Saturday, December 31, 2011

Low Carb Eating


Make-Ahead Meatballs

In September we went back to Low Carb Eating around here. After my dad had a horrible reaction to Statin drugs, his doctor told him he needed to go on an Atkin's type diet. Ryan does much better on the diet as well. I'm not sure of my dad's cholesterol numbers but Ryan's off his Diabetes meds and totally controlling his blood sugar with diet. We've done okay over the holidays and even hosted 2 gatherings, I supplied food that they could eat and had everyone else bring the goodies and other sides.

Note: the kids and I are not on this diet but if we eat cereal and bread at breakfast, lunch, and snacks then we don't need carbs at dinner to balance. I sometimes make pasta or potatoes if the main dish needs it but I've stopped making rice since the kids really don't like it and my mom and I don't need the extra carbs either.

Dinners now look like a high protein main dish, a huge salad, and a vegetable (if I'm good, 2 if I'm really on the ball). Ryan and dad take care of their own breakfast and lunches- lots of eggs, sausage, cheese, and fish (for my folks). Dad makes jalapeno omelets that Jonah and Tovah really like and I found a baked omelet roll recipe that I want to try using jalapenos instead of ham. I'm finding Pinterest to be very helpful when searching for something new, I just need to make a low-carb board so I don't have to go back and weed through the pasta recipes.

Some of our favorite dinners (I'll link to the recipe if I have one):

  • Make-Ahead Meatballs- I'll type out the recipe at the end of this post
  • Upside Down Pizza
  • Corned Beef- I can't find the link or recipe, but basically after boiling it you glaze it with Honey Mustard and brown sugar and broil until bubbly. My family went from Corned Beef haters to lovers! I boil it with the cabbage and carrots but make oven fries out of the potatoes and the kids are happy.
  • Creamy Chicken Picasso - I also did a variation on this with my homemade enchilada sauce
  • Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork - I got an enamelled dutch oven for Christmas just to make this recipe
  • Cream of ??? Soup- 12 years ago when we first did Atkins I found that Alfredo Sauce in a jar has relatively few carbs and when thinned with 2-3c of milk makes a wonderful creamy soup. I add whateer I have on hand: cooked chicken, cooked bacon, broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions and peppers (red and yellow are my favorite), cauliflower, spinach. Ryan made a variation in the crockpot for a work potluck that he really liked- italian sausage and spinach. Once I had some leftover baked potatoes and I fried them up and let the kids add them to their own bowls- actually that night I just made basic soup and let everyone build their own bowls, it was the best option because no one threw away mushrooms they didn't want.
  • Roast Beef or Pork
  • Roast Chicken- I do 2 at a time in my Pampered Chef baker with lemon pepper, garlic, and chili powder

During the fall we grilled everything- chops, steaks, veggies; but even though our BBQ is under cover it's just too cold to stand out there most nights. We've cut back on Taco Night because my dad and Ryan only get Taco Salad and neither is excited about it. I'm going to try adding some dried beans in and see what happens, mainly because we are getting a little tired of meat all the time.

Make-Ahead Meatballs
10# hamburger
6 eggs
1 onion, finely minced so the kids don't see it
2t salt
2t black pepper
2t garlic powder

Mix well. Shape into 1" balls (I use a med. Pampered Chef scoop). Bake at 400-deg. for about 15 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. Makes 160 meatballs. Freeze in meal size batches.

For our party I just transferred them into my crockpot once they were baked. I served BBQ sauce and Swedish Meatball Gravy (I had packets from Ikea) and cranberry sauce on the side. I also served Chicken, Sausage, & Peppers- I doubled the recipe and as each step was finished I added it to the crockpot.

Has our grocery budget gone up? I'm not sure that it has, Yes, I'm buying a lot more meat but I'm not buying a lot of snacks or baked goods or convenience foods and those are what always seemed to drive our bill up at Costco. Since I've been on break we've taken the time to go to Winco and Cash & Carry when we shop. During school Ryan usually does our shopping and I don't know if he'll continue.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas! The biggest news is Ryan finished his RN in August! We aren't counting how many years its taken him, as he started his prerequisites when he got out of the Navy in 1992... Now we wait for an RN position to open up in the NICU.

Tovah presented Ryan with his pin at the pinning ceremony at Lower Columbia College in August. It was a long summer, he had clinicals 4 days a week and worked the other 3. Thankfully he did his hospital work at our local hospital. It was rather funny, the other students were astounded by how many of the staff and patients he knew, I think he got tired of explaining how he knew each person but when you live most of your life in the same small community, you have connections, people who don't live in small towns just don't get it.

Nathan came home from Afghanistan March 28. One of his first visits was with Grandma Hendrickson. Sadly, she passed away June 20. We are thankful that she only had one bad day and was able to die at home in her blue chair, just as Ryan had promised her.

He reenlisted in August and leaves for Scout school in March, then he will be stationed in Colorado. I guess we'll be making a road trip in the next year or two.

Ryan and I celebrated our 23rd Anniversary with a weekend in Seattle. We toured Safeco Field (we're sitting in the visting dugout), Smith Tower, had lunch at Ivar's on the waterfront, did Starbucks and Pike Place Market, and finished off with Mary Poppins at the Paramount and a night at the Hyatt.

The end of the first day of school

Rush and Tovah started public school this fall. Rush is in 11th grade and enjoying band and drama and wanting to get his driver's license. Tovah's in 3rd grade and has to be reminded by her teacher that she isn't there to socialize (umm, what about socialization?) She's excited about all aspects of school and is excelling academically. They both are looking forward to baseball season in March and Rush is talking about running Cross Country next fall.

Arin and Isaac are in a school at home program that will carry their transcripts. Arin is in 9th and enjoying taking a Biology class with other students, they are looking forward to going to Alaska in May. He's started wrestling for the high school team and has a great attitude, he's discovered that he loves to run so I foresee Track and Cross Country in the future.

Isaac is in 8th grade and takes all his classes at home right now. He's on the Chess team and enjoys going to tournaments. Grandma and Grandpa are going to take him to Spokane in April for the Middle School/ High School State Chess Tournament.

Jonah's in 6th grade and is also homeschooled. He'll also be playing baseball this spring.

The 4 boys are still active in Scouts and next summer Rush and Arin will be working on their Eagle projects. Rush, Arin, and Isaac will all be eligible for High Adventure. Also Jonah will go to Camp Hahobas for a second year. It'll be a busy summer...

In June I'll be completing my AA from Centralia College and I got my acceptance letter from The Evergreen State College this week. I will be doing the Spanish program next year but not sure what else I'll focus on. Ryan is starting his BA in Medical Informatics in January as well.

Life is busy but I don't think I would want it any other way. A busy life means we are healthy and that we have the freedom and opportunity to pursue our interests.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Eagle


Coming home the other afternoon I noticed this eagle in the tree across the street. I ran inside to get my camera and called the kids to come downstairs to see.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shepherds (the Bible kind, NOT real ones)


Today is my first real day of Christmas Break (the last 3 days of last week didn't count, but more on that later, maybe). Tovah stayed home from school with an awful cough but no big deal. At 8:30 the phone rang and our friends at Black Sheep Creamery needed some shepherds for the class of first graders that were coming out to  the farm this morning. Could one of the boys be there at 9:30, in costume? I figured Arin would want to do it, he loves to dress up. As soon as Jonah was reassured that he would be a Bible Shepherd and not have to mess with the sheep as a real shepherd he was in, Isaac negotiated it as school for the day, and Arin wasn't really given a choice. Problem: it's 25-degrees out there and all our shepherd costumes are for little guys (like, we could have outfitted most of the first graders from our costume box) but nothing for big boys. Polypropolene took care of the cold and grandma and grandpa have bathrobes so we were off.

The first grade class from the Christian School arrived all dressed up ready to learn about being a shepherd and meet some sheep (and eat a cool Shepherd's lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit).

The teacher read them a couple of Christmas stories in the barn while they are distracted by the hay, the sheep, the smells, etc.

Who's this in our house?

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid... And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:8,9,15,16

These shepherds look like they got woken up and put on their bathrobes to see what was the matter.

Have you ever met a sheep? Jonah spends a lot of time down there and he knows what they are like and avoids spending too much time around them. They are utterly stupid and too stubborn for their own good. There is nothing cute and cuddly about them and they usually run the other way when they hear their Shepherd's voice. Hmmm, cuts a little too close to home for some of us....

Note: these are all straight out of my camera and I can see the need for some Photoshop editing but I wanted to get this post up, it's been too long since I blogged. Also we've been home 2 hours and I'm still cold with all my layers on and a big cup of hot chocolate inside me.