Monthly Archives: August 2011

Cooking with the Mennonites


I have a confession.

I have an unhealthy obsession with owning cookbooks.

I currently have 31 published cookbooks, 2 recipe books made by friends, 1 spiral notebook with recipes I find in magazines and an email address used specifically to get recipe emails.

I would own twice as many cookbooks if I had somewhere to put them and the money to spend on them.

For awhile I have been wanting to take a look at a Mennonite cookbook for some bread recipes.  I have heard great things about their bread recipes.  My problem has been that I do not live somewhere that has a Mennonite community, I do not vacation where there is a thriving Mennonite community and I have no money to spend on cookbooks at the moment.

Yes, I am sure that there are about 1000 sites on the world wide web filled with Mennonite recipes but let me remind you that I love cookbooks.  A website is just not the same for me.  I want to touch the book and random flip through its pages and quickly move between the dessert section and the main dish section.  Not so easy to do on a computer.

Now enters my friend Joni.

Guess what?

Joni has tons of Mennonite cookbooks!!

I am currently borrowing these 4 from her.

I am fascinated with them.  I have written down a handful or recipes to try and have already made some excellent bread.

One of the most fascinating things though is the names of the recipes.

For example…

Old-fashioned Stink Cheese  really who wants to make this

Bean Loaf   from what I can tell it is a bean version of meatloaf

Vegetable Loaf  just in case you want variety with your loaf options

Liver Loaf, Ham Loaf, Chicken Loaf  pretty much any sort of loaf you want

Geburtstagkuchen   I do not even know

Roasted Pig’s Stomach  because everyone loves some good pig stomach

Beggar’s Dish  this one was actually really good.

Guess I better go now.  My vegetable loaf is almost done 🙂


Then and Now


Smiley is growing up so quickly that it takes me by surprise sometimes.

She talks (sorta), walks, runs, pretend plays, eats with utensils, drinks out of her own cup…..

A year ago she could sit up, grab things, eat a little bit of solid food.

A picture from Then

Photo courtesy of Odd Dog Design and Photography


A picture from Now


Thrifty Thursday


After a brief hiatus from meal planning I am back.  I have lots of new recipes that I am trying out this week and I think many of them will end up here.  A friend of mine has like a million Mennonite cookbooks and I have borrowed a few.  I have always heard good things about these cookbook and have been very excited to try out a few things.

I fixed this meal for dinner Monday night because we had company over for the day and so I was late getting started with dinner and had a small window of cook time between Smiley meltdowns (she did not nap well).

I now present to you  Beggar’s Dish

Beggar’s Dish

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can pureed tomatoes
  1. Cook the beef and drain it.
  2. Add the beans and tomato.
  3. Heat until warm and serve it up.

It was kinda like a poor mans chili.  I served it with a side of corn.  Everyone in this household loved it.

The bonus to this super cheap meal was that we were able to re-purpose the leftovers into burrito filling for Tuesday.

Who Do I Do It All For


The radio is almost constantly on in our home.

I like background noise.

The other day a song by Steven Curtis Chapman really hit home for me.

It is entitled Do Everything and the opening verse and chorus are:

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Do I really do everything to the glory of the One who made me?  Do I even do a little to the glory of the One who made me?  Do I clean up the lunch tornado with the Lord and His glory in mind?

Too often I find that most of what I do is for myself.  I wish I could at least say it is for my husband and daughter (and that would still not be okay) but truthfully I do not know how often I can say that.  On the surface it looks like I do things for others, but I know my own heart and know that I work it all around what my preferences are.  This is probably the reason I get so frustrated and feel such discontent with where my life is.

How different it would all look if I did all things for His glory.  He made me for a purpose and while I do not always see that purpose clearly I know that part of that purpose is to serve Him by serving my family. I am the first and primary example of Christ that Smiley sees.  I want her to see Christ lived out in our home and that starts with me and the attitude I choose to have.

Reading her a book for the 12th time.

Changing dirty diapers.

Keeping a clean and orderly home.

Preparing meals.

Doing it all with joy and a greater purpose.


1 Corintians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Thrifty Thursday


I sort of forgot it was Thursday, but as it turns out, what I fixed for dinner tonight was thrifty.

I stole this recipe from Publix Apron’s Simple Meals and did a few minor changes.


Tuscan Chicken and Beans

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1lb chicken thighs (use what ever chicken you can find on sale), cut in half
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp pepper
  • 1 (19 ounce) can northern beans (drained, but not rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2T sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2T cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Heat large saute pan on medium-high  with a little bit of olive oil until hot.
  • Add chicken and sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until chicken is almost done.
  • Stir in beans, broth and tomatoes.
  • Stir cornstarch and water together in a small bowl and slowly add to pan, stirring continuously.
  • Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.

It will easily feed 6 people.

I served mine with a vegetable side and cornbread.

Loved by all, except Smiley who does not eat beans or chicken.

And an added bonus was it took 35 minutes total.


Odd Things


Everyone thinks that the way they do things is normal.

We all think that some people are odd and the things of their home are odd.

I started thinking about what is “normal” in our home and it occured to me that others might find it odd.

Here is a list of a few of the “odd” things that are “normal” to us.

  • At any given moment we have about 7 bags of cheese in our fridge.  What can I say we love cheese products in our home.
  • We do not buy eggs in a grocery store.  We buy them from a teen-aged girl named Katie at Green Gate Farms.
  • We do not buy red meat in a grocery store.  We buy it from Katie’s dad Bruce over at Green Gate Farms.
  • Once a month I do my grocery shopping in a parking lot next to a grocery store.
  • We buy our milk from a cupcake bakery.
  • We do not allow Smiley to watch tv or eat sweets.
  • I make our laundry detergent.
  • A giant bowl of sugarless gum sits on our kitchen counter.
  • I do not allow cherry products in our home.  The smell alone makes me want to vomit.
  • Once a year I buy about 60lbs of tomatoes and 100 ears of corn from a local farm.
  • A piece of furniture in our den is called a slacker sack.

What are a few of the odd normal things in your home?