Cooking in a Restaurant

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a pupuseria in El Salvador, doesn’t that look pretty? 

It was Saturday afternoon and Nate and I were on a mission. Much like the special training missions he goes on at West Point, my OS and I were focused and ready, steely-eyed and single-minded. Our task was significant. Nothing was going to stop us.

Our task – to procure ingredients and learn how to make a traditional Central American dish worthy of the fine country from which it hails. (Proclaimed in a loud, official voice with great gesticulation) A country whose name is on our lips more than I ever expected. A country I visited on a true mission trip from the Lord and while there serendipitously met a beautiful girl with whom my OS is now in love. The girl is Lu. The country is El Salvador, the dish, mi amigos(cue dramatic music)

a pupusa
a real pupuseria in El Salvador

the adorable couple in El Salvador during Christmas

Nate had announced his desire to make pupusas for the family prior to arriving home for a brief visit. With two trips to San Salvador under his belt, he has embraced both his girlfriend and these thick, hand-made tortillas with gusto. A few months ago, Aaron and I happened upon a local Mexican restaurant that makes pupusas. A coincidence? I think not. Aaron was getting his driver’s permit and this restaurant is literally next door to the DMV! How convenient that it is only ten minutes from our house!

So my Soldier/OS and I drove to Tarascos Restaurant and went inside. 

Good salsa, great pupusas, lovely people!



Without hesitation, we each ordered a pupusa. A casual conversation began between us and the employees. Nate practiced his Spanish per my prodding. I think it’s so important to speak another language! As a French major, I actually understood some of the conversation. These people were warm and friendly especially when Nate explained that his girlfriend was Salvadoran. It appeared that they weren’t used to Americanos coming in and ordering pupusas.


Nate making his first pupusa

We inquired about how to make the perfect pupusa and before we knew it, the cook had invited us back to the kitchen. We had personalized instruction from Lillia who showed us how to make pupusas! Honored that she was taking the time to demonstrate the technique, Lillia invited Nate to try to make a pupusa himself. Pupusas aren’t hard to make at all but seeing her skilled hand prepare them was invaluable.

I predict that one day this guy’s gonna open up his own
pupuseria in the States! 





My little cutie-patooty and his pupusas!

So how did OUR pupusas taste? Aaron and Ike were rather unimpressed. Nate felt as if he was tasting play-dough. I didn’t think they were that bad. They were definitely better than the pupusas the Hubs tried to make a few weeks ago. Can you say “blech!” 

We did everything according to her instructions. I was a keen observer and despite the lack of flavor when we tried to make pupusas at home, we need to not give up. There wasn’t a secret ingredient mixed into the corn flour but maybe it was the seasoned griddle Lillia used, I’m still trying to figure it out.  I’m not giving up on mastering this dish though, I assure you! I just finished the book The Art of Eating In and feel more compelled than ever to master tasty, interesting, economical meals for my family. 

We are praying that one day, Lord willing, Lu and her family will come here for a very special cooking demonstration.  

Even though our pupusas weren’t as good as the ones in El Salvador and at Tarasco’s, we remain blessed and optimistic about the future of cooking and of love. When the world feels so close and people get along, it is cause to rejoice!

What’s that smell???

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In the last three weeks or so, I have learned about a number of natural remedies that can reduce gas. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I have been cooking my own beans…kidney, white, garbanzo, black turtle, beans of every kind are often on our dinner plate.


And as a result of my latest culinary adventure, it has become abundantly obvious or should I say odious to our family that we needed to either buy stock in Beano or find another alternative and I’ll just leave it at that…


So in an effort to educate you, here they are some
of those remedies. When cooking beans:

1. Put a piece of Kombu seaweed in with the water. Remove after beans are cooked and hopefully you will be toot-less.

2. Two teaspoons of epazote herb also known as Mexican tea can increase “digestability.”

3. Asofetida is a spice often used in Indian cooking and has anti-flatulent properties…

And it is the last herbal remedy that has given me a lot to think about.

I first learned about asofetida when the Hubs and I enjoyed a dinner at an Indian couple’s home. My friend Sangini told us it was often used to reduce gas and within days I was at the local Indian store purchasing my first and last jar of this “spice.” When I asked the store clerk to tell me a little more about asofetida, he said in a thick Indian accent replete with hand gestures, “VERY STRONG! USE A LITTLE!”

As soon as I got into the car, I had the worst taste in my mouth. I hadn’t eaten lunch, hadn’t vomited (I don’t normally vomit while driving, fyi) and drove in my car baffled as to why I was overcome with a profound sense of nausea.

I ran some errands and upon returning home, I told the Hubs about my recent purchase. I was eager to try my asofetida and completely intent on heeding the nice man’s words.

But that horrid taste wouldn’t leave me alone. I twisted the top of the asofetida, put my nose up to the jar and nearly died. There aren’t enough words but I’ll try…

What does asofetida smell like? Hmmm, and I’m being very nice here, how about smelly, hairy armpits that have been soaking in rotting onions for about a year?

Why I didn’t throw out the fetid asofetida remains a mystery but instead I put it in a spice cabinet. The next day, I opened that spice cabinet, looking for something and you’ll never guess what happened…Yes, I found myself AGAIN nearly bowled over by that most utterly disgusting smell which I have since learned is also called Devil’s Dung!


Fast forward to Tuesday which is our trash day and I couldn’t take it anymore because I noticed that the entire spice cabinet was reeking. I asked the Hubs to put the asofetida in the trash for fear that soon the smell would overtake the kitchen. He’s a good hubs so he complied. Mind you, the asofetida had only been opened one time for maybe a second a few days prior. Never after that.

Tuesday morning I had to throw some other stuff out in the trash and I opened the lid. The waft of a week’s worth of trash was secondary to the hauntingly dreadful taste and flavor of asofetida! I have since learned that in the days of the American Wild West, asofetida and its sulfurous smell was once thought to be a cure for alcoholism when mixed with other spices. No surprise here!

As I have looked upon our last week, I have thought about sin. Sin is like asofetida. You don’t need a lot of it to invade aspects of your life. It stinks and smells and can be hard to chase away. It lingers and has an aftertaste. Depending on the nature of the sin, it can be overwhelming and sickening.

I have experienced spiritual asofetida and been guilty of opening a giant jar of it, if you know what I mean. The only cure for sin is Jesus. I tried many other remedies, all which fell short of the cleansing power of Christ. That doesn’t mean I don’t goof up and make mistakes but I have had victory in many areas and struggles in my life and the only reason for that is because Jesus is my hope and salvation.

Check these verses found in the Bible…

Psalm 103: 9-13 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake,

and remembers your sins no more.


Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

We never had the chance to use asofetida to cure gas but I maintain it was still a wise purchase. It only cost $1.50 but God used that spice to reach every one of my five senses and remind me of all the stinky stuff He has cast away into the sea of forgiveness never to be spoken of again.

Redemption para Senor Taco Cabesa (Redemption by Mr. Taco Head)

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It’s only taken 10 months for there to be redemption in my house. Say what??? I’m talking about coupon redemption, folks; we found redemption of the spiritual sort individually quite some time ago, which by the way, is a VERY good thing!

On my birthday, which happens to be January 27th so be sure to mark it down, my middle OS gave me a coupon for him to make dinner for the family. I read the fine print, “this coupon is a legal voucher for a complete meal on any non-school day. This must be presented to the giver before 3:00 on that day or before that day. The only other rule is that you must enjoy your meal and have a nice time doing whatever it is that you do while you are not cooking.” Isn’t that cool?

This morning I announced/asked Aaron if he could make dinner tonight. With only a momentary hesitation, he agreed.

Around 6pm, my middle OS began to make turkey tacos. He donned the family chef’s hat, tied the apron around his trim waist and set to work. I worked on some sewing projects and snapped pics to capture every moment as he unabashedly posed for the camera not fully realizing the apron he actually had selected. Take a minute and you’ll see what I mean…


Aaron was wearing a reversible apron I made in the summer. I chuckled seeing Aaron chopping onions, browning the turkey meat with the girly side of the apron in full view.

I think my OS forgot that the other side of the apron has something much more to his liking. Guitars. Aaron LOVES guitars and music possibly more than fashion. As soon as I pointed out which side he was wearing and he realized I had the pictures to prove it, Aaron reversed to the more manly print.

How interesting it was for me to see Aaron frantically running around the kitchen trying to get everything ready at the same time. HALLO~Welcome to my world! Moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Sometimes it’s so crazy trying to put food on the table. I believe Aaron had an epiphany tonight and we shall see how long that lasts. The aroma filling the house was quite delicious and although it would make a funnier post to say the meal was a flop, that would be a lie. Y’all, my boy can throw down! Tonight was husband training at its finest. Excuse me while I take a bow…


The true test of a good meal in our home is silence. If people aren’t talking while eating, you know it’s good. Take, for example, my angel food cake. You could have heard a crumb drop. And if a crumb had dropped, you would have heard someone licking it up! Tonight’s turkey tacos produced only the sound of crunching. In other words, we enjoyed mealtime.


I’m so glad I found redemption today and cashed in on my dinner coupon. In between bites, I bestowed upon Aaron a new nickname, thanks to a scrumptious meal, he is now crowned Senor Taco Cabesa!

Wow, that was bad, really bad

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I made a really bad side dish yesterday. A dish so mind-blowingly bad, it rivals the escarole soup my mother made decades ago which was beyond vile! Yes, it’s true!

I was looking forward to using my farmer’s market produce and impressing my family with another culinary wonder. Alas, I was not successful. I’m still trying to figure out what went so terribly wrong.


Maybe it was that the recipe called for rice vinegar but I used the apple cider vinegar instead? Or maybe it was because the recipe called for ONE cup of vinegar and one scant teaspoon of sugar? Hmmm, I’m still trying to figure it out.

After chilling the salad for an hour, I took it out and stirred it with a spoon. I noticed that some of the dressing got on my fingers and it stung. Why, why, why?

But when I sat down at the dinner table and tried the salad, I discovered the answer… the salad was ridiculously sour! I thought maybe someone in my family likes the salad so I didn’t say anything and monitored everyone’s reaction. I asked the Hubs what he thought. I held back the laughter and wow, was I surprised when he said it was good. Did he really think it was good? Was he just trying to be a nice husband? Or was he simply trying to stay out of trouble???

I’m not sure the Hubs even tried the salad. Aaron did though. How did I know? Well, his eyes nearly bulged out of his head, that’s how! He thought if he had another bite, his tongue might fall off! We then determined that the salad was inedible. It was, in modern day terms, an epic fail.

Here is a dramatic re-enactment of Aaron’s facial expression after trying the tomato and cucumber salad.
My tomato and cucumber salad now tops the list of WWSD – world’s worst side dish. Have you ever made something so hideously horrible it lives on in infamy? Let me know, I need a good laugh!

Chicken broth for the soul

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Chicken broth and me have a thing. I’m not sure when it started but I’d say we’re pretty hot and heavy. Perhaps it began (cue dreamlike music) to the time when I went to Lima, Peru and helped in a local soup kitchen.

It was 2007, I was on a mission trip and one day our team went to a very poor village where, among other things, I chopped fresh herbs for the local ladies as they made chicken foot soup for the villagers. We were told not to try any food so I don’t know how it tasted but the local village men gobbled it down before they returned to work.


I am a fan of DIY chicken broth and I very much dislike canned soup. Now that I have mastered making my own chicken broth, the Hubs knows he skating on some very thin ice anytime he brings in a can of (HORRORS) soup!


Here are some reasons I like making my own chicken broth.

Healthy – I know what I put into it. Using local, in season vegetables I often get at the farmer’s market means I selected the ingredients my family is ingesting.

Easy – Basically I just dump a bunch of veggies, a chicken or a chicken carcass, garlic and spices into a pot of water, turn the heat up and just monitor their progress. I don’t measure anything and that’s something because I almost always use measuring spoons. You wash the veggies, cut off any yucky parts and let all the goodness cook and simmer together. Simply cut a head of garlic, cut the onions in half and leave the skin on, don’t peel the carrots and go on with your bad self! You will be popping your chicken broth collah in no time at all!

Cheap – Before I started making my own chicken stock, the Hubs would often have the dubious task of running to the store to get me chicken broth just as I was in the middle of cooking. Now I have frozen bags of chicken broth on hand, made from the scraps in my kitchen. I feel frugal!

Fun – It’s satisfying to create something good for my family. There have been times when I have gone a little overboard and the Hubs will say, “Hon, we have PLENTY of chicken broth!”

So here’s the recipe, if you can call it that. My OS love my chicken noodle soup and all the credit goes to the broth.

Yesterday I roasted two chickens and then put the chicken carcasses in a heavy pot. Other times I just put uncooked whole chickens into a heavy pot.

Then check your fridge and cupboards. Get some onions, a whole garlic, carrots, celery, leeks, turnips, parsnips, parsley, green peppers and onions (you don’t need all of these) and put whatever you have on hand into the pot.


Add enough water to cover all the ingredients inside. Generously add kosher salt or sea salt along with fresh ground pepper into the pot. Turn the heat to high and when it all starts to boil, turn the heat down and let the broth simmer until the veggies are nearly mushy.

Get either a large bowl or another large pot and with a colander, strain the solid ingredients from the broth. Once you have separated the liquid, you will see how rich and savory it is!

Once cooled, if you notice a layer of fat on top of the broth, simply remove it. You can freeze the broth to use later or immediately in soups, etc. The aroma of soup is permeating my house and I can’t wait to feed the Hubs and the OS tonight!

Julie and Julia, Cindy and Bea

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My mom, sister and I honored the memory of Grandma Varnado on her birthday by seeing Julie and Julia. What a delightful movie that I connected with on so many levels.

During my junior year in college, I lived in France and developed a fondness for French cooking. The French know their cuisine and I lived in Caen, Normandy with a family that took food seriously. In the summer I worked as a waitress in Monte Carlo and during my 10 months in France, I gained 20 pounds. Aside from the blood sausage (a dark red combination of stuff in a casing) tripe (cow intestines which reminded me of a ginormous white spider web) and kidneys (which were bathing in this thick, creamy, whitish brown sauce which still produces the
heebiejeebies every time I think about it!,) I tried nearly everything on my plate. Watching Julie and Julia brought me back to that pivotal moment in my life.

But Grandma Varnado was not a French cook. She didn’t whip up fancy aspics or complicated terrines

but whatever she made was splendid. If Grandma were visiting my mom, I would ask for her to make me potato dumplings and she never turned me down. A simple mixture of flour, salt, pepper and potatoes – talk about a cheap meal, yet every time I had a bowl of potato dumplings in front of me, all was right with the world. Just thinking of it makes me long for a steaming, hot bowl of it right now!

Like Julia Child, Grandma had skilled hands when it came to the kitchen. I’ve come to admire women who seem so at home in the kitchen. I feel pretty confident with my cooking abilities but what made Grandma a hero to me was how adept she was at using what she had already in the cupboards and fridge to create a masterful dish. She made cucumbers drenched in vinegar and onions perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. And she made cucumbers with sour cream and dill and I would always get in trouble for sneaking several before dinner. Her cheese ball is legendary in my large extended family. Food was one of Grandma’s ways of expressing her love.

When Grandma was raising her family, there was no such thing as fast food. On the rare occasion the family would go on a road trip, Grandma Varnado would make a big plate of fried chicken. She would then place it securely on her lap while the car tooled along until such time that my grandpa would pull over on the side of the road to feed her brood.


Julie and Julia brought back many sweet memories. I’m hoping this movie will inspire women in their kitchens.

Here’s to all the meals and memories we have savored! Happy birthday Grandma Varnado!

Nate and his shadow

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When my orange-haired, freckle face son Isaac was in fourth grade, he got to be a Kinder-Buddy. This tradition is intended to help the little kids transition to the rules and structure of school. Most people get just one Kinder-Buddy in their lifetime. Ike got three. Two got kicked out of school and the other he only had for a week. I’m not sure how much mentoring took place in that short time!

Now I have a son at West Point and in a way he’s got his own Kinder-Buddy. That’s because every yearling (also known as a yuk also known as a second year college student) gets a new cadet (soon to be known as a plebe also known as a freshman college student) to take under his/her wing. We’re hoping he will have more success than Isaac!

When Nate returned to WP on Sunday, he got to meet his new cadet. Josh (not his real name) and Nate will be spending a fair amount of time together.

I really like this about West Point; that the importance of strong leadership and mentoring is stressed. This allows my son to hone his skills as a compassionate and knowledgeable leader. Judging from how Nate takes being the oldest son very seriously, I’m sure he will rise to the challenge with Josh.

It’s also given me a chance to do my part in the process. On Saturday night my friend Carol posted something on facebook about getting some treats for her yuk to give to his new cadet. It sounded like a great idea but I wasn’t sure if my son would want to do that. I have to tread lightly on certain things. It was about 8pm when I asked Nate if I could bake something for his new cadet and was surprised when he said sure. Sometimes my OS isn’t too keen on my suggestions and offers for help, but he actually seemed happy when I made the offer.

So after dinner I made my OS’s mystery cadet some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Thank goodness for the internet because I didn’t have brown sugar and found a recipe which contained all the ingredients I had on hand. They tasted good and I was happy.


When Nate met his new cadet on Sunday (they don’t become plebes until A-Day which is August 15), Nate

introduced himself and then gave the guy the cookies. Nate had also picked Josh up some candy and soda and those are treasured and coveted items when you’re a new cadet. In the days leading up to A-Day, it’s easy for new cadets to feel lower than pond scum.

Aside from going to the bathroom, basically Josh can’t go anywhere without Nate. Josh needs books, Nate’s got to go with him. Josh is hungry, Nate is with him at every meal. My OS says he feels like he has a child or a pet! HA!

Once you become a full-fledged plebe, it’s not a whole lot better. How nice that at the very least, Josh will have a person who treats him with respect and will help him become his best. According to Nate, the guy was gushing with thanks after receiving the snacks. “Corporal, that’s awesome! Thanks, Corporal!” (It makes me smile to think of someone calling my baby “Corporal.”)

When some people are in leadership positions, they use their authority to abuse and demean those below them. We’ve all had horrible bosses, terrible teachers; you know those people who were completely inept and woefully in charge. But I know personally that when people take interest in my life, I am definitely more apt to follow their direction and try my best. I’d like to think that I have unknowingly passed on some lessons on how to treat others and inspire. And if I have done that, NONE of the glory goes to me by the way, it’s only because of Jesus!

I also liked what I heard about Josh. According to my son, not only did Josh like my cookies but he shared them with his buddies.

Until school starts, Nate’s new cadet will tag along wherever Nate goes. This semester, Nate will serve as this young man’s encourager, motivator, mentor and if necessary, butt-kicker. My OS is well-suited for this position!

The key to a Soldier’s heart is through his stomach- recipes included

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When I was a young adult, I had my own apartment and a very bad case of depression. There were times when I hurt so badly emotionally, I became numb. It was like I turned off the switch to my feelings and tried to not have any. I’ll leave it at that.


But there was something that softened my heart and it was when my dad would call me and invite me over for dinner. My mother’s cooking represented comfort and familiarity. How could I say no? At the time, I couldn’t cook a thing, I couldn’t even boil water (no exaggeration) so a dinner at my parents’ house meant that some of my emotional and physical needs were going to be met. Just thinking of my mom’s sour cream cucumbers, roast beef, perfectly flavored gravy, fluffy potatoes activates my salivary glands. A part of me melted and healed when I was at my folks’ house despite the substantial dysfunction that existed.

Now I have children of my own. My oldest OS returns to West Point tomorrow and I have only cried a few times in anticipation of that heart-tugging farewell which will happen all too soon.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve that like my mother, will hopefully tether my OS to his home.

Tonight I’m making Jiao Zi (Chinese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings). If I want Nate home for dinner, all I have to do is ask if he’s interested in pork dumplings and I’m usually assured of about two hours of his time.

If you have a college-bound child or are a West Point Mama with a Soldier of your own, here are the recipes. It’s time intensive but the rewards are oh so great. As an example, Nate invited a few friends over for dinner the other day and one of his buddies asked if we were making those pork dumplings. I wasn’t but that sure made me smile. In December, we hosted a dinner party for Nate and his friends where we featured the pork dumplings, they were a hit!

I have documented our recent Jiao Zi experience just for you including the purchasing the round dumpling wrappers at the Grand Asia Market and the Hubs’ awkward moments therein to un-retouched photographs of my OS enjoying them later at our humble abode which I know is not the Chinese word for home.


Chinese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Jiao Zi)
1 ½ c. Napa cabbage, finely chopped

1 T. salt

1 pound lean ground pork

3 T. light soy sauce

2 T. dry sherry (may substitute water)

1 t. freshly ground ginger or ginger (I use Gourmet Garden ginger in the tube in the produce aisle)

½ t. white pepper, optional

1 T. sesame oil

pinch sugar

1 T. green onion

1 T. cornstarch

1 egg white

1 (1 pound) package round dumpling wrappers (found in Asian grocery stores)

Place cabbage in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together salt, pork, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, pepper, sesame oil, sugar, green onion, cornstarch and egg white. (Some Chinese cooks advise stirring the filling only in one direction.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while cabbage finishes draining.

Squeeze excess water from cabbage by hand. Add to pork and mix well.

To assemble dumplings, pour a little water in a bowl. Hold a dumpling skin in the palm of your hand and spoon over 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. Moisten the edges of the dumpling skin, and fold into a crescent shape. Make sure the dumplings are well sealed or they will lose their filling while they cook!

Fill a large stockpot about halfway with water, and bring to a rolling boil. Add the dumplings (you may need to cook in batches.) When water boils again, add a little cold water to lower the temperature. Repeat. When dumplings boil, for the third time, they are done. (They will float to the surface and the skins will look translucent.)

You can also fry the dumplings up with canola oil. We usually boil some dumplings and fry a bunch of other dumplings.

Note: Round dumpling wrappers are available in the refrigerated section of the Chinese market. Use these instead of square wonton wrappers, which have a different thickness and texture.

Serve with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

½ c. soy sauce

4 T. sesame oil

two dashes vinegar

2 t. chili paste, optional

crushed red pepper flakes

sliced scallions

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve in individual dipping bowls.

Do you have any food that brings you home? I’d love to hear it!

Good things come in small packages

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This was a new one for me. I opened the mailbox and found a small package inside. Upon inspecting the label, I recognized my oldest OS’s handwriting. “Why how nice of Nate to send us a little package. What a thoughtful guy! Awww.” He hadn’t mentioned anything to me about this during our many telephone conversations so it was a special treat.

Then I read the back of the package and learned that my OS graciously sent us…(insert dramatic music)

Applesauce

And not just any applesauce, dear friends. CARBOHYDRATE ENHANCED APPLE SAUCE


And who’s the fine maker of CARBOHYDRATE ENHANCED APPLESAUCE??? It is compliments of the United States Army, thank you very much.

Nate sent his beloved family Army-issue MRE (meals ready to eat) applesauce – just rip open the pouch and squirt contents in your mouth. Slap yo mama good! NOT! Per my Soldier, it’s utterly horrible.

No one knows why some of the MREs have postage. He thought sending us applesauce would be awkward. I concur. But thank you Jesus he didn’t send us the “veggie omelet!” According to Nate, “It’s the nastiest thing ever. I don’t even think it’s real. It’s just a nasty, egg-white thing that you could literally slurp out of a straw.” Ew! I hate gelatinous things even more after hearing that!

Sometimes while out on the field, squad leaders randomly hand out the MREs. You can get something good or something “inhuman.” Occasionally, Nate has heard some of the guys yell, “Oh #%@$!” That means they got the dreaded omelet.

Back to the CARBOHYDRATE ENHANCED APPLESAUCE...why I can just see your mouths drooling with slobber. I know you’re jealous. How many moms get their sons to send them anything, let alone applesauce? Such is the life of a mama of three sons – one of whom will be a Cadet Corporal in just a few days!

Loving it!

A boy, a summer and two sweet potatoes

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Take one mom, a 12 year old son and two sweet po- tatoes and whad- dya get? These strange and awkward pictures…


It was Sunday and we made our usual trek to the farmer’s market. I’m going to the local farmer’s market so often, I recently was shocked to notice how chilly it is in regular grocery stores! But at the farmer’s market, virtually all the food I purchase is room temperature (at least until things really heat up around here.)
And in addition to buying this amazing goat cheese, green lettuce and other treasures, (I have a good supply of beets, thank goodness!) we bought a trusty stash of Beauregard sweet potatoes. As usual, our family likes to pick out the funny shaped tubers because well, we like to laugh while preparing and eating our food. There are some very hilarious shapes, let me tell you ~ especially if you are the mom of three OS!


We purchased these big fellas complete with our standard sweet potato chuckles. When we got home and it was time to get dinner ready, I asked my trusty sidekick, my little orange-haired OS, Isaac to help me. We stoked up the grill but before we put those suckers on the hot coals, I used my creative genius, (yes I said genius) and took these pictures.

I am the proud mama of a Soldier, a fella heading out to Guatemala to serve Jesus for two weeks and now, at long last, I am the mama of a…

spud muffin



So next time you have your pre- teen child nearby and some healthy food around, don’t forget the camera! Duh!