. I made chicken in the crock pot, shredded it and from there you just pretty much add everything in and shortly after you have your soup!

Overall opinion: I really liked this soup….it was easy, quick, and tasted delicious!

Husband thoughts: My husband wasn’t as much of a fan…I think he wanted a little more flavor, so next time I make it I’ll turn up the flavor for him.

Would you have it again: Yes, we’ll definitely have this again. It’s so easy and so good!

Did you omit anything? We didn’t use the spinach or parsley, just because I didn’t have it on hand…but I think I’ll definitely add some parsley in next time and spinach if we have it.

Did you add anything? Not this time, but I’m brainstorming on some ideas for next time. Probably more garlic, and I’ll definitely use the parsley next time as well.

How did you serve it? The first night we had it as a side dish with sandwiches. Then we froze the rest and had it for dinner the following week, just on it’s own. But I’m sure it would be delicious with some crusty bread, or crackers.

Would you change anything next time: Just going to turn up the volume a bit next time.

General Comments: I really am glad to have this recipe in my recipe box, I think it will be one we use for years to come, especially as the kids get older. A great one for a cold day, or when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Questions: The first time I made it I wasn’t sure if I should throw in the pasta cooked or uncooked, so I took a gamble and put it in uncooked, which turned out to be a good choice!

Now it’s your turn! Send me a recipe to try….or try this one and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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Cooking Together…Homemade Pizza

For some reason, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by making my own pizza dough…but Kim’s choice for this week was just that, so I did it and….it wasn’t that hard! First, here’s the recipe:

Homemade Pizza

1 C Warm water (not boiling, 100-105 degrees, like from the tap)
1 pkg active dry yeast (fast rising)
1 t sugar
1 t salt
2 T vegetable oil
2 1/2 C all purpose flour

Add yeast to water, let dissolve most of the way, add following ingredients. Stir together (you may need to add extra flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands). Flour flat surface and roll out dough. Put on pizza stone and spread 4 T pasta sauce over dough. Add favorite toppings and cover with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. Bake at 425 for 15-18 min (until crust is golden brown). This dough recipe is from the OLD Betty Crocker cookbook.

And here is my analysis:

Ease of preparation: This wasn’t as hard to make as I anticipated…I’ve just always been intimidated by the thought of making my own pizza dough, but now that I’ve done it, I feel much more confident. I CAN do it! 🙂 It didn’t really add too much time on as compared to buying dough from Trader Joe’s, which is what we usually do.

Here's my dough all rolled out and ready for toppings.

Overall opinion: Overall, we thought it was pretty good, but I think I prefer the dough we buy at Trader Joe’s.

Husband thoughts: He liked it, but would like me to try it with white four. (I used wheat). He prefers the Trader Joe’s Herb Pizza Dough.

Would you have it again: I promised him I would make it again, and try white flour.

Did you omit anything? No, just swapped out the white flour for whole wheat.

Did you add anything? No.

How did you serve it? I sauteed some green bell pepper and red onion for our toppings, along with artichoke hearts. We topped with mozzarella and also added a little goat cheese. We used Trader Joe’s pizza sauce.

The red onions and bell pepper.

Would you change anything next time: I will try it with white flour, per Rick’s request…and after that, I think I’ll stick to buying my dough…although this is a good backup for if you don’t have any pre-made dough on hand.

The pizza ready to bake.

General Comments: We always enjoy making pizza and I had a lot of fun making my own dough. I felt really proud of myself, and was amazed at how much easier it was than I thought it would be.

Questions: (My questions for Kim) Did you use a mixer to mix the dough, or just stir it with a spoon by hand? Do you have to let the dough rise?

Coming up next…Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup from Healthy and Easy Recipes. Try it with me!

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Quick and Easy Breakfast Recipe

I got this recipe for Breakfast Pie from my grandma. It’s so easy and delicious! It literally takes about 5 minutes to make and then you just pop it in the oven. A great choice for a quick treat to make Christmas morning.

Breakfast Pie

1 stick butter (or less)
16 oz. container small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup Bisquick
3 eggs
3 T. sugar
Cinnamon/Sugar for topping

Beat all ingredients together. Spray pie pan with Pam. Pour in mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 45 min. at 350 degrees. Cut into wedges. Serve with fruit, jam, powdered sugar, or whatever you like.

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