So, last week I shared a picture on facebook of the dinner I had made for us that night.

Y'all that post got busy! People commented and messaged me asking for the recipe. The funny thing is that it is so simple I didn't even follow a recipe. A friend had made it for us the week before and she walked me through how she had made it (she had tweaked the recipe she found) and said to just pinterest search inside out egg roll.

inside_out_egg_roll


This is the recipe I found that seemed the closest to what she had told me. I read through it and wrote the ingredients down and haven't looked at it again since...not even when I cooked it. I say that only to point out how very versatile and easy this recipe is. (I left out the egg & celery and could not find the Chinese Five Spice at all.)

What you'll need:

1 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned and seasoned (I used salt, garlic and ginger)
Soy Sauce, to taste
1 can water chestnuts
8 oz mushrooms, sauteed 

What you'll do:

Steam your cabbage with water almost to the point of being done. (We like ours with a little crunch.)
Toss in the other ingredients and stir fry until everything is heated through and at the desired tenderness.

Eat and enjoy!

asian_food_inside_out_eggroll_recipe_food


Seriously, it couldn't be any easier and even the kids were clamoring for more. Next time I would probably prepare some rice as a side to go along with it. I've also seen a couple of recipes that substituted chicken for the beef.

I'd really like to find that Chinese Five Spice so if you know where I can get some don't be shy, let me know! I really enjoy Asian food and want to experiment with making more of it from scratch.

You can find this recipe, as well as the other test kitchen recipes I've shared on the blog, here on My Test Kitchen Pinterest board.


I love the first day of school. It's so full of promise and opportunity.


For now at least the kids will rise eagerly from their beds and ready themselves without much prodding from me.

I think Claire in particular will have the greatest year. Her class will start with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory but then they will dive head first into their medieval studies...a time in history that she became infatuated with over the summer. They'll read King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and one of my favorites, Robin Hood.

Abigail will be reading all kinds of church history and CS Lewis. She will also be reading another of my favorites, Beowulf. I want to read at least one of the kids books this year and since I've never read Dante's Inferno  I think that will be on my list.

Sam will read Frankenstein (I read it with Sarah her ninth grade year) and Pride and Prejudice. I have admitted this before although I don't talk about it often (not something I find in common with many of my classical friends I guess) but I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen's work. However, I will read it this year with him, and maybe sit in on some of the lectures and discussions. Who knows, maybe my position will change?

Emily will have a big year. It has often be said that the junior year at Trinitas is one of the most difficult years. She will be reading another of my favorites, Canterbury's Tales, and I am looking forward to revisiting it. I may or may not read Romeo and Juliet too.

Sarah is already into her sophomore year of college and finishing up her prereqs for nursing school. I am going to bypass The Nature of Disease and read Something Wicked This Way Comes, one of her favorites.

Abby and Claire will both take part in the Medieval Feast in the spring and I hope to go with Emily to New York for the jr/sr aesthetic trip. And I've heard there are some exciting things in store for Sam and his biology class in particular.

It looks like the school year is shaping up to be busy but lots of fun!


I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen.

I also enjoy having company and feeding people. Sometimes I find that I have made those two things more complicated that they should have been and I am able to enjoy neither one as much as I could have.

Recently we've discovered the joy that is purple grapes paired with white cheddar cheese. It is a culinary delight.

I try to keep both things on hand all of the time because it's a simple but delicious way to be hospitable and welcome people into our home or just for us to enjoy.

fruit_white_cheddar_cheese

Have you seen that acronym?

KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid

I find it so funny but also helpful to remember.

It's easy to fall into a place where good equals complicated.

Hard is be best.

If it's difficult it's worth more.

Sometimes that is true of course. If it is easily gotten sometimes that means it is of little value.

We shouldn't shy away from the hard. Often times the struggle brings about the glory.

But I wonder if sometimes we make it too hard...complicate things unnecessarily?

A child believes and sometimes we complicate that with our unbelief. Surely they don't really understand when really we are the ones who don't understand. Their belief is full and complete but it seems too simple so it must be lacking.

There is therefore no condemnation...but we can't completely let go of the guilt  or the person we were and the life we led so we make the new life hard by remembering and carrying the past into the now.

It's wanting everything to be just right and perfect and sucking  the joy out of life in the process.

It's opening the door to that little bit of doubt...not trusting...not believing...not clinging to Truth.

I wonder if sometimes we complicate things as an excuse. "I would but..."

To avoid the responsibility that comes with accepting and fully living in Truth.

But really life is better when we keep it simple. When we just believe and trust what He is doing and where He is leading us.

Simple, just like grapes and cheese.

fruit_and_cheese


Well, it has certainly been a while, hasn't it? Blogging always seems to slack off during the summer when the kids are home though so I guess I am not really surprised.

We've had a lovely summer and probably one of the most low key breaks we've ever had. It has been filled with just the right amount of fun and busyness without feeling like it has been a desperate headlong flight from June to August with everything in  between a breathless blur.

We took time to indulge in the guilty pleasure of watching America's Got Talent and American Ninja Warrior. The kids started watching it and I found that I was stopping what I was doing to just catch a glimpse and then before I knew it I was just sitting down to watch it with them. One day it led to a few hours of us youtubing 80's music and it was just so much fun.

Although we only made it out to the lake once we made plenty of trips to the beach. There was much paddle board fun and good times with friends. We even went to a baseball game.

The kids and I made a trip to Oklahoma and got to spend some wonderful time with my little sister and her family. The kids hardly ever get to spend time with their Okie cousin and there were trips to their lake, paddle boating and card games and lots of good food.  While we were gone my beloved took down the wretched wall paper in our kitchen and I cannot tell you how happy I am about that! He also repainted much of the inside of the house a brighter, more creamier color than the tan we had before. (This was a major feat for us. We have a difficult time, my beloved and I, when it comes to things like paint color and decorating in general. But I guess after almost eighteen years of living together we've figured out how to mesh our likes.) I hope to share some pictures soon but we are currently still in the process of hanging stuff back up.

The kids have orientation on Friday...a wonderful half day to ease us back into early mornings. Hopefully that means that I will be able to set aside some time on a regular basis again to be here more often. I've got some delicious recipes to share and who knows what else.

I'm looking forward to it.



You've probably seen the recipe before. I come across it frequently on Pinterest and finally decided to try it out.

biscuits_homemade_bread

As far as recipes go it couldn't be any simpler...four ingredients. And since three of the ingredients get cooked in the forth, melted butter, they are quite tasty.

What you'll need:

4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7 Up  (Notice it is a cup of the soda and not a whole can.)
1/2 cup butter, melted

What you'll do:

Melt the butter and pour it into a baking dish.
Mix together the sour cream and Bisquick.
Stir in the 7 Up.
Place dough on a well floured surface, use your hands to flatten it out until it is about an inch thick.
*Cut the biscuits out.
(The dough is really sticky and you may need to dip your cutter into flour after each cut.)
Place the biscuits in the buttered pan.
Bake at 425 degrees or until a nice golden brown.

This recipe made two dozen biscuits. I cut it in half and used gluten free Bisquick in a smaller batch and they turned out fine.

homemade_breakfast_bread_biscuits

They didn't really rise so if you're expecting a big fluffy biscuit you are bound to be disappointed. However, they do have a good flavor and I think would do well on the breakfast table...especially paired with some jam or honey. We don't drink soda on a regular basis so it's not exactly an on-hand recipe for me but I will keep it in the make again pile :-)

*In the past I've just always used a regular glass to cut out biscuits, no big deal, right? This time I wised up and used what the kids refer to as our fancy glasses. It was like having a nice handle on the cutter. I guess I could break down and buy a actual biscuit cutter since Sarah and I both seem to be delving into bread making but I don't think it would be as fun to use as the fancy glass.





Getting old is hard. I mean, it beats the alternative so I don't regret doing it, but as a woman who has reached a certain age I can say it is really really hard.


Hot flashes...the worst. Feeling perfectly fine one minute and the next it's like I feel my insides coming to a rolling boil and heat just radiates from the inside out. Drinking the coldest glass of water I can get hold of is the only way I have found to effectively cool off. 

Mood swings. Oh.My.Goodness. I can barely keep up with myself so I know I must be driving my family crazy. One morning I was on my usual walk and I don't remember what I was thinking about but I was literally so darn angry about something, just furious. And by the time I was starting my second mile I was just in tears and almost sobbing. No rhyme, no reason, and zero rhythm...just a staggering yoyo ride of emotion. I've talked before about teaching young girls about their emotions by likening them to a horse ride. As long as you are in control they can take you on amazing adventures, but let them get control and you will quickly find yourself in the thicket and thorns and dangerous places. I have days where I wake up and feel like I have a burr under my saddle. 

Depression is also a new companion some days. It's not something I have ever felt in my life, even going through some very difficult times. But there are some days when I feel like I am fighting for my sanity. I just want to hide myself away...not think or feel or do anything. I realized how serious it was when I had weeks where I didn't even want to pick up my camera. That's when I knew I needed to finally say something to Rob.

I've been to the lady doctor and had the blood work done but haven't heard anything back yet as far as how unbalanced hormones may be. (I told Rob it will be horrible to have them come back and say that everything looks fine. Because that means I am just going crazy.) I'm not in a rush to pop a pill to fix something but I would like to feel a little more settled and in control. And I am learning things that I can do that help.

Diet and exercise. They do help. It can be a pain to feel like I must always pay attention to what I do or don't eat and making time to exercise on a regular basis while the kids are out of school is harder than it should be but there you have it. 

Being thankful. That is another big help. I can resent all day long what my body is going through but the truth of the matter is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am doing what my body was designed to do at this season of life. To give reign to frustration and anger seems akin to shaking my fist at God. Instead I want to navigate this path in way that is honoring to Him.

The other thing that I have found that really helps is to do something for someone else. To focus on someone else and not my crazy self. So I make myself invite someone over, do something with the kids, or whatever. Yesterday I woke up with that familiar heaviness and I started cooking at 6:30 in the morning. I had chosen some of Rob's favorite things to cook for our Sabbath meal at the church and a couple of other things that I hoped my church family would enjoy.

And I found a measure of peace as I cooked and boiled and prepared a main dish, mixed and kneaded homemade biscuits. I found my mind settling as I baked a cake from scratch and the wonderful aroma of a zested lemon soothed. 

God is gracious in the giving of good gifts that come wrapped in the mundane activities we have to do each day. And when we focus on who we are doing them for, the Gift Giver and the people we are blessed to be in community with, it changes us. It allows our lives to become about so much more than what ever we are experiencing and dealing with at the moment.

For this I am grateful.  


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