Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Carrot Soup

The inspiration for this soup came from a can of Marks & Spencer Carrot and Corriander Soup. Years ago I bought a can and loved the soup. I cut the ingredients off the label and kept that for years in my recipe box. Last year I had leftover chopped carrots. I decided to try to make carrot soup. I went online and looked at a few recipes but didn't find one that reminded me of the Marks & Spencer. But I was able to combine a number of things and come up with a recipe that maybe even tastes better than the Marks & Spencer.

Here is my recipe:

Saute onion in butter

Add chicken broth & chopped up carrots and cilantro

Cook until the carrots are well cooked

Put everything in the blender and puree

Add some whipping cream

Pepper to taste

Here is lunch. It was yummy. Now I am living in a Marks & Spencer city but have decided that I like my own soup better than a can. I do have a can on my shelf that I will need to eat.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

100 in 10

We are moving again this year. It is not a simple move across town either but another move overseas. Don't ask where we are moving because we don't know. Knowing that we are moving has moved me to begin the sorting, decluttering, tossing, and basically getting rid of things.

So here it is Bo is traveling for 10 days and during that time I am going to get rid of 100 things. Hey, that is just 10 a day.

The things have to be out of my house. So if I am going to give it to someone, I need to give it to them. If I am mailing it, I need to mail it, etc. I want my house to have 100 less things when he gets home.

This begins on the 1st and ends on the 10th.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I enjoy baking but one of the challenges is if I use my hand mixer I have to mix things in the office. Okay, let me explain. My hand mixer is a 110w and our house is 220 but in the office we have a transformer that is huge and can handle our 110w printer as well as a few other things like my hand mixer. Bo doesn't mind when I use the mixer in there unless he is in the middle of a conference call but going back and forth can be a challenge.

I have a 220w food processor and so I decided to try it to make cookies. It worked. Yeah! I can mix up the cookies in my kitchen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

BBQ at the Beach

I know it sounded like a fun and maybe even a bit exotic to have a BBQ at the beach in February. In many ways it was an event for my husband's work. I will say it was a bit better than I thought. The hot dogs were good as well as the beef. It was a cultural moment.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Menu 2/19

This week is a holiday week and we have company so the menu is a bit flexible depending on what we are doing.

Baked Ziti

Hoppin' Johns which is black beans on rice with lots of toppings eaten with corn chips

BBQ on the beach

Greek Night

Lentil & Barley stew

planning to go out for the day, so we will eat out

hmmm need to think of something

Sunday, February 18, 2007


and thinking. I just found a hotel room that is 200 square feet more than our apartment. Okay, at it costs 200 less a night than we pay in rent for a month.

In a way that is making me think that our apartment is small but in another way I like my small apartment.


I have eaten Kababs but never made them before. I might have made them once with my mom on the grill but being totally responsible is something else. It was requested as a birthday meal so I pulled out my Betty Crocker cookbook and found a recipe. We added a bit more in vegetables because we like lots of vegetables.

They were good and were easy to make. I would do it again and put smaller pieces of onion.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Where we used to live I was 5 minutes walk from 2 grocery stores and one outdoor market and a 10 minute walk from the baking/western grocery store. Now I am adjusting to a 20 minute walk to the store and 30 minutes walk back home. It is uphill and I am pushing a stroller with a 20 pound toddler and groceries hanging off it and falling out of the basket (don't tell my father it is over the basket limit.) Oh, that is usually only enough for 3 or 4 days so I do that twice a week. When you include the time in the store it is an hour and half.

This week I tried something new. I ordered my groceries online from the store where I usually shop. I got a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer and clicked away buying canned good, laundry detergent, drinks, fruit, veggies, and even milk. If I ordered by 2pm, I could have delivery the same day between 7-10pm.

It worked great. My groceries were delivered around 9:00. The sad thing was Miss K and I missed sharing the bag of chips on the way home. Oh well, without the walk I can't justify eating them.

They were out of stock on a few items -- Arnott's Mint Slice cookies, Organia, and BottleGreen Cranberry Presse. None of those were really necessary so it wasn't that important.

It was easy. I got everything delivered to my door, and I didn't have to spend the time walking.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Look what I did" by Miss K

I told Miss K to get her jacket on as we were heading out to her speech therapy session. I got busy with something and turned around to discover that she had tried to put her jacket on. It looked good and like we just needed to straighten it .But somehow she got it a bit backwards.
I know moms celebrate the big and little things that our children do but in the case of moms of special needs kids we do more celebrating and we find all kinds of little things to celebrate.

Tai-tai's brag

Today is the day that I get to brag about my husband. The past week has not been an easy one for us as we are left picking up the pieces of a dream. We really don't know all of what is going to happen but I am thankful that Bo is at my side in all of this. Nothing real serious just some uncertainty regarding where we will be living.

I think back to when I met him one of the things that I loved about him was his passion for others. He had a desire to share truth. That continues even today. It is because of that desire that we are living where we are.

I think of how he complements me. No, not the words that he says but the ways that our personalities and talents work together. I am the quick, let's get it done who cares if it is spelled correctly or has all the little words that it needs. He is the one that ponders and carefully makes sure that things are presentable.

When I am feeling down, he continues to remind me that God is in control. I need his faith at times when mine is weak.

He makes me laugh. He helps with so many things. I am thankful to be his tai-tai.

So happy birthday to you, my husband.

A Beautiful Meltdown

I was having a creative moment this afternoon and decided to melt some crayons. I had seen someone show a picture of there jar of melted crayons and decided to try it. The best directions I found were here.

Since it was me doing it I mixed the colours in a civilized manner. I had this pan and rarely use it because it is so small. I decided to use it. They did just pop out.

I decided they were just too pretty. I am giving some as belated Valentine's to Miss K's speech therapist's children. It was easy and fun and so I made some more.

Black-eyed Pea Soup w/ miso

Someone asked for the miso recipe. I have not yet made this so you are spared any of my comments about this recipe.

This also comes from The Quick & Easy Vegetarian cookbook.

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
Rinse until clean
4 good-sized carrots, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, cut in 1/8 inch slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups water
Place above ingredients in pot with black-eyed peas. Cook uncovered at fast simmer until peas start to become soft, about 50 minutes. Cover at this point so no more water evaporates
1/2 cup red, white and green pasta spirals
Add to pot and simmer until tender. Then remove pot from heat.
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon miso, softened in a few tablesppons of cooking liquid
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
Put in pot and stir until well mixed. May be reheated, but do not boil.

If you make this, please let me know. I bought the black-eyed peas and want to try it but I am not sure if it will happen this week as we have plenty of leftovers.


Here is the recipe that I used. This comes from Extending the Table.

In Dutch oven or large pot, cook until tender:
1 lb beef or soup bone (500 g)
3 qt water

Chop meat or remove from bone and return to broth.
6 potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
10 oz cabbage, chopped (300 g)

Cook until potatoes are almost tender, then add:
1 onion, chopped
1 small red beet, shredded
5 tomatoes, chopped or 3 c canned tomatoes, or tomato juice (750 ml)
dill and parsley to taste
2 t salt or to taste
1/4 t pepper
1 bay leaf (optional)

Just before serving, stir in:
1/2 c heavy cream, sour cream, or yogurt

There is the recipe. Would I make it again? Probably not. The contributor is from Russia so I am assuming that this is a real Borscht recipe. I didn't ask Bo if it tasted like what he had when he was there. For me the tomatoes made it a bit like a beef soup. We used yogurt. Oh, I didn't add it to the pan but rather we added it to each bowl. Oh, the fresh beets were too expensive so I added a can of beets and included the juice. Another thing I didn't add as many potatoes. This makes lots of soup. We ate it for dinner, lunch, lunch and lunch again.

What I will make is this:

Beet Soup

2 cups canned beets (I always chop a bit because I buy sliced beets)
2 carrots
1 medium onion
1 cup shredded cabbage
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp salt
few turns of pepper grinder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Light sour cream or nonfat yogurt (optional)

Cut up vegetables coarsely and, except for the beets, put them in a pressure cooker along with the broth, salt, pepper, butter and lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Put half of the cooked vegetables and beets in food processor with 1 cup of broth from the pressure cooker. Blend for 30 seconds. return to pressure cooker and keep on low heat. Serve with topping of light sour cream or nonfat yogurt.

This recipe is from The Quick & Easy Vegetarian Cookbook. "this soup may not have the authenticity of the steppes of Russia, but it evokes crusty black bread and other sturdy, nutritious, peasant fare. I usually make this when Bo is out of town because I didn't think he liked beets. Now he says he does.

My changes I don't have a pressure cooker and so I just do everything in a regular pan on the stove. I don't put it in the food processor. Oh, and in the following of my Eat Fat lose fat we have regular sour cream or yogurt.
Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Daughter - Grabber Gal

So the other week I bragged and told everyone how smart my daughter is. I guess now I should also confess her latest sin. Last week we went to town to run a few errands. I went to look in one store and Bo who was wearing Miss K went to the drug store to get some toothpaste. We met outside and I saw Miss K playing with a tube of toothpaste but thought that it was the tube Bo bought. Bo went to McDonald's for a drink and I went to another store. When I met them he told me that the tube of toothpaste that she had been playing with was the tube that she shoplifted.

It seems that when he bent down to get a tube she grabbed a tube and he didn't realize you have to check her hands when you leave a store.

I checked the baby book and for some reason they don't have a line for "first shoplifting experience".

Just in case anyone is wondering if she were older and had the understanding of what she did I would be talking with her and disciplining her but at this age she doesn't know except for the fact that we are working on not grabbing things.

Scrapbook Swap

I posted a picture the other week of what I made for the scrapbook swap. Here is what I received.

I think this is a great idea. Each month we have a theme. The coordinator lets everyone know how many people have signed up so we know how many to make. It is fun to be able to add some embellishments to your collection.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Menu 2/11

Breakfast - banana bread and fruit
Lunch - out
Dinner - Russian Borscht soup

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Spinach & lentils

Breakfast - eggs
Lunch leftovers
Dinner - Asian Beef Stew

Breakfast - pancakes
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Enchiladas Bo's birthday meal

Breakfast - bagels
Lunch - out for the birthday celebration
Dinner - Black-eye pean Miso soup

Breakfast - eggs
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - baked ziti

Breakfast - bagels & Fruit
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Kababs Aunt Bec's birthday celebration

The birthday person gets to pick the meal within reason. Bo wanted enchiladas which is his favorite and one of those that I don't make that often.

That is what we are eating this week. Now I need to put my grocery list together and also start thinking about next week as the stores will be closed the beginning of the week (I think).

I used some

Remember the paper that I had cut from the calendar. I used some of it when I did Miss K's first trip across the border. It was so fun to use it. I also used some on a family page that I did.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Celebrating Friends

Sallie has invited friends to join her in celebrating a year of abudance. I have been thinking about that and pondering overflowing blessings that I do have.

Last year we moved and that meant saying good-bye to many friends some of whom I will see again. We arrived here in September and we are slowlying meeting people and connecting with them but that is slow.

I am blessed to have so many friends but living in a transient society does mean that people are always coming and going which really means I have friends all over the world.

A few weeks ago a dear friend was in town but our schedules did not allow us to visit that day but she had the next morning free but she across the border. The previous week I had gotten my visa and so I was able to go and have breakfast with her. The funny thing is it takes me less time to get there than it does to get downtown where she was staying. We enjoyed three wonderful hours together eating, drinking horrible coffee but it was coffee, talking, laughing and catching up.

Then a week later another friend came to town. She stayed at our house and we enjoyed a wonderful weekend together shopping, exploring the city, taking and laughing. That dear friend invited me to a woman's retreat in her town.

I also think of new friends that I have met since moving here. L who lives in my village and has become my walking partner. The 45 minute walk goes quickly as we chat. J and her family who miss homemade pizza and so we are celebrating the abudance of our oven and having it tomorrow evening. We have been blessed to meet so many people since arriving.

I also have friends that keep in touch in various ways and even though I might not see them or be able to call them, Hey, I am on Skype now so you can always Skype me, we stay in touch.

I need to remember this abundance when I am feeling alone here in a new place. Friends are a blessing.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Living in a small space

Last week I had a conversation with my language tutor about housing. She was a bit surprised to learn that most people in America live in houses. I told her that I didn't know anyone in America that lives in a highrise. That caused me to think about how much space we have in America.

Currently we are living in a 700 sq foot apartment. I remember when I thought my 740 sq foot apartment was small and I was single. Now I am married with a child. Our apartment has 3 bedrooms and we have 2 bathrooms.

We have made some adjustments to living in this space. We have a double bed instead of a queen. We bought a love seat size sofa and it fits much nicer than trying to fit a full-size sofa in. Our table doubles or maybe I should be saying triples as a dining table, a desk, or a craft table depending on what I am doing. We went vertical so we have lots of tall bookcases.

I am learning contentment. I will admit at times there is a longing for more space. I am learning to be organized and creative in how I put things away.

Bo and I have talked that even is we return home at some point we would like to have a space place maybe a bit bigger because it would be nice to be able to get out on both sides of the bed.

Here are a few pictures of how space is used. I found this florist that is between two buildings in what looks like an alley. Most available space is used for something. Here are two 7-11's that are just a hole in the wall.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

I'm so Happy

They are finished! Yeah! Our scrapbook group meets once a month and has a swap where each person makes a something to swap. This month's theme is Chinese New Year and I think because of that everyone wanted to get in on the receiving. We all have a need for Chinese embellishments.

This was a pretty basic thing considering I bought the double happiness and then just glued it on using my Xyron and then threaded the ribbon through.

I will try to post a picture of what I receive. Now I am ready to do some Asian pages especially as I have my calendar paper.

Monday, February 5, 2007

My daughter is so smart

I know most mothers say things like that. She continues to amaze us at what she knows both things we have taught her like putting her dirty clothing in the laundry basket and putting her dishes in the sink. The things that really amaze us are the things that we don't teach her but she learns and picks up.

The other Sunday Bo was brushing his teeth and so I just threw my brush on the bed since I couldn't get into the bathroom. A bit later he told me Miss K got the brush and pushed her way in to put it in the basket. I never said, "momma's brush goes here."

We had a banana flash card that had been the bookmark in the Bible story book but it was misplaced. Miss K found it and went to the sofa pointing to the shelf where the Bible story book was and knew that the banana flash card was to go in there.

As I ponder these things that she is doing, I am continuing to rejoice in all the many ways that God has been faithful in caring for her. At times her special needs do show but often they are hidden behind her sweet personality. At times her specials needs cause me to cry wondering how we will handle this but so many times I am reminded that God knew all along and none of this is a surprise to him.

I am sure there is more that I can add but that is all for today. I think I need to show a picture of this smart girl.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Menu 2/5

Breakfast - eggs
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Skillet Casselot

Breakfast - bagels, fruit, and yogurt
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Vegetable Curry

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - leftovers
Dinner - Baked chicken with apples (a new recipe)

Breakfast - pancakes
Lunch - picnic or eat out (Bo's day off this week and we are going for a junk ride)
Dinner - Salmon (that is called bless your husband as it one of his favorite things)

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch -- hmmm, guessing we won't have leftovers, probably split pea soup
Dinner - stuffed cabbage

I added breakfast to the menu this week so I don't have to think what we will have. We don't eat cereal mainly because I don't like it. Okay, I like it the sugary stuff that isn't good for you so instead we don't eat it.

Everyday Lentils

That was last night's dinner. We never ate much Indian food until we moved here and the only restaurant in town that we can afford is the Indian restaurant. My new favorite cookbook is Expanding the Table. I had found bags of lentils at the store for a good price for here. We like lentils but 6 pounds we were going to have to eat lots of lentils and rice taco style or the few other dishes I would make. I decided it was time to try some new things.

Everyday Lentils is a dish from India. I loved the spices. The big stick of cinnamon as well as the whole cloves are some that a friend gave me from Indonesia. It smelled yummy while it was cooking and tasted delicious.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


A contest with a prize -- 5 Minutes for mom is having a contest I love contests.

I agree contests are fun. This has a neat prize. Looks like lots of fun.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I love bags

Here are two of my latest bags. I really am enjoying making these so if you want a special color you better let me know.

New Scrapbook Paper

We had a beautiful Chinese calendar that we were given last year. In the middle are various verses. I just couldn't threw it away. Here is a picture of the 2007 calendar. Hopefully I will be able to wait until July when I can start cutting this one apart.
I had tried earlier this week to order some Asian scrapbook paper from an online supplier and was disappointed that their website wasn't working espcially since I had a 15 percent coupon that was valid until the 31st. I then remembered the calendar and so I cut the pieces into various strips to make borders and all kinds of things.

Now I am ready to scrap our last trip.

February's Update

It is hard to believe that the first month of 2007 is gone already. I still wrote 2006 on a check the other day.

I did read one book in February -- Tim LaHaye's book, I love you but we are so different. I can't say that there was anything in there that made the book a keeper. It was all about the four personalities and how you marry a different personality. That book is going in my give away pile. I have already picked February's book and am beginning to flip through it.

Getting rid of things -

Bo took a bag of clothing to the clothing recycle yesterday. A friend was in town and I gave her some of my clothing.

I didn't buy anymore scrapbook paper thanks to the website freezing when I was trying to place an order. I want to order some Asian paper for my scrapbooking of local events. I did buy some ribbon for scrapbooking so I added a bit of that to my collection. Paper is the worst. I am not a strict has to be acid free person. I love adding too many other little things along the way. I had a pretty 2006 calendar that had Chinese verses on it with Chinese art so I decided to cut the borders and now I have all kids of scraps for borders and Asian scrapbook pages. I will try to post some pictures of that.

I have been sewing some bags which uses the small pieces of fabric that I have around. I have fun making them and so I made a list of all the people that I am going to make one for this year. I made a shoe bag for a friend's birthday with fabric and ribbon that I had around here. I didn't buy anymore fabric!

Exercise - The good news is I found a walking partner. Knowing that someone will be standing at the corner at 6:00 am waiting for you it motivation to make sure that you are up and walking. We are going to go twice a week. Now that means that I need to do something on my own two other times a week. In grading this goal I would give myself a "needs improvement".

I am continuing to get up early and have the quiet time. We are studying Romans in BSF and I am continuing to read through the Bible. I am in Psalms. No, I didn't start January 1st and read that far.

Now let's see what I get done in February.

Final Outcome for January

I tried to post along the way of how I was doing in only buying items I need. I did buy a few things that didn't fall into the need category.

Overall we spent 13 percent less (if my math was correct) and in the groceries we spent 34 percent less. Yeah! the grocery area is one that I control primarily so seeing 34 percent savings there is a good feeling.

I am going to continue to watch my grocery money and hopefully I can continue to keep that low.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Spanokopita is one of Bo's favorite things. It was one of those things that we thought you had to buy in a restaurant until today. I was flipping through Extending the Table . . . A World Community Cookbook looking for some lentil recipes when I found Spinach Pie aka Spanokopita. I can buy phyllo here so I decided to try this. It wasn't really that much work and it was a blessing to my husband. Miss K loved them. She ate 4. I figured it would be something that she would like as vegetable dumplings are one of her favorite things to eat.
Cook in a little water until tender, about 3 minutes:
6 c fresh spinach, chopped or 10-oz package frozen spinach
Mix with
1 c feta, Gruyere or cheddar cheese crumbled or shredded
1 c cottage cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 oinion minched
2T fresh parsley, choped or 2 t dried parsley
1 t dried dill
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t salt
dash of ground nutmeg (optional)
Melt 1/2 c margarine or butter

The recipe gives directions to make one big pie but I decided to make individual ones. Cut 12 sheets of phyllo into 3-inch stripes, place a teaspoon of filling at one end of stripe and fold corner over to make a triangle, continue folding strip from side to side in shape of triangle. I did use butter to glue them closed.

You can freeze those and bake as needed.

Bake covered, 25 minutes at 350. Unocver and bake 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Since I made small ones, I baked them for 20 minutes and then uncovered. You really do need 10 minutes to get them brown.

Our favorite Greek restaurant has Grandma's recipe and it includes a bit of spearmint. I thought I had spearmint but discovered it was peppermint. I did add a bit of that and would have added more if it were spearmint.