Friday, March 25, 2016

Blog Post for my BYUI FDRELG 122 Class

I watched the video posted below today for one of my BYUI classes.

Instantly my mind turned to my three friends who have all with in the last three years lost a sweet baby of their own. This is a sorrow and heartbreak that I cannot even come close to understanding, and pray I never will. Each lost their child in different circumstances; a newborn to birth defects, a toddler to a tragic accident, and a little boy just shy of his second birthday to cancer. Each of these women I have wanted to hold forever and tell them that ti will be okay.  But I can't do that. Yes, I have been there and will continue to be there as they try to put their lives back together as best as they can, but I can't whisper the assurances their hearts need to know. There is only one who can do that and I have been so very privileged to watch that happen in the lives of these women and their families.  

My friend whose daughter died in a tragic accident was the first women my own age whom I'd ever known to have their child die. It was a jarring experience, but time has passes since that day three and a half years ago, and I have seen how the faith of this amazing woman has helped heal over the fresh wounds. Thought those wounds will never fully heal, and shall always, on this earth leave scars, it has been the knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan that has bound up the wounds and calmed them with His peace. Any time I hear her family or her speak of their sweet baby girl, it is also joined with talk of how they now actively and with determination live their lives in ways that ensure that they are doing all they can to be with her again. They know that death is not the end, and though it's sting is felt painfully here on earth, someday they will see their loved girl once more.

I met my second friend quite by accident, through strange circumstance, but most certainly inspired ones.  Ultimately her two elder were in school with my son as well as the daughter of my friend who lost her child in an accident. I had the privilege of meeting her son only once in his life, but that short life has left an impact on me forever. I was a buffer for this friend, who did not know the gospel, to feel safe enough to ask the hard questions about our faith to my friend who had lost her daughter. Hours were spent sitting quietly by both of their sides, as they talked about the most raw and personal of tragedies. What sacred time it was, as this sweet sister friend bore witness of her gospel knowledge to our freshly grieving friend. In amounts that her heart and mind can handle, I have watched this dear woman heal over the years, and try to find meaning in her sons death.  But as I think of it over and over again, I am brought back to the difference in peace these two woman have gained and how my friends heartbreak over her son cannot heal in the way my friends has been for her daughter, until she understands that one day, she will see her son again, through the mercies of heavenly Father.

Four months ago, I was faced once more with a friend loosing her first born and only child to a terminal set of birth defects. The younger sister of a long time friend (and a friend in her own right) I have never seen a woman handle the death of a child with such grace and faithfulness as this woman. The only reason I can come up with for this, is her bedrock understanding and testimony of God's plan for our lives. Though her heart breaks desperately to hold her sweet infant daughter again, she is a beckon of faith and dedication like none I've ever known. She knows that she will see that little girl again, she knows that when they meet her daughter will be made whole. These are teachings that not only has she taught as a missionary and a member of gods church, but she is living them everyday.

To know these woman is a humbling experience, and one that has taught me more about the realities of Gods plan for us than I think I would have ever come to understand without them.  To know these woman is to see the very embodiment of resilience and dedication to God. And for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dusting this thing back off

Hello old friend, I figured it was time to dust this thing off and give it a go again.  To get people a little more interested, here is a list of interesting things I've done  so far in life.  Last time I took this the total score was 29/48. Lets see what it is now.

 New total: 34/49. What about you, what have you done to add to your list lately?
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (a very small one, but yup.)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors 
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kate's Best Bites: Mini bites this week

Well friends, like many of you, Casa Carleski has been sick for the last week, and so we are all tucked in trying to get over it. Because of that, there was no best bites last week, and I'm sad to say really not much of one this week. :(

I will post what we are planning on having for supper this week, and if any of it REALLY jumps out at you, you can email me, or leave me a message and I will try to get the recipe to you.  Sorry friends.

Remember to get your zinc, drink plenty of water, and get sleep, so that hopefully this will pass you by!

Best Bites for the week of Jan. 27th

Sunday: Home made whole wheat spinach Raviolis, a winter greens salad, and a simple mushroom risotto.
Monday: Vegetarian soft tacos.  (we use smashed black beans and rices seasoned with taco spices instead of meat and whole wheat tortillas)
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner: Eggs Benedict, cut fruit, and Greek yoghurt smoothies
Wednesday: crock pot pork roast with peanut sauce over jasmine rice and Gado Gado (a warm Indonesian salad)
Thursday: tomato bisque and grilled 5 cheese sandwiches
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Seafood Provenรงal  and couscous, nut and chickpea pilaf

Want a great breakfast or snack food to get more veggies in during a day? Give these a try!

Veggie Fritters

scant 3 c cooked brown basmati rice
1 cup leeks chopped
1 small red pepper finely chopped
1 cup cooked corn kernels
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 small eggs beaten
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
pinch salt
2 tbsp light olive oil

Mix all the ingredients except the oil together in a bowl to make a loose batter
heat half of the oil in a large non stick skillet over med high heat. When hot, drop 1 large spoonful of batter into the skillet, followed by 3 additional spoonfuls. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden on the underside. Flip over and cook other side until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula to a plate lined with paper towel.

This recipe is great because you can use any veggies you want really, which is a nice way to promote seasonal veggie use and use locally grown produce rather than treated things that have been shipped in from who knows where. Also, you can easily spice it up by experimenting with different spices in your batter. Some great ones are paprika or cumin. Also try adding about 1 tbsp of freshly chopped herbs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carrots Carrots, Everywhere! The muffin post

Several of you were asking about the muffins that I send to school with my kids each week. Particularly the ones involving carrots. Here are three recipes that we love around here.

Carrot Cake Muffins

These babies are a good source of carotene Vit E, Choline, Vit B1, B6, B12, folate and iron.

3 eggs
1 c soft brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut oil
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
cant 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp real vanilla extract
3 carrots grated
juice from 1 orange
1/2 c golden raisins

Preheat to 350f  line dozen muffin tins

beat eggs in large bowl then add sugar and beat again. Add oil and beat until well mixed, then add remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed.

fill muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes or until skewer comes out of center clean. These can really be all over the place cook time because I converted this from a cake recipe so you should start watching them around 20 minutes just to be safe.

* want to dress these up as a healthy alternative to a cupcake. Make a frosting from mixing a generous 3/4 cup low fat plain yoghurt, 2 TBSP confectioners sugar and the juice of half a lemon.

Oatmeal Carrot Cinnamon Muffins (Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins)

These little guys are the ones that you will see most often in lunch boxes around here.  The original recipe is the one for Apples, but one day I wanted to see what would happen if we replaced the apples with carrots and they turned out great. They are made the exact same way except for the CARROT muffins you replace the apples with carrots.

Scant 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 fine oatmeal (I  just pulse mine in the food processor a few times)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs
scant 1 c low fat milk
scant 1/2 c peanut oil
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large cooking apple grated / OR 2 finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350f and line 12 muffin tins

Sift flour, oatmeal, and baking powder together in a large, bowl, then add the larger bits that are left in the sifter. Stir in the sugar.

In a separate bowl beat eggs, milk, and oil together until well mixed. Add to the dry mixture.

Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and apple OR carrots. Stir until just mixed- don't over mix!

Spoon into tins and cook for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden coloured. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kate's Best Bites: The Week of Jan 14th

Hi Best Biters!  I know I am a few days behind this week, so hopefully you will all forgive me.  This week we will only be featuring my supper menu, as my kids are eating almost the exact same things this week that they did last week.

(Truthfully, they eat almost the same lunches every week, but they like them, so why chance what works, right!?)

So here we go!

Tuesday:  Pork with Mustard Lime Vinaigrette, Steamed broccoli, gluten free rolls, and a fruit salad.
Wednesday: Spinach and Gruyere Quiche
Thursday: Ratatouille and roasted red potatoes
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Home made Mac and Cheese (and this is amazing!)
Sunday: Crock Pot Indian Chickpea Curry

Prep Day:

If you notice I am doing a lot of, 'day of' cooking this week, because that is what I was in the mood for, but there are some quick things you can do on your prep day to make it go faster.

Cut all your produce ahead of time (except your eggplant) and store in air tight containers, so that they are ready to do a quick assembly. If you are not buying your cheeses pregrated (and really you shouldn't because it costs way more that way!) shred all your cheeses for the week and store them in portion sized bags, so you can simply add them when it's time rather than shredding and measuring on the day of. and finally there are some meals you can make ahead of time, if you want to freeze them.  You can make both the Ratatouille and Mac and cheese on Sunday (or whenever your prep day is) and then freeze them. Then you can simply pull them out and throw them in the oven when you need them.  But, if you do the things I suggested on your prep day, none of these meals take long to assemble and cook.

Shopping List:

pork tenderloin 3/4 lb
Dijon mustard
olive oil 
red onion 1
lime juice  
gluten free rolls (normally I make whole wheat ones instead, but I am cooking for a friend this week who is gluten free)
spinach 3 bunches
eggs 9
shallots 3
 cheese 2 cp worth
whole wheat pie dough 1
half and half
onion 2
garlic 2 heads
tomato puree 1
eggplant 1
zucchini 1
yellow squash 1
red pepper 1
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes
whole wheat elbow mac
whole milk
dry mustard
grated sharp cheese Colby, Monterrey jack,  (you can get a bag of blended cheeses if you don't regularly stock different cheese) 1 lbs worth
ginger 1 inch worth
chickpeas 3cp cooked
garam masala
Veg Oil

**Normally I buy stuff in bulk because I shop and plan for 2-3 weeks at a time. If you can plan an entire pay cheques worth of food and buy in bulk accordingly you will save money, but as I only post one weeks worth of food at a time, I am only posting a shopping list for what you will need that week.


I learned to cook from the internet. And one of the best things about that is that I've collected a lot of great recipes along the way. Another plus is that instead of having to then rewrite down those recipes if I want to share them with others, like we did in the old days, I can simple share the links with you here. (sadly, that is not always, or even most of the time the case. Good thing I type fast!)

** You'll notice that I have replaced everything that is white flour based in our shopping list with whole wheat. You can make similar subs, such as healthier oils, and lower fat milks if you want. Since my sons are on the lean/underweight side of things, I tend to use whole milk in recipes, still rather than replacing it. Be your own health advocate and scientist and don't ever be afraid to experiment along the way! 

Recipe for Roasted Red Potatoes

Preheat oven 350
In a large mixing bowl add 1/4 cup of EVVO and 1tsp rosemary and 1tps thyme with some minced garlic (to taste)
Cube potatoes
toss potatoes in oil mix and lay in single layer on shallow baking pan.
Roast for about 40 minutes on 350 F
Test to see if tender with fork or tip of knife

There it is friends, this week's food at the Carleski Place. Remember Oatmeal and fresh fruit is a can't go wrong breakfast, and you can check out Last Week packed lunch ideas!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kate's Best Bites: What we are eating this week

*blows off the thick layer of dust that has settled on this old thing!*

*taps the microphone* Is this thing on?  Can you hear me? Good.

Well friends, you asked, I've answered.  Many of you have asked me to write down sample menus for our family, as well as recipes and tips for how to make life in kitchen quicker, smoother, and more healthy. I decided this was a perfect way to resurrect my forgotten blog.  But first a few disclaimers.

*I can't promise this will happen every week. Life moves fast. Five boys are a lot of kids. I like to sleep  eventually, contrary to what some of you think. I'll do my best, but no promises.

* I am by no means a healthy food nut, and so I am sure some of you are going to look at some of the things on this and go, "wait a gosh gahl darned minute, that is just loaded with...." You're probably right. My goal in life is simply to do the best I can to raise my family with healthy, balanced options. Sometime we eat junk food, heck sometimes we even eat hot dogs (okay, well they eat hot dogs, I think they are gross!). But what you will find here, is my honest, self educated attempt at arming my family with balanced and healthy approach to eating.

*If you know me, you know I'm all about keeping it real.  If you're looking for one of those picture perfect mommy blogs about gourmet food you have happened upon the wrong page. Nor am I a believer in the mentality that, 'keeping it real' means intentionally trying to appear as though I'm what would happen if Chelsea Handler popped out a couple kids and had to try not to kill them.  (have you read any of her books? If not, stop reading this right now and go pick some up from your local bookstore. Trust me, you'll thank me!)  I see so much pressure in the world of parenting to measure up to some unspoken bar, and if we don't then we view ourselves as failures. Ladies and gentlemen, that is just not so, and it has always been my goal in writing about life and motherhood to show people that life has ups and downs, and that it is never as perfect as the well framed, whitewashed moments we see on instagram, but it's in those un-'instagramed' moments, that we can find our joy.

Still with me? Great, then I guess it's time to get on with the show.

Here is a list of meals that we are having this week around the good old Carleski house.

Almost always oatmeal. Not that exciting, but when you're a boy who never stops going you need fuel. Oatmeal is fuel!

Lunch: (we at home eat the same thing that is packed for the day. Since most stuff is pre-prepped it makes lunches go a lot fast at home, when little kids straight out of preschool are hungry and not very patient.) Also it should be noted that my kids take water to drink with all lunches. one of the quickest ways we cut costs was getting rid of sugary lunch drinks.

Monday: Black bean and rice and cheese on a whole wheat wrap, carrot oatmeal muffin, string cheese, and grapes

Tuesday: Hummus and veggie sticks (green peppers, carrot, mushrooms, and celery), oatmeal apple cinnamon muffin, mixed nuts, cheese cubes

Wednesday: Vegetarian BLTs grapes, Muffins

Thursday: Tuna and crackers, pineapple slices, carrot oatmeal muffin, string cheese

Friday: Whole wheat pasta salad (pasta, cucumber, red peppers, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes and shredded mozz cheese, with some lemon juice and EVOO to sprinkle over it) banana, carrot sticks, and oatmeal apple cinnamon muffin

Weekends: we tend to eat left overs from the weeks suppers


Monday: Vegetarian Lasagna, whole wheat french bread, sliced fruit

Tuesday: Steak (special grown up dinner)  hearty winter soup (kids),

Wednesday:  Vegetarian Shepard's pie, Tarragon fruit salad

Thursday: Sour cream enchilada, lime cilantro rice, spinach salad

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Black Beans and rice, home made tortilla quesadillas, grilled mixed veggies.

Sunday: Clam Chowder and Salad

Snacks: Fresh fruit.  (if you noticed a rather conspicuous lack of fruit mentioned in my supper menus, it's because they have it mixed into their oatmeal, and fruit is almost the exclusive snack around our house. Hungry between meals, grab and apple, peel an orange or chew on some berries.

Food prep tips:  I will spend one afternoon (normally Sunday) laying out all my ingredients for the week, and assembling. Your two best friends will become your 9x13 pans, and a food processor. I know they are costly, but if you don't have one, save your pennies and make it happen. Getting my first food processor was what finally made me realise I could do this kind of planning/cooking.

*I make all the muffins first, and for a week I generally need 3 dozen for my brood. If you skip the electric mixer and use a giant bowl you can make the whole batch at once, instead of making three batches in your kitchen aid. And it's muffin mix, so it's not hard to stir.

*If you are using pasta or non crock pot rice that week for kids lunches or frozen dishes, while the muffins are in the oven, cook the pasta.  This week we have lasagna noodles, and pasta for the pasta salad, and rice for mondays lunch and Thursdays supper. This week I will also cook the potatoes for the Shep. Pie now too.

*While the noodles and muffins are cooking, wash all your veggies for the week. And start chopping things up in your food processor. You can use your food processor during this step to shred all your cheeses too.

Next Lunch prep:

I assemble as much of the kids lunches next as I can. Example:  This week, I ended up shifting some meals around and since today we are not having black beans and rice, I won't have any precooked for the kids lunches tomorrow. I will have to use canned beans instead.

So put the bean, rice, and cheese in a tupperware, wrap up whole wheat wrap for each kid, grab a muffin, a string cheese, and a clump of grapes, and then I put them all together in a group on the fridge shelf. That way when I go to pack the lunch box, all I have to do is take the bundle of stuff and put it in the box for that day.

Same can be done for the hummus lunch (put the hummus from your big container into a mini tupperware, and put your veggies in a mini tupperware. Put your mixed nuts into a little snack bag, collect the rest together in one spot on your fridge shelf.

BLT lunch is ideally made at time of packing, but you can cut and cook stuff ahead of time and the wrap it all separately for them to assemble at school.

I buy mini tuna can and cracker kits at the store, so grab one of those, put your pineapple slices in a tupperware and again, gather all the rest of the lunch into a clump in the fridge you can just grab to pack.

Pasta salad assemble pack into a tupperware ahead of time, and put lemon/EVVO into a mini tupperware they can add at school. And I bet you can guess what I'm going to tell you to do.  Gather it all, and clump in fridge to put in box when it's time to pack it.

Supper Prep:

Assemble your lasagna.

Assemble your soup base (chopped veggies, potatoes and seasonings go into the soup pot and then put the lid on it. The day you eat it, all you have to do is pour in your veggie stock and then put it on the stove to cook.

Mash your potatoes and assemble Shepards pie.

Assemble Enchillada

Cover and seal everything with tin foil and label with a sharpie.

Throw in freezer.

You're done!

You'll notice that means there is still some prep each night, like adding the lime juice and diced cilantro to the rice on Thursday, or tossing a salad or slicing some bread. In the case of the black beans in rice, you'll need to throw those in the crock pot either the night before, or first thing in the morning. And for us Pizza night is always over at my inlaws, and I am lazy and we eat clam chowder either from the can or from the frozen Mo's base.

Really my advice is, give yourself time.  I can get this all knocked out pretty quickly because I have found a rhythm to the routine, and my brain has become used to cooking in this fashion. Also, you may find that a different set up works best for you. This was purely my making it up as I go, and I still change and try new things to make it faster/cheaper/healthier.

Tomorrow I will post recipes for this week (which is actually a really boring week, I was kind of in a funk when I planned it!)

I'd love to hear your stories from giving it a try, either here in the comments or on Facebook!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Help for a dear friend and their family

I love the Sherry's both Annie and Tom, whom I hold very dear in my heart, and their son and daughter in law Caroline. Caroline and I got to be friends a bit when they lived here in Corvallis. So please, go to the link and help, if you can. Even $5 can help the cause. I have seen many amazing things happen when the people of the internet join together and help one another. Please, help this exceptionally deserving family if you can.

Also repost it on your own blogs, facebook pages, twitter, google+ or anything else. Let's get this out to as many people as we can!