Monday, June 17, 2019

Vegan Dump Dinners - Claire's Southern Delight

Vegan Dump Dinner, Claire's Southern Delight
This is a perfect meal for those times when you need to walk in the house, and have food right away. Plan this for nights when you're coming home late after a weeknight Vespers, or for a great Lenten luncheon after Sunday Liturgy.

Planning ahead for this simple meal means avoiding the frustration of hurried cooking when everyone is too hungry, and also avoiding the temptation to stop by for a restaurant meal that would probably be less healthy and more spendy.

And, it's great that this is a meal the family really enjoys, and only takes minutes to assemble as a "Dump Dinner."

This delicious dish is named for our dear family friend, Claire, who is a phenomenal cook, and an expert in Christian Hospitality!

Here's the Plan:

Claire's Southern Delight, Dump Dinner
In a Labeled, Gallon Zipper Freezer bag (or other favorite container) pour

3 (15oz) Cans Kidney Beans, (Drained. Light or Dark Red, your preference)
1 (8oz) Can Tomato Sauce
3/4 teaspoon Celery Salt
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
Dash Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Fresh Minced Garlic (I use the kind from a jar in the produce section)
1 1/2 Tablespoon Vegetarian Bacon Bits
1/4 Cup Water

Seal Bag, Combine ingredients by squishing the bag with your hands (squeeze gently - don't try to mash the beans!)

Toss in Freezer.

Thaw in fridge 12-24 hours before use.

Pour in Slow Cooker. Cook on Low, Three Hours. Alternately, you can simply heat this on the stovetop for about 20 minutes.

Serve over Rice (I make rice ahead of time, then simply heat at serving time if time is an issue)

Accompaniments (all optional, according to what you have on hand): Tortillas, Green Olives, Shredded Lettuce, Better than Coleslaw, Corn Chips.

This is being shared at at:

You're the Star
Tasty Tuesdays

Monday, June 10, 2019

Homeschooling - When Are We Doing ENOUGH?

Are We, as Homeschoolers,  Doing Enough?
This is the time of year when many homeschoolers do planning for the coming year, and in that process, many look back and review the effectiveness of the previous year.

The latest homeschooling fad is the discussion of whether we are doing enough. Whether in  a blog post, a popular book, or a real-life discussion, the gist is always the same:

"Are you insecure, guilty, worried that you're not doing enough?" 
"Do you think your kids deserve more?"
"Are you 'enough?'"
"Do you feel inadequate?"

The answer is always the same, and goes something like this:

"Well, relax!"
 "Kids need time to play!"
"You need 'me' time!"
"YOU are more than enough!"
"Public schools don't finish the book, either!" 

"You don't want to stress your child out!"
"Your child might begin to hate learning if you require too much of her!"

Have you ever heard a single argument from someone who is in favor of homeschool, but says that maybe we're NOT doing enough? 

I haven't.

And that makes me suspect that maybe we're dealing more with a "politically correct" attitude that permits no open discussion, rather than honestly assessing the situation.  

We're in danger of becoming like the citizens of Lake Woebegone, where everyone thinks of him or herself as "above average" ; ) 


Decades ago, my Mom, of Blessed Memory, was a public school teacher. She told me one of her teaching secrets one day, when I was still a child. It is a bit of wisdom that has stuck with me for the rest of my life. 

She told me that if a student walked up to her, paper in hand, and asked her if it was "good enough" she never doubted what answer to give.

The answer was always, and certainly "No."

As a child, I was shocked and horrified.


"No, I didn't have to," she replied, with full confidence.

"But why, Mom?"

"Because there is only one reason a child would walk up to me and ask if his work was good enough - and that would be because he was trying to get away with less than his best," She declared.

Then she continued: "When a child has done his best, he would always walk up and say, 'Hey, teacher, look what I did!'" not 'Is this good enough?' When the children had done their best, they didn't need to ask!"

How does this apply to homeschoolers?

God's standard isn't "Do as much as the public school." or "Do what you can get by with" or even "Do enough to beat everyone else on the college entrance exams." or "Make sure your kid is at least better than the neighbor kid" but rather, it is:

"23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV

If we are obeying this command, we are doing "enough" - even if our kid has learning challenges and is 5 grades behind.

And if we're not obeying this command, we're NOT doing enough - even if our kid were to be so "gifted" that he is 5 grades ahead!

This is being shared on:
Literacy Musing Mondays
You're the Star
Inspire Me Mondays
Encouraging Hearts & Homes 
Grace & Truth

Monday, May 13, 2019

Copycat Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Copycat Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
My daughter recently declared her love for purchased Sabra Brand Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I make hummus at home. She likes my hummus. But she liked Sabra's even better. That made me sad. Store bought hummus is a lot more expensive than the homemade kind!

I, too, love Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Since before she was born! And many times back-in-the-day I had tried to make it - but with no success. Roasted Red Peppers PLUS Hummus - sadly - did not taste like the kind I could buy at the store.

Back then, I did a fair amount of research trying to tweak just the right taste. I finally read about a "secret ingredient" - balsamic vinegar- that worked perfectly to turn my roasted-red-peppers-added-to-hummus into Roasted Red Pepper Hummus! Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found that bit of info - but it was very helpful!

Then, having solved my personal mystery, I had moved on to making other flavors like Smoky and Caper - and had forgotten all about my research project.

Until my daughter reminded me. Years later.

Then, I pulled my research out, and finished the project of creating the perfect Roasted Red Pepper Hummus - just like Sabra's. She acted as my focus group, and let me know when I had it just right!

Now I can go back to my frugal ways of making my own : )

(This is best made in a food processor. I use a Sunbeam Oscar, that I found at the thrift store, but any good brand of machine should work)

Here's the recipe:

Copycat Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
In food processor, combine
1 (15oz) can Chickpeas, drained
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained (about 1/4 cup or so - I buy a 10oz jar)
1 teaspoon Salt
2-4 Tablespoons Tahini
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic (I use the jarred kind from the grocery's produce section)

1/4 teaspoon Paprika
Start the Processor, 
Then add Water as needed - usually 1/2 cup makes the right consistency. I add most of the water all at once, the gradually add the last bit to fine-tune the consistency.

Then leave the food processor on to do its work.

The BIG mistake in homemade hummus production is turning off the processor too early. Give it some time. Be patient. Wait for it to become smooth and creamy. Cover your ears ; )

Once it's done, it's ready to enjoy! Or, pop it in the fridge, and serve it chilled later. Hummus normally thickens up a wee bit with refrigeration.

This is perfect to serve with crackers, pretzels, homemade bread, or your favorite veggie dippers. 

This is being shared at:
You're the Star
Inspire Me Mondays
Tasty Tuesdays
Penny Pinching Party
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