Ok.. so I know I've totally been slacking. I think it's been like.. two or three weeks since i last wrote something. I haven't even posted the next installment of my story! Geez... totally not on top of my game.
Taim mi kamap meri bilong Mikol, mi kamap busi no gut tru! Now, that's not necessarily true...
Once I became a wife, I got super busy. And that is true, that I am super busy now that I'm a wife, but I would have been super busy even if i wasn't a wife now. It seems like there are so many more important things to life than writing updates about my boring life on a computer where a few people will read about it. But, I thought I had better write because I enjoy writing about my life, and I know some of you pretend to and maybe enjoy reading it every now and then. Maybe this one will be one of those times...
So... what have I been up to in these past busy three weeks of no writing?
Well... i cleaned my kitchen!You probably don't remember the pictures of my DIRTY kitchen, but let me tell you, it is SO much cleaner now! and I LOOVE it! Now, instead of leaving everything on every counter, I clean up at the end of every day, leaving my kitchen beautiful and clean every morning! What a great idea huh?! :)
Here is my oh so important stove. I use this thing ALL the time! and one of the things that grosses Michael out the MOST is when there's food crusted into it. So, I shined this baby up as shiny as it would go!
And, here is the counter next to the stove. I have my knives, spices, flour blender, cooking utensils, smoothie and food processor, and small cup size blender on this counter. :) Also, in the far right hand corner is a little blue praying angel. That is my grandma's given to me by my Mom after my grandma went to be with Jesus. I love having that little reminder of my granny watching over me in my kitchen every day. I used to have a little girl angel too, but it was accidentally pushed off my desk in college and shattered all over the floor. Sad day.
By the way, I have the COOLEST spice rack ever! My amazing dad in law gave it to us for christmas a couple years ago. It is this little spinny rack with small jars for each spice, and each spice is labeled! After using spices over a year, I have a pretty good idea of what spices I use and which ones I don't. There were about 6 spices I never used, so I dumped those into handy dandy zip lock bags to store, labeled them, and then dumped the spices I had in other containers into the empty bottles and relabeled them. It was quite the process! But I am SO thankful I did it! It's so much easier now because I have all the spices I need all in my little turny thing and I don't need to keep them all out on the counter. They are all neatly stored on the neat spinny thing or stored nicely away in the cupboard.
Ok, so then next to the spice and blender counter is my sink and dish rack. I think I spend most of my time in the kitchen in front of this sink. A trick I learned from a friend who is working hard to be the wife God called her to be ... run hot soapy water in the sink every morning and just put the dishes in there as you finish them. Even if you don't have time to wash them all right after you finish using them, by the end of the day, everything is super easy to wash and put away. I hate scrubbing off hardened food from my plates and bowls. Yuck!
So then last but not least there's the counter on the other side of the sink. Here I have my delicious amazing juicer, our coffee maker which I use to make tea instead of coffee, our keurig machine which is AMAZING! We don't buy the little expensive coffee things anymore because they are SO expensive! we bought this reuseable cup and I just put coffee grounds or tea grounds or chai tea mix in there and it makes a boiling hot delicious cup of whatever in less than 5 minutes! It makes making Michael's coffee in the morning SO much easier!
Here's the reusable cup. Right now, there are Michael's coffee grounds from this morning in there - I haven't cleaned it out yet. So you put the coffee or whatever in the little inner container, put that into the larger grey container and put the lid on, and that goes into the keurig machine instead of those expensive little prefilled cups.
So that's our kitchen. I left out the fridge and pantry because those are just boring additions to the kitchen... :)
So, I've also been making food and growing it! My spinach plant finally started producing DELICIOUS spinach leaves! Yaay! I had a salad the other day with spinach leaves and radishes from our garden, and it was DELICIOUS!
I picked all the spinach off that was ready, but here's the plant producing more spinach! It is so much fun having a growing producing free food machine! :)
Here is my herb garden, doing FANTASTICALLY! We have already picked a whole crop of cilantro. I used it in a bean soup the other night for a quick meal in the slow cooker. Our parsley and oregano is growing fabulous too!
So, that leads nicely into what have I been cooking lately....
I made some homemade french fries with potatoes soaked in a spiced oil. Basically, I cut up my potatoes and soaked them in water. If you soak the potato slices in water, it helps the final product to be crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. I don't know exactly why it does that, but it has something to do with the starch. I usually let mine soak for about 10 minutes. I think if you go much longer, they would just get soggy.
I also made my own chicken fingers. First I made some almond meal by throwing a handful of almonds into my nut blender and hitting ON. Then I mixed salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic in with the almonds. Then I mixed an egg and milk mixture together. Then, I cut my chicken breast into the right size for chicken strips, dipped each one into my egg milk mix and then into the almond mixture and dropped it on my cookie sheet. They turned on SUPER yummy! and they were a really healthy alternative to normal chicken fingers. You could also easily do nuggets. If you HAVE to use bread, you could also use Panko crumbs, since those are whole wheat bread crumbs.
I also made vegetable chowder, which didn't end up vegetable chowder because when my handsome Michael asked what i was making and heard it was VEGETABLE chowder, he asked if he could add some meat. :) And, of course, I said YES! so this is Vegetable Chicken Chowder. :) I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour as my thickener, you could also use regular flour or cornstarch.
By the way, as you can see, all the vegetables in my chowder are chopped up. Usually this takes me quite a while to wash, cut, and slice the veggies. Part of the problem is that I don't have the sharpest knives to use. So, I did two things. 1) I sharpened a couple of my knives on the back side of a clay coffee mug. Yes, it works. How do I know this? Um... trial and error and having GOBS of time in Papua New Guinea with nothing to do and a pocket knife and a coffee mug.
2) I found this AMAZING knife we had down in our basement. Another Christmas gift that we hadn't put to use yet. That has changed QUICKLY! I now use these knives all the time, and this particular one is my FAVORITE new kitchen tool.
I also made another quiche, but this time, I just put EVERYTHING into my food processor. That included eggs, water (DO NOT use water when making quiche, just don't put any liquid in if you have no milk) spinach, broccolli, garlic, salt and pepper. Then I just turned it on low and mixed the whole thing up. Because I added water, the quiche ended up having a really weird consistency. We were out of milk.. but next time I just won't add any liquid.
I also rearranged our fish tank set up. We had two fish tanks downstairs and one fish tank up stairs. Unfortuately, our tank upstairs never got any attention, so I moved in DOWNSTAIRS! That is MUCH harder than it seems. First, I had to catch all the fish from the upstairs tank and move them to another container. Then I had to empty nearly ALL the water out of the tank and half the pebbles. Then I had to carry it down the stairs and set it up on its new table. Then, I had to do the same for the down stairs tank - since I wanted both tanks on the same table. Then, I had to move the fish back to their tanks, add the decorations/foliage/logs, add the water and turn on the filters. It was a LOT of work, but it looks so much nicer now and we can interact with ALL our fishy babies now instead of just two tanks worth of them.
Also, remember all those baby guppies we had? Well, all but two have been devoured by our other fishies. I am guessing that we will have only one left in the end, but we'll see. Remnant is already busy trying to make more babies. He's quite the ladies man - well, at least he thinks he is. I think the ladies are a bit sick of being pregnant. It seems like every time we look in there they are both pregnant. Hopefully our new babies will be females and give our two mama guppies a break from baby-birthing-ville.
Also, we bought 6 minnows for O-Shen, our lobster, to eat. They're hard to see in this picture, but a couple are behind the large green plant. O-shen ate up two of our other schools, so we decided to buy some cheap ugly fish and NOT name them and there fore not get attached to them so O-shen can eat them up. So far, he has devoured two our of the six. Usually, he catches them, eats off everything but their heads and then lets it float around to get moldy. That's when I come in and catch the floating head and remove it. O-shen is living a great life. :)
Then, we went down to Iowa with Michael's family to do some spelunking! We crawled our way through about 15 caves, but many of those caves were just small little holes in the ground. We went into about 4 that were actually long hikes. I absolutely LOVED doing it! :)
Michael has been doing this with his family for years, so he knew every cave like the back of his hand.
There were so many times where you had to pull yourself along by your hands instead of your legs because the spot was just too tight. This particular hole was one of the most challenging. The hole to get through was really small, and there was freezing cold spring water covering about half the hole. You had to get your self through the hole but not get your chest or legs wet becuase it would be too cold to warm back up. Great, great fun!
The scenery around the caves was absolutely gorgeous!
And the people I spent this weekend with were beautiful. I love being a part of this family! In this picture, we are actually way inside the first cave we went to. Unbeknown to us, there was actually a huge storm going on outside the cave. We had been crawling through tiny holes, and eventually, the cave opened up to this larger room. It made a great family picture! :)
So, that's what I've been up to the last few weeks. But, this post has gotten SO long! It really was just for you nosy people that were wondering why I hadn't written in so long. :) and, of course, those of you who wanted PICTURES!
Lukim yu long sampela taim, puk puk!
English translation: See you later alligator!