Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Matthew Ate Wednesday

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This week I am changing up the "What I Ate Wednesday" post and instead, giving you what my four year-old son ate.

Though my husband and I eat fish and chicken a few times a week and occasionally eat beef, we have chosen to raise our children to be vegetarians.  Neither of our kids have ever eaten meat.  There are several reasons for this. 
  1. It freaks us out when we see little kids (and especially babies) eating meat.  Meat is a dead animal.  We have no desire to let our kids eat dead animals, especially when our children are so young.  I could see a child foraging on his/her own, picking veggies or fruits and even chewing on grains, but not grabbing a cow or chicken and gnawing on it.  (However, we NEVER say anything to other parents about how they choose to raise their children or what they feed their kids.)
  2. Our four year-old son thinks meat is gross.  When we have others ask him if he eats me he yells, "NO!"  One day, after I told him how bread was made, he asked how to make meat.  I can't describe the look on his face when I told him meat was made of dead animals.  "YUCK!"  He yelled.  They may choose to eat meat someday, but we don't offer it to them.
  3. Our children have likely inherited our wonderful predisposition to heart disease, stroke, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes.  If they decide to remain vegetarians all of their lives, they have a greater chance of avoiding these diseases.  Giving them a vegetarian beginning may help them live much healthier, longer lives. 
Since my son is a vegetarian and we live in Nebraska, a state with more cows than humans, I often get asked what he does eat.

 Breakfast:  Oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins and orange juice.

 For a snack, he wanted Louise and Kenny's Swedish Rye Bread with butter.
(Okay, so he just asked for bread and butter,
then he asked what kind of bread it was after he ate it.)
 Matthew is usually too "busy" to eat lunch at noon.
Instead he eats at around 2:00pm. 
I offered orange juice, unsweetened applesauce,
You can see he already ate half a slice before I could get a photo taken!

For supper, I suggested a bean burrito
He told me he wanted two bean burritos.
Matthew ate both of them and finished the smoothie.
He will only drink smoothies that have spinach in them.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Matthew is a very healthy boy.  He has great focus and his weight is ideal for his height and age.  He doesn't have any chronic health conditions except mild seasonal allergies.  He only gets a cold once or twice a year. 

Matthew's diet is kind of boring, but he likes it.  He gets very little processed food and rarely gets food with dyes or artificial flavorings.  He has only had 2-3 sodas or Kool-Aid type drinks in his life.  We started out feeding him like this, so there was never a struggle to get him to eat healthier.  Some days he even eats better than his father and I do!

What did his 4 month-old brother eat today?  Mommy's milk. ; )

If you have children, what do you feed them?

If you don't have kids yet, what kind of foods do you hope to give them?

  • Be sure to come back tomorrow for Garlic-Cheese No-Knead Bread!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RECIPE: Elle's Fajitas! (Vegetarian/Vegan)

Best Blogger Tips With a newborn and a four year-old in our house and my husband working about sixty hours a week, I don't have much time to cook.  Although I once spent a lot of time cooking, I now rely mostly on heating up freezer meals.

These fajitas are something that I can make from scratch quickly and my husband absolutely loves them.

When I made them this time, I only had two peppers.

I always core the center of the peppers first.
Then, I sliced them into strips.
Onions never made me cry until I stopped wearing contacts
and started wearing glasses.
The aroma from the steaming peppers and onions
fills up the entire kitchen!


by thewaybyelle
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced in strips (1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green are best)
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced in strips
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tb. lemon juice
  • 1 Tb. oil or non-stick spray
  • 8 soft taco size flour tortillas
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar or colby jack dairy or soy cheese
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • homemade salsa and guacamole (optional)
1. Heat large oiled skillet to medium temperature and add peppers and onions. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, cumin, and lemon juice. If peppers and onions begin to stick, add 1/4 c. of water. Cook until peppers and onions have softened.
2. Serve immediately with tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, and guacamole.
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RECIPE: Louise and Kenny's Swedish Rye Bread

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[Print this Recipe]

My brother passed away suddenly this summer. 

He farmed the family land, retired from working at a factory for 30+ years, and loved riding his Harley.  He was a father, son, husband, brother, and a friend to more people than I can imagine.  At his funeral, he had one of the largest motorcyle escorts by his friends to the cemetery that any of us had ever seen.

He also made Swedish rye bread, our Grandmother Louise's recipe.  She learned it from her mother who emigrated from Sweden.
The dough is more sticky than a wheat bread.  The texture of the dough is in between a yeast bread and a quick bread.  The molasses and sugar make the bread sweet, instead of sour like most rye breads.

 All the wet ingredients and the rye flour are nice and bubbly after an hour. 
Next, I start adding in the white flour.
 After I had incorporated the white flour,
 I put plenty of flour down on the counter and started kneading it in. 
Notice my board knife above?  These are a must-have
for any cook, especially a baker! 
I use it scrape the counter and cut the dough.
It's ready for the oven!



*4 cups water
*3 Tb. yeast
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup molasses
*1 tsp. ginger
*2 tsp. salt
*4 cups rye flour
*1/4 cup gluten flour
*3-4 cups white flour plus 1 cup flour for kneading
*Non-stick cooking spray


1.  Mix water, yeast, sugar, molasses, ginger, salt, and rye flour in large mixing bowl.  Let rise for 1 hour.
2.  Add white flour and gluten flour until you reach a sticky dough.  Sprinkle countertop generously with white flour and knead for 10 minutes.
3.  Roll dough into loaves and place in 4 greased bread pans.  Place in prepared microwave proofer  or cover with greased cling wrap and place in warm room for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in height.
4.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake for 30 minutes.

How did yours turn out?

Come back tomorrow for a special What Matthew Ate Wednesday and Thursday for Garlic-Cheese No Knead Bread!
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Monday, November 28, 2011

RECIPE: Elle's Easy Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

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One of the most impressive foods you can bring to a dinner are fresh out-of-the-oven warm, golden dinner rolls. 

I started making this recipe after I got married and they immediately became "my dish" (you know, the one that everyone asks you to bring?).  Without fail, whenever I am invited to a family dinner, someone asks me to bring my "buns."  I try to take them out of the oven just before we leave, then, I cover the rolls with foil and a towel to keep them hot.  I never have any left to take home.

These dinner rolls look impressive and taste wonderful.  The best part is that they are very easy to make.  I use my bread machine on the dough setting, then form the dough into balls before letting them rise for 30 minutes before baking them.  You may also use a high speed mixer like a Kitchen Aid instead of a bread machine.

This single-serve bread can be served as a side to an evening meal or with breakfast.  The rolls can also be halved and used to make mini sandwiches.

First, I put the warm almond milk, butter, and yeast in the bread machine. 
See how the yeast already starts to bubble?
Then, I add the flours, egg, salt, and honey.
I turn the bread machine on the dough cycle.
After the dough cycle is finished, I heat water in the microwave,
making a proofer for the dough.
Then, I grease my enamelware pan with cooking spray.
I always use non-stick spray with flour for everything.
Next, I pull apart pieces of dough,
and roll them into balls.
I make 24 balls of dough. 

I put them to rise in my steamy microwave proofer for 30 minutes.
Finally, I bake them for 30-35 min. at 350F, until the tops are golden brown.

All done!



*1 c. warm almond milk or dairy milk
*2 Tb. softened butter or oil
*1 egg
*1/4 c. honey
*1 tsp. salt
*1 1/2 c. white flour
*1/4 c. gluten flour
*Non-stick spray


1.  Add all ingredients to bread machine.  If using Kitchen Aid or other high speed mixer, click here for directions for mixing dough.  Coat 9" x 13" baking pan with non-stick spray. 
2.  After dough cycle is complete, roll into 24 balls of dough and place in baking pan.  Put pan in microwave proofer or cover with greased cling wrap and place in warm room for 30 min.  Preheat oven at 350F.
3.  Bake rolls for 30-35 min.


1.  Instead of white whole wheat flour, white flour, and gluten flour, you may use 3 1/4 c. white flour.

How did they turn out for you?
What is your signature dish?

I will do my best to post Louise and Kenny's Swedish Rye Bread tomorrow.  I am battling a bad head cold, so I don't know how much I will get done today!
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

PREVIEW: 3 Simple Yeast Bread Recipes

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Few foods have the cultural importance of bread.

Christianity holds bread in special significance.  Jesus Christ referred to it in the Lord's Prayer, saying, "Give us this day our daily bread," referring to God meeting our needs.   Christ also referred to himself as the "bread of life" (John 6:35).  The ritual of Communion usually features a type of bread, representing the body of Christ.  Abstaining from leavened bread (bread with a lightening agent), also plays a part in the religious observances of Jews.
Fresh Ground Whole Wheat Bread
In English speaking countries, "bread" can also refer to money, while "bread and butter" can mean a regular source of income.  The "breadwinner" of the family is the one who provides means to care for the family.  In language, bread doesn't just mean the foodstuff created from grain flour, (usually) yeast, and water.

If bread means so much to humans, shouldn't it be nutritious, flavorful, and lovingly made?

Why do we eat bread from the store which is loaded with preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils?

This week, I will share 3 simple bread recipes made with yeast.  

Come back tomorrow for the recipe for Elle's Easy Dinner Rolls!
What is your favorite type of bread?

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Friday, November 25, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY: November 25, 2011

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This Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving, is known as "Black Friday."  I'm not sure why they call it, "Black Friday," but it is the day where many Americans go crazy, getting up at midnight, camping out in front of their favorite stores, waiting in endless lines, and generally fighting a psychotic mob of people, all trying to get the best deals for Christmas.

I am not one of those people. 

My husband and I tried it last year.  We made it to two stores and gave up, deciding instead to come home and watch football with my parents.

Whether you are a Black Friday shopper or not, you probably like saving money.  Today, I'm sharing three money saving websites with you. 

Money Saving Mom  Crystal is a homeschooling mom, wife, and a Christian.  She shares online deals, money-saving tips, and crafting ideas.  She gives practical advice to anyone who wants to get the most from their time and money.

Hot Coupon World  When I used a lot of coupons, I visited these forums every day. Here you will find online and in-store deals.  I don't use coupons for groceries very often anymore (since they are usually for processed foods), but the forums provide savings for lots of other products, too.  Check out the grocery store forums for current ads for the best prices in your area.

A Full Cup  Here is another site with lots of store forums and online deals.  I especially enjoy their Target forum.  They also have sections which will teach you how to save or get products for free.

If you would like your blog featured on a Follow Friday leave me a note in the comment section! : )

Did you venture out today to get shopping deals?

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RECIPE: Grandma Gladys' Apple Salad

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When I was a little girl, I had the privilege of having two grandparents and one great-grandparent living a few blocks from me.  My Great-Grandma Gladys was my favorite.  She always let me play with her breakable figurines; we would sing and dance around together listening to Lawrence Welk on 8 tracks and PBS. 

Grandma Gladys didn't eat health food.  She drank "cowboy" coffee (coffee grounds that have been boiled) and loved apple fritters.  However, she also loved fruits and vegetables and hardly ever ate processed food.  I can still remember how she walked to the grocery store 10 blocks away while she was in her late 80s.  

She died at the age of 107, ten years ago.  When her recipes grace our table, I feel like she is still with us.

This apple salad is made with Miracle Whip and mustard, but it tastes sweet instead of sour.  The odd combination of condiments with added vanilla and sugar creates a dressing that tastes like apples.  Add banana and walnuts for an array of soft and crunchy textures that is perfect for any dinner table.

The ingredients for the dressing. 
I used honey mustard since I didn't have any yellow mustard.
Mixing it all together. 
I'm still not sure how I feel about turning the flash off on my camera.

Taste the dressing after it is mixed.
It tastes like it has apple juice in it, doesn't it?

After peeling the bananas, I quartered them lengthwise, then sliced them.
The bananas are brown because I put them in the fridge a few days ago.
If you put them in the fridge, it slows the ripening process. 
The peels may brown, but the bananas are perfect inside!

I chopped the apples in very small pieces. 
I wanted to have all of the apples and bananas the same size.
All sliced and ready for the dressing and walnuts.
Mixing it all together.

Ready to serve!

[Print this recipe]



*1 cup Miracle Whip or Miracle Whip Light
*3 Tb. sugar
*1 tsp. yellow mustard or honey mustard
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*3 bananas
*3 apples
*1/2 c. chopped walnuts


1.  Combine Miracle Whip, mustard, vanilla, and sugar in a small bowl.  Blend until well incorporated.
2.  Peel bananas and core apples.  Chop bananas and apples into small, uniform pieces and add to large bowl.  Add dressing mixture and walnuts.  Mix well.
3.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate any leftovers and use within a day or two.  Bananas and apples will begin to brown after several hours.

1.  Pecans or other chopped nuts maybe used.
2.  Add mini marshmallows or chopped celery, if desired.

Do you have a favorite recipe from one of your grandparents?  What is it?Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday: Prepping for the Big Day!

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It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at my house.  I started prepping food for the holiday on Monday, in an attempt to make Thursday less stressful.  I am taking my sons to my parents' house to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and I don't want to freak out when I get home.

I am making the ENTIRE meal myself for my husband, our two sons, and four young men.

First of all, here is what I ate.

I always start my day with a spinach protein shake. 
I try to make them a day ahead so I can just grab it out of the fridge.

Later on for lunch, I had 12 oz. of thawed, frozen blueberries. 

Next, I had a bag of Green Giant Valley Blend Steamers. 
The variety with carrots, golden cauliflower, and broccoli is my favorite.

I drank the rest of the spinach protein shake for an afternoon snack. 
I usually have a pint in the morning and a quart in the afternoon. 
Mason jars are perfect for storing them in the fridge.

For supper, I had a bag of Green Giant Healthy Colors Steamers
and baked cod with fresh thyme.
My husband made supper since the baby was fussy.
It only took 15 min. from start to finish.

Here is all the food prepping for Thanksgiving that I accomplished today.
I made two pie crusts for pecan-walnut and pumpkin pie. 
I wrapped them and put them in the fridge
so they are ready for the filling tomorrow.

I made a double crust and filled it with cherry pie filling. 
I got first place at the fair when I was a kid for the pie crust recipe.
I refuse to use refrigerated crusts from the store.  They have lard in them most of the time.
I turned the flash off for this one.  I don't get very much natural light in the kitchen,
so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.
When I first started baking pies in junior high school, I hated fluting the crust and would always have someone else do it for me.  That's my attempt at carving a cherry for the vent.

I cubed and dried bread for the dressing recipe.  
I got started on pulling the leaves off of the rosemary and thyme. 
I was so excited to see they were grown only 1 hour away from where I live!
Finally, I stuffed the 15 lb. turkey in a bucket with salt water and put it in the chilly garage.

 Busy day!

Come back tomorrow for my recipe for
Grandma Gladys' Apple Salad!

Did you get any of your Thanksgiving preparations done early?
Do you make turkey?  Do you brine it first? 
Do you use fresh herbs in your stuffing/dressing?
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RECIPE: Eldon's Steak & Dressing

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(I posted this recipe last Thanksgiving.  My grandmother died in December, so I updated the recipe history before posting today.  I will be making this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner in a few days.)

My grandfather, Eldon, was quite a character.  He was raised in the Sandhills of Nebraska and worked as a cattle rancher for many years.  While a golden brown, roast turkey is the centerpiece of most traditional Thanksgiving dinners, my grandpa refused to eat poultry. 

He always said, "There is a reason it is called 'fowl.'" 

My grandfather died five years ago, only six weeks after doctors diagnosed him with colon and liver cancer.  My grandmother, Elaine, passed right before Christmas last year.  Although both of them are gone, some of the traditions they established live on in our family.  At my grandparents' house, this dish was served every Thanksgiving beside the turkey. This year, the first Thanksgiving I will be hosting on my own, I will share both a traditional turkey and my grandfather's steak and dressing.

Most of time, I try to eat a vegetarian diet.  I make an exception during the holidays.

 The ingredients for the dressing.  You can chop the herbs, onion, and celery days in advance.

 The floured steak frying in the pan. 

  Browned steak in my Enamelware roasting pan.  I LOVE this baking pan and use it all of the time!

Eldon's Steak and Dressing. 
The blue and white marbling in the baking dish make it pretty enough for any table. 


*1 1/2 lb. round steak, cut into small steaks
*1 cup flour
*1 loaf wheat bread, cubed and dried in a 170 F oven
*2 Tb. fresh chopped sage or 2 tsp dried sage
*1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
*3 stalks celery, chopped

*1 1/2 Tb. baking powder
*3 cups beef broth
*1 egg
*Oil for frying steak

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.  Dredge (lightly coat) both sides of steaks in flour, fry in skillet until lightly browned.  (Steak will finish cooking in dressing.)
3.  Place in baking dish.
4.  Put dried bread cubes, celery, onion, and sage in large mixing bowl.
5.  In separate bowl or blender, blend egg, baking soda, and broth.  (I used my Vita-Mix Vita Prep 3 on a medium low setting.) Pour over cubed bread in large mixing bowl. Mix well.  Mixture should be wet.
6.  Add dressing mixture to baking pan and cover steaks.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Due to the eggs and baking powder, dressing may puff up somewhat, but will fall after removing from the oven.

Serves 8-10.

1.  You can try to make this recipe with vegetarian meat substitutes and vegetable broth.  Let me know how it goes!

2.  I grow my sage in my windowsill.  The fresh herbs add lots of flavor to any recipe!
3.  A glass pie plate works great for flouring foods.

Did you like this recipe?  Do you have any other fun non-traditional recipes from your family?

Post your variation in the comments and I will add it to the recipe!

Come back tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday and on Thanksgiving Day for Grandma Gladys' Apple Salad Recipe!
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