Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Bison Zucchini Poppers – Yum!

We’ve been trying out a lot of new recipes recently as we’ve been trying to clean out our pantry and edge our way into a grain-free season.

Tonight, we made two pans of Jessika’s Roasted Vegetables* and modified One Lovely Life‘s Chicken Zucchini Poppers** to work with what we had on hand.

The recipe calls for one pound of ground chicken and green onions. We used one pound of ground bison and some chopped white onion. I say “we” like I did anything other than shred zucchini (go, go food processor!), chop onion, and thaw out the meat. Nathan was the one that did the mixing, molding, and frying*** – you know, all the messy, time consuming stuff. 🙂

To say that the finished product was well-received would be an understatement. Our older two girls (6 and 8) were talking about how they needed to learn how to make this so that they could make it for their kids. hahahaha! That’s never happened before.

The recipe says to dip the poppers in your favorite dip. We didn’t think there was any need. They were so moist and full of flavor that a dip would only distract from what was already there.

We will absolutely be making this again.


Now for footnotes! Because, well, footnotes!****

*I LOVE this recipe. It’s so very versatile and allows you to use up all of the loose veggies floating around in the bottom of the fridge. I love how my kids will pick out several favorite vegetables and be willing to try a few extras. Tonight, they each tried a piece of roasted jicama – and liked it. Whee!

**I don’t like to copy recipes from other blogs onto my blog. I don’t feel like it respects the author’s time and energy and it *certainly* doesn’t help their business. Thus, I will link to it, hope you click on it (I don’t earn money from that, btw), and enjoy the recipe as well.

***He did fry the poppers in bacon grease. We try to not cook with olive oil as the heat does wonky things to the oil and makes it less than stellar for ingestion. If you’re not a fan of bacon grease (what!!!), you can always substitute expeller-pressed coconut oil or ghee. OR, if you decide that you’d like to completely recreate this meal at your house and you don’t want to fry anything, you could bake the poppers alongside the veggies. Both recipes have a 400*F baking temp. You’re welcome. 😀

****I’ve been out of college for far too long. I need to take an English class again and get all of these footnotes out of my system. 😉

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Easy Beef Stew – a one pot meal

One Pot Beef Stew

It’s easy and delicious!









Aren’t one pot meals wonderful?

When cutting out processed foods, an unexpected side effect is a massive increase in the amount of dishes produced. Massive. Ugh.

Yes, one pot meals are a lovely break from the norm. This stew has the added bonus of being mostly hands off – ahhhh, bliss.

Even better – my entire family likes this one. One pot, hands off, and fuss free – does it get any better? 😀

Easy Beef Stew

  • 1-2 T. of coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 -ish lbs of beef stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen, organic corn
  • 1-2  16 oz. bags of frozen green veggies (okra and Fordhook limas are a great combo, but green beans are also tasty)
  • 1 beer
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of sea salt


  1. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a 5 or 6 Qt stockpot.
  2. Toss in the onion and stir it a few times to coat it in the oil. Let it cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the stew meat and stir occasionally until browned.
  4. Add the veggies and the beer, then cover and let cook for 10-ish minutes or until bubbling.
  5. Remove the lid and let it cook until the meat and veggies are fully cooked. This lets the alcohol in the beer boil off, but allows for the flavor to remain.
  6. Stir in the salt*, remove from heat, and serve.
  7. Enjoy! 🙂

*If you’re using salted tomatoes, you may want to start with 3/4 tsp. and then add more to taste.


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A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

Children are mileposts in the stream of time.
(Yes, really, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Compare your past and your present and your future with me.)

When I walked alone
(Though not by myself – thank God!)
Time meandered along
Days blurred one into another
As I lived for my (and His) pleasure.

When I married
My pleasure took on new dimensions
Sometimes soaring, sometimes falling,
As the two of us began the beautiful
and awkward act of becoming one.

(Becoming one forced encrusted layers off of me:
Selfishness, willfulness, independence –
All things that I thought myself to be rid of –
These things did rise to the surface
Like trash when the tide slunk silently away.)

Then, children –
O, children!
The loss of our first sank deep claws in my heart –
The fruit tossed before its time.
Despair rode me wild like an unbroken horse
Twin spurs of fear gouged me again and again
When the monthly reminders of my failure as a woman
Announced my lack with a bloody regularity.

And then–
Then Joy was born.
Conceived in Love and carried ‘neath my heart
Through fierce battles of Faith versus Fear.
(Many a prayer was said and sung,
For this woman wages war through worship.)
Before we knew her, held her, caressed her,
Joy was earmarked for her middle name —
For we knew that she would be a harbinger,
A herald, a living proclamation,
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength!”

Her escape from my womb was traumatic,
But the sight of her, the smell of her, and
At last, the touch of her made everything else
A vision she was — and a propellant.
(Truly, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Screw up your face and your courage and remember!)

Time, that once gentle river that I had mostly mastered,
(Foolish woman I am, but my day planner bears witness!)
Began to distort in the most curious of ways:
It simultaneously sped up
-owed down.
Its rhythm ceased to be such
And turbulence engulfed my perfectionist heart.

Before I could get my bearings
and know my way around this nursing babe,
she nursed no longer,
had a birthday,
and then a sister.
Where did my baby go?

(Pictures tell me she existed,
but my memory –
Lo, my memory sees but through a glass darkly
and thick, gray fog blankets all.
But for the digital imagery tucked away —
It could have all been a whiff of imagination.)

Now, two – an infant and a toddler and
The law of entropy kicked in to overdrive.
Long days, sometimes longer nights –
Months pass by even as time stands still.
A brother joins us and another sister —

And, my Joy is now eight.

I stand in the center –
A maypole
A merry go ’round.
They (these children mine!) spin, dance, cavort
and grow
So fast and yet (!)
Sometimes not fast enough.
(How I long to be through with diapers!)

So fast and,
“Won’t you please slow down?”

“I can’t, Mama,” she sings and dances and grows,
Up, up, and away.
Her time with me, sliding away through my fingers —
If only I could grasp it!

So, I tell you, Mother,
And I urge you, Father,
Look into those eyes.
Look down deep —
See the heart beating within.
A few short years
(“Such long years!” my selfish soul cries)
to teach and impress upon and to lovingly instruct and correct,
Such a short time to lay down your life
For those who come after –
Those grandchildren that you would not sentence to the fate of Hezekiah’s.

Mother, do the hard work now
So the harvest may come in —
Father, acknowledge that you matter.
Model what you want them to be —
that when young ones are grown
With young of their own,
When you have joined in with
That great cloud of witnesses,
You, too, can rejoice with Paul,
“I did not run my race for nothing!”

Yes, children are mileposts
In the non-stationary stream of time.
We rise, we fall, and
More come after – Selah.
Let it not be for naught.

Follow me, young ones,
Follow me as I follow Christ!


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