Monday, January 28, 2008

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! I got some REALLY exciting news this morning! The phone rang around 9:45 this morning and Noel answered it.
"Is this Heidi's house?" the woman on the other end asked.
"Yes", Noel replied.
"Congratulations! You've won the Trader Joe's bag raffle and can come in to pick up a $25 gift card, " the woman said.
"NO WAY! ARE YOU SERIOUS? THAT'S GREAT!!!!" Noel practically shouted.

So, off we went to Trader Joe's to claim our gift certificate.

Trader Joe's has an incentive program for bringing your own grocery bags (I bring canvas ones that I bought there several months ago). Every time you bring your own bag, you can fill out a ticket to enter the raffle. Noel and I have wondered for a long time if anyone actually wins the raffle since we're pretty sure no one shops and enters as often as we do (we often go multiple times per week), but now we know it's for real!

What a great start to the week!

Red Grapefruit

The answer to the poll is red grapefruit. Congrats to those of you who got it right! It was a bit tricky since grapefruit is actually a substitute for a different super food, but you all are just so smart.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Storm Warning?

As I was watching the news today, I heard the weather person report that we are under a "winter storm warning". A WHAT?!?!?! I guess a high around 50 and lots of rain equals a "winter storm" in southern California. These people don't have a clue...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Recipe of the week

Many of you know that I love trying new recipes. I tried a few new things in the last week: salmon with wilted spinach, shrimp and broccoli stir fry, and black bean enchiladas. Of those three, I think the enchiladas were the best and so I'd like to share the recipe with those of you who are interested. I personally liked the stir fry a lot too, but learned that Noel just doesn't care for stir fry of any kind. So, between the two of us, the enchiladas won.

This recipe comes from the "Horn of the Moon Cookbook", which is one of my favorite cookbooks. As Noel said yesterday, "we're batting a thousand with this cookbook!". In other words, every single thing I've made from it has been a big hit.

Black Bean Enchiladas
1 1/2 cups uncooked black beans
6 cups water
2 Tbsp sunflower oil (I used canola)
3/4 c finely chopped onion
3/4 c finely diced carrot
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3/4 c finely chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 minced fresh jalapeno
1 1/2 tsp salt (I used only 1 tsp and might try even less next time, just don't think it's necessary)
12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 c salsa (recipe below)
2 1/2 c grated Jalapeno pepper Jack cheese

Soak beans in water for 8 hours. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 1 and 1/4 hours or until tender. Drain water.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in fry pan and saute onions, carrots, basil, oregano, and garlic. After a few minutes, add peppers, spices, jalapeno, and salt. Cook a couple more minutes until vegetables are tender. Add vegetables to beans.
Preheat oven to 375. Brush each tortilla with remaining oil and salsa lightly on both sides. Set aside remaining salsa. Bake a few minutes until tender and soft (not crisp). Remove from oven.
Put 1/3 c bean mixture down the middle of each tortilla, and a line of cheese. You should have enough to fill all 12 tortillas (I ended up with extra filling). Roll up and lay seam side down on a cookie sheet. Brush with salsa and bake about 7-10 minutes, until tender and cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream on top and remaining salsa.

Salsa (if you care to make your own)
28 oz can whole or diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sunflower oil (I used canola)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1/2 c very finely chopped onion
3/4 c vry finely chopped green pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1 minced jalapeno

Crush tomatoes (I used a potato masher, but you could run them lightly through a food processor) to desired consistancy. Combine with rest of ingredients. Chill until ready to serve (I recommend a few hours at least to let the flavors blend).
Yields 3 cups.

I hope you enjoy it if you're inspired enough to try it! I'm sorry I didn't take a picture to post with the recipe...maybe next time.

And the answer is....

ASPARAGUS! That's right, asparagus is not a "Super Food". Although it does have many health benefits, and I highly recommend eating it, it does not rank in the 14 best foods for you. Most of you voted "yogurt". Yogurt with lots of added sugar and color is definitely not a good choice, but plain or vanilla low fat or fat free yogurt with a minimum of 4 live active cultures (these are listed on the label) is VERY healthy. Shall we play again?

Monday, January 14, 2008

You can make a difference

I've recently been really inspired to be more "green". I still don't know what that looks like exactly, but I've been trying to make small changes. I now bring canvas bags to the grocery store, I buy eco-friendly dish soap, I plan to replace our next light bulb that needs changing with a florescent, etc. However, I didn't realize until recently what a huge difference each of us can make by committing to buying local produce even if it's only for one meal a week. I'm reading the book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver and am astonished by some of the facts she presents. Here's a quote that really blew me away (and I think it might you as well):

"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences."

If you've been wondering if your decisions actually have an impact on the future of our world, they do. And if you're looking for a good book to read, I highly recommend this one (though I'm not even a quarter of the way through it).

Are you making an effort to be more "green"?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Catching up

I don't know how to post things in reverse order, so scroll down to see a lot of new posts that happened to get posted backwards...I think anyway. I'm kind of confused...

Noel and I enjoyed a fantastic week in Michigan a couple of weeks ago. We were "home" for 8 days, which were packed with non-stop travel, visiting, and other activities. Following are some of the highlights of our trip:
  • Meeting our nephew, Jett, for the first time
  • Spending an afternoon in Holland with Becky and Bryant. We were able to visit New Holland Brewing Company, The Peanut Store, and JP's all in just a couple of hours! It was so refreshing since we haven't been to Holland since we moved to California.
  • Visiting briefly with Ryan and Amber
  • Seeing nearly all of our relatives in a matter of 6 days
  • And finally.........SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the first time since we've move to California, we had a white Christmas!

Stay tuned for lots of pictures. And really, I am going to try and get better at staying on top of blogging!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Close-ups

We thought you couldn't get enough of the floats, so here are a few more pictures from close-up day.



This one's for you, Bryant!

Mom and Dad's trip concluded with a fantastic dinner at Cafe Bizou. We celebrated mom's birthday with good food and good wine. At the end of the dinner, we saw all of the floats drive by the restaurant to find their final resting places. It was quite a sight!

And still more floats...

I thought this float was one of the prettiest. It was a Valentine's Day theme.

We were able to go look at the floats close up on the day after the parade. This drumming lizard was so fun.

The lady who gave us the tickets to the parade worked on the red ring on this float.

More floats

This float was so cool. It was a transformer and went from being a car to a spaceship.


This float was so tall I could hardly believe it. It was amazing.

The Grand Marshal this year was Emeril Lagasse! Everyone yelled "Bam!" as he drove by.

The Trader Joe's Float, "Getting there is all the fun!"

Floats

Here are a few of our favorite floats as well as a video of Noel's favorite.





video

Happy New Year!

About 15 hours after arriving home in Pasadena, my parents came to visit. Long time no see! They planned to come and see the Rose Parade, which turned out better than any of us could have anticipated. After church on Sunday morning, Noel was given 2 tickets to sit in the grand stands to watch the parade. The tickets were for front row seats right across from the Norton Simon museum, which is THE place to sit. We decided to give the tickets to my parents since they had never been to the parade before and we've been twice. Later that afternoon, the lady who gave Noel the tickets called and said she had 2 more! What a blessing! We no longer had to worry about getting up at 4 in he morning to go look for a seat. We had reserved seats, which were better than any we'd be able to get on the street. It made for a great experience for all of us.

We introduced Mom and Dad to Julienne, our favorite breakfast restaurant in San Marino. Once again, our meals were fantastic.

We headed down Colorado Blvd the day before the parade to see where our seats were and how long it would take us to walk. We were so thankful for spectacular weather.

And more Christmas fun...

We were so fortunate to be able to see all of our grandparents as well as several other relatives during our whirlwind trip. We headed over to Grandma Fannie's and Grandma and Grandpa Kraushaar's the day after Christmas.

Dad and Uncle Ned watching Noel and I open presents. We both got some great books, which we're so thankful for!

We had a great lunch at Grandma Fannie's. She mad her famous meatballs, which we all went nuts over.

Grandma Doris, me, Noel, Grandpa Don

More Christmas Fun

We spent Christmas day with the Dykema's. Our day started with church and was followed by stockings, presents, and a fantastic dinner of prime rib. Too bad I woke up with a cold and felt a little "off" all day.

Hillary and me during present time.

Josh showing off his new sweater. Jett sporting one of his new bibs that Hillary made for him. She's so great at making cute baby stuff with her new sewing machine. Check out the burp cloths on Dad's leg.


Ruby's favorite part was hiding in the boxes.

Hillary was able to find some fantastic deals shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Heather and I definitely benefited from these deals! She gave both of us so many presents; I could hardly believe it. We each got 2 tank tops in addition to lots of other fun stuff.

All the men in the family got the same shirt from American Apparel (Heather organized this). Nothing like wearing matching shirts while drinking beer together.

Christmas Fun

Jett and I had a bit of a rough first encounter. He had been passed around between lots of people before I got to hold him. When I got him, he cried...no, he screamed, and needed to be comforted by his mom. Luckily he calmed down and I was able to feed him later at the party.


We were able to spend a little alone time with Heather, Josh, and Jett. Here's Noel getting to know his nephew.
It was so nice to meet Heidi's boyfriend, Brian, for the first time. We're so glad he was able to join the Snyder family party at Emily and Jason's new home.

The Snyder fam: Jason, Dad, Mom, Noel, Emily, Heidi, Heidi


The first of 3 snow storms we had while in Michigan. This picture was taken as we celebrated Christmas at Emily and Jason's house.