Wassup Wednesday – 9

Books:  Didn’t read any more Simply Christian because I was having too much fun reading the rest of HP3.  Already over 100 pages into HP4.  The rest of the series will go much more quickly for me–I am finally hooked!  I promise to do some more “spiritual” reading this week.

Kids: This week has been busy as usual, but we had the extra fun of celebrating Nevin’s 12th birthday.  Here’s a pic from the birthday lunch at home:

I am really at a loss of other things to say, so I’ll leave you with the recipe for the Birthday Cheesecake:

Cheesecake Supreme from the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (c. 1989)

1 3/4 C crushed graham crackers

1/4 C finely chopped walnuts

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 C melted butter or margarine

3 8 oz packages cream cheese

1 C sugar

2 T flour

1 t vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg yoke

1/4 C milk

Mix graham cracker crumbs, nuts, butter, and cinnamon together for crust.  Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture for the top of the cheesecake.  Press remaining mixture into 8 or 9 inch springform pan.

In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and yolk all at one time and mix just until combined.  Stir in milk.  Pour into crust-lined springform pan.  Sprinkle reserved crust mixture on top of the cheesecake mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes (8 in pan; 35 -40 for the 9 in pan).  Your cheesecake is done when the center appears nearly set but jiggles slightly when shaken gently.

Cool for 15 minutes.  Loosen crust from sides of pan with a kitchen knife.  Cool for 30  more minutes, and then remove springform pan sides.  Cool completely and chill for 4 hours before serving.

I used my food processor for mixing, and it worked beautifully.  I also sped things up at the end of the process by not allowing as much cooling before putting the cheesecake in the refrigerator, and it worked out fine.  I also only refrigerated the cake for 2 hours as we needed it for a birthday lunch!  There were no complaints!!  Here’s a pic of my finished product:


Wassup Wednesday – 8 — A little late

Beginning with a Book:  I started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright over last weekend. Chapter 1, “Putting the World To Rights,” talks about our longing for justice in the world.  To me, it seems Wright is talking about the void we all feel that there has to be something–someone who can straighten out the mess we’re in.  Of course, as Christians, that person is Jesus.  Wright talks of our need to be passionate about justice as Christ is.

So far, I am finding it compelling, though there is an underlying current that is a little off-setting to me.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the rest of the book might balance out that feeling.  More to come.

I am still reading HP3, but I really will finish it this week!

Food:  We’re still low-carbing in a sense, but not with as much gusto.  My lagging creativity coupled with the expense of eating more meat and veggies is causing us to rethink.  So now, we are trying to limit our carb intake to supper time to allow for some pasta or bread.  We are also trying to keep our portions in control and continuing to not snack.

I am also trying to bake some bread that is more healthy and even a bit less expensive than the store-bought kind.  Some friends here told me about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I haven’t actually seen the book yet, but I found some of the concepts at the Mother Earth News website, and I am trying it for the first time tonight.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It certainly sounds like a good idea!


Exercise: All of my efforts this year have been a failure on the exercise front.  So I started a much more reasonable walking program this week that I might actually stick to.  It is based on the program in this book: The Complete Guide to Walking.

Kids:  Regular season games of football end this weekend.  W00-hoo!  It sounds like the post-season will end within 2 weeks.  Can I hear an Amen!?

And, in honor of Nevin’s upcoming 12th birthday on Tuesday, I leave you with this photo:

Wassup Wednesday – 7

So here it is Wednesday again . . .

Pictures: From our church’s harvest party

News: Tonight, Mark and I surgically removed a red plastic peg from Charis’s ear.  It took bribery to get her to remain still enough to put the tweezers far enough into her ear to get a decent grip on the thing, but hurray, no trip to the ER was necessary!  The whole shenanigan happened just when I was about to head out the door to take Calvin to football practice, so we managed to get a night off from practice because at that point we weren’t sure whether we would be home or at the ER.  So the incident did have a silver lining. 🙂  The peg game was thrown away after the procedure was complete!

Kids: Football is over in 2 – 3 weeks (playoffs make the schedule a bit uncertain).  Calvin has started practice with a homeschool basketball team, so there will be some crossover.  We are committed to the idea of having him be playing a sport all the time to keep him occupied.  You know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right?  Nevin opted out of basketball because it would prevent him from playing indoor soccer that starts later in the year.  Charis also hopes to play indoor soccer this year.

Evangeline’s first concert with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale is the second Sunday in November.  Then her choir will perform with the Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox Theater the first weekend in December and with the St Louis Brass at Catherdral Basilica the third week in December.  It is really exciting that she’ll have exposure to such great cultural events.

Inside Cathedral Basilica

Little ol’ Me:  I am on book 3 of the Harry Potter books.  I think I’ll finish soon.  I have also started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright.  I’ll let you know what I think as I read more.

I am mostly feeling torn or unfocused.  Homeschooling is going fine in the sense that the kids are learning what they need to know.  However, I need to be better at focusing on them and less focused on how I might solve all our family’s problems somehow through endless internet searches.  So if you are ever praying for me, pray that God would keep me on the task at hand with less worry about the future.  He is in control–thankfully, I’m am not responsible for everything.

We also have some house projects that must be completed.  I am not sure how this will happen, but we need to make some real plans and “get ‘er done.”

Day is Done: Hump Day is over.  Enjoy your Thursday and your weekend!

Obsessed with Soup? Perhaps!

It has been chilly in St Louis.  Today is gray again, too.  All this cold fall weather has soup on my brain . . .

So I was thinking about the recipe I posted last week, and I realized that some friends, like Abby, are not big into the canned soup as a base for a more substantial soup.  So I thought I would share a couple of homemade creamed soup recipes.

This recipe is very similar to one I used to keep on hand.  Now that I am thinking of it again, I think I’ll mix up a batch soon.  This is a good way to save some money, and it is very handy to be able to use this as a base for soup or when a casserole recipe calls for a can of creamed soup.  (I got this one from Cooks.com, but there’s also a good one in the Once a Month Cooking cookbook.)


2 c. nonfat milk powder
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. low sodium chicken bouillon granules
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1 tsp. whole thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. Makes 3 cups.To substitute for 1 can cream soup, combine 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cups water. Heat to boiling. Cook and stir until thickened. Equivalent to 9 cans soup.

If you’re looking for an even more homemade taste, click here for another you might want to try.

More Soup

So I needed to get dinner on the table quickly last night, and I had a few conditions to meet: I didn’t want to use all our chicken; I wanted it to be something Mark, the kids, and I would all eat; I wanted to use ingredients I had available; and I wanted it to have some substance/staying power.

Here’s what I came up with:

Easy, Tasty Chicken Taco Soup

3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 packet taco seasoning

2 T oil

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans diced tomatoes (rotel or chili style if you have them)

1 16 oz. container sour cream

2 C water

1 C milk

chili powder to taste

Place  oil in skillet with chicken and 1/3 of the taco seasoning.  Mix together and cook for about 15 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, mix together all the other liquid ingredients with a wire whisk to remove lumps.  Place on the stove at medium heat stirring at regular intervals to eliminate scorching.  When the chicken has finished cooking, stir it into the soup mixture and let it simmer for another 15 minutes on low heat.

I served this to the kids with cheese quessadillas grilled in the skillet and apple slices, while Mark and I just had the soup, keeping the carbs to a minumum.  It turned into a tasty fall meal.

Wassup Wednesday – 6

News: I got a new-to-me ipod nano.  It arrived in today’s mail.  I have been playing around with it, but it will take me a while to figure it all out.  Already Nevin showed me how the volume control works.  I think of myself as technologically savvy, and here I am one of those parents who needs to have her kid show how something works.

Fun: Homeschool field trip to the Magic House this past Monday.  The Magic House is one of St Louis’s great family-friendly attractions, and it was a lot of fun to visit again.  We had enough homeschool families from our church present to divide the kids up into age groups, making it a manageable visit for everyone.  Here are couple shots of Evangeline enjoying her time there.  Her friend’s older sister took the pics.


 Books: Reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  It is as fun as the others, and I am anxioius to move on so I can finish the whole series.

I picked up a Barbara Kingsolver book, Prodigal Summer, at Goodwill, this time for 35 cents!  I am looking forward to reading it because I really liked her book The Poisonwood Bible.  I’ll let you know what I think of this one.

Something cool: My friend, Lindy, uses the Grocery Game website to save money on groceries.  I have never been a coupon person, but Lindy’s family eats for practically nothing!  I am not sure if I am going to be able to work this system or not, but I am going to give it some serious consideration.  I do think that St Louis grocery stores are not as prone to doubling coupons, so maybe coupons won’t be as effective here.  Plus, I usually shop at Aldi where the prices are low to begin with and they don’t take coupons.  But if I can save more by using coupons at the regular stores, I’ll give it a try.  Anyone else have thoughts re: pros and cons of couponing.

That’s all for now . . .