Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peach Cobbler {in a Bag}



Several weeks ago, I dropped in on my twinsie. As we sipped on tea and chatted, my nephew offered to make a peach cobbler for our family. I was so very excited. I don't know of many pre-teen boys that would offer to do something so sweet for their Auntie! Anyway, needless to say, it was THE BEST peach cobbler I had EVER had. No kidding. It was devoured by my family that night. So, I asked him if he would send me the recipe so that I could share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family enjoyed it!

PEACH COBBLER {IN A BAG}
Adapted from Betty Crocker


PEACH MIXTURE:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch {I used Clear Jel and skipped the cooking part}
one 29 oz. can of peaches {I used four cups of fresh peaches…about 6 large}
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or pure almond extract

BREAD MIXTURE:

3 Tbs. shortening
1 cup self-rising flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup 2% milk


*Heat oven to 400*

*Mix 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan.

*Stir in peaches and vanilla.

*Cook stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.

*Boil and stir 1 minute.

*Pour into ungreased 8x8 square pan; keep peach mixture hot in the oven.

*Cut shortening into flour and 1 tablespoon sugar until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

*Stir in milk.

*Drop dough by six spoonfulls onto hot peach mixture.

*Bake 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

I hope you all enjoy!


MY VARIATIONS:

When I pick peaches, I like to pick enough to enjoy a few cobblers throughout the year, so I put all of the peach mixture ingredients into a Ziploc bag and label it with what I need to add for the topping and baking instructions. All you have to do is to REMEMBER to get it out of the freezer and whip up the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon and coarse sugar.

FAVORITE VARIATION: I HAD TO ADD THE 1/4 cup PEACH SCHNAPPS TO THE MIXTURE. NO WAY AROUND IT. It just puts it over the top! Imagine peaches frozen for months and then thawed and sitting in schnapps for a day. That is all I am going to say. Not to worry. The flavor will stay and the alcohol will go...away...far far away. DONE! lips are sealed! :}

SECOND FAVORITE VARIATION: Add 1/4 cup pure Orange Juice to Peach mixture. Seriously, just try it. You would not believe how it brings out the flavor of the peaches.

Now, every time I make a peach cobbler I remember the hospitality extended to our family through my nephew. It inspires me to want to share a freshly baked peach cobbler with someone I love...AND MAKE SURE MY SON CAN COOK AND BAKE!

Thank you, LANDEN! I LOVE YOU!

Who has nurtured you? Who can you think of who might need to be nurtured?

Ezekiel 34:26 "I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."

***Sorry...another good ol' archive post!

Shared with: stone gable, women living well, comfy in the kitchen

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dinner in a Sand Pail



Thank you so much, dear friends, again...for all of your prayers and notes for our Caleb! I think we finally have a handle on the pain. We are hoping for a good night of sleep for him...actually... for everybody tonight! It reminds me of having a newborn in the house. Instead of feedings, it is pain medication and ICE around the clock!

I am, however, taking full advantage of having this opportunity to take care of him and I am enjoying having him HOME! Not too many mommas have the chance to spend as much time with their 17 year-old sons!!

I have often wondered if I would have blogged when our children were young...since we didn't even own a computer until they were both in elementary school...and the answer is absolutely "NO WAY". Based on how busy I have been with taking care of a child who needs help with everything, I now know I am not nearly as talented as all of the young mommy bloggers who are capable of doing major multi-tasking and must have degrees in time management! I even forgot to feed our little dappled doggie today!!!

This morning, I woke up to this hymn on my mind! Though the last few weeks have been filled with lots of ups and downs, we can hold on to the truth that God is faithful! To know that the God of the universe never turns his eye from us for a second can fill us with hope and fill our hearts with PRAISE!

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me
Great is thy faithfulness

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

BE ENCOURAGED!!





No time for side dishes and gourmet brining and spices? Here is a fun solution! Dinner in a sand pail. Yep! No passing the veggies or bread and butter. Everybody has their own dinner in their pail. And it is still super nutritious and will leave your guests feeling pampered and not overly stuffed. Or this could be a romantic dinner for two after the kiddies are tucked into bed! {One of our favorite summer things to do was to have a late candlelight dinner on the deck after the little ones were thoroughly exhausted from swimming all.day.long!} No babysitters, no fancy restaurants...just the two of us with the babes close by...BLISS!}


Healthy Fish Fillets and Veggies {in parchment} No scrubbing pots and pans for this dinner!

This recipe serves two... but may easily be doubled, doubled again and again...for however many people you are serving!

2 Tbsp. butter

4 cups fresh spinach, washed and stems removed

2 4-6 ounces white fish fillets {I used halibut that was about a 1/2" thick}

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper...or Johnny's Seasoning Salt

half of a zuchini, cut into half and sliced into thin slices

4 baby portabellas, washed and sliced

1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

4 thin slices of lemon

2 Tbsp.olive oil

Parchment Paper

Bakers Twine...now available at Crate&Barrel!


Directions:

Preheat oven to 450*

For each packet, you will want to layer two sheets of parchment that is at least 15" long to keep all of your food inside.





Take your butter and run it down the middle.





Place 2 cups of spinach on top of butter.

Place fish on top.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper or desired seasonings.

Divide the rest of the veggies between two packets

Lay lemons on each and drizzle with olive oil.

Fold packets up: Fold long edge over opposite side and tuck the short ends under.

Place two packets in baking pan and place in oven for about 18 minutes or until fish is opaque in color. Be very careful with steam.

When I am taking this meal to friends, I add the twine for delivery and have them take it off to bake.

To serve: place packets in a bucket with bread, drink, silverware and a tin to place packet in to eat out of! I would suggest mini baguettes to put in your bucket...

VARIATION: You could put the fish in tin foil and cook it over a campfire on the beach...hmmm...dinner on the beach at sunset!

*from the good ol' archives

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Buffalo Taco Salad



Hi friends! I trust you all have had a great weekend. It has been hot here in the Northwest and it finally feels like summer is here! Our tomatoes are coming along, the peppers are ripe and the blueberries are divine! What a treat to pick produce right in the backyard!

Thank you ALL so much for your prayers, thoughts and e-mails in regards to our son, Caleb. Our meeting with the doctors and surgeon was a tough one to swallow. He will need two surgeries on Tuesday. One of the surgeries is complicated and it has to be perfect, or the bone will die. As a momma who hears that her son will not be able to do the job he has dreamed about for so many years...I must say I was just devastated...pleading with God for peace and for wisdom. By later that afternoon, I felt joy. Joy in knowing that this situation is in God's hands and it is exactly what He has ordered for Caleb and for our family.

"Joy is more than happiness...where happiness is circumstatial, joy is not. Joy is an unshakeable confidence in the truths of God, despite circumstances. when our children see an unshakeable confidence in the life of one who says she knows God personally, they are impressed and drawn to know HIM themselves." Elisa Morgan

Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest who wrote a book called THE WOUNDED HEALER wrote about how we can use our hurts to be able to reach out to others as a wounded healer. That is what we are choosing to do. There has got to be good in this situation or whatever situation you may be in. We are having to trust God. So, we are praying to GOD ALMIGHTY that He would heal Caleb and that the surgeries will be accurate and successful...according to what God has in store for our Caleb!

SOOO, with taking care of a child who has been in a lot of pain, I have opted for easy, simple meals that do not have to be served right away and that are great as leftovers AND that are favorites for the patient! We all love Mexican food...and Caleb loves Buffalo Wild Wings. I adapted this recipe and it should be called WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. Everybody loves it and I know you will agree! Prep is minimal and your crock pot will do the cookin' for you!


Dinner Menu:

Fresh Ginger Lemonade

Buffalo Taco Salad

Chips and Salsa

Fresh Watermelon Chunks

Cookies and Sorbet


BUFFALO TACO SALAD

4 chicken breast {soaked in salt water overnight and rinsed with fresh, cold water}

1 cup FRANKS RED HOT HOT SAUCE or WING SAUCE

1/2 cup water

*place chicken, sauce and water in crock pot on low for at least 6 hrs. or on high for 4 hrs. Every crock pot is different...so be sure to keep an eye on it.

Chopped romaine lettuce and red leaf lettuce

Shredded cheddar cheese

Olives

Red onion, chopped

Tomato, diced

A bit of fresh cilantro

A bit of blue cheese crumbles

Cooked black beans

Avocado

Blue cheese dressing

Chips, salsa and sour cream served on the side

*Once the chicken is fully cooked, use two forks to pull it apart or "shred" it.

Everybody made their own taco salad and it was easy, nutritious and a cinch to chop up!

*I served this buffet style so that everything would not get soggy. We had the taco salad fixings in Laurissa's homemade taco shells the next day for lunch. OH.SO.YUMMY!

ENJOY!


"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones"

Proverbs 15:30

*Is there a situation in your life that you could use to be a wounded healer?

Shared with: stone gable

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Orchard Yogurt



My momma and I met up for peach picking in the orchards on Wednesday morning and had so much fun. {I would have pictures to show you, but I had a blank memory card in the camera!}

I love picking peaches with her because we have so much fun talking and I always leave feeling completely inspired by her old fashioned tips on parenting, housekeeping, loving people and her zest for life is truly contagious.

As soon as we were done picking, we drove to another farm and had a picnic lunch in a gazebo. She packed our lunch and I felt completely spoiled! She made fresh tuna sandwiches, green olives, celery sticks, cheese slices, grapes, berries, and melon with toothpicks...and my favorite...placemats for lapmats. The "ARMY NURSE" thinks of everything.

SOOO, that really has nothing to do with yogurt, but since this is a journal as well, I get to document special memories!

About the yogurt: I love Nancy's Yogurt, because it does NOT have gelatin in it...which I can NOT stand the thought of eating. My children love Tillamook yogurt, but it still has gelatin in it...BUT when we pick berries and peaches from the orchards, I love chopping up fresh fruit and adding it to the PLAIN yogurt and putting it into little straight-sided jars. It is so good and good for you. Even organic yogurts have quite a bit of sugar. I would rather have my sugar in ice cream, cobblers and cookies.

*What is one of your favorite things to do with fresh fruit?

*post from the good ol' archives

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blueberry Upside-Down Cake



Thank you ALL for your prayers for our Caleb! God has given us so much peace...despite the situation. As I was praying on Saturday, I felt that God took all my fear and anxiety away! We are truly witnessing the power of prayer! We have a meeting with the surgeon on Thursday...so, we will go from there!

I am not sure what it is, but when my children are sick, I want to cook for them and make things better. I guess when a momma feels helpless...it makes you feel better to be doing something that may help!

Caleb loves pineapple upside-down cake, so, this morning at o-dark-thirty...I was up baking...even though he isn't even home yet! How insane is that? The little cakes will be wrapped and frozen for my oh.so.adventurous.full-of-life son! Now I am off to start clean-sheet MONDAY!

Do you...

*have a designated day for laundry?

*do laundry around the clock?

*let your laundry pile up and IGNORE it?

*have a maid? {actually, don't tell me if you have a maid...please!}

Happy Monday to each of YOU!





Blueberry Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from good ol’ Betty Crocker


*Preheat oven to 350*

*Using a 10 inch skillet…

*Melt 1/3 cup butter in hot oven

Then…

*Sprinkle ½ cup brown sugar on the bottom.

*Sprinkle blueberries on the bottom...not too many

*Place a cherry in the middle...or it just would would not be upside-down cake

*Make the cake batter

Cake Batter:

Sift together:

1 ½ cups cake flour {NO SUBSTITUTIONS...it makes a huge difference.}

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

Add:

1/2 cup softened butter

2/3 cup milk {I use whipping cream}

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon juice {I use Italian Volcano}

Beat for 2 minutes

Add:

1 EGG

Beat for 2 more minutes.

Pour over fruit.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until done.

VARIATION: I wanted individual cakes, so I used a LARGE Demarle muffin tray. They are basically 6 individual 4 inch cake pans in one.



I sprinkled fresh berries on the bottom {I went a bit CRAZY…You may want to just sprinkle a few and not cover the bottom!} and divided the melted butter and sugar evenly into each “pan”.


Each cake pan got a generous ¼ cup of batter.

I baked the minis for about 25 minutes and they were perfect. My new favorite breakfast cake!



VOILA…6 adorable little blueberry upside-down cakes. I made thee blueberry ones and three classic PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES for those who do not like to break the rules!



Shared with: stone gable

Saturday, July 16, 2011

{HANDMADE} BERRY PIE ...and little bit of this and that




M was once a mini-pie,
Pidy,
Widy,
Tidy,
Pidy,
YUMMY insidy, mini-pie!

This time, I used Trader Joe's pie dough and freezer jam! I used a 4 inch round, fluted DEMARLE cookie cutter for the dough and put about 1 tsp. of jam in the center. Use fork tines to seal the half-moon pie and brush with a silicone pastry brush dipped in one beaten egg. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Put the pies on Silpat{if you don't have one you NEED one} or on parchment paper and bake at 425* for about 15 minutes. Aren't they sweet? Just small enough to enjoy with a cup of hot peppermint tea. That's right. HOT TEA!

Little rhyme adapted from Edward Lear...thank you Mr. Lear!

Post adapted from the archives!


*************************************************************************************

...a little bit of this and that...


Our son is in Alaska on a missions trip. A LONG WAY FROM HOME.

We are in OREGON...A LONG WAY AWAY FROM OUR CALEB...

He had an accident while dirt-biking yesterday and is a lot of pain. His wrist is broken in three spots and since he slid 40 feet on gravel with a tumble in there along the way, he is one sore boy!

Please pray that he will not need surgery and that God will heal his body. It is going to be a LONG haul.

I spent most of the night up just praying as we have so many friends right now who are really hurting...and who are much worse off than our Caleb. How very wonderful to know that God has things in His control...although it seems very out.of.control.

I was reminded of this: " REMEMBER THIS, HAD ANY OTHER CONDITION BEEN BETTER FOR YOU THAN THE ONE IN WHICH YOU ARE, DIVINE LOVE WOULD HAVE PUT YOU THERE. BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YOU HAVE, SINCE THE LORD HAS ORDERED ALL THINGS FOR YOUR GOOD."
Charles Spurgeon

There are so many things I would love to write to encourage you...in what you may be facing, but honestly, nothing I have to say or write is more comforting than going right to the THE GREAT PHYSICIAN! Taking all your worries and fears right to Him and trusting in Him for all the comfort you need and MORE! How difficult it is to watch our loved ones go through pain...and at the same time, how amazing to be able to go to the Bible for words that are as soothing as balm!

How thankful I am for each of YOU and for the friendships I have made through blogging. I am not sure what the next few months are going to look like {NOT that we ever know what the next day holds!}, but Lord willing, I will be able to continue to blog...but I am sure things are going to be quite different once our Caleb arrives home. I am going to need to be in full-time Momma/nurse/counselor/friend/taxi/advocate/mentor/cheerleader/mode!

Thank you for your prayers and understanding!

"YOU WILL KEEP HIM IN PERFECT PEACE WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON YOU, BECAUSE HE TRUSTS IN YOU"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Bastille Day {and a French Sandwich}

Happy Bastille DAY!



I thought we might enjoy a tiny history lesson...

Bastille Day is a National holiday in France. It is very much like Independence Day in the United States because it is a celebration of the beginning of a new form of government.



At one time in France, kings and queens ruled. Many people were very angry with the decisions made by the kings and queens.



The Bastille was a prison in France that the kings and queens often used to lock up the people that did not agree with their decisions. To many, it was a symbol of all the bad things done by the kings and queens. So, on July 14, 1789, a large number of French citizens gathered together and stormed the Bastille.



Just as the people in the United States celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the beginning of the American Revolution, so the people in France celebrate the storming of the Bastille as the beginning of the French Revolution. Both Revolutions brought great changes. Kings and queens no longer rule. The people rule themselves and make their own decisions. {info from Wikipedia}

So, in honor of Bastille Day, I hope you will enjoy something FRENCH...even if it means French Fries from the GOLDEN ARCHES drive-thru!


Herbs De Provence Focaccia Sandwich {with Roasted Veggies}

¼ of an eggplant

Sea salt

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

1 9 inch round loaf of focaccia {store bought or homemade}

*If you are using storebought, after sandwich is assembled, brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with Herbes de Provence

¼ cup Best Food Mayonnaise

1 clove of garlic

¼ cup basil pesto {Trader Joe's}

4 slices of Provolone cheese

¼ cup of roasted red peppers {Trader Joe's}

¼ lb. deli garlic turkey


*If making your own focaccia bread, bake two batches and use one half for the top of your sandwich and the other half for the bottom.

*Store bought focaccia may be sliced in half horizontally.

*Slice eggplant into half horizontally. Cut into half. Make ½ inch half moon slices and salt them. Let salt absorb into the eggplant for about 30 minutes. This will give added flavor and draw extra water out.

*Cook in a bit of unsalted butter and olive oil. Make sure to use a good pan so they don’t stick. They will brown. Set aside.

*Make your garlic mayonnaise by adding 1 minced clove of garlic to the mayonnaise. Set aside in your fridge until you are ready to assemble your sandwich.

*Spread bottom half with garlic mayonnaise.

*Spread top half with pesto{I use Trader Joe's Genova pesto}

*Add deli turkey on top of mayonnaise and place slices of Provolone cheese to top.

*Add cut up slices of roasted red pepper to top of pesto and place roasted eggplant on top of that.{I use Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Yellow and Red Peppers}

*Place top and bottom together and wrap sandwich with tin foil. Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes until warmed through and cheese starts to melt.

*Slice into wedges! Serve and enjoy!

Have a very Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stork Bundles {Hot Basil Cheese Sandwiches}



We are all smack dab in the middle of summer and if you are like me...wishing the days were a bit longer to get everything done.

It is easy to find ourselves having no time to do special things for other people when we can't even get laundry done for our own family!

There have been so many weddings, memorial services and baby showers this summer that I can honestly not even keep up with them all, so I thought maybe you may be in the same boat!

OKAY, take a deep breath for just a second. GOOD JOB!
You all know we love taking dinners etc. but as mentioned many times before, it is not always do-able. So, here is a great alternative. How about taking lunch to the new momma? It can easily be taken while you are out on your errands...and although it has been years since I had babies...I remember how hard it was to scramble to make lunch for myself. It was usually devoured within seconds because there were things to do while babycakes was "napping" which in our case was always only about a 15 minute cat nap!

Anyhoo...your family dinner can be whipped up at the same time you are prepping lunch for your friend. Not only will you be ahead of the game for the day, but you will be so filled with joy that you were able to do something nice for somebody else! What a great lesson for your little ones to observe during the summer months! It is easy to just have fun during the summer with our children, but what a great opportunity to share with your children the value of caring for others.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impresss them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7


NOTE: If you were unable to make it to the baby shower, you could include a wooden monogram from your local craft store for baby's nursery! Just tie a piece of fabric around the letter for a custom look. Children love picking out gifts and wrapping them. Just an idea!

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

Stork Bundles {Hot Basil Sandwiches}

Ingredients:

1 small jar Kalamata olives, drained and sliced

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1 small red onion, chopped

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

1-2 tsp. sea salt…taste it and see how much you want.

Pepper to taste

6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

½ cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

{10 hard Sarah Lee Italian Sourdough Rolls}

Directions:

*Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

*Take each roll and cut out a large “plug” from the bottom.

*Remove extra bread

*Stuff 1/3 cup into each roll

*Replace “plug”

*Wrap each roll with foil.

*Bake @ 350* for 20 to 25 minutes

Wrap foil packages into white linen napkins…about 15”X15”...this will give it "the special delivery" stork look. You could use a burp cloth, too.

You are ready to deliver your little stork bundles! Aren't they so cute?

new momma lunch menu:

lemonade

basil cheese sandwiches...great enjoyed cold, also...just in case!

fresh canned peaches

homemade oatmeal cookies {my little homemakers made these up in advance!}




"OUR DEEDS, OUR PRIORITIES, OUR VALUES WILL COME HOME TO REST IN OUR FRONT YARDS THROUGH THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN"

{I wrote this down long ago and have no idea whose quote it is}


Shared with: women living well, raising homemakers, frugalicious me, full plate thursday, freckled laundry

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Burlap Baby Growth Chart



Well, hello girlies! Hope you all are doing just peachy!

I know...I have been doing lotsa blog archiving lately...because it is summer time and there is fun to be had!!!

Not sure if it is just here in Oregon, but everybody {ALMOST!} is either pregnant or have just had a baby. We know of nine as I type!

SOOOO, I wanted to do something a bit different because I am getting bored with the same ol' projects and that is NOT good. Baby showers are so much fun to go to and making gifts...if you have the time...can be really fun, too!

I saw the cutest baby gift in a boutique, but I felt like it was outrageously priced, considering the materials it used. SO, I decided I could make a very similar one for pennies! And, YES! I used change to purchase the burlap! :}

So, with my craft store coupon {yay for the 50% off ones!!!} and what I had on hand...each gift will cost me about $2! I love it!

Here is what you will need to make it yourself {MIY}:

Burlap...I bought what was left on the bolt...about one yard and 2/3, I think
Just make sure you have enough for 4 foot lengths.

a bit of decorative ribbon

1 wooden dowel

glue gun

20 safety pins

cardstock paper and a decorative punch

embellishments and gift box or bag

Directions:

*Cut burlap as staight as possible...4 feet in length by 6 inches in width

*iron fabric so it looks a bit more chic than shabby {only if you like!}

*fold burlap over wooden dowel and glue gun it.

*for a boy you may want a knot out of your decorative ribbon on each side of the dowel...and a bow if it is a baby girl.



*print "name" "age" and "date" on cardstock. I did mine on the computer and then cut each tag out with a punch. Make 20 so there sre plenty for the new baby.

*punch small holes with a hole punch into each tag, so that they can be pinned to the growth chart. I wanted to make things more complicated, so I used metal reinforcers for the holes!!! No need to do this! {I broke my own rule of keeping things SIMPLE!}



*the safety pins can be gathered and placed into a small envelope or spice bag with a drawstring. TAA DAA!



I will be using a growth chart tag for the outside of the gift...just for fun...since babycakes is not born yet, I will be putting down the due daye and age will be how many weeks momma is at the time of her baby shower.

Directions that will be included in with the gift:

Place growth chart 1 foot or more from the floor...Enjoy documenting the growth of your child. Simply roll it up and keep it safe when your child is done growing!

I think this will be a special gift!

Shared with: at the picket fence, crafty scrappy happy, overflowing, talent tuesday

Monday, July 11, 2011

Homemade GINGER ALE...and a bit of this and that



Okay, ladies...and maybe a few gentlemen...this blog is NOT all about food. REALLY. It just so happens that the few regular posts I have been working on are taking me forever. I can NOT seem to get it all on paper or in draft form without getting weapy. Life is changing so fast {I know. I know. Welcome to the real world!} and there are sooo many things I want to share with you that testify to an ALMIGHTY GOD. My heart is bursting to the brim with such gratitude that I just need to figure out how to put it into words. Imagine that! I do know this, as I have been writing, I have been reminded that even in the wost of circumstances, our Lord's hand WILL MOST DEFINITELY hold us securely. What a relief to know that all we have to do is trust Him and let Him worry about it.

I have been camped out in Romans lately and it has been so convicting. I think I need to read Romans 12 every day for the rest of my life, because, for some reason, I am not GETTING.IT. Like not just reading about it, but actually BEING sincere, hating evil, clinging to what is good...etc. Really does no good to not act on it.

Here is a small portion for you to read:

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
Hebrews 12:9-14

What do you think? Plenty of homework, huh?
*************************************************************************************
Back to Ginger Ale.

The ginger root is very healthy for you and is used to help treat nausea. It is also very inexpensive!

You could make the syrup, put it in a bag along with cups, straws, mineral water, a few baby limes, a sleeve of saltines and maybe a magazine...a thoughtful "get well soon" gift.

OOOOR, you could make up a batch, have a friend over for a ginger ale instead of sweet tea ...and practice hospitality!

Happy Wednesday!



Homemade Ginger Ale

While most Ginger Ale brands are made with high fructose corn syrup, this one is not. It is super easy to make and is so refreshing and nice to keep on hand for things that ale ya!



Ginger Syrup:

2 cups organic sugar
2 cups filtered water
1 cup ginger, washed, peeled and sliced, don't be a perfectionist. :)
Directions:
In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water and ginger to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Let cool.
Let sit in fridge overnight.
Strain and pour into glass container.
Keeps in a glass container for about 1 week.
Reserve sugared ginger for smoothies, stir fry, peanut sauce etc.



For Drink:

Ice

About ¼ cup ginger syrup to taste

Sparkling Lime Mineral Water {Trader Joes}

Lime wedge

A straw…very important…fun and works great to stir in the syrup!

Just put ice in cup and pour Sparkling Water to about ¾ of the way up. Top off with ginger syrup and don’t forget your little slice of lime! AND your straw!

from the good ol' archives!

Shared with: titus 2sday, women living well, comfy in the kitchen

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Favorite Carrot Cake







Last night after all of the cookies were baked for the fundraiser today, my hubby and I sat out on the deck enjoying the warm summer evening!

There is something indulgent about sitting outside as the sun starts to fade...and to make it even better...a sweet dessert of any kind will do!






Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Joy of Baking


Preheat oven to 350*
Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans

Whisk together:

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon


Beat together in stand mixer:

4 eggs

1 ½ cups organic sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup oil

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

Fold in:

2 1/2 cups carrots, finely grated

*Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

*Fold in 2 1/2 cups carrots.

*Divide equally between the two prepared cake pans.

*Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*Remove from oven and let sit on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Invert on to wire rack.

*Let cool completely before frosting.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Finely grated lemon zest and/or orange zest of one half lemon

Stack cakes on cake plate, frost and garnish with coconut and DIG IN!






Shared with: comfy in the kitchen

Thursday, July 7, 2011

LIVING {without perfectionism}







We ALL know who Martha Stewart is. I love her and I love how she does things. However, I have to remind myself that she has a lot of help and even whole teams working on the simplest of projects. She has a complete warehouse of props...the list goes on. Whether you know who she is, aspire to be like her, or just get discouraged watching her show {I don't even watch it anymore}there is something I want to "chat" about.

As I have been getting e-mails and reading a few blogs, I get the general idea that we are all trying to be perfect. Me included. I love a clean house and I adore clean sheet Monday {hate doing laundry, love clean sheets!} I look forward to making meals for my family and enjoy taking meals to friends. An organized fridge puts a smile on my face, and the feeling of a weed-free lawn and power-washed deck are almost too good to be true!

As I was getting our home ready for our daughter's graduation Open House, I decided there were a few things I wanted to be PERFECT, but I wanted to do an experiment and just let some things go {to see if I would actually still be alive and well to document how shock therapy went!} Obviously, it DID NOT kill me to let some things slide on by! Here is my list of things that did not get done {for those who are still reading} siding and paint on the house, landscaping, power-washing {hubby started and ended up having to take our graduate to the DR}, heaps of laundry, party favors, mini banana cream puddings, fresh whipped cream, homemade brownies, lemon ice rings for the punch etc. etc.

I know my list was long, but we were seriously going to have it all done. Life happens and priorities change and I am glad. It was waaay more important to enjoy our time with our family and friends and to not be a complete control freak. I delegated, let friends help, let my son do a whole lot...the way he wanted to help without micro-managing and it was memorable and sweet!

I am not saying to get all sloppy and totally care-free, but it is so important to set limits and to have realistic expectations and goals! Is is so freeing. It IS LIVING.

I thought I would challenge each one of you to let ONE thing go this week. If your child is asking you to join in puddle jumping... or a water fight...do it! Maybe a friend needs to drop by for a few minutes when it isn't convenient, maybe that fancy dinner needs to wait and quesadillas need to be had, maybe you are already practicing this and you can give me advice!! I am going to post my imperfect pictures and the pretty ones, too. The table,decorations and food were kept relatively simple. Things were all able to be made up ahead of time. It was the little details and our amazing family and friends that made this day a special day we will always remember.

I am so thankful that the God's word is packed with examples of how dear friends blessed one another. How great that the Lord has given us friendships to share in times of sorrow and in times of JOY...and best of all...they do not expect PERFECTION!

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17


{re-posted from the archives}

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orange Blueberry Strawberry Smoothie



This morning was so beautiful...and it is going to be about 90* which is HOT for us. So this morning it was smoothies and pancakes for breakfast.

It is worth every bit of berry picking when you can whip up one of these nutritious drinks...for those of you who really don't care to pick the berries! :}


Orange Blueberry Strawberry Smoothies
Lisa Pearson

Ingredients:

2 cups orange juice {I like Florida's Natural}

2 cups frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen strawberrries {I freeze these sliced}

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or ITALIAN VOLCANO LEMON JUICE...my new obsession.

Directions:

*Pour juice to 2 cup mark in blender.

*Add frozen fruit and lemon juice and blend away until your smoothie is thick and frothy looking.

*Makes two large smoothies or 4 small ones.

Pour into pretty glasses and enjoy...or pour into to-go cups and sip away as you do your yard work, run your errands, carpool the kiddies around or put your feet up while babies nap!



Happy Thursday, friends!

Shared with: titus 2sday, comfy in the kitchen

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Screen Door Frame





AHHHHHH, Summer is HERE! YES!YES!YES! We have been having so much fun. A ride-along last night with my hubby was an unexpected adventure to say the LEAST! He is my knight in shining armor! I have a deep appreciation for those firefighters who are willing to put their lives on the line at any given second!

Caleb is in Alaska and our home has been bustling with our daughter's friends that are so much fun to be with. Let's see, this morning they made pancakes for us, Lauriss washed her daddy's car and then we had the most delightful water fight! I finally got Lauriss when she least expected it...and she got me right back when I least expected it...IN THE HOUSE!





All that to say...don't you love summer? It is the light breeze in the trees, the warm deck wood on bare feet, the smell of dirt that has been watered to keep the plants happy and the fountain filled to the brim with fresh water for the little birdies who adore their morning bath!

Not sure why I love screen doors, but I do! Not the metal ones, but the old wood ones that creeeek and squeak! Maybe I watched too many episodes of the Waltons...but I always imagine my hubby and I in the South sippin' on lemonade...late into the night out on a moonlit porch...taking in the last bit of a long day. We would kiss goodnight...open the screen door and let it close behind us...only to do it all over again the next night!!! BUT, since there is something called reality I decided to make a frame so we can be reminded of a dream that might just be a reality one day! If not here, I am pretty sure there will be squeaky screen doors in heaven and lemonade!

how to...make a screen door frame: {an old Mary Engelbreit craft idea}

Materials:

a frame

two knobs...I used flat bottomed glass knobs

two screw eyes

a staple gun

a glue gun

screen mesh material {This is going under "frugal" because I got the mesh for $2 from Home Depot because it had been opened! YAY!}

embellishments...sea shells, clothespins, ribbons, wire etc...

Directions:



1. Remove glass and metal flaps {that keep glass in place} from frame.




2. Paint your frame



3. After paint is dry...be patient!!! you will want to staple screen mesh to the back of your frame.



4. Then you will want to embellish. Screw in the screw eye hooky thing-a-ma-jigs and get creative from there. Last but not least: glue gun the glass knobs to the bottom. THAT IS IT!







Shared with: tip junkie, our simple country life, raising homemakers, wow us wednesday, made by you Monday, at the picket fence, tidy mom, not so simple housewife

Monday, July 4, 2011

Garlic Turkey Lavash Wraps



{photo credit: my bff}



We LOVE having company over and every time our guests leave, I want to do it again!!!

It is not about your house, freshly-vacuumed carpets, dusted shelves, and a well-manicured lawn. It IS about getting together and encouraging one another. Listening with your heart and not being distracted by your list of "to do's". {Like siding that is peeling and a garage door that gets stuck...} It is your chance as a hostess to welcome your friends into your home to make them feel pampered, loved and cared for!

There is a time for inviting friends over for a spur-of-the moment dinner, but there is also a time to have them over for a well-planned, but not overly extravagant meal where the focus isn't the surroundings but the friendship.

Here is a simple picnic for the park or your dining room table!


Menu:

Lavash Wraps {Trader Joe's}

Fruit Salad or grapes on the vine with freshly picked strawberries

Kettle Chips {Our Favorite}

A fun sparkly drink...like Trader Joe's Vintage Soda Pop {Thank you, Kim!}

Chocolate chip cookies

Everything can be made ahead...so as to be sure to thoroughly enjoy your company!

So, if you have been thinking about having someone over and you find yourself being too busy, call them, text them, facebook them or whatever other means of communication you might use. Set a date and stick to it. Keep it simple... sandwiches will do just fine and cute napkins always make any meal extra special!

It will be time well spent and I am sure you will want to do it again...sooner than later!

Lavash wraps

Softened cream cheese

Shredded carrots

Avocado

Red leaf romaine, washed, dried and torn into small pieces

Garlic deli turkey , all natural

Sharp Tillamook Cheese, shredded

Directions:

*Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on Lavash bread. Be sure to cover all the nooks and crannies.

*Layer veggies, then the turkey. End with cheese.

*Roll tightly.

*Wrap with a piece of waxed paper.

*Cut sandwich into half.

*Tie a ribbon, string, or twine around the middle.

For a picnic: These can be made in advance. Place prepared wraps in Large gallon size Ziploc bag. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

**Just MAKE SURE the carrots and lettuce have been dried with a paper towel so you don’t end up with soggy wraps and end up ordering SUBWAY for your picnic. {ASK me how I figured that out!}

Best if dipped into a balsamic vinaigrette!

ENJOY!

Shared with: titus 2sday, tip junkie, women living well, raising homemakers, garlic turkey wraps

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Meet My Friend Monday"...Tam from Art in Flight



My friend, Tam never ceases to amaze me. She is the wife to one sweet guy and momma to two handsome young sons...and there most likely is not anything crafty she couldn't do! She can paint like crazy...and a few years ago she started making the most beautiful and yummy-smelling soaps.

Welcome, Tam, to Simply...this that and the other!







Orange Spice





Rosemary





Lavender





Tomato Leaf


I love to make soap! The whole event is so relaxing. Making soap is like a "timeout" for me. From cleaning and sterilizing the kitchen to get ready for the process to decorating each bar. I love the little paper flowers on the soaps. They seem just right for spring time. The surprise soap scent is tomato leaf. I know I've mentioned it before but once you've taken a sniff you will fall in love. It is a truly fresh and clean smell. EXACTLY like a tomato leaf!

In my next post (on Sunday) I will feature a few more soap scents and I will be having a give-a-way! Come check it out :)

Thank YOU, Tam!

I hope you will visit her blog soon!

Photobucket

The Hospitality House {and a

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Star Spangled Ice Cream Sandwiches




Do you need a quick dessert for the 4th of July? Here you go! Short and sweet.

1. Favorite brownie recipe or box mix.

2. Bake brownies according to directions.

I baked mine in star molds, but you could make a thin batch and use cookie cutters to cut them out...after they are cooled completely. {Make sure your pan is well-greased so they don't stick! I do NOT need hate mail. :] }

Freeze cooled brownie "cookies".

You will need two stars for each sandwich.

Scoop a small scoop of peppermint ice cream onto first star. Top with a second
star. Sprinkle edges with a bit of crushed peppermint candy {optional}

Place in the freezer until ready to serve.

If you have waxed sandwich bags, you could store them in the bags and place them in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Happy 4th of July to all of YOU!

Shared with: at the picket fence, stone gable, comfy in the kitchen

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dad's Handkerchief



{written by Laura...my twinsie}

Don’t you just love it when out of the blue you are absolutely reminded of God’s undeniable blessings in your life? We all face difficult seasons in our lives when all we can do is trust God to be faithful, and yet our hearts are spilling over with pain and unanswered questions. There have been many such times in my, but I am truly grateful when God allows me a glimpse back into those times to show me the painful paths that He has lovingly paved with His protection and never-ending faithfulness.


Not long ago, I was going through my suitcases and bags. I had just pulled out some old brochures, a couple of shampoo bottles, and a stray sock. I was ready to put the bag back way when I realized I needed to clean out another inside pocket I had forgotten about. I reached down and found some old gum wrappers when I felt something stuffed way down in the corner. I pulled it out and was instantly taken back to a different time in my life. I had found one of my father’s handkerchief’s that he had given to me years ago. As I held that handkerchief, I was so moved with emotion, I had to sit down as the tears started flooding down my face. What I held in my hand was OH.SO.MUCH.MORE than a handkerchief!! It was what it represented that made it PRICELESS to me!!


I had been raised in Germany as a missionary kid, along with my twin sister and brother. We had been in German schools until fifth grade. After a year-long furlough in the States, our family had decided that my Lisa and I would attend boarding school instead of returning to the German schools. The day arrived for school to begin, and we had to say good bye to our parents and brother. Up until that time, it was me who would be the first to cry. This time it was Lisa. I am sure that my dad pulled out his hanky to wipe away Lisa’s tears as he reassured us of his love for us, and that we would talk soon.


GOD WAS GOOD and carried us through those difficult years of separation, and dad always had comforting words and strong hugs when we were going through difficult times. To be sure, if there were tears to be wiped, he would pull out his handkerchief to wipe way our tears.
The more I thought about that handkerchief, I tried to remember how I ended up with it!! Then, it dawned on me that it was when I was still in college. I had traveled back to Germany to visit my parents. My time there had come to an end, and we were once again saying the all too familiar good-byes. He once again reached up to wipe away the tears, and then most likely gave me the handkerchief to take along on that flight.


How thankful I am for my father that God has given to me. I am even more thankful for my Heavenly Father who loves me and cares for me as only a loving Father can.
At the point my father GAVE me that handkerchief, he was offering me a tangible object of his love for me. So, too, does our Heavenly Father gift us with tangible portions of His love. It can come in varying forms. It may come through the timely words of a loving friend, a sense of peace in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation, or in a passage of His written Word.


God is creative in His unlimited touches of GRACE! Just as God knew that the perfect extension of my father’s love for me, was through a humble piece of woven cloth, God knows the measure and degree of tangible love that you need to touch your life. It may not be immediate, and it may not be in the shape of a handkerchief, but it definitely will present itself - often when you are least expecting it.
Thank you dad for your lifelong legacy of love, serving others, sacrifice, HUMOR, and TIME!! You are a continual reminder of God’s love for me and to SO MANY OTHERS.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Always love...

Laura




shared with: women living well