Tiny Spicy Chicken and Fried Rice

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my husband is not only a picky eater, but an honest one.  If he doesn’t like something, I urge him to tell me so I don’t make it again.  This meal is one that he begs me to make again and again.  He said it is hands down, by far, times a million the best meal I make him.  So that’s either saying a lot about this meal, or a lot about my other meals 😉  You tell me what you think!

Tiny Spicy Chicken

3 pounds of Chicken, cut into one inch pieces

2 eggs beaten

1 1/2 cup flour/cornstarch

Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp oil

Sauce:

1 1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3/4 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup vinegar

1-2 tsp chili paste

Heat the oil in a pan.  Take your chicken pieces and sprinkle them with garlic powder.  Dip them in the egg and then the flour/cornstarch (both work for me, haven’t found a difference so it’s just what you prefer or have on hand) then fry for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Place all cooked chicken in a glass baking dish.  Cover with sauce and put in oven at 400, turning every 15-30 minutes depending on how diligent you want to be with it, for one hour and until chicken is covered and sauce thickens a bit.

Serve with:

Fried Rice (Amounts here serve at least 8 adults and a smattering of children…with leftovers)

5 cups of rice (before cooked) (white or brown)

4 ham steaks diced

1 cup (give or take) diced green onions

6 eggs beaten

Soy Sauce to taste (at least 3 Tbsp)

Put a Tbsp or so of oil in pan and let it heat on medium heat.  Then pour the beaten eggs in it.  Let the eggs sit until cooked almost all the way through and then flip.  Once all egg is cooked, lift out of pan and slice into pieces.

In same pan and with same oil or more added if you need to, fry diced ham and onions until ham is slightly browned and onions are soft.  Put these in large bowl with the sliced fried eggs.

Add the cooked rice (will be about ten cups cooked I think) and stir all together.  Add soy sauce to taste and enjoy!

We will also make egg rolls with this meal, but I”ll save that for another post!  享受 Xiǎngshòu!

Easter Egg Lesson

Sorry, no pictures here, folks.

I couldn’t find my camera all day…then my husband found it when He got home from work.  However, I was still unable to take any pictures in time for this post.  As such…no pictures.

My sister is really good at including illustrations with her posts.  Me?  Not so much.

I really wanted to share with you all this awesome Easter Egg Lesson that my kids absolutely love.

Lizzie came home with this game last year after a Primary activity that she attended.  I have also found it here on the Sugar Doodle website (which is one of my favorite websites, by the way).

Last year, we played this game a zillion times around Easter time.  We played it again for Family Home Evening this past Monday and it was just as loved as it was last year.  In fact, my kids have asked to play it numerous times a day since then and I’m sure that we’ll continue to play it often until Easter is over.  It’s my kind of egg hunt.  No candy involved and the kids actually learn something!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much Lizzie remembered from last year.  This game has definitely become a tradition in our house.

Ready to make your own game?

Easter Egg Lesson

Preparation:

1. Find twelve plastic Easter Eggs.  Write a number (1 – 12) on each of the eggs with a permanent marker.

2.  Have the following scriptures verses ready to read (I recommend typing them up and printing them out on one sheet of paper):

#1:    Matthew 26:39

#2:    Matthew 26:14-15

#3:    Matthew 27:1-2

#4:    Matthew 27:24-26

#5:    Matthew 27:28-30

#6:    Matthew 27:31-32, and he was crucified and nailed to a cross.

#7:    Matthew 27:35-36

#8:    Matthew 27:46, 48

#9:    Matthew 27:50-51, 54

#10:    Matthew 27:57-60

#11:    Matthew 28:1 (bringing sweet spices to anoint Him) 2,  and verse 5

#12:    Matthew 28:6  “He is not here: for He is risen as He said.”

3. Gather together the following items and place inside of the corresponding egg:

Egg #1:  One Sacrament cup

#2:  3 Dimes

#3:  A small piece of twine

#4:  A piece of soap

#5:  Red fabric

#6:  One nail

#7:  Dice

#8:  A tiny bag of dirt

#9:  White fabric

#10:  Small stone

#11:  A tiny bag of sweet spices

#12:  Leave empty (or place a small picture of Jesus inside)

How to play:

Hide the eggs around the house and let the kids find them and bring them back to you.  Open the eggs in order (have them find the correct number themselves…get some secular learning in with the spiritual learning!) 🙂  As they open each egg, read and discuss the corresponding scripture that goes with it.

Repeat.

Again and again and again and again.

I promise your kids will love it! 🙂

Burlap Pillow

This year for New Years, I searched the blogosphere and found these great printables to help us with some New Years Resolutions.  What I liked about these printables were they also were a record keeper that told us a little about ourselves this last year and who we wanted to be a year from now.

It’s still not too late to use these if you want to, or check them out for next year.  These blogs are full of great ideas.  Thirty Handmade Days (kids version and adult version) and Run Lucas Run.  So cute!

Part of those printables included picking a word for the year that you wanted to live by.  Maybe something you wanted to work on or improve on.  I chose the word PLAYFULL.  Yes, I know I spelled it wrong.

I am always so busy and stressed and serious.  Moving from one thing to the next trying to get my to-do list done.  I needed to get down and play with my kids more and I needed to be more playful with my husband so he didn’t forget the woman he married six years ago.  I wanted my life to be more FULL of PLAY.  PLAYFULL.

On, Your Homebased Mom, she makes a burlap pillow every year with her word on it as a daily reminder of her resolution.

I am in charge of a youth group for my church.  We did these resoultions for an activity and just last week finally got around to making our pillows.  They turned out great!  And were super easy so that’s even better!

First I got some stamps and some regular old acrylic paint.  I brushed the paint on the letters and then stamped them onto my fabric.

I wanted to add a little flair to my pillow so I quickly whipped up this little flower to pin next to my word fabric.  First you cut out seven circles of your desired fabric and one circle out of felt.  The felt circle should be about half the size of the other circles and the size just depends on how big you want your flower.  I used one of my kids cups and I used the open end for the seven circles and the bottom end for the felt circle.

Then you fold the circle in half, and then in half again.  While it’s folded, you cut the pointed tip off.

Then you hot glue four of the circles towards the outside of the felt circle and three on the inside and then fluff to your desired look.  Pretty easy!

For the pillow I bought some burlap and cut a bunch of 15×15 inch pieces out.  I pinned my word fabric to the middle of one of the burlap pieces and sewed around the edges with a 1/2 inch seam.  Then I pinned the flower on.

Then I just pinned two pieces of burlap together and sewed around three edges with a 1/2 inch seam.  Usually I would turn the pillow inside out and then sew the fourth side but I liked the rustic look of these pillows so I just stuffed it with some pillow filling and then sewed the other edge shut.

I was really pleased with how they turned out and my girls had a lot of fun with it too.  Here are some other options on what your pillow could look like.  Every pillow has so many options of fabric, paint color, or flower so you could really do so much with these.

 (she hadn’t chosen her word yet 🙂 )

If you guys do a pillow or choose a word, send me a comment letting me know what you did!  I’d love to see how they turn out!

Posted in DIY

1st verses 3rd

As I was looking through our “photo album” on our computer recently, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for baby number three.  On the day he turned two months old I literally had to force myself to dust off the camera and snap a quick picture of him for the sake of posterity.  I did the exact same thing on his one month anniversary.  Poor, poor child.  If it weren’t for the fact that my parents (who are excellent photographers) have made a few quick visits during his short life, there might not have been any other pictures of him aside from those monthly shots.

On the contrary, when Lizzie (my oldest) was born I apparently had nothing better to do than to take pictures of her.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that nearly every second of her existence was documented.  In looking through our “photo album”, I have found pictures that were taken on a bi-weekly basis depicting  the amazing growth of her left ear lobe as well as the soles of her feet.  I was in awe, I tell you, at how quickly my baby girl was growing up.  Don’t you worry, her hair growth was documented daily.  When she opened her eyes and looked at me, although I nearly passed out from the excitement of it all, I still managed to grab the camera and take no less then ninety seven pictures before she returned to dreamland.  Every new outfit that she sported (and I often changed her outfit three or four times per day) was followed by a three hour photo shoot, in a variety of backgrounds.  I would prop her up in her crib, on the couch, on each of her seventeen different pink blankets, inside her swing, in the car seat, in the shopping cart, in the bathtub, and I would even occasionally take pictures of myself holding her.  All of this for the sake of posterity.

I am absolutely ashamed at the kind of photographer that I have become.  I am vowing to change this neglectful habit right now.  I happen to think that my little Mason-Man is one of the most adorable creatures on the planet and I just can’t go another day without documenting his cuteness.  At the rate I’m going, no one will even be aware of any of our future children until they receive their wedding announcements in the mail.

And that, my friends, is simply unacceptable.

My Occupation: Mother

A few weeks ago I was scraping dishes, sweeping floors and scooping up toys and Michael was reading me the news off of the computer.  It’s how we get things done and get educated at the same time :).  He told me that there was an article that included a survey that found the occupations that were the most and least well-rested.  I was interested and 100% sure that Motherhood would be on the list of occupations that get the least amount of rest.  Here’s what was:

Least Well-Rested

  • Home Health Aides
  • Lawyers
  • Police Officers
  • Physicians, Paramedics
  • Economists
  • Social Workers
  • Computer Programmers
  • Financial Analysts
  • Plant Operators
  • Secretaries

What?!  I asked my husband to confirm that Motherhood was NOT on the list.  Maybe they don’t consider Motherhood an occupation, he said.  He saw the look I gave him and made sure to emphasize the THEY part of his sentence.  What?!  I said again.  Why isn’t it an occupation?  I don’t care about any previous definition of the word, Motherhood should be included.  No argument could make me think otherwise.

Then a couple of days after that, my sister-in-law posted an article from the Deseret News with the headline: How much a homemaker is really worth?  Still prickling over the survey from the days before, my interest was piqued.

The article broke down the most common jobs that a homemaker performs and came to the conclusion that a homemaker would make $96,261 a year.  Again…What?! That’s a lot of money for doing something that isn’t considered an occupation.

My sister recently lent me a book by Jane Clayson Johnson called I Am A Mother.  She expresses multiple times how people she meets are often embarrassed to say that they are a mother.  They say it quietly and as if it means nothing.  She herself used to be a prominent news anchor but still felt the pride and joy that came with saying that she was now a mother.  She said she wanted to shout it.

Society today downplays and even discourages the role of a woman in the home and as a homemaker.  I know we don’t make the money that the article says we are worth and the survey doesn’t consider what we do an occupation, but we are Homemakers and Mothers!

We get paid in kisses and thank you’s and in the joy we get when our child finally gets the moo and the baa with the right animal.

I admit, there are times at the end of the day when I think to myself, I know I always wanted to be a mother, but what was I thinking?  Why did I think I could do this?  Why did I think I could be trusted with these little souls and be in charge of loving and teaching and raising them?

I am ashamed to admit that sometimes at the end of the day I am tired of doing things for other people.   The kids are in bed and I want to get in my comfy jammies and turn off my brain and do something totally indulgent.  Then one child needs to use the bathroom, one child needs a second nightlite and the baby needs to eat and I drag my exhausted body on to one more task and to the next and I keep on going.

Mothers/Homemakers work twenty-four hours a day.  I am trained to hear my child’s cry while in the biggest crowd or the deepest sleep.  I can multi-task and clean bathrooms while playing patty cake and singing ABC’s.  I drive the kids around, try to keep my house clean and organized and am security guard in breaking up some pretty mean fights.

I may not be the best at every individual job because it isn’t the only job I am doing, but I get to all of them.  And most days I’d like to think that my kids are happy and well fed and feeling loved.  And even on those days when I am sinking into my mattress at 9 at night, I recognize that this is the most fulfilling job that I have ever had.  I have never worked harder or felt more important for the job that I have been given.

My occupation?  Mother.

 

Talented Mama

This was the day that I somehow managed to ruin dinner and our blender in one shot.  My husband is quite the lucky guy for choosing me, right?

Do you see how all of the juice is leaking right down inside of the machine?

Ya…that’s definitely not good for the motor.

We all have days like these, right?  Nothing seems to go your way.  You feel like pulling your hair out.  You give your self a time-out by locking yourself in the bathroom.  Then your husband finally gets home and you breath a huge sigh of relief.

But then there is an explosion (literally) and it ends up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The tears start to form…but then you start laughing.  Because really, what are the chances?

Besides, I now had a valid excuse to scrub the grout in my tile.

Although I would have been perfectly content with eating milk and cold cereal for dinner instead of the masterpiece that I was intending to create, my wonderful husband simply looked at me and said “Get your shoes on, we’re going to El Pollo Loco”.

I love my husband.

And we got a new blender too.

I am one lucky gal…even if my husband got the short end of the stick. 🙂

Sweet Lasagna

I have made this recipe numerous times and it is always a big success.  I call it “Sweet Lasagna” because it isn’t spicy at all.  Even our Mom, who is physically unable to consume even the tiniest bit of spice, can handle it.

The only changes I make to the recipe is that I usually add about one cup of sliced sauteed mushrooms to the meat mixture.

I have also purposely added more spice by exchanging a layer of mozzarella cheese with pepper jack cheese and adding a can of hot green chillies.

Aside from those changes, however, I stick to the recipe.  It’s that good!

Sweet Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 (29 ounce) fan diced tomatoes

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

12 dry lasagna noodles

2 eggs, beaten

1 point part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain fat.  Mix in basil, oregano, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add lasagna noodles, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente; drain.  Lay noodles flat on towels, and blot dry.

3.  In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt.

4.  Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles in the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish.  Cover noodles with 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the sauce.  Repeat.  Top with remaining noodles and sauce.  Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Oh, and don’t throw away the leftovers.  This lasagna tastes even better on the second day!

The Be You Beauty Project

My family went on a little mini-vacation!  It was wonderful…and extremely tiring.  Isn’t that how vacations are when you have little ones?  But I don’t want to talk about vacations today, I’ll save that for another post.

Today, I want to feature another blog.

I came across this blog a few weeks ago and I thought that the idea was absolutely brilliant.  Not to mention incredibly impressive, seeming that the author of the blog, Meagan Tweedy, is only 18 years old!  I asked her if I could feature her blog on my blog (okay, I’m sick of using the word “blog”) and she graciously granted me permission.

As you may have been able to guess by the “Simply Love Yourself” post that I wrote, I have somewhat of an obsession with the subject of body image.  I find it very intriguing and have read a number of books focusing on that topic alone.

What I wish for more than anything in the world (well, aside from a good night’s sleep) is for every woman to feel beautiful!  To simply feel good about themselves, no matter their size (or ethnicity, or hair type, or skin tone, etc.).  Wouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful if every woman truly realized their true potential and actually viewed themselves how God views them?  It would be invigorating if woman everywhere could put forth a valiant effort to stop comparing themselves to others and to be happy (not to mention grateful) with the body that God gave them.

It would be very nice, that’s for sure, but it would also be quite tough.  Because, unfortunately, we all (myself included) struggle with body image and self-esteem issues.  I don’t know about all of you, but I’m just sick and tired of it all!  I have simply had enough.  I am ready to be completely confident.  I am ready to be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually) and to simply live my life the best that I can.  I don’t want body image issues to get in the way anymore!

Admittedly, I am 20 pounds heavier than I was before baby number three.  I gained more weight with this baby than my other two.  I can’t fit into any of my normal clothes.  When I have to go out in public, it’s a challenge to actually find clothes that I can squeeze into.  But you know what?  It doesn’t bother me.  I’m not depressed about it like I was after giving birth with my first two kids.  Granted, there is a small part of me that wishes I were smaller, but something has definitely changed inside of me.

I have made a conscious choice to be happy with myself.  I am exercising as regularly as possible and I put forth an honest effort to make healthy food choices.  I am watching my portion sizes.  I don’t give into every temptation.  I know enough about nutrition to know which foods would be best to avoid altogether (or at least minimize consumption) and which foods to pig out on (my personal favorites).  I honestly believe that if I am doing my best to be as healthy as possible, than my body will find the weight and size that God intended it to be.

Do you want to know what motivates me, more than anything, to simply love myself?

My daughter.

Yes, it’s true.

What I also wish for more than anything in the world is for my daughter to feel good about herself.  I don’t want her to feel that she has to look a certain way.  I don’t want her to be obsessing with her looks, continuously seeking her flaws.  I don’t want her to feel like she needs to weigh herself every day or that she needs to suffer and do without certain foods in an effort to conform with the social norm.  I want her to have a mother who puts forth an effort to be healthy and is simply at peace with the body that God has blessed her with.

Since my daughter was born, even though I haven’t always felt good about myself, I have never voiced those feelings around her.  I have always known that it can’t be good for a daughter to hear her mother constantly degrading herself.

Maybe, just maybe, if I am the kind of mother who is genuinely happy with myself (despite all of my flaws), than perhaps I will have a daughter who is genuinely happy with herself as well.

That is my true hope and motivation.

Anyway, back to the blog that I am featuring.  I got a tad bit sidetracked!  This blog is called “The Be You Beauty Project” and its purpose is to provide a place “…where woman can go to and share their frustrations, their stories, and what makes it all better.”  Meagan, the author of the blog, desires to “…reach woman of all ages, all backgrounds, and from all over.”

Although the blog is still in its infancy, there are already a few stories featured on it.  Each story includes a picture of a woman (with no makeup on), text, and a video interview in which the woman discusses her individual self-esteem challenges and what she did (or is doing) to overcome those challenges.

The idea is simply brilliant, I tell you.

So please, please, please check out her blog!  And if you live in the area (Antelope Valley) contact Meagan and agree to be featured on her blog!

In the meantime, please be kind to yourself.  You are of infinite worth and God doesn’t make junk!

Hunger Games Recipes

To continue with our Hunger Games tribute (no pun intended 🙂 ), I wanted to post a recipe from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook.  Yes that is a real thing, and yes we do own it.

I’ve only made a couple of things from it, but intend to make more.  I will admit that I am staying away from any recipe that includes squirrel.  But, the recipes are true foods from the capitol and other recipes that the author thought the characters would eat in their districts or in the arena.  Pretty cool.

Each recipe says what chapter of what book inspired it and they are daring ways to feel part of the Panem nation.

Monterey Jack Cheese, Bacon, and Green Chili Stuffed Turkey Breasts

2 (2 pound) turkey breast halves

4 whole mild greed chilies (canned)

8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, cut into 8 slices

4 bacon strips, cooked crisp

5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Slice a pocket in each turkey breast half.  Slit open each green chili and place 2 slices of the cheese and a piece of crisp bacon inside.  Insert 2 chilies in each turkey breast half.  Slit the breast open a little more if needed, but do not cut all the way through.  Close turkey breasts and secure with toothpicks.

3.  Place turkey breasts in a greased, broiler-safe baking dish.  Lightly coat turkey breasts with olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bake, covered for half an hour or until the thickest part of the meat (and not the chilies) registers 160 degrees F.

4.  Uncover turkey breasts, drizzle with more olive oil, and broil for about 5 minutes until brown.  Let rest for about 5 minutes.  then slice on the diagonal and serve.

I loved this recipe.  I did vary from the original a bit and used Pepperjack cheese instead of Monterey Jack for a little bit of a kick, but it was still tasty.

Try this recipe for a pre-movie bite and you won’t be disappointed.

I Love You Means More

I am a very sensitive person.  I don’t remember always being this way.  Recently, as in the past five years or so, I’ve been able to blame it on pregnancy, nursing or birth control.  But I think everyone knows that those things are only magnifying the way I really feel.  Which sometimes ends up with me being hurt.

Michael, bless him for being married to me, will say something and I will automatically turn it into him meaning something hurtful and we end up having a conversation that is a dance we know in our sleep.

If he cleans the house, I’m upset that I am not doing enough on my own to keep the house clean.  If he doesn’t clean the house, I am upset because I have to do EVERYTHING!  Crazy, right?  He sure thinks so sometimes.

Michael learned long ago to just be honest.  I made a meal early in our marriage that he didn’t particularly like, but to save my feelings, he said it was very good.  In my head, that means he loves it and I’m going to make it once a week to make him happy.  This lasted for a couple of months before he told me that he really didn’t love it like I thought, but he’s grateful that I made it for him.

So now I just tell him to give it to me straight.  If he doesn’t like it, just tell me.  It will save me the embarrassment of making it multiple times and watching him force it down.  It is a little bit of a hit to my pride to hear that he doesn’t like it, but he more than compensates by showering me with compliments on all the things he does like that I make.  It’s a good deal we have going on here.  An honest one.

That’s what I love about my kids.  They are straight-shooters.  They tell it like it is.  Even when the truth hurts.

The other day Mikey patted my stomach and said that it looked like I was going to have a baby.  Not soon, like right before I had Ty, but like when Ty was just little in my stomach.  Ouch.  That hurt.  Mostly because it wasn’t the first time he’d said it in the past weeks.

But as the initial sting wore off, I realized something.  They mean every word they say with every ounce their mind and heart can put into it.

They don’t filter to make people happy or mad.  They just say what they are thinking.

So when Mikey looks at me and says that I am pretty like Rapunzel and he loves me more than the world, that is pretty great.

For every hurtful truth I get to hear at least fifty truths that make me feel ten feet tall.

I love you has never meant more.