Monday, April 30, 2012

More in the kitchen!

So I have been blogging more lately about what's cookin in our kitchen.  If I haven't explained before, We are striving to eat a more whole foods diet, cutting out as much processed foods as possible.  I have really gotten into looking at the ingredients list on the things I buy for us to eat.  It is crazy the amount of things I used to feed our family that I can't even pronounce half of the ingredients listed.  CRAZY.  I know I have shared about the coffee creamer, chocolate syrup, and dressing.  Today, I made my own taco seasoning.  I am sitting here looking at my old container of taco seasoning and the list of ingredients are normal, but add on to that a few things that I really don't understand why they are in there.  LIke why is there sugar in it?  and what exactly is "natural flavor" and "sulfites".  Plus, it really is crazy what we pay for a little bit of seasoning.  Therefore, I made my own.  Super easy and much cheaper than buying those packets or containers of it. 
Here is the link for lots of seasonings, where I got the taco seasoning recipe!

Next, I plan to make ranch mix. 
It might require a little more time in the kitchen on my part to not have processed foods, but I see it as well worth it.  And over all, we really haven't had a huge jump in our grocery bill.  I love finding different kinds of snacks.  Like for instance, the chick peas.  Those have become great snacks for me and SK.  She loves them.  I can make them for less than a $1 too!  (I actually get chick peas on WIC, so they really are free for me to make!)
SO, what else do we eat?  I thought I could share some meal ideas that we are eating this week.

For breakfast:
Zucchini muffins
Chex cereal with homemade chocolate granola
egg wraps

For lunch:
homemade hummus with raw veggies
yogurt (still have to try to make that again...)
cheese sticks
fresh fruits like strawberries, apples and bananas
the quinoa recipe I shared last week or some other thing with quinoa and beans

Monday: Taco Salad--made with farm raised beef (got at a local farm!), corn chips, cheese, salsa (homemade), salad greens, and black beans.

Tues: bbq chicken in a potato--the chicken is already cooked and shredded in our freezer, just have to cook the potatoes, top with cheese and such.

Wed.: beef stew--already made in the freezer (when I make beef stew, I make a huge pot and freeze half for another time).

Thurs: Salsa chicken rice bowls--chicken is already cooked and shredded in the freezer, so I just heat up some beans, and cook the rice.  Top with salsa, cheese, cilantro, ect.

Fri: Might be a homemade pizza night...not really sure yet :)

Snacks through the week:
roasted chick peas
homemade potato chips
zucchini chips
raw veggies and fruits

So there ya go.  Maybe someone found this interesting or gave someone an idea :)  I am really having fun coming up with new ideas on things to do with fruits and veggies and making things from scratch.  It feels good to be eating whole foods and not the processed junk that we used to eat all of the time.

Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our little potato

So according the the online sites, our little one is the size of an onion or potato.   And, our little potato decided to give a good kick for daddy tonight :)  I am sitting here on the couch and start feeling little flutter (I have been feeling little thumps for a week or 2 now...).  I tell Michael to come over and take a break from his paper writing to come and put his hand on my tummy.  Within a minute the little potato kicked his hand.  It was fun.  I kinda can't stop smiling.  I love, love, love feeling the baby even if it is just little bits right now.
I have been feeling like cooking today and man did I.  I think I spent 5 hours in the kitchen this morning. between playing with the girls, changing diapers, dishing out snacks and meals, ect.  Wanna know what I made?  of course you do :)
I started out with homemade yogurt, which actually started yesterday.  I am gonna need to retry this one.  It was an epic fail.  I am not giving up on it yet though, I will give it another try sometime soon maybe.
Then it was homemade fruit leathers (like fruit roll ups).  I am actually shoving them in my mouth right now.  They are delicious.  DELICIOUS.  So simple too.  I found this recipe and altered it a bit.
I stewed some frozen organic strawberries with lemon juice and a bit of water.  After about 5-6 minutes I put them in the blender, added some cinnamon and agave nectar and blended it all up.  Next I put it on a rim lined cooking sheet (that I covered with parchment paper).  I set my oven to it's lowest temp (170 degrees) and let them dehydrate for about 5 hours.  I checked them at that point and decided to sprinkle a little water around the edges where it was looking a bit crispy.  It went another hour, then I was able to flip the whole thing over and dry out the other side for a bit (one hour).  SO, total in the oven was 7 hours, but it was on a low temp and they were so, so good (did I say that already?)
Next, I made some roasted chickpeas.  Yummy too :) Easy.  Here is the link for where I got started with it, but I altered it to to my pregnancy likings :)  I rinsed the peas, juiced 1 lime on them, added some olive oil, garlic, salt, and cumin.  Put them on a cookie sheet and cook at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, tossing around every 10 or so.  I can think of other ways that would be yummy too to season them.  SK liked them too, so that was good :)
Then I made this Southwest quinoa salad thing for lunch.  This is the second time I have made it, and it is yummy.  SO healthy too.  I changed it up a bit too, using limes instead of lemon and throwing in some red wine vinegar too.
Alright, that was it for today.  I did 2 loads of laundry and some vacuuming too.  Then I crashed at nap time with a 2 hour nap.
I think I need to head to bed soon.  It's been a good, productive day that has worn me out.  Tomorrow needs to be a fun day just hanging out and no cooking :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Catch up...

I haven't blogged or updated since my doctor apt. last week.  Sorry.  I went to the doctor and everything looked great.  The heartbeat was 157, so a lot slower since the last visit (it was 204 then).  The doctor said that was completely fine and the baby was probably just in a different position.  We are down to 18 days till our big ultrasound!  I can't wait to see our sweet baby again :) 
This week has seemed to be a turnaround week for me.  I am feeling like I have a little more energy and not needing to nap every chance I get.  That means I have been trying to catch up on things that haven't gotten done in the last few months.  I haven't thrown up in a week now.  Woohoo!  Let's hope I am past all of that. 
I am now at 16 and a half weeks!  Crazy!  Maybe with my new energy surge I can actually take some pictures of Sk over the weekend.  I should take a moment to brag on what a big girl she is becoming.   She no longer really needs mommy or daddy to push her on the swing.  She can pump her own legs and get going really high all on her own!  It is really fun to watch :)  She is getting really good at her letters and the sounds each one makes.  She loves to write letters now.
Papa had a birthday this week and SK wanted to send him a letter and picture in the mail.  I should have taken a picture of them.  She did a foot print butterfly picture (she refers to her feet as Papa's piggies and is very protective of them for Papa :)).  Then she wrote a letter to Papa with Daddy's help saying Happy birthday and I love you.  It was really cute and sweet.  She loves her Papa!

On one more random note, a friend and I made a delishious quinoa recipe this week.  I was so good in fact, I want to make more this weekend...and you should make some too.  It was so yummy and incredibly healthy too.  Alright, enough talking about food.  Here is the link if you are interested!

Wanna take a guess as to whether a little baby boy or a baby girl is cooking?
I am curious what everyone thinks...
I told you the heartbeat.  Cravings so far have been:
Strawberries, grapes (frozen to be exact...), veggies (esp. green beans with garlic...), grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate fudge bars, popcorn, dill pickle chips.  Hmmm...that is the main stuff I can think of so far.  For the most part, I have had much healthier cravings this go around as opposed to when I was preggo with SK and craved all the gross food like nachos and kid's cereal...

What do you think?

Off to find some food...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Doctor day

Today, I go in to the doctor for my check up.  I am now a little over 15 weeks.  Crazy.  I really questioned whether we would make it this far.  I struggled to trust God, and still do to be honest.  I don't want to live in fear, but in hope.  It is hard though.  It is still hard not to get anxious before I go in today.  I am ready to hear our little one's heartbeating again. 

When I start feeling fear creeping in, I long more and more for Heaven.  I don't like my sin.  I don't like the pain I have faced and many others have faced in this fallen world.  Just last week, I saw death with the family I nanny for.  The mom's best friend killed herself and her 3 children.  Death sucks.  We all deal with sin.  Without the hope of Christ, we could all easily find ourself in this same position.  God is sovereign and completely in control I know.  One day, we won't have to face death.  We won't have to be separated from our friends and children and family.  Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Not sure where I am going with this really.  Just dealing with my anxieties this morning, not very well I guess. 

Some days I wish I could go back to my nieveness about death and loss.  I remember being pregnant with Sarah Kate and fear of loosing her never crossed my mind.  After loosing our second child through miscarriage, that all changed.  I felt alone at that time.  I didn't know anyone who had gone through this.  It didn't seem to be a thing people talked about.  I kinda felt like I should brush it off and still be able to praise the Lord and be glad.  After years of struggling to get pregnant, I have learned a lot.  A LOT.  God used this time to teach me so much.  I now know that it was okay for me to be upset and not okay with the loss.  It sucked and was jacked up that we had to go through it.  While I might not like it, God used it and hopefully will continue to use it for His own glory.  I long for our life's story to be a testimony to God's faithfullness.  He didn't just step out of the picture while we faced those trials.  He was there and continues to be. 

I know the truth.  I know that during these times, I need to cling tighter to Christ and His promises.
Psalm 34 says:
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My souls will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.

Alright....enough rambling this morning.  Gotta find something fun to do this morning with the girls to distract me from my crazy fears.

Maybe a painting project is in order this morning :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Sarah Kate got really into the Easter egg hunting this year and got to do it a total of 3 times!  We went to our church last weekend and got to sit and listen to the story of Jesus' death and Resurection then head outside to hunt the eggs.  SK was so funny to make sure to help her friends find the eggs too :)  She also was funny about how sweetly she would ask for "just one more piece" of candy.

Then, on Friday, the family I nanny for had a little hunt set up for SK to do and teach Molly (their little girl) how to properly search for the eggs.  I forgot to get any pictures there, but she had a blast and definitely had a bit of sugar there :)

On Saturday, we had our campus housing egg hunt for all the kiddos that live here on campus.  We attempted to get a picture of all of them on the, there are a lot of kiddos here!  We had fun hanging out with friends and watching the kids go crazy looking for eggs all around the playground.

Goofy kids...the best picture I could get of Sk and her buddy Hannah Mae

Saturday night we had some friends over to make our annual Resurection Cookies!  It was fun and messy to let all of the kids help out with making them, but so worth the mess.  I love doing these each year and am so glad that it has become our tradition!  It is a great way to point SK (and us too!) to the real reason we celebrate Easter. It isn't for the eggs and candy.  We celebrate a risen Savior that isn't in the tomb!  He is RISEN!

I didn't get any pictures of us making the cookies (too busy having fun I guess :))  And on Easter morning we all slept in a bit and didn't get a chance to take any pictures before heading to church (plus a certain 3 year old decided to pitch quite a fit too...)  SO, this is the only picture taken on Easter. 

We worshipped at church and then made lunch with some friends and hung out for a while!  It was a fun Easter.  We miss being with our family and friends back in Alabama, but are so thankful for the Lord calling us here and blessing us with people here that we can be family with and celebrate together with! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break-Seminary Style :)

So last week was Michael's spring break.  While we both still had work and he had to do some school work, we tried to find time to do some fun things too.  We made it out to the zoo for the first time this year with some good friends then headed to a WONDERFUL restaurant that we had heard of recently (more on that later...)

We had fun at the zoo, starting off with the free carousel rides then the children's zoo area.  SK is getting more and more brave with getting close to animals (she used to really not be a fan of touching or getting to close to them).  She brushed the goats hair and pet the rabbits!  She had lots of fun with her friend Hannah.  We definitely plan to spend more time at the zoo as it is starting to really warm up here in St. Louis.

After spending the morning at the zoo, we headed to a place called Sweetie Pie's.  I don't know how this has happened, but we have lived here a year and never heard of this place.  It was the closest thing to a southern, "Meat and 3 sides" kinda place I have had since moving here.  Oprah was actually at this place lately from what I heard and it has it's own TLC show now too!  I devoured my plate of baked chicken, mac-n-cheese, green beans and cornbread (that was so, so, so very good!).  They even had sweet tea! (a rarity here in St. Louis).  I should have taken a before picture, but didn't think about it till after mostly finished with the meal.  It was even more fun that we got to enjoy this southern meal in the company of some friends that are also from the south and have a love for the same kind of food :)

Michael got to take the day off on Friday and go fishing with a friend.  He had fun catching 25 fish!  One of them being a five pounder!  SK and I decided to have a girls day shopping.  We started out our morning at the goodwill outlet.  She took $1 and was able to get 4 books and 2 plastic bucket things for only .62 cents!  I found a new in box (in the plastic even!) Bodom French press!  Final cost for that...$1.60!  I was excited about that find.  We then went to some antique malls and had lunch at CFA :)

So that was our spring break.  Now we are back to the grind.  Michael has plenty on his plate this week, since he has to preach next week in class along with some other big things to get done for school.  Back to laundry and dishes...