Tag Archives: vegetables

Sausage and Corn Chowder

This is one of my favorite soups right now and perfect for a cold, rainy day like today.

I picked some of the vegetables used in this recipe up at the farmer’s market this morning. When I left my house it seemed like the storm was finally subsiding with little peeks of blue skies and sunshine. Boy was I wrong. It started sprinkling when I arrived with Sprout and was in a full on downpour complete with lightning flashes and peals of thunder.

I didn’t have my front-pack all weather cover so Sprout was getting soaked. One of the vendors let me borrow an umbrella so I bought some pita bread from him. At one booth whenever the thunder boomed, the lady selling apples to me would put her hand on her chest and freak out. We don’t get much weather in Southern California so I guess some people are really thrown off by it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this hearty soup (preferrably in a cozy home with a sweater and some fluffy slippers on or maybe the fireplace going).

-1 package sweet Italian sausage
-1 bag frozen corn (I used the roasted kind they have at TJs because that’s what we had in our freezer, but regular corn is just as good)
-2 red potatoes, chopped
-2 medium carrots, chopped
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
-1 box chicken broth
-1 bay leaf
-1 cup milk
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp corn starch
-salt and pepper to taste

Cut sausage links into bite-sized pieces. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add sausage to brown. Remove sausage from pan and place in soup pot.

Add onion, garlic, carrots, and potatoes to pan that sausage was just cooked in. Cook vegetables until tender. Add to soup pot.

Add bell pepper, corn, chicken broth, bay leaf, to soup pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove 1/2 cup broth and mix with corn starch until smooth. Return to pot and cook until thickened. Stir in milk. Remove from heat.

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Filed under Gourmet Lisa

Garden update

I tend to write blogs in bunches. Sorry if that overwhelms some of you. I’ve tried to do the whole schedule thing to spread them out, but for some reason it never seems to work right for me and I wind up with a bunch of unpublished blogs that I have to go and publish myself.

So first post today is about my garden. Despite all the morning sickness pretty much immediately following the planting of the garden, I’ve still managed not to kill it. This is mainly due to the fact that my husband installed a timer for our drip watering system so I don’t have to actually remember to or feel up to watering it every single day. It does it all alone.

I was a little worried about my bell peppers because the got all dark colored for a couple days, but now they are turning red. So I guess even though their label clearly showed green bell peppers, they are going to actually be red ones.

In other misleading plant label news… apparently I got a cherry tomato plant instead of an Early Girl tomato plant:

These little guys have been completely delicious, just much smaller than I was expecting. If you have some great tomato growing secrets. please share them because I think I must be doing something wrong. But then again everyone I know is having size issues with their tomato plants this year, at least I know it isn’t just me.

Oh and my Oregano plant is getting a little out of control with its tendrils:

There are a lot of weeds and spiders out there. We’ve had a series of black widows building webs inside and outside of our grill. I am thinking we must have accidentally transported an egg sack with us from Bakersfield because they really aren’t that common here.

The compost bin is still ruminating though, I haven’t had the stomach to open it up and add stuff to it for quite some time. It is kind of disappointing to toss so much green waste, but that’s just the way it is when you have a sensitive gag reflex. Plus, the bin has been germinating some interesting fly species. First we had these little red ones and now there are these weird little black ones. The black ones made me extremely nervous at first because they showed up right after our trip to Mammoth and we did not have good experiences with black flies there (blood sucking ones to be exact), but thankfully these ones are just really lazy and don’t do anything. I think Stephen’s over the whole composting thing and isn’t sure why we did it in the first place. I doubt he’ll let me start it up again next year, but I know we’ll have some great fertilizer for the crops next year.

Anyway, that about sums up the current status of our garden. I did see a much more extravagant and well kept garden today that I plan to share photos of in my next post.

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Filed under Family, Homemade, Natural Living

We love our veggies!

For just under $20, this is what I got in this week’s box:

1 huge head of lettuce
2 beets and their tops
1 bunch carrots with tops
1 bunch asparagus
2 huge grapefruit
6 Mandarin oranges
some fresh Majoram (smells so good!)
2 red spring onions
Enough spinach to fill a 1 gallon zip lock

Bean likes her veggies too. I bought these sometime during my last month of pregnancy. We just did a re-circulation of toys the other day and I pulled them out. I think it is fun that she gets a box of veggies just like Mama and Papa.

I’m really liking Abundant Harvest. I will admit that the first week I was pretty overwhelmed at the amount of stuff. I didn’t think we’d be able to use it all. I quickly learned how to plan my whole menu for the week around the vegetables and now we pretty much use it all (I still have a lingering sweet potato and a couple onions).

I love that we are trying new things too. We’re incorporating way more vegetables and fruit into our diet and I don’t feel like I’m stuck in a veggie rut either. Prior to Abundant Harvest the only vegetables we ate were lettuce, tomatoes, sometimes asparagus if it wasn’t too expensive, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, onions and peas.

And I don’t know if I would have ever considered making some carrot muffins, but I really needed to use up all the carrots I had! The result was so yummy.

Our grocery bill has not increased either (well if you don’t count the one time I went a little overboard at Whole Foods), but I think we’re actually getting more fruits and vegetables into our diet.

So anyway, yeah we love our veggies!


Filed under Family, Natural Living

Back… for realz.

OK so we finally, finally have the real live, fast Internet set up in our apartment and it is awesome. No more driving to Whole Foods, Panera or Ruth’s house. No more mooching off some neighbor’s wireless network that is really slow and patchy. The Internet is ours!

Last night as I was laying in bed and trying to fall asleep knowing that the Internet would be back this morning I kept thinking of this huge list of things I wanted to¬†write about and do. I’m not sure if this post will live up to everything I dreamed up, but here goes anyway.

Bean is six months old today!

She is so, so close to crawling. Mostly she just rolls around, does the fish out of water swimmer/army man scoot, and bounces on her bottom while sitting to get where she wants to go. She is pushing up and pulling up and man she wants to go, go, go. Sometimes she gets really, really frustrated that she can’t quite figure it out which leads to a meltdown and is not fun for Mama. But mostly she is her smiley cute little self.

You may have noticed that I dropped off on the measurement pictures. I sort of forgot to do the five month one and I’m probably not going to get around to doing the one for this month. Bean had a well baby check the Friday before we moved though and these were her stats: 16lbs 10oz, 25 inches long, and I can’t remember her head circ.

Not allergic!
At that appointment I found out that miraculously I am no longer allergic to nuts. My doctor said that a combination of avoidance and pregnancy are probably the culprit for my recovery. I am so, so happy to not be allergic anymore. Last night I enjoyed ice cream with a heath bar in it and some of Stephen’s with Reese’s. I also had a cookie yesterday that had some kind of nut in it. In both instances I had absolutely no allergic reaction and I definitely didn’t die. ūüôā

Where my day goes
In an effort to be able to account for my time a little better so that I don’t always have to say at the end of they day, “I did nothing today.” I am starting to keep a log of what goes on.

I am also doing this so that I can kind of figure out what Bean’s schedule is during the day. I know she has one, just wanting to know what it is so I can plan my day out a little better.

So are you curious as to where my day goes? Well I hope you are because this is it:

Monday, March 23
5:20am – Bean up, fed and diapered then put back to sleep.
8am – Both of us up. Went downstairs, did dishes. Ate blueberry muffin. Tried to give Bean some solids, but she wasn’t in the mood and was just making a mess so I put it away.
8:45am – diaper change, clean up, got Bean dressed
8:50-9:15am – fed Bean. Tried to put her down for a nap, but she cried and woke back up as soon as I set her in the crib.
9:15-9:45am – checked e-mail/Facebook/blog (which was really slow going and I just got frustrated) while Bean played on the floor.
9:45-10:05am – switched out laundry, folded dry stuff. Unpacked and put away two boxes of linens while Bean played in her walker.
10:05-10:20am – put away dishes and started a new load while Bean played on the floor. She was starting to get fussy so I gave her some teething tabs. I played with her a bit, but she was obviously very tired and needing a nap.
10:35-10:45am -nursed Bean until she fell asleep.
10:45am – Bean took a nap and I took a shower.
11:20am – done showering and getting dressed/put together. Started to make a sandwich, but Bean woke up. Changed her diaper. Went back to sandwich making. Phone rang and had to answer it. Finally got to eat my sandwich at around 12:15pm.
12:35am – fed Bean some carrots mixed with breastmilk and mashed up brown rice.
1pm – Bean done eating. Cleaned her up and changed her diaper.
1:20pm – put away dishes, switched out laundry and folded dry stuff.
1:30pm – sewed a few quilt squares together, but Bean was getting fussy and needing another nap.
1:50-2pm – nursed Bean until she fell asleep
2-3:15pm – Bean took a nap and I planned our menu to try and incorporate all the veggies we got from Abundant Harvest.
3:15pm – Bean up, changed her diaper. Folded laundry and started some more.
3:30-4:30pm – walked to Whole Food to get a few groceries and a snack
4:30pm – played with Bean for 15 minutes
4:45-5:05pm – Bean nursed until she fell asleep
5:05-5:50pm – made dinner, when it was done I checked on Bean and she was still asleep.
6:10pm – finished with dinner, checked on Bean and she was still asleep. Worked on my knitting project.
6:45pm – Stephen home from work. Bean up. Changed her diaper then fixed Stephen’s plate for dinner.
7-7:05pm – Bean fussy so I gave her some teething tabs and nursed her a bit. Then she played on the floor with her toys.
8:30pm – we drove to Coldstone and used our buy one get one free coupon.
9:15pm – Got home, changed Bean’s diaper and nursed her until she fell asleep at 9:53pm
9:53pm – worked on my knitting project some more. I am almost done with the first sleeve!
10:45pm – Went to bed.

Yeah. So see, I do get stuff done and that is where the day goes.

Another apartment peak

We bought this desk and filing cabinet on Saturday. The desk was delivered on Sunday. I love having a space for all of our office stuff and my computer. There is so much storage in this desk, it is great. I’m glad we didn’t go with the IKEA one because this one is much, much nicer. I also love that it all folds up and the stuff can be hidden away. I love that this piece has a classic feel to it, but also kind of modern and not too fancy looking. I love that the printer we got for Christmas is finally set up and working. Now I can print out all my recipes and menus!

Sunday morning we woke up bright at early at 6:30am and drove to Carpinteria so we could attend church at Reality.

I love this church. We had been once before while we were still living in Bakersfield. It is quite a trek to get there (45 minutes each way), but with¬†amazing ocean¬†views, that really isn’t a burden…

I seriously could not stop looking out the window for the whole drive. There were light showers, the sun peaking through the clouds and streaming down and even a few rainbows along the way. Not to mention the gorgeous ocean crashing along the shoreline below. Plus, it is actually only about 10 minutes longer to go there than it was to go to Westbrook from our house in Bakersfield.

It only took that one visit for us to be sold. The teaching was great and the worship amazing. Not because the band was particularly talented, but because the congregation really wanted to be there and was very into it.

This is also the church where our former youth pastor is going and getting ready to be sent out to plant a church in San Francisco. So it was really cool to reconnect with him a little bit on Sunday. Plus another thing was that Stephen ran in to like 3 different people he knew from back when he lived in Santa Paula. So it feels familiar to him in a lot of ways.

Our plan is to continue attending there for now and then when they start up the new site in Ventura to switch to start getting involved there. We’re also just kind of taking a break from over-involvement at this point. It is tempting to want to throw ourselves head first into home groups, prayer for the Ventura site, playing music etc, but we know we just really need to have some time to get adjusted and get to know the place where we live. It has been sooo nice to just be able to be home and relax and not be rushing off to various activities lately.

Nighttime/Sleep Parenting
There have been many things going on in the world of sleep (or lack thereof) with us lately.

First up I’ll talk about nap time. Bean has started this new thing where when I put her down in the crib, the floor, etc. for a nap she immediately starts crying or fussing. Most of the time it lasts a couple seconds until she adjusts her comfort position, usually by rolling onto her side, and then she stops and goes on with her normal nap. Sometimes though she just completely cries herself awake and thrashes around and I pick her up and she doesn’t go back to sleep. Then she’s totally grumpy and fussy until she’s finally hungry again and I can nurse her to sleep again. I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

She also has become quite the mover during sleep. I find her in some of the strangest positions when I go to check on her or when I go to get her after she wakes up. It is hilarious. This is not the best example, but the only time I’ve taken a picture is right now:

So I put her to sleep on her back near the corner of the blanket. During the course of writing this post she has managed to move to the middle and wind up on her stomach. Which brings me to another quandry. The whole “back to sleep” campaign. She almost always turns onto her side or stomach while she is sleeping now. Am I really supposed to stir her and turn her back on her back? Really? Because nap/sleep time is going to be a whole heck of a lot more difficult if that is the case.

Finally, on the subject of sleep, Stephen and I are trying to work on “night weaning” Bean. I know this probably doesn’t sit well with the “on demand” crowd, but I really need my sleep. I just seriously can’t handle much more. I am so, so much more grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. I have been snapping at Stephen a lot lately for completely dumb stuff. I notice that I’ve had trouble constructing sentences properly, I am way less alert especially when doing mundane things like driving (I’ve nearly run several red lights because I just was having a hard time paying attention), and I have no motivation or energy to get stuff done. I just really, really need a good night sleep to be a better person in general. So what we’ve been doing is that when Bean wakes up Stephen goes in and tries to comfort her, distract her, etc for at least a little while to stretch her a bit every night.

When we started this over the weekend she was waking up between 1 and 4am almost every night and then every 1-2 hours after that. I’m the type of person that once I’ve been awakened it is really hard for me to go back to sleep. I’m a really light sleeper. I also don’t do well with alarms or knowing that something is going to happen. So basically when she would wake up that first time I wouldn’t go back to sleep after that because I would lay in bed thinking about how she was going to be waking up again in 1-2 hours and also I would have a hard time falling back asleep because of various sounds (Stephen breathing mostly). So I was pretty much surving on on 3-5 hours of sleep every night. I also have a hard time napping or sleeping in past my internal clock wake up time of 8am unless I’m really, really exhausted (as in didn’t sleep at all the night before).

Also I should note that we know it is possible for Bean to sleep through the night. She was doing a great job of it early on, but teething and a couple of colds really messed up her sleeping/eating patterns. So she just mostly got into the habit of eating and waking up several times a night. I noticed that when I began feeding her throughout the night she would not nurse as many times during the day and she wasn’t that into it or serious about it. She was more interested in what was going on around her, constantly popping off, playing with my shirt/hair, etc.

Anyway, it seems to be working out pretty well. Yesterday she didn’t wake up until 5:20am and this morning she didn’t wake up until 5:40am. And both times she went back to sleep until when I would normally get up for the day (this morning she slept in until 9am!). I’ve also noticed that she’s quite a bit more serious about nursing during the day. It’s pretty much, “don’t bother me I’m eating”-you’d-think-she-was-starving-because-she’s-so-desperate-for-food kind of nursing, not goofing off at all. Since she knows I’m the one that nurses her and has the milk, it really works out better for Stephen to be the one to wake up and try to stretch her. If I do it she goes into a total meltdown and thrashes and screams until I give in and nurse her. I think she feels rejected if I don’t nurse her right away. I know you’re all probably thinking, “Oh no way. That cute little baby is never upset.” Let me tell you, she can get pretty pissed when she doesn’t get her way!

If you thought I was “crunchy” before
So yes, not only am I getting all of our produce through Abundant Harvest, I am also going to start a garden and I am even composting! We are really blessed in that this apartment has a pretty big backyard/patio-ish thing with plenty of room for a garden. I’m planning on starting it this weekend after a trip to the nursery.

This is my compost bin…

And this is my “transfer” bin that I keep on the kitchen counter…

Though I am going to have to come up with something else for that because this is actually my “barf bucket” from when I was pregnant and since Stephen was the one to clean it out all the time he finds its presence on our kitchen counter “disturbing”.

Menu Plan Monday
Except it is on Tuesday. So this is my planned menu that will hopefully use up all of our veggies for the next two weeks…

Last night
Chicken Tacos

Salmon cakes with creamy ginger sesame sauce
Carrot and leek recipe from Ruth (hint hint sister, you should post that one!).

Chicken pot pie

Pasta primavera using TJ’s frozen fettuccini alfredo, AH carrots and asparagus, and garlic chicken recipe

Grilled Steaks marinated in garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil
Red Chard with Carmelized Onion

Leftover pasta from freezer

Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and roasted citrus drenched asparagus

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Roasted Garlic Sauce using sweet potatoes, carrot and rutabaga
Garlic Chicken

Some dish I am going to come up with using chicken, rice, carrots and garlic

Chili, corn bread and salad

Leftover pasta from the freezer

Leftover split pea soup from the freezer

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Anyway, that about does it for everything I think I wanted to say. Sorry if this post is a bit long and rambling and overwhelming. I just had been bottling things up for way, way too long! I’m so glad to be back!


Filed under Faith, Family, Homemade, Menu Plan Monday, Natural Living, Parenting, Ramblings