Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Random Pictures

Chinese Salad

Chinese Salad

My friend gave me a yummy recipe for Chinese Salad and I have kind of made into my own for the most part. J The best part about this salad is that you can add your own kind of cabbage or other veggies. Some people like red onions too! Some times I prefer the Chinese crunchy noodles and almonds instead of the ingredients below.

1 head of cabbage chopped

1 head of bok choy

Scallions sliced

2 pkgs of sliced almonds

1 cup of sesame seeds

1-2 pkgs of Ramen (no seasoning)

¼ c. of butter or ½ a stick

Break up the ramen and mix it with sesame seeds and almonds.

Melt the butter and toss it with the crunchy mixture.

Toast them until they are lightly colored.

Slice all the veggies. Add the crunchies and mix with the dressings.


1 c. of sugar

½ c. of oil

½ c. of sesame oil

½ c. of rice vinegar

2 Tblsp of soy sauce.

Mix together in a blender to emulsify.

To make this a Chinese chicken salad, marinate the chicken in a good teriyaki sauce. I really like Yoshinos. Then grill, bake, or pan fry the chicken-whatever is easiest. Add to the chicken salad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brooke sayings

A couple weeks ago we went out to Olive Garden for dinner. We had a great dinner and when the waiter came to give us a check she yelled out, "Gracias!" It was hilarious! At least Dora is helping her learn Spanish.

Almost 26 months!

Brooke is a lot of fun! She loves to play and has really wanted me to play with her more lately. She is into dolls, princesses, playing chase, reading, little people, playing with Bernard, and coloring. She is talking very clearly and doing great with potty training again. I ultimately had to stop using pull ups, even we go out. She knows that she can pee without consequences in a pull up. We also started giving her MM's which helped with the potty training.

This last weekend we also changed her bedroom around, giving her the opportunity to grow into her room as a toddler instead of a baby. She has done great in her big girl bed and really loves it! Her first two naps were a little shorter than her normal naps, but she is now back on track. She is very busy and I am having the hardest time getting her to smile for pictures. The only time she ask for a picture and will smile is with Bernard.


We had such a great time for Halloween this year. We don't have sidewalks in our neighborhood and live on a hill, so we went to our friends house for trick or treating. Brooke loved trick or treating with her friends and Kyle got to watch some of the Charger game. She was great about going up to the houses and saying trick or treat and then saying thank you. Afterwards she sat and counted her candy and we let her eat one. She picked M'M's of course!

A couple days before Halloween, we carved pumpkins and ate popcorn. I carved Ariel for Brooke and she was very excited. Every night we would light it and have it face the door, so she could look out and see it.

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

The pictures aren't pretty because I forgot to take picture when it came out of the oven. This is the shepherds pie warmed up the next day for dinner.

A couple weeks ago I read a recipe that used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes for the topping on shepherds pie. I was very intrigued and last night it sounded delicious. It was great because I could make dinner work with what I had. I only needed to get some sweet potatoes which my friend gave me. Ch-ching. Now I wish I had a recipe, but I just don't usually cook that way. I will give you approximates and all the ingredients I used.

Hope you try this, because it was so good!

I only had a half pound of ground beef, so my recipe only made enough for a 9x9 baking dish. I also didn't have any fresh carrots or celery on hand that would have been great sauteed with the onions and garlic.

1-2 T of olive oil

half of an onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

.5lb of ground beef

2 T of tomato paste

1 t of red wine vinegar

1 t of worcestershire sauce

A good amount of mixed frozen vegetables

1/2 t of coriander

1/2 t of smoked paprika

1/4 t of cumin

salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350

-heat you oil and add onions and garlic. cook until softened.
-add your ground beef and brown.
-add seasonings and stir
-add the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar. Mix it together
-add your frozen vegetables and a little bit of water to help it all come together and allow the veggies to cook through
- Season with salt and pepper and add to your baking dish.

Sweet potato topping

2 sweet potatoes

2 T of butter

1/4-1/3 cup of goats milk feta

1/2 t of garlic salt



-peel and dice sweet potatoes
-place in a pot and boil until soften
-drain and let sit a couple minutes
-add butter, cheese, and seasoning
-mash and add milk until happy with consistency.

Place on top of ground beef mixture and baked uncovered for 25-30 minutes. I knew it was ready when it was bubbling on the sides.

Hope you enjoy my little creation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Make it work!

The is week's menu is blah! It is a make it work week, which means no more groceries, just use what we currently have.

Monday: Chili
Tuesday: same
Thursday: leftover frozen mini meatloaves (This is the first time I have frozen them- we will see) with roasted baby carrots.
Friday: grilled cheese and tomato soup
Saturday: lentil tacos
Sunday: Dinner party

Nothing special, but it will feed us for the week.

Hope everyone else is enjoying this cool fall weather.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Are you trying to earn God's love?

On our way to the pumpkin patch today, Kyle and I listen to a podcast by Francis Chan about how we try to earn God's love. As I reflected on his sermon and this past month, I realized the importance of this message in my life currently.This month I have been easily overwhelmed, anxious, emotional, and unable to sleep. Some point this week I decided to make a conscious effort to relax and truly cast my burdens to God. Ever since, I have felt content and relaxed. I wonder how long he as been waiting for me to do this.

Back on the sermon: Francis discussed resting in God's care and how we need to understand God genuine love for us. He pointed to Psalms 23 during his sermon and I have decided to make it my verse for the rest of the month.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

This is a very well known verse, but for good reason. How comforting is the Word of God! Thank you Jesus for restoring my soul and giving me the gift of life.

Pumpkin Patch

Today we played hookie with church and went to Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch. We had hoped to go on a Saturday, but Kyle had to work, so we had our family outing today instead. It was a lot of fun! If you are in the San Diego area and have never been, it is worth the road trip. Admission is free, which allows families to spend a lot of money or just purchase a pumpkin. We let Brooke pick one activity and she chose the pony ride, which she loved! Her method for picking a pumpkin was the first one she was able to pick up and carry herself. A little girl was also nice enough to share her corn so she could feed the goats. As we were leaving, Brookelyn grabbed my face and looked STRAIGHT into my eyes and said, "It's time for a bic-nic!" Unfortunately we were not prepared for that, but next year I think we will make it a full day outing and include a "bic-nic."

(if you haven't heard Brooke speak before she has the funniest intonation. She is kind of like a valley girl and hick in one. The hyphen is meant to display her accent.)

Beef Stew

This is probably one of my favorite fall time recipes, because it is so easy and delicious! If you have the Fix and Forget It cookbook then you already have this recipe. Brooke loves this recipe and gobbles every last bite up!

Beef Stew

2lbs of beef chuck, cubed (I have used trip tip, london broil, stew meat, or rump roast. I think any kind of cubed beef works well.)

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1/4-1/2 cup of flour

1 1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

1 tsp of paprika

1 1/2 cups of beef broth

1 clove of garlic minced

1 bay leaf

4 carrots, sliced

2 onions, chopped

1 rib celery, sliced

3 potatoes, diced

1. Place meat in the slow cooker.

2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir into meant until coated thoroughly.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

4. Cover. Cook on Low 10-12 hours, or High 4-6 hours. Stir before serving.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Back Sliding

Hi Mommies! I need some mommy advice. I believe that Brookelyn is ready for a big girl bed, but I am nervous about the transition. About three weeks ago she started whining off and on when we put her down. We have been talking about how she needs to go to bed without fussing so she can get a big girl bed, but that is only effective half of the time. How do I know she is ready and how do you keep them in their beds?

Secondly, we started potty training about 3 months ago and it has been going great until recently. We were still working on potty training when we were running errands, but going poop has always been her specialty. She would go poop anywhere and was even waking up a little earlier in the morning to go poop. Then last week she started pooping in her pants again. She has now pooped in her pants four times and I don't know why. HELP!!

Any advice you guys could give would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lentil Lasagna

Over the past year I have met some wonderful women who are great cooks. I love using other peoples recipe, because it adds a new dimension to my cooking. I love trying new recipes (Kyle kind of hates this because he is the type of person who orders the same thing everywhere) and 90% of the time they turn out well and are thrown in the recipe roulette until I find another recipe. This recipe is from my friend Kate and it is really yummy! It's very hearty because of the red lentils. I realized later that I layered it completely different then the recipe calls, so I am going to include the original steps, but the nice thing to know about this recipe is it turns out great either way! Don't skip out on the sugar step and make sure to try the sauce after the lentils are done cooking. It needs a good amount of salt, as most bean dishes do. Please make sure to wash your lentils before cooking with them.

Red Lentil & Vegetable Lasagna

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 zucchini, diced (I didn't have any zucchini and used a green pepper instead-yummy)

1/2 cup red lentils

2 15-oz cans chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cups low-fat ricotta (or sub with cottage cheese)

1/2 cup skim milk

whole wheat lasagna noodles (I wanted to make this gluten free, but my store was all out.)

3 handfuls basil

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup low-fat grated cheddar

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and cook over low heat until softened. Stir in the celery, carrot, and zucchini and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and oregano. Add 3 cups of water, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Stir frequently, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the ricotta and milk in a bowl. Spoon half the lentil sauce into a 9 x 13 ovenproof dish. Top with lasagna noodles, then half of the ricotta/milk mixture. Cover with the basil leaves.

Top with more lasagna noodles, then spread the remaining lentil mixture over the top. Top with the remaining lasagna noodles. Beat the egg into the remaining half of the ricotta/milk mixture. Spread the surface with the ricotta mixture and cover with the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. If the top starts to dry out, sprinkle with water. Top with additional basil ribbons.

The pictures may not be great because I used my phone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Menu

Monday: Lentil lasagna
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Beef stew
Thursday: Bean soup with cornbread
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Caprese panini and salad
Sunday: Veggie wraps, chickpeas with mint, and kale chips

Some of these recipes will be gluten free and meat free. We are trying to cut more flour out of our diet and add more veggies, so our recipes hopefully will reflect that.

I will be sharing my beef stew, bean soup, and kale chip recipe with you this coming week. Should be yummy!

Weekly Blog Updates

I am trying to push myself to update my blog more often. To do this I am creating a couple of challenges for myself:
1. I will be posting my weekly menu
2. I am going to make a soup or stew once a week and post pictures, recipe, and my family's opinion of the soup.
3. Listen to at least three podcast a week and post one to share with all of you.
4. Brookelyn moments
5. Nutritional discussions: vitamins, homeopathy, cleaning products, etc.
6. What God is showing me through his word.

It is going to be a little bit of work, but I think it will be really helpful for me to start writing my thoughts down; lately I have had a hard time sleeping, because my brain has been so active with way too many thoughts.

I hope you enjoy reading!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Video journal of 2010-2011

Flip software has a cool feature called magic movie. You add video clips and they create a movie by taking parts of the video clip. I like it because it takes less time then cutting down your video to a small clip and piecing it all together. Now, if you are wanting to have more control of the part of the clip you want in the video this is not the kind of movie you want to create.

This video is about 7 minutes long and it consist of clips from Brooke's first birthday to her second birthday. I think it turned out pretty cute. Sorry if it a little bumpy, I am not the best recorder.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dress up

Tonight she put together such a cute outfit!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Menu

I tried new recipes for Brooke's birthday and Kyle and the guest seemed to really enjoy the food. I thought I would post some recipes since everything I did turned out very nicely.

Chicken Kebabs
Rice pilaf
Tzatziki sauce
Pita Bread

Chocolate cake with chocolate and buttercream frosting.

The original recipe can be found here, but I changed a few things based off what I had available and what I wanted to spend time doing.

This fed four adults and two toddlers with some leftovers.

6 chicken breast cut up in chunks marinated for at least an hour.

Souvlaki Marinade

12 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 rounded tbsp smoked paprika
1 rounded tbsp of sweet paprika
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves minced garlic

After marinading the chicken for an hour I diced up half of a red onion, one green pepper, and one red pepper.

You can skewer the chicken and grill them, but I didn't realize that I was all out of skewers and tried broiling the chicken. It turned out SO yummy. I broiled the chicken for 20 min (I think), tossing the veggies and chicken half way through. The broiler caramelizes the chicken and veggies similar to the grill, but because it is sitting in juice keeps everything really moist. I would adjust the time in the broiler based off the thickness of your chicken.

Place the chicken with the rice pilaf and tzatziki sauce on the side (can be found on the link above or buy it from your local grocery store.)

*My changes to the recipe include adding two more chicken breast, not pounding the chicken out, doubling the marinade recipe and instead of two tablespoons of smoked paprika, one smoked and the other sweet. I also broiled my chicken instead of grilling it on skewers.

My friend does this amazing thing for salad dressing that is fresh and keeps a salad from turning into another way to eat fat.

Baby greens
Grape tomatoes
Red onion
Shredded carrots
Feta cheese
Persian cucumbers

Just put all the ingredients directly on top of the salad before serving

A good squeeze of lemon
Garlic salt

Then you can have fun with it by adding different herbs. For this salad I added fresh mint and dried oregano. Then experiment with vinegars as well. I used a good splash of red wine vinegar on top of the salad.

Toss thoroughly and enjoy!

As for dessert I used this recipe for both the chocolate cake and frosting. The only change I made was whole wheat flour. It actually tasted really good with whole wheat flour. The recipe for the vanilla buttercream turned out perfect and made a ton. I love being able to freeze homemade frosting for other occasions!

My baby is 2!

Having a two year old feels... weird. It is way weirder than having a one year old. I can't believe how fast time is going; each year has been faster and I need life to slow down. This birthday was extremely emotional for me. Brookelyn being two means she officially is a toddler! I know that she has been a toddler for awhile now, but the number is making a big difference in my head.

Brooke is such a blessing to our family. She is wild, sweet, cuddly, busy, dirty, and preppy all at the same time. She has just the right amount of girl and a little tomboy to keep it interesting. She is learning that she has the ability to make her own decisions and I am learning how to help her make the right ones. Being a parent is hard, but I am so glad that I have the Bible as my guide, a wonderful husband to lean on, Godly friends for support, and a gracious and forgiving child. Thank you Jesus for another wonderful year full of laughter, some tears, good health, and the Holy Spirit to help guide us through this process.

Here are some pictures from her birthday. We had a party in Fresno with family and friends and decided not to have anything in San Diego for her and just do our own thing. It worked out well since our friends came over dinner and they helped make the evening special for her.

I thought my Minnie Mouse cake turned out pretty good

Isn't that the cutest cake! My friend Sandee made it and it was delicious!

Daddy couldn't travel with us that weekend. We sure missed him!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing Dress Up

Brookelyn received dress up clothes for her birthday and she loves them. Yesterday she dressed up like every princess she had. I caught a couple of them on video. We like to tell her that she is a princess- an heir to the Kingdom.

She know the Cinderella song,"So This is Love." She loves to twirl and sing,"This is love, mmmmm, this is love." Pretty fun!

Brooke's Bible Study

Brookelyn took my Bible this afternoon and had a Bible Study. See what she learned.

Ferguson Family Vacation

I can't believe how fast last week has passed. For those of you who read my last post, I accomplished 90% of my list and technically 10% wasn't necessary anyway. We had a great time with Chad, Kelly, Alyssa, and Myles. The last few days Brooke keeps asking for Myles and Alyssa to wake up. After we remind her that they flew home she says, "Let's go to the airport." Kind of sad, right?

Some of my favorite parts of their trip were:

-Watching the kids faces as they walked through Disneyland observing all the new sights.

-Listening to Alyssa's laugh; she had uncontrollable giggles on many of the roller coaster rides.

-Brooke's excessive singing and new giggle.

-Their excitement to meet the characters and get their autographs. They held onto the autograph books like they were gold.

-Myles favorite toy that he picked was his baby Mickey. Although he got a Mickey sword and Buzz-Lightyear gun, it was baby Mickey that he loved and cared for the most. Too sweet!

-Listening to Brookelyn call Myles 'boy' for half of the week instead of his name.

-Alyssa, Myles, and Brookelyn watching the parade. They sat there nicely waving and smiling with enthusiasm at each new float.

-Disneyland coffee- yum!

-Nightly visits to Yogurt Mill.

-Watching the kids play in the sand and run from the waves.

-Alyssa and Myles boogie boarding for the first time and "surfing."

-Watching Kelly, Alyssa, and Myles jump the waves together.

-Grilling at the cove.

-Watching Brookelyn play with her cousins.

-Spending time with Chad and Kelly.

-Taking the kids to Sea World.

I am sure there are other GREAT things I am missing, but this all I can recall currently.

We love you Chad, Kelly, Alyssa and Myles. Brooke can't stop talking about Ucle Chad (not a typo), Aunt Killy, Myles, and Lyssa.