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More Baked Egg Rolls

We had some leftover chicken and rice that I froze so it wouldn’t go to waste. I defrosted it today to make some egg rolls. I sauteed some stir fry bok choy cabbage etc etc and stirred it in with the leftover chicken and rice and rolled it up in egg roll wrappers. Brush with oil and bake at 400F for 20 minutes. A great weeknight meal and a great way to use up leftovers.

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Super easy and addictive!

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Butter bottom and sides of a 4 at. Crock pot.

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Pour 2 cans pie filling into crockpot  and spread evenly.

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Combine 1 box cake mix and one stick of butter melted. I used butter pecan cake mix. Yum!

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Spread over pie filling and cook on low 2 hours.  Top with vanilla yogurt!

 

Thinking of mom and dad today and missing them.  Dad’s birthday was yesterday and today being Mother’s Day, well . . .

Yesterday would have been my dad’s 93rd birthday.  Sadly we lost him over twenty years ago.  He was not a saint, but he did do some saintly things in his life.  Some would say putting up with and loving my mother unconditionally was one of them.  This year, for the first time in years, I am thinking of my mother on Mother’s Day and can miss the good things and let go of dwelling on the not-so-good.  Mom’s been gone over 10 years.  My parents were perfectly imperfect, as are all parents.  It’s part of being human.  Just like I am a perfectly imperfect mother.

I was the 3rd child out of 4, born after my mother reportedly had been told she shouldn’t have any more.  She had my sister, who was beautiful, smart, and sassy, and my brother, who was handsome, brilliant, and talented.  Susie was always Dad’s favorite, and Donnie was always Mom’s favorite.  Their view might be different (perhaps they saw me as the spoiled baby), but I knew ‘favorite’ was already taken.   Then, when I was 3 or 4, we lost my baby brother six hours after he was born.  That tragedy would define the rest of my mother’s life.   She never recovered from the loss.  Never stopped blaming herself.  I shudder to imagine what it is like to suffer a loss of a child and to blame yourself.  It took me all these years to have empathy for my mom,  instead of blaming her or judging her for not being the mom I thought I wanted, that perfect mom I actually thought existed.  There was a funny kid’s movie with Sissy Spacek called “Mommy Market” where three kids turn in their mom and try out different moms (all played by Spacek) and end up realizing their own mom was the right one.  I had a perfectly imperfect childhood that led to who I am today.  I am thankful that despite all the things I perceived as imperfections.   I always knew I was loved.

I’ve learned after years of personal growth work and therapy that accepting and understanding the strengths and faults of others can lead us to empathy instead of judgment.  I’ve come to believe that letting go of judgment of others, and more importantly, ourselves, is key to the peace I hear so many say they are seeking.

I want to share a writing by Rachel Macy Stafford.  If you are a parent or are thinking of becoming one, please read this in its entirety and re-read it often.  I wish I had read this sooner and forgiven my mother and myself for being human.  This excerpt from Rachel’s Only Love Today really spoke to me.

The Day My Child Lost Her Joy—and What I Did to Revive It

I let my joy get sucked away—then I saw despair in my child’s eyes.

THE DAY MY CHILD LOST HER JOY
In an especially chaotic rush out the door to go on a family vacation, I sat in the passenger seat fuming. Mad because I didn’t have time to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Mad because we were late getting on the road. Mad because the garage door was acting up. I’m talking trivial, insignificant, minor inconveniences here, but that was the state of a distracted woman who could no longer see the blessings, only the inconveniences, of her life.

Before we were about to pull out of the driveway, my husband looked at me as if someone he loved very much had died. In a barely audible whisper he said, “You’re never happy anymore.”

I wanted to defend.

I wanted to excuse.

I wanted to deny.

But I couldn’t.

Because I knew he was right.

Where had that happy woman gone? The one who smiled at people she passed on the street just because. The one whose friends often spoke of her positive outlook on life. The one who felt happy simply because she heard her favorite song or had a pack of strawberry Twizzlers in her purse. The one who could laugh off mistakes because mistakes happen, and they are certainly not the end of the world.

Where had she gone?

And that’s when I glanced to the backseat to see if my children, then ages six and three, had heard my husband’s words. Staring back at me was my older daughter picking her lip with worry the size of a small boulder weighing down her small shoulders.

As she pinched that tiny piece of fragile skin on her upper lip with wide eyes, I could practically read her mind:

Mom’s mad.

Mom’s tired.

Mom’s stressed.

But there was more. I could practically hear how a young child would interpret her mother’s unhappiness.

Mom’s mad at me.

Mom’s tired because of me.

Mom’s stressed because of something I did.

That’s when an even more powerful question hit me.

Where had my happy little girl gone? The one who woke up with the most gorgeous bedhead and good morning smile. The one who beamed at the words “sprinkler,” “cotton candy,” and “pet store.” The one who laughed so hard tears came to her eyes. The one who licked beaters with sheer pleasure and danced happily to any song with a beat.

Where had she gone?

I knew.

Because my happiness was based on external measures—on tasks being completed, plans running accordingly, goals being met, hairs being in place—I was continually disappointed … upset … impatient … and stressed. In the process of making my own life miserable, I’d funneled my unhappiness straight into my daughter’s once joyful heart and spirit. Her pain was a direct reflection of the expression I wore on my face.

I desperately wanted to bring a smile back to my daughter’s face. I knew I must bring it back to my own. I began praying for small steps I could take to become a more positive, present, and peace-filled person. On brightly colored sticky notes, I posted daily goals and positive mantras that came to me during morning prayer time. Especially prominent on my mirrors and cabinets were these two go-to phrases: “Only Love Today” and “See Flowers Not Weeds.”

I used the phrase Only Love Today to silence my inner bully. Whenever a critical thought would come to my mind or my mouth, I’d cut it off with Only Love Today. I used See Flowers Not Weeds as a pathway to gratitude, to see what was good in situations and people.

As Only Love Today and See Flowers Not Weeds became a daily practice, I felt a profound transformation occurring in my heart and home. No longer were my goals exclusively items that could be measured or checked off—they consisted of immeasurable items like listening, laughing, dreaming, playing, connecting, and loving. With a more meaningful daily goal, I was able to see the blessings in my imperfect self and in my imperfect life. My eager-to-please, helpful older child looked different too. I saw her for who she was, not an annoyance or a bother, but a loving child with clever thoughts and ideas. For once, I could see all the things she was capable of doing—not perfectly, but good enough for today. The tightness in my face relaxed and the smiles came more easily for both of us.

One morning, I looked out the kitchen window to see her making a little garden right there in the middle of the yard. I watched as she tended to her miniature plot. Her joyful smile made me take pause. Clearly, she was at peace tending to her garden. I took a picture and sent it to my parents. Nothing could have prepared me for the response I received. My parents wrote:

“Thank for this precious picture of our beautiful granddaughter. Over the last two years, we have seen a tremendous change in her. We no longer see a scared look in her eyes; she is less fearful about you being upset or impatient with her. She is much happier and more relaxed. She is thriving and growing into a content, creative, and nurturing person. We know for a fact the changes we see in her coincide with the changes we have also seen in you.”

I covered my mouth to muffle the sobs.

When I was struggling to breathe beneath the weight of perfection, distraction, and self-induced pressure, my child was too.

My daughter had absorbed my tension.

She had absorbed my frustration.

She had absorbed my anxiety.

She had absorbed my unhappiness.

And as my negative emotions were being filtered down to her, they impacted her ability to grow, thrive, and blossom.

If I didn’t know it before, I know it now:

Our children are our garden. They absorb our stress, just as they absorb our peace. They absorb our negativity just as they absorb our joy. And we have the power to control what they absorb, but first, we must tend to ourselves.

It might sound like this:

Dear one, you have feelings. They are worth listening to and acknowledging.

You have limits. They are necessary to keep in place as a means of valuing your time and honoring your health.

You have dreams. You are worthy of time to pursue what makes your heart come alive.

You have needs. You deserve affection, rest, sustenance, and grace.

Perhaps you forgot that it is necessary to look after YOU. It’s okay. I forget too. But we still have today. Thank God, we still have today.

Today let’s tend to ourselves as we do our loved ones. Perhaps we can make it a habit. We’ll never know how much we can grow and flourish until we take time to tend to what is most precious.

💞by Rachel Macy Stafford (Only Love Today)💞https://foreverymom.com/…/when-my-child-lost-her-joy-rache…/

To all of the Moms out there…I know this is touching you, it touched me too. If you notice, this post is dated 2017, yet recently someone commented on it and made it start back up. I believe this is happening because I needed to see it again, but apparently all of you did too! Due to the overwhelming response, I am starting a group for Moms called “the Mom Squad”. If you go to my timeline, you will see a post about it and I would welcome you to join this community of Moms, like you, like me who need to breathe and know we are doing it right and that we deserve to be lifted up and cherished through the hard times as only another Mom or Mum can understand! NEW REQUEST! I Cannot keep up with the comments, so a smarter me is posting the group link here: ☺️https://www.facebook.com/groups/230146250902781/?hc_location=ufi

 

 

 

 

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Filling:

2 lb. chicken feta spinach sausage, cooked and crumbled

1 large onion, caramelized

1/2 c. spinach (I used longevity spinach from Daniel’s garden)

Olive oil to caramelize onions and cook spinach

1 c. vegan mozzarella shreds

1/4 C. chopped kalamata olives

1 can drained garbanzo beans.

3/4 c. tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. tandoori seasoning

1 tsp. seasoned salt

Caramelize onions and wilt spinach with olive oil and seasonings.

Pulse sausage, olives, garbanzo beans, and sauce in food processor until well combined.

Blend with cooked onions and spinach and place on defrosted empanada dough.

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Seal with water, press edge with fork and place on baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil.

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Brush with beaten egg and bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden.

I intended to use Greek dressing, but had none, so I substituted the tomato sauce.  Yummy.

I bought wrappers in a hurry yesterday, intending to make potstickers when I got home, without realizing I had grabbed egg roll wrappers instead of won ton wrappers.  I googled to see if I could make potstickers out of the egg roll wrappers.  Conflicting information as to how well it would work to use egg roll wrappers to make potstickers made me decide to make egg rolls instead.  I had already made the filling mixture for potstickers, so the filling is more meat and less veggies than I would have used if I’d planned egg rolls from the start.

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1 package Nasoya egg roll wrappers

2 lb. ground turkey

1 large sweet onion, chopped finely

1 package chop salad

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. salt

1tsp. five spice mix

Cook onion in oil until softened.

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Sprinkle with salt and five spice.  Add in chop salad.  Cook over low heat until softened.

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Place veggies in colander lined with paper towels to drain off excess moisture.

At this point, I added the veggies to the meat and stirred in the ginger and soy sauce for the potsticker filling and refrigerated it.  Then I realized I was going to make egg rolls instead, so I cooked the meat mixture and broke it up and cooked the turkey through.  I drained the meat and refrigerated it to cool enough to make the egg rolls.

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I used my mini ice cream scoop and put two scoops on each wrap.  I followed the instructions on the package of how to fold it.  Point down, place filling on center.  Place bottom point up over the filling, then fold in the sides, and roll.  I placed them on a baking sheet brushed with oil.

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Spray top of the egg rolls with cooking spray or brush with oil.   Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden.

These were great!  Not as much work as potstickers either.  Daniel said they were like potsticker egg rolls.  Makes sense.

These would be a good way to use up leftovers.  The wraps are flaky and crispy.  I have another package and can’t wait to try another variation!

 

I’m always on the lookout for sauces to try that are somewhat healthy.  I marinated boneless skinless chicken  thighs in Sharwood’s Thai Green Curry Sauce.  We loved it!!

Bake at 350F for 40-45minutes.  Perfect timing to make brown and wild rice in the rice cooker.

 

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I originally intended to serve the veggie “meat”balls I made the day Jeannine was over with coconut curry sauce.  Unfortunately (or as it turns out fortunately) I mistook a pouch of lemongrass basil sauce by Saffron Road for a coconut curry sauce by Imagine.  It was delicious!  I had some orzo on hand and a kale and brussel spouts chop salad, and so I cooked a veggie and orzo risotto type thing inspired by a recipe I saw Chef Jean-Pierre prepare with barley the night Lein, Molly, and I went to his cooking school dinner show.  This one’s a keeper.   Proof that good ingredients and an open mind can lead to phenomenal results!

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I baked the veggie “meat”ball mixture I made for 400 F for 20 minutes.  I used an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size.  When I rolled them, I put olive oil in my hands, so they were coated in a thin coating of olive oil.

Veggie Burgers

They came out nice and golden.

I put a thin layer of the lemongrass basil sauce in a 13 x 9 baking dish and placed the “meat”balls in it.  I spooned the rest of the sauce over them, and baked them at 350F.

Meanwhile, I cooked a Taylor Farms kale chop salad mix that had brussel sprouts in it over low heat, and boiled the orzo with ginger, garlic, and salt in the water.   I seasoned the veggies with 2 tsp. garam masala.  and when the orzo was done and the veggies were softened, I added 2 Tbsp. butter, a splash of red wine, and tossed in the orzo and a can of cannelini beans and heated it through and let it thicken a little.  I didn’t measure anything, but tasted as I went along.

This was far and away everyone’s favorite vegetarian meal to date!

 

 

 

What’s even more fun that cooking?  Cooking with friends!!  Jeannine came over today for a to make veggie burgers.  We shared ingredients.  We shared thoughts on future variations.  We chopped.  We seasoned.  We ground.  It was fun!

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I cooked up some brown rice with wild rice mixture.  I seasoned it with garlic and salt while it cooked in the rice cooker.

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I gathered the ingredients, condiments, and seasonings, so it was all laid out.

Jeannine did the same.

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It all gets combined in a big container.

 

It then gets run through a meat grinder to make it the right consistency to make into burgers and meatballs.  I taste some of the rice to make sure it’s seasoned well enough.  If it tastes good raw, it will taste amazing cooked!

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Amazing how much it looks like meat, right?

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I put this in the fridge until tomorrow, when I make the burgers and meatballs.  I use an ice cream scoop for uniformity of size.  It keeps up to a week with no problem.

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As usual, I did a double batch.  This makes 8 burgers and approximately 16-18 meatballs.

6 c. oatmeal

3-4 c. cooked rice

1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed.

1 c. matchstick carrots

1 c. cubed cooked beets

1/2 c. riced cauliflower

2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 Tbsp. spicy mustard

1 Tbsp. coriander lime seasoning

1 Tbsp. sriracha

Combine all ingredients.  Taste the mixture to see if the seasoning is sufficient (I tend to underseason).

Run through the meat grinder, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Form into burgers or meatballs at least 8 hours before use.

I store them in the fridge on a baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil, covered with plastic wrap until use.

Bake at 400F for 15-25 minutes.  I brush the tops with oil to make them get a little more golden.

I bake the meatballs ahead too, at the same time I’m cooking the burgers, and then the night we are having them, re-bake them in a sauce.

 

 

 

 

Matilda Cake!

Tonight is Girl’s Wine Club night.  Olivia and her boys and Tricia are coming over.  Molly and Lein made a Matilda cake.  Apropos since Olivia’s boys serial watch Matilda!

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Yum!

I had to update this post to share this pic of the Matilda cake once it was cut!

Matilda cake cut

I bought some fresh Mahi Mahi yesterday and brought it home and marinated it in Gourmet Warehouse Key Lime marinade, to which I added some lime zest and balsamic glaze.  I only used about half the bottle.  The other half is marinating some boneless chicken breasts for another night.  The sauteed Swiss chard, carrot, with Cannelini and Zatarain’s Cilantro Lime Rice mixed with brown and wild rice were the perfect accompaniments.

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Put the fish in the marinade as soon as you bring it home.  Start the rice about 40 minutes before you want to eat.

For the rice:

1 box Zatarain’s Cilantro Lime Rice

1 C. brown rice

1/2 C. wild rice mixture

5 C. Water

2 Tbsp. butter

Place ingredients in rice cooker and cook.

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For the fish:

1 – 1 1/2 lb. Mahi Mahi filet, skin removed

1/2 bottle Gourmet Warehouse Key Lime marinade

Drizzle balsamic glaze

Marinade fish at least 30 minutes.    Bake at  350F for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness.  So ideally, this gets put in the oven about 15 minutes in to the rice cooking.

Gourmet Whse Key Lime

As soon as you put the fish in, start your veggies.

For the sauteed veggies:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 pouch frozen Swiss Chard (I used Cascadian Farms brand)

1 pouch frozen multicolor carrots (I used Cascadian Farms brand)

1 can low sodium Cannelini beans, drained

Saute frozen carrots over low to medium low heat, till thawed and beginning to cook, about 10 minutes.  Add in chard and cook another 5 minutes  Add in beans and stir.  Heat through about 5 minutes.

 

 

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