Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kabobs and Roasted Potatoes

The other day I made my first kabobs, and they turned out so well, I wanted to share the delight with you! :)  I have a "unique" style of cooking, in that I rarely follow a recipe exactly.  Therefore, my directions may not be perfectly clear, since I tend to have this "free-style cooking."  I hope it's still clear enough so that you can enjoy the results!

I used a steak marinade from Kim Cahill's "Cooking for a Crowd" recipe book, (which was some fabulous recipes in it, by the way!)
Here's her marinade recipe:

Steak Marinade
Oil 1/4 cup
Lemon juice 2 T
Worcestershire sauce 1 T
Mustard 1 T.
Soy Sauce 2 T
Liquid smoke 1/4 tsp.
Garlic, minced 1 tsp. (1 clove)
Chili powder 1 1/2 tsp
Pepper, fine 1/2 tsp.
Onion powder 1/4 tsp

Combine all ingredients.  Stir with whisk.  Pour over meat. Toss to distribute evenly.  Cover and marinate in fridge for 8-24 hours.

Traditionally, kabobs have the meat and vegetables alternated on the same stick, and cooked at the same time, but I did it a little differently, thanks to a tip from my sister.  I put meat and vegetables on separate skewers, and cooked them separately, that way, I didn't have to deal with that terrible cooking mistake of overcooked vegetables! :P

You should start with about 2 1/3 lbs of meat, cut into 1 1/2" cubes.  Marinate the meat fro 8-24 hours.
Put several pieces of meat onto each wooden skewer, and place on a cookie sheet.
(I did mine in the oven, since we don't have a barbecue yet.)  

Cook at 400 for 15-20 minutes, turn halfway through.


  Red Pepper 1" cubes
Yellow Pepper 1" cubes
 Orange Pepper 1" cubes
 small onions 1" cubes
 Cherry Tomatoes
(these were just the ones I used, you can be so creative with the vegetables, and use a ton of different types!  Zucchini, squash, even radishes are good :)

I tossed the vegetables in olive oil, basil, oregano, salt, and a bit of granulated garlic.  I then placed them on the skewers, and cooked them for about 10-15 minutes at 400

Roasted Potatoes
(another favorite dish of mine!)
Cut potatoes into approximately 1 " cubes.  Soak for between 20 minutes to 1 hour, if you have time.
Drain.  Toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic, pepper, chili powder, salt, parmesan cheese, and whatever else you like.
Place in a 9x13 glass baking pan.
Cook at 350 until done (approximately 45 minutes) Increase heat to 400 if you're in a hurry. :P 

Friday, August 26, 2011

In All Honesty

I was thinking this morning about the difference between guilt and pride.  Obviously, these aren't really that similar, and you'd have to be a little dense to mix them up on a frequent basis, but as I looked over some of my thought processes during the past several months, I had the suspicion that I might have been doing just that.
I've had so many times lately where I've felt overwhelmed by life, and then immediately felt guilty that I couldn't handle it.  I've been getting exhausted so quickly with this pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, and sometimes even to do the bare minimum of keeping the house clean, making meals, looking after Ian, has seemed like a huge task, not to mention the things that I want to be doing regularly, like working out, organizing, going the extra mile to make meals exciting and delicious, and more.
My mind goes often to the other ladies I know who have three or more small children, and bigger and harder things to deal with on a regular basis, and I feel so wrong for even thinking complaining thoughts, let alone sharing that I'm having a hard time.  I honestly thought it was guilt, but I was realizing today that maybe it's more pride than guilt.  
I want to be "that amazing mom" who can do anything, who is phased by nothing, and who is an inspiration to all around. :P  Well, guess what? I'm not.  Some days I'm like that, and other days, the thought of getting out of bed makes me want to cry, sometimes I really do cry. :P
One thing that helps overcome pride, is to accept help when it's offered.  You're no good to anyone if you completely burn yourself out simply because your pride wouldn't allow you to accept offered help.   In fact, the reason that I have a chunk of time, and fairly clear brain to write right now is because help was offered, and I accepted it.  My husband saw that I was exhausted and overwhelmed today, before the day had really started, and arranged for his mom to watch Ian for me so I could sleep, and catch up on things.  I am so incredibly blessed by the people around me, and by their willingness to help!  It's amazing what a gift one day can be!  I already feel so rejuvenated and ready to tackle more things today than I even wanted to think about this morning!
One of the ironic things about this whole guilt vs. pride issue, is that when I think I'm feeling guilty about not accomplishing as much as I'd like, or not being "superwoman", it soothes my pride, and makes me feel like I'm a pretty decent person, because even though I can't do all those things, at least I want to, and that alone makes me just a little better than the person with no ambition, right? :P  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Green....and Loving It!

 When I was growing up, my mom did a lot of things that were different than the way a lot of other moms did things.

*She used vinegar for cleaning instead of buying "normal" store bought cleaners
*She hung clothes out on the line in nice weather instead of putting them in the dryer
*She cooked from scratch
*She made her own laundry detergent
*She had a big garden at nearly every home we lived in
*She always grew houseplants
*She used cloth diapers
*She even milked a cow and made her own yogurt once we lived in the country!

Now that I have my own home, I find myself doing many of the same things, and even more different things along the same lines.  The irony here is that when I was growing up, I was positive that once I had my own home, I would never do a lot of those things.  I didn't see the point behind a lot of them, to me it was more of an inconvenience than anything else, and I just didn't get it.
Now,  having actually researched these things on my own, I'm beginning to discover for myself the huge benefits that come along with living in a more "green" way.  
For me,  I like to see the benefits that come from something right away.  I still love to see instant results,  so sometimes in the health realm, I'm going more by faith, since the results will either pay off in the future, or they're simply not hugely noticeable now.  
It's nice when one of the bigger benefits to choosing a more healthy way of doing things actually saves money.  That's a huge motivator for me! :P  
Making my own laundry soap and cleaning products definitely falls under that category.  Plus, I do not enjoy the chemical laden smells that accompany "normal" cleaners, and I love it when my bathroom smells like vinegar when I'm finished!  Another benefit of using natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, is that I'm not nervous about my little man being with me while I clean.  I'm secure knowing that his lungs and skin aren't being contaminated by toxins while I kill germs.
Cloth diapers is another huge money saver, and with the diapers I use (Kawaii Baby), they're so easy to use and really, not that much more work than using disposables.
I'm having so much fun on my journey of educating myself on healthier living, it's such a blessing that I have more time now....that (for me) babies come one at a time!  I know there will be some seasons of my life when I won't have the time to read and research as much, so I'm trying to take advantage of "free time" now and learn as much as I can!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simple Joys

*Flowers and a meadow right outside our yard.....
*Beautiful tall trees in our backyard
*A baby that loves being outside
*Hanging out laundry on the clothesline.....I get such a kick out of seeing all the diapers hung up, don't ask me why! :)
*Cool summer evenings - a welcome relief after the hot days!
*Working out again

*Ian learning to read.....just kidding!  He likes looking at his books though! :)
*Nap times for little boys :)
*Good books to read myself
*Summer fruit
*Finally learning how to drive standard :P

*Homemade fresh cinnamon rolls
*Friends to enjoy them with us
*Reading about health
*Lime sherbet in the summer
*Playing volleyball again

It's the simple things in life.  We sometimes pass them by without even noticing they're there.  How much we miss when we do that!  It's always worth it to take just a second to enjoy the moment, to notice how good something tastes or smells or looks!  Life is so much fuller when you take a little more time!