Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend at Katie's

Recently, I have been reading a book called Life on Planet MOM: a down-to-earth guide to your changing relationships, by Lisa T. Bergren. It was sent to all the moms who are a part of MOPS. A great organization! I meet with a group of ladies on Tuesday nights to discuss this book. The first weeks discussion was on your relationship with your self. How becoming a mom changes you. How the delightful little monkeys that come into our lives have the ability to cause us to to rethink who we are, what we believe and how we do things.

I went thru this process of reassesing my priorities, my time management, my belief in God.In the first three and a half years of my kids lives. And part of me had to grieve the fact that I was not able to go where I wanted to go or spend my money on what I wanted to spend it on. To grieve the loss of my pre-kids self.

But every once in awhile, I get the chance to be that unobligated girl again. I get to listen to my pop star music from the 90s and watch the shows I like instead of boy stuff. :)

This past weekend was one of those times. We had two events happening in different states. So, the man and his entourage went north and I stayed down here with the soybeans and corn. It was marvelous. I stayed up late, got to watch two different girly movies and I made it to church in under an hour. I ate my meals when they were hot. And I didn't have to get up from the table once! I went to the library, and nobody shushed me. My weekend alone left me refreshed and, I have to say, that I did actually appreciate my family a little more when they got home on Sunday night.

What about you? What would you do if you had an entire weekend to yourself? Not just a few hours, or even 30 minutes. What if you had one entire weekend with no responsibilities? You wouldn't have to make a meal, or make sure anyone else had to go to the bathroom. You could watch whatever you wanted, stay up late. Eat a meal that was hot from beginning to end.

Maybe get a full night's rest. Get out the door in under 5 minutes! Maybe a weekend is to long right now. Perhaps you could just get away for a few hours one night in the next few weeks. What would you do with that time? That's my challenge for you moms. Get away from your family for just two hours. It might be tough at first we moms are great at making excuses as to why we can't get away. But honestly, your kids will be fine. And you will be better for it as well.

I look forward to hearing from you on what you did with your time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Food, Glorious, Food Part Deux

Previously on playdates and peanutbutter I posted all about my amazing guacamole. It really was delicious. And I hope that you and your family love it as much as I did. Otherwise that post could be quite embarrassing for me.

I also mentioned how much I like to experiment. And sometimes my family doesn't appreciate that. What my husband does appreciate is my willingness to copy restaurants. With our little guys not able to gorge themselves on all the fried wonder that can be sweet and sour chicken, we do not often go to Chinese buffets. Because I just can't let the boys only eat pudding for dinner. And have you been to a buffet recently? They are just plain gross! Anyways, as I was saying. Our boys also don't get to eat things like chicken nuggets or fish sticks because I am cheap.

So, the husband and I have a desire to give our kids the best possible food experience we can. We don't want them to miss out on anything related to an American child's diet. Thus, we have found recipes for making our very own batter to make our own chicken nuggets. And I also found a recipe for gluten free spring rolls. I love my kids so much, I even drove around for ninety minutes on Saturday trying to find gluten free soy sauce and original rice paper wrappers. And I found them! And oh the feast we had!

We had sweet and sour chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls and fried rice. The man recreated the Thai fried rice he has had at a local restaurant here in town. He makes fried rice as usual and then adds the pineapple, raisins and cashews. Again, absolutely incredible!

Here is the recipe for the frying batter and the GF spring rolls. You can use non gluten free products if you want, but our house tries to stay gluten-free. Because that's how we roll.

Frying batter for sweet and sour whatever can be found at:

The gluten-free spring rolls are as follows:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 package coleslaw mix
2 cups bean sprouts
1 pkg rice paper wrappers
2 Tbsp oil, plus more for frying
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar

Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add garlic. Stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coleslaw mix and sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, until veggies have softened. Remove from heat and add bean sprout. Tossing to mix in. Do a taste test for salt, adding 1 - 2 more Tbsp. of fish or soy sauce.
To assemble the rolls: Place one rice wrapper in a pan of water, letting absorb the water for about 10 seconds. Remove and place on clean working surface. Put one tbsp of veggie mix at the top of the wrapper. Fold over the top, pinching along the spring roll mixture so that it is tight around it. Fold over the left and right sides of the wrapper and continue rolling. Keeping the wrapping tight.
To Fry: Place some oil in a wok or a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. When bubbles arise, or when the oil begins to form snake-like lines across the bottom, the oil is hot enough. Using tongs, place spring rolls in the oil, allowing them to fry about 1 minute on each side. They are done when the wrappers have a slight brown tinge to them. Remove from the pan with tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate.

These instructions are from two different places. One is And the other is There were many other Asian dishes to try out as well.

I look forward to hearing from you about these!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Food, Glorious, Food

I love food. I grew up in a family of eaters. We liked food, and we still do! My mom was an experimental cook. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it wasn't so good. I, too, have an enjoyment of experimenting in the kitchen. Thankfully, after 4 years of tantrums about the fact that no one in my family seems to appreciate my culinary skills, my family is willing to try out my experiments. I love those boys of mine!

With two little guys that have an allergy to gluten, we eat a lot of Mexican and Atkins (i.e. meat) friendly meals. Over the weekend I made some wickedly delicious sour cream enchiladas. (Don't worry my foodie friends, recipes are to follow.) I also got crazy with some avocados.

Normally, I don't buy avocados because they can be expensive and I am the only one in my family that really enjoys them. But the older son saw some on a display, thought they looked cool, and they were only a buck a piece. And since we were having the above mentioned enchiladas, I thought guacamole would be a suitable accompaniment. Also, I always like to offer new foods to the boys, help expand their palates for their future wives.

Now, I have had guacamole before. Usually at a restaurant. And I have always liked it. This creation I made at home, was so.... much.... better. It was like ambrosia! I ate about 1/2 a cup with some tortilla chips on Sunday night. And then on Monday, for lunch, I finished the rest. It was fantastic. I could go on and on and on and on about how amazing my guacamole was. MMMMMMMMMMM. I am starting to salivate again just typing about it. Ok, I am done. Maybe. Just give me a second..... Wipes drool off of keyboard.

Any ways, suffice it to say that I love food, and my new favorite dish is guacamole. Home made. No more store bought stuff for me. Unfortunately, the men folk were not as into it as I was. They did try it though. Maybe next time.....

Here is the recipe for my Sour Cream Enchiladas:
Serves 4
1 can chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp. salt
12/16 corn tortillas
4 oz can chopped green chiles
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2- whole white or yellow onion chopped up finely
1 jar green salsa

Combine the canned chicken, sour cream, salt, green chiles, 1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese, garlic powder, cumin and onion. Mix well. Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel, microwave one minute on high. Place tortilla on a clean working surface. Place 1 1/2 tbsp of chicken mix on tortilla near the top. Fold over the top and roll tightly, down. Place in greased baking dish. Top with green salsa or just the rest of the cheese if you don't like things to spicy. I do about half and half.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden on the edges.

1 ripe tomato
2 avocados
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mash together the tomato and avocados. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with chips or warm tortillas.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try these out!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Since it is summer, I have some more free time to do the projects I neglect the other three seasons of the year. Also, since we had a long and enjoyable weekend with my parents, my younger child is currently comatose in his room. Finally, a friend of the older child invited him over to play. It really is the perfect day to clean out and reorganize things in my house.

One of the things we did this weekend was celebrate the two boys birthdays. Grandma and Grandpa M & J helped to flesh out our Imaginext connections. That kept the boys occupied all morning. Leading to the kitchen being rearranged this morning. I know the man of the house loved having to rediscover where the silverware got moved too. I just like to help keep his life interesting. :)

Then, after lunch. I put down the younger boy and sent the older son to the friends house mentioned earlier. Sorted the mountain of laundry that was on top of the day bed and started another load of clothes in the washer. Then, I carefully lifted the sheet that doubles as a dust ruffle from the side of the bed and started pulling out the various articles from beneath the bed. There were random rolls of wrapping paper, gift bags from the latest birthday party, Lego pieces, a couple of dusty socks. A box of sci-fi novels that are my uncles. I am sure a few of them could probably be classified as antiques. Maybe I will be making some Ebay postings after this.....

And then I found a box. It was marked with my name on it. It had about two inches of dust on the top; as did the rest of the things under the bed. I shoved some of the clutter away from me and then slowly opened the box.

Now, I don't consider my self a pack-rat. In fact, I would say I am more quick to get rid of something I think we don't need than I am to save something just in case. But when it comes to letters, or cards, or notes of encouragement. My desire for less clutter gets shut down faster than a drunken Disney character. I do occasionally go through my letter collection and prune out the ones that either I don't remember the person, or there is no sentimental value left in the card for me. Those two criteria usually go hand in hand. But some letters, no matter how old, will always stay in my collection.

For example, I found all the love letters that my darling husband sent to me while we were in college. They are such tender reminders of our early courtship. We were so young and idealistic than. Sigh, we were so naive back then. My eyes were watering as I read some of the little notes and remembered the excitement we had for each other at that time.

I also found a lot of birthday cards from the years. Most of the ones from my grandparents included notes about their lives at that time. Most of it didn't make sense then, nor do I know what it means now. But the words of love and encouragement helped shape me into who I am today. And especially the words of my maternal grandparents mean a lot to me as both have passed on to be with Jesus.

I found a lot of notes of encouragement. One didn't even have a name on it. But all of them encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord. To keep seeking God's direction in my life. To hold on to the promise that God would do great things in my life as I remained faithful to His word. Now, my much younger self had a very different idea of what "do great things in the Lord" meant than what I do now.

Previously, I thought that meant I would go on to work in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist for some Christian rights group. Now, I am a lobbyists for my two boys as I make sure they get the best social experiences possible. Previously, I thought I would go on to sing first soprano in a prestigious collegiate choir. Now, I just want to sing honest and open praises to God. It doesn't matter if anyone sees me or hears me. Previously, I wanted to be up front and out there for everybody to see the great things I was doing in God's name. Now, I just want to do what God would have me to do so Christ's name would be glorified.

It's all been a matter of perspective for me. In the past 25 years that have been a Christian, the Lord has taken me from a young, selfish little girl, to an adolescent more obsessed with what people thought of me than what God thought of me into a woman who desires to serve the Lord, however He wants me to do that.

I will close this long post with a quote I heard recently. I am not sure who originally said it, but here is my version: Thank God I am no longer who I once was, and I thank God that I am not yet who I will be.

Blessings to all of you as you continue towards who God will have you to be.