Monday, December 5, 2011

Hey guys, check out my Etsy shop. 

I've set up a shop to sell my soaps and lotions and who knows what else.
If you are looking for some gift ideas, consider buying some homemade soaps or hard lotion bars.
I have the following in stock:

Cinnamon Clove Soap

Rosemary-Mint Soap

Cedarwood Soap

Hard Lotion Bars 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

remembering WHO we are giving thanks to

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
      Let the whole world know what he has done.
-1 chron 16:8-

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
-Psalm 9:1-

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your loving kindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth. 
-Psalm 57:9-11-

I will praise the name of God with song
And magnify Him with thanksgiving
-Psalm 69:30-

It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your loving kindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night, 
-Psalm 92:1-2-

With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him. 
-Psalm 109:30-

You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 
-Psalm 118:28-29-

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, 
to receive glory and honor and power; 
for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
-Revelation 4:11-

Monday, November 21, 2011

Almond Bark Popcorn

An easy, yummy, salty, sweet, tasty snack.

Almond Bark Popcorn

6 T coconut oil
1 c popcorn kernels
2-4 squares of almond bark, melted
1 c almonds

pop one half of your popcorn
(I put 3 T of coconut oil in a heavy pan with a lid. let it heat up for a minute, then add 1/2 a cup of popcorn kernels. Cover with a lid and shake until it is all popped)
dump into a large bowl and salt it to your liking
drizzle with melted almond bark (i only used 2 squares of almond bark because I just wanted a light coating)
add almonds and mix thoroughly until it is all coated
pop 2nd half of popcorn
salt it and mix in with previous batch

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken a la King

A savory way to use up Sunday's chicken dinner. 
Serve over puff pastry, english muffins, biscuits, or even toast.

Chicken a la King
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 c carrots, chopped
1 t garlic, chopped
1 t salt 
1/2 t pepper
1 T parsley
1/4 t thyme
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 c flour
30 oz box of chicken broth
2 c chicken, cooked and cubed
1 c corn
1 c peas

heat oil in large pot, add onion and carrots, cook until tender
add garlic and spices, cook another minute
add flour and stir well, cook for one minute
add broth and bring to a simmer
add chicken, corn and peas
serve over buttered biscuits

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

'Tis the season to bake all things pumpkin!

I love the smell when baking pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, and ginger together.  
So welcoming. So fall. So comforting.

This is a one bowl recipe that can be made into muffins or bread. 
You should make this this fall.

Pumpkin Bread

3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c pumpkin
1 T molasses
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/4 c cold water
1 2/3c flour
1/4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t ginger
1 t cinnamon

start by mixing all of the wet ingredients together until all incorporated
then add all the dry ingredients and mix together
put in a greased loaf pan or muffin tin
bake at 325 degrees

loaf = 45-50 minutes
muffins = 20ish minutes

I haven't made them as muffins yet so I'm guessing on the time. just keep an eye on them and check with a toothpick.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Pickin' and Train Ride

Apple picking at Pleasant Valley Apple Orchard


Train ride on the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway

Monday, October 3, 2011

Smoked Chicken with White BBQ Sauce

I'd never heard of white BBQ sauce.
Have you?
This chicken is smoked on the grill over indirect heat with a pan of soaked wood chips.
The flavor is amazing!
best. chicken. ever.
And of course it's from America's Test Kitchen, so you know it's gonna be good, c'mon!

Alabama BBQ Chicken
Cook's Country - America's Test Kitchen

White BBQ Sauce

  • 3/4 c mayo
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t horseradish *(I went w/o the horseradish and it was still good)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 whole chickens (3 1/2- to 4-pound), patted dry and split
  • 2 c hickory wood chips
  • Vegetable oil for grill grate
  • 1. For the sauce: Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  • 2. For the chicken: Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.
  • 3. Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover, with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.
  • 4. Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long-handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover (with half-opened lid vents over chicken).
  • 5. Grill chickens until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chickens skin side up and grill, covered, until breast meat registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  • 6. Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Carve and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Buttermilk Waffles

Look what I got for my birthday from my in-laws.....
Yeah! I love their recipes!!

Last night we tried the buttermilk waffles. They were great and easy.
I love how they try several methods to give you the best tasting recipe yet an easy process. For example, on the waffles they wanted an easier way to get the airyness that whipping egg whites gives traditional waffle recipes.
They figured most people wouldn't want the pre-breakfast workout of making a meringue. Solution: club soda! Club soda is what is used in most Japanese tempura batters to make it light and fluffy, so why not waffles! Brilliant!

Buttermilk Waffles
Americas Test Kitchen

2 c flour
1/2 c buttermilk powder*
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 c oil
1/4 t vanilla
1 1/4 c seltzer water

whisk the dry ingredients.
in a seperate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients except the seltzer water.
gently stir the seltzer into the wet ingredients.
pour the wet into the dry and gently stir until just combined. (batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.)

*if you dont have buttermilk powder you can do 1/2 c buttermilk and reduce the seltzer water to 1 cup.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homeschooling It

Have you heard we are homeschooling next year? (i could use your prayers!)

We are transforming our guest bedroom into our schoolroom. It is slowly coming together! I asked Tony to make me some book shelves for our little library. He did an excellent job! We love it!
And do you see that yellow cabinet? I rescued that from the thrift store for $10! It's a vintage jelly jar cabinet. I painted it a marigold yellow on the outside.

The inside is painted orange, green, and blue to match the kids' desks.

Left to right: Evan's, Addie's, and Isaiah's

Just a few more things to do...I still need to find myself a desk, hang our chalkboard, some maps, a clock, find an electronic pencil sharpener and figure out all this curriculum that keeps arriving at my door ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Applesauce Snack Cake

A nice little cake to snack on, and it has no eggs!
Perfect for those days you want to make something, but realize you are out of eggs!

Applesauce Snack Cake

adapted from

1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1 c applesauce

1 c flour

1 c whole wheat flour

1 T ground flax
1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground clove

1/2 c walnuts

Cream butter and sugar.

Add applesauce.

Stir in flours, flax, soda, and spices.

Add walnuts.

Pour into a greased and floured 9x9 pan.

Bake at 350 for 40 min.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Lovin

We have just returned from our annual trip to Camp Shetek for a yet another amazing week! We love camp! It's so fun to see young kids excited about God and sharing about His glory in their lives. God is so good! I can't wait to worship Him with everyone forever!

One of the highlights of the week is seeing the new maintenance video being revealed.
And here it is.....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Orange Streusel Muffins

I made this one up. Kind of tastes like my orange scones, but it's a muffin!
Feel free to change it up with any fruit.

Orange Streusel Muffins

2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/4 c milk
1/4 c juice from orange
zest from orange

1/4 c sugar
2/3 c flour
1/4 c butter, softened
zest of one orange

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs.
Combine muffin dry ingredients.
Combine milk, OJ, zest, and vanilla.
Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients into butter/sugar mixture.
Divide into 12 lined muffin cups.
Combine streusel ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min.

No-Bake Cookies

Another 104 degree day here. Good day for some no-bake cookies!

No-Bake Cookies

1 c sugar
1 stick of butter
4 T cocoa powder
1/2 c milk
1 c peanut butter
1 T vanilla
3 c oats

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.

Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal.

On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homemade Playdough

It's been a manic summer.
Seems like it has been either in the 70's and rainy or 103!
Either way we are stuck inside, so we have found some fun indoor activities to keep us busy from
Skip to My Lou's site.

One has been making homemade playdough. It turned out really well and has kept well wrapped in a baggie.
I doubled her recipe and it made the right amount for us to split between 3 kids.
Give it a try!

Homemade Playdough
from homemade by Jill

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring

  1. Combine all ingredients (except food coloring) in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Stir over medium heat until smooth.
  3. Stir continuously until the dough balls (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from heat.

  1. When dough is cool enough to handle, knead until smooth.
  2. Form into a ball.
  3. Divide into as many colors as you'd like to make. A single batch makes a good amount for four colors.

  1. Add food coloring to the divided dough. Gel food coloring works quite well. I have not tried liquid food coloring.
  2. Knead the food coloring into the dough. To protect your counter top, knead over wax paper. To protect your hands, wear plastic or rubber gloves, if you have them (you could also put the dough and food coloring inside a ziplock bag and have the kids squish it around inside).
  3. When the dough is a consistent color, ball and set aside.

  1. Repeat with the rest of your colors.
  2. Put the dough in separate containers. Toddler-sized snack containers are a good size, and I have also wrapped the colors individually in wax paper and stored in zip-lock baggies.
  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. It will stay soft for several weeks if stored airtight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fabric Flowers

I was given a free bag at a food show and decided to dress it up and make it more usable by adding some fabric flowers.

Here's how to make them:

I made two different sized flowers. The large ones started with a 8x8 square of fabric and ended up being around 3 1/2 inches round. The smaller ones were made from a 6x6 square and ended up forming a 2 1/2 inch flower.

If you make some, I'd love to hear what you use these for!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bloomin' Onion Bread

This is a tasty and fun appetizer or side dish to any meal. Can't go wrong with buttery, cheesy, onion bread!

Bloomin' Onion Bread
from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
12-16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving.

Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Shortcake

This recipe comes from Martha and was quite easy to prepare, yet looks like you spent a lot of time! It is basically a sweet biscuit dough shaped into two large circles that you bake and layer with whipped cream and berries.
Give it a try!

Summer Shortcake
from Martha Stewart

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • Raw sugar or fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled (small berries left whole, large berries halved lengthwise)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  1. Make the biscuits: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add cream cheese, and pulse again until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add buttermilk, and pulse until dough comes together. Transfer to a bowl, and gently knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or overnight).

  2. Divide dough in half. Working with one portion at a time on a lightly floured work surface, pat into a disk, then roll into a 10-inch round. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  3. Brush biscuits with buttermilk. Generously sprinkle raw or sanding sugar over tops and sides. Brush off sugar from parchment. Bake until dough has risen slightly and is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (if bottoms brown too quickly, reduce temperature to 400 degrees). Leave biscuits on sheets. Using a 2 1/2-inch star cutter, cut out (but do not remove) 7 stars from one biscuit while it is still warm. Let cool.

  4. Using a paring knife, carefully remove star shapes. Reserve for snacking or another use. (Biscuits can be made up to 8 hours ahead; store on wire racks, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.)

  5. Make the filling: Combine blueberries, strawberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar, and let macerate until juicy, 10 minutes.

  6. Just before serving, beat cream to medium peaks with remaining tablespoon sugar and the vanilla.

  7. Assemble the cake: Place uncut biscuit on a large plate. Spoon half the berries and their juices on top of biscuit, then spread the whipped cream over berries. Top with all but about 1/2 cup berries. (Make sure surface is even; it will support the top biscuit and prevent it from breaking.) Carefully place cutout biscuit on top. Fill star cutouts with reserved berries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 3 hours.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shoestring Chicken Salad

I remember having this chicken salad with the shoestring potatoes at church functions when I was growing up and loved the added crunch of the shoestring potatoes.
This is really only good right away as the potatoes get soggy quickly, so only make enough for what will be used.

Shoestring Chicken Salad

1 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped onions
1 c. grated carrots
3 c. cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1/4 c. whipped cream
3/4 c. Miracle Whip
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shoestring potato chips

combine all ingredients except for the shoestring potato chips and mix well.
chill until ready to use.
mix in potato chips right before serving.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Angel Food Cake

Not really even a recipe, but an easy summery dessert idea.
Throw together an angel food cake, this yummy cream cheese-whipped cream frosting,
and add some berries!
Light, tasty, easy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hey gals,

If you enjoy searching the web for new recipes and meal planning ideas you should check out

They have lots of recipes, meal ideas, you can even make a shopping list.
And, at the very bottom of their website you can explore through a huge list of food blogs when you click on their 'friends' link.

Go check it out!

Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

For those times you can't decide between brownies or cheesecake....make these!

Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

6 oz chocolate chips
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 t salt
3/4 c flour

mix above ingredients and pour into a greased 9x13.

8 oz cream cheese
2/3 c sugar
2 t lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
2 T flour

combine and drop by spoonful over brownie mixture.
swirl with a knife.
bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Everest Chicken Curry

This recipe was inspired by a dish we had at Everest on Grand in St. Paul. If you ever get the chance, you should eat there. Everything we've had there is amazing! Authentic Tibetan/Nepali cuisine.

Everest Chicken Curry

inspired by Kukhurako Maasu ( Chicken Curry) from Everest on Grand

olive oil
1 onion, pureed
1 T garlic, pureed
1 T ginger root, grated
4 T curry powder*
1 t cardamon
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
12 boneless/skinless thigh meat
1-2 bell peppers, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 c pea pods

heat enough oil in a large skillet to coat bottom of pan.
add onion paste, garlic, and ginger and cook 3-5 min.
add curry powder and cardamon. cook another min.
add coconut milk and lime juice.
once simmering, add chicken and salt/pepper. cook until chicken is cooked through - about 10-15 min.
meanwhile, in another pan fry sliced peppers and onions until tender and browned.
add to chicken along with pea pods continue cooking another 1-2 min until everything is heated through.
serve over rice and naan.

* The curry I found was at Cub Foods in the Ethnic Foods area and had the following ingredients:
turmeric, coriander, chili, fennel, anise, cumin, fenugreek, salt, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, and cloves.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Evan's Room

Sorry for the hiatus around here. Life's been busy with sickness after sickness after sickness, followed by some sickness. Then we decided to re-do Evan's room. Isaiah and Addie got bunkbeds and moved into one room. Which left Evan with this..... imagine a 16" farm scene border connecting the grass to the sky. It was good when he was 2, but he's almost 10 now...WHAT?! We have a young man on our hands and he deserves a respectable young man's room.

So, between him and me and Tony here's what we came up with...
...a snowboarder jumping out of the paint into a scene of mountains and snowy hills.
I think it turned out quite well and was a lot of fun to do together. Everybody helped out.
And Evan and Addie had fun adding these little stick men hiding all over his room.
This one dropped his lunch off of the light switch.
I think this room will fit his adolescent years quite nicely!