Saturday, January 04, 2014

Lazy Saturday

Today is Jared's 20th birthday! He's had quite a year! He's currently working two jobs and preparing for the winter/spring term of college. I hope he found a bit of time to celebrate the big 2-0. Of course, if this is Jared's can only mean this is my birth month and I'll be turning the big 5-0. ::snort:: I mark my age by Jared's age +30.

The house is strangely quiet with only three Gherkins home.  We had no  BIG happenings today. We cleaned out the hot tub. I worked out. I updated the blog and made little graphics with our "words of the year." 

Michael and I had lunch at New Earth. It was a fun spot to sit and visit in between a Sam's and Target trip. I did find they have hard red wheat berries for much less than Whole Foods Market in Roseville. We were on the hunt for lamps....and we found some. We couldn't believe they were NOT a matching set! The had the same code number, same box and description, same price -but  different lamps....though similar. We kept them.  The two lamps light up the family room and will provide much needed reading light - though they are officially called "task lamps" these days. ::snort:: 

These three decided the day called for dressing up. The boys are doing their best to keep Stacia occupied.  They're good big brothers.

Yes, that IS my wedding bouquet and veil - though it's not my dress. LOL

Let's not rush things!
Michael spent the afternoon working on the finishing touches of his sermon. It will be interesting to see how the text he told me will lead to the Chapel's theme for the year.  

I won't be wearing this to church in the morning! 
I planned to write an end of the year blog post. I planned to write posts on our family's yearly vision and prayer verse. I planned to write a post on my personal word of the year...instead I made those little chalkboard graphics and put the info on them.  
I WAS working on this skirt, but I finally screamed Uncle with the wide elastic waistband. It all seemed so easy when Krista explained it. 

Stacia has filled much of her day sorting "rubber bands" for her "bandaloom."  She has spent HOURS getting all the little colors separated....and just now she decided to throw them all together as it will take far to long to sort. ::snort:: 

Thousands of little rubber bands

Michael came out of the room, geared up for a war. He had Zander bring all his army men and animals downstairs....they set up battle lines and catapults. 

They moved on from catapults to Nerf guns...

Meanwhile in Oregon - it's wet and cold - 35 degrees. Sunny and in the 60's here. Krista and Arielle thought it would be great fun to go geocaching. They chose one with twelve puzzles to solve and then the one point they decided to walk in to a hotel as if they belonged and warm up. That's my girls!

We are enjoying the photos they are sending. I had told Arielle to be sure to text me at least once a day. They are going one better. All that rain IS making it pretty and green in Oregon. 
Pretty good for a camera phone
We needed a lazy day - we had one. Tomorrow we'll get busy and get some things done - maybe. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Yakisoba - Our Comfort Food (From Scratch)

Akikosan first taught us how to make Yakisoba. We used the little packages for seasoning....and it was wonderful. I can't get the packets over here. I need to know how to do it from scratch. I've tried a variety of things. This is good. I found Kikoman Katsu at the commissary and I'll be adding some for a bit of a flavor kick - but this is fine. The yakisoba we grew to love in Japan was NOT spicy...more of a bland food. 

Yakisoba is a street food. It's made on big grills. I'm going to share the "non-meat" version my family has come to enjoy - and the shortcuts I use. I found the original recipe here. 

1 lb lean pork, chicken, tofu (we don't use this)
1/3 C soy sauce
1/3 C mirin
1 1/2 T rapadura (sugar)
12 ounces Chinese wheat noodles 
3 T olive oil
1 onion sliced thin
1 lb napa cabbage or savoy cabbage sliced very thin
3 carrots grated
1 T ginger

*Note: I buy two bags of coleslaw mix from the store (already chopped ::snort::) and skip the chopping when I'm in a hurry. I triple this for my family - but can only fit two bags of slaw in. I slice a few carrots to add to it and I use 3 packages of fresh Yakisoba or Udon noodles from the commissary.  The cabbage REALLY COOKS DOWN. Believe me, I can serve this totally vegan meal to my family as many times a week as I want...and my MEAT loving boys eat it. In fact when given a choice they say to leave the meat out. Score. 

Mix soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar.

If you don't have fresh noodles cook 8 min, drain and rinse under cold water.

In wok or large skillet, saute onion for about 3 min.

Add the cabbage, carrot, ginger and cook until cabbage is softened - (3 - 5 minutes). We left this out as Bre was here and gets ill if she eats ginger.

Add the meat and cook until done - yes - this is the order it is done in Japan. I don't know why. I don't use meat.

Cover the veggie mixture with noodles and pour the sauce over all.

Cover and cook 3 - 5 min, toss the mixture together until combined.

Melinda reminded me that Yakisoba is grilled by street vendors in Japan. I got out our electric grill and fried the whole thing before I served them up.
Bre's first plate of Yakisoba in Misawa
Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe

We love this! Even those who don't eat veggies. ::snort:: I found it at Summer Tomato
Via Summer Tomato
  • 2-4 delicata squash, depending on size (~1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut delicata in half lengthwise. This should be easy and not require any crazy hacking. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (you can save these and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish). 
Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.
Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan and coat in 2 tbsp olive oil. Too much oil can make the squash soggy. Salt gently. It’s okay if the pieces are a little crowded, but try to maximize the surface area of the squash touching the pan. The browning only occurs where the squash and pan meet.
Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn the squash in the pan so that the light sides are now touching the pan and the brown sides are facing upward.
Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar (Vegan Options)

This is from Martha Stewart. Mine did not caramelize (I didn't use brown sugar) but it was still good. Vegan Options in (). 
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (Earth Balance, Olive Oil)
    • 1 butternut squash (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
    • 1/2 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth (Veggie Broth)
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon dark-brown sugar (Rapadura)


  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add squash; saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork, about 16 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, the water, and brown sugar; cook until liquid has evaporated and squash is nicely caramelized, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Baked Acorn Squash

I found this basic recipe on Simply Recipes. We all like it. 

  • 1 Acorn squash
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • Dash of Salt

Note: We found this to be way too much sugar. Adjust to your taste. I use Earth Balance, Coconut Oil or Olive Oil...and Rapadura to cut out the cholesterol. 


1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (Pressure Cooker; Vegan)

I found this on the Instant Pot website. I've learned to save recipes we love as they aren't always easy to find again.  
Via Google Images

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
  • 1 small-medium onion diced very finely
  • 1 inch ginger finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Agave Nectar - we found a bit of sweetness brought out the flavors - add what you like. 
  • Cilantro - nice kick of flavor to use for garnish

Place olive oil, onion, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of the pressure cooker and cook on medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and allow to depressurize naturally. Using an immersion blender, blend soup, add lemon juice, and serve.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...