Friday, October 24, 2014

Decision Made

The kids and I recently started listening to Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl. At the start of the reading I was somewhat surprised to discover there were three different manuscripts in print known as A, B, and C. This left the question which version did I read in middle school, what was added to the complete version, and whether or not it would be appropriate.

First I scanned the book, I found the section where she kisses Peter. Followed by a conversation with her father. Benign. Then I did a little research. I had heard a couple catch phrases of what may be included in the complete version, so I googled them. Thank you Google! One article entitled, "The Things Anne Frank was Frank About" was helpful in presenting the topics that has caused some concern to other parents.

I was left with the decision of read version A which was censored by her father, Otto Frank, or continue with the complete audio version. I decided to talk candidly with the kids and left them to decide. Listen to the audio book which is includes Anne's perspective of puberty, including menstruation, her vagina and feelings for Peter or read the other which omits some of the references to puberty issues. They decided to listen to the complete.

Which I feel is healthy. Bodies change, it is healthy to be observant of ones body. To hear another teen write briefly about these changes will not do harm, rather may be the assurance or comfort they need to get through it themselves.

Decision made. I did let the boy know that on the occasions were she is discussing her period or body changes and he was uncomfortable he is free to leave the room. We shall see where the discussions lead. I have a feeling they will focus more on the fact that she was in hiding during the Holocaust and ultimately lost her life rather than the fact that she got her period. ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good Reads Read

 “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”  ― C.S. Lewis
All  these books can be enjoyed by youth and adult. Every single one got a 5 out of 5 rating by me on Goodreads. Listen up people, these are good books.
 Out of My Mind- A non-verbal wheel chair bound girl finds her voice.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963- Moments of humor, moments of deep reflection. This books is worthy of its accolades and your time.
The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake and Then There Were Five- the first three in a series of four. Heartwarming, vividly written stories of the Melendy family. Wholesome books the whole family will enjoy.
Counting By 7's- A glimpse of the mind of a genius. A walk through the journey of grief. The miracle of finding yourself surrounded by imperfect people that help you find your way.
Memorable characters, superbly written.
When You Reach Me- A nice throwback to A Wrinkle in Time. A coming of age with a twist of sci-fi.
Everything on a Waffle and One Year in Coal Harbor- I like books with hard life topics brought to life and beautifully thought through. Topics such as, loneliness, friendship, foster care, livelihood, environmental protest, loss, love and business adventures.
 The Giver- Do I want to live in the society portrayed in this book? Absolutely not.
Do I want to ponder on things that make the world tick? Yes.
Do I want sameness? No.
Can I celebrate diversity, independence, and free will? Yes, yes, and yes! I like this book because it makes one think. Yes it is sad, but there is something to be learned from the sadness and shock.
Gifted Hands- Anointed! Ben Carson is an amazingly talented man that persevered, worked hard, fought through prejudice, saved lives and changed his industry. Unashamedly a man of faith.
 The Julian Chapter- Even wonder why the bully of Wonder did what he did? This book answers that and more. 

 Never Abandoned by Lori Jo Schepers
Powerful! Redemptive! LoriJo takes the reader on a journey from brokenness to redemption, gives insight of the abandoned heart, and shares her struggles with honesty. With glimpses from behind the veil and touchstones from the Father, there is much to think about. This is a must read for hurting teens, broken adults, pastors, teachers, those pondering how a life can be redeemed, and anyone of influence. We all are people of influence. The words we speak, the encouragement we share, the love and concern of one makes a difference. LoriJo is a warrior, a spiritual champion. She will inspire you, her God will redeem you and change your life forever.

All of them were excellent reads! All of them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#50 Big, Thick, Hearty Thighs and That's a Compliment

Ha! The title of this recipe cracks me up. Look at those big, thick, hearty thighs!
 I like what I see here; chicken, potatoes, and french baguette.
The meal was easy peasy to make. The thighs were indeed thick and hearty, as well as moist and delicious. Served with a side salad and some baguette this meal was a huge success! Probably the best received meal yet. So yes, yes, yes to this in our future. Tomorrow is a variation, I hope it is as good as tonight's.

I liked the chicken, loved the fruit. -DD
It was really, really good. -The Boy

And on the cleaning front, the rest of my e-cloth products arrived today. Happy Dance!

Monday, September 22, 2014

#49 Pasta with Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Lemony Ricotta Cheese

Houston, we have a dilemma. We had to skip #48. I really did not want to but it was made with puff pastries. There are no gluten free puff pastries available on the market and to make them from scratch takes HOURS and HOURS of dedication to get them to turn out right. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"
So unless someone makes some gluten free puff pastry or I can find it at a store, we are going to have to pass on #48. Oh darn, we had to have bacon tonight. :D
 I snagged a leaf of swill chard from my momma and daddio's garden. The onion came from the Kid's Garden. And then there was BACON!
 Scrumptious bacon, chard pasta on a bed of lemony ricotta cheese. WINNER! I have a big bowl of leftovers which have my name on them. We will definitely make this one again.

Dinner was AWESOME SAUCE! I think I may have put in a little too much ricotta because it was pretty cheesy, but still it was YUMMY! -DD

Side note- The first of my e-cloth products arrived this afternoon. My new dusting cloths. I decided to tackle my bedroom fan since it had not been dusted in ???? who knows how long, if ever. They are amazing!
 I was having so much fun that DD had to go try one out on the kitchen fan. YEAH!!
 Who knew dusting could make me happy? I can not wait for my other products to arrive. :D

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#47 Couple-of-Minute Steaks and Potato Ragout

What is not to love with a steak and potato dinner?
 This one used three different herbs; parsley, rosemary and thyme. I am so glad I purchased the mini pots of herbs. Fresh really is better. I did make the mistake of putting the parsley near an open bowl of cider vinegar, I think it yellowed some of the leaves. Easy remedy though.
Couple-of-Minute Steak and Potato Ragout
The seasoning on the steak was spot on. The ragout was good, however there was a bit of a wine aftertaste that we were not used to. Good but probably not repeated with the wine.
Mama liked.

The steak was good but a bit fatty. The potatoes were not very good with the wine.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


 The other day I was at the library and a new release was on the shelf. It caught my attention and I picked it up. It was one of those books that I knew instantly that for me it was not merely a library book to check out and return; it was must a book to be purchased, cherished, read, pondered and reread and pondered some more. The book?
365 Days of Wonder Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts.
If you have read Palacio's book Wonder you are familiar with Mr. Browne's precepts. I for one loved them. I have always loved quotes, reflecting on the words of others. In our home school we have quote books. Each day we choose a quote and a bible verse; writing them down in our books. We don't necessarily write responses to them as I am happy just to expose them to the words, writing and thoughts of others.
This book adds to the wealth of words in this world. Some are well known, while others were writtned by kids and sent to the author in response to the book Wonder. Wherever they come from they make my heart happy. Enjoy a few along with pictures taken yesterday before dance class. :D

To thine own self be true.-William Shakespeare
 Follow your dreams. It may be a long journey,but the path is right in front of you.-Grace
 A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. -Chinese proverb
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Elanor Roosevelt
Just follow the day and reach for the sun! -The Polyphonic Spree

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#46 Prosciutto, Garlic and Herb Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Herb Pan Sauce

 No vegetables. Happy daughter.
 Stuffed chicken, never done in this house before but it was done tonight. Those breasts were smashed, prosciutto and some tasty cheese. They were rolled and cooked up.
 Tarragon was the herb the recipe called for but I could not find it so I substituted some herbs I did have and the sauce turned out awesome.
Stuffed chicken! It was really good but it was difficult to determine when the chicken was cooked through. We ended up needing to cook it longer. We will make it again but make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked properly the first time.

The first few bits that were actually cooked were awesome and then I got to the part that was not cooked, not awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

#45 Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta

We like sausage!
 I finally got smart and bought those potted herb plants in the produce section. I picked up parsley, thyme and rosemary. Such a huge difference to have fresh right from the counter-top. I misread the recipe at the store yesterday and I bought pancetta instead of polenta so I had to go back to the store today.
It was our first time using fennel. The boy was not too found of the smell when it was cooking. I thought it smelled delicious.
Appetizing to two out of the three consumers.

I cooked the sausage. I think the polenta tasted like mac-n-cheese. Duh-lish-ous!
I also made chocolate pudding for dessert- DD

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#44 Ricotta Smothered Mushroom "Burgers" with Sweet Onion Topping

 This one took some mental preparation before we could get the courage to make it. Well I was ready on Thursday when it was first scheduled but dear sweet daughter on the other hand, she could have waited forever. 
 Finally with the promise of BBQ chips and pomegranate she bucked up and got her done.
The onions were caramelized in tomato paste, this was a new thing.
I decided to go sans bun. This is one giant portabella smothered in ricotta cheese and topped with the onions. It was a rather dramatic dinner. Gagging; some legit while some forced. Yet miraculously they both got it down. Gladly took the BBQ chips and both proclaimed, NEVER AGAIN!
I am indifferent.  In my vegetarian days I had so yummy portabella burgers so I know never say never.

Disgusting! Never again! Excuse me while I go eat my pomegranate, this is my kind of food. -DD

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just Keep Reading

The last month in books:
Cheaper By the Dozen
Owls in the Family
All of a Kind Family
Ben and Me
Almost Home

Yet again they were all fabulous.
My new favorite though would have to be Almost Home. Poetic, raw, real life with a dose of encouragement. A great read for the middle school crowd and those who love young adult fiction.

Wonder was thought provoking and sincere. Every person should read at least once.

Cheaper By the Dozen is a hilarious telling of the Gilbreth family. Written by two of the dozen. It is a wonderful glimpse into the life and mind of an efficiency expert at the start of the 20th century. Brilliant! Those who like biographies will love this book that has you laughing out loud as you turn the pages.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#43 Chicken in Spicy andSweet Onion Sauce with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes and Cucumbers

 Second verse same as the verse...change a few things and we have tonight's dinner.
 We swapped out the cider vinegar with white wine, I chose Moscato which was left over from my birthday. Added some red pepper flakes to the sauce and my personal favorite, we added goat cheese to the smashed potatoes.
A decent dinner. Something about the chicken was tough and chewy, maybe the wine, maybe not. The smashed potatoes were superb! Lastly, since no one cared for the watercress cucumbers with the dijon vinaigrette, we ditched it and went with cucumbers sliced and salted. It was a good swap, Little Miss could not stop eating them.

Chicken was tough. Smashed potatoes were yet again delicious and the cucumbers tasted like pickles, not bad at all. -DD

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

#42 Cider Vinegar Chicken with Smashed Potatoes and a Watercress and Cucumber Salad

Yeah, meat! So already this recipe was better than yesterday.
The potatoes were given to me by one of our community gardeners. I know I had honey in the house but it went MIA. I looked everywhere for it. In the end I substituted agave which turned out just fine.
 Yummy yum yum! This one gets thumbs up from me. Moist, flavorful. Easy. I do prefer sour cream smashed potatoes over half and half but they were still good. The salad got mixed reviews. I was the only one who really cared for it and even I was not a fan of watercress.

So good. I love her smashed potatoes and her chicken was good. The watercress in the salad had a funny taste but the cucumbers were good plain. I would make it again just without the onions. :) -DD

Monday, September 08, 2014

#41 Mostly Green Curry Veggies and Tofu

It's my birthday! Over the weekend we ate at some delicious places for my birthday. My main birthday dinner was at Meat, a fabulous restaurant in Old Town that specializes in food for carnivores. So. Good! We went on Sunday though since they were closed on Monday. Which left Monday open for cooking a meal.
Since my household loves meat we were all a little skeptical about this vegetarian dish. As my daughter would say, tofu torture. I served it up with a smile. I was optimist for birthday sakes.
It is official, we are not fans of tofu. Also official, most of my household has no desire to ever be a vegetarian. Sorry dad! Without the tofu it was a decent dish of curry. With the tofu it was belch.  Even the dog did not like it. I offered her the leftovers she took one bite of tofu and walked away. She walked away people. ;)
Thankfully we had brownies and mint chocolate chip ice cream for my birthday dessert, which we served IMMEDIATELY after dinner.
:D- Mom

I WILL NEVER BE A VEGETARIAN! Tofu is pure torture. My dog will eat ANYTHING if she won't eat it, than you know it must be something really bad. -DD

Thursday, September 04, 2014

#40 Mostly Green Curry Chicken over CoconutS Jasmine Rice

Rachael has this one listed as MYOTO Make Your Own Take Out. I like Chinese food and take out so this one made me happy.
This one was called mostly green as most of the add-ins are the color green. My arch nemesis as a child was green vegetables so younger me would have despised it on title alone. Oh, how I have grown. Special note: the green pepper, jalapeno, and onion were from the garden. :)
I thought it was great. Maybe a little less peas but great none the less. Thumbs up from me. Especially the rice which had a moist sweet taste.

So good! Not all the vegetables though.-DD

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#39 Pasta with Roasted Eggplant Sauce and Ricotta

 This year in the Kid's Club garden we grew eggplant. Beautiful purple globes. With the kids back to school the produce from the garden is up available to any one who will use it. So I used the eggplant for this recipe. Roasted with garlic and then pureed to make a vitamin rich sauce. Again with tomatoes fresh from the garden. It feels good to be using this produce to feed my family.
Sorry, poor camera quality. This was a day with no camera. Had to use DD's computer.
The ricotta. A bit of an education on the ricotta. Apparently it was suppose to be ricotta salata,which I did not even know existed. It is more of a crumble than traditional ricotta. In the end I used plain ricotta and it was fine.
This picture was taken with my old phone.
Delicious! So good I did make it again for a garden potluck. By having the ricotta on the side and using gluten free noodles. It made it a nice gluten free and vegan potluck meal. With the ricotta optional. I of course would add the ricotta.-Mom

I was surprised that the roasted eggplant tasted so good. I tried a piece before we pureed it as I had never had eggplant to my knowledge. Not bad. -DD

Friday, August 29, 2014

#38 Grilled Flank (Sirloin Tip) Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Pears

Steak! I like steak.
We had leftover arugula salad so we just used it. It was after we finished cooking that I realized we were suppose to  switch out the cheese from parmigiano-reggiano to blue cheese crumble. Oops.
The meat was suppose to be flank steak so I sent the boy out to the meat freezer and told him to look for flank. He could not find flank but brought back a few different steak varieties for me to use instead. With a freezer still well stocked I was not going to go buy flank. Not going to do it!
I went with sirloin tip. It grilled up nicely.
Then we sliced it against the grain. Yum! We made one sandwich each and then ate the remaining steak on the side. I am not sure if steak was ever intended to be a sandwich.

I skipped the arugula salad. But I like steak! -DD

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#37 Warm Lemon Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Pears

This one called for kaiser rolls, to make it gluten free we switched kaiser out for Udi's classic french dinner rolls. To toast them I butterflied them and put them in the toaster. They worked great. I will use these in the future for picnic, mini subs.
The chicken, lemon fresh and moist. The arugula, I am not sure if it was out of season so more bitter than normal or if we are not necessarily arugula fans. Overall, the sandwich was good.

Not a fan of the arugula.-DD

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#36 BLT Pasta Bake: Bacon Leek and Tomatoes

BLT- Traditionally this would stand for bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. But in this recipe it stands for bacon, leek and tomatoes.
It was similar to a mac-n-cheese as it started with a rue. Yet it had the additions of the BLT and then baked afterwards.
Great flavor. Nice texture.  More fresh from the garden tomatoes.

Bacon, yum. Leeks, not bad. Tomatoes, not the best in pasta. -DD

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#35 Sauteed Sweet Chicken Breasts with Spicy Fresh Tomato Chutney and White Rice

What happened?
The short of it is this, my computer got wonky. My camera went missing for a couple days and I had to rely on my hubby, which delayed things. Within a few short days I got out of rhythm.
I am sorry. We were still cooking, taking pictures, and eating meals. Now I shall attempt to get them posted here in the blogosphere.
Those tomatoes in the picture, fresh from my garden. The honey jar, currently MIA.
This chicken was sweet and moist. A great combination of flavors. I would happily eat it again.

I was not sure about the sauce so this is what my plate looked like.
It was good. -DD

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#33 Three Beans and Some Chicken

Pancetta in the house!  When I say that I exaggerate the HOWWWSSE.
With pancetta in the house we were good to go for number 33.

The chicken did a quick marinade in some lemon juice, oil and thyme while we started on the bean dish. Unfortunately,  my dash of red pepper flakes turned into a dump of red peppers into our dish. I was able to get most of it out but maybe not enough. Oops!

The chicken cooked up nicely and we finished up the  bean dish which ended up being four beans instead of three since I used the three bean salad from Aldis and still added the cannellini. It worked well once rinsed.

The dish really was fabulous albeit spicy. Everyone needs a good nasal cleansing every once in awhile. I still went back for seconds even though it had heat.
Momma liked it,

The chicken was good dipped in the bean sauce, the beans were SO spicy it was crazy and I also did not like them because the beans did not taste right to me.
The dish was pretty good (well except for the beans, and the spiciness of the beans) :D

Pictures coming....

Monday, August 18, 2014

#34 Sweet Sausages Braised in Onions with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

A pro of having hubby home is no leftovers. A con of having hubby home is that he sometimes eats ingredients that are vital to a recipe. Pancetta made it's way to a pizza that hubby made for sweet girl. I really can not be too upset. He was trying to be helpful. However, it did mess up plans for #33. Yet we need to eat so we moved on to number 34. Sweet sausage and smashed potatoes, yes please!

I was not too certain about the horseradish in the smashed potatoes so I started out with a small amount. DD insisted on more, and then even more still. It was great!

The sausages braised in a sweet onion mixture making the end result a scrumptious combination of flavors. The onions themselves were amazing!

This meal was a total hit! Can I have it again tomorrow?

It was really good! The smashed potatoes were a little  plain but that worked because they tamed the sausage. Thumbs up!

Dad left the SD card at work, pics will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#32 Ribollita con Verdure

A variation!
Added some veggies, pancetta, and red wine. Switched out chicken broth with beef broth.
A key part of these soups is stale bread. Now it is somewhat difficult to get stale gluten free bread. I decided to toast it and added it directly to the soup as instructed for the last recipe. This time I toasted it and added it as more of a crouton. This was how the family preferred it. Agreed.
This one is also topped with raw onion.
Good stuff! We finished it in one setting.

DD has a double ear infection. :(
She did not feel much like cooking or eating. Hoping she feels better soon.

More Fantastic Reads

“I am a part of everything that I have read.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

My three favorite from this stack were Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass, The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, and Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Granenstein. They are all good though.
I was not expecting mythology in the Underneath so it was not really my type but it was fantastically written.

Friday, August 15, 2014

#31 Papa al Pomodoro

 Another title that leaves you wondering what exactly will you be eating. In English this is a tomato based soup with strict instructions that it must be eaten with raw onions.
 Rather simple preparations; chop, saute, mix, cook and top with raw onions.
See Rachael, we added the raw onion. It is legit. We did Torello proud.
It was fantastic! A new winter go-to discovered.

It was a soup, do I need to say more?