Friday, April 6, 2012

It's almost Easter....

and as I look outside there are HUGE white flakes coming down...LOTS of them. (Sigh) But I guess since Easter isn't really about cute little animals, chocolate bunnies or green grass what should it matter? It's really all about the CROSS and the man that was NAILED there. It's really all about the penalty, caused from my sins, that He paid with his BLOOD, DEATH and subsequent RESURRECTION 3 days later. It's really all about the fact that because He defeated death we are given LIFE. It's all because He loved us so much...we've been FORGIVEN and should be so thankful (which I am). So Lord willing, I'll keep my eyes focused on the cross and the true reason for this holiday. And now I have a wallhanging that will be such a visual reminder for me...all year round. Thanks to my quilt group ladies who helped me get this finished in time so that I could get it hung in my entry way before Easter actually arrives. This will stay up for awhile I think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seared Pepper Crusted Salmon?

Okay, so we live in Alaska and we love to fish, but to be honest, we're not crazy about eating salmon. Halibut is an entirely different matter, but salmon....mmmm...not our favorite. But alas, I found a recipe that my husband LOVED. I even thoroughly enjoyed it...not a hint of salmon/fishy taste. I fixed Quinoa with Black Beans, which even Chris tried and said wasn't too bad. Then I also made Trio Salad, which originally came from the EMeals website and Rebekah loved it! I'm glad that this dinner was a success. Chris had a hard day at the office with several serious issues that came up and it made my heart lighter to know that I'm doing my job as his helpmate, that he's at least had a solid meal with which to digest all these changes. Literally. And no, he didn't eat the salad! ;-) I'll share the recipes for those friends of mine who are also foodies and might enjoy trying them.

2 T. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. sugar
3/4 lb. salmon fillets
4 t. pepper
2 T. olive oil
1. In a sealable plastic bag combine the soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice and sugar with the salmon, coating it well and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (I did mine for about two hours)
2. Remove the salmon from the bag, discarding the marinade and pat dry. Press 2 t. pepper onto each piece of salmon, coating it thoroughly (I didn't measure, I just coated my salmon on all sides)
3. In a heavy skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and saute' the salmon for 2 minutes on each side or until it just flakes.
4. Transfer the salmon to paper towels and let it drain for 30 minutes.
1/2 t. vegetable oil
1/2 chopped onion
1-1/2 cloves peeled and chopped garlic
1/4 c. + 2 T. uncooked quinoa
3/4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels (I forgot, but will add it next time)
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, saute' until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
{TRIO SALAD} from the EMealz website &
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes (halved if you want)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
4 t. cider vinegar
1 T. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1. Combine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Place vegetables in a bowl; add the dressing and toss gently.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kitchen Time

So for the past few weeks I've been involved in a bible study where we were going through "The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized" by Karen Ehman. These last couple of weeks have been focused on meal planning and cooking. I was thoroughly convicted that I was not "feeding" my family. That's part of the job that the Lord has given me as a stay-at-home mom, and I had truly lost sight of the blessing that it is and the joy that can come from serving my family. I mean lets face it, after spending hours in the kitchen only to have 1 or all of your family members detest the labor of love you've created, it's pretty easy to become disillusioned and think: Why am I doing this? It's oodles easier to adopt a fend for yourself attitude or run through a drive through or spend $$$ at a restaurant. But alas, convicted and armed with some new recipes and a strengthened resolve to serve my family in this area of our home, I've plowed back into the kitchen with some great results.
I started with a recipe I found off a fellow scrapbookers blog: Grilled Sausages with Onion Relish and Coleslaw. Sounded weird, but knew there wasn't anything my family didn't like in it and according to the fellow scrapbooker, it got rave reviews with her picky family.

1 large onion, chopped
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. sage
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. sour cream
1.5-2.25 lb. Italian sausage
Preheat outdoor grill. In a medium saucepan combine first 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to med-low. Cook; stir 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Grill sausages 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through and browned. Remove to plate, top with onion relish.
16 oz. bag shredded coleslaw
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. salsa
In a large bowl, combine all these ingredients and toss well.

So no surprise, both my darling daughter and darling son looked at the onion relish and said "No Way". But surprise! The husband really liked it. Okay, that was a boost of confidence. Next I tried crock pot pork chops and again, the husband and this time, my son, really enjoyed it-plus it made the house smell awesome!)
Two nights ago I made a recipe that Chris had torn out of his Men's Health Magazine for Shrimp Pad Thai. Rave reviews from my husband and son again! Poor Beka thought it was TOO spicy.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. natural peanut butter
1 T. honey
1 T. reduced sodium soy sauce (I used Bragg's amino acid)
1 T. sriracha chili sauce
1 T. fish sauce
2 t. roasted sesame oil
2 T. vegetable oil - preferable peanut (I used 1/2 canola & 1/2 hot chili oil)
1 lb. peeled large raw shrimp - thawed and drained if frozen
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 c. sliced shitake mushrooms
6 oz. rice noodles, cooked rinsed and drained
3 scallions, sliced
1/4 c. roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 limes, quartered, for serving
1. In a blender, combine the first 7 ingredients and 1/4 c. water; puree until smooth and set aside.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet on medium high. When it's hot, add 1 T. oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a plate.
3. Add another Tablespoon of oil to the wok and swirl. Add the peppers and mushrooms; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the peanut sauce, cooked noodles and scallions; stir-fry for 1 minute.
4. Serve with peanuts and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.
My kitchen accomplishment yesterday was making a test cake in preparation for Thomas's birthday in a couple of weeks. I made homemade Buttercream Frosting and Marshmallow fondant. Filled the two layers of cake with homemade raspberry jelly and the verdict was a definite thumbs up. Although a bit of a sugar rush to be certain, but then what do you expect of something that's made entirely of marshmallow, powdered sugar and water?!

But all in all, I'm pretty proud of myself and although my kitchen has been a continuous disaster, my heart is full knowing I'm "feeding" my family and serving them in love.