Monthly Archives: January 2013

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola

Sad story.

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I’m all out of peanut butter.

BUT it’s totally for a fantastic reason! So I guess it’s really not that sad of a story. Anyways, you guys know I love my classic breakfast combo- greek yog, bluebs, and that Fiber One cereal. However, I am about out of Fiber One and sometimes that cereal is as much as $6 (?!?!) a box! So, as much as I love it, I decided it might be time to search for a cheaper member of my breakfast bowl.

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Enter: Peanut Butter Granola. This stuff is highly addictive and pretty darn nutritious- yay for oats! And it’s pretty much as wallet-friendly as something can be. I made a small batch this morning because I was 1.) Hungry, and smaller batches take less time, and 2) I only had 2 TBSP of peanut butter left in my sad little jar.

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This recipe is simple and takes a total of less than 20 minutes! I would make a bigger batch if you can, though. Pretty sure this is all going to be gone before lunch.

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Have a wonderful Thursday, I’m off to a date with my mother in law!

 

~M

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola

makes four 1/4 cup servings

Ingredients

2 TBSP creamy peanut butter

2 TBSP honey

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup old fashioned oats

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 20 seconds). Stir.
  • Stir cinnamon, salt & vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture.
  • Add oats and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture.
  • Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until granola is slightly browned.
  • Let cool until granola is crunchy.

 

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37 weeks = Full Term Baby!

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Sometimes it seems like just last week that we found out that I was pregnant- and now actually holding our baby is just a couple weeks away!! (Or anytime, really…) AAAaah! 37 weeks is considered full-term, so if I have this baby TONIGHT it would be fine. Anyone have a trampoline I could play on for a while?

I know the longer the baby stays in there, the better. So I’m fine with waiting a weeee bit longer for him/her to come out… but again, anytime is fine with me now.

I had two baby showers in the past two weeks, one was with my sweet coworkers at a restaurant close to our clinic- it was so fun! The past 8-9 months, they have been guessing whether it is going to be a boy or a girl, and so far the overwhelming opinion is BOY.

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This cake had cool whip frosting. SO bomb.

This cake had cool whip frosting. SO bomb.

And then this past weekend, my mom and sisters threw me a shower too! Since a lot of my extended family lives in the Midwest, they weren’t able to come, but since we moved here 15 years ago, we have established a “Ripon Family” of friends that has totally made us feel like actual family! It’s a total blessing.

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K made the super cute table cloth- the colors for the shower were the cutest ‘gender-neutral’ colors ever! Aqua and orange-ish. And the CUPCAKES!!

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People are so creative, it’s crazy. Anyways, both the showers were so thoughtful and to spend time with people that I’ve cared about for years is always a huge treat. Not to mention the major spoiling that went on during these get-togethers- Joey and I are pretty sure we have everything (and more) that we need to care for this lil peanut. Thanks so much everyone, we are so grateful and excited!!

One of my favorite things about the shower was that my mom and sister had some of the guests email their favorite Bible verse that pertained to children, and then they took those verses and put them on a canvas for me to hang in baby’s room- things like that are absolutely priceless. God has been so good to give us such an incredible community to help raise our child!

Lots of people have been asking me if anything has changed lately with how I’m feeling, or what my plans are for work after the baby so here’s a little Q&A for ya!

How far along now? 37 weeks!

Do you think it’s a boy or a girl? The overwhelming majority of people think it’s a boy- which makes me think it’s a girl. I have NO idea. But in case anyone was wondering… I LOVE the suspense of not knowing!

Maternity clothes? Course. However, I guess I am starting to look forward to wearing regular clothes again… I went through a phase where I was positive that I would never want to wear anything but maternity pants again. Phase = over.

Stretch marks? Still none!

Sleeping well? A little less well lately, I probably wake up 4-5 times throughout the night. But practice makes perfect! I’ve heard it’s good prep for the sleepless nights ahead 🙂

Movement? Pretty sure we have a Taikwon Do (sp?) master in there- my ribs are taking a beating!

Any cravings? As you guys all saw, I finally got my frozen yogurt. Other than that, just eating more of food in general.

Are you still working? Yes, but much less. I work per diem for a rural health center, and already get to choose my days so that has been great to scale back a bit. My last day is next Tuesday!

Are you going to keep working after the baby is born? How much time are you going to take off?

We are going to play this one by ear! Like I said, I am already ‘per diem’ status, so I could choose to go back full time if needed, or I could work as little as once every month. I plan to keep working as a nurse while we have kids, but the frequency is something that we will decide as needed. That being said, I am SO looking forward to a couple months off to devote completely to my family.

Still exercising? Trying to walk between 3-6 miles most days, and maybe I’ll start jogging (or trying to) a little more now that baby is full term…

 

One more fun thing to share with ya’ll- so I subscribed to the weekly updates on your baby’s progress that you can receive via email once we found out I was pregnant, and apparently my mom did too. She started personalizing each email for me and texting me ‘her version’ of the email every week, and it has been a huge highlight of the past 9 months! (She also thinks of a new name for baby each week, and changes the gender)

Here’s the ’37 week’ one from my mom:

“Ok… full term… really??? Wow! 6 1/3 pounds and 19 inches long- this guy is ready to come out of the oven! But wait- you have always like things extra crispy so don’t be surprised if Jeremiah Joseph decides to bake a little longer…”

Isn’t my mom awesome?

 

Have a great Tuesday! I have a great recipe coming up for you guys in a couple days!

~M

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Virtual Coffee Date

 

Good morning! It feels like ages since I (~M~) have posted anything… and I have a good reason! Our internet has been down all week and after much ado, we have finally figured out the problem and are back in full swing. What a headache! Honestly, I have so much respect for people who understand technical computer-y things, because it is a Pandora’s box to me. Example:

“I’m calling because our Internet has been down the past few days and we are not sure why…”

“Ok, we can help with that. Can you check to make sure all the cables are plugged into your router?”

“Sure!…. Um… which one is the router?”

“…..”

Yup. No hope for me. Anyways, 8 phone calls, 1 trip to the Internet store, and an hour and a half of reconfiguring our network later, we are back in business!!

Seeing as it’s been a while… I was thinking to myself- when I haven’t seen a friend in a while and we need to catch up, I usually suggest a coffee date! So, why not have ourselves a little virtual coffee date? Grab a mug of joe and let’s catch up!

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If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I have spent the past few days thoroughly enjoying a new little hobby I’ve started! I’ve been working less lately and been trying to stay as busy as possibly to take my attention away from just waiting for this baby to be ready to come out. I found this tutorial on Pinterest for how to make boutique style burp cloths and it is SO fun! I can’t wait to send some out to some unsuspecting pregnant ladies I know- hopefully they like them as much as I do!

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If we were having coffee this morning, I’d also be treating myself to a fully caffeinated coffee drink. Because it’s a special occasion. I’d also tell you that I FINALLY got frozen yogurt yesterday!!! And a pedicure. It was a special occasion- hanging out with one of my dear friends who is also pregnant!!

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I’d also be excited to tell you that our nursery is pretty much finished!! It was such a fun project and we are just missing one vital piece now…. our baby. I just love how the room turned out- the walls are neutral, and we have pops of color everywhere that are just happy! My favorite thing about the room so far is the chair… I may or may not spend a little of each morning reading my devotions in that huge overstuffed chair.

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If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you about a new challenge I’m setting for myself. It’s driving me a little bonkers to not be working as much, since I’m used to contributing to our finances and being busy. Now that I’m not bringing in as much financially, I want to make some changes and be as frugal as possible! I always loved the idea of Dave Ramsey’s envelope budgeting system, but never really cracked down and challenged myself to adhere to it. Katy, the adorable gal you see in the froyo pic, said she’s doing it and loves it!  So, here goes- i think my biggest challenge will be in the grocery department. I am the number one offender at picking up 10 different food items when I only needed one. Hopefully this works! How do you guys budget?

Well, my coffee is almost cold now. Time for a second cup!

~M

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Mini Meatball Soup with Rosemary

I spent the better part of my shift at work the other day trying to come up with a meal for dinner. My day was completely misspent, however, as I based my ideas on what I thought I had in the pantry. Even though  all my ideas were completely scotched, the soup that happened was so yummy.

I don’t know what my deal is lately with my refusal to run to the store for ingredients! If I don’t have something for the recipe, I will substitute or scratch the recipe completely and do something else. It’s a combination of stubbornness and laziness. Mostly stubbornness.

So I did it! I made the whole thing, tasting every step of the way to see what needed to be added, digging deep for spices way in the back of the cupboard….

spicy, meatball-y, tummy-warming soup.....

spicy, meatball-y, tummy-warming soup…..

….and then sent my lovely, obliging husband to the store for bread.

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all. 😉

~K

*Spicy* Mini Meatball Soup with Rosemary

Ingredients:

4 cups water to two parts each of chicken and beef bouillon (I ran out of chicken, so I used some beef and it changed the flavor. In a really good way)

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 whole green bell pepper, minced

1 whole white or yellow onion,minced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Worcestershire Sauce

Beer, about 6 ounces

3 Bay leaves

3 sprigs rosemary leaves (I cut it directly off the stem into teeny pieces)

1 can diced tomatoes (the Italian seasoned ones) with juice

salt and pepper, to taste

———-

*If you like it a little thicker*

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

——–

For the mini meatballs:

( I only had 1/2 a pound of ground beef, use more if you have the stuff!)

*** I did not measure at all here, totally judged by when the meatballs held a shape well and weren’t too sticky***

1/2 lb ground beef

minced garlic

salt and pepper

Italian Breadcrumbs

1 egg

Instructions:

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl with your hands, shaping them into the size balls you want. In the soup pot you’ll be using, brown the meatballs in some olive oil until browned on all sides. Take them out and set aside. Do not rinse the pot. 

Add the garlic, bell pepper, and onion to the pot and saute. Then add the beef/chicken broth, tomatoes, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then add meatballs, Worcestershire sauce, and beer. Let simmer.

***At this point, I added the roux to thicken it. This is optional!***

In a saute pan, heat the butter until it’s frothy and bubbly. Then add the flour and, using a whisk, beat over heat until combined. Then add to soup.

—Taste this often so you can add more seasoning if you need to! I added a lot of pepper, because I like spicy, so don’t be afraid to add as it simmers. I did end up adding a little more beef bouillon near the end to amp up the savory-ness of it.—

Oh! And don’t forget the bread 😉

Enjoy!

 

 

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Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-Free Option}

Between figuring out how to thread a sewing machine and watching the latest Top Chef last night, it’s amazing I have any hair left. I know, you can’t believe how stressful my life is. Me neither!

It's all fun and games, until THE WRONG CHEF GETS ELIMINATED!!

It’s all fun and games, until THE WRONG CHEF GETS ELIMINATED!!

In all seriousness though, I did figure out how to thread the machine and am SO excited to show you what I’ve been working on lately! It involves 1.) a sewing machine. Obvi. and 2.) these cute fabrics!

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I will report back when my project is complete for all the details. Until then, back to my ‘stressful’ life! I am definitely exaggerating, but wowee… I have not been so proud of accomplishing something so menial in a very long time. The moment I finally figured out how to insert the bobbin into the sewing machine and get the thread to come up through the base? I may have been dancing around the kitchen whooping and hollering. I kept thinking- everyone always digs on our generation for not having common sense and being steady-minded enough to figure simple things out, so it was a matter of principle that I figure this out. So, I watched about 7 YouTube videos until it made sense. *Cue older generation rolling their eyes.*

After hours of intense concentration, I made myself take a break and the first thing my eyes set on in the kitchen was some cookies I had made a few days ago. And man, did they hit the spot.

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This is my first attempt at using coconut oil in a recipe and it will not be my last! Technically, these could be gluten-free cookies if you used a special kind of oats, but I love gluten so I used the real stuff. So either way- if you’re one of those unlucky people that needs to avoid gluten- this is your cookie! If being gluten-free is not an issue, you can still enjoy these slightly ‘better for you than the typical cookie’ cookies with regular oats.

You can see how chewy and moist the center still is - and this is 5 days later!

You can see how chewy and moist the center still is – and this is 5 days later!

Somehow, these cookies remain incredibly chewy and delicious for DAYS! There is no flour, butter, or eggs in this recipe- normally things that make a cookie so scrumptious, yes I know. For missing those normally essential cookie ingredients, this cookie is incredibly light AND indulgent all at the same time.

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I almost considered saving half the dough balls just to leave raw and deem them “Energy Balls”- since they held together really well and had no raw eggs in them. No raw eggs= guilt-free snooping for this preggo lady! Plus, these babies have flax, oatmeal, and a little protein powder in them.

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Do you guys remember when I said I typically add double the amount of chocolate chips that the recipe calls for? I was going along my merry way adding double the amount of chocolate chips to THIS recipe, and the dough rejected the extra chocolate. How dare it?! I know, I was mad too.

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I tried to use 3/4 a bag of mini-chocolate chips- and the top picture shows you all the little chocolate pieces that I couldn’t knead into the cookie dough. If I tried to force them in, the dough had too many chips and it wouldn’t hold together- believe me, I tried! I was flabbergasted at the amount left over, so I measured it and it was a WHOLE CUP of precious little chocolate chips that didn’t make the cut.

This cookie is so healthy it won’t let you even think about making it unhealthy. Rude.

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End result? Still chock full of chocolate, and still good. Even the guys liked these!

~M

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-Free option}

makes about 2 dozen cookies

adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats (or gluten-free oats)

1/2 bag mini dark chocolate chips

1 cup almond butter

2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp warm water (called a flax egg)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp soy protein powder (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add vanilla extract and ground flax + water water mixture. Keep beating until everything is combined.

In another bowl, mix together the oats, baking soda, protein, salt and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips. Mix until just combined—be careful not to overmix!

Roll small balls of dough and place three inches apart on a silpat or parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Do not flatten dough balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy. Let cool for 5 minutes on sheet tray before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Time:

30 minutes

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Filed under Cookies/Bars, Dessert, Food Stuffs., Holiday Baking

Sharpies in the Washing Machine…

My job (coffeehouse) requires that I have at least one sharpie on my person at all times. My other job (drycleaners) requires that I check all pockets of clothing before cleaning.

So, when I’m doing laundry at home you’d think I would be extra smart and check my pockets for sharpies before putting stuff in the washing machine. You’d think.

You can see where this story is going.

I ruined one of my favorite shirts that I’ve had since before I got married- three years ago! Which, aside from long-term attachment, means it’s no longer in stores.

And it was so cute 😦

I love the color and fit and style!

I love the color and fit and style!

These ugly little marks are ALL OVER

These ugly little marks are ALL OVER

 

After wallowing in self pity and frustration with myself, I decided this was not over. In the deep recesses of my bathroom cupboard, I found two bottles of RIT dye, less than $4 a bottle, one was blue and one black.

I loosely followed the directions using the sink method, I used about 1 gallon of hot water to about 1/3 of the blue bottle 1/4 of the black and stirred constantly for 20 minutes. Then I rinsed it until the water ran clear and washed it alone and dried it on the delicate cycle.

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I’m serious, I was not expecting this to work. I love that the sequins stayed pink and that every single sharpie mark is no longer visible! The shade of purple is not like anything I have in my closet, so it’s kind of like I’m stepping outside of my usual ‘color box’ with this ‘brand-new’ three year old shirt.

So, if you ever have a little mishap like mine, try the dye method instead of spending big bucks on the same exact thing! Totally opens up new doors for older items that have faded too 🙂

~K

 

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Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake

I briefly showed you the cookbook M gave me for Christmas,

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…and this past weekend I tried my first recipe from it! Holy patooties, people.

Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake.

I love tasting new combinations of foods, and citrus and herbs is one I’d never tried before. Mouthwatering. Blood Oranges just happened to be in season right now. And the colors were really pretty. And it made my house smell really good and bakery-like. And it tasted amazing. Win-win-win-win. It was a good day.

Gorgeous coloring, and so juicy!

Gorgeous coloring, and so juicy!

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This part smelled so good!

Savory/sweet yummi-ness

That beautiful pink glaze is nothing but blood orange juice and powered sugar! No food coloring!

This Katie Quinn Davies lady is one smart cookie. I highly recommend this cake, let’s call it ‘fancy cake’ (cuz it just seems like something that’d be on a pretty table at a nice party)- the flavor profile is very different from your usual dessert but it’s bound to please. Plus you look like a rockstar for making a totally complicated sounding cake (that’s not actually very difficult to make at all). Which is always pretty cool 🙂

Also, I’m going to steal M’s phrase, ‘It’s basically a health food’ because there are seven oranges in this recipe, two of which are completely blended into the cake! See? Health food.

Make this cake!!!! And eat it too 😉

~K

Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake

Ingredients:

(batter)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup superfine sugar ( *just discovered this: put regular sugar in your food processor for a minute or so and voila! superfine sugar.)

2 teaspoons Cointreau (I did substitute Gran Marnier since that’s what I had in the pantry, or rather, my friend had in her pantry)

3 large free-range eggs (again, I used regular large eggs)

1 blood orange, peeled, pith removed, and cut into segments

1 orange, peeled, pith removed, and cut into segments

3 sprigs rosemary, leaved picked

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted

(blood orange syrup)

juice of 2 blood oranges

juice of 2 oranges

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

(blood orange frosting)

juice of 1 blood orange

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions:

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a six cup capacity bundt pan (or grease and line a 9 inch springform cake pan.

 

Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar for 10 minutes until light and creamy. And the eggs and Cointreau and combine.

Whizz the blood orange, orange and rosemary in a food processor until the rosemary leaves are finely chopped and the oranges are blended to a pulp. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and beat together on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, beating between additions, until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, to make the blood orange syrup, place the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup had reduced by about a a third. Keep warm until the cake is ready.

Leave the cake to cool a little before transferring it to a wire rack. Place a plate underneath the rack to catch any drips, then prick the top of the cake with a skewer, spoon the warm syrup over the cake and leave it to be absorbed.

Make the frosting by combining the blood orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle the frosting all over the cooled cake, then chill the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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