Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Recipe of the Week: Pakistani Kima

So far I've been hitting it hard with the new recipes...we'll see if that enthusiasm continues for the next 11 months!

Last night's dinner was Pakistani Kima from the More with Less cookbook (an essential, I'm convinced).  It was a success!

Saute in skillet:
3 T butter or margarine
1 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Add:
1 lb ground beef

Brown well. Stir in:
1 T curry powder
1 1/2 t salt
dash pepper
dash each cinnamon, ginger and tumeric
2 c cooked tomatoes
2 potatoes, diced
2 c. frozen peas or green beans (I used beans)

Cover and simmer 25 minutes.  Serve with rice.

Results: Quite delicious.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out as I hadn't ever used tumeric before, but it was a good curry.

Things to do differently: Not run out of the spices!  I didn't quite have the full amount of curry powder or salt, so it wasn't quite as flavorful as it should have been. Also, the cookbook suggested eating eat with coconut, which Chris and I both agreed would be really good.  I'd also like to try it with half the meat to make it healthier and more frugal.

What I did differently: Aside from the aforementioned lack of spices, I also used tomato sauce instead of cooked tomatoes because, despite my best efforts, I just don't like tomatoes.  I also added water to give it more liquid to simmer with, because Chris likes things more "saucy" and I didn't want it to burn.  Apparently I added more than 2 potatoes, because I just realized as I typed the recipe that it called for 2 potatoes, diced and not 2 cups of potatoes, diced.  Oh, well....

Make again: Yes!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Recipe of the Week: Crockpot Yogurt

Yep, you read that right...yogurt in a crockpot!  Credit for this one goes to Nourishing Days via Passionate Homemaking.


Crock Pot Yogurt

Recipe notes: This recipe uses a 2 quart crock. In using a 4 or 4 1/2 quart crock I found the yogurt to have a bit of a "springy" texture. I was able to alleviate this by heating the milk an additional 15 minutes for a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
  • Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Once 2 hours and 30 minutes have elapsed turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well.
  • Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.
  • Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
  • Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
  • In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.
  • For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.
Results: Lots of yogurt for cheap!  I knew what to expect as I grew up with homemade yogurt, though my mom used a Salton yogurt maker.

Things to do differently: It was pretty runny, but hopfully putting it in the fridge helps (haven't tried it since it went in there).  Also, try a higher quality starter.

What I did differently: I let mine sit for 16-17 hours as I timed it poorly and wasn't awake at 10 pm to check it. Also because a friend told me that would be fine.

Make again: As long as we keep using up the batches, sure!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: Dug Down Deep

(This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah)


If you're like me, you need to read this book.  And by "like me," I don't mean a crazy girl with a disturbing love of Costo and an obsession with barefeet.  I mean someone who grew up in the Church but somewhere along the way missed a bunch of important stuff.

I could relate in many ways to Josh's story of growing up in a Christian home and then later in life discovering the joy to be found in things like doctrine and orthodoxy.  Though I'm not as studied as he is (he's a pastor...I'm clearly not), I could identify with the experience of reading the Bible for yourself and learning new things.  (No joke--I didn't know until we Bible quizzed on Acts that Moses killed a man.  It's not something that Sunday Schools tend to highlight.)

In Dug Down Deep, Josh tells his own story (as well as his dad's (which is vastly different)) and uses it as a springboard for talking about many different doctrines that are the foundation of the Christian life, such as the Church, the Holy Spirit, the Bible and sanctification.  Though I thought the chapters could have been strung together better (they aren't really connected, I didn't think), he does an excellent job of focusing on what we have in common as Christians, rather than issues that divide us.

Josh's previous book, Stop Dating the Church has been instrumental in my own journey of coming to love the local Church, so it's no surprise that I really liked his chapter on that same topic, appropriately titled "The Invisible Made Visible."

Though I think this book would be most helpful to and best understood by those who grew up attending Church, I'm sure others would benefit from it as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: The Male Factor

The Male Factor
by Shaunti Feldhahn

(This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multomah Press)

Summary:

Many talented women today risk undermining their careers without realizing it, simply because they don’t understand how they are perceived by their male colleagues and customers.
In What Men really Think, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn reveals the inner reality behind men’s views — the unspoken expectations that no man would dare to publicly acknowledge, and no woman would learn from an HR department. These revelations include:


• Men’s unwritten ‘rules’ of the workplace
• How men perceive workplace emotion
• What common situations with female colleagues most frustrate men-- and why
• Why revealing clothing can sabotage a woman’s effectiveness
• Why some men think flextime is fine, but equal compensation for it is not


What Men Really Think equips women with the information they need to make informed decisions and compete on a level playing field.


By it here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Read in 2009

I make a fairly decent effort to keep my sidebar of books up to date, and as the 2009 has ended, I scanned my booklist to see how I'd done.  I read 20* books last year, which I don't think is too shabby considering that I moved twice, planned a wedding and got married in said year.

My favorites would have to be "When Sinners Say I Do" which I am just a few chapters away from finishing, "North! Or Be Eaten," "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" (inspiring!) and "Feminine Appeal."

Hopefully 2010 will produce an even longer list!

*that I can recall.  I might be missing a few, and there were a couple that I started and almost finished, but haven' t yet.

New Recipe of the Week: Easy French Bread

It's currently baking in the oven and the smell is torturing me because it smells so. freaking. good.

Here's the recipe (from the More with Less cookbook):
Dissolve:
2 pkg. dry yeast in
1/2 c warm water (105-115 deg.)
1/2 t sugar

Combine:
2 T sugar
2 T fat (I used oil)
2 t salt
2 c boiling water

Cool to lukewarm and add to yeast mixture.

Stir in:
7 1/2 - 8 c flour

Knead 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.  Place in greased bowl, turning once.  Let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let rest 15 minutes.  Divide dough in half.  On floured surface, roll each half to a 12x15" rectangle.  Roll up, starting at 15" edge.  Place loaves on greased cookie sheets and make 4 or 5 slashes diagonally across tops.  Let rise until double.

Mix and brush on:
1 egg, beaten
2 T milk
(I didn't do this because we have no eggs or milk, and I don't like it when things are too brown on top)

Sprinkle on, if desired:
poppy or sesame seeds

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Results: Yummy! (Especially when hot from the oven.) The crust is crunchy, perhaps a bit too much so for my taste, but I much prefer doughy to crunchy, so don't put too much stock in my opinion.

To do differently: Make 2 loaves (I just did half a recipe).

Make again? For sure!  It seemed to take less time than normal bread, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Contentment and Knives

Chris and I have a knife block with 5 knives.  One is a bread knife (of fairly decent quality) that we bought right after we moved to Y-town, and the others are fair to middlin' and I'm not sure how we acquired them.  While we were registering for wedding gifts, we decided to register for a set of good quality (read: spendy) knives.  We didn't get them, but that was okay; we'd just save up for them and get them someday, hopefully in the near-ish future.

Nearly four months into marriage, I've been rethinking our knives.  The ones we have work just fine and really, we don't need any others.  Between two small, two large and one bread knife, we're getting along just fine (thankfully, Chris agrees).  It's another way I'm learning to be content with what I have, and not "needing" more to be okay.  As the note next to 1 Timothy 6:6 in my Bible says, "contentment is not 'if I have this, that and the other thing, I will be content.'  Contentment says, 'whatever I have, I will be content.'"

Saturday, January 09, 2010

One New Recipe a Week


One of my goals for 2010 is to try, on average, one recipe a week.  I tried three this week (amazing!) and when Chris asked how I was keeping track of them, I decided that my blog would be a good place. So, here is where I will chronicle my attempts at expanding my cooking repertoire.


This week I tried Baked Oatmeal (I think this was the first time I'd made it), Scalloped Potatoes with Ham (hadn't made this exact recipe before) and Italian Spaghetti with Ham.  (Yeah, lots of ham this week-we were given two within a week.)


Here are the recipes as well as my notes:



  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cut into squares.



Results:
Good...I'd had this before so knew what to expect.  I think it'd be even better with chopped apples or dried fruit.



To do differently: Substitute brown sugar or honey to make it healthier and make sure it's thoroughly baked in the middle and make more--it only serves 4.


Make again? Yes!



  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 cups sliced ham, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter

Directions

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, heat the 1 tablespoon butter or margarine in a large skillet. Saute ham and garlic.
  3. Drain spaghetti well, and combine with sauteed ham and garlic in the skillet. Over very low heat, slowly stir in the cheese, eggs, olives, and half of the parsley. Remove from heat. Add salt and butter to taste, and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve.

Results: Very yummy!  A good change from traditional pasta.

To do differently: Add the ingredients in the right order.  I accidentally added the eggs before the pasta so they kind of stuck to the ham.

How I changed the recipe: Used spiral pasta as we didn't have any spaghetti and I also omitted black olives (we had none).  I forgot to add the rest of the butter at the end so it was on the drier side, but it's healthier that way and we both liked the taste.

Make again? Yes!

The scalloped potatoes were pretty traditional, and I am too lazy to type out the exact recipe...sorry.  But they were yummy!

( I apologize for the bold italics...blogger is having issues.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Conviction from Noel Piper (re: organizing)

It's a few months old, but this post from Noel Piper is golden advice, especially if you're doing some New Year's cleaning and sorting (like I have been).  While going through some jewelry, I would keep telling myself, "It may be usable but it's ugly.  GET RID OF IT."  Check out her wisdom and experience here.