Vegan, Vegetarian, Omnivore...

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article about Vegan and Vegetarian Children. Her family eats vegan only, but we are only part-time vegetarians. I am looking for healthy food options for my family, though, and we often eat vegetarian meals, with the occasional meat filled meal thrown in for good measure.

One of the exciting things about the article, though, is the abundance of child friendly recipes. My kids pretty much eat whatever I feed them, but these recipes will allow me to get healthier food into them.

The one I am drawn to immediately is The Happy Herbivore's recipe for Black Bean Brownies. She has a White Bean Blondie recipe as well, but fudge-y, chocolate-y goodness is really just right up my alley.

I am mostly set on ingredients. I have a ton of both white and black beans in my freezer from some cooking sessions I did early this month. Hubby is going to the mexican market for meat (for the dogs--that is another story!) after work, so I will set him looking for the agave nectar there. And bananas will be purchased at the store this afternoon. I will let you know how they turn out.

Back to School

Crazy times are here again! School started Monday and we've been trying to get back into the school routine. So far, so good. We've had dinner every night, and my son Steven has had a lunch every day. I thought I posted about the trials and tribulations of finding the perfect lunch box, but it must have just been a post in my head.

No. I found it. I must be a bit crazy.

Anyway, we settled on the To Go Ware Two Tier Tiffin Box.

Our backup plan is something similar to this:

He prefers the tiffin box, however, because it does a better job of keeping his food separate. Very important, especially when you are 13.

We were at the store shopping for possible lunch options, and they were offering a sample of this pasta salad. It was so good, we immediately picked up all the ingredients (except the tomatoes--the girl didn't make it with tomatoes and he loved it exactly the way it was).

Smoked Cheddar and Turkey Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces uncooked wagon wheel pasta
  • 8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 8 ounces smoked turkey breast, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced (optional!)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup milk.
Cook and drain pasta. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan, and milk; blend well. Combine pasta and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add mayo mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Prepare for gifts and accolades once your friends and family taste this salad.

The Women's Crusade

The Women's Crusade

“Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.

Life is Crazy!

I know I've been AWOL for a bit, and I'm sorry! I've been neglecting my blogs while I've been trying to figure out my personal life.

My Blessings:
  • My kids are healthy and awesome. I love them dearly and they keep me going when things are tough.
  • My husband. We've been married over 15 years and together even longer. I love him so much and he loves me just as much. When things are tough (like they are financially right now), we still have each other. I thank "The Powers that Be" every day for bringing him into my life.
  • My animals. Yep--they bring me peace when I need it.
  • My mom. She loves me and she is there for me, although it is often with the downside of telling me what I am doing wrong at any given moment (this is an everyday occurrence, unfortunately). I love you Mom.
  • My writing ability--this is both a blessing and a curse. I know I can write well, but I have a tendency to overthink things and sabotage my career.
  • My new job as a freelance writer for my local newspaper, the Moapa Valley Progress. Wish me luck in this endeavor. Of course--since it is freelance, it is only part time, so I will still have time to write for Affordable Baby Organics and Demand Studios. And of course, I am always available for anyone else who wants to hire me.
My Curses:
  • Depression. I hate that I struggle with this. This is a relatively new development in my life, and it isn't under control. And I hate not being in control.
  • My finances. This is such a weird thing for me. I have no control over my husband's reduced hours, but that sucks. And I quit a "perfectly good" job at the bakery to pursue my writing career, which is being built, but slower than I anticipated. In my defense (and, boy, do I question this!), I had to quit for my mental health. I came home every day and cried. I love baking, but working in the bakery was very stressful. Let's just say that people can be extremely mean...
  • Dude, I have more blessings than curses! It's just that the curses are so big that they sometimes overwhelm the blessings...
So, I will be back in a bit. I am working on another cookbook, which I will post a link to here. Do a gal a favor though, and buy a copy. It isn't very much...just $2.95 per download.

So, current cookbook:
The Freezer Gourmet - 5 Chicken Recipes for the Grill (around the world version)

Thanks everyone for the comments on my previous post. I appreciate your thoughts and wishes, and I am thrilled to death that people actually read my blog. :)


My daughter is moving out this month. I am going to miss her, but it is a good thing. She is moving 2 hours away into a really nice little house, recently built.

I have mixed feelings. I really miss her when she is gone, but I know that it is good for her. My son claims his space from what she leaves, and I think it is a sign for him that he's growing up.

But I feel sad.

I'm kind of stuck in this holding pattern--like she is moving on with her life and the rest of us are stuck here trying to work our lives out. My husband is still working reduced hours. My mom is depressed and taking it out on the rest of us. I feel like hiding in my room most of the time, but I know I can't because I need to be an example for my son.


I'm sorry! We're having one of those days here...

A Music Meme

Oh! And yesterday's winner post was my 100th post on this blog! Woohoo!

The Rules:
(1) Turn on your MP3 player.
(2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
(3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up--song title and artist--NO editing/cheating, please.

My small but powerful RCA Pearl mp3 player
1. Changes in Latitude - Jimmy Buffet
2. I'll Keep Your Memory Vague - Finger Eleven
3. Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
4. Remember the Time - Michael Jackson
5. Tainted Love - Pussycat Dolls
6. Rocket Queen - Guns and Roses
7. Tangled - Maroon 5
8. Piano Concerto No 1 - Peter Tchaikovsky
9. Switch - Will Smith
10. You Don't Know Me - Lisa Loeb
11. Purple Rain - Prince
12. My Opinion III - Pato Banton
13. Time to Take Out the Trash - Brad Sucks
14. The Myth of Love - Georgia Satellites
15. Tube Snake Boogie - ZZ Top

Ummm...yeah. I have very eclectic music tastes! Thanks to my friend Emily for this meme!

MySpace Playlist at

We Have A Winner!

Hi all! Sorry it has taken me so long to announce the winner...

It's Busy Mom of Two! Woohoo! I'm excited to announce that she will receive not one, but two signed copies of The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters! Woohoo...

Thanks, all, for playing!
On Aug. 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced he would resign following damaging revelations in the Watergate scandal.
There are no Seeing Eye cats, of course, because the sole function of cats, in the Great Chain of Life, is to cause harm to human beings. The instant a cat figured out that the blind person would follow it wherever it went, it would lead this person directly into whirling unshielded manufacturing equipment.
Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Homes and Other Black Holes (1988)

Piles and Piles and Piles

I was going through my piles of emails this morning and come across an email from Leanne Ely from Saving Dinner. Here is an excerpt:
If you missed Wednesday's Saving Dinner Show on BTR, you missed a good one! My dear friend Marla Cilley the FlyLady joined me and we chatted up a storm on what constitutes taking responsibility for yourself in all departments of life, not just food and health. Marla started talking about how we procrastinate and how we make piles of stuff all around us. I had a light bulb moment and said we need an acronym for PILE...I had the first two words, "Procrastination Is"...then we let our friends in chat go for it and the group came up with Procrastination Is Loving Excuses; or it could be Living Excuses too. I believe it was Keri that came up with that one. Don't you LOVE it?

And isn't that what happens to us? We P.I.L.E. everything from our homes, to our cars, to our jobs, to our relationships...nothing is given priority, we excuse ourselves, but no one else, we PILE on, we feel guilty and we're miserable. It's a vicious cycle that needs to end! But here's the thing--if we can start taking care of ourselves, we CAN end this insanity! It takes PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! The payoff is amazing and the trickle down effect into the rest of your life is life changing and hugely empowering!
This really struck a chord with me because I am a "piler". That is, I pile things. Papers on my desk, stuff that needs to go to goodwill. Library books. Stuff. I pile it. I have a hard time dealing with it (although Marla Cilley from Flylady has helped a bit with this).

The inside of my house is NOT completely trashed, although I do have piles of stuff in my room. And I married a piler too. Or a packrat. Or perhaps they are one and the same. My darling husband brings things home from work all the time. Things that his company is throwing away. In his defense, the stuff he brings home is perfectly good stuff (like the 9 billion patio umbrellas he just brought home--all in working order and in perfect condition). I just don't know what to do with it. A lot of times I pull out what I want and spread the rest between family, friends, and goodwill, but what do I do with the stuff that hubby wants? It is piled around my house and on my property. It's kind of like living in a warehouse.

We do need to be responsible. The company my husband works for needs to responsibly dispose of the items they no longer want, either by distributing it to the employees or giving it to charity. Perfectly usable items should NOT end up in a landfill. I need to take ownership of my finances and paper. I need to take responsibility for my life. It is my life, after all, and I am the one who has control of it.

I sometimes feel like I am drowning in stuff. Stuff I own, stuff I want, stuff I want to do, stuff I want to start, stuff I want to finish. I have simplified some areas of my life, but others need simplifying as well. I have too much stuff.

I need to take responsibility. Responsibility for my work and my life. I am in charge. I decide which writing jobs to take and which not to take. Sometimes I hide from the world, though, and that just can't be good. It's time to take responsibility. Wish me luck...I know I am going to need it!

It's All About the Food...

I've cooked a lot of beans in my crockpot this week, so I can stock up my freezer. But today's recipe calls for garbanzo beans (chickpeas, if you will), and that is something my local grocer does not carry dried. So I will have to use canned, and have my husband or daughter check one of the stores in Vegas. Anyway, I am heading out the door to get the garbanzo beans and chicken. And this is what's for dinner tonite!

Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas

6 chicken thighs
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2-16 oz cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and largely diced
1 medium sized red onion
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of paprika
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

Serve over:
hot cooked couscous or brown rice

  1. In a medium pan, heat olive oil. Brown chicken thighs on both sides.
  2. Put garbanzo beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, raisins, tomato paste, water, cumin, and paprika into a crockpot; stir well. Place browned chicken on top. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  3. Remove chicken. Stir peanut butter into vegetables in crockpot. Serve with hot couscous or rice.

Ultimate Rotisserie

I checked this book out from the library:

Oh. my. oh. my. I. think. I've. died. and. gone. to. heaven.

I've had my rotisserie for years. I got it from my grandma when she passed away. I don't think she even ever used it. But I had seen all those cool Ronco commercials stating that I can have a delicious rotisserie chicken for half the cost in the same amount of time it would take me to get to the deli and back, so I just had to have it.

Well. Those statements aren't exactly correct because for some reason whole chickens uncooked in my meat department cost the same as the cooked ones in the deli. And it only takes me ten minutes to get to the deli and back, but, whatever.

I do love it. And the idea of all the things I can do (but never did). So I checked the book out. And now I've tried it. On a whole chicken no less (which happens to be on sale this week for half of the price of buying it already cooked in the deli, so I've saved some money there!).

Anyway, the recipe I picked is the It Isn't Easy Being Green Basil Pesto Chicken. Which is really basic, but yummy!

So basically, take 1/2 cup of store bought or homemade basil pesto and smear it under the skin of your whole chicken. Roast according to your rotisserie instructions. Ummm...yum.

We served this with Zucchini Parmesan Rice. It was good. Really good. I'm actually surprised it lasted long enough for me to take pictures.

Anyway, I need to go to the store and buy a bunch more chickens so I have a frugal reason to make my own rotisserie chicken. Because $4 for a chicken is sooooooooo much better than $8.