Friday, May 27, 2011

God Bless Canada

Canada is not a perfect country, but I can say that I am so thankful we have a Prime Minister who stands up for Israel when most other countries are not.

Prime Minister Harper is standing among the G8 leaders as the lone leader defending Israel's borders. Read the article here.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Here is what the LORD said to Abraham, which applies to the nation of Israel.

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:3

I praise God for Prime Minister Harper's stance among much opposition. I feel so blessed to be a Canadian. God bless Canada.

Go here to email the Prime Minister's office to thank him for his stance on Israel. It only takes a minute and is easy to do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rhubarb Slushies

This is one of my favourite ways to use rhubarb. This stuff is seriously SO good, especially on a hot summer day...Of course, we haven't had many of those yet, but even on a rainy day, this was still really good. You can make a big batch ahead of time and store it in the freezer until you need it. I first tried this at my mother-in-law's place, and that's where I got the recipe.

Rhubarb Slush
8 cups rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
8 cups of water
2 cups sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 Tbsp strawberry jelly powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups pineapple juice

In a large saucepan, bring rhubarb and 8 cups water to a boil, simmer 10 minutes, then strain. Reserve the juice. Combine sugar, jelly powder, and 2 cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Stir into rhubarb juice. Add pineapple and lemon juices and mix well. Allow to cool, then freeze juice in smaller containers. To use, allow it to thaw slightly, scoop with an ice cream scoop and add an equal amount of ginger ale. Yields 35-40 servings.

*Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link-up*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week

We are in need of a trip to the grocery store as the fridge is looking a little empty. Here's the plan for this week:

Monday, May 23
We had a delicious roast beef supper at Mom & Dad's with peach pie for dessert!

BoldTuesday, May 24
Buttermilk Pancakes, Cheese & Mushroom Omelets & Fruit (I'm not really a fan of breakfast-for-supper, but I am tired today, busy with laundry, and we are seriously low on groceries!)

Wednesday, May 25
Crockpot Sweet & Sour Beef (this recipe but using beef cut into cubes instead of ribs) over Rice & Cooked Mixed Veggies

Thursday, May 26
Three Cheese Baked Ziti (NEW) & Caesar Salad

Friday, May 27

Saturday, May 28
Shepherd's Pie or Homemade Pizza, Salad

Whirlwind Trip

We are back after a quick trip to the USA this past weekend. We decided to leave Little Ellie with my parents and take a little holiday with just the two of us. It was SO hard for me to leave her for 2 nights, but it was quite nice to spend some quality time with the hubby. I am soooooooo tired now, though. It was a fun trip, but a tiring one with quite a bit of driving. With our strong Canadian dollar we got some pretty good deals, which was fun. I have tons of laundry and housework to catch up on now. I'm really trying to get all caught up, but I'm so tired that all I want to do is nap! It's really rainy, cold, and dreary outside, which tends to make me feel kind of lazy and like snuggling under the blankets. Ellie is down for her nap, so I think I might just go do that :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mennonite Craving & Update

oops..accidentally hit publish before I was done saying all I wanted to say!

I have a hankering for some good old Mennonite food today. My menu plan got a bit jumbled up this week. I made pizza yesterday instead of beef burgundy, and today instead of beef burgundy, I've decided I need a good Mennonite soup with cheese biscuits instead. We have leftover sausage in the freezer from Monday's sausage and perogies, so I'm cooking up some delicious Summer Borscht for supper. Ohhh...yum! Too bad I don't have any fresh dill right now; I guess dried will have to do, but I do happen to have sorrel leaves in the freezer :-D. Perfect! Recipe to come...
In the words of our Little Miss Ellie, it's going to be "SOOOO good!"

In other news....I have had a fairly busy & productive week this week. Monday was an unusually productive day, and I got the following accomplished
-6 loaves of bread
-batch of cinnamon rolls
-Planted the garden
-Did a bunch of other yard work

On Tuesday our flower bed got a revamp as my Mom came and helped me redesign my flower bed (which was taken over by gout weed last year...I spent ALL summer getting rid of that nasty stuff) and plant flowers. She even brought me some miniature irises from my Grandpa and Grandma's homestead (that is now turned into farmland), so that is pretty special. We took turns working on the flower bed and keeping Ellie out of trouble. Um yeah, she may or may not have laid down in a mud puddle, and I just remembered now that I forgot to take a picture of her adorably muddy self. Grrr...

Only thing is...Monday and Tuesday's busyness kind of knocked me out for the rest of this week! I feel like I almost need the rest of the week to recover. LOL. Ah yes...Thursday means dusting. I greatly dislike dusting. Oh well. It only takes me probably less than 20 minutes. I guess I should stop complaining and just get it over with!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crockpot Pomegranate Cranberry Beef

This recipe is so easy to put together and the flavour combination is delicious. This is what I consider a "fancy" tasting dish without all the work! I think it takes me longer to pack my husband's lunch than it does to throw this together :-D.

Crockpot Pomegranate Cranberry Beef - adapted from Crockpot 365 here
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
3 pounds boneless beef (I usually use stew beef)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup cranberry pomegranate juice (I use Ocean Spray)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Swirl the oil in the bottom of crockpot. Add the sliced onion, spices, garlic, crushed tomatoes, juice, vinegar, and syrup. Combine well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve with mashed potatoes with the sauce drizzled overtop.

*Linking up to Women Living Well Wednesdays

Linking up to Raising Homemakers

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mommy Moment Mondays: Knock Knock Jokes

Ellie attempted her first knock knock joke this past week. She was sitting in her high chair, while my mom and I were visiting, and suddenly Ellie jumped in and said, "Knock knock. Who's there? Honk Honk Beep Beep!" and then she laughed at herself, thinking she had said something pretty funny. And yes, we did think it was pretty funny.

The other night we were outside and the moon was out. Ellie pointed to the moon, stood on her tip toes, and said ,"Reaaaacccchhh!" as she tried to "reach" out and touch the moon. It was pretty cute.

P.S. I have been VERY busy thrift shopping. It is becoming a bit of an out-of-control hobby. Ever seen the show "Hoarders". Umm..yeah. No comment! Hope to post about all my great finds sometime this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (May 16, 2011)

I really feel like I've been struggling lately with my menu planning. It just seems like I'm running out of ideas of things to make that sound appetizing to both me and my husband (and that our picky toddler could tolerate). I'm definitely going to be looking up some other people's menus this week to try to get some ideas.

Sunday, May 15

Family gathering for lunch
Leftover hamburgers for supper

Monday, May 16
Sausage, Perogies, Spinach Salad

Tuesday, May 17
Chicken Fingers, Fries, Veggies

Wednesday, May 18
Crockpot Beef Burgundy (Recipe to come), Egg Noodles, Mixed Veggies

Thursday, May 19

Friday, May 20
Pizza & Caesar Salad

Saturday, May 21

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Cinnamon Rolls (Trying out a new one)
Half Hour Jam (still haven't got to this!)

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Friday, May 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing #19

This last week I tackled Ellie's closet. It was definitely time to go through everything again and put away things that are too small. It was such a disaster. I ended up putting her pants and t-shirts in her change table drawer, which had room, instead of in the closet. Her dresses and sweaters are in the closet, along with her clothes that are the next size up.



*Linking up to 52 Weeks of Organizing*

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Time Well Spent

I love blogging. I really do. The thing is, blogging takes time and quite honestly...quite a bit of time if you blog a lot. Maybe it doesn't take much time for some people, but it seems to take a lot of time for me. The other day in church our pastor said that watching something like 4 hours of watching tv a day can add up to 9 years of time spent watching tv if you live to a ripe old age. Yikes. That has got me am I spending my time? Sure, there can be time for hobbies and time for blogging, but there needs to be a balance.

So, I'm probably not going to be blogging as much anymore. I still plan on blogging a couple times a week, but it's not going to be everyday. There are so many other things I need to be doing in my "spare" time. I waste too much time on the internet, and it's time to get more productive and spend my time more wisely. Some of the things I hope to spend my new time doing are:

  • Organize
  • Create a printable photo book with digital scrapbook software I have
  • Design and decorate more rooms in the house
  • More time spent with my husband and playing with Ellie
  • Did I mention ORGANIZE?? :-D

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tutorial: Making Homemade Bread

Making homemade bread is really easy once you get used to it. If you have a mixer or bosch, there is very little work involved; much of the time is for rising and baking. Here's a step by step tutorial on how to make homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread. The entire recipe is at the bottom.

1) In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar and 2 Tbsp of yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water (the water should be fairly warm but not so hot that you couldn't keep your hand in it. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast.)

2) To your mixer (my bosch can handle this large batch) or very large bowl, add 3 1/2 cups of warm water, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

3) Mix well
4) Stir in the yeast mixture and mix.

5) Slowly add 5 cups of whole wheat flour, mixing well after each addition.

6) Add 1/4 cup of flax, and 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. Mix well.

7) After combined, let this mixture stand for 20 minutes, until very light.

8) Add in 4 tsp of salt. (The reason the salt is added now instead of sooner is because salt can kill the yeast.)

9) With the mixer running, add in another 4 cups of whole wheat flour (one at a time, allowing the flour to incorporate) and enough white flour (about 2 cups) until the sides of the bowl start to get clean. Make sure to add the flour a little at a time, and beat well after each addition. Once the sides of the bowl are clean and the dough is only slightly sticky, then you've added enough flour. The total amount of flour for this recipe (including the 5 cups of whole wheat added earlier) is approximately 11 cups (9 C. whole wheat and 2 C. white).

10) See how the sides of the bowl are clean? That means I've added enough flour. Let the machine knead this (or knead by hand) for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

11) Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Use a HUGE bowl that will allow for the dough to at least double in size, or you might need to use 2 bowls if you don't have a giant bowl. Lightly oil the top of the dough, cover loosely with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Place in the oven with the light on and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until the dough is doubled in size. If you gently poke the dough and it leaves an indentation, it is usually ready.

Here is the dough after the first rise.

12) Punch the dough down to remove all air bubbles. Ellie likes to "poke it." It's her favourite part of making bread. :-). Here haven't finished punching it down. You want to really punch it down. It should totally deflate (not like it looks in the picture.)

13) After punching the dough down, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Let rest for 10 minutes on the counter before shaping into loaves.

14) Shape into 6 loaves, pinching in the bottom and side seams, and place in a well greased (sides and bottom) bread pans. Make sure you grease the pans well. Ensure the short ends of the loaves are touching the short sides as this will help them rise.

15) Oil the top of the loaves, and cover the loaves with plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in oven with the light on for another 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size. You can do the indentation test again to check if they are ready.

16) Once the loaves have doubled in size, they are ready to put into the oven. Place in a preheated 375 F oven for 25 - 35 minutes until golden brown. You can check "doneness" by removing the loaf and tapping the bottom. It should sound hollow if it is done. Remove loaves immediately from pans and allow to cool. I have to bake my bread in 2 batches. I just bake the loaves that are the most "ready" first and leave the other ones on the counter to finish rising and bake after the first batch is done.

17) Allow the bread to cool completely before storing in plastic bags. I usually freeze the extra loaves. When I need one, I microwave for 45 seconds or just let thaw on the counter. Homemade bread goes moldy much faster than store bought. It will last 3-4 days on the counter, longer in the fridge (maybe a week or two), and much longer (probably 2 months or longer) in the freezer.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

2 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 additional cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
11 cups (approx)whole wheat flour (often I do 9-10 cups whole wheat and 1-2 cups white)
1/4 cup flax seed (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
4 tsp salt

Directions. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1/2 cup of warm water. In Bosch, mix 3 1/2 cups warm water, honey, molasses, oil, eggs, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add yeast mixture and stir. Gradually add 5 cups whole wheat flour, beating well after each addition. Add the optional flax and sunflower seeds. Stir well. Let this mixture stand 20 minutes until mixture is very light. Stir in salt and the rest of the flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Put into a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise in the oven with light on until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down and shape into 6 balls. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Form into loaves, placed in greased loaf pans, and let rise covered in oven with light until until doubled. Bake at 375 F for 25-35 minutes - until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Teriyaki Rice Bowls

Teriyaki Rice Bowls
2 lbs of steak, trimmed and cut into strips
1 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Mix ingredients together and then pour over the steak. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until done.

Once steak is done, heat a large frying pan or wok with a few tablespoons of oil (sesame oil, preferably) over medium heat. Add in vegetables of your choice such as:

Broccoli Florets
Carrots, julienne style
Celery, diced
Onions, cut into wedges
Bell Peppers, sliced thinly

Add in some of the teriyaki sauce from the crockpot. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add steak. Serve over rice.

*The steak is very tender since it is slow cooked. For some people, it might be a little dry, so watch the steak and don't overcook it in the crockpot. We prefer our meat slow cooked as opposed to cooking it quickly over high heat because we like meat that just falls apart.*

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mommy Moment Mondays: Call Me Mommy

Ellie is loving playing outside now that we've finally had some decent weather (read not snow!).

This past week she started doing something funny that would not be so funny in a year or two. She has been referring to us by our first names! It is so hard to not laugh when she does this. On Mother's Day, she was sitting in her high chair and she wanted something, but instead of saying Mommy, she said, "Jenna...JENNNNa.....JenNA?". And yes, she's done this with my husband, too. Once she even called my husband by his first and last name! Thankfully, it is done in all innocence (so far!) When she does this, I nicely correct her and say, "No, call me Mommy." :-D

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