Sunday, January 22, 2017

Whole 30.....

Tomorrow the Drunken Breeder and I will embark on our Whole 30 journey.  Am I prepared, um..... probably not.  They tell you to have everything set up and ready to go, well I don't.  However, I do have plans to hit up Costco and buy food to make myself prepared, that counts, right?  Mentally I'm as ready as I'll ever be, I even told Mr. Housewife that tomorrow he can't put any cream or sugar in my coffee, it will be all coconut milk for me. 

After the twinadoes were born it seemed like all I did was feed hungry babies, change endless diapers, prepare more bottles, and sneak in naps when I could.  I never had energy, never wanted to waste precious sleeping time doing anything but sleep!  That put me in a bad habit and my body paid the price.  It's really time to change, time to get back to something I recognize, have more energy to keep up with my now big kids.  Time to really focus on me getting myself in a better place physically which will lead to a better mental me.

I've been Pinteresting like crazy, finding meals, easy shopping lists, support sites, etc... Even Mr. Housewife is on board.  Honestly, that meant a lot.  I was more than willing to do some meal prep for myself so I could still make sure he and the twinadoes had a "normal" meal. Maybe I'm more ready than I originally thought....

So my goal is to snap a picture of everything I eat, include recipes when needed and also give a little bit on how I'm feeling, how it's going, do I feel like quitting because it's just too much, the usual stuff.  I'm also hoping I feel some accountability from not only Drunken Breeder but from anyone reading along with my journey.

Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Farewell 2016 Hello 2017

Wow, another year coming to an end.  They aren't kidding when they say as you get older time goes so dang fast.  This was our first full year in Awesome Opossum and it was, well, awesome.  Of course not everything was perfect....the garden had it's challenges,

we lost our beloved Louie as well as quite a few hens to the many predators that we now live with,

we tried our hand at ducks and decided it wasn't for us and a few other incidents.  But overall, 2016 left me very thankful and happy to have experienced what life threw at me.

The twinadoes successfully started kindergarten, and I, well.... after many tears and breakdowns released my grip on them and let them go.  It took a few weeks to adjust, but now we are all enjoying this new adventure.  I can't believe how much they have changed in the three months since they started.  Thing 2 really shows the changes, her vocabulary, her behavior, yowza!

For me, I went on my first job interview in about 15 years.  I didn't get the job but I did feel pleased that I did it.  After the rough first few weeks of kindergarten for Thing 1 I can now see it as a blessing that I didn't get that job, he needed me a lot more than any employer ever would.  So thankful that I could be there and not have to worry about telling an employer that my son needs me.  Finally unpacked the last of the boxes from moving, and even got rid of a bunch of stuff (still more to get rid of....).  Added more power tools to my collection and learned how to use them.  I'm getting to the point where I feel confident that I will be able to really start making some cool stuff this coming year.  Tested new vegetables in the garden, some successes some failures, and have a good idea for the next one. 

Mr. Housewife has been so helpful in my adventures at home.  Building me little things I request for the garden and hens.  Supporting my crazy ideas and sometimes adding on to them.

He even bought a chainsaw to cut down some trees that were hindering my secret garden space.  Those little trees led to a few others which led to some really neat craft ideas that use cut logs. 

This year as been a good one.... The Drunken Breeder and I became friends, went on some fun mini vacations,
met my beloved Ina Garten at a book signing (isn't she lovely?), ate amazing food and overall had a wonderful time.

What will 2017 bring?  I have no clue.  Hopefully more fun, love, good times, adventures, eggs, a new rooster and..... who knows.  What I will shoot for is good health and happiness for my family and others.  Wishing you all a prosperous, happy, healthy and adventurous new year!! 

HAPPY 2017!!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beef Stroganoff


Beef stroganoff is one of those meals that has it all, meat, noodles and yummy sauce/gravy.  What's not to love, really?  It's not difficult to make, can pretty much be done in one pot and doesn't take any crazy culinary skills to achieve success.  Winning!!  I pretty much stick to the same recipe every time I make it, however, I do change out the meat sometimes.  I mostly use beef tenderloin (fillet mignon) since it produces the most tender meat and it's quick, but you can also use sirloin, chuck or pretty much whatever you have.  The only consideration to make would be cooking time, some cuts you will need to let cook a little longer in order to achieve a nice tender result.


Also, I use crème fraiche, but that too is optional.  You can be a purist and use just sour cream or you could make kind of a mock crème fraiche with sour cream and cream cheese.  To be honest, all are really delicious, so it's not a big deal what you use.  The other optional ingredient is cognac, I just love the flavor it gives, but understandably, you can choose to omit.

For the Recipe:
a few tablespoons of oil (canola, avocado, grapeseed), this can vary since it depends on size of pan you use
2 lbs beef tenderloin (or meat of your choice), cut into bite size chunks *see note for using other meat
1/4 c. flour
salt and pepper (you will need about 1 1/2 tbsp. total of salt and 1 tbsp. of pepper throughout the recipe)
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. mushrooms, sliced (I use crimini, but you could also use shitake or any other you prefer)
2/3 c. cognac (optional)
3 c. beef stock, homemade preferred
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 container of crème fraiche, they are usually around 8 oz.  (or substitute sour cream or a combo of sour cream and cream cheese)
1 pound noodles of choice

In a large pan heat the oil.  While the oil is heating, coat the meat with flour.  Season with salt and pepper.  Next you want to brown the meat.  This part can be tedious but don't skip it!!  Place each piece in the pan and let brown on each side, don't crowd the pan or it will not brown it will steam.  You will probably have to do this in batches, just be patient.  Once the meat has been browned set it aside.  To the same pan add the butter and onions, approximately 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper, let cook until starting to brown a bit then add the mushrooms and a little more salt and pepper.  Cook for another 10 or so minutes until the mushrooms also start to brown.  Next, TURN OFF THE HEAT!!  Time to add the cognac and unless you are truly going for the flambé action you need the flame OFF.  You will use the cognac to deglaze the pan and make sure all the brown goodness is coming and becoming part of your sauce.


Now you can turn the flame back on and add the beef broth. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes.  Now would be a good time to make the noodles, according to the package.  Next add the Dijon mustard, crème fraiche, and salt and pepper to taste. Because I used beef tenderloin that I browned (pretty much cooking it to almost rare) I add in the when I add these last ingredients so it doesn't cook too long and get tough. You really don't want to overcook such gorgeous meat.  Serve over noodles and you are ready to enjoy this retro yumminess.



**note** because I used beef tenderloin I did not need to cook the meat a long time.  If you choose to use another type of meat you will want to adjust the cooking time, adding tougher meats earlier in the cooking in order to give it time to cook properly.  I've used sirloin steak, chuck roast and even got desperate and used ground beef once.... you can vary it up according to your needs.

Monday, October 31, 2016


Congee is such a lovely dish, it's also very versatile.  Oh, did I mention that it's quite the frugal dish as well.  It's a traditional dish from China, dating back thousands of years, but served in many Asian countries. 

Chicken is the one I tend to make the most since it's easiest for me and the twinadoes like it, but you can use whatever protein you want or you can leave it out completely.  The condiments that you serve along side are what make the congee over the top delicious.

For the Recipe:
1 chicken breast, but into small pieces **see note for chicken
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 c. rice (jasmine or long are typically what I use)
1/2 of an onion, diced
4 c. chicken stock (or you could substitute just water)
1 inch knob of ginger, grated
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt, depending on how salty your chicken stock is will determine amount
water, amount will depend on how watery you like your congee
Condiments, listed below

Place the chicken in a bowl, add the soy sauce and 1 tsp. fish sauce.  Stir and let marinate while you cook the congee.  In a pot add the rice, diced onion, chicken stock, grated ginger, white pepper, and fish sauce.  Cook over medium heat, whisking regularly to break up the rice grains as they cook.  When the grains start breaking up the congee will thicken, about 20 minutes, add 1 cup of water.  Stir in well, taste for salt and add as needed.  Add  your chicken that has been marinating, stir well.  The chicken will not take long to cook if you cut into small pieces, just a few minutes.  If the congee is too thick for you, add in a bit more water.  I tend to like mine a little thicker, but I have had it more soupy and it was good as well.

Serve in bowls, let everyone choose their condiments.  As for the condiments, I normally choose one type of egg from the list below, fried shallots, green onions and the ginger.  You will quickly find what combination works best for you.

**I love using chicken thighs in congee, since they are more forgiving than chicken breasts you can add them in earlier. 

Hard Boiled Eggs
Preserved Eggs
Fried Eggs
Fried Shallots
Green Onions
Julienned Ginger

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Korean Short Ribs

Thing 1 loves short ribs, he asks for them anytime we go to the Korean restaurant or the local teriyaki place.  I honestly don't know why I don't make them more often, it's not like they are difficult, I think that is going to have to change....

A few years ago when we were still in Snohomish we had a pot luck barbeque, one of the guests brought some short ribs.  Those were gone in mere minutes, and she had brought a lot.... they were that delicious.  Of course I had to ask for the recipe, and luckily she shared.  Like most recipes (not baking) when you cook you can customize to suit your tastes. 

For the Recipe:

1 c. soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 c. sugar (you can use half brown half white if you want to change it up a bit)
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp. ginger, grated
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (use the Asian sesame seeds)
2 tsp. sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients, add the short ribs and marinate overnight.  You can get away with marinating for six hours and serve some sauce on the side (must bring sauce to a boil then reduce to thicken, never use straight from the marinating due to bacteria).

This would also be good with chicken.  For a little extra sweetness add 1-2 tbsp. honey.

Cook the short ribs on a barbeque or indoor grill so you get those nice grill marks.  Be careful though, this has a lot of sugar in it so it will burn very easily. 

Serve with rice and if you really want a taste treat make some Hawaiian noodle salad as well, you won't regret it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's Been a Decade

Tomorrow is my ten year anniversary with Mr. Housewife.  Ten years.  Ten years and a set of twins later we are still here.  Am I surprised?  I would be lying if I said no, marriage is tough and it's not always full of glitter and rainbows.

When two very stubborn and head strong people come together there is bound to be friction, heck, even if you put two calm submissive people together there will be friction.  It's how you deal with it that tells the real story.  And speaking of stories, I'm just not buying the fiction some people spout about never fighting with their partner or saying they always get along.... uh sure.

Let's just state right here and now, I am no marriage expert, not even close, but I've been to a few.  What is the reoccurring statement they all say?  Communication is key, and they are correct.  When that breaks down failure is sure to follow if the proper steps to fix it isn't taken.  Sometimes it really is easier to say "I'm outtie" and move on.  Of course there are reasons that divorce is better, when there is abuse, or other act that is unacceptable, I don't want anyone to think I'm promoting staying in an unsafe situation.

Mr. Housewife and I were outside and he says to me "next week we have a big day".  I'm thinking we have an appointment I forgot or something along those lines.  Clearly my puzzled look gave away my confusion, so he reminded me of our anniversary.  Yes, I'm the one in our relationship that forgets when we got married, I do know the month it's just the day that escapes me sometimes.  I purposefully kept some matches from our wedding that have the date on them.  Sure, it would be easier to jut put it on my calendar so it pops up (note to self to do that).  He asked if I wanted to get away without the kids or what, and it's stuff like this that I try to remember when I'm furious, times when the guy really does try. 

Every day I make sure I remind myself that I am a lucky woman because it's easy to get in a routine where you want more and more and forget what you already have.  To get busy with kids and forget that you wouldn't have those kids if it wasn't for your partner.  Making time gets tougher and tougher, but it's important. 

I may forget the date on the calendar but I haven't forgotten the actual day.  There have been some bumps, heck some major potholes, in the road over the past ten years but we are still all here driving along.  With work and COMMUNICATION we will still be here driving along this curvy bumpy road ten years from now, hopefully we've learned a thing or two over the past ten that will help.

As for this year's anniversary, well, we've decided to spend it at The Salish Lodge, a whopping ten minutes from our house.  And we are bringing the kids!!  That's how we roll and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Going Back to Work...

Last week I went on my first interview in a million years (yes being dramatic).  It was so strange, I wasn't nervous it was more like a hesitancy, kind of hard to explain.  Why did I go on an interview?  The twinadoes are starting all day kindergarten in little over a month which means I'll have all day without them.  Yes, I could sit around and lounge, watch tv, play with chickens, etc.... however, there is an opportunity that *might* be presenting itself to add on to Purple Pastures.  If I went back to work I would be contributing to this new adventure, and I like that idea especially since it's pretty much me spearheading it.

Unfortunately, I did not get this particular job, they gave it to a person that already had it but left for a bit and wanted to return.  Am I bummed?  Maybe a little, but I'm one of those people that believes everything happens for a reason.  I'm not meant to have that job.  There will be another one that is better for me or maybe it's just not my time to head back to the workplace, I really don't know at this point.

What I do know is my twinadoes are going to start school soon and everything will be changing.  I also know that I want to do more than sit around waiting for them to come home.  This opportunity that might happen is something I'm super excited about, and of course I'll share more if it becomes a reality.

For now I'll keep my eye out for jobs that interest me and work for my situation.  I think when I find the right one I won't feel so on the fence and I'll be more on the side of feeling more confident that it's the right time to head back to work. 

Other mothers will surely tell me I'm not alone in feeling guilty for wanting to head back, I had a little breakdown myself.  I was so conflicted that if I was excited to be working did that mean I was slighting my children.  Was I not doing my full mom job, cheating my children?  Of course I'm not, but when you've been home with them their entire lives and it's what they are used to it's hard to not feel like I'm being a bit selfish.  Thing 1 asked me what will happen if they need me during the day, will he be left at the school with nobody to come for him.  Insert crying....

How do moms make the important decision to go back to work?  How do you deal with the guilt?  Please enlighten me, someone!!!