Lattice-woven pie crust…

Today, I found this really easy tutorial on YouTube about how to weave a lattice pie crust. And then I tried it… and when I download my pictures, I will show you how it turned out. (Actually the pie is still in the oven. We’ll see how it turned out!)

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Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Homeschool graduate interview

I did an interview over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers about my experience as a homeschool graduate, and it’s posted over there today. Hop on over to check it out, if you like!

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 5:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Menu for this week

On our trip, I seriously gained a few pounds and I really need to cut back now. So I’m going to be incorporating more raw foods into our diet this week. I’ve been scouring the internet for raw food recipes that, like, don’t require a dehydrator. ‘Cause I don’t have one. And I’m moving in the next few months, and I really don’t want another thing to lug around… if you know what I mean.

BUT I’m not going completely raw. Don’t you worry. I’m just incorporating more raw when I can.

Oh, and I’ve been exercising. (Both work days since I returned. Ha!) I walked 1.5 miles on the treadmill in the lunch room on Wednesday, and 1.25 miles on the treadmill yesterday. And now my foot hurts. I don’t think it’s muscular.  It just feels funny. I think I’d better bring walking shoes to work. (I was walking barefoot yesterday. I took off my fancy shoes, hence the hurting foot.)

I’m also on a supper-skipping program. I find that I lose the pounds easier when I skip suppers. So I’m trying that out, too, and I already lost 3-4 pounds since Wednesday.

That said, here’s my menu for the week.

Today, Friday:

  • Pancakes for breakfast, with strawberry sauce, banana and grapefruit
  • Lunch: butternut squash, baked; unsausage patties with veggie-chicken gravy; kale salad (Told ya I’m trying to do more raw food! This salad looks delicious…)
  • Supper: I will probably have a little bit of supper tonight. I’m just planning fruit smoothies, though. Nothing heavy.

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Raw oatmeal muesli with pear and coconut, with leftover strawberry sauce and banana
  • Lunch: Hot bean salad (a Mexican-style casserole) and napa cabbage salad

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: not sure yet
  • Lunch: Nearly raw tahini noodles (another one of my internet finds with more raw potential that I’m going to try). I love tahini-type sauces, and this looks really good. I almost never use all the napa cabbage in one salad, so I’ll use the leftover head in this instead of regular cabbage.
  • Supper: I’ll probably skip. I’ll make DH a sandwich or something. He likes vege sandwiches.

Monday through Thursday:

  • If you’ve been following my menus frequently, you know that we eat leftovers from our weekend meals for the meals during the week as we both work.
  • Breakfast will be hot cereal at least part of the week. Maybe waffles or smoothie and muffins for the next part of the week.
  • Oh, and DH is getting his wisdom teeth pulled on Thursday. In “celebration” of this, I get to get a new BlendTec blender before then. (My current blender is about to die. And BlendTec blenders are wonderful. My mom has one. They are a bit expensive, but aren’t as much as the VitaMix. And they have more power.) Next weekend’s menu will likely be soup and soft food…
  • On Tuesday, my office is having a “Cinco de Mayo” luncheon. I’m bringing a taco salad.

That’s it for this week, I think! I hope to post some more recipes here shortly.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 10:02 am  Comments (2)  

Quiet time in nature

There’s just something wonderful about getting away from city life… going someplace different… and especially, enjoying quietness in nature.

We got to do that this last week. We went to my husband’s neurology meetings in Seattle and got to enjoy some gorgeous countryside while we were there. The weather was fairly nice. One afternoon we drove over to Mt. Rainier National Park. There were a few rain clouds that sprinkled a few drops on our drive over, but hey, we were out in the country! Unfortunately when we got there, we couldn’t see much of the mountain. The first picture on the second line below depicts about how much we could see of the mountain. Nevertheless, it was beautiful to be out in nature! We even saw a few deer and elk on the drive back.

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I have to say that this was some of the most gorgeous scenery I have seen in awhile. It was so wonderful to be AWAY from the hustle and bustle of the city. (No screaming sirens. No helicopters flying overhead. No noisy horns. And yes, I live a couple of blocks from a level 1 trauma hospital.) Several times my husband and I looked at each other and said “Shh! Listen! It’s so quiet!”

I wish we could’ve spent longer there out in the middle of nowhere. But we had to get back to the city.

It reminds me of the verse in the Bible that says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

This post is linked to Amy’s Finer Things.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 9:39 am  Comments (2)  
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Happenings…

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated. I’ve been keeping super-busy. Here are a few of the fun things I’ve made this last weekend in the kitchen:

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The pictures above are my pancakes and also my cranberry-currant bread. I made the pancakes this afternoon because I needed to design a poster for a free pancake breakfast that our church group is going to have in a couple weeks. Rather than downloading an expensive stock photo, I decided to take the pictures myself. So that was a fun project this afternoon. 🙂

And below are some of my healthy cakes that I made this weekend:

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The cake pans are really neat. I bought the heart-shaped one in Germany a couple of years ago. It has a little indentation and you can pile cream or fruit in the middle. (Like I did above.) And the other cake pan is also from Germany. My mom got me that one. 

Here’s one of my recipes, for the circular shaped blueberry cake above.

Blueberry Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 3/4 cup Florida crystals
  • 2 t. Rumford baking powder (Featherweight is good too – just non-aluminum)
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 cup blueberries – I use Trader Joe’s wild frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • a few drops almond flavoring

Preheat the oven to 400° F and spray cake pan. (Makes one 10″ cake layer.) Mix together the flour, Florida Crystals, baking powder, and salt. Mix together the oil, water, vanilla, and almond flavor together. Add the blueberries to the dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in the wet ingredients and stir batter well. Pour into the cake pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Frosting:

  • 1 package Mori Nu silken tofu
  • 1 package Mori Nu Mates Vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 package Tofutti cream cheese

Blend all together well. This makes a great frosting for the cake, or it is also really good in a graham cracker pie crust shell with pie fruit on top (like a cheesecake)!

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My prayer journal

Last September, I heard a speaker who challenged me to have a more active prayer life. Since that time, I have been keeping a semi-regular prayer journal. It’s been a little sporadic, but over all, I’ve enjoyed keeping it and hope to be more regular about it.

My prayer journal is in a regular journal-book thingy. I usually jot down my list of things to pray about, and occasionally what God has been teaching me through my devotional reading. Because I have many regular prayer requests, I may not write the same list every. single. day. But I may write out a list to pray for during the week, and revise it the following week (or as requests are answered.)

I see several benefits in my own life from keeping this prayer journal.

  • It keeps my prayer time focused. Often my mind can be off on 50 different tangents at once. (Anybody with me on that point?! Seems like because we women are so good at multitasking, our minds can drift quickly to anything and everything…)
  • It helps me see God’s hand at work in my life. Often I pray for specific areas where I feel I need God’s help in growing my own character. Like, I’ve been praying for a meek and quiet spirit. And I can see God helping me in that area of my personality! I tend to get flustered easily. He’s been helping me to be meek and quiet.
  • It gives structure to my prayer time. I’m all for impromptu prayer times throughout the day. I definitely believe in creating an atmosphere of prayer throughout my day. But I also believe in focusing in on prayer alone during my devotional time, and this has helped me avoid the hurried “Dear-Jesus-please-bless-my-day-Amen” phenomenon at the end of my devotional time. I can see the difference in my day when I don’t have my structured prayer time.
  • It helps me watch for God’s answers to my requests. If I am praying for something, and have it written down, it helps me notice when God actually answers it. And it reminds me that I can THANK God when He answers my prayers!

My prayer journal has been a true blessing in my spiritual walk. I have seen God working in my life, and the lives of my friends. My own walk with God is more intentional, and it makes me more aware of progress in my Christian experience.

So that’s what works for me this Wednesday!

What about you – do you keep a prayer journal? How do you “do” yours if you do?

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 8:03 am  Comments (3)  

Ironing issues

OK, so I have ironing issues. 

I am on my second iron in, like, 3 months. The first one, which I’d had for 3 years (and I bought it second hand) started snagging our clothes. Instead of ironing smoothly, it started catching on these little dent thingys in the bottom of the iron, which is, you know, supposed to be smooth… 

So I bought a new iron. And now, NOW, my new iron is starting to “catch” too. For shame! What on earth do I do?! And how did it get that way in the first place?!

HELP! Somebody… quick! (Um, if you have other random ironing tips, please do contribute. Maybe my ironing technique is wrong.) I really don’t want to go buy another new iron. Is there some way to get rid of those catchy dents? Can they be eliminated? And how do I prevent future ones? What works for you???

(Solve other people’s problems, too, at this week’s reverse WFMW.)

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 7:47 pm  Comments (8)  

Sack lunches save MY economy!

DH and I have been trying an experiment. He has usually been eating lunches at the hospital cafeteria and just putting them on his ID and the money gets taken out of his paycheck. Somehow in the last few weeks, I convinced him that in order to start making headway on paying off our debts, we should both be taking packed lunches. (I’ve been taking sack lunches to work, for the most part, for a couple years. Every once in awhile I fall off the bandwagon and buy a lunch or two, or I forget to bring mine, but for the most part I’ve been packing my own lunches.)

Well, today I checked to see how his direct deposit looked – and I was so happy at what we’d saved by having him pack lunches, too! I figure I save a lot, too. Most of the places I would eat around my office if I ate out run about $6 per lunch. So that would be approximately $25 for a 4-day week that I’m saving ($50 per pay period). For him, it’s comparable – but maybe more.

So – packed lunches pay off, everyone! For more frugal tips, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.

In a future post, I’ll talk about how I cook for those packed lunches, how I’ve greened up my own lunch-bag habits, and more! (I’ve only been packing BOTH of our lunches for about 3 weeks, so give me a little more time to figure out my schedule on packed lunch planning!)

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Going green… by eating greens!

In January we had the chance to visit a wonderful vegan restaurant. It’s quite a drive from where we live so we don’t go there often, but it was definitely worth trying out. (Oh, and it’s also more expensive than most restaurants we usually go to. Another reason why we shouldn’t live closer to it… haha!) My husband ordered their lasagna and with his dish he got these incredible greens. I think the menu called them “Sautéed kale with sundried tomatoes.” I bought the restaurant’s cookbook in hopes that the greens recipe would be in there, but it wasn’t. (There are some other really great recipes in there, though.)

Ever since, I’ve been experimenting with greens. You know, I never really would consider sitting down and munching on a pile of greens and actually enjoying myself. But the way I’ve been trying them, they have really turned out very yummy!

Here’s what I’ve been trying.

1. I get a bunch of greens – so far I’ve only tried kale and Swiss chard. Chop it up. Big pieces are ok. They will kind of shrivel up a bit. (Oh, and you will not believe how much they will shrink. I’ve started out with my big skillet FULL of greens and have them wilt down so much that I wished I had more!)

2. Get out your skillet, fry pan, or whatever, and put a LITTLE bit of olive oil in the bottom. I don’t like really oily greens. I learned once that olive oil is monounsaturated fat which is better than other types of oils. (Flax oil is supposedly very good too but it oxidizes quickly. Um, but we are oxidizing the oil by heating it, so whatever.)

3. Add your greens of choice. Sprinkle with sea salt. (Sorry, I don’t have a specific amount. Just to taste.)

4. Add any (or all) of the following to the sautéeing greens:

  • dehydrated or fresh onions (both are yummy)
  • sundried tomatoes
  • pumpkin seeds – these add a really nice crunch! And they are good for men’s health… good for your hubby!
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • minced garlic cloves
  • nutritional yeast flakes

I strongly suggest adding the minced garlic and the nutritional yeast flakes. Those add a wonderful, wonderful flavoring. If you haven’t discovered nutritional yeast flakes yet, they’re WON-DER-FUL on greens. I think you should be able to get them at a health food store. You can also find nutritional yeast flakes online – just google it.

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[Note: Don’t sautée the greens too long – just enough to wilt them and get sort of tender. I don’t like my greens mushy. If you do, feel free to modify my rough recipe. But the longer you cook the greens, the less nutritious they will be.]

Speaking of nutritional yeast flakes, I’ve gotta tell you a slightly-related story.

My mom makes this sauce where she melts a stick of margarine in a small pot and adds 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes, stirs it up, and serves it over boiled or steamed (tender, anyway) cauliflower. Yummy.

Well, when I was much younger, I was at my younger brother’s little kids class at church with him, and the teachers asked all their kids for favorite foods. And you know… kids were piping up answers like, “PIZZA!” “ICE CREAM!” …

And my bro pipes up, “CAULIFLOWER!”

The parents all looked at my mom with the “what-kind-of-food-do-you-serve-your-kid” kind of look, and meanwhile she was trying not to laugh too hard. 

Anyway, yes. Nutritional yeast flakes make greens… and cauliflower… taste delicious. My brother is living proof of the fact.

(In the picture in this post, you can see the picture of my sautéed Swiss chard there in the corner. The rest of the food? Well, I’ll get to that some other time…)

I’m linking this recipe at Tammy’s Recipes – head over there for more great kitchen tips!

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm  Comments (4)  
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Welcome to my blog party! Yee haw…

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Hi there!

Welcome to my corner of the blogosphere. 🙂 C’mon in and visit for a couple of minutes!

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My name is Joelle. I am not a mom. (At this point. But I do love kids!) I’m married to a resident physician (affectionately known as “dh” on this blog). We live in the Western U.S. in a very urban area. (I miss country living, having lived in the country until moving here! Hopefully we can get back to that at some point in life.)

I work in marketing full-time 4 days a week at a nonprofit humanitarian ministry. We’re Christians, so I do write posts about my spiritual thoughts from time to time. 

On my blog, I chat about my culinary/ health pursuits, along with a few other interests along the way. I do a lot of cooking. I’d say it’s weekend cooking, because I don’t do a whole lot the rest of the week as I am quite tired when I get home. I cook vegetarian food and have specific interests in non-dairy and low-sugar options. So if you’re a veggie or fruit lover, hop on into the conversation! I love getting ideas for food from others. (And if you’re not a vegetarian, hop on into the conversation anyway, because I just might make your dish idea into a vegetarian adaptation! Mmmm hmmm, you probably didn’t think that was possible…) I just love going to a restaurant and contemplating how I can vegetarianize or veganize a recipe…

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img_2691Blueberry pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m quite interested in green and simple living. I have a miniature garden in my urban part of town, on my porch. (Don’t have a yard.) 

We’re also on a journey to get out of debt, so from time to time I blog about finances and frugal options.

Feel free to come back and visit me regularly to see what I’m up to! Since I work outside the home, I blog once or twice a week, typically, so rest assured, I won’t overwhelm your Google Reader or Feedburner. (But when I do blog, it’ll be worthwhile.) You can also follow me on Twitter.

Hop on back to 5 Minutes for Mom to continue the party! Nice chatting – and do come again! 🙂

*Edit: Here are my top picks for the prizes… (um, I don’t think I’ve ever won anything, but hey, worth a try, right?!) And they are in order of preference. Ahem, here we go. (So many interesting things…)

  • #89, $100 gift certificate to HomeGoods provided by HGOpenhouse – this place looks like it has some great stuff in my style. Love what they have to offer! AND I think we have one not to far away from where we live…
  • #7, Ergo baby carrier. (You know, for the baby I don’t have. Nothin’ wrong with planning ahead.) Provided by A Giveaway Addicted Mommy.
  • #19, $50 gift card to Target provided by ShootMeNow

Now, in the unlikely event that I get picked… and the likely event that my top 3 choices are already spoken for, here are a few others I’d be interested in winning (yep, in this order): #21, 22, 68, 91, 118, 86, 26, 34, 45, 53, 113, 123, 109, 104, 99,

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm  Comments (32)