Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the Road Again

I am not a Willie Nelson fan. I worked at Billy Bob's for a summer ushering at concerts. I almost fell asleep during his concert. But that's not really what this is about.

We're moving to Texas!! I am so excited about this new chapter. I am also scared beyond belief. We have to pack up our stuff, figure out what to do with our house, and a million other things before we leave. When we get there, where are we going to go? Ahhhh!!

Hubby had promised my mom that when the big girl was five, we would move to Texas. We moved alright. But we moved about 35 minutes away from where we were living. We love where we live. It is a pretty rural community. "Downtown" consists of two buildings at the intersection with the light. We didn't have high speed internet until about 3 weeks ago. It takes us about 20 minutes to get to town. Love that my kids can run and play and that they have lots of room. Not exactly Texas, though. It was even in the wrong direction. We went east.

Hubby has been applying for jobs in Texas off and on for a while now. Interviews would happen, but then nothing. This time, it worked. It was kind of a shock at first. I think I'm still in shock. I know I have mixed feelings. I will miss our friends. I have amazing friends. We will miss park day. Park mamas rule!! We will miss our church. All the kids at youth. Then there's co-op and dance.

But, I am excited to be closer to my mom and sister. We would have liked to be a little closer, but I will take what I can get for now, that's for sure. I am excited about getting to know my nieces better. I am excited about seeing some of my Texas peeps!! I am excited about real TexMex.

There is much to do, lists to make, items to cross off, and more praying than I've ever done in my life, I think. Please join us in prayer. We need all the help we can get.

Have a great day

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tap, tap. Is This Thing On?

Hello, testing, testing. Yes I know it's been awhile. I promise to try to be a better blogger. While I was away, though, I had lots of time to do some self reflecting. That's always scary, but it's also for the other blog. This one is a random blog. Here come my favorites: bullet points. Oh, I have missed them.

  • My goal this year is to take at least two more steps in our health journey. I'm not sure which steps those are, but I'm going to take two more. Actually, one thing I have started is more organic grains. I can get them relatively cheaply at the health food store. I am looking this year to get a grain mill to start making our own flour. I like making our own bread, but I would like to make it even healthier for us. I am also going to try some quinoa pasta. If you have not had quinoa, I highly recommend it. I made quinoa pilaf for dinner tonight that was really good.
  • I go from that to chocolate pie. The baby asked for one at Thanksgiving and I still haven't done it. I'll get it, I'll get it. On top of that, the big girl has asked for Italian wedding soup and hubby asked for something, but I can't remember right now what that was. But the boy has a birthday coming up and he asked for an ice cream cake. Aaahhhh!! Don't let that fool you, I love it.
  • The boy has a birthday coming up. He will be 10. His last year in single digits is almost up. What a character he is. I need to get on the web site for our local Christian station. You can have your name announced for your birthday on the air. The kids like to hear their names. I have managed to get in during the Family Name Game for all three of my kids. The radio station sends you a copy of the call so that's cool.
  • Following closely behind the birthday boy is my anniversary. 16 years. Who would have thought that someone would put up with me that long? I'm glad he has, though. And bringing up the trifecta of events is the baby's birthday. Egads, she'll be 7. Can I say (of course, I can, it's my blog), that although I blame hubby and my older two kids for spoiling her (they did, let me tell you what), I continue to baby her now that they've stopped. No wonder she won't quit whining.
  • I have most of our curriculum sorted out for next year. I realize that I'm bored with our curriculum. I may use the million and one unit studies and book studies that I have. I get so much stuff for free. I need to clean off my computers and get everything on a disc. Put that in line with things I need to do. I am still looking at math for the boy. I'll make a decision soon.
  • Just Dance 2 is one of the most addictive games. Our friends, the Ps, brought it over for our little New Year celebration. It was so much fun, I bought it. It was on sale, darn it, and we love it. I have even downloaded some songs from iTunes that are in the game. Thankfully, they were running a 69 cent sale. The big girl and I have a serious competition going on. I will not be outdone, but she is giving it the old college try. I should ground her, but I won't. Where would the competition be if I did that?
  • We are hoping to get enough back in our taxes to pay off our minivan and build a small deck on the front of the house. If we have enough for the deck, we are going to lure some friends over with the promise of a cook out, then surprise them with a building party. If you get invited over somewhere in mid March for a cook out, this was your warning.

That's about it for now I guess. A big shout out to my friend, ALT, who just started a blog. Enjoy the process. Sometimes it's what you want to say, and sometimes, it comes out wrong. Just keep at it. I hope you find much, much joy in your blog.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Sorry I've been away. I just needed a break over the holidays. I got overwhelmed so a bunch of things had to go. But, I'm back. At least for awhile. Let's get on with it.

I do not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I like PB, and I like jelly, but not the two of them together. Apparently, there was a recipe out over the holidays for PB&J pie. Yeah, none for me, but thanks. But this week I have found myself cooking with both PB & J. It was two seperate dishes (thank goodness or I wouldn't have eaten them), and both were darn tasty.

I used the PB first. I had made a turkey for New Year's day and was looking for a recipe to use left overs. I was actually looking for a tettrazini recipe, but a chicken one caught my eye. It was Linguine with Chicken in Peanut Sauce. That changed our dinner plans. This was quick, easy and simple. I mean super easy.

Peanut Sauce:

1/2 cup peanut butter, any kind
14-16 oz chicken stock
1 Tbls cornstarch
Spices of your liking

Pour stock into mixing bowl. Add peanut butter and cornstarch along with any spices that you like. Stir and set aside. Pour over chicken when cooked, stir until thick and bubbly, then stir and cook 2 more minutes.

My recipe also called for 2 Tbls of soy sauce and white wine or water. If you like soy or teriyaki, it makes a really great sauce. I used ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes for spices. You could add sesame seeds or a little sesame oil if you have it. Just brown some cut up chicken. If you are using left over chicken, just cook it long enough to warm up, maybe 5 minutes. Then add sauce. It thickens pretty quick because of the cornstarch. I served it over angel hair, but any pasta will do. I bet quinoa, brown rice, or barley would be really good with this.

I was at my friend N's house while she was making dinner last night. She was using a recipe from a cook book of hers and her house smelled incredible. When I got home, I knew what I was making for dinner. I have no idea what the recipe was, but this is what I gathered from watching her.

Jelly Pork

Pork loin or chops
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup jelly
Water, wine or stock

Season then brown pork on both sides. Add onions and garlic after flipping pork. Cook for 5 minutes. Add jelly and 1 cup of water, wine, or stock. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Remove pork. To deglaze pan, add 1-2 cups of wine, water, or stock slowly and whisk gently, making sure all the bits and pieces come off the bottom of the pan. Stir until thickened. Sauce will reduce as it thickens. Pour sauce over chops before serving.

N used a pork loin she cut into small pieces, I used pork chops. This would be really good over chicken, turkey, beef, whatever. I think it would be great with a light flaky fish, but I am not a fish girl, so you'll have to try that and get back to me. If you use a pork or beef lon, I would cut it into smaller pieces. It would take too long to cook otherwise. It's the sauce that really makes this dish. I used blackberry jelly, N used blueberry, but raspberry or strawberry or grape would be fine. The recipe called for apple jelly, which I don't have. N tossed in some sliced apples. Ooh, apples and pork. I bet they got good and carmelized. I'm drooling thinking about it. I used homemade turkey stock, but use what you have. If you have apple juice or grape juice I have a feeling that would really jazz this up, but cut it with just a little water to help prevent stickiness. You could use this one with any leftover meat as well.

That's my PB & J recipes. I hope you enjoy them . I have put them in my recipe box to use again. When my pans are clean and there is no conversation at the table, you know the food was good.

Have a great day.