Friday, March 25, 2011

And the Winner Is....

I wish I had 5 copies of the book to give away! But, I only have one... and seeing how I am related to 4 out of 5 of the participants of the Spring Giveaway, I want everyone to know that there was no partiality in choosing the winner - I used to choose the number, and the number it gave me was #2!

So, congratulations Jean! err... Grammie :) I'll get you're book sent out as soon as I can!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Download and a Reminder!

One website/blog that I regularly follow is Graham Family Ministries. Sheri regularly shares healthy recipes, homeschool tips, and other encouragements. She also has an online store in which she sells a variety of ebooks. The other day she shared a link for a free download to an audio series entitled  "To Teach What Is Good" by Carolyn Mahaney. The series is based on Titus 2. You can read Sheri's post with a link to the downlad here.

I have listened to the first part, and it has been a great reminder and encouragement to me of my purpose as a wife and mother. I am looking forward to listening to the rest of it!

Also, one last reminder to sign up for the Spring Giveaway! I will announce the recipient of the book tomorrow! Even if you don't think you are interested, you can pass it on to be a blessing to someone else!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mock Almond Joy

Meet Mr. Medjool Date
I haven't been doing much baking lately, if you hadn't noticed the lack of recipes... no, I'm not ill. :) Tonight I really wanted to make a snack, but I really didn't want to spend time measuring, mixing, and turning on the oven (so labor intensive! ha!) I picked up some medjool dates at the grocery store today,  with plans to try a new brownie recipe. But, I would have had to measure, mix, and turn on the oven... oy.

SO, I searched the internet for something simple. It took some searching, but I found this recipe, which had minimal measuring, it is mixed in a food processor, and I didn't have to turn on the oven!

The recipe is called Fudge Brownies, but it's really nothing like a brownie. More like a chewy bar. They are absolutely scrumptious and taste like an Almond Joy candy bar! No kidding! Here's the original recipe, with my substitutions in bold.

Mock Almond Joy Bars (gluten and dairy free)
2 c. shredded coconut (I used 1 c finely ground almonds, and 1 c dried unsweetened coconut, shredded)
2 Medjool dates, pitted (I used 3)
3 Tbl honey
1 Tbl carob powder (I used cocoa powder)
1 tsp vanilla
(I added just a pinch of salt)

Throw it all in the food processor and blend! Add more honey if mixture doesn't stick together easily. Place a piece of plastic wrap in a 9x5" loaf pan, let the excess hang over the sides. Press the mixture evenly in the pan. Fold over excess plastic onto bars, and press. Chill in the refrigerator until firm. (I stuck mine in the freezer) Cut into squares as small or large as you like!

I hope you try these! They go together super quick, and really are guilt-free! Just don't eat the whole pan in one sitting.... Mine are sitting in the freezer, so I can take out one at a time... or three.... I cut mine pretty small. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Giveaway!

Happy first day of spring! It's not very spring-like where we live today. It's a nice day to stay under the covers with a good book and forget about responsibility for a while. Alas, here at my home, people still get hungry, dishes still need to be cleaned, and of course there's the never-ending cycle of laundry. And they don't clean themselves!

Well, in celebration of the changing seasons I will be giving away one copy of Seasons of a Woman's Life!

You may or may not have read my Personal Reflections and a Book Review post. If you haven't, I encourage you to do so! This book has been a great encouragement to me. And whatever your season in life, wherever you are in your spiritual walk, no matter your current situation, I know this book can be a blessing to you!

In order to participate, please leave a comment letting me know you would like to win this book! Please share this give away either on your favorite social network, or if you have a blog, mention it there too!

Only one entry per person please!

I will choose the winner this Friday, March 25th!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring is Springing

It's been a few days since my last post. Life is busy, in a good way. :) The weather is finally warming up and the snow is melting! For a while it seemed it was one step forward, two steps back! I didn't think it would ever warm up. But every year spring manages to push it's way past winter's icy grip. Today we've got the window's open. It's nice to have some fresh air. Emma and Ethan had a little flu bug last night, and they seem better today. I hope no one else gets it.

All this fresh air and sunny, warmer weather gets me excited about spring cleaning! :) I love getting rid of the junk that's piled up in certain places during the winter. It's liberating. This year we desperately need to clean out the garage. There is hardly a clear path to walk through it. :\

Here are some sites that I have found useful in helping me clean and organize my home. - If you are feeling overwhelmed with housekeeping this is the site to visit!

And if anyone has any other sites to add please mention them in the comments section! I know I can use all the help I can get! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Two posts in one day!? I had a request for a pizza recipe, and I promised to get one up this week, and I had to put the bread recipe up before I could post this one. :)

In the past year I have tried numerous recipes for gluten free pizza crust. Some were ok, some were not good. When my mom used to make pizza, she used a simple bread recipe. And I was thinking, I could just do that for the pizza crust. I had recently found the best gluten free bread recipe, and today I made it into a pizza. It was the best pizza crust ever!

You can find the bread recipe here. Once you get the bread dough mixed together, you are going to spread your dough onto a pizza pan. It will probably be enough to make two medium sized pizzas. The dough rises a lot when it bakes, so you can spread this kinda thin, but not too much. You'll have to experiment to see what works best for you according to your crust preferences. I made three mini pizzas for the kids, and another medium sized pizza for me.... to share... :)

3 mini pizzs spread on the pan, about 5 inches in diameter.

Now you are going to let the dough rise for about 30-40 minutes.
Dough all rested, nice and puffy.

I baked these 2 different ways. For the three little pizzas I prebaked the crust  in a 375 oven for 10 minutes, topped them, then baked them again for 10 more minutes. They were VERY good. If you like thick crust, this is the way to go.

For the other pizza, I topped it and then baked it. I baked it at 400 for 15-20 minutes, until it was nice and brown on the edges. This was VERY good too! I think I prefered this way, The crust wasn't as thick, but it didn't totally sink down either like some other recipes I have used.

Caramelized red onion, bacon, and ham! yummmm!

No complainers here! 

So there you have it, the perfect gluten free pizza crust!

Gluten Free Bread - it is possible!

A few weeks ago, I came across a new bread recipe at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. I had a recipe that was working alright for me, but I decided to give this one a try. It looked simple enough, and Amy had labled it "Perfect Bread". It was totally amazing! SO much better than the recipe I had been using. It is soft, a little chewy, moist, it doesn't crumble at all! I love it, the kids love it, even hubby likes it! I'll post the recipe here how I usually mix it together,with my alterations to the original recipe in bold:

Perfect Gluten Free Bread
369 grams gluten free flour** (this works out to 2 3/4 cups for me)
2 1/4 teas xanthan gum
1 1/4 teas salt
1 T honey
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teas yeast
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teas cider vinegar

** Amy has her own special flour blend that she uses. I don't use the garfava flour. My flour blend is 1 cup brown rice flour + 1 cup sorghum flour + 1/3 cup potato starch + 1/3 cup tapioca starch. When I make this bread, I use 2 cups of the brown rice flour blend, plus 3/4 cup millet flour.

-In a bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
-In another small bowl, combine warm water and honey. Add yeast. Let it proof for 5-10 min.
-In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, and vinegar. Add the proofed yeast. Mix in the dry ingredients. Stir well until it is smooth. The dough will be very sticky. It is not going to look like wheat bread dough - don't worry!
-Pour the dough into a greased 9x5" loaf pan. Smooth the top.

- Let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
-Preheat your oven to 375.
-Bake for 45 min until deep golden brown. Slide it onto a cooling rack, laying it on the side.

-If you just can't wait for a warm slice of homemade bread, go ahead and get yourself a piece! :) Make a sandwich! Spread it with homemade jelly! Toast it up for garlic bread! French toast for breakfast! The options are endless!

 Don't forget to check out more of Amy's Recipes at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free! I have never been disappointed with any of her recipes! She also has a new cookbook out, which I have got to get myself a copy of... Check it out!

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's a ........!!!

We have a special announcement! We will be adding a new member to our family! In just a few short weeks, we will be bringing home the cutest little ball of fluff you ever did see! It's a baby bunny!!! :D

Today we took the kids to see the neighbors new baby bunnies. They're five weeks old, and super stinkin' cute! The one we picked out is light brown with a little white nose, and extra fluffy. Emma has decided to name it Nera. And if it's a boy, I guess we'll call him Nero. haha :) So tonight we went out and got a cage, shavings, food, and a water bottle.

Emma is excited, as is Jules, and Ethan loved the bunnies too. He liked hanging onto their ears. :) We are hoping that Emma will be able to take most of the responsibility for Nera. I think she can do it.  It will be nice for the kids to have a pet they can pat and hold a little bit. We have a cat, Maggie, but she prefers to avoid the kids.

I didn't think I wanted another pet, but I think the bunny will be ok. It is wicked cute, which made it hard to say no.

In about three weeks I'll have a picture for you. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

It has been almost a year that I have been eating gluten and dairy free. And in all my recipe experiments, I have found that the most delicious ones are those without any kind of flour or xanthan gum. One of the first recipes I made was flourless peanut butter cookies. Even if you don't eat "gluten-free" you will love these cookies! They mix up super quick and are so good. You won't even miss the gluten, promise. :)

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teas baking soda
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg

  1. Preaheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and baking soda. Add peanut butter and egg, mix thoroughly.
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto parchment lined baking sheet (I use a stoneware pan). Or lightly grease an aluminum pan. Flatten slightly with a fork.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Depending on the pan you use, cooking time will vary. They should be light brown around the edges and puffed up slightly.
  5. Let them cool on the pan for one or two minutes before removing to a cooling rack. This is important! or they will just fall apart! Once they are cooled, they will not crumble.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Birthday Girl

Today was Julianna's 3rd birthday! It was a really fun day. I know Jules had a good time! Here are some pictures to share with you.

Sisters! Julianna is holding her new baby doll, which she absolutely adores! :)

The cake. I asked what she wanted for a cake, and she said, 'A fish cake!' So she got a fish cake. :)

I put Jules beside her cake to take her picture, and this is what happened:

Frosting and fingers just go together
hmm.. tasty!
I laughed so hard when I looked back over those pictures! :)

that's better :)

Happy Birthday my sweet Julianna! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good Music

A couple days ago, I got a new computer, a laptop. I haven't had a whole lot of time to sit down and play with it, but I've got it up and running anyway. My favorite thing about so far is the portability. Today I had it in the kitchen, at the table, and right now I'm sitting in my living room! It's freeing to be able to check things online, look up a recipe, search something you don't know, without having to completely step away from what I might be doing. I have used it to let the kids watch a (Signing Time) video while they have a snack at the table, they liked that. It lets me be closer to them while I am working too. I love my new computer. :)

Today while I was in the kitchen, which is where I can usually be found, I had set my laptop up on the (big) widowsill and was listening to Pandora Radio online. I love music, but I don't collect cd's or download songs. I like the radio, simple, free. One of the reasons I look forward to my weekly grocery expeditions is that I get to listen to the radio in the car. We don't get any radio reception in our house because we live in a valley. The kids loved listening to the music. There's something about good music that cheers everyone up, keeps the whining to a minimum. :) Good music can truly soothe the soul.

So often, when we are alone with our thoughts, we tend to dwell on the negative, we get selfish, angry, we find fault, get distracted with things to do. But there's something about a good song that can minister to your deepest soul needs and distract you, in a good way, to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good (Philippians 4:8) It turns our focus from ourselves to the Lord, where it should be. And that was just what I needed today. To dwell on Him, His goodness, His faithfulness, how truly awesome He is.

Here is a song that encouraged me. I hope it encourages you too.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homemade Grape Jelly

Sorry for yesterday's rambling post. My brain was overtired and foggy from this cold I have. I'm feeling a bit better today, but I'll keep things simple.

Today was another unusually busy day. I had good energy today and got quite a bit accomplised. I didn't have to force myself to get anything done, I just did it without really thinking about it. It was a nice change of pace.

I do not like buying grape jelly. It's full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup (plus a couple other kinds of sweeteners! yuck!) But my kids love grape jelly. So I thought I'd make my own. It's so easy! Don't be intimidated - you can make your own jelly!

Homemade Grape Jelly (sugar free!)
4 cups (32 oz) grape juice (100% juice please! no sugar added! made from concentrate works just fine)
box of powdered pectin
3/4 - 1 cup honey (I used 3/4, grape juice is pretty sweet already)
1/2 teas. butter

Ok, so this is what my box of pectin instructions told me to do (I used Ball).
  1. In large saucepan add juice, gradually stir in pectin powder.
  2. Over high heat, bring juice to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  3. Add honey, and bring to a rolling boil again. (Add 1/2 teas butter to reduce foaming, if desired.)Boil for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat, and ladle into hot canning jars.
  5. Place lids on jars.
  6. Put jars in a hot water bath. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat. Remove cover from canning pot, let jars sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove jars from hot water. Let them sit on the countertop until cooled down.
  9. Check that lids are sealed.
Once the jars are cooled down the jelly will solidify more. Don't get nervous if when you take them out of the hot water you see the juice sloshing around the jar. :)

As you can see, I got about 4 and 3/4 jars (they were 8 oz jars) of jelly.


I'm linking this up to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Check it out for some awesome recipes made bit healthier! (not necessarily gluten free!)