Monday, April 12, 2010

Tonight's Mexican dinner

I've been asked how do I eat Mexican food if I'm allergic to dairy and the entire onion family (including garlic)? Well, I make it from scratch. Here are tonight's recipes. I'm also going to include a couple substitutes for the meat. I normally make the substitutes. Tonight was just that kind of night that we felt like chicken. lol We alternate between flour soft shells and corn hard shells. Tonight, we used corn hard shells. Add lettuce, olives, and your normal taco toppings, and you have a great meal!

Chili lime chicken or Portabella mushrooms

4 chicken breast halves. I use Tyson's skinless, boneless with the fat already trimmed. Or use whole large portabella mushrooms.
4 small limes, or 2 regular sized ones, zest and juice
1/2-1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 1 teaspoon powdered ancho chilies (chili powder has garlic. powdered chilies are only chilies)
salt and seasoned pepper to taste

Mix the seasonings, lime zest and juice in a ziploc bag. Add chicken and shake to coat. I actually keep the chicken partially thawed. Keeping it frozen helps the chicken stay moist. I just put in the portabella mushrooms in whole cuz they are easier to grill that way. Marinate for at least an hour, preferably 4. Grill until done. With them being partially frozen, I grill them around 30 minutes on low. The portabellas I play by ear depending on the size. The chicken comes out juicy! Just slice the chicken or mushrooms and use for your fillings.

Fat free "refried" beans

1 28oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinse
1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ancho chilies
pinch sugar
salt and seasoned pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium high 10 minutes, until beans are soft. Blend with immersion blender until as smooth as you like.

Mexican rice/quinoa taco filling

1 cup brown rice
1 cup rinsed quinoa (We prefer Inca Red for this dish)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ancho chilies
salt and seasoned pepper to taste
4 cups water

Combine in rice cooker and cook for normal time. This makes a lot! It freezes well.

Quick vanishing guacamole

1 Haas advocado
juice of 1 small lime
1 tablespoon diced tomatoes with green chilies (yeah, we eat them a lot)
1 or 2 drops green habanero hot sauce (or whatever kind you like, to taste)
salt and seasoned pepper to taste

Enjoy using any of these in your Mexican dishes. They are really easy to make and keep my family happy! By using the same spices in everything, I am able to get dinner to the table quickly and with a minimum of fuss. It's an easy go to dinner for busy days. Oh, and normally, if I plan it out right, the whole dinner costs about $7 for the whole family including my brother in law who ate with us tonight. And yes, the kids have lunch for tomorrow from it also.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So very sick of being sick

Here's the update on the vegan menu from a couple weeks ago. It didn't happen. lol I was sick when I wrote it, but thought it was my normal asthma trying to play games. I am just NOW getting myself caught up. It has been a couple weeks of breathing treatments and having to sleep sitting up because I was so congested.

Part of the reason I struggle so much with my asthma is that I am allergic to or have had serious reactions to just about every maintenance drug out there. Many of them use dairy as binders. So, all I have available to me right now is breathing treatments and rescue inhalers. I have so much albuterol in my system that I don't even get shaky from my treatments any more.

We had a yummy vegan dinner tonight. Quinoa brown rice burritos with sauteed peppers, green chilies and advocado. They were yummy and easy to make. I love my rice cooker. I plan on getting one with more bells and whistles when we can afford it, but that's more of a luxury. I can use it to cook grains, steam veggies, and I've even used it to steam Chinese dumplings. Here's the recipe for tonight's dinner. Um, I really have to remember to take pictures BEFORE the horde at my house gets to it.

Quinoa Brown Rice Burritos

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 cup Inca Red Quinoa (You can use normal too. I like them both.)
4 cups water
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon powdered ancho chilies

Add all of the above to your rice cooker and cook just like you do for normal rice. While that is cooking...

3 sweet bell peppers - I used 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange - sliced thinly
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Seasoned pepper (I almost always use Lowry's Seasoned Pepper in place of regular pepper) and salt to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add seasoned pepper and cook for a minute. Add bell peppers and cook until soft and slightly browned. I normally do my mushrooms the same way and have them in this dish, but we eat a lot of mushrooms and ran out last night.

Slice up whatever veggies you want - lettuce, tomatoes, olives, advocado etc.

Once the quinoa and rice is done, warm your tortilla shells and sub the quinoa and rice for the meat. Add your veggies including the peppers and mushrooms (if your family hasn't already eaten them all like my family) and enjoy! This is a great meal that takes about 20 minutes from start to finish to cook. The quinoa is a complete protein so it's a great replacement for the meat. Enjoy!

Well, I'm going to take my meds, which I am slowly weaning myself from, and heading to bed. Night all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Menu Planning for the week

I love menu planning and grocery shopping. I love knowing that the food I cook is going to be appreciated by my family, and used for their good health. Because of my health issues, the vegan lifestyle is the best for me. I do have honey, since it's local and helps my allergies. Other than that, I don't have any animal products, except occasionally eggs. Yes, I do this for a while, then start feeling great, and letting chicken and fish back into my diet. Next thing you know, I am eating burgers from fast food and feeling awful. So, I am going vegan again. The last straw was my son getting sick from fast food. He shudders when we pass by that restaurant now. We are always dairy free, but the rest creeps in. It is now time to get back to basics.

Here's the coming week's menu. Our lunches tend to be leftovers from dinner, so unless there's something different planned. All dinners have salad with them.

Thursday - Breakfast - toast and coffee (so not giving up coffee this time)
Dinner - Rice and Quinoa tacos

Friday - Breakfast - steel cut oats. I'm trying a new crock pot recipe.
Dinner - Jamaican Red Pea Soup

Saturday - Breakfast - fruit, toast
Dinner - leftovers from tacos or soup

Sunday - Breakfast - fruit, toast
Dinner - vegan chow fun, steamed dumpling

Monday - Breakfast - fruit, oatmeal
Dinner - Pancake dinner at school (I have our own recipe that I'll take for the non-dairy folks. I'm organizing the dinner.)

Tuesday - Breakfast - fruit, oatmeal or toast
Lunch - tuna pasta salad for the kids, salad for John and me
Dinner - Sweet potato burritos

Wednesday - Breakfast - fruit, toast
Dinner - Red Beans and Rice - yes, this can be vegan too.

Well, that's it for now. I'll post recipes as I go along. I'm still trying to decide the direction of this blog. It's not clear to me what I'm supposed to do, but am sure God will show me. Right now, I'm going to hang out with my husband for a bit then hit the bed. It's been a long week so far. Michael's been sick and I'm fighting it off too. Have a great night all!

It's John's birthday!

My handsome husband is celebrating his 38th birthday today. 4 years ago on this day, we had our first date, complete with both of our children. By the end of that date, our children were already calling each other brother and sister and were scheming about how to get us married. Not quite 4 months later, we were married. He swept me off my feet! I have been so blessed by having him as a husband and the family we've created. I am so thankful! I can honestly say I am madly, deeply, truly in love with him, more so than when we first married. We've been through much in our four years, including a major health issue with my liver, and his acid reflux. No matter what, we love God, each other, and our family. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please help Haiti!

The stories and pictures are heartbreaking. I find I have to shut off the tv and news occasionally. The horror the people there are dealing with...just no words. But you can help.

There are several organizations that have set up easy donation options. Here are two. As I find out more, I'll come back and post them.

Text haiti to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. They have already run out of medical supplies in country, and are working on bringing in more. They already had boots on the ground as Haiti was in need of so much help beforehand. It's overwhelming how much they need now.

Text disaster to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International. They have worked in Haiti for years. Before the earthquake, they served 65,000+ children and families around the country. They have the infrastructure and connections to help people in a great way.

Please pray for Haiti. Even if you can't afford to donate any money, prayer is the one thing everyone can do. Prayer can open the door to miracles!

One last note. So many people didn't care about what was going on in Haiti before this. Now, Haiti is in the forefront of everyone's minds. Let's not do our typical American short term memory loss/span of attention. Haiti will need help for a long time to come. Don't turn your back on them once the initial urgency of this wears off.

*****added 1/15/10*****

Evidently, the scammers are already out in full effect. Please be careful about what charities you donate to. I've also heard that a popular one being mentioned, Yele, run by musician Wyclef Jean, may be questionable. Use your own discretion when choosing.

Salvation Army is a great choice.

UNICEF is also a good choice.

Look for organizations that have already been working in Haiti before the earthquake hit. There's are several charity rating organizations that will tell you about different organizations.

There is a huge outpouring of help from the world community. I just pray that it keeps up after the inital clean up is done. Pray for Haiti and the people touched by this tragedy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why I love Sprint Customer Service, or How I killed another car

Yep, you read it here. I killed another one. Actually, I think I've had this car the longest out of all of them. This happened a couple weeks ago, but I need to say thanks to Sprint Customer Service. So, here's what happened.

Before we left to visit my parents, my cell phone broke and my old one was turned on for a few days while the replacement was shipped. We came back from visiting my parents in another state for Christmas, and I had a ton of driving to get done. The day after we came back, my husband picked up the cell phone while I ran around doing errands. I kid you not. It was during the two hours between the time he picked up the phone and I got home to get it from him that the car died. Really. My old cell phone had been turned off when John picked up the replacement one for all of two hours! THAT'S when my car died. It was only a mile and a half from the house, on the exit ramp from the highway. But, the windchill was subzero, and my asthma is triggered my extreme cold. I knew there was no way I could walk the way and still breathe.

I still had the old, now disconnected, cell phone on me. The only number I could dial was customer service for Sprint. The gentleman who answered my call dialed my husband's phone (he didn't hear it over his video game) and my mother's phone (she was out and didn't hear it ring) trying to let them know what happened. Neither one picked up. This gentleman stayed on the phone with me for 20 minutes while I tried to reach someone, anyone, to come help me. Finally, a woman stopped and gave me a ride home. I didn't know her but she was really sent from God. So was the Sprint operator. I regret I can't remember the name of the Sprint operator that helped me. I was so stressed out and upset. But thank you Sprint operator man!

Now, for those who know me, I killed my car this time by having a belt snap. So totally not my fault, but given my record, I'm still getting blamed. Eh, even I agree some of it is valid. I didn't think a broken belt could hurt the engine that much. But there are these things called impact (or something like that) engines and they tend to bend pistons or break them or do something really really bad when the belts break. Bottom line, it's dead. I'm driving the big gas guzzling truck. It's a blessing to have a running vehicle, but I drive a lot. We're hoping we can find someone to fix the car without costing an arm and a leg. I've also started looking for a job. But that's a post for another time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just a quick note

I forgot to tell you all that I may not post on Mondays. We don't watch any TV on Mondays, or use the computers much for non-business items. We also don't use our phones after dinner. Instead we play board games or have a family devotion. This week, both children had sports practices after school. It's J Term, which is a week of fun classes for the kids at school, and Mikey signed up for half day gym classes. So, he's in gym class for over two hours, then has practice for an hour and a half. By the time we got home and had dinner last night, both kids were wiped out and went to bed early. We also don't get home until 6:20 or 6:30. I can see now our crockpot is going to get a workout. There is no practice or any type of after school activity on Wednesdays so the families can go to church. I'm looking forward to that. I don't know what/if church we will go to tomorrow. Michael is really tired and needs some rest. I think we might watch the movie that's based on Dinner with A Perfect Stranger. We really loved that book, and Michael wants to have a party with non-dairy versions of the food. Yep, that's my boy. He loves to eat. lol

I'm really enjoying my Bible reading. Yes, reading through the Bible in 90 days is intensive, but wow! For example, isn't it ironic that Abraham and Issac both lied about their wives being their sisters, then Jacob was deceived concerning two sisters? Maybe it's just the odd way I tend to connect things, but that just really struck me. And yet, they are in the bloodline of Jesus! We can mess up, and still God will use us mightily. I know that's a great comfort to me. I mess up on a daily basis. Sorry if you thought I was perfect. I'm far from it. FAR from it. I'm just happy He sees me as worthy to even keep around.

Well, I'm off to bed now. Tomorrow is a slower day, and I'm looking forward to that. Thursday is another crazy day, including Katelyn's 16th birthday and a game she's cheering for. We're going to celebrate on Saturday instead, I think. It's up in the air as we try to coordinate schedules with family. I'll be taking pizza and dessert to Katelyn and her friends on Thursday at school. I've promised to try to not embarrass her unless I show up with pizza. hehehe I'll be embarrassing her. It's my job as a parent. Now, just how am I going to do that. I think I'd have to sleep with one eye open if I showed up as a clown. Maybe baby pictures posted around the school....