Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Ripley, always happy to please the camera.
Victor, laughing through his pain.
Ripley, loving every minute of it.
Friday, January 16, 2009
- Better utilization of garden space. I am amazed when I see pictures of city and suburb gardens jammed into small spaces and producing enough to feed their families of 4-6!
- I don't have room to do too much experimenting.
- Only grow those things that your family LOVES to eat and plant lots of those things.
- Learn more about succession planting and take advantage of the additional yields this practice will give you.
- Obscure vegetables are fun and all, but be sure the majority of your space is used planting things you know you will get lots of use out of.
- Start seeds earlier in the winter. I don't have a good window to put my seeds in to grow them (we only have one window on the south side of our house, and it's in Ripley's bedroom), so I rely on florescent lighting in the basement to grow my seedlings. It's cooler down there, and florescent lighting just isn't a good as the Sun God created. So when I brought my seedlings out in May to plant they were literally 2 inches tall. Friends were planting enormous "seedlings" they'd purchased at Home Depot and I was left praying over my microscopic dwarf crop. It all worked out more or less in the end, but my sweet peppers didn't have the opportunity to mature for the most part. So most of them were picked green and small. My tomatoes brought forth a great crop, but ripened later than my Home Depot friends' tomatoes.
- Cut back on weeds using layers of newspaper and straw (thank you Raingarden, again). This was a huge time saver, after I finally learned about it.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
3 Bean Vegetarian Chili
- 3/4 C medium or coarse Bulgar
- 1 C orange juice (I didn't have any, so I used cider)
- 1/3 C olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 C chili powder
- 3 T ground cumin
- 3 T dried oregano
- 1 1/2 T dried thyme
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper (the recipe calls for 1-2 t, but that gets really hot -- and I love spice!)
- 1/4 t ground cinnamon
- 1 T salt
- 1 can (35 oz) plum tomatoes w/ juice (whole or diced or crushed -- last time I used diced and crushed b/c that's what I had - frankly, I liked that combo best)
- 3 C water (the recipe calls for chicken broth, but it's not necessary and I wanted to make it totally vegetarian -- you couldn't notice any difference)
- 2 large sweet red peppers - 1/2" dice
- 1/2 lb. french cut frozen green beans **Note** don't worry about the exact amount of veggies. If your package is 16 oz., just use the whole thing! Add more of your favorite things, less of your "not as favorite". It's all good.
- 1 pkg. (10 oz.) corn kernels
- 1 can (16 oz.) dark red kidney beans - rinsed and drained (sometimes I used black beans instead because I prefer them)
- 1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas - rinsed and drained
Suggested Toppings: Sour Cream, Shredded Jack or Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Scallions.Serve along with Cornbread and Butter! Yum. Yum. Yum.
In a small bowl, combine Bulgar and orange juice and let stand at room temperature.
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until they are tender
.Add in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Add in the tomatoes and 3 C water (or broth, if using) . If you're using whole tomatoes, break them up with your fingers as you are adding them in. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the red peppers into dice. Throw them in the pot. (You may need to raise the heat up a little.)
After a few minutes, add in the frozen green beans, frozen corn and Bulgar. Stir.
After a few more minutes, add in the chickpeas and kidney beans. Stir.
Simmer until all the veggies are tender and the chili is thick. (Sometimes, I add in a little extra water b/c I don't like it too thick.) Taste and adjust any seasonings.
Beware: This chili is spicier the next day. And as with any tomato based dish, it's better the next day. This is a great thing to serve at a party because you cook it the day before and then on the day of the party it's "one less thing" to worry about! Yumola.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Sitting here on this couch is an incredible group of ladies and a testimony to what God can do. You see, about 9 years ago, all four of us were in the middle of the ugly awful thing called divorce. Our spouses had been unfaithful, battled all kinds of addictions, and were abusive physically, verbally or emotionally. We banded together through the most difficult time in our lives, praying for each other, listening to each other, building each other up, and supporting each other -- like in the Old Testament when Moses arms were tired and Aaron and Hur held his arms up, we held each other up through the valleys. Every Friday night we would all gather at my house -- the deal was, I would cook for them and they would clean up after me. (A cooks dream come true!) We were bound together like only God and trials can bind.
Now, 9 years later, we have all been through counseling, dealt with our past and with God's help come out whole. Three out of four of us are remarried to wonderful, supportive, kind hearted, faithful men. And Amy, who was a little hesitant to embark again into this sometimes scary and uncertain journey called marriage, is finally open to the idea. And after being with all of us and our wonderful men on Thursday night is even embracing the possibility! God is Good.
Now we are dispersed over Missouri, Massachusetts, Northern Rhode Island and Southern Rhode Island, so we are rarely all together in one place. Joy! From left to right: Victor, Pam's children Aimee, Allegra, Zackery; Amy, Benjamin, Ken, Linda, Pam, Kevin ... and the back of Ripley's head.
We ate Vegetarian Chili (recipe forthcoming) and Chicken Soup, with Strawberry Spinach Salad, Gorgeous Bread and rich conversation. It was such a joy to see you all!
A quick word about divorce. If any of you are considering divorce, let me be sure and tell you that it is a horrible thing. There is a reason that "God hates Divorce", it's because it rips apart everyone in it's path. All four of us would say that it's something to avoid at all costs. We did our best to be guided by God and to honor Him with our behavior and choices throughout our whole ordeal. In a word, if you are considering divorce -- don't. There are few situations that merit embarking on such an awful trail. It is a lot less painful to work it out, compromise and love the unlovable. Pray, and be guided by God. Divorce is not an easy solution to marital problems.
If you have already experienced divorce, know that God can see you through, heal your wounds and bring you to a place of peace and joy, with a lot of work and commitment on your part. Make sure to pray through it, get support and surround yourself with real friends (who don't just tell you what you want to hear, and show up when you need them). Start your own Friday Night Dinner Club.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
7 pounds strawberries, hulled
Our miniature schnauzer "Church" (don't ask) has taken up residence by the fire, permanently. He loves the new wood stove.