Archive | May, 2011

Can You Eat Wild Strawberries?

30 May

Some wild strawberries growing at our home.


We have these lovely looking strawberries growing at our home.   They are wild (I think).  I was wondering if anyone knew anything about them?  Is it safe to eat them?


Graduation Photos

27 May

Yeah Mommy is finally done with school!


Look closely I made Eli his own graduation gown since he has been such a large part of my seminary education. (He also had a cap but refused to wear it.)


Southern will always hold a special place in my heart cause I met my sweetheart here!


My "dearest best friend" Emily who came all the way from Chattanooga!


My sweet sister Katelyn who also graduated the same weekend!




Still not sure who was more excited over graduation.

Middle East Tuna Salad and Homemade Hummus

25 May

A new twist on an old favorite.

Although many people have a strong dislike for it, I have always loved tuna.  From fresh caught to the tiny inexpensive canned kind it is just wonderful!  I have lots of memories growing up eating Tuna Noodle Casserole.  In fact I think it was one of the first foods I learned to cook.  Once I entered the semi-adult world of college Tuna Salad became the new favorite.  Tuna is very nutritious and fits easily into any budget.  The following is a lighter version of the traditional standby.  Enjoy!

Healthier Tuna Salad

  • 2 T. tahini
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • Mix together and then add the rest:
  • 1 6 oz. can of tuna (packed in water not oil) drained
  • 1/2 15 oz. can of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
  • 1 T. parsley
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • Combine together and enjoy!  I especially love this toasted in the oven with fresh tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese. 

Homemade Red Pepper Hummus (this recipe uses a whole can of beans.  You could easily cut the recipe in half to use up the rest of the beans from the tuna salad recipe):

  • 1 can garbanzo beans drain but put liquid in a bowl
  • 1/3 to ½ c. roasted red peppers
  • 2 T. tahini
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper
  • ½ t. cumin
  • ¼ t. salt
    • Blend ingredients together in a blender. Add in ¼ c. reserved liquid from beans and 1 T. olive oil.
    • Enjoy as a dip for fresh veggies or as a sandwich filler.  Eli eats a lot of hummus since he is still too young for peanut butter.  We also enjoy it on a grilled cheese sandwich. 

Menu Plan May 22-29

25 May

This week we are adjusting to non-student life!  We will be trying some new recipes and enjoying some old favorites as well.  With summer fast approaching I am working on a bunch of menus that do not require turning on the oven.  🙂  We haven’t yet turned on our air and I would like to get by another week or so. 


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and bananas
  • Lunch: Middle East Tuna Salad-coming soon 😉
  • Dinner: Mustard Crusted Tilapia, Rice, Mixed Veggies, Bread, Jello with Fruit.


  • Breakfast: Toast, Eggs
  • Lunch: Toasted Tuna Salad Sandwich with Spinach
  • Dinner: Favorite Fish, Lemon Basil Carrots, Rice.  (We had fish 2 nights in a row because we were expecting my family for dinner on Monday and they weren’t able to make it.) 


  • Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins
  • Lunch: Spalding Southwest Beans and Rice
  • Dinner: Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Bread


  • Breakfast: Granola Bars, Fruit
  • Lunch: Beans and Rice
  • Dinner: Out with Friends


  • Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins, Scrambled Eggs
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Lentil Pot Pie, Parmesan Asparagus  


  • Breakfast: Brandon’s Choice: probably Waffles, Sausage, Eggs
  • Lunch: Beef and Noodles Stroganoff, Green Beans
  • Dinner: Bean Burritos, Salad


  • Breakfast: Healthy Applesauce Cake
  • Lunch: Turkey Noodle Bake
  • Dinner: CrockPot Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli

 What’s on your menu this week?  Please share some summertime favorites that don’t involve the oven. 🙂

No More Hebrew!

16 May

Me multi-tasking: rocking a baby to sleep and studying Hebrew.

I just received word this morning that I passed Biblical Hebrew!  Praise the Lord. Thanks to all of you who have been diligently praying for me.  It is crazy how demanding and difficult the class was for me.  I regularly spent at least 20 hours a week on this class (more if there was a test). Not even my upper level biology and chemistry classes in college were as difficult for me as this class was.  I have cried often and been incredibly humbled at the struggle it has been.   As you can imagine I am absolutely ecstatic that it is finished. 

The biggest thank you of all has to go to my wonderful husband Brandon.  If not for his sweet words of encouragement I would have definitely quit by the 2nd week!  Not only did he encourage me, but he spent numerous hours playing with Eli so that I could trek to the library to study.  He also put up with many boring evenings as he watched me study.  He expressed it well the other day when he said, “Yeah now I have my wife back.”  I have been a student our entire marriage so we are both really looking forward to this new season!  This Friday I look forward to closing another season of my life as I graduate.  For now we are all dancing and saying “Yipee mommy passed!!!!”

What’s For Breakfast?

13 May

Just enjoying a leisurely breakfast on our honeymoon.

Breakfast.  We’ve heard it called the most important meal of the day but how many times have you thought about making a homemade breakfast but then didn’t because you just couldn’t think of anything that sounded appetizing?  The following is a list of breakfast ideas I compiled to keep on hand.  These are real breakfast foods that we regularly eat.  (We usually do menu plan our breakfasts but sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for what’s on the menu.)  You will also find that most of these are quite nutritious. 

  1. Oatmeal: Instant, On the stove, baked, or cooked overnight in the crockpot
  2. Grits: add a little cheese and butter-yum yum! 
  3. CoCo Wheats: these are a delicious treat at our house!  You can find them in most groceries next to the oatmeal.  They ALWAYS remind me of my little brother Caleb-these were his favorite breakfast food as a kid. 
  4. Rice Pudding with Apples, Pears or Raisins.
  5. Cooked Rice with Milk and Sugar (great way to use up rice from dinner the night before)
  6. Muffins: Try Banana Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Chip, or Apple Cranberry,
  7. Biscuits with Jam or Gravy (a super special treat)
  8. Breads: Cinnamon Raisin, Fall Bread,  
  9. Egg McMuffins
  10. Toast with Butter or a Homemade Jam or try Pumpkin Butter
  11. Scrambled Eggs: for a new twist add in salsa, cheese, or bacon.
  12. Omelets
  13. Hard-Boiled Eggs-Eli loves these!   
  14. Pancakes/Waffles: we like to add in different fruits to change it up!  Try: Peach Pancakes
  15. Carmel Apple Strata or Ham and Mushroom Strata
  16. Breakfast Egg Sausage Casserole
  17. Fruit Smoothies
  18. Potato Pancakes
  19. Breakfast Burritos
  20. Green Smoothies
  21. Yogurt with Fruit
  22. Cottage Cheese with Fruit or Cinnamon
  23. Granola: either eat it with milk like cold cereal or with yogurt.   
  24. Granola Bars
  25. Quiche
  26. Cinnamon Rolls
  27. Spinach Frittata
  28. French Toast or Stuffed French Toast
  29. Coffee Cake or Apple Cake
  30. Cinnamon Toast
  31. Crepes-okay so I’ve never made these for breakfast but they may end up on our menu next week. 😉 

What are some of your breakfast favorites?

Menu Plan May 9-15

10 May

It is amazing how much menu planning simplifies my life.  I feel so much more in control of my week just by knowing what we will be eating!  That said here is what we will be having this week:


  • Breakfast: Leftover Waffles, Fruit, Milk
  • Lunch: Spalding’s Southwest Beans and Rice
  • Dinner: Frozen Pizza-yeap it was one of those nights.  Major studying for my Hebrew exam. 😉 


  • Breakfast: Coco Wheats, Bananas, Milk
  • Lunch: Leftover Beans and Rice
  • Dinner: Beef Enchiladas these are a favorite of ours especially during busy seasons. 🙂   
  • To Do: Thaw Chicken


  • Breakfast: Rice Pudding
  • Lunch: Leftover Enchiladas
  • Dinner: Chicken Casserole of some sort.  Bake chicken. 
  • To Do: Bake Herb bread.


  • Breakfast: English Muffins, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
  • Lunch: Salad and Sandwiches
  • Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry
  • To Do: Make Pudding


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit
  • Lunch: Leftovers or Sandwiches
  • Dinner: Spaghetti, Bread, and Broccoli


  • Breakfast: Sausage and Pancakes
  • Lunch: Grilled Cheese, Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Leftovers


Learning for Little Ones in the Kitchen

4 May

Eli learning how to knead bread dough. 🙂

I never cease to be amazed by my son Eli’s interest in what I consider the most routine and boring tasks!  🙂  He loves to imitate and explore everything around him.  Ever since he was just a baby we have desired for him to be a great lover of learning.  As he gets older I have been contemplating ways that I can encourage him in this quest. 

Studying, contemplating, learning

Ways to Encourage Learning in the Kitchen:

  1. While Cooking or Preparing Meals: Talk with your child about what you are doing.  When I am chopping vegetables I often let Eli hold a certain vegetable before I peel it.  We talk about the vegetable, its color, shape, the fact that God made it, etc. 
  2. Dishes: I often let Eli help me unload the spoons after they are washed.  He usually watches as I load and unload the rest of the dishes as well.
  3. Baking: I just recently have allowed Eli to stand on a chair while I am baking and wow does he ever love it!  He gets to help me add ingredients, stir, and sometimes even play with the dough.  🙂
  4. Cleaning: Eli squeals with delight when I get out a broom or mop bucket!  At 16 months he can already hold a dustpan and dump it in the garbage.  My little dustpan boy!  He can also take a cloth and wipe off chairs or Swiffer the kitchen floor area.  I have also found it very helpful that Eli knows how to throw things away.  I often find myself handing him things as I am cooking and say “garbage.”  He walks over to the garbage dumps it in and claps.  How cool is that!   
    Eli learning in the kitchen this time last year! I would just prop him up next to me (or wear him) and talk away. I showed him all sorts of things and have to say one of his favorite places was the kitchen! So exciting and interesting.

If you have a very young baby remember that babies are always learning.  Invest in a great baby carrier like a Moby or Ergo.  I find that I naturally seem to “teach” my baby more when I am wearing them.  I still reach for my carrier once a day even though my son is really old enough to stand on a chair.  🙂  I have such fond memories of hanging out in our kitchen growing up and hope Eli has the same one day. 

Menu Plan May 2-8

3 May


  • Breakfast: Cream of Wheat, Fruit
  • Lunch: Kale, Potatoes, Sausage
  • Dinner:  Out with Friends 🙂 
  • To Do: Thaw Pork Chops


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit.  
  • Lunch: Hummus with Veggie Sticks 
  • Dinner: Friends coming over! 🙂  PorkChops Perfect, Lemon Basil Carrots,  Baked Potatoes with fixings, homemade rolls, Chocolate Cake. 
  • To Do: Make Herb Bread, Rolls, Dessert. Tuesday is baking day this week! 🙂 


  • Breakfast: Pumpkin Chip Muffins (can you believe we are still eating on that pumpkin that’s in the freezer?), Fruit.   
  • Lunch: Grilled Cheese on Herb Bread, Fruit.   
  • Dinner: Chili Bake from Freezer


  • Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt with Granola and Fruit
  • Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Yogurt
  • Dinner: Beef Patties with Mushroom Gravy, Noodles, Green Beans


  • Breakfast: Smoothies and Pumpkin Muffins
  • Lunch: Tuna Casserole, Peas
  • Dinner: Eating Well Fish Casserole, Broccoli, Rice.


  • Breakfast: Waffles, Sausage.
  • Lunch: Quiche
  • Dinner: something from the freezer: I keep about 6 meals in the freezer to use during times of sickness or busyness.