Thursday, December 24, 2009

Recent Recipes.....

I have had some friends recently exchange some really good recipes with me. Not only do I want to share them with you on our blog, but having them on my blog helps me if I misplace my paper copy!!! So here they are…. We have tried them all, and they are each wonderful…..

Lime Scented Quinoa with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro—from Hannah Burns

3 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
zest of one lime
1 tablespoon of hot sauce (we used Central Market Organics Chipotle hot salsa)
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, and drained
1 cup diced red or yellow tomatoes (we used a plastic container of Cherubs)
1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper

--Bring stock to a boil; add quinoa. Stir, and bring back to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the quinoa is fluffy and tender. Strain and let cool. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper, zest and hot sauce. Place quinoa, beans, tomatoes and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil mixture, and toss. Suggestion: Serve with sautéed kale or spinach lightly tossed with olive oil and garlic.

NOTE: Logan and I added a chicken we had oven roasted. We shredded the chicken and added it to the meal, adding some protein and flavor. (And we always want some type of “meat” with our meal!!!) This is a great dish, served hot for winter and would be great cold (like couscous) for the summer.

ABOUT QUINOA: That was the first time I had ever cooked with quinoa (keen-wah). Hannah and Casey had us over for dinner and she had made a wonderful quinoa dish with chicken, carrots and celery. (I’ll post that recipe later….) Quinoa is a very nutrient-dense grain, is safe for a gluten-free diet, is high-fiber, and it has anti-fungal properties. So in a nutshell, this is a very healthy, nutritious meal! Quinoa is a complete protein (one-quarter cup of uncooked quinoa has about six grams of protein, about as much as one egg), and contains vitamins B and E and trace minerals. There was no quinoa here in Marble Falls (go figure!), so Cinda got me some when she ran in to Whole Foods in Austin. You can buy it packaged in health food stores or in the bulk section of larger stores. If you buy bulk, make sure to rinse it off and drain before you cook it because it has a bitter taste if it is not rinsed.

Baked Spinach---from Ashley White

NOTE: Not only do we love spinach because it is healthy, but with cheese, it is even better! Ashley said their almost 2 year-old LOVES this…..

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
6 ounces Cheddar or Colby Cheese, shredded (1 ½ cups)
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 7 by 11 inch Pyrex dish. Add onion. Stir in flour. Combine spinach, eggs, cottage cheese, and Cheddar or Colby cheese in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon spinach mixture into onion mixture. Stir to combine. Back uncovered 1 hour.

This casserole can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and cooked the next day.

Osta Kaka (Swedish sweet cake)---From a friend of Ashley White’s

24 oz small curd cottage cheese
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups half ‘n half
almond extract (use your preference)

Drain the small curd cottage cheese into a colander for 2 hours. Discard milk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the 4 eggs. Add the sugar, half ‘n half, and almond flavoring. Stir. Add cottage cheese. Spray casserole dish and pour in mixture. Bake 1 ½ to 2 hours. You can serve with fresh fruit or just eat alone! Yummy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

WOW!!! It's almost Christmas!

I can't believe this month has flown by already.... Here's a recap of what we've been doing. This month has been particularly busy for us, not only because of the Christmas holiday, but because Weiss had his third birthday. I had my finals for two classes at one time (which ended Friday---HALLELUJAH!) and had to secure my internship in late January to complete my master's program. All of this has made the first part of December busy, and unfortunately, stressful.
A bit about my internship: God worked everything out beautifully; I will be working at the Highland Lakes Crisis Center. It services four counties here in Central Texas and houses up to 40 women (and children) at one time. I will be working with women and children who are victimized by domestic abuse and sexual assault. (It is also the sexual assault crisis center for this area, as well.) It stays very busy and is open 24/7, so I am sure I will be very busy. I am required to complete 800 hours there, so this will take me several months working full-time.
Weiss was so excited about his birthday approaching; he really had a great time this year celebrating. For the longest time, he said he was "five" if anyone asked, but I think he has figured out he is three now....
We attended the Main Street Bethlehem production in Burnet this year.... If you've never been, it was incredible and so worth going to see. There were plenty of live animals (chickens, geese, camels, sheep, donkeys), everyone dressed in period costumes, and everything was so realistic. Burnet FBC has a permanent "Bethlehem" set up outside of their church on some property they have there. The buildings are stone, and there is a wall around the city, just like it really would have been. There are Jewish priests, many merchants, Roman soldiers, wise men, shepherds, tax collectors, prostitutes, vagrants, lepers, prisoners, and families with small children. And of course, there is Jesus (a real baby!), Mary, and Joseph. Weiss loved it and learned how to say "Shalom!" We went late on a Sunday evening (someone had told us that was the best time.... It really wasn't crowded. We had no lines. We had heard people waited for TWO hours in line! After all, over 10,000 people go through in 2 weekends.) Mary and Joseph were supposed to remain "stoic" with the baby Jesus, and Weiss kept hollering at Joseph and waving to get his attention. It was so cute--finally Joseph looked up and casually waved. We were the only ones around the manger at that point, so I guess he thought it would be okay to break character....
We went to a wedding in the Merkel area this past weekend (Kelle Hicks and Derreck Ratliff). We had a great time; I got to see and visit many people I had not seen in quite some time! Thanks, Kelle, for including us! We left Friday morning and Weiss got carsick right off the bat. (He has never done that!) We pulled over and Logan was cleaning out/"Lysoling" Weiss's carseat; I took Weiss in the back with the tailgate up and changed his clothes. When he was covered in yuck, he kept saying, "I need a doctor...." I thought that was hilarious! He perked right up and was fine the rest of the drive and weekend. We think he got too hot because the heater was on and he had just had a big breakfast. Poor dude.
We stayed with my parents and enjoyed visiting with them. It was so COLD there. The temperature isn't too bad, but the wind makes it feel soooo cold. We had the rehearsal Friday in Eriksdahl (Avoca), and then the dinner in Abilene. Saturday, we drove to Eriksdahl (near Stamford) and then the reception was in the Elks Building in Abilene. We then left to eat at Catfish Corner! (Logan was craving it.... Good choice, Logan!) Sunday we left to go visit Logan's granddad at Big Spring in the Veteran's Hospital nursing facility. It was great to see him and know that he recognized all three of us. He was glad to see us and Weiss was in a great mood. We then left to go to San Angelo to visit Justin, Ashley, and Sydney White. It was a fun but short visit. We made our way home last night. We had many hours in the car this weekend, but it was a fun one!