Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Three Hour Salad

The kitchen's been like an OVEN lately so I'm not real excited about serving anything hot so I thought, "Hey!  Salad is cool and quick!  I'll do that!"  I have this list of 25 main dish salads so I started at the very begining with Salad Nicoise.  That's right, it's French.  Be impressed.  I actually had to go to Wikipedia to figure out how to pronounce it.  It's "NI-swaz" in case you're wondering.  This salad is one of Julia Child's trademark recipes, apparently.  My recipe did not duplicate hers exactly, but it's a rough approximation I think. 

Here's a picture:

The ingredients for my simplified version are as follows:

Romaine lettuce
Grape tomatoes
Tiny red potatoes
Fresh green beans
Black olives
Hard boiled eggs
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

So, I read the recipe and it approximated 1-30 minutes for prep time.  That woman is a LIAR.  This sucker took 3 hours from start to finish!  (Now granted, I got distracted now and again, but still...)  Here's the lowdown on the flowdown:

So you scrub the potatoes and green beans, then you boil the eggs till hard and chill them.  You boil the potatoes until cooked but still firm and chill them.  You blanch the green beans (which means boil for 3 minutes then immerse in ice water), and wait a long time.   After everything is good and chilly, you wash and chop the lettuce, slice the tomatoes, peel the eggs, slice the eggs, slice the potatoes, cut up the green beans, drain the tuna, drain the olives, and make the dressing (yeah, I make my own...)

At this point, I was like, "This was more work than a full hot meal!!  What was I thinking?!?!"  I mean SERIOUSLY!  The kids kept coming up to me:  "Is it time to eat yet?"  "Can I have a piece of cheese?" 

Definitely a yummy salad that I would enjoy eating, but not so sure I'll make again...I just don't have three house to dedicate to making a salad.

Monday, July 19, 2010


My husband's been laid off and we have a dryer that vents INTO the house AND we don't have air conditioning.  So, I think hanging our laundry out on the line would be a good idea for the summer. 

Here's my cute, artsy picture that represents doing laundry on the line:

Did you know that when clothespins stay out in the rain that they turn grey?  Neither did I.  Now I do...although I doubt that the ones made during the 50's and before did.  They probably made the clothespins out of better wood back when they figured people would actually use them outdoors.

Okay, here's my sweet little "I'm hanging my laundry out on the line!" Picture: looks so sweet, so idyllic, so...out of balance!  Why didn't I stick the pants in the MIDDLE of the two shorts?!  How is it I didn't notice that?!  Okay, anyhow, wouldn't you like to believe that my laundry line looks that cute and sweet out in the dappled sunlight like that?  Yeah, I'd like to believe that too.

Here's a picture of what my laundry line REALLY looks like:  (Brace yourself)

Crazy, huh?  We literally just strung line from deck post to tree to tree to deck post to tree and back again to deck post.  There's no symmetry, no balance, no attention to asthetics.  It looks like someone did it while in"altered state".  It's the junkiest thing!  But, hey, whadda you want me to do?  Spend $150 on a laundry "tree" (just as ugly in my opinion) or $450 for a set of laundry "T's"?  I'm doing this to SAVE money, so I gotta hang the line wherever I find stuff strong enough to hold it!  

Ugly but functional.  What can you do? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Delicious Dill Dip

Here's a recipe for a nummy all natural dill dip:

1 c sour cream
1 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt

Stir together. 

If you try it and like it, consider making a batch of the dip powder at once.

Here's the quantities for a little jar of dip powder:

6 Tbsp dried dill weed
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp onion powder
6 Tbsp salt
Add up to 1 Tbsp of dip to 1 cup of sour cream and....devour.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prayer and Bible Study

Praying to God and hearing from God in His Word is the heartbeat of the Christian life.  It's the "lub-dub" of coronary Christian existence.  You can't separate the two.  Without the Word of God, our prayers dwindle away into banalities and self-oriented nothings.  Without prayer our Bible reading becomes pedantic & intellectualistic and barren and fruitless.  We must hold the two together.  (John Piper)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The "After" Picture

Several blog posts back I showed you the true condition of my living room.  Well, I got all the kid's clothes tubs put back in the garage and Mt. Never-Rest went bye-bye, and even the coffee table is back where it should be:  in front of the couch.  So, here's the after picture, for what it's worth:


Ever heard of "Lacto-Fermented Vegetables"??  Neither have I.  But, they are an ancient and traditional way of preserving foods and a way to make them a nutritional powerhouse to boot.  My first attempt was "Gingered Carrots" and is pictured below:

So I don't have a wide-mouthed quart-sized canning jar like the instructions said so thought I'd use this old pickle jar instead.  Doesn't it look all bright and cheery?  See how I put the contrasting green and blue hot pad underneath to accentuate it's cheeriness?  I followed the instructions in my "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook to prepare the "Lacto Fermented" carrots and then set them on the counter for 3 days to let the whey do it's work on the carrots before refrigerating.

Well....I think I need to turn up a quart-sized canning jar.  One thing with "Lacto-Fermenting" anything is it's an air-tight operation.  No air is to come or go during the room temperature portion of the process.  I am going to conclude that pickle jars are not air-tight once they've been opened at home.  The first day on the counter-top, I thought I might want to make sure the lid was as tight as possible.  When I twisted it "righty-tighty" it let out a tiny hiss and I could smell a smell.  Not an unpleasant one mind you, but a smell nonetheless.  So I said to myself:  "Oops...I guess it wasn't air-tight.  Well, we'll see what happens."  The next day I would occasionally catch a "pickle-like" whiff when I was near the jar and by day three the whiff wasn't so nice and there was a foam growing on top of my pretty orange carrots.  Boo-hoo. 

So, I cranked the lid really righty-tighty which released a strong vapor and hissing sound and I promptly chucked it in the garbage.  I wonder if it will eventually blow it's top somewhere in "garbage land"?  Ew.

I'll let you know how my next attempt works out.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

YIKES! Company's Coming!!!

Okay, I'm sure none of you ever resort to this.  But I had someone that was going to be in my kitchen in 5 minutes and I had a MOUNTAIN of dirty pots and pans so I hid them in my bathroom....

Yipper-doo.  Pretty ugly, huh?  Just plopped them right in front of the sink.  I have also hidden them in the shower but that is not such a good idea because I'll forget they're there and then the hubs reaches in and turns on the water in the morning and makes an unpleasant discovery.   I figured at least right in front of the sink I won't forget about them.

Oh the things we do to keep the veneer all nice and pretty for others...

What Homeschooling Really Looks Like

Okay, Ladies....I am sure all of you have beautiful orderly homes as you educate your delightful children and get done by noon every day. But for me and my doesn't work like that. So here's the rundown on a snapshot of REAL LIFE HOMESCHOOLING:

Let's see what we have here....Well, there are the remains of dinner still on the table from the night before...the BBQ sauce.  Also the remains of a milk break, my food processor and all it's gear and the manual, a cookbook, a box of plastic cutlery (I have no idea why), the aim 'n' flame (also no clue), a swiss army knife, jewelry making wire, a t-shirt coloring project, masking tape, and a glue gun. 

And of course, front and center, my science textbook...mid-chapter.  But, pray tell, where are all the children?  The arms of one child are clearly seen in the picture, but what of the other three? 

Believe it or not, I stopped mid-sentence to take this picture.  That's right folks, I was actually reading this chapter to all four of my children when, one by one they drifted away AS I WAS READING until all I had was the chaos that is my kitchen table and one single solitary child.

Now, I will confess, they hadn't drifted far, but they were not sitting bright-eyed and squeaky-clean at the table eager for more nuggets of knowledge to drop from my lips as I read aloud about the human body.  Two of them had darted into the hallway to see how many push-ups they could do since I was reading to them about arm muscles, and one had wandered off for some supply needed for her hands-on project she was pursuing at the kitchen counter while I read at the table.

Ah, yes.  This is exactly what I thought homeschooling would look like!  NOT! 

Num Num Black Bean Dip

Another slam dunk recipe from "Honest Pretzels":

2-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups)
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 c tomato juice/V8
chopped cilantro

Put beans, tomato juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and lime juice into food processor and blend until smooth. 

Serve with corn chips/pita wedges/tortillas/veggies and sprinkle cilantro on top for flavor.