Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fish Tacos

Hows that for an image to go with fish tacos?!

A few weeks ago, my husband walked out to the garage to find something. He had just purchased a spelunker type head flashlight like the picture above, and was wearing that, which was making me giggle. So he walks back in, looks straight at me (which means I am completely blinded, hehehe!) and says, "The freezer is defrosted." I was having a bit of a hard time taking him seriously, with all the giggles and whatnot, so I thought he was joking... no such luck.

The biggest problem was the fish we had in there, it was already soft although not completely defrosted. Mother-in-law to the rescue, we canned all the white fish up the next day. Pew!

Anyway, so tonight I am trying the fish taco recipe from Newlyweds blog, one I haven't ever read before. But she came up when I typed in "fish tacos with lemon." More specifically, she calls it Fish Tacos with Lemon Butter Sauce... num! So tonight, I'm trying to recreate what she had, with canned white fish. We shall see!

UPDATE: Note to self, don't write blog post while waiting for white wine to reduce. She meant caramelized onions right?

RESULTS: Turned out great! Really easy, especially with the canned fish. I probably won't make the sauce again, as my wonderful husband didn't even remember it, but it was fine. Fish tacos now have a regular place on the meal plan.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reworked Chicken n Dumplings recipe

My husband loves Chicken n Dumplings. We had it at a friends house one night, and he spoke so highly of it, I had to get the recipe from her. The thing is, she used a combo of a recipe for chicken pot pie filling and a recipe for dumplings from, I think, Joy of Cooking. So when it got to my kitchen, it was already piece meal. Since that time, I have changed it to whole wheat and dairy free. I also use a triple batch of white sauce from my More-with-Less cookbook because the other recipe didn't seem to be enough liquid. Every time I make it, I have to do all the math in my head (yes, I know, most of it is easy, but still!), keep all the books and recipe cards out, and remember what I've tried and what works and what doesn't.

What doesn't: sweetened soy milk in white sauce. We're going for savory chicken soup here folks. Also, all whole wheat dumplings take a ridiculously long time to cook and are a little brick like.

Here is the recipe, in More-with-Less formatting because I like it. Italics are my commentary, if you want to copy and print, delete those parts :)

Whole Wheat, Dairy Free Chicken n Dumplings

Melt in heavy saucepan
6 T margarine
Blend in cooking and stirring until bubbly
6 T whole wheat flour
3/4 t. salt (okay, that is tripling the recipe, just dump some in)
Using wire whisk to prevent lumps, stir in
3 c chicken stock
Cook just until smooth and thickened. Stir in
2 c cut up cooked chicken
1 10 oz frozen peas and carrots (I use safeway's organic mixed veggies: carrots, peas, corn)

In a new bowl place
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c white flour
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
3 T shortening
Cut shortening in until mix resembles fine crumbs. Stir in
3/4 c soy milk (I often have to add more)
Drop dough by spoonfuls onto hot meat or veggies (meaning do not drop it into just liquid where it will hit the bottom of the pan). Makes about 8-10 dumplings. Cook uncovered for 10 min. Cover and cook ...

...a lot longer then the 10 minutes it calls for. I think the whole wheat makes it take a lot longer. I'm assuming the dumplings cook from the bottom up, so I watch and as soon as the top doesn't look doughy, I check one with a fork. I've never had the inside be uncooked when the top looks done, but I'm paranoid that way. I will try to track it next time I make it because I keep totally underestimating how long it will take to finish. This is an easy to make recipe, but very time intensive. And very nummy. Even my dad, who is pure meat and potatoes, took a second helping of this.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Husband Factor

I've been a follower of the Messiah for close to 10 years now. I have been a wife for 5 1/2 years. I have been a stay at home wife/mother for just over 3 1/2.

I don't feel like I really started concentrating on my walk with God until I got married, at least not in the same way. I don't really feel like I concentrated on my wife role until after I stopped working outside the home. Incidentally, that was the same time I became a mother, so that kinda rolled into one HUGE learning curve. God is good though, as He didn't throw me into cooking meals until almost exactly a year after working on the combined wife/mother role. I could only take a little at a time.

Unfortunately, I've kicked and screamed through almost all of it. Except getting married and awaiting my babies, that is.

Not that I have a handle on it by any means, it is just habit now to work on those areas. God has given me so many areas of healing. I'm getting better at my day not going my way. Isn't that a funny thing to think might happen?! I manage to get food on the table at every meal without too much stress. I almost welcome washing dishes, its just part of my day. I am in the trenches still on how I respond to my children.

All this to say, the husband factor is what God is putting before me these days. I've been working on me, and what a wife does. Sure, you can't do that without concentrating on what a husband is, to some extent. Yet, everywhere I turn these days, I find myself learning more about how to care for him specifically, or growing in a desire to understand what he deals with on a day to day basis.

Husband's and fathers, men in general, are not held in high regard in this country. Most of the older women I am around, believers or not, don't treat their husbands with a whole lot of respect and/or submission. I see a lot more "i'm right" and fear of not being cared for the way they want to be. I find myself responding to situations with my husband with a contempt or disgust I don't actually feel. That I never agree with. I think it is learned. He is amazing and deserves better!

Here are some answers and blessings God has given me lately. I am hungry for more. I love this man and I want to support him and love him and uphold him as a man. As a man defined by God, not as my upbringing or culture defines him.

The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormy Omartin: I'm reading through this book. I feel like I need to mention that I have this nagging feeling as I read it, that I can't put my finger on. But I'm praying for my husband specifically more often, and actually considering what he is dealing with each day, so I am thankful. I appreciate the different topics to consider while praying. For example: His fatherhood, His integrity, His faith, His wife. Yeah, that last one is a tough one!

"My husband hunted, so I hunted. My husband listened to Country music, so I listened to Country music." - An amazingly Godly woman from our congregation. She carried her husband through cancer into the arms of God before I knew her. The honor and respect she still exudes for him is contagious and something I desire to learn from. She did start listening to different music after he passed, but there is no disgust in her tone as she speaks of doing what he loved rather then what she did.

"Don't point out his mistakes, just fill in the gap" - This was quoted on Fearlessly Feminine from a list in another resource. I love the perspective this gave me. How can I fill in the gap, whether or not there is an actual mistake in that area? How can I support my husband better each day? I think this applies to many relationships actually. Less complaining, more helpful action.

"If it would help your husband for you to fix the screen door or the faucet because he is busy doing something else, that is feminine... you were created to be your husbands helper so doing things to help him is feminine." - Victoria Botkin. This is in the context of masculine/feminine roles. This is from the first session in her Evenings with Victoria Botkin mentoring sessions, that started last Monday. If you haven't signed up, go do it and get in on the next 8 weeks. Here is a small quote from the description: "How does a wife help her husband be the man Christ wants him to be? How can she inspire him to love her? How can she discover the forgotten joys of being the helper God designed her to be?"

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Price List Part 2: Our store options

In our area, we have Safeway, Walmart, a natural food and two local stores. And Grocery Outlet, but you never know what they will have.

Walmart carries very few organic items, and most organic produce is packaged in plastic. They have organic regular and soy milk, but no other organic dairy. They have one brand of organic peanut butter and it is spendy and little. I do get select-a-size paper towels, deoderant, and kitty litter there.

The natural food store sometimes has good produce prices, usually has local produce, and all their other items are very expensive. Sometimes you have no other choice though. They were the first place I found an organic soy butter... two days before finding it much cheaper elsewhere! Oh well! They have it in a pinch.

One local store is out of the question. We only go there when we can't go somewhere else. They do carry some organic dairy, but no organic produce. I do find that they often have mark down stickers on their dairy items, more then I've ever seen anywhere else. Could be because they are TOO EXPENSIVE and things don't move quickly.

The other local store is bilingual, catering to our Hispanic community, and has the most alternative, health foods in the area. They have very little organic produce, and it is expensive (bananas: $1.19/lb!). They have the widest selection of Bob's Red Mill products, even in bulk. They have soy cheeses (yuck), butter (not organic), kombucha, kiefer, many milk alternatives, and much more. They even have many foriegn foods, with many packages not being in English or Spanish. Basically, if it is a normal food, they have it (cheerios). If it is an alternative/organic/ natural food, they have it (tahini paste and organic kombucha). If you are Russian, well, they might have it, but I can't read the packages.

Safeway is where we currently do most of our regular shopping. Spinach, apples, bananas, tofu, orange juice whole wheat pasta, spaghetti sauce, milk/soy milk, crackers, pretzles, whole wheat bread, frozen berries, frozen veggies and yogurt.

We also can go 1/2 hour away and have a Costco, Fred Meyer (or Freda Meyer as some 3 year olds say), local co-op and Trader Joe's. Can you see why I get overwhelmed? We really do have a lot of options, which is a blessing and a confusion.

Costco has a ton of organic options now. We get our chicken and hamburger there, as well as frozen corn, peanut butter, chicken stock and (not organic) bagels. Oh, and disposable diapers. And too much else.

Fred Meyer has a lot of alternative/natural/organic items. We don't go there a lot, but I did find a good organic soy pudding for a treat now and then. This no dairy thing is tricky to figure out.

We have been members of the co-op in the past. It is awkward because you have to have your card, and we never seem to. And there is no family membership, so only my husband is a member. They have great bulk foods, and we've often purchased dried fruits, flours, cereals and nuts there. They typically have traditional festival foods or items like matzah and Shabbat candles, as the seasons go.

We went to Trader Joe's for the first time today. Wow. I'd heard they had good prices, but they really do. How they fit so much in such a small space, I don't know. And how can they offer such low prices when other places can't? Safeway is in trouble!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thrift and me

I am more cheap then I am frugal. I don't like to spend money, which can be good and bad. I desire to be more frugal though.

I also get stressed out by looking for a good deal or searching around in used stores for the things I want. I don't have time to go to them over and over in hopes of finding something I wanted. I also don't want to fall into the thrift store trap of "Oh, but it is so inexpensive!" and buying things we don't need. But I'm getting better at trying there first.

When we recently decided we needed to get Big Sister some new puzzles because she is in a puzzle phase, I was pleased that my first thought was Goodwill! So we went. And then we realized we needed some shoes for her as she's all of a sudden grown and her shoes hurt. So for just under $14 we got a pair of boots, a pair of sneakers and 4 puzzles!

We've done 2 of the puzzles and they have all their pieces, plus two extra from a puzzle we didn't buy. Extra is better then not enough!