Luna's Landing

Another day, another lesson learned


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Tofu Strawberry Smoothies the Kids will Love

I’ve been missing from my blog for a while.

I graduated from my Masters program, started applying for doctorate programs, and forgot all about this little space that I have.

But I am back with a new recipe that both I and my kids are loving!! This Strawberry smoothie is packed with protein, thanks to the tofu, can be altered to be any berry or fruit smoothie that suits your family, and can be frozen to create a sorbet to snack on another day. Also, smoothies are nearly impossible to mess up, and don’t need exact measurements, meaning they can be made in a jiffy.

Here is what you need…

Ice (~1 cup)

Frozen Strawberries (~1.5 cup)

Silk Tofu (~1/4 of a block)

t. Vanilla extract

Optional Sugar

Milk (1 cup or more depending on how thick you want them)

*None of these measurements need to be followed precisely, take these more as a guideline.

Throw them all in the blender, and viola! Yummy healthy snack for the kids, and a punch of protein for those picky eaters!

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Homemade Bread

Homemade bread always reminds me of my grandfather’s home. His house always smelled of freshly baked bread (and was a zillion degrees!). Making bread at home with the kids is not only nostalgic, but also teaches them how to properly use the kitchen, and shows them how rewarding homemade gift giving is!

I have been asked by a few people for the recipe I use to make my homemade bread. This recipe is super easy and fast, and makes great white bread. I like to make a lot at once and freeze the extras! We never buy bread anymore! It is also a great gift for neighbors, friends, and family. This recipe yields 4 loafs of bread.

What you need:

4 cups warm water

2 TBSP yeast

2/3 cup & 1 TBSP sugar

11 cups all purpose flour

1.5 cup powdered dry milk

2/3 cup canola oil

1 TBSP salt

Instructions:

Using a whisk, start off by dissolving your 2 TBSP of yeast and 1 TBSP of sugar in the 4 cups of warm water (in a LARGE bowl). Set this bowl aside (it needs to rest for a minute or two). In another large bowl, mix 8 cups of flower with the 1.5 cup of powdered milk.

Going back to the yeast mixture, add the rest of the sugar, the canola oil, and salt.

Next, add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. You can do this in a machine, however, I like the good ole messy way, doing it with a spoon and my hands. Mix until the flour mixture is sticky and evenly moist. Slowly add 3 cups of flower to the mixture. I like to add one cup at a time to make mixing easier. (At first it may seem like you have too much flower, don’t worry, keep kneading, it will mix in!!).  If you do choose to use a mixer, when you are done adding the 3 cups of flower, take the dough out and knead by hand for a few minutes on a lightly flowered surface.

When you are done kneading the dough, shape it into a ball, and place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl (I use aluminum foil, and I grease the foil to prevent sticking after it rises).

Let this rise until it doubles in size. This takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Again on a lightly floured surface, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down. This releases the air in the dough.

Next, cut the dough into 4 even pieces. I like to roll the dough out in a long strip and about 6 inches wide, this isn’t science, its just what I prefer to do so that making a loaf shape is easier. Next, roll the dough into a cylinder, and press the ends.

Place the loafs into greased loaf pans and cover them (again, I grease the cover). Let this sit until the dough rises just above the top of the pan (this can take any where between 30 minutes and an hour).

Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until the internal temperature is 190 degrees. This usually takes around 20-25 minutes. If you do not have an internal thermometer, there are other ways to know if your bread is done, but they are never as reliable. Bread should be golden brown with some dark spots. If the top is still pale, it is not done. The crust should be firm, and I have read (but never tried) that if you flick the bottom of your loaf, it should sound hollow when it is done.

When you take the bread out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan. Once the loafs are out of their pans, butter the top and sides, this makes the bread softer (don’t worry, it will not make your bread soggy!).

 

Here is the bread I made tonight!

Here is the bread I made tonight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you are done! Great fresh bread to eat, share, and store!

Tell me what you think in the comments!

 


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A different kind of post…

This post is different for me, but it seems like a good time to post it. 

I recently had to have a talk with a good friend about the way she has been acting lately. This friend has been my best friend since grade school, and I see her more as a sister than friend. She is fun, creative, caring, and the most trustworthy person I know. She understands me like no one else, and is always by my side. 

Lately she has not been herself. She is angry, cranky, and pretty naggy. Her husband, my husband, and myself have been having to watch what we say around her in order to not upset her. This is not like her. 

I could see her giving up. She was angry with life,  bitter about how things are turning out. 

I’ve seen this before…… In myself. 

The thing is, sometimes things are hard. Not everything turns out like we expect it to. Life throws us lemons, so to speak. The light at the end of the tunnel sometimes turns off. 

Image

Lumos

In Harry Potter, Dumbledore says “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Being a big Harry Potter fan, I had always known this quote, but it took a dark time for me to understand what this really means. 

When times are hard, when we feel like we have nothing more to live for, when we give up, we are surrounded by darkness. We forget that there is supposed to be a light at the end of said tunnel. 

We have to turn the light on ourselves. 

Sometimes this takes a friend. In my friends case, she was sitting in the dark, giving up. She felt that she made too many mistakes, she was in over her head, and that she was going to be stuck where she was for the rest of her life, equating in life being miserable. 

This misery makes us angry, bitter, and sad….. very sad. 

How do we turn on the light??? 

I dont know if I have the answer, but I do have thoughts based on my own experience. 

Find something that you want to work toward. This could be going back to school, working hard to straighten out your finances, anything. Find something that is hard, something that challenges you, something that makes you work for it. The harder you work, the more accomplished you feel at the end. 

Do something to define yourself. Be different, even from your friends. Join roller derby, yoga, start writing, exercising, etc. 

Doing these things makes a light. If you continue the misery you are in, if you give up, you will sit in the dark forever. Change something, work toward something, find something to make you unique. This creates something for you to look forward to (the light). 

So as cheesy as it may seem, remember that “happiness CAN be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remember to turn on the light” -Dumbledore


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Another way to keep away the stress..

I am a busy woman. I am always on the go. Mom duties, student and teacher duties, and sport duties (i just like saying duty at this point).

Here is something I have found to really keep my stress levels down…

A clean house… or rather a lack of a dirty house…

When my home is messy, I can not concentrate on anything. I walk in the door and become an instant grump monster. How can I cook meals for my family in a messy kitchen? Who can study or write papers in a toy filled living room? My kids cant play if their room is messy. I don’t like to get dolled up in a disgusting bathroom.

The funny thing is, the things I don’t do when my house is messy, are all stress relievers for me. I bake and cook a lot… like a lot a lot.. and I love doing it!  CHECK OUT THE PICTURE I POSTED!! Thats a cake I made for my leagues birthday party… I call it the Skate Cake (super creative as always!!) I made the wheels out of chocolate.. any derby player should love this cake!

Cake by Luna!!

Cake by Luna!!

If I procrastinate on my homework because my house it too messy to concentrate.. talk about added stress the next day.

If my kids cant play in their room, they would just sit in front of the TV and watch Umi Zoomi all day…. One, I don’t want TV monsters, and two, mommy doesnt want to watch word world and team umi zoomi..

Getting dolled up.. well if you look like a slob, you feel like a slob. I love doing makeup, I like having time to do my hair and look presentable, because I then feel presentable.

So….. clean house = Happy Mommy!!!

I have a routine to keep my house clean, and this is the KEY to having a clean home in my household.

In the mornings I wipe down counters, unload the dishwasher, sweep around the house, and vacuum. Simple, fast, and ready to go for the day.

If I am home with the kids all day, at nap time I do toy clean up to maintain the house.. nothing much.

At night after the kids go to bed is when I really clean. I load the dishwasher, do laundry, fold laundry, wipe down doors, swiffer the hardwood and tile, organize book and dvd shelves, and each night I find something new to deep clean (when I run out of things, I start over). This method allows me to have a constant clean house.

Not only does a clean house help lower my stress in all these magnificent ways.. it also helps because I have a silent house to myself when I clean at night. I have lots of thoughts in my head (healthy, not crazy.. promise). When the kids are in bed, I have to keep quiet. This means I clean quietly. This gives me all kinds of time to think about things. When I go to bed, I am ready to sleep, not ready to think anymore… and thats amazing!!!

So anyways… clean house… its more beneficial than you may think 🙂


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The first post…

I’ve heard around that keeping a blog helps a person reduce stress. Blogs give people time to be them selves, be creative, and think about what is going on in their lives. I am a mother of two beautiful young children, am married to a wonderful man, am working on my masters degree, instruct at a local university, and play a pretty intense sport. I love every aspect of my life, except for my stress levels. I am going to give this blog thing a try. Im sure I will never have a reader, but that is not the point of my blog as of right now. If I tell my friends and family about my blog, I feel I will be pressured to write in a certain way or leave things out. I may blog about what I did that day, what I need to get done, what I made for dinner, funny things my kids did, or something completely random… WHO KNOWS! Here is my official first post…