Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

The meals last week were AWESOME!  They were all so good!  I believe our favorite was the Green Pizza made with homemade pizza dough!  I saved some leftovers for my mom and dad and they both raved about it.  Plus the pesto was homemade pesto my dad had made from his basil last summer and froze, so I had to let him eat some of this delicious pesto.  We will definitely be cooking that again and again! 

This week I'm trying only one new meal from a recipe that a good friend sent my way.  The other recipes are family favorite recipes!  I hope everyone enjoys and is making those little steps towards sustainable eating!

MONDAY:  Black Bean Soup over brown rice

TUESDAY:  Inside-Out Lasagna- I work late, so Drew will be making this and I will have some leftovers when I get home.  He will be adding some homemade tomato sauce, Italian spice, and broccoli.

WEDNESDAY:  Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (I will be out for dinner but will make this for Drew and for tomorrow's lunch)

THURSDAY:  Shrimp Tacos*- My good friend, Kyle sent this recipe to me.  Thanks Kyle!

FRIDAY:  Making homemade Valentines Day cards with some friends at my house.  I will be serving snack/appetizer foods.  Veggies & Hummus, Quesadilla bites, chips & salsa,  and my famous homemade spinach dip.

SATURDAY- Hungarian Mushroom Soup* with homemade bread

SUNDAY-  My wonderful Grandma's birthday dinner at McCormick and Schmicks

* Recipes from Cookbooks or other sources

SHRIMP TACOS  (sent to me from my friend, Kyle)


Avocado Salsa:
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered, seeds optional
  • 2 garlic clove, smashed
  • 4 medium tomatillos, (about 8 ounces) husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
  • (can also use pre-cooked or frozen)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 8 sprigs cilantro for garnish
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Put the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a food processor and finely chop. Add the tomatillos, avocado, and salt and pulse until chopped but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cilantro.

Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a skillet. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cook the shrimp until translucent (or heat cooked/frozen shrimp all the way through)

Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Spoon sauce on the tortilla, then top with about 2 or 3 shrimp and a sprig of cilantro. Serve 2 tacos per person, with a lime wedge on the side.

HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP (from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

Ingredients:   (yields 4 to 5 servings)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon mild paprika
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoon  flour
2 cups of water
1 cup of milk (I use non or low fat)
black pepper, to taste
1.2 cup sour cream (I use non fat)
finely minced fresh parsley, for the top

Directions:  (1 hour to prepare):
Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch Oven.  Add onions, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.   Add mushrooms, salt, dill, and paprika.  Stir well and cover.  Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally .  Stir in lemon juice.

Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir another 5 minutes or so over medium-low heat.  Add water, cover, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in milk; add black pepper to taste.  Check to see if it needs more salt.  Whisk in the sour cream, and heat very gently.  Don't boil or cook it after this point.  Serve hot, topped with freshly minced parsley.

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy Eating & Cooking,

"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." - Hippocrates


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Year, New Decade

It took me awhile to write about coming into a promising new year and leaving a wonderful yet hard old year. I had to sit, reflect, and meditate about what I really wanted to say. I have really learned a lot in the past 12 months and I am ready to take what I have learned and run with it in this New Year and decade. I feel good! I feel better than I felt in a while now.

2009 was awesome...I continued to watch my amazing beautiful baby boy grow and flourish into this smart fun little boy and I married my best friend. Our "celebration of love" was absolutely perfect and I want to relive it over and over and over again. We have some amazing family and friends who really helped and made our day perfect. I can't thank them all enough! Since our wedding we have really grown as a couple. We have had some hard times that have brought us closer and stronger in all aspects of our marriage. It was a great year that I will forever cherish BUT I am happy to bring in a new year and start fresh with lots of goals and motivation.

My little heart is filled with excitement for all the adventures that 2010 has in store for us. Drew and I have sat down and set goals for ourselves individually, for us as a couple, and as a family. I feel so happy, excited, and blessed about all of our goals & wishes. I'm going to share some of our goals but we are keeping some a secret.....sorry!

Our wishes and hopes for 2010:

• That we live in the moment
• To continue to stay peaceful and respectful to all living things
• That we see the joy in all things
• To continue to be a guide, to nurture, to protect, and to unconditionally love our son
• To love and be kind with all of our hearts
• To show our son all the beauties of the world
• To continue to love each other unconditionally with respect and understanding
• To always remember to cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us unconditionally.
• That our passion and love for photography continues to grow in our business

Our goals for 2010:
• Staying fit....I have promised Drew that I will teach him how to do yoga. I, on the other hand, have started running! I will blog about my triumphs and tragedies on this!
• Continue our journey of sustainable, organic, healthy, local foods.
• Buying a house or at least starting the process. We want a house on some land so that we can have a little farm, grow some wine grapes, and build a photo studio. I really want Ayden to grow up on a farm (even if it's small). We are in search for the "perfect" place now!
• Continue my 2 month process of organizing and rearranging our home and life.
• Keeping Ayden on our new routine for him. It is going great so far and I am positive it will help with some milestones he will be reaching soon like.....
• Potty Training!!!! We started this process about a month ago and it's going pretty well. He is making improvements everyday with it. I'm hoping that he will be potty trained a little after his 2nd birthday.
• Becoming a doula. I have a strong passion for wanting to help women with emotional support, encouragement, and wisdom throughout labor, birth, and the postpartum.
• Continue to build our marriage and family with communication, understanding, respect, appreciation, and love. We are really making sure our "please and thank-you’s" are constant so that Ayden will see and hear it. He has already started and it’s adorable.
• Savings!!!! A fund for Ayden, house savings, travel savings, savings for more photography equipment, and I am starting my 401k!
• More travel this year! We have some plans!
• To learn how to knit and crochet. I am hoping my Aunt MaryJean will help me with this.
• To show our appreciation to our loved ones more!
• To have date nights more. It's good for us!
• To continue to work towards finishing school and starting our careers!
• To keep our house peaceful and full of love!

Wow! We have a lot of goals! I am confident that we will reach all of these. We are motivated more than we have ever been. I will keep you all posted on our successes and hard times while we work towards these goals.

Happy New Year and decade everyone! May 2010 fill your hearts with all sorts of love and peace.

Be well,

"I will be your home. I will be your guide, I will be your friend always on your side." -Renee & Jeremy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We just had a great week and a great start to a new week. The Tofu Pot Pie and French Roasted Onion Soup were amazing! The soup was easier than I thought it would be, but it did take a lot of time to make because I made the broth from scratch. The broth was delicious and it truly resembled a beef broth. I also decided that I liked Parmesan cheese with the soup instead of the Gruyere cheese. Drew on the other hand, liked the Gruyere cheese. So I would offer both cheeses when making this soup.

Here is another awesome menu plan. We are having a lot of fun trying new things, staying healthy, buying sustainable foods, and staying organized. Don't forget to always read your labels, know where your food comes from and what is in it, and try your best to eat organically and locally.

MONDAY: Dungeness crab, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted winter vegetables.

TUESDAY: Tuna Casserole (tuna bought at the Whole Foods fish department...fresh)

WEDNESDAY: Green Pizza made from homemade dough and a loaded veggie salad

FRIDAY: Dinner Party at our very good friend's home. We are bringing scalloped potatoes.

SUNDAY: Breakfast for Dinner!!!! Slow Cooker Mexican Breakfast Casserole

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy Eating & Cooking,

"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend and is recovering from the holidays nicely. I'm trying some new dishes this week. I love trying new things and expanding my food knowledge. Drew loves it too. I love hearing him praise me and my food when I make something he loves, it is very rewarding. Here is my weekly menu plan. Please remember that we always always always cook with as much organic, local, and vegetarian/pescatarian ingredients as we can. Check out for more menu plans.

MON- Slow cook Italian Vegetable Soup I substituted vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and added about 3/4 cups of diced potatoes.

TUES- Vegetable Stir fry

THURS- Dinner at Kelsey's new apartment here in Tualatin!!!!
Kelsey is making Vegetarian Chili. I am making Cornbread and
Chocolate-Covered Brownie Bites (only 38 calories per bite)

FRI- DATE NIGHT!!! Our son will be with Grandpa and Grandma for dinner.

SAT- Baked Salmon, roasted veggies, and Parmesan whole grain cous cous
I will also be making the Dark Vegetable Stock this night in preparation for Sunday's soup.

SUN- French Roasted Onion Soup*, Popovers*, and fresh green salad

* Recipes from cookbooks:

French Roasted Onion Soup (from the cookbook , Moosewood Resturant: Soups & Stews)


4 or 5 large Spanish onions, cut lengthwise into thin slices

8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 to 1 cup dry white wine

8 cups of Dark Vegetable Stock*

2 tablespoons soy sauce

salt and ground back pepper to taste


Grated Gruyere, Swiss, or Parmesan cheese (Gruyere is the best with this soup)


Preheat Oven to 375. In two shallow, nonreactive backing pans large enough to accommodate all of the onions in a single layer, combine the onions, garlic, salt, oil, bay leaves, and thyme. Roast for 45 to 50 mins, stirring every 15 minutes, until the onions have softened and lightly browned. Remove from the oven, add the wine to the baking pans, and stir well with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Transfer the roasted mixture to a soup pot. Add the stock and soy sauce, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Find and discard the bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with croutons and grated cheese.

Popovers (from the cookbook, Moosewood Resturant: Soups & Stews)


Butter for greasing the muffin tin

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups of milk

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (mixture of chives, basil, and oregano is nice)


Preheat the oven to 450. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin.

When the oven reaches 450, heat the empty muffin tin for 5 mins. It should be smoking hot; a very hot pan is the key to high-rising popovers.

While the muffin tin is getting hot, place the flour, milk, eggs, oil, and salt in a blender and puree until smotth. Stir in the herbs by hand.

When the pan is hot, immediately fill each muffin cup three-quarters full and bake for 15 mins. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 15 mins. Serve hot.

Dark Vegetable Stock (from the cookbook, Moosewood Resturant: Soups & Stews)


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 unpeeled garlic cloves, smashed with the bread side of the knife

10 cups water

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large potato, scrubbed and coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

8 large button mushrooms or 1 portabella mushrooms, incuding firm, clean stems, chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 whole cloves

1/2 cup lentils, rinsed (optional)


In a large soup pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until lightly browned, 8 to 10 mins. Add all of the remaining ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 50 mins, until all of the vegtables are very soft. Strain the stock through a sieve or colander. Use the stock right away, refrigerate it in a sealed container for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 6 months.

Enjoy cooking & eating!

"No mean woman can cook well. It calls for a generous spirit,a light hand, and a large heart."~ Paul Gauguin