Monday, November 19, 2012

It's been a while...

...since my last post.

I know, probably most people don't really even notice. So I'm not worried. I really post on my blog for my own enjoyment and my own sort-of journaling purposes. But anyway, I'd like to post a quick update on life as we know it at the Montgummibear household. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a complete or all-encompassing update, but just a few highlights and I will do my best to, sooner than later, post many of the drafts that I've got here in my library of posts, also seen in my mind as things-to-do.

1. This summer we decided to take our kids out of public school and homeschool them. So now I'm not only my kids' first teacher, as I always have been, I'm their actual school teacher too. We're loving this new challenge and really enjoying the time we have together and seeing God's plan for us in the education arena.

2. As a result of No. 1, we get to take fun field trips from time to time, we get to spend more time together, we don't have to get up as early most days, and we are finding new and creative ways to do many of our everyday tasks. Chore break, anyone? Field trip to Target, anyone? King Tut exhibit at Pacific Science Center, anyone? God is good. It's fun, and my kids learn a lot, whether on breaks, field trips (real or imaginary...I know, Target's a stretch...) or in actual "school" study time. :)

3. One of my best girlfriends was recently diagnosed with cancer, so we've really had some interesting changes happen in our family as a result. This family is practically family to us - she is like a sister to me, and all the kids are practically siblings. I'm like a mom to her kids, and she's like a mom to mine. So we do a lot of helping out with picking kids up, and having them over to do school work some afternoons. It's such a blessing to be able to help out this dear friend and her family. It's also a super huge bonus that we "happen" to be homeschooling this year, and our similar-aged kids going through much of the same curriculum. I realized long ago that there are no such things as "coincidence". This is just one example of said "coincidence".

4. God is the Blessed Controller of all things. See No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3.
And No. 5.
And No. 6.

5. There is so much more to update, so I guess I will just do one more. My baby sister Tasha had a baby in March, and she's super cute. Her name is Liliana. They just left from visiting here this weekend.  Lili is 8 months old now, and such a fun, happy baby. Not so much a baby now, since she can crawl around and pull herself up and stand while hanging on to the furniture. You know the age. They're so much fun. If you don't know the age, they're so much fun. Take my word for it, or go find an 8-month-old to watch for a few minutes.

6. I'm tired, and it's getting later and later. So I will have to write more updates another time. Again, there is so much more but I feel like I've at least done my "token" post for now, and hopefully it won't be 7 months between posts again. Or 8 months. Or whatever. One of these days I'll learn to count.

So I will leave you with a picture of my sweet niece, Lili. Or 2. Or 5. I'm telling you, this is the cutest baby *ever*. No lie.

See? I told you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I've been meaning to post this taco seasoning recipe for some time now, and since I made up a batch of it the other day, I took a picture or two so I could share! I don't know why exactly, but it's hard for me to share a recipe without a picture.

So without further ado, here is my version of taco seasoning. I love this because I know what's in it, and I know what's *not* in it. No MSG here. :)

Taco Seasoning


2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake until combined.
Store in an airtight container.

You can mix it up directly into an empty spice jar, but I make it in a mason jar so I have enough to store after I fill up my little spice jar.

I usually make up a double batch. Sometimes I make it times four, so I don't have to make up another batch as often. Especially as often as we eat tacos. Watch it though - it's pretty potent - so you don't need to use quite as much as that lame, chemical-ridden store bought taco seasoning.

I use this to season my taco meat, but also when I make quesadillas, I sprinkle this seasoning on top of the cheese/chicken/beans (whatever I put in the quesadillas) to give it some really good flavor. So yummy!

Here's my batch, before shaking...

...and after shaking.

Isn't it pretty? 

Now go on and make yourself some of this yummy stuff!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Tangy Tomato Soup

After church today I decided to make one of our go-to easy after-church lunches, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Usually, I keep some of those yummy boxes of Pacific Natural Foods tomato soup in the pantry. I looked in the pantry today, and they were all gone! No tomato soup to be found. So I decided I had better try to make some!

I first thought of diluting some tomato paste for the soup base, since I have a can or two of that sitting around. I looked up several recipes for more ideas. Then I remembered that I had canned some tomatoes in the fall, using a recipe from the Ball Blue Book for Roasted Roma Tomatoes. This recipe uses roasted romas, roasted garlic, onion, oregano, salt, and pepper. It was great too, because I had fresh romas from a friend, a bunch of garlic and onions from my CSA box, and fresh oregano from the garden! I love having these things on hand so I can try new recipes.

So far, I hadn't used any of these canned tomatoes yet, and honestly, wasn't sure how I was going to use them up. So now, I know. Whenever I need tomato soup, I'm going to use up my roasted romas to make this yummy soup recipe!

Because I'm not experienced in making my own recipes, I had to share this one. Try it if you want, and if you find a way to make it better, please share it with me!

Tami's Tangy Tomato Soup


1 Quart Roasted Roma Tomatoes (recipe from Ball Canning Blue Book)
1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 tsp Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base
1 C heavy cream


Pour tomatoes into blender jar and blend the tomatoes until very smooth. Pour blended tomatoes into a saucepan add cream. While heating to desired temperature, add salt, chicken base and cream. Stir and adjust seasonings to taste.

If desired, add fresh ground pepper, basil, parsley, or any other herbs or seasonings you like! I'll bet this is super yummy with some fresh basil thrown in.

Pour into bowls and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Mountain Rose Herbs Giveaway

Ok. I am super excited about this giveaway.

I already make my own laundry soap, which is super easy and I believe I have been remiss in posting about it. I will soon remedy that situation.

I would love to make more cleaning solutions to use around the house - and this company might just help me be able to do so, for free! :)

This giveaway from Mountain Rose Herbs is amazing!

If I happen to be the lucky winner, I'll definitely post back and let y'all know how many great items I'm able to create from all these wonderful ingredients.

I hope I win.