Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Morning Brunchtime

This morning found me hosting five girlfriends for a going away brunch. My friend Michele and her family are moving northwards, so I thought a brunch sounded like a good idea. The group of us has gotten to know each other over the last few years, and it's hard to say goodbye. Knowing how well all is going for her family is helpful for the rest of us to be able to see her leave.

We talked a lot and enjoyed some delicious food and drink. A few egg dishes plus some yummy coffee cake and gluten free apple blondes- not to mention some extravagant and delicious mimosas- were on the menu. Everything was so tasty that no one went away without being well-sated. It's also at get togethers like this when I am so glad to have our "hot drink station".


Here's a quick recipe for the gluten and dairy free breakfast casserole that was my contribution to brunch.

Easy Brunch Casserole 

1 package Frozen O'Brien Potatoes 
1 dozen eggs, whisked lightly
1 lb. sausage links, cooked and cut into chunks
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
6 dashes green Tabasco 

Mix together all ingredients; pour mixture into 9x13 pan. Place in fridge overnight. Next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 60-65 minutes or until browned on top. May be served with salsa.

So, don't wait for the weekend to have a brunch. Keep it simple, invite some good friends and Mangia!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Parenting Journey Continues

                                      My girls- all grown up!

Sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you're doing okay as a parent. Especially nowadays when so much is written on how to properly parent, not to mention the whole thing of children's rights being taken out of context so often. 
That being said, it felt like a pretty good week for this mom as Brian and I were able to spend a morning up at Mt. Angel with Josh Friday plus get to FaceTime with David today. This is on top of getting to go to Mass with the girls and watching Doctor Who with them while enjoying our Sunday brunch. Talking, laughing, and just being together with my kids is such a gift to me- I sometimes forget how blessed I am in my vocation as a wife and mom.
Just when I thought things were going great in the mom department, Mary and I ended up talking about when she was a young teen. She confessed to me that when we were at Salem Alliance she would skip out of youth group on Sunday mornings and sneak to the library as she didn't really feel like she was getting anything out of it. She then said if we hadn't started attending St. Joseph's she would most likely stopped going to church. Since I know first hand what a great middle & high school program SAC has, the only person I can blame for this is me. It took me about 6 years to hear this from my youngest. And here I thought I had the whole communication thing down pat.
As GK Chesterton said, "When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.” 
I know numerous young families who are on the first part of the parenting journey. There are so many pieces of advice out there. I could go on and on- just ask my kids, but I will just say this: 
Your job as a parent is to help your children to become God-loving, responsible adults. I've always thought just teaching them to be responsible is enough, but as they've grown, I realize it's also a parent's job to be the one to share with them all about God. This means His love, His goodness, His omniscience, and His omnipresence. It means Bible stories and Veggie Tales when they're little. It means Adventures in Odyssey and getting them to Religious Ed classes when they get a little older. It means making sure they know about their faith enough to want to live it as adults.So I exhort you parents out there to do all you can to help your kids now only draw close to the Lord right now, but to continue as they grow. With the help of the Blessed Trinity, we will all live happily ever after.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Middle of the Week Wanderings

Since it's Wednesday, I thought I'd do a bit of wandering. Here are a few paths of thought I've been traipsing down lately.

Now that I'm working more hours, I've been trying to give my family more opportunities to share in the joys of cooking dinner (read- I need everyone to pitch in & help). Brian and I spent some time a couple weeks ago making bread. I am hoping eventually he may want to become the family bread baker. Even if that doesn't pan out (yes, that was a pun), the time spent together was great!

I've been trying to be consistent in my daily prayers lately. I don't know about you, but I find my day goes so much better when I pray before anything else. I like to pray Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. There's always a hymn to choose from along with Scripture reading and prayers. It also is great as it has the different feasts listed. That way I have someone everyday to ask to pray for me!

My "official" Salem Fencing Club Instructor photo

I've been teaching "the art & science" of fencing since October 2005. Many things have changed for me, like going from a teaching assistant to Head Instructor (brand new this week). Also, we've changed at our club from standard/dry to focusing on electrical fencing. We've also changed our name from Salem Classical Fencing to Salem Fencing Club in the last 6 months along with a new logo and mission statement. Needless to say, I've been on a pretty big learning curve with all these changes. I am gratefully amazed that I am where I am right now considering I started fencing just so I wouldn't have to do Pilates or some other form of middle-age appropriate exercise!

I wrote a couple days ago about First Fridays at Greenbaum's Quilted Forest and the quilt I've started. I'm excited to share my second finished block- actually #9 in the booklet. I can't wait to see what the October block is going to be! I've already been trying to figure out the other block I'll do next month.

We continue to get terrific things in our Pithcfork & Crow CSA every week. This week we had stuff to make salsa, so I took up the challenge this morning. I made two types- a pico de gallo and salsa verde. Now it's time to go buy a bag of our favorite Juanita's tortilla chips.

Enjoy your middle of your week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On The Go Breakfast Recipes

With everyone's schedules going a little crazy around here, Mary and I decided we need some good "to go" stuff for breakfasts. These are things that freeze easily & can either be eaten cold or re-heated quickly in the microwave. With Mary living lactose free and Cari not being able to do gluten, this was a bit more challenging for me. Thankfully, David's off at school, so the nuts aren't an issue- until Chrsitmas break, anyway.

Here's a list of what I've done so far.

#1- Breakfast burritos and casserole. I cooked up bell peppers, onions and breakfast sausage then added a package of frozen shredded hash browns. To this mixture, I added cooked scrambled eggs and a small jar of salsa. After mixing it all together, I put a few cups into freezer containers for Cari and used the rest to wrap in tortillas for breakfast burritos. These got wrapped in foil then popped into a ziplock bag. We usually just take them out the foil and microwave them for about 3 1/2-4 minutes, if frozen and 1 1/2-2 minutes if thawed the night before in the refrigerator. The casserole can be heated the same way in the container (be sure to use microwave safe ones).

#2- Breakfast Cookies 
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dreid cranberries
1/3 cup coconut flakes
Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Combine oils and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, peanut butter and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add oats, coconut, raisins and cranberries; mix over low speed just until incorporated. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment pape or Silpat. Using between 1/4 cup batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet (you can also use a 1/4 cup scoop). Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are just slightly browned. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool .

#3- Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
If you find a good "regular" zucchini bread and simply replace the flour w/ your favorite GF baking mix, it works great! I use a recipe from There Is Life After Wheat. Try some today. http://thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-best-gluten-free-zucchini-bread.html

#4- Roasted Potatoes and Eggplant w/eggs
If you pre-cook your potatoes and other veggies, in case eggplant, you have an easy re-heat able breakfast. I found this recipe on Pinterest and must give credit to Mother Earth Living. I made my eggs with a little of the Shishito pepper powder & it set the whole thing off deliciously! 
Here's the link, http://www.motherearthliving.com/food-and-recipes/vegetarian-recipes/roasted-eggplant-recipe-seasoned-potatoes-ze0z1308zmel.aspx. 

I hope these inspired you to try some new breakfast ideas! Whether you are feeding one or a houseful, it's good to have some healthy choices in the morning!

"Fall"ing To Pieces

So I decided this Autumn to start a new project. Since I'm helping mom at On The Stitch, I figured it was time for me to make another quilt. Greenbaum's Quilted Forest has a great way to help those of us who might procrastinate a bit. It's called First Fridays. Joining over 80 other quilters at 8:30 on the first Friday morning in September, I checked in and got my block #1 kit. The teacher- who just happens to be my mom- shared all kinds of pertinent info with us on how to put it together. I decided to buy other fabrics than were suggested just to add my own touch. 

I started the inner square a week ago then finished the whole thing yesterday. After a false starts, I got it finished. Having never done triangles before, I was pretty pleased with the results. You can't really tell, but it's larger than it appears. The pattern said it would finish at 36" but due to my having to fix my mistakes, mine ended up at 33 1/2". I now get to try to figure out what to do to make up for the extra few inches. Oh well, it's all a learning experience!

I also bought another couple of pieces for one of the blocks which I'm starting on as soon as the ivory I need for the middle comes into the store. It's such a fun project that I decided to make another quilt to raffle off for the salle. Pictures to come as soon as it's finished!