Friday, February 28, 2014

Crockpot Refried Beans

These are so much tastier than the canned refried beans and SUPER EASY! I love making these because it makes enough for two dinners for my family of 7. The day that I make them I will freeze 1/2 of it for another dinner. They are great to eat plain with some rice, or rolled up in a tortilla with cheese, or on tostadas, or added to this chicken taco soup to make it more creamy. It's a great recipe!

Crockpot Refried Beans
  • 3 cups of dry pinto beans (washed and rinsed)
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion (don't chop it up, just throw it in)
  • 1/2 cup butter
Put beans into large crockpot and fill crockpot 3/4 full of water. Add bouillon, garlic salt, and onion. Cook on high for about 8 hours until beans are soft. Throw away the onion. Strain the beans, saving the juice in a separate bowl. Add butter to the beans and some of the reserved liquid. Use a hand blender to mash beans. Add liquid and blend to obtain desired consistency.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Cupid's Cafe

Happy Valentine's Day!
I love to celebrate with food and express my love through food...probably because I love food a little too much... Every Valentine's day, I try to make something festive for our Cupid's Cafe breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here are some ideas:

Heart-shaped French Toast
I Love You With All My Heart Dinner...everything is shaped like hearts

Valentine notes in lunch box - "It's O-FISH-al, you are the best kid ever!", "You are the APPLE of my eye", "Hope your day is Marvelous & Magnificent"
Make one sandwich on wheat and one on white bread, use a cookie cutter to cut out heart of each sandwich, then put wheat heart in white bread and white heart in wheat bread

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Come-Back Kid

Oh, how I am glad that 2013 is behind me because it was sure a challenging one! I feel like it was the year of getting my feet planted firmly on the ground only to have them knocked out from under me. But I got back up each time.
The year started off with me trying to get my baby weight off. I started running again and worked my way up to 6 miles. On one of those routine runs, I felt an intense cramp in my right hip. I tried to walk it off and start running again but is was impossible. By the time I hobbled home I could hardly lift my leg. After weeks of being misdiagnosed and being in pain, I finally found out that I had a stress fracture in the femoral neck of my hip. The doctor told me that I could not put any weight on that leg until it healed. I laughed in his face. WHAT!!!???? How was I supposed to care for my family, especially my 1 year old in a split level home? The estimated 4-6 weeks of being on crutches turned into 9. It was one of the hardest and most frustrating things that I have gone through...but it strengthened me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I learned how to depend on others for the simplest things like carrying my baby down the stairs, grocery shopping, and cleaning. I was humbled by the love and support that I received. I learned to appreciate my body and independence. I learned to be patient as I was waiting for that dang bone to heal. I also learned that crutches are great for other giving my kids a little nudge, reaching those hard to get things on the top shelf, and even defending a soccer goal.

Well, after those LONG 9 weeks, I SLOWLY started to strengthen my leg and get back to my original goal of losing weight. I worked hard, lost most of my baby weight, and felt stronger than I have in years. During this time I was also going through extensive testing to see if I was healthy enough to donate a kidney to my dad who was in kidney failure. In December I got the news that I would be part of a 6 person kidney paired exchange. I worked even harder to be the healthiest that I could to have a better recovery and to donate the best kidney that I could to my recipient. On December 18th I had the opportunity to donate my kidney. It was major surgery and I required a lot of help during my 6 week recovery, but it was totally worth every moment of pain and discomfort because I was able to help my dad and my recipient to have a better quality of life. I guess that I needed a reminder of what the Lord wants me to learn...patience, how to accept help from others, appreciation of my body, and a greater love of the ultimate gift of life from our Savior.

So, I find myself again at the bottom of a long upward climb. But I am going to get up, brush myself off and start again. Just call me the "Come-Back-Kid".