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Kid Tested, Mother Approved: Pesto

August 17, 2010 - 2:24 PM

What is is with children and condiments? Years ago, while working at a daycare, I was shocked at the amount of ketchup those kids could consume! We're talking an equal ratio of ketchup to whatever (crap) food product they were dipping into it. Truly impressive.

My daughter is also a lover of smears, but as my child has more refined tastes. Her spread of choice? Sun-dried tomato pesto. I kid you not! She will (and does!) eat the stuff by the bowlful!

                                  pesto up close

In Mason City, where Erik's parents live, there's a delightful little restaurant that serves excellent dishes made with as many local foods as they can get their hands on. It's named "Ralph's" and we are well known there. On our last visit I found myself almost wishing the server seating us hadn't confirmed "Your family is grain-free, correct?" as she led us to our table so as to not blow the girls and I's cover with my husband and father-in-law. No way to pretend this trip was a special occasion at that point! Oh, well... at least, as their best customer, they shared the pesto recipe with me! 

The recipe is perfect on its own, but I gave it some tweaks so as to be able to not make a special trip to the stores. I also made it two ways: one with standard dried and stored in a bag tomatoes, and once with dried and stored in olive oil tomatoes as the recipe hadn't specified which. I am quite sure they use the oil packed ones as the bright red color fades otherwise. Ralph's uses Parmesan as their cheese of choice. I used Asiago as I had it on hand and personally, I enjoy the bite. If you want a more subtle flavor, then by all means: use the Parm.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1/2 cup packed basil

1 mounded cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (save the oil from the jar)

1/4-1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese (or Parmesan)

extra Olive Oil just in case

Here's how you do it: Throw the first two ingredients into your food processor and let the blade spin until everything is nicely chopped and blended. Now add the cheese and the oil from the jar and let the blade whirl some more. At this point you should be done. If you feel it is too crumbly or dry you can add more olive oil until you are happy with the consistency. This pesto is so delicious!

                                    pesto on stew

If you are going to make it using dried tomatoes from a bag, you will definitely need extra oil in the ballpark of 1/4-1/2 cups. The color will also be much darker. In the above picture, we are serving the tomato pesto on top of stew. The darker colored layer on the bottom is the recipe made with bagged tomatoes while the redder pesto on top is the same recipe made from tomatoes bought in oil. We prefer the recipe made with the oil soaked dried tomatoes. 

Which way do you prefer it?

This post is part of Two for Tuesday's and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's, and Real Food Wednesday's, Friday Foodie Fix, Gluten Free Wednesdays.  Pennywise Platter

Surf And Turf

August 6, 2010 - 2:48 PM

AHG! I am so excited! 

I just won a free enrollment to the Surf and Turf Cooking Classes being offered by Cheeseslave. I CAN NOT WAIT!

Ann Marie of Cheeseslave has an amazing blog and story. You should go check it out! She cooks the stuff I should be cooking without fear! One of her recent posts was on cooking a pigs head. I mean, really? Haha!

She has put countless hours in to prepare for this Surf and Turf Class. It will be a 13 week online class with a members only online forum. It's $120 which is less than ten dollars a class. The cooking classes at our local Co-Op are $15 each and they are mostly worthless vegetarian ones. This is going to be awesome! Click on this link to register yourself! You won't regret it!   

Cheeseslave recommends this class for those eating the following ways:

Low-Carb

Paleo

GAPS/SCD

Gluten Free or Grain Free

Eating Grains and Starches but wanting to learn to cook grass fed meats, organ meats, and seafood.

Yep, that's just about everyone here, isn't it? :) 

Praise the Lord, guys! Out of almost two hundred entries, my name was drawn! Pardon me, the baby is up. I need to go let her join in happy dance time!

 

                                                          s & t

 

 

The Joys Of Chocolate Milk

August 6, 2010 - 1:49 PM

 

                                                                Chocolate Milk

I LOVE chocolate and dairy. I am pretty sure I could find a way to justify a hot chocolate diet if I needed to. Our whole family enjoys our hot chocolate before bed with Bible time, but it's been difficult to swing of late. For one thing, heating milk isn't good for the proteins in the milk. This is basically the crux of the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate. Secondly, while I like my chocolate dark as night, Erik prefers some sweetness to his which was fine when we were using honey, but now that we're trying a sweetener free lifestyle he was just having to suck it up. Poor guy.

Yesterday I really wanted chocolate and had the brilliant idea to make chocolate milk! That would solve all the worlds problems! It would be cold, not heat damaged, and I could add flavors to it so it wouldn't taste as bitter. The only thing standing in my way was that cocoa powder doesn't mix with cold milk. Epic fail.

Enter: the blender. Mr. Oster stepped right up to the plate on this one! I poured milk, vanilla, Ghirardelli chocolate powder (for the refined palate) into the blender with enough banana to add chill and sweetness and gave it a whirl. Divine. It was everything we had hoped for and then some! Last night we made it again and just added a little more of everything but the milk and had some killer milk shakes. Summer has been saved...

Note: Your chocolate flavored kitchen adventures will only be as good as the ingredients used. As chocolate is a once in awhile treat for us (except for the past 24 hours!) We spend the extra money to secure the good stuff. We also use quality vanilla and it makes all the difference!  

The Basic Recipes:

Chocolate Milk (Sweetener Free)

3 Cups Whole Milk

2 Tbl. High Quality Chocolate powder

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

2 frozen Bananas

Put all ingredients in blender. Put lid on blender. Blend. Pour and drink!

Chocolate Banana Milk Shake (Sweetener Free)

3 cups Whole Milk

3 Tbl. High Quality Chocolate

3/4 tsp. Vanilla

approx. 4-5 frozen Bananas

Place first three ingredients into blender. Put lid on blender. Blend. Add bananas to blender until slushy consistency is achieved. Pour, drink, enjoy!

What are your favorite refreshing summer treats? Please share!

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays.

Pizza with a Grain Free Twist

July 10, 2010 - 1:28 PM

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while on my third day of a fever. If I seem a wee bit more punchy then normal, that's to blame. Thank you. 

                                        pizza!

We love pizza around here. We love it so much we gave it a pet name: Pato. After our first month off grains it was one of the foods we were still in mourning over. No more, my friends! No more! After weeks of chanting: "it's not about finding grain free versions of our favorite foods, it's about finding new favorite foods" like a broken record I am glad to say that pizza is securely back into weekly rotation. 

This is good pizza, guys. No, seriously! We've shared it with my Mother-in-law, our neighbor, and my cousins and Aunt and Uncle. Everyone really enjoys it! My cousins girlfriend didn't think it tasted like pizza, but thought it was really good whatever it was! I think it was cause I made my own sauce and it tasted a bit like spaghetti sauce giving the pizza a lasagna type flare. I digress. Oh, well, as I said it was delicious either way!

Let me say though that while being grain free, this recipe is not dairy free. If you cannot eat cheese, then your search for pizza happiness will not end here. My condolences. 

Veggie Crusted Pizza

For the crust:                                                                                                                         For toppings:

2 cups Cauliflower or 1 cup Turnips                                                                                    1 cup cheese

2 cups of cheese (we use a mix of either muenster, mozz, and/or cheddar)               1/2 cup sauce

2 large eggs                                                                                                                                toppings of choice

1 tsp Fennel and 1 tsp. Oregano

Start by shredding your cauliflower or turnips. I like to use my food processor as it has it done in moments instead of minutes. Here are some shredded Turnips:

                                          shredded veggies

Mix veggie, shredded cheese,  egg, and spices in a bowl. Dump onto an oiled cookie sheet and using a fork, press down in a circular pattern until the crust is spread thin, but not too thin. You don't want any holes. 

                                           Grain free crust

Now put it in the oven (450 degrees F) for 12 minutes give or take. You want the top to be nicely browning. 

                                           Crust From the Oven

Beautiful, isn't it? Now is when you'll load it up with delicious toppings. We like to use artichokes, mushrooms and pineapple. Last week though, at my Aunts, we used ground turkey too. Yumma!

Here are your instructions: Add sauce, then toppings, then cheese... Ready, set, go! Done? Great. Now back into the oven we go! Well, not "we" exactly, more like just the pizza. Understand? This time we will use the broiler function on the oven as it's been feeling rather neglected of late. Don't worry little buddy! You are more than useful to us! 

Just wait until the cheese starts to brown. This will typically take less than five minutes, maybe a couple more if you mounded your cheese as we tend to. :)

Take it out, cut it up, Give Thanks, and chow down! You may want to make more than one as the cold leftovers make a tasty breakfast, or midnight snack. One recipe is a good main dish for our family. The Little Lady counts as a third adult when it comes to eating pizza. 

                                          a slice

You can find the original unchanged recipe here. Sheer genius I'd say!

Give it a try and let me know your opinion. What changes did you make if any?

I am adding this post to the Wholesome Whole Foods CarnivalMouthwatering Mondays, Two For Tuesdays, and the Fight Back Friday Carnival. Go check out the other yummy and informative entries! Thanks!

All Good Things Come To An End...

Posted on Mon Feb 7 18:45:00 CST 2011 by Ambre  |  Comments (0)

I have moved. 

Not physically, but in cyberspace. This blog has moved to LivingAsOfTheDay.Com.

I've really enjoyed being here, but I am completely computer illiterate, My Cousin was helping me with the changes I needed to make around here, but he's in college and not available as often as I would like. As a result, I moved somewhere I felt was dummied down to my level. :)

Please move with me! I would hate it if this meant the end of our internet friendship!

See you there!

 

.ambre,

My People Are Destroyed From Lack Of Knowledge: Soda

Posted on Mon Nov 29 15:40:19 CST 2010 by Ambre  |  Comments (2)

Soda isn't all it's cracked up to be...

soda

A Child's Prayer

Posted on Tue Nov 2 15:34:08 CDT 2010 by Ambre  |  Comments (2)

For the past three weeks I have been going next door at bed time and individually praying for the children sleeping there. Most nights it's for just four of them, but some nights all six are there. It has been an incredible experience.

Since I see them all all afternoon, by the time it's their turn to be prayed over, I am aware of specific struggles they are having that I can lift up for them. It's just a quiet moment between the two of us and God before they sleep and it's been having a supernatural calming effect on some very tightly wound and wounded children! 

Erik and I have been praying for our Miss N.'s two boys since we moved in two years ago. We were specifically asking God that they would put their trust in Him for salvation while they were still young.

Last week, God said, "Yes."

Praise the Lord! God is faithful to His promises. He says, in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart." These boys have been seeking and God's Word did not come back void! Wednesday night they both chose to put their trust in the God Who had given His Son so that they could spend eternity with Him!

This has greatly changed our nightly prayer ritual. For starters, instead of asking God to bring them to His throne of grace, now we are seeking Him to shine Truth into their hearts and to speak to the lies currently residing there. They also don't just want to be recipients any more! Their mother confided that they had started praying over her and asking God to reveal Himself to her. Are you moved yet? I pray so!

Last night was one of the best nights of my life since I chose to give my life to Christ. Let me tell you about it...

These have been some crazy past few weeks.

Physically, I have been stretched to far outside of my comfort zone, way beyond my natural talent level, and all on little sleep.

Spiritually, I have been praying more than I ever have before because I can see and feel the battles being waged for the souls around me. I have watched God bring three, possibly four, of the people we have been serving, in the last six days alone to His throne where He wrote their names in His Book in His Son's blood. 

Emotionally, this has been a battle. I am an introvert who loves to manage people and has a real burden for hurting kids. I will repeat though: I am an introvert. Being front and center from when I rise to when I collapse at night hearing my name chanted by the masses of needy children is overwhelming, but I serve a big God. Way bigger than my limitations and as I tell the kids, "When I am weak, He is strong", to which they quickly point out, "But, He's always strong!". Exactly.

Yesterday, during nap time, I sat down with Miss A. to go over with her what her oldest son had signed up for at the church retreat the day before when trusting in Jesus. I've been answering her questions for weeks now and going over a lot of Scripture, so I just felt led to lay it all out, in order, and ask her if she wanted to make a decision for Jesus as Lord. It was a great conversation and at the end of it, she put her trust in God and not in man.

Praise the Lord. You are a good God.

By bedtime, I was feeling beat. I just wanted to pray for the kids and go home and sleep! As I walked into the room and knelt down on the bed, my neighbor's youngest (8) jumped towards me asking if he could pray for me tonight. I just felt so loved by that request! 

"I would love to be prayed for! Thank you!", I answered. He and his brother knelt in front of me and he drew a cross on my forehead as we bowed our heads.

"Dear God, thank you for Ambre and for her teaching us about You and Your love from the Bible. Please keep teaching her about You when she reads her Bible so that she can keep learning stuff to teach to us. Amen."

I melted. I just felt surrounded by Angels and the Holy Spirit in that moment, I can't even begin to describe it. I felt so blessed.

His prayer was such a beautiful reflection of his desire to learn more about the Lord and proof of how far God has brought him in such a short time. The first time he prayed after Erik finished Bible time a couple weeks ago was a request for more money than any of us and included a rump wiggling dance. God truly has grabbed his heart!

Thank you to those of you who have been lifting our family up in prayer. You too are swinging a sword in this war.

 

His servant,

ambre

 

When The Mission Field Comes To You

Posted on Tue Oct 19 08:49:57 CDT 2010 by Ambre  |  Comments (3)

Erik and I have really been feeling a burden for missions of late. We both have made passing comments about the fact that we may end up on the foreign mission field while our kids are still young. I'll say something about going to a Third World Country, he'll respond with a quip about how the Third World may be coming to us and then we'll go on with our day. Neither of us anticipated our family taking on full time missions, but it seems the Lord was preparing our hearts for just that. 

Our next door neighbor is an agnostic single mother of adopted sons. She, Miss N., has a real soft spot for people down on their luck and always seems to have some other single Mom hanging around that she's hired to do light housekeeping because she knows they can really use the funds. Her newest project was a nice lady, Miss A., who's son was in the same class as Miss N.'s eldest. I met Miss A. in passing a couple weeks ago, but hadn't spoken to her since. Our Little Lady saw Miss A.'s twin six year old girls outside on Monday of last week and wanted to join them so I went out as well to say hello. We ended up talking for awhile and I felt led to invite her to come and sit with me during the day instead of sitting alone next door while Miss N. was at work. This is the response I received:

"Oh, yeah, that would be great. Are you and your husband like, really religious or, you know, super religious like?"

I had to chuckle since a "yes" answer could mean all sorts of things: super religious cause I'm a bond servant of Christ, super religious and I dance around bond fires with goat heads, or super religious and ready to go on a neighborhood jihad? See what I mean? Very broad question.

"We both have relationships with Jesus" I offered.

"Great! Then when i come over can you pray for me?"

Praise the Lord. How often does that happen to you? To me: never before. Within 24 hours, I was doing a Beginning in Christ Bible Study with the Mother and reading Children's theology and teaching memory verses to Miss A. and Miss N.'s five youngest children. I am now shepherding a total of seven young hearts (including the two born of my womb) every afternoon until bedtime with my amazing husband. It's complete insanity, but God is moving mightily. I doubt it will be too many more days before the questions these eight to ten year old boys are throwing at me about God and His Word surpass my ability to fathom an answer to. They truly are seeking to get at the heart of God. 

Please keep my family in your prayers as we move into this new season. Miss A. and company have now moved in with Miss N. and her duo for an unknown length of time. The Lord knows though, and He has certainly put us here for such a time as this...

Matthew 11:25-26

At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,

because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,

and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."

 

 

Where's The Love?

Posted on Fri Oct 1 16:11:52 CDT 2010 by Ambre  |  Comments (0)

I am not a fan of playing catch-up. I would say I hate it, except that that could almost be interpreted as "I hate my life" seeing as how the majority of my life appears to be spent running after the proverbial bus. 

                               lady Rider   

Erik was sick as a dog over the weekend, as was our poor Baby Girl. My Mom and Dad were in town as were my wonderful  in-laws. My Mother-in-law and I went to two fantastic sessions on Anti-Aging and Weight Loss by a world renowned Physician on Saturday. Sunday was church and a delicious brunch at Iowa River Power Company with my pa rents sans the sicky, Erik. This was all on top of a trip last week to Peoria for an orchard visit with my Aunt Gloris and sister followed by an unexpected drive to Fort Madison for my dear Great Aunt Bernice's visitation after her death on Monday.

Weeks like that tend to leave me feeling quite overwhelmed and unsure where to even start digging myself out when it comes to caring for our home. Today I was clearing off a burner on the stove to make breakfast (before giving up and handing our Lara Bars). I was wallowing a bit in discouragement when the Lady said "Wow, Mom! This window is really clean!" I looked over to find her admiring the dining room window base. I guess she was expecting dead bugs and dust, but I had vacuumed it out last week. I was lifted in my spirits to have my daughter notice this little corner of tidy and to have remarked on it.

"Yeah, Honey? I'm glad! Mommy did that."

"No, you didn't" I was corrected, "Miss Navy did." 

"No, Honey, it was Mommy."

"Nope, Miss Navy". And with that, she sauntered off. 

I'm sorry, but someone needs to give this child a reality check! When a Mommy does something... anything!... she should be graciously thanked. In a perfect world, the credit for a job well done does not go to the IMAGINARY FRIEND! Hrmph!

I wouldn't be so put offended if it weren't for the fact that I think the Little Lady actually believes it! Every day at nap time I'm told Miss Navy is staying up to help me clean. I guess she was just sure this was some of Miss Navy's handiwork.

I wish! It's about time Miss Navy started pulling her own weight around here... 

 
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