Friday, February 28, 2014

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

A winning recipe! Everyone loved it! Good for pickier eaters!

Chicken Fried Rice
printable version

  • 2 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 chicken breast halves, cooked ahead of time or cooked with onions and garlic, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce, depending on your liking

Cook brown rice: Place 4 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of uncooked brown rice, 1 T butter, and a dash of salt. Lower heat to medium, cover pot, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. (I check mine after about a half hour, every 5 minutes or so, just to make sure I don’t overcook it).

While rice is cooking, heat olive oil, to cover bottom of skillet (~1 to 2 T) on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and chopped chicken breast. Cook until vegetables are tender and/or meat is cooked.

Add frozen peas and carrots. Cook until vegetables are cooked.

Add cooked rice and soy sauce to pan. Stir and remove from heat.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Make Lists: Use Your Phone

Making Lists

Lately, I have been using my phone to keep notes and make lists for myself. I was writing my tasks on paper. The problem with that was two-fold: 1) I didn’t like dealing with the paper and 2) Sometimes I would end up making lists in various places, on multiple papers, which made it hard to keep track of things.

Now I have been making lists on my phone, using the Notes App.

I keep a list for many of the categories of my life, as you can see from the picture above. This helps me find information quickly and keep things categorized well.

Do you make lists for yourself?

Lists are a great way to help
keep life in better order.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How I Plan My Weekly Grocery List

My Grocery List

1) Check pantry to see what I have on hand.

2) Check the store flyer to see what is on sale. Circle items that are a good deal. (I generally know whether something is a good deal or not because I watch for the lowest prices. For instance, I know butter is a good deal if it is $2 or less.)

Meijer Flyer

3) Make a list in Evernote of specials at stores I frequent.

Evernote List

4) Check coupon matchup web site to see if there are any coupons for the items on sale OR if there are other good deals that I missed.

5) Make a meal list for the week with pantry items and sale items in mind.

6) Check my ongoing grocery list for other needed grocery items, like pantry staples.

7) Make a grocery list of “good deal” items and necessary items for pantry and meals.

Grocery List

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Greatest of These is Love

The Greatest of These

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

I have always thought this was an interesting verse. If I didn’t know this verse and someone had asked me which was the greatest – faith, hope, or love – I would probably say “faith”. To have faith is to believe in the God who has created us and accept His plan for our lives. As Hebrews defines it,

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:2

… and the chapter continues with a list of people in the Bible who have lived their lives in various ways “by faith”.

To me, faith appears to be the connecting point, the point where we decide to follow God and as I said, believe in Him – believe He exists, believe He loves us, believe He died for us.

As I think about the verse in 1 Corinthians more deeply, however, I see that love is really the foundation of the universe.

  1. First and foremost, the Bible says that “God is love”. ( 1 John 4:8 ) That’s a pretty big statement. God equates Himself with love. HE is love. If we look at the character of God, therein we see love – His compassion, patience, strength, holiness, righteousness, perfectness, nobleness, goodness… He encompasses love.
  2. God, who is love, has always existed. At one point, He decided to make an extravagant world, out of love. He created a beautiful world that was “good”. He created humankind and gave them the fruit of their labor, the fruit of their land, and the fruit of their relationship with Him. He did not create robots who would automatically serve Him. He created beings who could *choose* to love Him. The world was created, out of love, from God.
  3. Jesus summed up the commandments this way:

    Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

    Following God’s commandments is all about love. We obey God and try to please Him because we love Him.

    He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. 1 John 2:4-5
  4. At the end of the world, faith and hope will dissipate, but love will continue. Faith and hope both involve believing in and looking forward to things that we do not see and things that have not yet happened. At the end of the world, everything will be made clear and perfect, and there will essentially be no more need for faith and hope.

    However, love will continue throughout eternity in the midst of God and His people.

There are many verses that emphasize the importance of love in the Bible, above other qualities. It is the underpinning of the universe and the glue that solidifies our relationship with God and people.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day! Ways to Celebrate with Your Children

Valentine's Day with Your Children

  • Play a board game (pick one of your children’s favorites!)
  • Write a note of encouragement and affirmation of your love
  • Make a special breakfast like Chocolate Waffles with Berry Sauce
  • Make sugar cookies and decorate them
  • Give your children a small amount of cash and take them somewhere to buy a treat
  • Watch a family movie, accompanied with homemade popcorn
  • Play a “How Well Do You Know Me” game to see how well you know your children and vice versa. Make a list of questions like, What is his/her favorite color, food, movie, etc." Answer the questions separately, about each other, and see how much you really know.
  • Make a fun dessert together

Most of all, enjoy being together,
and make sure your children hear you say,
“I love you!”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day: Bless Your Husband and Strengthen Your Marriage

Valentine's Day

Whether you usually celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, I encourage you to use the holiday to focus on your husband. Seek not to focus on your own emotions and expectations but take time to pour out to him and to help strengthen your marriage.

Ways to serve him

  • Make his favorite meal
  • Take him breakfast in bed
  • Make homemade coffee drinks and plan a conversation time, focusing on him.
  • Create a coupon book, i.e. for date nights or projects
  • Give him a massage
  • Watch a movie with him
  • Accomplish one of the things he has wanted you to do for a while
  • Write a love letter to your husband, reaffirming your love and appreciation for him

Help strengthen your marriage and home life

  • Review and renew your vision for your marriage and home life
  • Pray together
  • Make goals and start working on one
  • Clean a hotspot together and reward yourselves afterwards
  • Renew your vows
  • Plan date time – a drive to get coffee, a special meal at home while the kids eat in the other room, a meal at a restaurant …

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day
as you seek to serve your husband!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Simple Sugar Cookie Icing and Colored Sanding Sugar

Icing and Sanding Sugar

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought you might like these easy recipes for icing and sanding sugar. I taught 3rd through 6th grade children how to make these for our homeschool co-op, and they used the items to decorate sugar cookies.

These recipes are simple to make and consist of simple ingredients, so they are simple all around!

Simple Sugar Cookie Icing
Original Recipe found here

Mix 3 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk in a bowl.
Add more milk, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency.
It is better to have a fairly thick frosting for piping.
Put icing inside a plastic sandwich bag and seal. Cut off the tip, slightly, and pipe frosting.

Colored Sanding Sugar

Put 1 cup of regular sugar in a sandwich bag with about 1/4 teaspoon decorator’s gel or 1 capful food coloring.
Close the bag well and distribute the coloring throughout the sugar with your hands, mushing the sugar around for a couple minutes.
You may add more color, if desired.
Pour sugar onto a plate. Spread evenly and let sugar air dry for 10-15 minutes before using or storing.