Monday, April 29, 2013

This Week’s Menu




Monday
Salmon patties, garlic roasted potatoes, salad

Tuesday
Tomato soup, ham & cheese sandwiches, salad

Wednesday
Hamburger/rice enchiladas, tortilla chips, salsa, salad

Thursday
Chicken bacon crockpot chowder, french bread, salad

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Chinese chicken fried rice, pot stickers, salad

Sunday
Hamburgers w/trimmings, chips

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exciting Update to Share


My daughter Hannah and her hubby Will are expecting again (#3)!! I cannot tell you how excited my husband I are for a new grandbaby to hold, snuggle and love on.. oh the blessings of being grandparents! In the past I heard people exclaim the joys of being a grandparent. I never understood until I was there. She is due July 9th! The wait won’t be long now!!

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gluten Free Waffles


I’ve been doing a little experimenting with gluten free baking. There have been a few reasons for this. One was just a pure interest in it. Another was reading the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health . I found it interesting, but not quite sure I agreed with everything he had to say on the subject but it was much “food for thought”. My daughter Hannah has been working hard to improve her family’s health and wanted to go gluten free due to a few issues she thought might be helped by this. So I jumped at the chance to help her out. :)

I did a lot research. I found a lot of confusing recipes. Lots of strange ingredients, lots of new recipes to try out. I had failures, that were expensive! I talked with a friend of mine who is doing gluten free baking due to a few issues with her children. She wanted to see if this would help. She gave me a lot of tips on what she was doing and how it was going. So with her help I was able to narrow down the easiest gluten free flour mix to make with the fewest ingredients. With this mix I’ve been able to make just about any wheat based baked goods (not done a whole lot of yeast baking yet) with regular recipes. The ingredients you need can be purchased from a health food store or online.

Before I share the mix recipe let me say that gluten adds so much to baked goods! So in order to duplicate this you have to have something in your recipe that mimics gluten in order to get similar results. That ingredient is xanthan gum. Here is an explanation of xanthan gum from Wikipedia:

“Xanthan gum (/zæn'θən/) is a polysaccharide secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris,[2] used as a food additive and rheology modifier,[3] commonly used as a food thickening agent (in salad dressings, for example) and a stabilizer (in cosmetic products, for example, to prevent ingredients from separating). It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. After a fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Later, it is added to a liquid medium to form the gum.[4]”

The whole article can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthan_gum 

So here is my gluten free flour mix recipe:

Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 parts brown rice flour.. ground finely. You can grind this yourself or buy it.
1 part tapioca flour


Mix together.


You can use this mix cup for cup in wheat recipes (at least this has been my experience so far)

In order to make up for the lack of gluten you need to add the xanthan gum to each individual recipe. Here is how I determine how much…

Quick Breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles: add 1t xanthan gum per cup of flour the recipe calls for
Cookies: ½ t per cup of flour the recipe calls for

Now for the waffles…. Begin by mixing up your gluten free flour mix…



Here is the recipe

Gluten Free Waffles
2 eggs
2 cups gluten free flour mix
2t xanthan gum
2 cups milk
½ cup olive oil
4 t baking powder
¼ t salt
½ t vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Make sure the blender mixes the ingredients well. There should be a vortex in the center.. if the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

Pour into a preheated waffle iron and bake according to your waffle iron instructions…




I have to say that no one in my family (other than my son who helped me make them) knew they were gluten free. They loved them and never had a clue. I find this to the case with everything I’ve made so far.

I have more gluten free recipes to share soon!!

 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pictures of Sierra’s S. Korea Trip

Sierra is having a wonderful time in S. Korea with her sister Leanne! Being the budding photographer that she is she has been sending pictures. I thought I’d share a few with you.  She has sent me over a hundred pictures so it was hard to pick out just a few.  But I did my best and here they are... 

Her first stamp on her passport... 

Seoul is a big, big city!!!! 









A trip to Busan...

Leanne and our family friend who Sierra is traveling with (in Busan)...


A trip to the Kings Palace..






Hope you enjoyed the photos!! 

Easy Clam Chowder



I love clam chowder!! I love chowders of all kinds for that matter. ~smile~ Last week I made a batch of clam chowder and took some pics to share how easy it is to make. I buy my clams at Costco. They come in a very large can, 51 ounces to be exact. I find them to be the best price in my part of the world. I made a huge pot of it. You can cut this recipe down in size to meet your family’s need. It’s pretty versatile.. Here is the recipe according to how I made it..

Crystal’s Clam Chowder

5lbs potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cube (stick) butter
1 large can clams (mine was 51 oz), drain, reserving the liquid – you will use some of it for the chowder
1 can corn, do not drain
Milk
Reserved clam juice

Put peeled, cube potatoes into a large pot (8 quarts). Cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until fork tender. Drain most all of the water.

While the potatoes are simmering heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Put butter in pan and melt and add chopped onions. Cook until the onions are soft and slightly browned, set aside.

Add cooked onions to drained potatoes. Add corn and all the liquid from the can. Add drained clams.

Now add milk until you have a thick stew like consistency. Add reserved clam juice until it is chowder/soup consistency. Add salt & pepper to taste. If it is too thin for your preferences, simply mash up a few of the potatoes to thicken.

Here it is in pics..


Cover 5lbs potatoes with water and simmer until tender…



Drain most all the water…



While potatoes are cooking, sautee onion in butter until onion is soft and slightly browned…



Put sautéed onions, corn and drained clams to the potatoes..



Add milk to make a thick stew consistency, and then add enough of the reserved clam juice to make a chowder/soup consistency. Salt & pepper to taste. If too think, mash up a few of the potatoes to thicken.   Heat & serve..

 


Monday, April 22, 2013

This Week’s Menu





Monday
Leftovers – Made a big pot of Yummy Pinto Beans yesterday and have enough for dinner tonight along with a salad and whole grain crackers

Tuesday
Crockpot pork roast, mashed potatoes, salad

Wednesday
Hamburger/rice enchiladas, tortilla chips, salsa, salad

Thursday
Salmon patties, garlic roasted potatoes, salad

Friday
Tomato soup, ham & cheese sandwiches, salad

Saturday
BBQ – having my daughter Hannah and her family over for dinner … have not figured it all out yet!

Sunday
Leftovers
 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stewed Apples



I tried out this recipe one morning using just one apple. Not only was super good but very nutritious to boot!! My father in law ate it and ended up eating way more fruit that morning than he usually does. Now I plan to make it with several apples. It goes great with oatmeal for breakfast.

I do not have exact measurements for this recipe as I just basically did it “off the cuff” one morning. The recipe is extremely flexible and hard to ruin!

Stewed Apples
Apples – the number you desire is up to you
Honey or brown sugar
Cinnamon, just a sprinkle
Water

Begin by washing the apples. Cut them, core them and then dice up into small pieces. I did not peel them. Put apples in a saucepan. Pour water into the pan. You don’t want to cover them; just enough to cook them. Drizzle in a bit of honey. For the one apple I did I would guess I put in a little less than a tablespoon of honey. This is optional if your apples are super sweet. You can also sprinkle with a little brown sugar if you would prefer. Now sprinkle on a little cinnamon.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered. You want the water to eventually boil down to a syrup or to boil away completely. Let them cook for about 20 minutes or until soft.

Here was my apple in the saucepan cooking…


I served the cooked apples with a few sliced strawberries (I also cooked them until the liquid was pretty much gone. You can stop cooking sooner and serve with some of the liquid still there)…


I’m going to make another (bigger) batch of this for my family tomorrow morning!

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trusting God


I had an anonymous poster ask me a question after my last blog post. Here is what she asked:

Crystal,
I envy you, you are so at peace with your life and family. Right now I am struggling in my faith, I know to trust in the Lord and follow his path, but sometimes the path isn't always clear. What do you do when that path seems "unclear?


I really gave this a lot of thought. I find it hard to answer questions like this. I feel inadequate to be able to give absolute answers in things like this. I don’t have answers for every person. Only God does. What I’m sharing here is my own experiences and how God has worked in my life…

First I’ve found over the years that the biggest obstacle in knowing God’s will in my life is my “self”. I have desires and wants and sometimes what God asks of me is not always in line with those desires and wants… aww.. the first lesson I’ve had to learn. I need to get my “self” in line with what God wants from me, not the other way around.

A good example of this is my current situation with my father in law. When my husband and I first started discussing taking him into our home I did not want to take him in. I’ve spent the last 30 years raising children and I was/am finally realizing a break from the non-stop work involved in raising children. I have two teenagers and am almost done raising children. I could think of many things I would rather devote my time and energy to at this point in my life than taking care of an 80 year old man. That is my “self” talking.

So, here is what and how I came to the point that I not only accepted this but also have joy in the fact that we are now caring for him. First I prayed. I prayed that God would show me the right direction. No matter what obstacles, trials and disappointments I have faced in life one thing has always remained true… Gods love for me and His perfect plan for my life. So second is trust. I trust God with my life and His plan for it. My most loved and dearest friend, Sarah, once said to me, “In every situation God has so much more He is trying to accomplish than just what we see”. God does not waste anything… every trial we walk through has so much to teach us, so much to teach others, so much for Him to accomplish. I’ve struggled with a child’s bad decision in life, I’ve struggled with marriage issues, I’ve struggled with other issues and in every situation I’ve learned to trust God. When things look the most unsure, that is when I’ve learned to trust Him even more! 

So what is the ultimate answer from God? His WORD!! He provides the answers and so much encouragement in His word. This is where I turn when the path in life seems unclear. He has the answers for me.. As far as my father in law situation is concerned he is what I found while searching an unclear path in my life…

1 Timothy 5:10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work

I read this verse and said to myself.. Yes, you’ve spent 30 years raising children but you know what? It’s not time to retire.. God still has a plan for you, He still needs you… It’s all about being a servant of the Lord.

“Self” just seems to melt away and God’s plan for my life takes over.. and in that I find JOY.. no matter what happens. I trust Him; He has never let me down. He is my hope and my solid rock. Following the Lord is the only way I will ever feel peace in my heart no matter how difficult the situation is.

When we walk through difficult times and don’t always know the path…. pray, trust, read the Word, and ask for answers. Ask Him to show you.. He will! And know He is always there!

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Phil 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Updates from the Homestead




I’m still here!! Just have not had time to blog. I have a few quiet moments tonight so I thought I send out a little update.

We moved my father in law in on the 27th of March. He has been here a little over 2 weeks. There have been a LOT of adjustments to make. It has been a big job. We realized in so many ways that this has been the right thing to do. It confirms what God was laying on our hearts when we made this decision. We are all currently adjusting to a new routine in the household. This has been a challenge for us all. My sister in law has been staying with us and what a blessing this has been!! She has helped out in so many ways and I am so grateful for her time with us.

On the positive side we have been able to get his medications under control. He was way off with them. The benefits of just this one thing have been amazing. He is stronger and now has a few medical issues under control. Previously, with him living so far away and my husband & I going to help him 3 times a week we were just not able to see all that was going on.

With all the changes and challenges having him move in has brought to my life I’ve had to put computer related things on the back burner while I deal with it all. Real life has become my biggest priority. I can see that just after 2 weeks we are working closer to having a schedule and routine down and I know I will be back to blogging and update my website and all the things I long and love to do very soon again.

In Other News…

My daughter Sierra will be leaving on Wednesday for a 2 week visit to S. Korea to see her sister Leanne. She is soooo excited and so are we for her adventure. She will be traveling with a close and dear family friend who is also excited to see Leanne. I’m such a homebody and I have no idea how I raised children who love to travel the globe!! 

Some may wonder if I’m concerned about my daughters with all the political goings on in Korea.. and while I do have some moments of concern, overall I am not. I feel like the Lord led my daughter Leanne to S. Korea and I have faith that if HE wants her home, she will come home. As of right now, she says the “chatter” in S. Korea is that the S. Koreans are not even concerned. This is a typical pattern with N. Korea. I put my trust in the Lord. If I felt like there was a real concern I would ask her to come home and I certainly would not be sending my 17 year old daughter off to visit her.


Oh.. and my baby goat that I shared about in my last post has a name.. Pippy!! My daughter Hannah gave her the name.. and I liked it!! :)



That is all for now, and I pray I will be back to blogging and sharing life from my homestead on a regular basis very soon.
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This Week’s Menu









Monday
Leftover cabbage rolls, dinner rolls, salad

Tuesday
BBQ hamburgers w/all the trimmings, potato chips

Wednesday
Bbq chicken legs, mac & cheese, salad

Thursday
Pizza chili, tortilla chips, salad

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Asian chicken noodle soup, egg rolls, salad

Sunday
Roast beef w/gravy over mashed potatoes, garlic roasted veggies