Eliyahu at almost 8 months, standing and falling

Eliyahu, standing in bed
Eliyahu likes to stand up in bed. If I think it's naptime but he's not ready, he pulls himself up and start looking around. Now that he knows he can stand up, he doesn't settle down very easily. :D He's had his share of falls, too... 

Oops! Falling down...

...and he's still learning how to fall. That bumper pad just isn't tall enough or soft enough! :) Oh well, soon enough he'll be past the stage of "Pull up to things, fall, and bump head, 20 times a day" :D

Getting toys...

Now the toy box, that is something new! All those wonderful "big boy" toys... this is the place for babies to hang out, definitely!! ;)

Wow! How fun!! ;)

And sometimes you just have to stand up to reach allllll the way in there for the toy you just have to have. And then, try to eat it, of course. All toys must be mouth-tested. ;)

Eliyahu is entering the age of bumps and bruises from falling. He's strong enough to pull himself up and get into things, but not yet able to gracefully get down. He's just learning all about things that are safe to climb up on... and things that fall down or move, making him fall too. :)

We're still getting over our colds... almost gone now, thankfully! Yehoshua saw Eliyahu's nose running the other day and said, "Uh oh! Baby's nose need wiped!" and ran for a tissue. ;)

And, in typical 2006 fashion, we've already made a trip to the doctor's this month. This time it was Eliyahu, but thankfully a little in-office procedure and a few weeks of ointment will have him back, as good as new. I'd tell you all the details, but it seems my children have a fondness for developing problems in areas that could be embarrassing to discuss, so we'll just praise YHWH and leave it at that! Now, no more doctor visits this month... or this year!!!! :)

Guest Chef Olivia shares fajita salad recipe!

Fajita Salad recipe

One of our contributing guest chefs, Olivia McEntire, recently sent me this photo and recipe for Fajita Salad! Read more...

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Cucumbers!

Cucumber

First, a Cucumber Salad recipe. This is easy to make, and can be frozen in containers (I like to use 2-cup-size containers, since I like this salad but don't like to eat a lot of it at one time). This is one of my mom's staple recipes, and I turn to it when I have extra cucumbers and need to preserve them quickly and easily. It's a convenient side dish at a meal, and always goes over well at picnics and potlucks, too! I like it best fresh, but it's still good after being frozen. I don't have a photo of this recipe (when I get one, I will be posting the recipe in the "vegetable" and "salad" categories on this website; for now, it's only located here!). 

Cucumber Salad

A medley of fresh cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers in a light vinegar dressing

7 cups thinly sliced peeled cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1. In large mixing bowl, stir together the cucumbers, peppers, and onions.

2. In a separate bowl, stir sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seed until sugar is dissolved. Pour over vegetables and let stand for 2 hours.

This cucumber salad may be frozen or refrigerated for up to one week.

Makes 10 servings

Next, one of my personal favorites, which I consider to be a real treat in the summer when we have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, Tomato Cucumber Salad. We haven't had fresh cucumbers from the garden this year, so I haven't been able to make it (hence, again, no photo, and the recipe is only located in this post for the time being). I created this recipe after trying some other tomato and cucumber salads. It's quick and easy, and so colorful and delicious!

Tomato Cucumber Salad

A medley of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, tossed with seasonings
 
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cups chopped fresh cucumbers (peeled)
1/4 cup chopped onions (can be green onions OR regular)
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
Pinch of pepper
Dash of garlic salt

1. In mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumber, and onions.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the seasonings and lemon juice (or vinegar). Pour over cucumber and tomato mixture, and stir to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Garlic Dills

Now, for a real family favorite. This is my mom's tried-and-true garlic dill pickles recipe. She has canned hundreds of quarts of these dill pickles, and anyone who is the recipient of a jar of these pickles raves about "Linda's dill pickles". I have seen people single-handedly finish off a quart of these pickles when we serve them with meals. The garlic clove inside was always fought over among my siblings and I when I was younger, since there's only one, and we all wanted to be allowed to eat it (it's pickled and tastes just like a dill pickle!). To top it all off, this is a really easy recipe, and produces great-tasting, crispy homemade dill pickles.

Garlic Dill Pickles

10 quarts of cucumbers*
10 cloves garlic
10 sprigs of fresh dill, washed
10 fresh grape leaves**

Brine Ingredients:

3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar (5% acid)
1 cup canning (non-iodized) salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered alum

1. Heat washed cucumbers with brine until heated through well and turned a dark green in color, but not boiling.

2. Have jars hot in a canner, and lids hot in a pan of water on the stove. Pack hot cucumbers into hot jars with one clove of garlic, one sprig of dill, and one grape leaf in each jar. Set jars back into hot canner as they are filled, to keep hot.

3. When all the cucumbers are out of the brine, bring the brine to a boil. Pour brine into jars of cucumbers to 1/2-inch from top. Screw hot lid on, and set jar aside to cool. No further processing needed!

*Smaller cucumbers make the best dill pickles!

**The fresh grape leaf in the jar reportedly produces crisper pickles!

Here are two relish recipes. I don't use a lot of relish, but it sure is handy to have for adding into tuna salad, potato salad, or macaroni salad! You can serve relish with hot dogs, or in place of pickles with hamburgers. It's easy to make

Pickle Relish

10 cups ground cucumbers*
1 large red bell pepper, minced
1 large green bell pepper, minced
4 medium onions, finely chopped
5 Tablespoons non-iodized (canning) salt
2 1/4 cups vinegar
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1. Soak cucumbers (ground), peppers, and onions overnight in salt (mix well to coat).

2. Drain well, and add 2 cups of the vinegar, the sugar, mustard, turmeric, and celery seed. Mix well.

3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Mix cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar, and add to boiling mixture, stirring to prevent lumps.

4. Continue boiling to process by open kettle. Directions for open-kettle canning can be found here! Or, you can fill hot jars, (leave 1/4-inch of space at the top), adjust canning lids, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.**

*May also use zucchini. Grind through a hand-operated meat grinder, mince, or shred finely.

**Processing in a boiling water bath means you set your hot jars of food (with canning lids in place, of course) in a canner filled with water that reaches about 3-4 inches from the lids of the jars. You then heat the canner until boiling, and continue boiling for the recommended minutes; in this case, 10.

Makes 4-5 pints

Canned sweet pickles

Sweet Zucchini or Pickle Relish

10 cups chopped unpeeled zucchini (about 7 medium) OR cucumbers
4 cups chopped onion (about 4 large onions)
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
4 ounces green chilies
3 Tablespoons non-iodized (canning) salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
4 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In a large container, combine zucchini, onion, pepper, chilies, and salt. Stir well. Chill overnight.

2. Rinse thoroughly; drain. In a large kettle, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and add zucchini mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.*

*Processing in a boiling water bath means you set your hot jars of food (with canning lids in place, of course) in a canner filled with water that reaches about 3-4 inches from the lids of the jars. You then heat the canner until boiling, and continue boiling for the recommended minutes; in this case, 10.

Makes 5 pints

New poll, and our baked nachos recipe

New poll: Do you use a blender when you cook?

 Joshua and I had some delicious baked nachos yesterday for lunch. We used my homemade refried beans, too! But I wasn't completely sure what to call this recipe. Baked Nachos recipe

What would you call a nacho dish where the beans/meat/cheese part is baked, and then topped with cold ingredients and eaten with chips?  Is it just normal nachos? I thought nachos was chips topped with stuff, but this is more of a "dip"... yet it's a main dish and not just a snack or appetizer...

Regardless, it's very tasty... I just hope I gave it the right name! :)

I made my own refried beans!

Homemade refried beans recipe  Okay, I'm sure some of you experienced cooks are thinking, "What's so special about making refried beans? And how could anyone not know how to make them from scratch?!" Well, since I didn't grow up eating beans, and I'm not related to any mexicans, I'm just now learning this stuff!

But I am SO hooked on making my own from now on! They were just wonderful! Normally I eat refried beans along with some meat and cheese and lots of other things to help them taste good. These beans I made today... I could use them plain as a chip-dip and it was delicious!

I also got to make them just the consistency I wanted, which was still slightly lumpy and not too thick and paste-like.

And all along I was thinking, "Yay! One more thing that I don't have to buy in a can!"

We made the yummiest nachos for lunch, using some of these beans. Recipe to come... maybe tomorrow! :D

Summer Squash Casserole Recipe: Worth a try!

Finally, I was able to try Abigail's Summer Squash Casserole recipe! I had been looking forward to making it, and was waiting on our squash plant to produce.

Last year we had three plants, and tons of squash. We planted just one plant this year, and it died! So, after giving up hope on having some from my own plant, we finally found a good deal on some zucchini and squash at Aldi.

  I was not disappointed... this recipe was even tastier than I had expected! I was amazed that the ingredients could combine to give such a great flavor! And it was so beautiful, I just had to snap a picture of the squash in the dish, waiting to be topped with bread crumbs and baked! Summer Squash Casserole, waiting to be topped and baked

I love getting to try new recipes. We have had so much variety in our meals since this website was started! Thank you, everyone, for sharing all your wonderful recipes with us!

New recipe: Jewish Apple Cake, plus some fascinating facts about Cicadas

We found a lethargic cicada on the driveway, and Yehoshua wanted to investigate. He had a lot of fun getting it to climb onto his little stick. It buzzed at him once, and scared him. :D

Yehoshua inspects the cicada

We have a lot of cicadas here, and they can be quite loud in the evenings, especially. They're pretty large bugs, but harmless. 

Yehoshua is fascinated by the large cicada! 

I decided to look up cicadas, since I don't know much about them, and one of the first things I found was a picture of a cicada kabob, from this site. How disgusting!! The site does have some fascinating facts but I couldn't stop saying, "Disgusting! That's soooo gross! I have to post about this!" :D Do people actually eat them?! Since they're Biblically unclean for food, none of you need submit your favorite cicada recipes. ;) I think I'd rather have some apple cake! :)

Canning Peaches -- Tanya's photo posts!

My friend Tanya (who has also been a guest chef here!) has a neat post in her blog about canning peaches, complete with photos of her beautiful kitchen and adorable children helping!

Here is Peach Time Part 1 and Peach Time Part 2!

August 27, 2006 -- Easy Apple Crisp

Easy Apple Crisp recipe

This week's recipe of the week is Easy Apple Crisp! If you have extra apples to use, this is a quick and easy dessert, and one of my personal favorites!

Earlier this week, my sister Bonnie made two large dishes of this apple crisp. She sent some home with us ("especially for Yehoshua") and it didn't last long! I love the crumbly oat topping and the layer of cooked apples underneath. Yum!

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Poll about cooking habits, new meatball sandwich recipe, and recovering from colds

New poll: Do you measure ingredients when you cook? 

I find poll results to be fascinating. I really wish I knew who voted that they "live on sugar and greasy foods"! :D

Yesterday, I made use of some leftover ingredients from our spaghetti and meatballs, by making spicy meatball sandwiches for lunch. It was a quick and easy lunch to make, thankfully, since I felt just awful all day!

Every time I am injured or ill (or, Joshua or one of the children is injured or ill!) I resolve to remember to be more thankful for and appreciative of the good health we usually enjoy! Eliyahu did also get sick... not sure just how bad he feels, since he still smiles, but has trouble breathing. :)

I planned to update last evening, but just didn't feel well at all! I took Tylenol (it's been years since I've taken any... usually a last resort!) and went to bed at 9:40 (early for me). I got about 9 hours of sleep but still felt exhausted all day! I was thankful that I had made a casserole yesterday, so I actually did a bit of just relaxing with the children.

I need to finish up a few things on the site and head to bed. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to post some photos I took yesterday... and a couple new recipes we've tried!

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