Friday, July 31, 2009

False Alarm!

So, not sure what really happened here...but Cinderella's eyes are fine. Back to work!
No, seriously, I am very thankful that Cloe won't have to worry about wearing glasses yet! The eye doctor was super friendly and thorough. After he loosened Cloe up and settled her nerves, she did fantastic on all the eye charts...who knew!

On another note...I'm leaving the wonderful world of the wide web for a week of family camp.
If I can sneak in a little connection with my phone, I'll try and say "hi"! Have a great week!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some deep thoughts...

This week, I've realized I must have totally missed the
MOM MD course.
When was that offered and where was I?
Last week, McClain ran a pretty high fever for three days. The doctor at the walk-in clinic couldn't find anything wrong, and the nurse acted like I was a quack for asking if he was contagious. Then two days ago, we found four HUGE new molars in the boy's mouth...and four in his brother's mouth! This also explains the completely unnecessary amounts ornery behavior of late! Why didn't I know they got molars at 3?
Today I found myself in another "why didn't I catch this sooner" situation. Cloe had her six year check up and completely bombed the eye exam. So much so, the doctor wondered how she had even passed kindergarten. There were six lines to read and she could only see the top two. We are headed to an optometrist tomorrow to get her fixed up with some cute specks. I'm crushed that we just put the poor girl through two months of intensive reading tutoring when she couldn't even see the wonder reading isn't coming easy. I am totally in awe of her progress in light of this news, though! What a trooper--never a single complaint, only excitement to get up early every morning during the summer for reading school! I love that girl!
These mothering moments that leave pits in my stomach take me right back to the pit in my stomach and the darkness I felt in the weeks after my babies were born. Some call it postpartum depression. I call it my dark time. (*I never want my children to think that because of them, I had depression. They are my treasures and my gifts! That's just a total editorial comment!) The pit wouldn't go away, the tears wouldn't was awful!
I remember so clearly crying out to God to restore my joy! Thankfully, I wasn't alone. God had placed people in my life like my awesome sister who would call me just to see if I was crying and other friends who would check up on me. Cody was also so incredibly supportive and went to great lengths to help me through the dark time. Because of God's grace, I made it fully restored, grace at work!
You probably heard about this accident last Sunday. When the name was released, another pit hit my stomach. A different sort of pit. This gal and her husband had been my Sunday School teachers my freshman year of college. I knew her. It crushed me to know that she had left four children behind. It also crushed me that she must have desperately needed help. Did she have a sister? Was her husband aware? News has been passed along that she had been suffering from postpartum depression for 13 years. .:How.awful:.
It's almost inevitable that we are going to face dark times, trials in our lives. I long to share the grace that pulls that dark cloud away and replaces it with joy! I long to see people experience a relationship with Christ that brings them out of the darkness and into a life lived not in their own strength but in His.

Isaac Watts, a hymn writer in the 1700's, penned a hymn from 2 Corinthians 12:7, 9-10.
Our own weakness, and Christ our strength.

Let me but hear my Savior say,
“Strength shall be equal to thy day,”
Then I rejoice in deep distress,
Leaning on all-sufficient grace.

I glory in infirmity,
That Christ’s own power may rest on me:
When I am weak, then am I strong,
Grace is my shield, and Christ my song.

I can do all things, or can bear
All suff’rings, if my Lord be there;
Sweet pleasures mingle with the pains,
While his left hand my head sustains.

But if the Lord be once withdrawn,
And we attempt the work alone,
When new temptations spring and rise,
We find how great our weakness is.

This hymn has been reworked and updated by two guys that work with Sojourn Music. They have amazing stuff! You can listen to it here...and you should, really!

So, because I have the privilege of being married to the hot music pastor at our church...yes, I just called him hot...I'll be singing this next Sunday. No, I'm not a great singer, but the message is great! Whatever dark time you're in...God's grace is waiting...lean!

May Your Power Rest on Me

Written by Joel Gerdis and Neil Robins

Let me hear my Savior say,
“Your strength shall return”.
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on your grace,
As I lean on your grace.

May your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days.

Let me know my Savior’s face;
Let my hope be secure.
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on your grace,
As I lean on your grace.

May your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days.

Once from the Lord withdrawn
I thought that I could live my life alone.
Leaving the solid ground
I sank beneath His wisdom.
The harder I tried to climb,
The closer I was to find how great is my weakness.

May your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days.

Though the trial still goes on,
Your grace will be my song.
For I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zucchini Marathon!

My good friend Caitlin came over the other day for a zucchini baking marathon! Anything done in the kitchen is much more fun when there's a side kick! (I know, I always have three little side kicks, it's just nice to have one that knows how to crack eggs so I don't have to fish out a zillion egg shell pieces...)

There you see my way wild garden. Everything use to look so pretty in orderly little rows...but I can't complain about the yields we're getting! Also hidden in there are some onions, peppers, basil, and garlic! This has been a great garden year so far! Today, my zucchini plant has another 3 huge blossoms! It truly does grow so fast it comes out your ears!
So...this is where it all the garden!
And this is where it all ended...
Now, you may think you're going to find three super healthy, zucchini packed recipes, but the health factor actually ends right at the zucchini.
I'm not going to lie--these recipes are packed with butter, oil, sugars, eggs. and plain 'ol flour.
Live a little...cleanse with a few more'll be ok...just this one time!

Chocolate Zucchini Roll

3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. shredded zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 c. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (we used 1/3 less fat)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. confectioners' sugar

Line a greased 15 in. x 10 in. x 1 in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; add to egg mixture until well blended. (Batter will be thick.)

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Invert onto a kitchen towel dusted with cocoa. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For filling, in a bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Place seam side down on a serving platter. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.

Zucchini Italian Herb Bread
Tastes like stuffing!

3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
3 eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
2 1/2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped onion

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs and oil. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, cheese, and onion.

Pour into a large greased loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Store in the refrigerator.

Caramel Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 c. shredded zucchini

In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, and extract. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cloves; add to egg mixture and mix well. Add zucchini and mix well.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin ups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Caramel Frosting:
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 c. confectioners' sugar

Combine the brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened (it took longer for ours). Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh, do you know my muffin men?

my muffin men, my muffin men...
Oh do you know my muffin men
who live on Pommel Place.

Now we all know the muffin men!
The muffin men, the muffin men.
Now we all know the muffin men
who live on Pommel Place.

Double Blueberry Muffins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or grease it well. With an electric mixer, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until combined.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mash 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork until liquefied. Add to butter mixture, along with lemon zest; beat to incorporate.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently fold in remaining 1 1/2 cups blueberries.
  4. Spoon or scoop batter into cups, and sprinkle tops with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out muffins onto a wire rack to cool 10 minutes more before serving.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some Saturday Go-Go's...

After a very fruitful day in the garden, here's what we enjoyed!

Fresh Garden Salsa

A lot of Tomatoes
A few Onions
Several sprigs of Cilantro
Garlic Salt to taste
Jalapenos for the brave

Chop tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Season with garlic salt.
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A week ago today...

...yes, I always seem to be just about one week behind...

We were at Adventureland with ALL of my family!This is my very favorite picture from the day!
Carson just let loose giggling and squealing on this ride!
It was too cute! When I was laughing and taking pictures, he looked at me and said, "Mom, this is what you're supposed to do here!"
Cloe and my sister-in-law Denise--I love her and wish they didn't live so far away!
These two cousins clearly bring out the booty in each other!
Their moves are quite fantastic!
I don't know what we're going to do when they go off to Junior High Camp together...guess we're in for a couple of years of being "counselors"!
Nathan and Zacharie...cousins and instant adventure buddies!

Cloe and her cousin Emilie
I think Cloe's hip moves really threw Emilie for a loop...
It's the "I Dream of Jeanie" bathing suit: brings out the groovin' girl.
Cloe's other cousin Alyssa

The Three Amigos
These girls were all born within one year of each other.

Oldest to youngest...
Emilie 8, Abigail 7, Alyssa 7, Cloe 6
Pretty cool that the girls are so close in age since my brother and sister are much much much older than me! (That third "much" is for you, Joy!)

The boys!
Guess it was orange day!
Carson 3, McClain 3, Nathan 10, Zacharie 12
They are absolutely the sweetest boy cousins, too!

My favorite thing about the day: LOVING COUSINS!

I'd love to show you all of the adults, but I was so busy capturing the kids that I missed getting pictures of the adults!
We're spending a week together at Family Camp, so I have another chance!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hang on Kids!

We're taking a little trip to Tuscany!

No more pb&j or grilled cheese for lunch at this house. We're swinging things a little gourmet these days!

After a very successful trip to the farmer's market, this recipe was calling my name...

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart
(Torta di Bietola ed Erbe)
In the more rugged areas of Tuscany, like the Garfagnana and Lunigiana in the northwest, savory tarts are as popular as their sweet counterparts. Vegetable tarts are quite common and usually include greens and herbs. This one features Swiss chard, thyme and oregano. Other herbs used in such tarts are tarragon, sage, nettles and borage. (Bet you're glad to know those little facts, eh?)

  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed (I used phyllo dough)
Cook chard in large pot of boiling salted water until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain. Squeeze out liquid. Chop chard.
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; saut
 1 minute. Add chard; sauté until excess liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard mixture to large bowl. Cool slightly. Mix in ricotta and next 7 ingredients.
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Line buttered baking pan with 1/2 phyllo dough. Fill pastry with chard mixture. Drape the rest of the dough over filling. Seal edges and fold in.
Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Mmmm...golden goodness!

So very excited for this special lunch!

Carson just wanted his food photographed...I should have taken an after picture.
He ate two big pieces!

For desert...a little sliced kohlrabi!

I'm convinced that taking trips to the Farmer's Market, letting the kids pick out "cool" vegetables, and making meals seem royally special are expanding our taste buds by leaps and bounds! Yippeeee!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blueberries for Sal

I love this little story about Sal and her mom hunting for blueberries along with a momma bear and her of my favorites! We love how the little girl just lives it up eating blueberries never even realizing she's with a bear!

We are livin' it up with the blueberries at our house! Did you catch the stellar deal on blueberries last week? I promise I really did leave a few containers at the store!
After drooling over these recipes all week, I finally settled on making this blueberry tart. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of mine, so here's Martha's!

This was surprisingly easy--although it took me two tries on the tart to get it right. Guess I really really need a real food processor!

Blueberry Tart

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 cups (six 1/2-pint containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed).
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.
  5. Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Then, of course, blueberry muffins for breakfast are a must!
Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins
These beauties are surprisingly moist and delicious. I say this with the utmost respect and admiration for butter and fat. These are the kind of muffins that make you feel good about yourself and your morning. Really. They’re whole grain, oat filled and fruit studded. Dreamy!
Makes 12-15 muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh goodness, this week has gone way too quickly! We've been on a roller coaster of busy-ness!
My brother and his family who live in France came into town last Thursday night. We had a great weekend spending time with them and the rest of my family. Our entire family spent Monday running around Adventureland like crazy people escaping a looney bin! It was so fun to see my three "French" nieces and nephew enjoy rides, roller coasters, and a water park for the first time.
Tuesday was busy with a MOPS picnic in the evening. I am very excited for MOPS this year!
Wednesday, we hit Jumping Jacks with a new neighbor friend and her children. All three kids left with a trophy of blood, bruises, or scrapes. I really struggle going to that place!
Then today we headed about an hour away to our other neighbor's "property". It was the most amazing thing--we pulled up to a gate and narrow lane in between two corn fields. After driving about a mile and a half, it turned into a hilly thick forest. They have 80 acres of mostly unsettled forest that the kids played in and explored. We picked berries and had a super fun day! Of course, I forgot my camera so I didn't get to capture any of the fun. Our neighbor said we could head out again before school starts. Yeah!
Amidst all of these fun activities has been some fun cooking too! Here's one recipe I found from Eat Healthy America. No one in my family really likes potato salad except for me, so it never gets made. When I found this healthified recipe, I thought I'd try it out for the picnic. It was good...and now I have my once-a-year fix for potato salad!
Dilly Potato salad

1/2cup plain fat-free yogurt
1tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
1teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4teaspoon salt
large white potato, cooked and cubed (4 cups)
1small stalk celery, chopped (1/3 cup)
2medium green onions, chopped (2 tablespoons)
1.In large glass or plastic bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, dill weed, mustard and salt. Add all remaining ingredients; toss.
2.Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours or until chilled.

We've also been enjoying a lot of blueberries! I'll try to post some pictures and recipes soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Being a mom...

Do you ever have quick thoughts about being a mom that choke you up and touch your heart?
Today, as I was cooking scrambled eggs and one "dip" egg, I had that moment. "If I had to go to work early in the morning, I would never get to fix my kids the exact breakfast they were hungry for." I don't know why that shook me, but it did. I love to cook for my children and see their little smiles when it's just what they "ordered". Breakfast is the one meal that's so easy it can be made special to everyone's likings.
Sometimes I take being a stay-at-home mom for granted. Here I sit...still in pj's with wild hair...enjoying a little Elmo and cuddle time (did you know Bert had a unibrow?).
Being home is a huge blessing. Having three lovey-dovey babies is a huge blessing. Taking care of their needs is a huge blessing. Cleaning up after them is a .... huge blessing.
I love it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

These four questions from Sunday have stuck with me this week:

1. Are you sinning rebelliously or as a consequence of your old nature?

2. Does Christ's person and work discourage you from sinning?

3. Does your new nature restrain you from sinning?

4. Does your spiritual "being" result in physical "doing"?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

While the cat's away...

...this mouse will blog!
Cody is at the Drake Bible Study tonight, and I'm home with the kids. It was all nice and quiet until 2/3 of the brood had bad dreams! Thank goodness for pbs kids continuous programming!
Life has been full of extra summer fun lately!Last week, we tried Fried Green Tomatoes. These are the "healthy" version: slice green tomatoes, coat with cornmeal, and cook in a little olive oil. Yum!

This is our first zucchini from the garden this year. I sliced it, brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with lemon pepper, and grilled it until tender. The kids chose this over a hot dog!

This was my favorite picture from the Fourth of July Parade in Creston. Carson gets so excited every time he sees a John Deere Tractor. It was so sweet to see the old farmers wave back at his little hand.

Time for the picnic! Such excitement from these city kids! Every year, the Travis family opens up their entire farm to anyone who wants to come. Cody grew up out in the country just about 3 miles from this farm. The Travis family has always been wonderful friends with the Criggers. It's fun to see our kids befriend each other now, too.

McClain grinned from ear to ear the whole horse ride. Grandpa told him they had to be really nice to the horse (meaning: don't kick it), so sweet Mac leaned over and said, "You're very pretty, horse." Ahhh...
Caitlin had a little bit of an ornery horse...I love having this girl with our family! She's always up for an adventure!

We made these cookies on Sunday to celebrate Cory's birthday. They were so good! We served them with a little dollop of Dairy Queen ice cream! Yum! This recipe is for sure a keeper!

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Monday, we used our free bowling coupons at the bowling alley in Waukee. It is such a nice clean place! Almost made bowling feel classy...almost!

Carson was ready to get the ball rolling...just had to find the right lane.
Cloe did a great job knocking down pins. I think it was her complete excitement every turn she got that made it such a fun activity for all of us! She came in second only to Cody...she's got pipes!
Click on this picture and enlarge it so you can get the full effect...slippery waxed lane, new bowling shoes, a heavy ball...KA-BOOM! Poor McClain! His shoe flew up and the ball landed on him, but he got up with the same silly 'ol grin!On of my friends made this yummy barbecue sauce and gave it away for Father's Day. It sounded so good, we had to try it! Our house smells awesome from it, too!

Classic Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil
  • 3 small onions, diced (3 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons regular chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 cups crushed tomatoes (from two 28-ounce cans)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups water, plus more if needed
  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute until translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the chili powder, coriander, cumin, molasses, and sugar. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cider vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and dark, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Reduce heat to low if sauce is simmering too quickly.
  2. Puree sauce in a blender. Add remaining 4 teaspoons salt, remaining teaspoon pepper, the white vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce, and puree. With blender running, carefully add water in a slow, steady stream. Blend until mixture is smooth and emulsified, adding more water if needed. Let cool, and refrigerate.
Here's where the "helpers" reimurged from their I put them to work! Carson helped me measure out the ingredients to this new granola recipe. It is so super easy and smells amazing, too! We're not going to add the dried fruit until our fresh blueberries are gone. Can't wait to enjoy this with yogurt in the morning!


Healthy Start Granola
Makes 4 cups
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss oats, coconut, and almonds. In a small bowl, stir together oil and honey. Pour over oat mixture and toss. Bake, tossing occasionally, until lightly toasted, 16 to 20 minutes.
  2. Place mixture in a large bowl and stir in blueberries. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 1 month.)
*I doubled this and used pecans instead of almonds, measured the coconut very generously, added a dash of cinnamon and will add the dried fruit later...

My other sleepy sweetheart...

And now, my handsome prince is pulling in the garage...good night!