12 January 2016

Our Favorite Vegetarian or Low-Meat Meals

I know that some of you are here because of the title of the post, so feel free to skip all this jibber jabber at the top, and go right down to the list below. But for those of you who want a little background into why we eat so many legumes, read on.

A few years ago Eric heard a snippet of a Diane Rehm show with guests talking about the areas of the world where people live the longest. In the few minutes he heard, the guests discussed that in all of the "blue zones," as they're called, the people eat a lot of legumes. (I went back and listened to the whole show later, and it really is interesting. I am not 100% sure, but I think this is the same show.) This diagram from Wikipedia is also a good summary of what the different blue zones have in common.

Not too much later we were shopping at WinCo and came upon a section of bulk foods. We bought some 25-pound bags of beans and rice. Then some friends moved and gave us some of their food storage, and we had even more beans and rice. As we gradually used up these products, we continued to buy more from WinCo.

Eric served an LDS mission in Brazil, where he ate rice and beans every day. He has said ever since then that it didn't get old, and he wouldn't mind continuing to eat rice and beans every day. Since he became a teacher, we've tried to make a lot of rice and beans at one time, package them into containers and freeze them so he has easy meals he can grab each day for work. Because I dread the idea of him eating the exact same meal every day, I've tried to have a few varieties of rice and beans or lentils and beans at the ready.

So when I say, "These are some of our favorite vegetarian or low-meat meals," I'm not saying these are things we've tried once or twice. These are actually meals that are tried-and-true for us. We eat them regularly.

Black Beans

Red Beans (or Kidney Beans)

Pinto Beans

White Beans (navy, great northern, cannellini, etc.)

Lentils - (I've used green lentils for all these recipes. Occasionally I splurge and buy red lentils, though.)

So there you have it. Feel free to suggest your own faves. I'm always looking for new ways to eat legumes.

08 January 2016

Ike and Felix Speak (But Mostly Felix)

It's been a while since I posted about the funny things my kids have said. It's too bad, because they say funny things a lot.

Me: Felix, on Sunday you will be a Sunbeam and go to Primary with the big kids! Are you glad you are a Sunbeam now?
Felix: Yeah, and I'm a child of God!

Referring to a picture of Stormtroopers.
Felix: Look! It's the white Dark Vaders!

Felix: Mom, are you going the speed lemon?
Me: Yes, I am.
Ike: You have to go the speed limit or else you will go to jail.
Me: Well, I'd get a ticket. You have to do something pretty bad to go to jail.
Ike: Yeah, like destroying the whole world. Mom, if somebody ruined everything in the world, Heavenly Father would have to make a new one.

On a few occasions, when Felix is upset that I'm not letting him what he wants:
Felix: Mom, you are naughty, and Santa isn't going to bring you any toys!

Me: You're a sweet little boy.
Felix: You're a sweet big mom.
Felix: No, no, I not a little boy. I'm a big boy. I'm a sweet big boy.

Everything Felix likes is "special."

We had some rice that got some bugs in it, so I'd have to pick the bugs out before I cooked it.
Me: Felix, we need to go make rice.
Felix: Yes! Let's make bug rice! But you can take out the bugs.

Felix cut his finger somehow.
Me: How did you cut your finger?
Felix: Ike was fighting and then he gave me blood. And I don't like the blood.

In general, we still hear a lot of messed up pronunciations and incorrect conjugations from both boys, especially "hitted," "putted" (not what you do in golf), and "hurted."

Felix let go of a balloon in our stairwell, out of my reach.
Felix: Uh oh. The balloon is up there. You can't get it because you don't have wings.

Felix: Can we listen to Primary music?
Me: Sure, what song do you want to hear?
Felix: Songs about Rainbows because I love that song, and it's a special song, and it's my favorite song.
We then listened to Kermit sing "Why Are There So Many Songs About Rainbows" on Spotify.

We lost power for a few hours in early December. It was a good chance to teach the boys about all the things in our house powered by electricity. Felix absolutely sobbed when he learned the Christmas lights on the tree couldn't be on until the power came back. It was incredibly sweet.

Another instance of Felix being sweet - in late December I took Trixie for her 4-month checkup and shots, and Ike for his five-year. Both kids cried when they got shots, and Felix almost cried while watching them.

04 January 2016

Trixie: Four Months

At four months old, Trixie is a smiley, content baby. She likes to suck on her hands but hasn't yet started grabbing at things. She still has a lot of hair, but she's getting a bald patch (and a flat spot) in the back from lying down so much. She's also got a bit of receding hairline along the front. (Both the boys were basically bald by four months old, so I'm happy Trixie is keeping some of her hair.) She weighs over 15 pounds and has the cutest chubby cheeks, thighs, and arms, to show for it. This baby loves to eat. She also loves to stand and sit up with assistance.

Trixie's eyes are still blue, and they are such a light blue sometimes I'm sure they'll stay that color. The boys both had blue eyes for several months. Ike's eventually turned hazel, and Felix's eventually turned green. Eric and I both have brown eyes, so it will be interesting to see what happens with Trixie's eyes.

Trixie has the most lovely, perfect lips. See below.

We hung out with neighbors across the street earlier this week, and my friend snapped this picture of Trixie with her pouty lip. This is a new thing and happens frequently, even when she's not sad. Sometimes she sucks on her bottom lip when she is trying to fall asleep.

Trixie does not enjoy tummy time. Consequently, she has the aforementioned bald spot and flat spot. She also still does not roll over, and I don't really care.

Trixie still sleeps well at night, but it takes her a while to fall asleep. We do a jack-in-the-box routine where we are sure she's really down for the night this time, only to hear her crying a few minutes or an hour later. This happens nightly from about 8:30 to 11:30. We are about done with it.

Ike continues to adore Trixie, and she is finally taking notice of him. She is also interested in Felix, which I think makes him like her a bit more. Sometime in the last month I was pretending to be a monster with Felix. I told him I was going to eat his baby sister and he said, "You can't eat Baby! She's part of our family!"

We all love this baby girl and our so glad she is part of our family.

01 January 2016

2015 Books

It's that time of year when there are summary posts! This year I read 32 books. My top 10% were:

  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande - Hands down, the best book I read in 2015. Everyone go read it so we can talk about death.
  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Truthfully, beyond the first one, it was really hard to choose the other books. I read a lot of good-not-great books this year. Fingers crossed for better reading in 2016!

1. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan - Listened to this on audio the first time, and it was more enjoyable. Still a fun read without Jim's narration, but not quite as fun.

2. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson - I had heard such good things about this one, but it fell pretty flat for me.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I liked this, but it was really hard for me to keep track of the characters. That is not usually a problem for me, but the numerous characters combined with me taking about a month-long hiatus while reading, made me have to scratch my head a few times. Ultimately, though, a good read.

4. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr* - Eh. So many things I disliked about this book.

5. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor - I am so glad I read this book. It is about Sonia Sotomayor's life, up until her first position as a judge, and it is just so fascinating. I heard her speak a few weeks before reading the book and wish I'd finished the book before going to hear her.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I was so excited about this one, but the plot just didn't do it for me. The writing is very good, and I'd be willing to read something else by this author some other time.

7. The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman* - I read this first about eight years ago. I read it this time for book group, and it was good to read it again. It gave me some things to ponder.

8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I tend to like books that tell stories of several characters and how they all fit together. This is one of those books, and it's particularly good.

I have no idea what happened in May.

9. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen* - Certainly amusing writing, and I chuckled out loud many times. But there was a lot of her writing that just didn't resonate with me.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor* - Eric wanted to listen to this on our road trip after my effusive praises. He didn't love it as much as I did, but I'll forgive him anyway.

11. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - While I certainly didn't agree with all of her parenting methods, I think she makes some very valid points about Chinese verses Western parenting. I plowed through this book because the writing was very good, and the whole thing was really fascinating and amusing.

12. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock* - Totally enjoyable YA fluff. I loved the audio.

13. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman* - I enjoyed this as much, if not more, than the first time I read it. Now that I have a few more years of parenting under my belt, there is a lot in this book that I can identify with. There were also many things that I feel like I can improve upon in my parenting. In all, reading this along with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother made me think about what I value as a parent.

14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - This was my third time to read this book, and the whole time I just kept thinking, "I'd rather watch the movie." Maybe that's blasphemous, but there it is.

15. Getting to Yum: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters by Karen Le Billon - Lots of good, practical advice for preventing picky eating in your home, and for turning around picky eaters. Many of the tips were things we already do in our home, but there was still a lot for me to learn.

16. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan - I couldn't put this one down, and then I couldn't stop talking about it. I'm very impressed with Evelyn Ryan (the contest-winning mother).

17. Wonder by R. J. Palacio - I liked this book. I hope I can teach my children to be kind to everyone.

18. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden - I thought this was interesting, but nothing overwhelming. It did make me want to watch the movie again.

19. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I couldn't put it down. In many ways it's a frivolous gossipy book, but it actually touches on some serious issues.

20. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - I read this in high school, and I liked it a lot then. I didn't love it as much this time, but I still certainly enjoyed it. Now I'm ready to see the movie.

21. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I read this a few years ago, before the rest of the trilogy was out, and I really enjoyed it. I decided to read it again to refresh my memory before reading the other two. I liked at as well the second time as the first.

22. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - I actually had read the sequel a few years ago, so it was good to go back and read the original finally. I liked it, and it gave me a lot to think about, particularly in steps I can take to be happier.

23. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - I read this for first time since my initial reading of it in seventh grade. I still think it's a pretty terrific book.

24. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande - I just can't get over how good this book was. It raises a lot of good points about the flaws in our medical system when it comes to aging and dying. I loved learning more about the history of elder care. I also loved learning about the approaches good medical practitioners take when discussing end of life care for terminal patients.

25. The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - An enjoyable one to listen to. I was disappointed when it was over.

26. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder - Long and boring, but also interesting. It took me many tries to finally get through it, and it is the reason my reading slowed so much in October.

27. Paper Towns by John Green - Great writing, detestable characters.

28. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - At first I was really amused by the dialogue because many of the movie variations clearly have taken their scripts straight from the book. But eventually it got old and I just wanted to watch one of the movies instead. This one won't be an annual read for me.

29. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta - Didn't love it as much as Finnikin of the Rock, but I'm eager to see what happens in the third.

30. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta - Overall, a good conclusion to the Lumatere Chronicles.

31. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd - I'm baffled that this book is the first of a trilogy. How did it become popular enough to have two more made?

32. A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson - Not bad, but not great either. I enjoyed learning more about Ripley's travels, but more than that, I enjoyed learning about how his writings and cartoons were so popular in the U.S.