I'm back! I think...

To get back into the swing of things, how about a recipe?

Ok, this is someone else's recipe, but I have not found a crust I like better. Don't be scared off by the amount of butter. It's amazing and all REAL! I use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white flour and found that the texture is amazing and it's whole wheat....it MUST be healthy!!!



Is anyone out there a seed to plant kinda guy or gal??? Do you have any tips or resources? I have decided to start all my vegetables from seed from here on because of the enormous savings. From one packet for $2.75 I can get 50 plants versus 2 plants for $1.99, which is still a good deal if that is the way you want to go.


I think I'm becoming a morning person.

I have been up and awake since 4:30 am, no don't read that over...you read it correctly. I have decided that the only way for me to have some quiet time with my Savior and squeeze in some exercise is to get up before the crack of dawn. Lord help me, thankfully He is.


Great Old Broads For Wilderness

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to cater a "Broadwalk" for the Great Old Broads for Wilderness. We are heading up to Warner Springs, CA on Thursday to the Oak Grove Community Center. It should be crazy fun!!! Here is the menu: I use mostly all local organic produce and organic meats, cheeses, and dairy.

Thursday Dinner: Chunky Veggie Chili topped with tangy yogurt, cheese, and scallions Whole Wheat Corn Muffins served with honey butter Green Salad Dessert: Snickerdoodle Cookies
Friday Breakfast: Oatmeal Bar with tons of fixins' (Brown Sugar, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Etc..) English Muffin Fresh Fruit Dinner: Potato-Squash Enchiladas Southwest Slaw Dessert: Cinnamon Bread Pudding
Saturday Breakfast: Tomato, Asparagus, Goat Cheese Egg Frittata Roasted Red Potatoes Fresh Fruit Dinner: Vegetable Lasagna and Turkey Sausage Lasagna Caesar Salad Fresh Artisan Bread Dessert: Avocado Pound Cake served with Whipped Creme Fraiche, Grapefruit, Oranges, and Strawberries
Sunday Breakfast: Multigrain Pancakes Veggie Sausage and Pork Sausage Fresh Fruit Dinner: Blueberry and Yellow Beet Sushi Salad Pork Tenderloin Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Monday Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits with homemade granola Blueberry-Banana Muffins


What are those?

Well, those are certified seed potatoes from Ronniger Potato Farm in Colorado, I had lots of fun picking out what I was going to plant and here they are all ready to be put in the ground. Here's hoping for 70+++ pounds of potatoes!

Also, please excuse the terrible picture...cameras on phones are really good for nothing! =) Well maybe texting your mom to make sure that those pants don't make you look fat...


Book Review: "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day"

This is my new favorite book. Well, it would be yours too if you had hot, fresh bread every day (well, almost every day...even I don't have five minutes sometimes.) So, I have been making this bread for over 2 months now and LOVE, LOVE this book. They make it look so easy and you know what, IT IS! You will love it too, I promise. Pictured at the top of this post is the french boule that I made tonight. Crusty Exterior....soft, chewy interior....mmmmm..... The book calls for unbleached all purpose flour but I wanted to use whole wheat, so I have done this batch of bread with a very small amount (3 cups) of unbleached all purpose flour, 10 cups white whole wheat flour.

I'm back...with a Ryker update

So first I must start this post by apologizing for my absence, then again who am I apologizing to....??? Debbie! My former co-worker and friend reads this….So Debbie, I am once again posting. So, let me start again….

Debbie, I must start by apologizing for my absence in the blog-o-sphere and ask that you continue to read my blog, despite my lack of consistency. (by the way did you know Microsoft doesn’t recognize the word blog? One more reason I must switch to Mac.)

Here goes nothing…

Life around Ryker Household is always interesting but has been more interesting with the addition of two others living in our home. We have rented out two of our bedrooms to two ladies. Praise Jesus! So far, there seems to be no tendencies towards being a serial killer or axe murderer, for this I must shout another PRAISE JESUS! They also have stayed away from my Kitchen Aid, which means that they have my seal of approval. (Just so you know even touching the Kitchen Aid is punishable by death.)

I planted my spring garden this month. Paul lovingly built me several raised beds with a couple more coming to plant some items I am receiving in the coming weeks, so this year my plants will hopefully be disease free. Growing in our garden is: Swiss Chard, spinach, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, celery. I received my potato “seeds” last week, and much to Paul’s dismay they are not seeds at all but mini potatoes. I told him I was aware that they would be small potatoes but they are certified to be disease free and excellent for growing large quantities. He, I think is still convinced I was “ripped off” and couldn’t believe how excited I was to receive a ‘free gift with purchase’ which in fact was another potato seed. I love gifts! It could be a potato or a diamond….these things just make me happy.


I got nothin'!!!!!!!! Come back, I'll have more soon. Husband's like to eat and live in a clean house with clean clothes. Oh, but I did buy a new citrus essential oil for my laundry soap at Jimbo's and it smells heavenly...and you want to know the best part, it was the cheapest of them all.


Freedom Food

Freedom from industrially processed food
Commercial Mayo is made with industrialized oils, even the "new" olive oil mayo out on the market is made with just partial olive oil and the rest is soybean oil. Soybean oil is roughly 46% omega-6 fatty acids, a small amount of this fatty acid is great in your diet, but this amount is far greater than you want to be eating. Omega-6 fatty acids can also squash the effects of the excellent omega-3 fatty acids. That's my soapbox...now on to the recipe...
Homemade Mayonnaise ( Don't forget to say it like me, mannaise, it irritates Mr. Ryker) 2 egg yolks*** 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Using a whisk, stick blender, or regular blender - combine the egg, lemon juice and salt and pepper and mix until well blended. Mix at low speed if using a blender. Add olive oil a little at a time or in a constant small stream. The ingredients will emulsify and thicken. And...wouldn't some basil be great in this or some garlic or anything really.
I can't remember where I found this recipe (to give credit where credit is due) but it is lovely and you get the satisfaction of home processing your food. I'm dying for some chicken salad with dried cranberries and pecans right about now. Enjoy.
***Disclaimer: Always use FRESH, free range eggs. It is a personal decision to eat raw eggs. Eat at your own risk. \"/


Wholesome Recipe of the Week

Lentil Chard Soup (adapted from "Food and Wine" magazine)
1 cup lentils (rinsed)
4 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
--bring to a boil, add 2 lg. chopped yukon gold potatoes then simmer 25 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are just tender.
4 strips bacon, fry till crispy remove from pan
in bacon grease saute 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes till soft. Add Coarsly chopped Swiss chard--stalks removed (I love the rainbow variety from Jimbo's) and wilt. Add to soup along with salt and pepper. Add to soup and simmer for 15 minutes. Juice 2 lemons and add to soup.
Serves about 6. Great with a salad and some crusty whole wheat bread.


The Unconventional Housewife

Reaching beyond conventional
My Son of Promise "He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 113:9
I weep and wait for God to fill my womb just as...
Sarah waited for Isaac. Genesis 16-21
Rebekah waited for Jacob and Esau. Genesis 30
Rachel waited for Joseph and Benjamin.
Samson's mother waited for Samson. Judges 13
Hannah waited for Samuel. 1 Samuel
Shunammite woman (whom the Bible calls a great woman) waited for her child. 2 Kings 4:8-17
Elisabeth waited for John the Baptist. Luke 1
I put my faith and trust in God. He will fill my womb in His time, just as He was faithful to fill these wombs with not just any son but sons of promise.


One Frugal GIrl's Guide to Survival #3

Disclaimer: I don't know if I can really be described as frugal or that if you are frugal there is a need for survival. Frugal is relative. Now remember, because this what I am told I have to tell myself... "It is not a deal if we can't afford it." Paul Ryker, head of the Ryker household

We Eat! Our food lifestyle is changing and therefore this frugal girl, is doing a major re-think on her food shopping. I cannot shop the ads anymore for delicious "cheap" meat, because it is cheap in quality. If anyone knows me, they know that I get my ads and scour them for meat to fill my freezer. Not anymore, I only shop now for good quality meat. Grass-fed beef, free range chickens and eggs (they are omnivores like us, they eat veggies and bugs, so I look for that too!), and pastured pork. This is definitely costly, so I am looking for recipes to stretch these meats into multiple meals. It is amazing to me how for all this time I could eat meat without even thinking of what the animals ate. They are a lot like us, in that they need to be healthy, they need a premium food that is right for their diets too. Frugality is relative on this one, definitely. So I will leave you with the old saying, "You are what you eat." and a new twist from Mrs. Ryker, "You are what the food your food eats."


Wholesome Recipe of the Week

I LOVE making frittatas. I generally bake them in the oven so it is not completely a traditional frittata which gets started in a pan on the stove but this recipe is easy, frugal, and pretty tasty too!

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan in baby spinach. You can put a lot because it shrinks down. Next I sauteed two slices of bacon, then crumbled them. In the bacon grease I sauteed 1/2 a minced onion until soft. Then I sprinkled them on top of the spinach. I also generously sprinkled some whole milk feta. After that was all layered in the pan, I whisked together 12 eggs, 1/2 cup raw whole milk, then added freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Then just pour on top( the eggs won't completely cover the spinach) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until center is "wiggly free."


One Frugal Girl's Guide to Survival Edition #2

Disclaimer: I don't know if I can really be described as frugal or that if you are frugal there is a need for survival. Frugal is relative. Now remember, because this what I am told I have to tell myself... "It is not a deal if we can't afford it." Paul Ryker, head of the Ryker household

We "shop" the public library first. I LOVE books, so this one is hard. My dream house would consist of a study with ceiling to floor bookshelves and a chaise lounge right in the middle to read whenever I want to. Oh but my dream is to also have a big family, so I don't think this will be happening. Anyway, for fear of "spider-webbing," I will move to my point. Renting books from the library has saved us so much money, when I remember to turn them in on time. Just recently I stopped myself from spending $50 at Amazon and found the books at the library instead!
In case you want to know what I'm reading... Real Food by Nina Plancke, My Life in France by Julia Child (I actually bought this when it first came out in paperback and am re-reading it), In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, To live is Christ by Beth Moore,


Happy Anniversary Baby!

3 years ago I married my best friend, my love. The best part is, he knows the most about me and is still around. :)


NYR 2010

Now, comes the time for the dreaded, well ok, maybe not dreaded New Year's Resolution post. You know you have all already blogged yours, right? Here's some bed time reading in no particular order...

1. "Jesus Time" with the Hubba-wubba. We keep trying this and sometimes are very good at being consistent and other times it is once a month. Looking to keep this a habit and enjoy time growing close to my Husband and to my Heavenly Father. 2. Run 5k, 10k, and half marathon. This may sound crazy to you all, well it is I have gone crazy. I have discovered that the only way for me to get into shape is to have these goals. The 5k is in April, so I will have lots of time to get into peak condition. I have been running consistently for the last week and a half and it has actually been fun...I am crazy sore....but fun! 3. Whole Foods Diet. No this doesn't mean I am going to shop exclusively at Whole Foods Market. We are changing the way we eat, to more "real" food. My husband is exceedingly excited about this because that means raw cream top whole milk. The process will be slow, but look for recipes and thoughts on all this through the coming year. 4. Keep my master bedroom clean. Did you know that my husband would rather have the rest of the house messy, but our bedroom spotless. He calls it his sanctuary. I read, "The Other Side of the Garden" FUGATE last year and one of the points she made was to ask your husband about the house, where his sanctuary is and my husband of course said the place that all the junk goes first to hide. 5. Keep our budget tight and thrifty. Our desire and goal is to have all our debt (minus the house) paid off in the next 16 months. That is why you will be seeing posts about being frugal, living with less. Think "frugal chic."
Ok, I will leave it at that! Happy New Year, God's richest blessings to you and your family this year!


Wholesome Recipe of the Week

Yesterday, I made Alton Brown's Granola Bar Recipe and they were fabulous! Chewy, with some good crunch. We had our nephews over so I can tell you that they were "kid tested, and aunt approved."

Chelle's Comments
  • Make sure that you are measuring out everything with a scale. Lots of the reviews talked about how the measurements seemed off and that is because they were not quite accurately measuring everything by hand.
  • You can find wheat germ at Henry's in the cereal aisle. I like the raw wheat germ, since you are already toasting it in this recipe
  • For the dried fruit, I used half Turkish apricots and half dried cranberries.
  • When you add the dried fruit you can add some flax seed meal to give it some extra wholesomeness.
  • Next time, I think I will put in a bigger pan and make longer thinner bars, much like the store bought variety. These were squares and thick. Just remember to adjust the time baked.


One Frugal Girl's Guide to Survival Edition #1

Disclaimer: I don't know if I can really be described as frugal or that if you are frugal there is a need for survival. Frugal is relative. Now remember, because this what I am told I have to tell myself... "It is not a deal if we can't afford it." Paul Ryker, head of the Ryker household

I make my own laundry soap. click here for recipe
This may sound strange or you may think...does it work? Is it good for HE washers? Does it smell good? Does it really save money? And I can tell you a big fat YES to all these. I splurge on essential oils for the scent and love the lavender variety. I love knowing exactly what I am washing my clothes in and I really think it cleans better and does not leave a grimy residue. Now, I understand you all may be Tide lovers or cannot live without your All. But I bet I can make a believer out of you once you see how much money you are saving.
Note: I use Ivory bar soap and it works great and can usually find it cheaper than Fels-Naptha
I buy some things in bulk.
Keyword is SOME. Costco and I have a love-hate relationship. It is my Indy-500, I time myself to see how fast I get out of there and am going to start making my list by aisle number if they would just stop moving things around, it must be a conspiracy. I have a problem people or maybe it is a good thing. Just know if you ever stay at my house you can be sure I won't run out of toilet paper or pickles. I don't necessarily do all my bulk shopping at Costco. When I say I buy in bulk, I buy a lot of one thing if it is on "killer" sale. For example: my husband's 3-N-1 shampoo is made by Sauve (it is cheap already). But a couple weeks ago it was on sale at the grocery store and I got it for about $.75 ea. So of course I bought 6. Anyway, the moral of the bulk story is shop and hunt, cause when you are trying to cut corners it pays to find the best deals.
OK folks, that's it for edition #1 of this frugal girl's guide to survival. Stay tuned next week for Edition #2. For tomorrow, Chelle's Variation of "Alton Brown's Granola Bars."


Christmas will be here before we know it....

I know that it has been a very long while since I entered my very own blog. You would think that it is because I am very important and have so many things to do. Well, I am busy but I am on this computer way too much to not update all of you on the Ryker household. Let me start by saying that I CANNOT believe that it is june 12th already, can you? What happened to february, march, april, and may. I remember January going by but where did the last 4 months go? I will not bore you with detail by detail but here's a few...

  • paul has an art show today. My husband has been feverishly working and has produced some beautiful work. He leaves july 13th for 3 weeks to go on an art show "road trip." I don't know what I am going to do without my man for that long.
  • I have a thriving flower garden. Roses, lavender, hydrangea to name a few. I planted my first vegetable garden this spring and have too much squash for us to eat. But I love squash, so we are not at a loss. The tomatoes are doing well, despite Paul reminding me each day to check for horn worms and each day I say, "eeeeewwwww!" I have one carrot that is growing, yes, I said one! Only one seed took. So when that carrot is ready I am going to enjoy it! I planted green onions and they have taken off. I have found with discipline, I am enjoying gardening. Through my garden, my Lord displays my relationship with Him and His relationship with me. I am so fragile like my beautiful plants.
  • Our bathroom is SO close to completion. We are using it now. The only thing that needs to be done now, is some moulding. YIPPEEE! I can't believe how long it took, but it was worth it. Now that the bathroom is complete we are going to rent out our front bedroom. Jesus bring us the right person, I am so hesitate to do this but know that this is best!
  • I of course am still working at the credit union. I am working hard for another promotion. They have me training so that when a position becomes available I will be ready.
  • I have some catering opportunities this summer. Two wedding receptions, yikes! It is going to be fun and we are in need of the extra income but I am still nervous.
What else??? I don't want to bore you all! I will post more later....gotta go help the hubby sell some art!


Recession proof your bread box

I try to make bread at least once a week and no longer buy from the store. I just can't bring myself to spend over 3.00 for a loaf of good, no preservatives, whole wheat bread. Below you will find my recipe, I adapted it to fit my style. I sometimes add 2 tbs of flax seed meal to give it some oomph. When mixing I use my kitchen aid mixer and dough hook, this does all the kneading for me, then I just turn it out onto my oiled board and just knead a few times to make sure it is smooth.

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the honey in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl (I use nonstick cooking spray), and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled (nonstick cooking spray) 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.


Dating Anniversary

I remember this day well 3 years ago. I was a preschool teacher at Light and Life Christian School, My best friend got married the weekend before and was set to return from her honeymoon and I thought I was just going on ANOTHER blind date. I remember how God was shaping me up to this moment. He was preparing me for who? Himself. To use me, a sinner in another man's life. I had no idea that this man, was a man God was preparing for Himself, to use in my life. I had no idea that in just 10 months I would marry this man that God had prepared for me, that he would be my love. The man God has chosen for me to shape and mold me to prepare me to stand before Christ. If you don't know the story of how we met..here goes... My mentor at the time and still, Christina, was determined to find me a husband...my one superficial requirement was that he be tall, so she and her sister set me up with their nephew. Who was tall but not who God had in mind. We have another couple at our church (who turn out to be some of our best friends) who got married the october before we met and Christina had been at the wedding and noticed this man, a groomsman that displayed a marvelous servant heart, she also noticed that he was TALL. So she got to talking with our friends, Rich and Sarah and started hashing out a "plan." Rich quickly intervened, being very smart, "let's not try to trick them into meeting, let's see if they want to meet each other." They talked to Bre making sure it was a good idea(thanks Bre) and Bre being another smart woman sat me next to Christina, Rich and Sarah at her wedding, where Rich very promptly out of blue, "can we have your number so that we can give to our friend." I of course, handed over my number. That was Saturday and on Wednesday, I noticed a phone call from a Paul Rider (I thought he said Rider). I called him Thursday at nap time and we played phone tag. On the message he asked if I would like to do lunch on Saturday. I talked with Debbie at work and she said, "you should suggest the french bakery on Grand." So we talked and Paul said,"I know this great french bakery on Grand, Would you like to go there?"----I think God had that planned---just to make me smile. So the rest is history..... I don't want to bore you with what we talked about....but let's just say it "worked out!" : ) So I am off to eat lunch with my love at the spot we met.


My new favorite product

So lately I have been looking a little worn around the eyes and my mk consultant just happens to work with me and has been telling me about this product for awhile, I was like ok, great, anyway... But today I was talking with her and I was whining about how tired, run down, and heavy my eyes felt. So she gave me a sample of this.... This product is amazing!!!!! This is Mary Kay's Soothing Eye Gel. I don't sell this you'll have to talk to Luz, but if you see a Mary Kay Consultant grab her and tell her you need it, because what woman doesn't need a little eye revitalization?


Deep Honesty...

A year, several weeks, and a few days has passed and my womb is still empty. I find myself mourning my freedom. I get the "enjoy your freedom now" or "just you wait" all the time. I stare at pregnant women, children in carts, babies--secretly begging Jesus to grant this desire. I want their insane lives, I want to corral children around a cart in the grocery store, I want what they have. My heart cries out to God, my womb aches to be filled. I struggle with connecting what my mind knows with what my heart desires. I know that God will give us children in His time, I know that He has a plan, I know that He is moulding and shaping me. I know that our Lord might have a different plan, I know that all things work together ultimately for His glory. I must find contentment and peace through Jesus. I put my trust in Him and only Him, He will see me through.


Lake Arrowhead

This past weekend we headed up to Lake Arrowhead, where we stayed at my aunt and uncles cabin amidst foot after foot of snow surrounding the cabin. (It was actually a 3 foot wall) We had so much fun with our dear friends- jim, luba, rich and sarah. I am not quite sure I am ready to live where it snows but it's nice to know that it is so close if I want to visit it.
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Have some tea with me today, and enjoy time with Him.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 I really needed this verse today! Praise the Lord! I hope it will encourage y'all (remember I am trying to become southern, in so-cal) today!