Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hummus, A Staple...

We eat a lot of hummus during Lent. I make it without oil but if it's the weekend, just drizzle some olive oil on the top of the hummus. Eat with bread, crackers, tortilla chips (that's what Paul does), veggies or whatever you think would taste yummy. I like to use it as a spread on bread (as in a sandwich) with cucumbers and tomatoes... And it's packed with protein!!!

Hummus (our favorite)
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (reserve juice)
1 1/4 tablespoons tahini (can be bought in most grocery stores... looks like peanut butter)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
1/2 tsp. salt
Heat beans over medium heat until they come to a boil. Reserve juice. Put beans and next 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly add juice from beans (not all the juice). Blend until creamy and very smooth.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mercury in flourescent bulbs...

So if you live in Oregon, here is a link to the site for places to dispose of your compact flourescent light bulbs. I read the article yesterday about the dangers of CFS so use at your own discretion:)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My shallowness revealed...

What's better than finding a brand new pair of Eddie Bauer pants for $8.99? Fitting into a size smaller of said pants than you normally wear:) Happened yesterday, mom is my witness. And how shallow can I be?!?! And, I have to share this with the blogging world because DH looked at me like I was crazy for sharing it with him. He just doesn't get it (the man who has never had to deal with weight fluctuations).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Finished a Book...

I just finished reading the Life of St. Eustathios that is published by the nuns at St. John the Forerunner Monastery in Goldendale, WA.

Here is the description of the book on their website:
St. Eustathios was a general in the Roman Army and friend of Emperor Trajan. After being converted to Christianity through a divine vision, he was stripped of imperial honors, imprisoned, and exiled with his wife and two young children. He was separated from his family under the most tragic circumstances, only to be reunited with them in glory thriteen years later, shortly before their martyrdom. St. Eustathios is praised in the hymnography of the Church as a second Job because of his incredible indurance in hardships and patient perserverance in temptations. The life of Saints Eustathios, Theopisti, Agapios and Theopistos is an inspiration and an example for all Christians, especially those who encounter numerous trials in their spiritual life. Written specifically for young adults, this captivating story will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches; 128 pages paperback with pencil illustrations within.

Here is a link to their website in case you want to order it for yourself or for someone you love (DH might be using it in his middle school sunday school class).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gardening and the Beginning of Lent

(NOTE: I tried to post this yesterday but was unable to post pictures for some odd reason)

Today is the first day of Lent. I hope that everyone has a very blessed Lent!

Here are some pictures of our garden.
-bulbs returning and new bulbs (as in planted this last fall) coming up
-our raised bed converted to a square foot garden (lettuce starts are planted)... Can you see the squares?
-Big P planted seeds in an egg carton. Hopefully, these will come up and become starts in the garden. We have more to do (probably tomorrow after he comes home from school).
-DH decided to plant peas outside of the raised bed, in a circle.

Goals for the garden area:
-To build another raised bed (maybe 4 x 4 rather than 8 x 4) for tomatoes, peppers, and maybe onions.
-build a compost bin from pallets (read about it in square foot gardening).

How's your garden growing?

Monday, March 03, 2008

New Blog to Read and 10 Staples of my Pantry (esp. before Lent)

Check out a new blog by my friend Carrie. It's called The Thrifty Oreganic. It promises to provide some great hints on being organic, but in an economical way:) She currently has a list of her top ten staples of her kitchen and asks if people could post their top ten in her comments. As I am preparing my family kitchen for Lent, I came up with a list of our Lenten staples (I actually wrote out this list last week because while I was writing up my shopping list... because there are certain foods that I buy in bulk but only during fasting periods).

1. Beans (esp. lentils and garbanzos)- we eat tons of lentils. I love lentils because I can make a lentil soup in about an hour if we are having a really busy day. We also eat a lot of hummus during lent. I make my own because sometimes you find in stores hummus that has lots of extra things added. Since DH has been diagnosed with Celiac's, I am much more wary of buying things that say "natural flavor" because you just don't know where that "natural flavor came from". And, anyway, I have a very easy hummus recipe:)

2. Nuts- but esp. raw almonds and pistachios. Big P, who is an extremely picky eater, loves pistachios. I like to encourage him to eat them. This year, though, I am going to buy a good nutcracker and a variety pack of different nuts because one of the "work" that Big P does at school (and loves to do) is cracking nuts! He also loves washing windows so if you need your windows washed, we can work up a contract to have him come over (JK... about the contract part). Is this the place to include peanut butter? We only eat natural peanut butter. Yes, it's a bit annoying to have to mix the oil back into the peanut butter, but it is sooo good. Big P only eats peanut butter and jelly (homemade jelly by yiayia) sandwiches. For lunch. Everyday. Even when it is not lent:)

3. Vegetable broth makings (carrots, celery, onions and garlic cloves)- again, back to DH having celiac's, I make our broth. And the veggies are used in soups. And I cut them up to eat with the hummus.

4. Fruit- esp. pineapple, bananas, frozen berries, apples, oranges, dried fruit. Esp. fruit to make smoothies.

5. Diced tomatoes (with no added spices) and tomato paste- a lot of our soups are tomato based.

6. Rice- Brown rice- we use a lot more of this since DH has had Celiac's. I substitute cooked brown rice for pasta, barley, bulgur wheat in some recipes. We are also branching out into the world of quinoa (our favorite GF pasta is a quinoa pasta).

7. Juice- fasting periods are really the only time of year that I will drink juice. We have juice always on hand because DH is type 1 diabetic and it is great for raising his blood sugar.

8. Oats for kids and I and Creamy Buckwheat cereal for DH (it's GF). Esp. during Lent (and Nativity Fast) hot cereal is the way to go. Sometimes a make a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator to heat up in the morning.

9. Snacks: popcorn (we have a whirley pop popcorn maker which is fun to use) and corn tortilla chips and salsa.

10. And, for the kids, Trader Joe's hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, milk, eggs, and cheese (mostly mozarella) to make pita pizzas.

For us, a lot of the fake foods are out (fake meats and cheeses) because they are not all gluten free. And this lent I am going to see if I can make GF falafel (did I spell that correctly?!?!?) because I used to make them ahead of time and freeze them to pull out whenever. That's only if I'm really ambitious or we are really getting bored with our food (maybe mid-point of lent). This year I am also going to do what I did for Nativity fast... plan out our entire lent menu from day one. That way I don't even have to think about what we are going to eat, it's already listed out. And that makes shopping a lot easier.

Boy, this post is longer than I wanted it to be:) What are your top lenten staples?