Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

Spicey! April 3, 2009

Filed under: home — mrswade @ 9:16 am
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So much blogging to catch up on after spring break!  


A couple weeks ago I realized how little I used spices (without them being called for) and how often I needed to omit a spice from a recipe because I didn’t have it.  I am a little scared of spices, I’m super scared that instead of enhancing whatever I have just made, it will ruin it with the wrong kind of strong flavor.  The only spices I am not afraid of are Italian spices because I’ve learned to use those ones pretty well.   (And can’t get enough rosemary!)  I had some basic spice staples, thanks to my step-mom who stalked me up a few years back, but I decided it was time for me to venture into spice world without holding someone’s hand.

I found this blog post on spices to have in your cupboard and many of their uses and combinations, so I took notes, and set out to Penzeys.  As a bonus, Cherise met me there for some company and catch up time while spicin’ it up. 🙂  On my list was the majority of the spices on the list in the post I mentioned earlier.  I came home with those, plus some, and minus chile powder (which I blame on Cherise 😉 haha).  The spices were sold by the jar (large and small) and by the bag (big, bigger, biggest).  The price for the big bag, was generally 1/2 the price of the large jar, for twice as much spice!  So even though I didn’t have Jars for them all I got the bags, and figured I’d find jars elsewhere.


mustard, poppy seeds, chives, cayenne red pepper, cloves, french tarragon, garlic powder, sage, onion powder, marjoram and all spice

mustard, poppy seeds, chives, cayenne red pepper, cloves, french tarragon, garlic powder, sage, onion powder, marjoram and all spice

When I got home I heated my oven to 200 and dried out some parsley I had so I didn’t have to buy that too.  I ended up finding jars but the baggies had so much spices in them that the jars were too small.  That’s fine though, I won’t be buying those spices for a very long time.  Now if I could just figure out how to use them. 🙂


all the new spices in their jars

all the new spices in their jars


Spring Break March 31, 2009

Filed under: Random — mrswade @ 2:52 pm
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The story:

It was overall amazing, with some points, definitely better than others. 

We came home Thursday night, Jake worked Friday and I hung out with my Mommy.  Saturday was not a fun day, it started out ok when we went to visit Liz and Jason.  Saturday is when the trouble with “Crazy Pat” started.  Jake sold a car to this crazy guy, and there was an issue getting the title to him, Pat got all crazy and controlling and started threatening and yelling at Jake.  Long story short, we filed a police report, and sent the title in the mail to the police in the town he lived in.  Because we had to wait until Monday to mail the title, Jake had to emotionally and mentally be kind of tortured with worry all of Sunday and Monday, until the police told us they had delivered the title on Tuesday afternoon.  Tuesday was the day we left for Newberg, so unfortunately, the majority of our time at home was very stressful, especially for Jake.  It was fun to hang out with the fam though.  I went through a bunch of old children’s books with my mom and was able reminisce about childhood a little bit and also find some good books to give to Madi, my cousins, and Owen, we donated some and also sold a few so I could buy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover (a very good book so far, I highly recommend it).  We got to go to Mars Hill (sooo excited to get back permanently!)  We hung out with the Golubs a bit and got to finger-paint with the most adorable little girl ever 🙂 !  On the way home we stopped off at New Horizons ministries, a ministry for homeless youth in Seattle.  I took pictures for them for my final “Serve Project” in Photography class.  I thought I ruined the film, but by the grace of God some of them turned out!  We stopped by Liz and Jason’s again on the way out to give Madi more books, and then we were on the road again, down to Newberg to stay the night, pack for Cali and be off again in the morning!

We ended up leaving about an hour after we planned, which isn’t that bad considering Jake was feeling kind of sick.  😦  The drive was longer than we had thought, we thought it would only take us 6 hours but it took us 7.  We stopped for lunch on the way down and got to Grandma’s around 3:30 or so.  We hung out that evening, talked, ate a delicious dinner and watched some TV.  The next day we slept in, had some breakfast and chatted with Grandma and Grandpa.    Jake and I headed to the store then when we came back Grandma took us to go visit some other family, Cindy and Curtis.  Later that day, Aunt Donna and Uncle Al came over to visit for a bit, we had some dinner and then Jake and I went on a date. 🙂  We went shopping at the outlets, had some ice cream and then went to a movie.  We say Knowing which I do not recommend.  I thought it would be interesting, at first it was really intense, then it got really scary (Jake and I don’t do scary movies) and then it got really stupid with aliens! Haha, don’t watch it.  The next morning we woke up early to take Grandma and Grandpa’s Kia to the shop to get something fixed.  We went out to breakfast afterward and then to the Sundial Bridge.  That was really fun.  When we got back from the bridge we went garage sale-ing!  I will do a whole separate post for that. 🙂  Then that evening we went to play mini-golf and then to In-n-Out Burger on our last night there.  The next morning Grandma made us biscuits and gravy (my favorite!) and then at 9:30 we headed home.  It was another long drive, but that night I got to see all the girls from Riley House and hang out with Mac and Mikaela when they stayed at our place that night.

It was overall a very good spring break.  Now it’s only one month to trudge through until graduation! Woo!


Sour Cream Cookies March 19, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 11:48 am
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again…no picture, imagine a snickerdoodle but fluffier, smaller and not perfectly round…

This is another recipe from the lovely Allissa Alvord


  • 1 c Shortening (I used butter, which I think made them spread out wider than Allissa’s)
  • 2 c Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla (I always use more vanilla than called for 🙂 )
  • 1 c Sour Cream
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 5 c Flour

Mix it all together (flour last of course).  I used 2 spoons to spoon mine onto the baking sheet.  When they are on the sheet, dip the bottom of a cup in cinnamon-sugar and lightly press the ball of dough to make it flat on top (but don’t squish it!)  Bake at 350 for 12 mins.  They are done even if they are the same color and haven’t browned at all.

I love these cookies, Allissa always has them when I go over to babysit and was so glad she gave me the recipe!  They really remind me of snickerdoodles! mmmmmm 🙂 



one step at a time March 16, 2009

Filed under: home,thoughts — mrswade @ 7:59 pm
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So I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals and priorities in moving from where we are now in our eating habits and the food we have in our house to a more natural and wholesome way of eating.  The craze was to eat low-fat, buy items that say light, low-fat, low-cal, etc.  You can find hundreds of items that have these claims on the label, that if looked at closely, are probably not true.  I see this now moving toward organic.  I haven’t done much research on the claims of organic but have heard that as with low-fat you need to be just as skeptical when something claims to be organic.  While I think that eating organic and low-fat is important, I think that the importance can be given too much weight.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:12

I believe that God made our bodies to gain the most nutrients from and process best the food that He made for us.  When companies make their light and low-fat products, they need to do what they can to make it taste like the full-fat version.  They add all sorts of fake-fat to put in it instead.  Again, I haven’t done really any research on this, but I can’t believe that the fake stuff that is in those products has any positive effects on our bodies.  Our bodies were made to handle fat, not chemicals.  The solution to not eating low-fat foods is working out!  

I heard one lady describe how she decides what to buy.  She asks herself two questions:

  1. If I really needed to, could I make this product in my own kitchen?
  2. Could I explain what is in this/how it is made to an 8 year old?

If the answer to these questions is “no” it is probably safe to say that there are items in the product that are not God-made and probably not the best to put in our bodies and probably not that easy for our body to process.

This is why I really believe that whole foods are the most important priority for our eating habits.  People often say to shop around the grocery store, around the outside of the aisles for the healthiest eating.  I think this is true, on the outside of the isles are produce, meat, dairy, and often bread.  These are all things that God made, things from the earth, plants and animals.  By eating whole foods such as these, organic or not, we avoid eating many of those awful words on the ingredients label that are impossible to pronounce and not good for our bodies.

My priorities for good eating go like this:

  1. whole foods:things that aren’t in a box, etc.)
  2. more nutrition: choosing the whole foods that are going to be best nutritionally, such as coconut oil over vegetable or canola oil (I can actually make coconut oil in my kitchen if I want too!)
  3. organic: but only things that are worth buying organic, such as the dirty dozen.  While I would like to support the organic farmers, especially the local ones, I just can’t afford to buy everything organic at this point.
  4. low-fat: Of the whole, nutritious, and organic foods, I would choose the lower-fat options.  Such as almonds over cashews (nuts are good for you, but almonds are much better for you than cashews).

I’m going to try to figure out a good way to track our progress in moving towards a more whole and natural way of eating…not sure how that will turn out, but I’m going to try 🙂  I’ve started it a bit, but my goals for the year are to make my own bread and dressings and use coconut and olive oil as much as I can instead of canola or butter (though I’m not that opposed to butter).  I’ll probably come up with a few more as the year goes on, but that’s it for now. 🙂 Some of my inspiration for baby steps come from this blog.


Hummus March 12, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 7:19 pm

So, I have no picture, which is sad, but doesn’t make the recipe any less delicious 🙂  Now I just need to perfect my pita bread!

I halved this recipe and had plenty, I didn’t want to make a ton and then end up wasting it!


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
  • 2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw) (I’m not sure if mine was roasted or not, but it worked just fine)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt


In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.  Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.

Serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread. 

Full recipe makes about 3 cups.


Spelt Issues

Filed under: home,Recipes — mrswade @ 7:09 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So I made the simple whole wheat bread again, except this time I used whole grain spelt flour and coconut oil (instead of butter).  I bought spelt because I had heard very good things about its nutritional quality and am trying to make my homemade bread as nutritious as possible.  Well, they didn’t turn out nearly as well as they did last time…check it out…

img_3027This poor bread is pathetically the size of half a normal slice!

So I started some spelt research and found some very interesting things…

First, a bit about Spelt.  I found here that: Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from this fact: it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the Triticum (wheat) family. Spelt features a host of different nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. This particular combination of nutrients provided by spelt may make it a particularly helpful food for persons with migraine headache, atherosclerosis, or diabetes.  Nutrition.about.com says: Spelt contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.

I found here that spelt flour has an “extremely fragile” gluten content, which is much different from bread flour, because if I understand it correctly, what makes Bread Flour, Bread Flour, is the larger amount of gluten in it than flours such as All Purpose, or Pastry.  Also, Spelt does not rise quite as high as wheat flour.  “If you look in a mainstream bread book, such as Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible, you’ll find references that allow you to substitute spelt for the whole-wheat flour portion of a bread recipe (meaning that you can use a cup of spelt instead of a cup of whole-wheat flour in a recipe that also includes 5 cups of all-purpose or bread flour). But there are no all-spelt bread recipes.”  I thought this was interesting that there is no all-spelt recipes, and because of the gluten, it makes sense that it needs to be combined with all-purpose.  The site says that many problems can occur every step of the way when using spelt flour.  “You must use the correct amount of water. Too much, and the dough is sticky and weak and will not be able to hold the gasses that are produced during the fermentation process.”  This is what happened to me!  I thought that my dough was not nearly as tough as it was the first time I made it.  It fell apart quite easily and was extra sticky…I also noticed problems with it not rising as much (though I think it rose about as much as you can get spelt to rise).  

I think I also may need to find a better place for my dough to rise, a warm and draft free place.  I found another spelt bread recipe here that I may try out.  Otherwise, if I add spelt, I may just add 1 cup to replace my whole wheat, or I may just not use it all together.

If anyone has any other spelt tips let me know, for now…I’ll use up what I have left, and stick to whole wheat. 🙂



Savin some MONAYS March 9, 2009

Filed under: frugal,home — mrswade @ 10:46 am
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So, Jake and I are working on trying to figure out the best way to track the best deals and prices on food with a top 50 spread sheet.  I was sorting through receipts and came across this one. reciept This receipt is an example of God’s amazing provision.  This was a month when we had run out of some more expensive things, like Brita filters, some toiletries, etc., so we ran out of food money a little quicker (only $2 or $3 left for the month).  Jake was out of lunch and breakfast food and we didn’t have near enough money to buy him his carrots, ranch and yogurt.  Those three things are very vital to his packed lunch, without them he just has an english muffin and a sandwich all day.  By God’s grace we recieved our coupons from our Fred Meyer reward’s points that month.  We went to the store and were not only able to buy Jake the essentials, we were able to get some brownies for $1.00 that I had been craving!  God is so good and helped me save $5.24 more than I spent!  yay God!

Another really great thing to save a little bit of money and gain a lot of nutritional benefits (which I am SUPER excited about) is making my own bread instead of buying it!  Last night, Jake and I were nerds and calculated what it would cost per loaf of bread (with the recipe that I am currently using, this amount will probably go down when I start using a sourdough starter).

Here’s the break down:

  •  2 pkg yeast = 1.00
  • 8 c flour = 3.20
  • 2/3 cup honey = 1.32
  • 2/3 stick butter = .33
  • salt = .04

This recipe makes 3 loafs of bread (though I think I may use it only for two because I want to make sure the loafs are big enough for sandwiches).  Either way, we were spending 2.19 per loaf of bread, so:

  • batch divided into 2 loafs = 2.95 (we pay .76c more)
  • batch divided into 3 loafs = 1.96 (we save .22c)

We figure that when we start to buy bread ingredients in bulk, and start making sourdough (which calls for fewer ingredients) we will save in the long run, and if we don’t save, we aren’t spending much more but are gaining so much more in nutritional value!

So that’s all, I was just excited about those two discoveries 🙂 YAY