Meat-Free Monday

Ok, friends. Here's the deal: I absolutely love getting new, delicious, creative, inexpensive, and treasured recipes from my blogging friends. I love being able to take someone's advice and know the recipe is friend- and kid-tested...plus it always helps to change up the menu routine!

About a year ago, we decided to try going meatless for one meal every 1-2 weeks. We mostly made this decision to see how much money it would save us, but also realized we don't need meat EVERY night (hey, I grew up on a farm, so it's hard for me) and it would help us break out of our norm and try some new things. I have a few great recipes that have become part of our regular rotation and I'm going to share them over the next few Mondays!

I know a few of you who are mostly or, impressively, full-force vegetarian (Mrs. B., I think you're awesome!) and I'd love to hear some of your ideas, too. Meatless to me usually includes eggs or cheese as a substitute protein, so perhaps these recipes can't be classified "vegetarian," but they are meat-free! A nice change for the tummy and the wallet! The following recipe is my mom's, and can easily be made with ground beef, turkey or shredded chicken if you desire meat in your dish.

Rice & Black Bean Bake
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies (undrained)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 jar (8 ounces) picante sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 small can sliced ripe olives, drained (optional)
  • Corn or tortilla chips (or sturdy flour tortillas)

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Stir in the rice, sour cream, and 1 cup of cheese. Transfer to a greased 13-in x 9-in x2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and black olives. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve with corn or tortilla chips or make burritos with sturdy flour tortillas. It looks a little runny, but after it bakes, it sets up so that you can easily spoon it out of the dish.

Enjoy! And if you have a winner meat-free recipe, I'd love to try it!


Babies In A Box

We LOVE IT when Uncle Jay comes over...

Who knew a diaper box could be so much fun! Mommy and Daddy laughed and laughed while he pushed us around the house in our perfectly-sized car.

It's like a roller coaster! Elly has her mouth open and everything!

What a fun day. Cam had a ride plus a big bite of scotcheroo - can you tell?


Currently Reading

Has anyone read it?


Us Lately

Sorry for my lack of posts in the past few days. We're back in MN and enjoying the fab weather...not as much time to blog! Here's what we've been up to...

...babysitting our sweet as a peach niece Isabella so her Mommy could go on a birthday date.

...being a wild woman, hair and all!

...visiting Papa & MeMa Sieh in Iowa, and playing with cousin Malachi! And getting suckers and ice cream and all kinds of treats and cuddles from our wonderful grandparents!

...reading and playing with my awesome Grandpa & Grandma B! Reading some of the same books Mommy was read as a baby...so special! They also gave me my first taste of taco pizza, YUM!

...enjoying our favorite snack, Great-Grandma's breadsticks! What a perfect finger food.

Wowza, that was a big bite Miss Elly!

...taking Sunday afternoon naps all cuddled up with my favorite guy, Daddy. :)

Whole World

"Whole world," is what I've been hearing all morning from Cameron. Today when he got up with Caleb (I was downstairs with Elly), he told Cam that he loved him more than any other little boy in the whole world. Usually, when we tell Cameron we love him, he replies "Uv Zoo," and sometimes even throws in "So much!" Today, though, when I tell him I love him, he responds "Whole world!"

Aren't these moments precious?


I'm It

I've been tagged by my dear friend Janel at Team Sullivan to play this fun little photo game! You are supposed to find your sixth photo folder and pull and post the sixth photo inside. My folders are auto-organized alphabetically, so I came up with something pretty random, all the way back from May of 2008! It actually almost made me cry...

It's my sweet Miss Elly, only a few days after coming home from the hospital! She's just a peanut! How edible is she??!

This is fun. I'm tagging:
Ashley @ She's Star-Crossed
Jordan @ The Arnold Family
Rachel @ Changes With the Seasons
John @ iSurrender (I know you've got cool photos!)

You should play, too!


It's Worth It, Friends

I have been L-O-V-I-N-G this song, Dearly Loved by Jimmy Needham. Upon searching for the lyrics, I see it's from an album out in 2006. I am quite often the last to pick up on trends or notice when new things come out, so perhaps most everyone has already experienced this song.

It is beautiful and filled with truth. I first heard it on the Christian TV "radio" station I listen to during the day, then I found it on You Tube. If you are hearing it for the first time, please just close your eyes and listen (I'm not crazy about the "video" this person made to go with it, the pictures zoom too fast and make me a lil' queasy).

My heart and eyes well up for the people in my life that need to know the love of Jesus...this puts it so clearly. It's not about condemnation. It's not about perfection. It's about His love.

Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Dearly Loved
By Jimmy Needham

Please lay down your arrows

For they're sure to pierce the skin
And water from a broken well
Will make you thirst again
When all things you've acquired
Are tested by the flames
And you can see them melting
Then will you call His name

It's worth it, brothers
It's worth it, friends
To know your Maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved?

To the slaughters you are being led
Being told that it's a party
That this God is in your head
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that He died for you

No greater joy
No greater peace
No greater love than this

It's worth it, brothers
It's worth it, friends
To know your Maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved?


Basketball Boy

Cameron and Elly came with me to cheer on the Rams to their regional victory last weekend. We usually hide in the equipment room or behind the bleachers so we don't create too much of a scene. On Saturday, the ball bins were out and one of the gameday staff members helped Cameron climb in. He thought he was pretty cool hanging out inside! He also spent the day stealing pickles from the coaches' hospitality tray in the corner of the room...

Thankfully NCU is gracious and accommodates the craSiehs! My basketball-lovin' boy!

Bashful Beauty

Elly's hair laid down today like magic! No barrettes, clips, teeny rubber bands...nothing! After months of comments from [too bold] passers-by that she has "orangutan hair," "one giant cowlick," or a "fluff puff," we are vindicated! I happen to love her hair, however it may or may not lay. My sweet little beauty.


Needed This Today

Changed By The Spirit
By Gail Rodgers

There are places and times when we feel we need extra wisdom, insight, guidance and strength. We long for understanding in situations that seem confusing. We need revelation when truth is being hidden or skewed.

God provides all these things to His children through the Holy Spirit. Paul the apostle, prayed for believers to receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so they could know God better.

This prayer is still for us today. It reflects what is available to believers … to you and me.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you
• may know the hope to which he has called you,
• the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and
• his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”

(Ephesians 1:17-20)

Why do we allow ourselves to live in confusion and even chaos when we can be equipped by the Holy Spirit of God? Do we miss the wisdom and revelation we can have from God because we drown out that quiet voice of the Spirit by our busy lives? In so doing we are actually choosing the chaos and confusion. Think about it. This is not God’s plan for you. Know He wants to equip you to walk in wisdom, revelation, strength and power right where you are. He wants you to know Him better.

Think of one area where you are experiencing perplexity, confusion or chaos and invite God right now to begin to show You His wisdom in this situation.


On To Nationals!

Caleb has been assisting the North Central University (where we both attended college) Men's Basketball team this season. This past weekend, they won the Regional Tournament and the right to compete at the NCCAA National Tournament in Springfield, MO in two weeks. Ryan Leak (fourth from right in the pic) was named the Region MVP and Jon High, the head coach, was named Coach of the Year!

A pretty impressive list of achievements for a deserving group of genuine gentlemen who have their hearts and focus in the right place. They strive to hold each other accountable and do everything they do to the glory of God. The best news is that I'm pretty sure we get to head down and see them compete (Caleb took some time off in faith that they'd make it)! The women also won the region and will be competing in Kentucky next week.

Go Rams!

NCU Rams Basketball 2009
photo credit: T. Meadows, North Central University