Archive for the tag “food”

plain jane and some other things

i am not a plain jane.

who was i kidding?

and so i could not keep that “theme” i had up for those few days.

i might be moping a little bit.

i don’t want to…so i will tell you about that yummy bean dip instead.

very easy peasy. layer some re-fried beans.(heated slightly). (i mashed canned organic pinto beans for a quick fix) top w/ cheese. add a layer of sour cream and guacamole (ours is just mashed avocados, lime juice, crushed red chile pepper, garlic (fresh and powder) purple diced onions and roma tomatoes). then top with salsa (or more sour cream and cheese) and even some yummy, colorful bell peppers.

and how we went to see the ballet folklorico on friday night.

and how we even re-scheduled that darn surgery to see said ballet.

it was so important to her.

and i just may be spoiling her a bit right now.

like by ordering her a whole bunch of new books from alibris and b-n.

which books?

the incorrigible children of ashton place book one (which she already devoured but i want to read it aloud to the baby and not be in a big hurry to take it back to the library) and book two.

two penderwick books

and two callahan cousins books.

am i bargaining with God?

as in:”look Lord, please keep her safe, she has a bunch of summer reading to do!”


pitiful of me, i know.

a very dear friend gave me a tight hug today when i expressed my crazy feelings.

 a dear priest friend annointed her with some holy oils and relic of the True Cross. (there IT is…so beautiful, huh?)

with saints and angels to pray for us….what more could we ask for?

i am so very thankful for the gift of our Catholic faith.

because faith is a gift.

a very special gift.

if you are a magnificat reader you remember these words from yesterday:

“it is the assurance of things not yet seen.” st. paul. hebrews 11:1

it is God saying:

come and follow ME into the darkness. I want to know you are ready to go into the things that you do not see yet, on faith alone.

a very important component of true love is: trust.

and i trust HIM.

with my life. with hers.

and with everyone and everything that i love.

because HE loved every bit of us first.


joining barb:

52 weeks of daily life in pictures.

:: trials and celebrations, the extraordinary and mundane — whatever is unique to the week.

it’s kind of too early for these…but i couldn’t resist. and they were so yummy!

they are also delicious on top of gluten-free pancakes and paired with vanilla-greek yogurt-cream-cheese-fluffy-wonderfulness.

 pretty table-settings. and impromptu tea with friends.

thank you….half-half. i will never lose weight because of you….and your creamy presence in every. single. cup. of coffee. i drink.

thank you, Lord, for sweet looking weeds….that almost look like flowers.

girls with pink cheeks and creative spirits don’t belong locked up learning in classrooms. they should be free (with limits) to sketch in a pile of comfy blankets when inspiration strikes.

thank you krusteaz  for finally making a mix that won’t kill my children…i do so love it when the kids can make things with a little help from a box….(this muffin is sans blueberries. but these are oh. so. good when you add a cup of blueberries to the batter. and spoiler: they might not last long enough to take photos.)

hello. nice. big. stack of red linen napkins.

you look like you could use some embroidery. and i sure could use an easy project that will travel. we’ll see how it goes.

and last but certainly not least….

the pure. unadulerated bliss. of having a big brother that will ride you really fast around the yard in a wagon….

(as a side note: this does cause a certain amount of tipping. or so i was later told.)

this really was a good week.

and it’s great to have these pictures to remind me so.


and love-ing it.

the food. the colors. the sunlight.

watching my children. cheeks rosy. gathering leaves for the mantle. chasing crickets.

a chill in the air.

but with warmth in our hearts.

because Our Lord is so generous in the gifts He gives to us each and every season.

cheerful subjects

why hello may. i hadn’t formally greeted you here.

you are a busy little month. and you snuck in on a saturday. shame on you. which means today is already the 4th….how is that for fair?

has may played that naughty trick on you too?

before i know it cinco de mayo will be here. and we are having guests. and we’ll be eating mexican food. homemade tortillas. guacamole. more sangria. and lots of other good stuff.

is your mouth-watering? mine is. especially since i had a shake for dinner and not another bowl of that creamy-roasted chile-chicken dish i made. damn diet.

‘xcuse the french. but really, when one is exercising. and dieting at the same time. one gets hungry. and grouchy.

i should go stuff my mouth with nuts or something.

i played tennis all by myself today. just me and a wall. and there are parts of me that hurt really bad. muscles i didn’t even know i had. and it really has nothing to do with the fact that while i played tennis with that wall. my youngest. the baby. watched me. from the second story window of his brother’s bedroom. with two rolls of toilet paper sitting on the window ledge. sniffling. crying. and begging me to let him come down. all the while making it a point to show me how. much. toilet paper. he needed to dry said tears.

the drama that boy is capable of is UNBELIEVABLE.

i tried to be a nice mama. and take them to play soccer. but then there was an incident of name-calling. and crying. and it made me mad. so i sent those naughty kittens inside.

they’ve only been home one day and already they are making me regret that i didn’t sew those slip covers while they were gone.

or better yet leave for a european holiday.

oh. i almost forgot i titled this post cheerful subjects.

who was i kidding? i just did that so you’d read me.

i tricked you. i am sorry.


actually there are some cheerful highlights.

here they are…we are reading narnia-starting with the magician’s nephew- out-loud again. this time the middles can fully understand and the baby. well,at the very least he can listen.

our simple. yet beautiful may altar is up.

the middles have started their missions. who said california history was for 4th graders? we’re getting there….if we can keep the baby from stealing all the pieces of styrofoam to  use for weapons.

the baby is doing some math. addition facts. number lines and counting. as well as an insect unit. we are reading these delightful stories. and coloring in this book. he is all ears when it comes to the violent world of wasps and spiders.

and last. but certainly not least. i am extremely intrigued by Ignatian spirituality. and can’t wait to delve a little deeper. this is something that has been on my mind for years. and i am prayerfully trying to get started.

here are a few points worth sharing:

Ignatius left his Society two spiritual legacies: the examen, and the spiritual exercises. The examen (or, The Examen of Consciousness) is intended as a short daily period of reflection. St. Ignatius believed that he received the examen as a gift from God that not only enriched his own Christian life but was meant to be shared with others. The examen was a “method,” a way to seek and find God in all things and to gain the freedom to let God’s will be done on earth.

The Examen traditionally has five steps:

  1. Recall you are in the presence of God. No matter where you are, you are a creature in the midst of creation and the Creator who called you forth is concerned for you.
  2. Give thanks to God for favors received. Pause and spend a moment looking at this day’s gifts. Take stock of what you received and gave. Notice these clues that guide living.
  3. Ask for awareness of the Holy Spirit’s aid. Before you explore the mystery of the human heart, ask to receive the Holy Spirit so that you can look upon your actions and motives with honesty and patience. The Spirit gives a freedom to look upon yourself without condemnation and without complacency and thus be open to growth.
  4. Now examine how you are living this day. Recalling the events of your day, explore the context of your actions. Review the day, hour by hour, searching for the internal events of your life. Look through the hours to see your interaction with what was before you. Ask what you were involved in and who you were with, and review your hopes and hesitations. What moved you to act the way you did?
  5. Pray words of reconciliation and resolve. Having reviewed this day of your life, look upon yourself with compassion and see your need for God and try to realize God’s manifestations of concern for you. Express sorrow for sin, give thanks for grace, and praise God for the times you responded in ways that allowed you to better see God’s life.

The Spiritual Exercises

The term “spiritual exercises” denotes every way of examining one’s conscience, of meditating, contemplating, praying, vocally and mentally, and other spiritual activities, as will be said later. For just as strolling, walking and running are exercises for the body, so “spiritual exercises” is the name given to every way of preparing and disposing one’s soul to rid herself of all disordered attachments, so that once rid of them one might seek and find the divine will in regard to the disposition of one’s life for the good of the soul. Annotation 1, “Spiritual Exercises”

The “Spiritual Exercises” of Ignatius is essentially a manual for giving 30-day retreats, the purpose of which is to bring the retreatent to an understanding and awareness of God while dealing honestly with the failing and drawbacks that hinder such prayer. All Jesuits experience the spiritual exercises during their first year as a novice. Lay men and women are also invited to undertake the spiritual exercises under the direction of an experienced director at several local retreat centers.

The sense of the spiritual exercises can perhaps best be summed up by the introduction found in The Spiritual Exercises itself, titled “the first principle and foundation.”

The First Principle and Foundation

The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.

All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.

It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.

To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.

Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

our faith is so beautiful and ripe with various devotions. this one attracted me for many reasons. but this month, as we focus on mary, who lived to do the will of the Father, i felt, that these exercises might actually help me to do the same.

see, i didn’t disappoint you now did i? i even gave you something to think about.

aw, i’m preachin’ to the choir, i know.


cheerfully signing off now….


bits and pieces

so it was one of those days where my husband was home because of the weather. we take so much longer to get going in the mornings when he is home.

at one point i found myself back in bed with a small black and white rabbit cuddled up next to me. my mother thought this was hilarious for some reason. as i relayed it to her over the phone. “what would your husband say?’ she laughed. and i said, well, actually he thinks pepper mcfizz (the bunny) is so soft and sweet ’cause he’s right here petting her. but we did wonder if she was scared of us….the bunny. not my mom.

anyhow. i played hide-n-seek with a cup of tea all morning. boiled the water. forgot about it. re-heated it. put the tea bag to steep. left it again. it wasn’t until mid-afternoon that we were finally able to meet up again. that cup of tea and i. but when we did i sipped it quietly. whilst watching  raindrops race down my bedroom window. avoiding a confrontational teen. a reluctant writer and thinking about the two little ones who still needed me to be a happy mama.

and so we headed to the kitchen to tackle the venezualan empanadas.

i had to play around with the dough as the food network recipe called for pre-made cornmeal. but that’s just not how we do things around here. so instead we called butter in. because butter makes everything better!

and so i think i have discovered, what just might be, the yummiest dough ever. it had a little bit of cornmeal. and was just a tad sweet. in fact tonite, when my hubby and i lay snuggled watching AI, we, actually he, dreamily told me all the things he thought might be really good stuffed in those little pouches of soft, flaky minute he was talking chorizo with potatoes. i suggested vanilla pudding. then he mentioned chocolate. we really are a match made in heaven….

tomorrow i’ll try to post the dough recipe. but probably not the tomatillo salsa though because it was HOT.

we’ve lots to do tomorrow as some of our favorite friends are coming over for crafts. and our town is turning 100 years old so there will be a celebration at the library…

you know it’s not everyday that your town turns 100!

good-nite friends! i so enjoyed all your comments yesterday. especially the ones about taking kids to the store. i ended up taking my girl with me. she is my shadow these days.

a cooking plan

i am sure most of you agree that meal planning makes everything run a little more smoothly during the week.

it takes time. sifting through recipes. thinking about everyone’s likes and dislikes. but i always feel so much better when the meals are all tucked in my notebook. listed in columns like dairy, meats, veggies, etc.

last week i picked up the newest food network magazine and was pleasantly surprised at some of the different, yummy recipes i discovered.

so between cooking light and food network here is the dinner/lunch menu i have come up with for the next week:

main courses-

asian beef stew

white bean chili


turkey meatballs

venezualan empanadas

stuffed cabbage soup


moroccan couscous

cucumber yogurt dip

carrot coconut salad

chickpea and cauliflower curry

hot crab and cream cheese dip

roasted squash, apples & cashews

tomatillo salsa with corn chips


sourdough flax

indian flatbread

greek pitas


depending on how things turn out, maybe i’ll post some recipes if anyone is interested.

so i’m off to finish my shopping. albeit in the rain.

i have kids so bored they want to come with me to the store.

that is never good. i’d really rather they stay and keep an eye on the bunny. who we had to bring in from the cold.

i’ll probably come home to some sort of mischief….and wish i’d just taken them with me.

or not.


almond butter leaves



because we have all decided that cooking with butter is a wonderful thing and i don’t want to bore you with all the gory details of my sick family i will share with you this bit of baked loveliness we made before things went south. 

almond butter leaves. they were soft. yummy. buttery. and for the second batch we added a teaspoon of pumpkin spice which was really just wonderfully fallish.

i can’t tell you much about doubling this recipe because we made it twice.  some of us are still so enthusiastic about baking that we don’t mind doing things twice. there is actually less fighting about who gets to measure what this way too! but that’s just here of course. your children might get along perfectly lovely whilst baking.

oh, that’s right, i was supposed to be giving you a recipe….

almond butter leaves

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1/4 t. vanilla

1/4 t. almond extract

3/4 c. flour

1/2 t. baking powder

-pinch of salt

1/4 c. milk

*optional 1/4 c. finely chopped nuts

heat oven to 350. grease and flour pan. (we were super generous when we did this step). in a large bowl combine all ingredients. blend on low-speed 1 minute, scraping bowl often. beat on medium speed 2 minutes. pour batter into prepared pan. bake 20-22 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. cool in pan 5 minutes; turn out onto cooling rack. cool completely. makes 6 leaves.

i’d kindly like to thank and acknowledge the nordic ware  company for their sweet maple leaf muffin pans and this recipe!

these are the kind of leaves i wouldn’t mind scattered all over my yard! they are actually nourishing. (and yes, the dirt and chicken poop could be a minor deterrent.)

afternoons and evenings





because it has been so hot i have  forgotten how much i love fall afternoons. the weather. the way the sun shines just so. making everything golden and bright. it is probably a lot like the very early morning. but i have never been a morning person so i don’t always appreciate its’ beauty.

today, captivated by that beauty i vowed to bring the kids outside every day around 3. no matter what they are doing they have to bring it outside. we have plenty of chairs and a table.

do you like how the jack-o-lantern doubles as a place to collect nature treasures we find on our walks. we started out with just a plastic mummy who came along for the ride. but as you can see we had quite a haul by the time we were done. we were especially on the look out for twigs as my girl is working on some twig furniture for her fairies.

the only creative thing i had time for were a few simple little ghosts. i have been told our house is not spooky enough. too many pumpkins. so i am hoping between the spider webs and the ghosts we are progressing to a higher level of “spooky”.

i started dinner really early again today. i am never sorry when i do. it makes our afternoons and evenings so much smoother. i browned two roasts in a little bit of olive oil and spices. marinated them in soy sauce, garlic and red wine. 2 buck chuck from trader joes. and let them cook slowly for about 2 1/2 hours. while we were outside i kept getting little whiffs and they smelled so yummy. i also made rice and a lentil stew. just lentils, carrots, onions, butter and olive oil. have you noticed i put butter in every thing? really i do. and i always try to justify it by adding olive oil too.

it is evening now. everyone is in pajamas and ready for bed. but i hear cutting. and drawing. and now someone just slipped me a note. it is really a picture. it is me and him. on a magic carpet ride he says. i could really go for one of those about now. but there is still so much to do around here. so at least for now i think we’ll stay put. and with that, i will say goodnite.






gooey caramel-marshmallow-butter-popcorn balls. leaves on the tree in our front yard. some colorful kindergarten manipulatives. a few nature treasures.

not much going on here. it was a long, quiet saturday. the boys left really early with dad so my girl and i had the house to ourselves. i snacked on chocolate covered coffee beans and a spiced chai tea latte while i did some sewing and painting. she ate breakfast upstairs with me and read a million books. we went to a piano concert at the library in the afternoon. we walked. when we got there i started knitting a scarf for my dad while we sat. the musician noted that the first piece she played was written in homage to a baby she had aborted. i thought it was very brave of her to admit that. and i told her so after the concert. we learned that beethoven didn’t name his sonatas. his publishers or editors actually did. perhaps because they thought they’d “sell” that way.

on our way home i caught the sun shining so beautifully through those leaves, aren’t they wonderful? i am curious as to what kind of tree it is.

i found a yummy recipe for pumpkin butter in the october issue of bhg. i can’t wait to try it.

a very dear priest friend of ours is saying mass in town tomorrow. we won’t have to drive to the moon. what a blessing it will be to come home early and plan a few lessons for the week.

well, hope your weekend is filled with tons of goodness too.

the bee’s knees

you’re probably familiar with this phrase, but if you aren’t, it means “excellent, of the highest quality.” and if you want to get technical, there is an explanation here. anyway, there are, at the end of this seemingly long week, quite a few thing that i think are the bee’s knees. here is my list:

-reading the adventures of tom sawyer-with a southern(?) accent

this movie, which i watched with one of my sister-in-laws-who is patiently waiting for me to make her this dish. please say bourguignon a few times. i love the way it rolls off of the tongue. forgive me if you wish you were french after watching this film the way i did. and no, i am not excited to make the dish because the recipe happens to call for wine.

this idea-but don’t watch the little dance number by the bees if the thought of bees dancing provocatively offends you.

-seed packets for our own honey bee friendly garden


-fresh air, after a few days of being in the middle of so many different fires. i don’t want to say “wake up californians! could this be a chastisement…???” but there. i just did.

-the yummy combination of wine/popsicles that i am really starting to love. my brother-in-law-thanks d-just gave me a new idea-watermelon flavored jolly ranchers with midori. i am a temperant woman, but after the week i’ve had i thought i deserved two glasses. (it was cheap wine). and it was friday nite.


michael’s sale on stamps and art supplies-i saved $30.00 yesterday on some good stuff!


-progress on: my cloth grocery bags. i am using recycled linen curtains and vintage sheets. i have 4 finished bags. and 3 more cut out. is it terrible that they are so pretty that i hate to think of using them for just grocery bags? i am using one of them as a purse for now. and: 2 handmade gifts are just about completed and almost ready to be sent off. a “dolly carrier” for my girl is all done except for a button and some elastic. and i have doll plans in my head-almost ready for paper-got to get sewing on them asap.


-the HUGE bag of vintage-y lace-y, frilly, cotton-y goodness given to me by my mother-in-law. i have plans for some head coverings for mass with some of the lace….forgive my giddiness, but i am in love with the beautiful, austere way that women look when their heads are covered…but it’s ok if you don’t. i disliked it for years too. the veils always slipped off, they looked “old-fashioned” etc. but it was when i set MY pride aside-and read st. paul’s words-that i just knew-it needed to be done. there is an informative-though not catholic-article explaining many feelings/ideas that are similar to mine here.

– these words from st. augustine, who happens to be one of my FAVORITE saints, so much so that my littlest one bears his name for a middle name….

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But here is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you. Look below you. Note it. Read it. God, Whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why heaven and earth SHOUT at you: “God made me!”

i am reading his confessions right now, and am looking forward to reading his city of God  next, so i might be jotting down some more of his wisdom in the days ahead. anyhow, i guess i should get off of here. i ate a hostess twinkie (gross, i know). and we are out of milk, but i am extremely thirsty, so i guess it’ll be a glass of cold water for me. i cannot believe we are going thru 2 gallons of milk a week. if we had room i’d invest in a cow. i wonder what the people at the law office next door would think? would they think it was the bees knees…..

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