Category Archives: Recipes/Food

Back on Track

As has been alluded to, we are trying to get back on track with our healthy eating and exercising. Cause, you know, it’s the end of March and there’s still time to fit into bathing suits and shorts without shame. At the rate we’re going, we might not even look good in flip flops.

Poor Tim – I was out late last night picking up a friend from the airport, and I completely forgot to make him a breakfast or lunch for work today. He threw together some things, but was definitely having a HUNGRY day. He texted me this picture in the middle of the afternoon.

Uh oh.  Where's the food?

Uh oh. Where’s the food?

Nothing like re-starting a diet to make you suddenly starving. And it’s the second day! How are we expected to keep going at this relentless pace?

David, Sarah and I did school to distract ourselves.

School reading time!

School reading time!

As part of my food plan/healthy eating, I’ve committed to switching to decaf coffee after lunch. Ugh. Pray for me. Enough said on that subject.

At Costco today, I bought a big bag of lemons. I need to increase my water consumption, and I love fresh lemon slices in a big Starbucks water glass. Even my water makes me think of coffee. Don’t worry, it’s decaf water (in the afternoon anyway).

I decided to make up a batch of the Trim Healthy Mama drink – the Singing Canary. I have made it in the past and thought it only so-so. But I was CRAZY about it today. So delicious. Here’s the link to the recipe I followed: Trim Healthy Mama Singing Canary

So delicious!

So delicious!

It’s got lemons and vitamin C, some protein powder, turmeric and vanilla. It was creamy and delicious. I am definitely making it again tomorrow. Added plus, it’s not the kids’ favorite drink, so I don’t have to share!

Not that I’m greedy or anything. I would totally share. I love you, David and Sarah.

I have to be careful because I know they’re gonna read the blog and then probably ask me to make them a pitcher of Singing Canary.

Here is the original post from the THM sisters discussing all the amazing health benefits of this drink (particularly noted to help with adrenal fatigue): FB Page about Singing Canary

Let me know if you give this recipe a try, or if you’ve already made it. So curious what other people think. There are all sorts of Trim Healthy Mama drinks and smoothies that Serene and Pearl (sisters and authors of the THM book) have created. Most of them have interesting names. Picture telling your kids you’re off to make some Good Girl Moonshine before you head off to church. That’ll raise some eyebrows.

Well, the lack of caffeine is making itself felt. I’m off to bed.

Project 365 – Day 83

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Mais Oui!

Yes, we may. We may happily devour Poulet Cordon Bleu, thanks to David’s French homework. He is taking a class online with The Potter’s School, and one of our favorite assignments of this semester is for each student to cook a French meal.

Chicken fillets pounded thin, wrapped around pieces of ham and swiss cheese, coated in butter and breadcrumbs .... Mmmmm.

Chicken fillets pounded thin, wrapped around pieces of ham and swiss cheese, coated in butter and breadcrumbs …. Mmmmm.

Kathy wanted me to take David out to dinner at a French restaurant, but all the French restaurants in our area are inexplicably closed today or have gone out of business. We’re busy late tomorrow, and yes, the assignment is due Wednesday. Planning in advance is not our strength.

So we gathered the necessary ingredients and assembled four large portions of Chicken Cordon Bleu, and popped them in the oven. While we waited, we made two different versions of crêpes, liberally spreading them with jam, sliced pieces of fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

Easy Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu Basic Crêpes

There was nothing creepy about these crêpes ...

There was nothing creepy about these crêpes …

Yes, it is a hardship to be a homeschool Dad these days. I don’t know how I manage to do it with such savoir-faire and panache. (Those are bonus Frenchy-type words, to make this blog post more Cultural.)

As I was checking my plate for any microscopic crumbs I may have overlooked, Kathy belatedly spoke up.

“Did you save any for your lunch, tomorrow?” Kathy asked plaintively.

Preparing my food for the days I work in the city is one of Kathy’s least favorite chores. I’m gone so long, she has to come up with something for all three meals of the day, which is no picnic, at 11 pm, when she’s ready to think about it. Alternatively, if she doesn’t send me off with a well-stocked lunch bag, I’ll probably eat biscuits and Nutella all day, and will come home ten pounds heavier. Since many of us are in the midst of a weight loss plan (you can see our progress at the bottom of the left panel), I figure she’ll rassle me up something (but it won’t be leftover chicken Cordon Bleu, since I ate my entire piece at one go).

David and Sarah wisely saved half of theirs for tomorrow.

David and Sarah wisely saved half of theirs for tomorrow.

Project 365, Day 54

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French Dinner with Daniel

As part of his French class, Daniel must occasionally engage in the production of special cultural projects, to enhance his understanding of French culture. Past projects have included:

  • Making a map of our neighborhood, with all the landmarks labeled in French
  • Watching a French movie — Les Choristes
  • Taking a picture (and labeling it in French) of our living room
  • Writing a report on how Christmas is celebrated in France

This month, Daniel was given the opportunity to do some French cooking. My suggestion of French Fries wasn’t received favorably, for some reason. Daniel looked over the list, and settled on crepes.

At first, I was inclined to sneer a bit. “It’s just a pancake with a French name,” I said to myself. But when he started to add the Strawberry Jam, Nutella and Cool Whip, I changed my tune.

Some school projects are a lot more fun than others.

“Say, Daniel,” I hinted, in my best wheedling voice. “Do you need me to try that, just to make sure it is OK?” No, for some reason he didn’t need my help — I had to make my own with the dregs of his batter.

It was a delectable dessert, and I took back my sneering. Of course, not many things aren’t made delicious by way of a liberal coat of Nutella. Well done, Daniel!

As the day wore on, David asked me, with his characteristic tact, “So, Dad, what are we doing about supper?”

I haven’t scored a lot of points as a short-order cook this week. “Fend for yourselves,” has been my rallying cry, as I headed off to work in the city. We’ve gone through all the Chimichangas and most of the burritos. Happily, I was able to report that one of Kathy’s dear friends was bringing dinner. The cheering was a bit deafening, and rather insulting.

We were all still hungry enough to devour Michelle's delicious beef stew, in spite of the crepes.

The stew that was provided was mostly steak, with a few token carrots and potatoes thrown in for color — just the sort of stew that a houseful of boys appreciates. Kathy’s friends sure are good to us — thanks, Michelle!

I decided not to display the Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cake because, well, we haven’t finished it yet. Besides, we’re not accepting any visitors until we do a little cleaning in the kitchen.


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The Unnamed Post

I’ve got some delicious chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. It’s 11:30 pm, but surely that’s not too late to bake cookies. Tim and I had a fun idea for our Sunday School class tomorrow and fresh baked cookies are part of our scheme.

I love this 8 year old!

David loves my chocolate chip cookies.

But then is there ever a time when fresh baked chocolate chip cookies (with a scattering of butterscotch chips) aren’t welcome.

Maybe at a Weight Watchers meeting.

bunch of park cuties

This is not an actual Weight Watchers Meeting.

These, of course, are made with half whole wheat flour. Or rather white whole wheat. What does that even mean? Does anyone know? It’s a type of King Arthur flour and it’s actually called white whole wheat. Interesting. I’m hoping it means I can use it in chocolate chip cookies and no one will fuss about the whole wheat texture/flavor.

We’ll see.

chocolate trail mix

These are not my chocolate chip cookies.

On Thursday nights, when I should be working on homeschool co-op prep and getting ready for a good night’s sleep, I am often overcome with an irresistible urge to bake. It’s not logical. It’s not helpful. It is, however, very tasty. Last week I made cinnamon crispies – basically an incredibly sweet and delicious cinnamon roll. I discovered the recipe on a blog. Go now and check it out. Your family will rise up and call you blessed.

Of course, they’ll also need to spend some time at that Weight Watcher meeting, but the cinnamon crispies are worth it.

This week I made up a huge batch of chocolate Chex mix. We had some at our Debt Free party and the kids have been raving over the leftovers ever since.

“I’m addicted to trail mix. Did I ever tell you that?” Joshua said to me several times during the week.

What’s a mother to do? Obviously she should wait until the last minute on Thursday night and make trail mix.

I’m sure you all agree.

Now, it turns out that my three older children are very particular about what they like in their trail mix. Or rather, what they DON’T like in their chex mix. The basic mix consists of: Chex cereal, Cheerios, nuts (this time it was peanuts and cashews), pretzels, a little bit of M&M’s, and dried fruit. As this was a “muddy” trail mix I melted chocolate and peanut butter chips and drizzled them over the entire thing, stirring gently.

Joshua likes raisins but not craisins.
Daniel likes craisins but not raisins.
Rachel likes craisins but not raisins or pretzels.

Daniel's Special Day

Tim, it has been revealed, likes any and all trail mix. Preferably the kind with lots of chocolate.

Hmmm, not a problem I decided. I pulled out several large bowls, divided out the ingredients and made individual recipes of mix per child. I did have to verify the preferences several times but after a little bit of work I had trays full of Just My Favorite Chex mix for the kids.

From there I went on to make banana chocolate chip muffins.

Please don’t ask me how many hours of sleep I routinely get on a typical Thursday night. It’s not pretty. Thankfully my Fridays include plenty of strong coffee and many other blessings.

If you have any suggestions for what I should make this week, do share. I like to bring some sort of treat or goodie to my co-op classes. You know, to bribe the teenagers into doing their work and thinking I’m a cool teacher.

It’s mostly working. They haven’t fired me yet.


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You Can’t Hide Your Lying Scales

One of the things God hates is ‘lying scales’, and I can begin to see why.

The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight. – Proverbs 11:1

… or again, a few chapters later:

The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him. – Proverbs 20:23

Back in November, I began a weight-loss plan, with the goal of losing 28 pounds by May 20. Enjoying some early success (and a little discouragement), I managed to stay ‘below the line’ on my goal graph for the first three months or so.

Stepping onto the scale Wednesday morning, my toes curled as I tried to brace myself for the worst. I’ve thrown caution to the winds the last two or three weeks, enjoying large portions and lots of sweets with wild abandon, as Kathy’s folks were in town. I stopped recording my calories and my visits to the local YMCA faded into hazy memory.

Goal Graph
So much for being ‘below the line’.

In spite of this mental preparation, I was dismayed to see the numbers: 225.4. Yikes! Up more than two pounds in just a week!

I stepped off, restarted the scale, and stepped on again: 225.6.

The numbers were not moving in the direction I had hoped.

Now, with a 2.2 pound weight gain since last week, I have no choice but to return to a more disciplined approach to eating.

It is sometimes strange to me that discipline appears to be a zero-sum-game, in my life. When I exert self-discipline in one area (like my finances), I seem less willing to simultaneously exert myself in another area (e.g. weight-loss). Keeping all the areas of my life in order often seems as futile as that old arcade favorite, Whack-A-Mole.

It is a remarkably satisfying game, perhaps because so many of us fail in real life.

In general, successful discipline in one area of life is transferable to another, so maybe the problem is my flesh, pathetically using the excuse that it is ‘weary’ of self-control. Let’s not look too closely at that, shall we?

Valentine's Day Cookies
Naturally, at a time when I am struggling, Kathy makes Chocolate Chip Cookies.

When I began this weight-loss program, I very much wanted to succeed, and so I asked for people who would pray at least 4 times a week, that I would actually exercise some discipline and lose weight. I try not to be delusional; there is no particular reason that I should be successful in losing weight after all these years of being, er, fat.

M and M sorting
Not wanting people to know she used old, Christmas M&M’s, Kathy had Daniel sort out all the green ones.

In exchange for their prayers, I promised to pray for those folks every day (with one day off each week). For the most part, I have nearly kept that promise, specifically praying for those ten people, five days a week. So if you are one of those who promised to pray for me and have slacked off, please be reminded: I desperately need your prayers to succeed at this.


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