Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Combine in a bowl:
2 1/2 c. grated raw potato (about 3 medium)
1 t. salt
2 T. flour
1 T. finely chopped onion
Drop by spoonfuls into a lightly oiled hot skillet. Fry until brown on one side, then turn and brown on other side. Good served with syrup, ketchup, or cheese sauce.
These past 10 days have actually been really great. It has made us realize that though we enjoy meat, we could seriously cut back and not feel like we are missing anything. I think we are going to try eating meat-free meals at least 3 times a week. Since Friday I have had a little bit of ground beef in a lasagna on Saturday night and some chicken last night. We do have to do better about cutting back dairy. This is really hard for us. We love cheese! We'll have to keep working on it.
Heat in heavy saucepan:
2 T. oil or margarine
1/2 c. chopped onion
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2-3 bay leaves
Fry until onions are lightly browned.
1/4 t. ground saffron or tumeric
1/4 t. salt
Fry a few seconds.
1 c. rice
2 c. coconut milk
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook 30 minutes. If desired, whole spices may be removed before serving and a few raisins, cashews or walnuts added.
This was yummy! It didn't have quite as much flavor as I would have thought with all the spices, but it was really good. I think I would add the raisins and cashews if I would make it again.
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
2/3 c. raw rice
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 lb. fresh spinach or
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen
chopped spinach, thawed
6 T. lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and some pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stem the spinach and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. If using thawed frozen spinach, drain well and squeeze out any excess moisture. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, remove about 1/4 c. of the hot broth and whisk it into the beaten egg. Beat the warmed egg mixture into the hot soup. Add the spinach and lemon juice and cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes; do not allow the soup to simmer or the egg will curdle. Serve the soup hot. (Serves 6)
This soup was okay. I'm not sure I would make it again, but it was a good way to use up the spinach we had that was about to go bad. We had the leftovers on Wednesday night.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Lunch ~ Indian Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous with Yogurt Chutney
Couscous (from recipezaar.com)
2 1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. olive oil
1-2 T. dried onions
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala or allspice
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper
1 c. whole wheat couscous
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Bring veg. stock, olive oil and spices to a boil. Add couscous & chickpeas; cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 7-8 minutes
Blend 2 c. chilled yogurt; 3/4 c. grated coconut; 1 T. sugar or sweetened condensed milk; a few raisins, cashews, or walnuts. Serve as a side dish or dessert with curry meal.
For lunch we were looking for a way to use a big thing of plain yogurt that was going out of date today. We found the yogurt chutney recipe in the More With Less cookbook and since it said it was good with a curry dish we pulled out one of our favorite recipes. We make the Indian Spiced Couscous all the time because it is quick, simple and really tasty.
For dinner we had pan fried tofu over rice with a spicy peanut sauce. We also make this Thai dish a lot, but we normally use chicken intead of tofu. I have to say that I didn't miss the chicken at all and neither did Brent. Maybe we could become vegetarians after all :) Vegan however is really tough. We were much stricter on our dairy intake the first few days, but it seems like it keeps sneaking its way in (though we did have yogurt for lunch it was only because it would have wasted otherwise). It is good though, we are definitely eating/drinking way less dairy than we normally do. It was a big part of our diet.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
1 lb. asparagus
Cut off tip ends and blanch until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain (saving the water for some of the broth) and set aside asparagus tips. Chop the spears, peeling the tough ends first if needed.
2 c. water or broth
1 med. potato (peeled and chopped)
1 sm. onion (chopped; optional)
1 stalk celery or celery leaves (chopped; optional)
Cook with chopped asparagus spears until soft, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly and puree until smooth. Return to heat.
2 c. broth
1 c. dry milk powder
2 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
Blend separately. Add to soup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly.
1/2 c. plain yogurt
Drain yogurt slightly through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Place a dab of yogurt in each bowl and pour hot soup over it. Garnish with the reserved asparagus tops.
We both agreed that this soup was delicious. Actually I should say the three of us...baby girl really loved it too!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I didn't post a recipe last night because I ate at my parents. They were having chicken and sausage, so I made myself a salad and had some mashed potatoes. Brent was out at Messiah for a Youth Pastor conference and took two students out for dinner (part of the job ;) and did very well getting a portabello something or another...but then he said had some chicken wings later that night. I told him he had to start the 10 days over. I think he thought I was joking.
Tonight for dinner we had grilled asparagus and red peppers and a baked potato. Not so much a recipe...just a little olive oil, salt and a grill. The grilled asparagus in particular was soooo yummy! I find that I am not missing meat that much. I find it much harder to limit my dairy. I miss cheese! I did have a dot of butter on my potato and boy did it taste good. It is nice to cut back on the things you overindulge on because it makes it so much better when you can have them.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Honey Baked Lentils
Combine in a dutch oven or saucepan:
1 lb. (2 1/3 c.) lentils
1 sm. bay leaf
5 c. water
2 t. salt
Bring to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Do no drain. Discard bay leaf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine separately and add to lentils:
1 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. powdered ginger
1 T. soy sauce
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 c. water
Cut in 1" pieces:
4 slices bacon
Stir most of the bacon into lentils and sprinkle remainder on top.
Pour over all:
1/3 c. honey
Cover tightly. Bake 1 hour. Uncover last 10 minutes to brown bacon.
We have had this dish once before and loved it so we thought we would try it again minus the bacon. I have to say that the bacon does add something to the dish, but it was still quite good without it. We had a salad with carrots, croutons and Newman's Own Light Honey Mustard Dressing. I did miss the cheese I normally cover my salad with but of course this was much healthier and the dressing was really flavorful. I probably should have made some rice to go on the side but I was lazy. Okay, now I'm off to find lentil-free recipe for dinner tonight. I need to branch out.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tonight's meal came from the cookbook "Extending the Table":
Fry in 2 T. oil until golden brown:
1 onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ground tumeric
1 1/2 t. round cumin
1 t. ginger root, finely grated (optional)
1/4 t. ground cardamom (optional)
1 c. dried lentils or split peas (if using split peas, soak overnight)
3 c. hot water
1 t. salt or to taste
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove cover and simmer over very low heat, stirring frequently, about 20 more minutes, until lentils are mushy and thick, about the consistency of refried beans. Garnish with onions, thinly sliced and browned, or a squeeze of lemon. Serve with rice.
We each had a small bowl with rice and Dhal and found it to be very filling. We also had some raw carrots on the side. Brent said the Dhal was a little dry and I'm not sure that he loved the recipe, but he did like it. I personally really liked it. I would definitely make this again.
Why 10 days of eating vegetarian? We were inspired by Daniel 1. Give it a read. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%201&version=31
A couple times this week that cheap side of me tried to take away my better judgement. The other day I went to Staples to buy Turbo Tax. We decided that this would be a necessary purchase since we are truly are totally clueless when it comes to doing our taxes, especially since there are some crazy things because Brent is a pastor. The people at H&R Block were pretty stumped last year, so we figured we wouldn't do so well on our own. Anyway, there was a deal going that with the purchase of Turbo Tax you could get some other computer software for only $10. There was a photo software that I had really wanted to get last year but it was too expensive. Here it was for only $10! I was really tempted to just get it and not tell anyone. Very tempting, but I resisted.
A little while ago I could have gotten a baby carrier that normally costs anywhere from $40-$100 for only $15. The only problem was that it was new. I couldn't even get a carrier of this style second hand for that cheap. Ugh! That was really hard to pass up.
Today I got a coupon in the mail for $10 off a purchase of $10 at Fashion Bug. Now this one is sticky. Part of me really wants to justify using it...I could get something for free after all! For some reason though, it feels like using it would be going against the spirit of this year. Then again, I did get a free water ice at Rita's on Thursday! Maybe I'm contradicting myself. Sometimes it can be a little tricky navigating this year and we just kind of have to feel our way. What would you do?
Monday, March 17, 2008
So the other night Brent and I were both feeling really tired an neither of us felt like cooking diner. We both decided that it would be a great night to use on of our sacred gift cards. We chose a local eatery that we had a gift card for and decided that we both wanted buffalo chicken cheese steaks with cheese fries. Before we decided no more takeout and no more eating out we had been getting takeout or eating out at least once a week. Like I said we both love food (not hard to tell when you meet us) and not getting takeout and eating out has been one of the biggest challenges of our year so far (I know...boo hoo...poor babies). We were so excited about these chicken cheese steaks! So, Brent calls the restaurant and guess what?! They have gone out of business and a new restaurant has taken its place ~ and no, they do not accept their predecessor's gift cards. We went from major excitement to being majorly disappointed.
I decided it wasn't even worth making diner that I would just go hungry. I was no longer in the mood for eating. Brent however made the best of the situation (after a bit of pouting). He whipped up the most delicious faux takeout meal that I have ever had. You honestly would not be able to tell the difference. He made buffalo chicken cheese steaks and mozzarella fries as you can see from the picture. I wish you could have tasted them. And yes, we ate every last bite! Now off to find a good diet...
*sigh* I really got a keeper! Who needs takeout now?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Anyway, it's Brent again. I'm supposed to blog about our (perhaps) hardest trial to date in this year of no newness.
Last Monday we went (for free of course) to the Philly Flower Show. I know...most of you are thinking "How could you handle that sort of frivolity and excitement?? It is almost too much fun to contain in one convention center!!!" Well, somehow we managed it. For four hours...four long, colorful, flowery hours. But that is not the trial that I'm writing about.
Our real trial began after we left the convention center and traveled across the street to the Reading Terminal Market. If you have never been there I will sum it up for you...it is nothing but A HUGE indoor market filled with every type of incredible food that you could ever imagine. The smells make you want to weep...seriously.
So there we were...having just walked around for four hours straight looking at flowers. Don and Kathy (who went with us) decided to get something to eat for dinner and we went along. After all, we were prepared! We had...water...and...smushed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yum Yum.
So Don and Kathy say something like, "Why don't we buy some food for you. It can be for pastors appreciation month that we missed or Christmas or something"
We said no. And we were both very pleased that we had that sort of strength.
Then Don and Kathy got their food. Don got a bacon and bleu cheese burger and fries. A huge, thick, juicy, mouth watering burger with 4 pieces of crisp bacon and a mound of bleu cheese as think as the burger was!!!!!!! Kathy got crispy fish and chips... and they smelled amazing. A huge mound of fries and 5 large fish fillets in crunchy breading.
And again they asked if they could buy us something.
Again we said no. We just ate our smushed PB&J sandwiches.
So, why do I tell you this story? It is not to pat ourselves on the back. (Though I am really proud of how well we did)
I tell this because THAT is the hardest thing we have to face. And honestly...that isn't hard at all!!!!!!! We had food. We had something to drink.
How many people around the world don't have any of that? There are people all over the world that don't have water let alone food to eat.
And our big trial is that we couldn't order a burger????? Kinda seems puny in comparison right?
That is why I'm glad that we are doing this for a year. It isn't really the challenge...it's reminding us of the tons and tons of things that we do have...things that we usually take for granted.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
He made buckeyes, mounds and chocolate truffles dusted in powdered sugar and cocoa. As you can see, I couldn't even wait to take a picture before downing two of them. The were so yummy!
He also make me a beautiful card with a rose on the front that he carved out with his knife. It is the best card I have ever gotten...so much better than Hallmark!
He is also my hero because he fixed my electronic pencil sharpener. This broke my last year of teaching but I was hoping it might be salvaged, so I held onto it. I tried to fix it but couldn't and old Missy might have gone out to buy a new one, but new Missy...well new Missy made her husband to fix it for her :). And he did...*swoon* I love that guy!
While I'm talking about Valentine's Day I want to show you the cute slippers Baby Girl wore on V-Day. They are made out of a recycled wool sweater...actually the same one the pants she is wearing (which are much too big) are made out of. When wool is lanolized it can be used as a cloth diaper cover. I bought a couple of wool sweaters at the thrift store to try to sew some more pants/diaper covers for her. If I ever get around to making them I will post pictures. Some day when I get really adventurous I would really like to knit some longies for her (that's what they call them in the cloth diapering world). Someday I'll stop piling up the crafts I want to do and actually do them!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
On the way back however, we were not as prepared. There was no hot coffee, we forgot to fill up our water bottles and all the chocolate was gone! We ate an early lunch and were hungry so we snacked on bran crackers. Brent tried to chip away at the leftover water that had frozen in water bottle. I had to pee again! I don't know what was wrong with me. My parents gave me the nickname camel bladder because I can go on a 10 hour trip and never have to go. We stopped at a Burger King so I could go....bad idea! After stopping there I couldn't get the smell of burgers out of my head. I wanted one so bad! Brent started getting burger fever also. We had a major craving. So, we normally would have picked up value meals at the Burger King or ordered in from The Perk when we got home. Of course we couldn't do that so we made some burgers when we got home and put baby girl to bed. We made the burgers with bleu cheese and bacon....mmm yum! Now it wasn't a Whopper and it wasn't a Carousel Burger but it was good and satisfied the craving.
We have to constantly be prepared when we are in the car so we don't cave to temptation. I'm going to try make yummy treats when we are making long car trips like the one to NY. We both have to remember to fill our water bottles! Next time maybe I'll also have to find a way to sneak along some burgers...just in case!
Friday, January 25, 2008
I think my parents are going to be the hardest thing about this year. I love them but they keep trying to take us out to eat or buy us things because they know we are not allowed to buy it for ourselves. That's not the point! They are so wonderful and generous and just don't want to see us suffering, but we are not suffering and we are doing this so that we can grow. I know, I know...it must be soooo tough to have parents like that. I consider myself very lucky and blessed. I am so thankful for the generosity of my parents. Sometimes they are just too generous though!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Trust me, I never thought I'd be cloth diapering. I just imagined the pins and the plastic pants and I was like, no way! Hardly anyone diapers like that anymore. If you have a little one in diapers just consider cloth. Not only do you save money (not at first, but over time) but it can also be a lot of fun! Do a little research and you will see that a lot has changed. My favorite website at the time is diaperswappers.com where you can buy/sell/trade diapers and also finds all kinds of information about cloth diapering and parenting in general.
Switching to cloth diapers kind of launched my current passion for living more sustainably. I have a long way to go, but here are some of the other switches I have made.
Paper towels: Instead of reaching for paper towels for clean ups I got all my rags together in a bin and I got into the habit of reaching for them instead.
Feminine Products: This may be TMI especially for those of the male persuasion, but I decided that since I was using cloth for my baby, why not use cloth for myself. I looked into it and actually found something called the Diva Cup which I mainly use. It definitely takes some time getting used and is not as easy as a tampon in some ways, but it's not too bad either and worth it for not making waste. I do also have a couple of cloth pads. I know this is going a little too far for some people, but what did women do before disposables were invented? I'm not saying that all advances are bad things, but when they are creating so much waste we need to rethink what we are doing.
Napkins: I was going to make my own now that I have my mom's sewing machine up and running, but my mom had a ton of them and gave me a whole stack to get me started!
Still working on...
Tissues: We haven't made the switch to handkerchiefs yet, but I see that in the near future (we'll still keep some Kleenex on hand for guests).
Probably not in our future...
Family cloth: I'm just not sure I could do this, and I'm pretty darn sure that Brent wouldn't. I think this is were we draw the line. I'm not quite ready to give up toilet paper. You'll be happy to know though that the toilet paper I am buying is made of recycled paper and is whitened without chlorine bleach.
Just even making one of these switches is helping reduce waste, so I encourage you to give it a shot!
Monday, January 21, 2008
To be honest, so far things are pretty easy. I mean, I miss the flexibility of being able to buy whatever we want but on the other hand, life gets boring when you have to rely on money to do anything. Last night we were both tired and realized that in the past that meant that we would order out and maybe rent a movie. But now both of those options are off limits! So instead we made some really good honey almond chicken and watched (To my chagrin) Little Women.
So, maybe after this year I will not be quite as good at playing "Scene It" but I will be a much better cook. (Probably more healthy too)
I do miss comic books (I'm now three weeks behind...someone please tell me what's happening to Spiderman!) but I have discovered that the local library is building it's comic book and Manga collection. In fact, I am thinking about donating some of my old comic trades to promote the spirit of donating! (Really I just want them to get more books because I will read all the ones they have in a few months)
We have only been doing this whole "no new stuff" thing for a month but the thing that has stood out to me is that Americans tend to pay for entertainment. What do you normally do for free? There isn't much. You pay for almost any concert, movie, play, round of golf, bowling...you name it.
So our challenge this year is going to be finding fun things that are free. And unfortunately they are few and far between! People could spend a lot less money if there were things to do that didn't involve money. More concerts in the park and parades and plays...in Albany where I grew up there was a play in the park every summer. They were good ones too, musicals like Camelot and lots of Shakespeare. There were seats that you could pay for but then there was a whole hill above them that you could sit on for free. It was always packed and always a lot of fun to go see.
That is the type of thing that we need more of. Then we wouldn't have to drop $30 every time we wanted to have fun.
So we will search for free fun things to do, and then maybe we can tell other people about them!
We will keep you posted.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I also wish I had gotten a Kleen Kanteen because now that we can't stop at convenience stores for drinks I'm going to try to make sure I am more diligent about bring a water bottle with me in case I get thirsty. We only have one Nalgene, so I would have liked to have another water bottle. Oh well, there are always thrift stores!
It's funny...as I am driving along I find myself mourning the loss of being able to go out to eat. Every eatery I see I'm like, oh I wish I could just get some coffee or a little snack. It's quite sad really. I've never seen so many restaurants as I do now. It's like the "you want what you can't have" thing. I remember when I was pregnant Brent and I were eating on the patio and I turned to him and said, "I could really use a smoke." I don't smoke, but just knowing that I couldn't made me want to really bad.
The crazy thing is that even under our new rule of not going out to eat, somehow Brent managed to eat out 4 times last week, and one of those times I was with him. It all fell under our exceptions, but still! That's just crazy! He went out once with the Elders for a breakfast meeting, once with the lead Pastor for a lunch meeting, once with a student from church (this was actually dinner and a movie, but he didn't have to pay for either) and then we both went out with my parents and my Grammy (used a one of our gift certificates). We're really off to a great start! As I said earlier, this will be harder for Brent because sometimes for work he will have to blur the lines. He didn't initiate any of those meetings/outings and it is hard to say no, especially to a student when that is what his job is mostly about...connecting with the kids. I didn't really want to go out to eat with my parents because I felt guilty going out so soon into our experiment, but they wanted to spend time with us and my Mom didn't want to cook which I totally understand after a hard week at work. I would have offered to cook but I hadn't been grocery shopping recently so I didn't have much food in the house. I really hated to have to use our precious gift certificates so soon but I didn't want my parents to feel like they had to pay for us out of pity for our situation.
I just have to learn to be even more prepared. First of all, I have to keep my house clean and food stocked so that if people ask us out to eat we could suggest that they come over to eat instead. I'm such a planner and don't do well with having to throw a meal together at the last minute, but I have to learn to get over my pride and not care if I put together the perfect meal. Brent said that for some of his meetings he might be able to suggest that they brown bag it or I could cook nice meal and send it in with him to share. Anway, this blog is getting a little long so I'll write more later. We'll get the hang of this eventually!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
We will not be purchasing any new things with these few exceptions:
-Necessary Toiletries (things like soap and toothpaste...not things like make-up or cologne)
-Home Care/Car Parts where it wouldn't make sense to purchase used (such as a water heater or an air filter)
-Underwear & Socks
Included with not purchasing new things, we will not be spending money on things like:
-Take-out food/eating at restaurants
-Convenience food/drinks (Wawa taking the main hit on this one)
-Entertainment (movies, concerts, amusement parks, etc.)
With that in mind, Brent (Being a Youth Pastor) may need to make some exceptions because of his job. This decision to live more simply is a family decision and we don't want it to affect how he does his job. Things such as high school play tickets, entrance fees for sports events, dining out for a meeting, buying a rubber chicken for a youth group game, etc. fall under this category.
Because we do need some time to spend together, we are allowing ourselves to use gift certificates that we already have. This will allow us to go out to eat every once in a while with the gift certificates people have so generously given us.
We have decided, finally, that we will suspend these rules if they may in any way hurt our Christian witness or offend someone. We're not sure how exactly that might happen, but we wanted to be open to the possibility. We don't want to be sticklers just for the sake of saying we held to our rules 100%.
This year is about teaching ourselves how to live a more simple life, to not buy into our materialistic culture, and to awaken our creativity. Ultimately we want to glorify God by trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. In addition we will try to do other things to simplify such as buying local and organic when we can.
We are excited to face the challenges the year will bring. We have to keep reminding ourselves that even though this year will be hard for us in a lot of ways, we are still living an extravagant lifestyle by most of the world's standards. We will have plenty to eat, more clothes than we need, a warm home...in short we will not be suffering in any way. I do not want this blog to be a place where we boast about all the great things we are doing, but rather it be a place to journal our experience and dialogue with you, the reader.....where we can record the ups and downs of the year and also ask for advice when needed. We invite you to challenge and encourage us.
On this blog site, I (Missy) will write my entries in GREEN. (Like right now)
Brent (Hi!) will write in BLUE.
So when you see the blue, it is me (Brent). Not that anyone will read this anyway, but at least we will know who wrote what.
I will say that, though I am very excited about this year and the challenges and joys it holds, I feel that this experiment will be more difficult for me. Missy is more gifted at being generous and charitable than I am. And also I like stuff...a lot. But I am excited to begin this journey as a way to bring our lives into step with how Christ would want us to live. So pray for us!
We'll write more about ourselves later, but for now...wish us luck!