Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rancher Coleslaw

Hello Crushers!

As promised here is the coleslaw recipe I made this last weekend for St. Patrick's Day party. What? It has cabbage in it... The party was not exactly Irish-y, and it was too warm out for boiled corned beef and cabbage. Plus, have you smelled a kitchen after cabbage is boiled? Ew.

This is a SERIOUSLY easy recipe that makes A LOT of coleslaw, so only make it if you either really have a strong desire to eat coleslaw or you need to feed a crowd.

Almost forgot to mention that I got to take a cooking class at a Sur La Table (sounds like sir la taab) store in January. With a real chef. And everything! It was a Christmas gift from Steve, and it was awesome! While I was there, I definitely got a tiny crush on all the people who get to work among fabulous cooking gadgets and assisting chefs all the time. Although they had some job openings, I knew that I could not work there or I'd go broke buying fabulous kitchen gear. Instead, I only bought one tiny thing: a kitchen scraper/dough cutter. I feel like Rachel Ray every time I use it. Sigh...

So excited for class! 
Anyway, the kitchen scraper comes in handy to pick up all the stuff you're going to chop for this recipe. And the best part is that they're inexpensive.

Bench scraper in action!
Rancher Coleslaw
1/2 cup mayo (use the real stuff - trust me)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Rancher Steak Rub from Wildtree
1 Tbsp brown mustard
4-5 cups shredded cabbage (about one medium head of cabbage)
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
1/2 green pepper, finely sliced

Directions: In a LARGE bowl (preferably one with a lid), mix the first 5 ingredients until smooth. This is your dressing. Using a sharp knife, chop the cabbage in small, bite-size slices or shred with a food processor or grater. Please watch your fingers while you slice this and any other round veggie.
Tip: I may have mentioned this before, but to save your fingers from being cut, always cut a veggie or fruit in half or at least give it a flat edge to stabilize it as you cut. Then hold the food item with a claw like hand so your finger tips are out of the way. 
It actually looks like I'm about to slice the top off of my middle finger, but my claw-like grip keeps it out of harms way. That's the best shot I have. Sorry. 
Once you have all your veggies sliced or grated, add them to the bowl and toss with the dressing. It may not look like you have enough dressing, but it really is! Stir before serving, and enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Virtual Running Date No. 51: 6 miles, hummus, and coleslaw

Hello Crushers!

If we were on a running date, I would have a lot to tell you. First, I'm signed up for another half marathon. This time I'll be running through the gorgeous Peninsula State Park in Door County. This will be the longest race that I've run since Ellie was born. I did a training run on Saturday for 6.29 miles! WHOO!

If we were on a running date, I would confess how hard it has been to get back into running. Since Ellie has a spring birthday, I got to take her on lots of walks and we took her hiking all over Wisconsin and even took a trip to Denver to visit friends (Hi Susan and family!). There were lots of people that saw us hiking through the mountains, and stopped us to say, "You have a baby. On the trail. In the mountains." Yes, yes we do have a baby. She hikes. She's awesome.

But you know what? It's not awesome when you're struggling with this weird guilt that you want to go and do something by yourself (run) and you miss your running partner (Steve) because you now have to share. You have to split your running time so that one person runs while the other person watches the baby. As much as she loves the running stroller, she probably wouldn't sit in it for anything more than 4 miles. Plus, there's this jealousy that Steve got to go running while I couldn't. And even now when she doesn't sleep through the night, I'm just tired even though I know I need to keep running for my health and sanity. It's rough. Mommies need to stop judging each other. We judge ourselves plenty!

If we were on a running date, I would catch you up on a few things in our family. One of Steve's sisters and my sister had a baby in 2014, too! That's right, there are lots of tiny girls in our family! So many little ones to bring us joy, and wow they are good at it! Sadly, we had to say good bye to my maternal grandfather (pictured here) in January. He got the flu, pneumonia, COPD, and had other health issues related to those things. He was doing alright until something took a quick turn for the worse. Grandma missed him and God called him home to Heaven. As much as I miss him, my friend, and I miss him A LOT, he is in a better place. The best place. My paternal grandfather is starting to slip away from us with Alzheimer's disease. He is angry a lot of the time and taking out his struggles on my dad. Please send up a prayer if you have a moment. Both for the arrival of healthy babies (another of Steve's sisters is due with her 2nd baby in October!), and for those who are/were caregivers. 

If we were on a running date, I would tell you that we had a delicious weekend (this is a food-based blog, right?) with homemade coleslaw, a new recipe for a torte I'll try out in the next few weeks, and lemon garlic hummus. Not to toot my own horn, but I came up with the lemon garlic hummus and submitted the recipe to Wildtree and they made it and took a picture (that credit goes to Wildtree) and posted it on Instagram and it was amazing! Not amazing - my run-on sentence. Whatever. I FINALLY HAVE A PUBLISHED (sort of) RECIPE! WHEE!


If we were on a running date, I would also tell you that the next few weeks are going to be fun because a) Girl's Weekend, b) Easter, and c) Ellie's 1st birthday. And I am good at themes and Pinterest recreations. How cute are these? Some bunny is going to be turning one... he he he... So many silly things I can do with that! Since her birthday happens to be after Easter this year, I am planning on getting deals on decorations and stuff. Or raiding a dollar store... Whatever.

If we were on a running date, I'd also tell you that class is going well. Most of my students are awesome and the rest are still nice. I also started a new job as a content writer for some manufacturing companies' websites. It won't be nearly as fun as this, but a nice challenge.

Coleslaw recipe coming soon...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Faith-filled Friday: Love

Hello Crushers,

I don't know how many of you follow along with a devotion book or have one e-mailed to you, but Steve and I have a few devotion books at our house that we bought and received as gifts. On top of that, a small group of friends and I have a Facebook group where we comment on an e-mail devotion that we all subscribe to - Proverbs 31 Ministries. When looking for a passage for today's post, I looked in "The One Year Uncommon Life: Daily Challenge" written by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker.

If you don't know him, Tony Dungy is a retired championship winning NFL coach, a football analyst, author, husband, father, etc. He's an all-around great guy and one that is not afraid to show his faith. I bought this book for Steve for our first Christmas thinking that he'd especially love the football connection, and now it's one of my favorite devotion books. We don't read one every day, and since there are 365 devotions, even if we read this every year, we'd still be OK!

Anyway, I looked up the passage for today, and it was 1 Corinthians 16:13:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Um, how perfect is that verse to connect March Madness to our faith?! Stand firm! Be courageous! Go! Fight! Win! Works, right?

And then I looked up the next verse:
Do everything in love.
I don't think that being on guard, standing firm, being courageous or strong could happen without knowing how much God loves me, my family, and my friends. My actions and words certainly wouldn't be much without loving motivation.

The friends I mentioned earlier are getting together in a little over a week for our 10th anniversary girls weekend. Each of us has had some big changes this year having babies, having miscarriages, new jobs, old jobs, husbands facing new jobs, saying good bye to loved ones, and everything in between. It's been a roller coaster to say the least. Fortunately, we all can reach out to each other in love, surround each other with love, and remind each other of God's love and loving plan for our lives.

Next weekend when we all get together, one friend suggested that we each bring a Bible passage to share. Normally, I'd bring up my confirmation verse (you'll be singing it on Easter - "I know that my Redeemer lives!"), but I think I might bring these verses from 1 Corinthians. I should carry them around with me every day. Won't you?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I'm baaaaack!

Hello Crushers!

Wow, that was a long hiatus. I'm ready to be back and post more fun recipes as me and as A WILDTREE REP (yup, I took the plunge). Other features like "virtual running dates" and "Faith-filled Fridays" are coming back, too. You know, starting tomorrow.

See you all soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Making a move and my awesome salad

Hello Crushers!

Today is the last day that I had to pack a lunch for my full-time job with the international medical society that I work for. Tomorrow we are all going out to lunch as a treat, so this is it. I'm sure I will pack a million more lunches in my lifetime between traveling, camping, Steve and our kids. That's a lot of PBJ!

This morning I rushed around the kitchen getting last minute things done (yes, I had to touch up my toe-nail polish) and making my lunch. I did not think very hard about doing it. Mostly this was my inner thought process: I should take an apple. And some cantaloupe before the cantaloupe goes bad. Take the last piece of string cheese - hope Steve doesn't mind! Oh, there's that lettuce from the garden. Steve is going to pick more lettuce, so I should eat that up. What to put on the lettuce? Cucumbers from the farmer's market? OK! Ooooh! There's leftover chicken from last night's Asian Ginger Chicken (Wildtree)! Score! Do I have time to slice a tomato? No. Bummer."

My tomato-less salad.
I will be making a career change to stay at home mom (SAHM)/part-time professor/something new that I'll tell you about soon. The last time I changed jobs, I had more of a "See ya! Don't get between me and the door!" feeling. I was burned out and needed something new. Four years later and I am married with a baby and a much healthier me! I can only imagine what the next four years are going to look like!

This is why I have mixed emotions about leaving my job. I enjoy the people I work with and the tasks I do. I have been able to travel to far-off, exciting places and eat incredible foods (kangaroo anyone?). However, I get to be home more as Ellie's mama, and you can't beat that.

For the men and women who have to work or choose to work and can't be home, I am impressed by everything you do for your family. For the full-time and part-time stay-at-home moms and dads, I'm impressed by everything you do for your family. I'm not judging anyone; this is just what works best for our family at this time. I'm sure you're doing the same.

Before the school year starts again and I go back to being Prof. W, we are going to take some time to relax up at our cabin. My dad is getting to build his dream garage up there and we will be there to help (and shop and swim and fish!). It's the perfect place to recharge out batteries. Hopefully, I will have another career move to share with you soon. More on that later. For now, I'm going to enjoy my salad and stop being so contemplative because really, it's a salad. It's not the first and won't be the last. Plus, I got stuff to do!

In the meantime, here is how I made the chicken:
I followed the recipe for Grilled Asian Ginger Chicken and made it into a freezer meal. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the veggies thawed out. They weren't soggy like I thought they would be. Instead of grilling them because we ran out of time, we just cooked them in a frying pan on the stovetop. They were DELICIOUS with some brown rice and frozen sherbert for dessert. Yum!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Virtual Running Date No. 50: A Camping we will go!

Good morning, Crushers!

If this was a running date (and I've been cleared for running again - whoot!), I'd tell you all about our camping trip.

We got back from our camping trip on Sunday night, and I would like to say it was a total success. We had perfect weather - upper 70's-low 80's - and less mosquitoes than I thought. Like many northern states, Wisconsin could claim that the mosquito is the state bird during summer. I'm glad it's really the robin though. I digress...

View from top of the fire watch tower.
People told us to our face that we were nuts for taking a 3 month old camping. I even thought it when I saw how packed our SUV was just to take two adults and one tiny person to Peninsula State Park for 2 nights. So. Much. Stuff. We may cave and get a minivan before you know it. Or a truck. Anyway...

We camped with our friends Adam and Erin and their three girls (ages 5, 3, and 1.5). They camp like pros and bring everything you could possibly need for five families. Now that's some awesome preparation. The only things we forgot were a light blankie for Ellie and a bottle brush. Not too bad for our first camping trip with a kiddo!
Hiking with Ellie! (Yes, she had a hat, but I took it off for the photo)
 Our eggs and sausages with the chopped up veggies made breakfast easy. Erin and Adam had noodles with their girls the night before, so they asked if we could add them to some of the eggs. Scrambled eggs and noodles? Apparently it's a family recipe from their German heritage. No matter, it was surprisingly delicious! The breakfast cookies were also a hit. Only four ingredients and it was nice to just have a quick breakfast before packing up the tent!
Playing in the shade with daddy!

Erin made tacos and had all the fixings for dinner. Tacos while camping? OK! Again, delicious. We had a picnic lunch by the beach after seeing a lighthouse and climbing a fire watch tower. Camping was great.

Now to do it all over again next weekend... We are nuts.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Camp cooking: Breakfast "cookies" and food prep

Hello Crushers,

Note: Yes, this is Friday, so technically there should be a Faith-filled Friday blog post, but I switched it up and did that yesterday. Here is a recipe instead.

As you know, Steve and I love being outdoors. This includes camping. This means we're taking our 3-month-old daughter camping this weekend. This probably means we're half nuts.

I'm really OK with that.

We're camping with some friends who have 3 girls under the age of 6, so we'll all just be kid wranglers. They've done this tons of times, so if we start letting our novice show, they can help guide us to where we need to go. I'm very thankful that they are also experienced camping cooks and are making tacos for us on Saturday night! WIN!

Since we're dividing up the cooking duties, we have breakfast to make. We're going to do omelets on our little propane stove top. In order to make this as headache free as possible, I chopped up a bunch of veggies ahead of time and put them in little plastic food containers. Although, I've been moving toward more glass containers at home, I'm sticking with plastic for camping because a) it's lighter and b) I don't care as much if I drop or break it.

We are packing eggs, cheese, butter, milk, cooking spray, diced peppers, diced onions, other veggies for snacking, PBJ fixings, and these breakfast "cookies" that I found on the Internet thanks to Pinterest. Unfortunately, the link doesn't go to the same recipe. It goes to some paleo breakfast bars with almond flour, so I have no idea who to attribute this recipe to. Since I didn't follow the recipe exactly anyway, here is my version of breakfast cookies.

Breakfast "cookies"
2-3 Very ripe bananas
1.5 cups oats (I used old fashioned oats)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp-ish cinnamon

Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl. I found it easier to break the banana in pieces first. Stir in the oats, applesauce and cinnamon. Then you can either add the raisins or save them to sprinkle on top. Since I was making these at 10:30 p.m. last night, I ended up baking these in a greased 13 x 9 pan so they're more like bars than cookies. I sprinkled the raisins on top instead of mixing them in because I thought it looked nice.