Sunday, November 29, 2015

Skillet Brownie for Two

A couple of weeks ago, we needed a little "date" so we enjoyed "Dessert at 9pm" (which is similar to my "Dinner at 8pm"). I brewed some hot tea (as I was coming down with a cold) and made this yummy brownie for two in a cast iron skillet. I had seen a low-carb version of this on Pinterest and decided to make my own version (mostly because I was out of almond flour). It was a simple and delicious little treat to enjoy in the quiet after the kids were asleep. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roasted Quad Pepper Hot Sauce

A few of years ago I stumbled on a recipe for jalapeno hot sauce. My hubby LOVES him some hot sauce and uses it all the time so I decided to give it a try (here's my original version). I made my version a couple of times and we really enjoyed it. However, as time has passed, both of us have developed a taste for spicier foods. This year we planted a couple of new varieties of pepper so I decided to tweak my recipe and roast four different kinds of peppers. I also added some new spices that we discovered thanks to The Spice House. Unfortunately, our peppers this year were not as spicy as they usually are (I'm wondering if the cooler weather played a part in that) so the sauce still wasn't as hot as we would have liked. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Menu 2015: October 12-November 8

Life just hasn't slowed down even a little bit since school started and I am dreadfully behind on posting menus and a few of my newest recipes. Oh well! On Monday we had to get some recall work done on our van so I had some time to sit and work at typing up the menus for the next few weeks, which is really great because the next month looks as if it will be just as busy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Motherhood is hard.

Motherhood is definitely the hardest and yet most rewarding job in the world, and today is proof of this: one child (while completely not thinking) stabbed the leather couch repeatedly with a newly sharpened pencil while another child (the one who has been super difficult to deal with ever since the first day of school) got right to work this morning and finished her schooling before lunch. 
With having several kids super close together, I often feel like I continually deal with the same issues because as one child overcomes a particular "phase" (hair cutting, coloring on walls, etc.) another tends to move into it. Then you add new problems to work through with the oldest (or sometimes one child does something new that you have never had to face with your older three). Some days it feels like a constant battle. Then you have days where you see progress: the kids make their beds without prompting, the child who has been struggling with a concept in school finally gets it, your child offers to help with something because they thought it would be the right thing to do. The days where you see progress are the days that we must look forward to, must remember, and (from what my parents tell me) will some day treasure as beautiful memories. Hang in there. Find opportunities to encourage some other mom who is most likely struggling. Remember that none of us is perfect or has it ALL together. Happy Monday. Enjoy another cup of coffee.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

[Gluten Free] Chocolate Zucchini Cake

There are days where I almost feel as if I've got zucchini coming out my ears so I've been working on recipes that use zucchini. I've substituted shredded zucchini for the spinach in my baked meatballs, made up a roasted veggie pasta dish with zucchini, and even made a GF blueberry lemon zucchini cake with lemon cream cheese frosting (which is SO delicious and you can't eve tell that it's GF). When I signed up to bring snacks for a fundraiser, I just knew that I needed to try something with zucchini. Since the fundraiser was a bike ride with three different options (10 mile route, 20 mile route, and 40 mile route), I needed to make a carb-loaded finger food. I opted to play around with my blueberry lemon zucchini cake and make chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Sorry that their isn't a picture but I forgot to take pictures before the fundraiser and they were gone afterward. I will try to get pictures the next time I make it! :)

Menu 2015: August 31-September 27

AHHHHHHH! Another school year begins on August 31st and I will be am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. In an effort to get school started off on a good note, I will be doing a boatload of crockpot, one-pot, prep ahead, semi-homemade, and simple dishes. I usually struggle with school as I'm not naturally a time-conscious (or organized) person. But we're working on that. :)

Let's get started with what I'm planning for meals over the next several weeks.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Menu 2015: July 20-August 2

Life has been crazy busy as of late and our summer is flying by at break-neck speeds! I haven't been doing very well at writing up and/or sticking to menus at the moment. We've done a lot of subs and a few nights of pizza. We've cooked in the grill as much as possible on the hot days so we don't overwork the AC. Since it's summer and we've been doing some more work on the house we're trying to sell, there has been lots of travel, which accounts for some of the missing menus. However, I did at least get the next two weeks written down so I thought I'd share. :)

July 20-26
  • Breakfast Skillet (hashbrowns, veggies, smoked sausage, cheese, and eggs)
  • Bacon-wrapped pork loin, cheesy potato casserole, and steamed green beans
  • Brats/hot dogs, and veggies
  • Grilled chicken and pasta salad
  • Chicken enchiladas and fruit salad
  • Subs, fruit, and chips
July 27-August 2
  • Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, and steamed veggies
  • Pulled pork and slaw, BBQ beans, and fruit
  • Pizza, fresh fruit, and salad
  • Grilled chicken and citrus Berry kale salad
  • Spaghetti, glazed carrots, a side salad, and garlic bread

Saturday, July 18, 2015

[Gluten Free] Blueberry Lemon Zucchini Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

[Gluten Free] Blueberry Lemon Zucchini Cake
with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
It's blueberry season around the midwest and zucchini season will be here soon enough. I know I need to finish using up the stuff that is in the freezer from last season as I'll have to make room for this year's harvest. Now, I should probably tell you that I adore anything with lemon - pies, puddings, cakes, etc. I don't think I've ever tried something lemon without loving it. With that in mind, when several of my friends posted a link to I am Baker's blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream on Facebook I knew that I needed to try it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day is not about me. Period.

Yes, I am a mother, but Mother's Day is not about me.

Don't get me wrong. I love the beautiful children that God has bestowed upon me. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the gifts given to me by my wonderful husband and children. But I will say it again, Mother's Day is not about me.

Mother's Day is about my mother and celebrating all the love she has given to me and the sacrifices she has made for me. If it wasn't for my mother, I would not be where I am today.
She pushed us all to be the best that we could be because she had the vision to see our potential.
She encouraged us to try new things.
She made sure that we had all the necessary training we'd need so that we could better minister to our own families and church families some day.
My mom is one of the hardest working women I know.
She may not be one of the most sensitive people in the world but she sure cares an awful lot about others.
She has a deep love for the Lord and the ministry.
She is strong and capable.
She is humble.
She is generous.
To me, she is the embodiment of the Proverbs 31 woman. Someday, I hope my children can say the same about me.

So, whether you're already a mother or longing for the day when you will be one, this day is not about you. It's about your mother, the one who put so much of herself aside for you.

Thanks, mom!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Weekend Breakfast and Brunch Ideas

I love making extra special things for holidays and Easter weekend is no exception. Many times I will bring in a special treat for our Sunday school class. I enjoy using food to be a blessing to others when I get the opportunity (although, my dear hubby sometimes wishes that I didn't as it often affects our waistlines). With Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday happening this week, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favorite options.

Cheese Blintzes

My sister introduced me to this recipe when Jared and I first got married. It is delicious and makes for a nice breakfast, brunch, or ladies tea dish. You can play with different filling ideas as well to make different flavored blintzes, i.e. nutella, pb & j, etc.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Menu 2015: March 2-April 5

It's going to be a busy month full of school, church activities, and wedding sewing so I've got lots of slow cooker or quick and simple dishes on the menu.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Menu 2015: February 2-March 1

This month is going to be incredibly busy. I've got my regular duties - homeschooling, part-time secretarial work (4-6 hours a week) , housework, church work, etc. - and I've also got two weddings and a missions trip to work on . I am very excited about both the weddings and the trip but it just adds to some of the stress. With that in mind, I'm going to try to keep things a little more simple. So here goes...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Goals for 2015

I haven't done New Year's Resolutions in a long time. Instead, both the hubby and I make a lists with the goals that we plan to work toward throughout the year. You can see last year's goals here. I did fairly well with my goals last year and am hoping to make progress toward this year's as well. So here goes (better late than never), these are my goals for the year. Oh, and please check up on me from time to time to see how I'm progressing. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Creamy Turkey and Rice Soup

We enjoy brining and roasting turkey for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving since my hubby isn't a huge fan of ham and grilling steak for 6 people isn't as cheap as turkey. The only problem is using up the abundance of leftover turkey. There's only so many dishes that you can throw together, oh so I used to think. I came up with this recipe a few months ago and it has continued to be a big hit with our family. It's an inexpensive meal and my kids usually eat one and sometimes even two helpings without a fuss, which is always great.

[Gluten Free] Blueberry Balsamic Chocolate Cake

The hubby and I really enjoy to cook for and entertain friends, and tonight was no different. We had a
childhood friend of Jared and his sweet fiance down for fittings, a visit, and dinner. They have changed their lifestyles and eating habits in a way similar to us so we wanted to make something delicious and low-carb for both dinner and dessert. We served grilled tuna steaks (chicken for the kids) with mango pineapple salsa and wasabi, wild rice medley, and a garden salad for dinner. It was so good, mostly because my hubby was in charge of the proteins. Miss. E. helped me prep the salad and wild rice medley early in the afternoon so that my portion of dinner prep would be done in advance. That way I could focus on wedding gown and tuxedo fittings, which I think I enjoy a little too much. :)
I knew dinner wouldn't be difficult to do low carb and low calorie, but dessert tends to present more challenges in regard to that. We got some beautiful balsamic vinegars from Fat Louie's while we were on our 10 year anniversary getaway last October and I have been dying to try them in dessert. I looked up a few low carb chocolate cake recipes (because chocolate and balsamic pair really well together) but none of them were just right so I went to the kitchen to play like a mad cooking scientist. :) What I came up with was absolutely delicious. It was decadent, yet it didn't leave you with that feeling in your stomach like you overdid it. The cake was almost fudgy in consistency yet not overly sweet, the blueberries added a nice pop of freshness, and the chocolate balsamic glaze gave it the perfect balance of bitterness, sweetness, and tang to cut through to creamy cake. The best part of all was that it was simple to make. Here's what I did...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Menu 2015: January 5-February 1

Did you know that January is considered:
  • National Hot Tea Month
  • National Oatmeal Month
  • National Soup Month
  • National Slow Cooking Month
  • National Baking Month
  • National Fat Free Living Month
With these in mind, I'm going to attempt to put a few more of these dishes in my menu. Here is a printable copy, as well as an editable copy (Word document).