Archive | May 2012

Clean Eating and Working It

     Yesterday I spent a little lot WAY too much time on the computer/my phone. Yes, I admit it. But I like to think it was all for good. I like to find new recipes to try. I am an addict of Pinterest. And with Father’s Day coming up, I need to find some cute projects for my boys to make for Daddy, Grandpa’s and Great-Grandpa’s. It’s a lot of work, but I like to think that they all appreciate what we do.

I also spent time on some lifestyle changes. I am starting two (yes, count ’em two) lifestyle changes next week. My sister has a fitness page on Facebook (click here to see it) and she pledged to start a 21 day Clean Eating Challenge this coming Monday. I am so excited! It won’t be easy. I won’t like it for at least the first couple days. But I know that it will be so worth it in the end, even if I don’t see weight loss. The second challenge comes from The Gracious Pantry’s Facebook page. (click here to see it) Tiffany, the founder of The Gracious Pantry blog (a very good blog, by the way!) started an Exercise challenge that will begin this Monday as well.

I am CRAZY excited!  I am going in for a 3 month exercise challenge and 21 day clean eating challenge. I WILL stick with it. And I will NOT fail. I want to be able to buy new shorts this summer, because all of mine will be too big. That is a clothing purchase I will be perfectly okay with 🙂

Does this mean that I will not be putting any tasty recipe’s on here? No. I have some stockpiled and I try to bake healthy. I actually have some zucchini brownies that I will be making soon, right after I make the almond butter that goes in them. And I also make some super yummy and healthy (yes, both yummy AND healthy) dinners. It’s my goal to keep my family healthy and eating well. (even if they don’t appreciate it now, I hope they will in the future)

Here are a few goals I have for the next few weeks/months:

  • no coffee (this on is going to be hard. I am actually going to put my coffee pot away. I know, I’m crazy)
  • no added sugar (I sweeten a lot of stuff with honey or Truvia)
  • work out at least 4 times a week (this can get hard, since I can’t workout when my boys are awake, but there’s always jogging)
  • no giving up

I have seen so many people succeed while eating clean and exercising. That’s all it takes. My Father-in-law lost over 100lbs in a year from simply working out and eating right. (something he has never done in his lifetime) And you know what? He looks and feels great! I’m so proud of him! My sister, Jen, has some awesome muscles from pushing herself everyday..even if she doesn’t feel like it.  And my cousin Nikki, she already looks amazing, but doesn’t want to just feel ‘okay’, she wants to feel amazing, and it shows! I’m so proud to be in a family that takes health seriously! I know I can do and I have a lot of friends that are starting down the same road I am. I’m so proud of all of them and I couldn’t be surrounded by a better support system.

I will update you on my progress as I go. You can also join my sister’s fitness page and come on this journey with me! What can you do today to make yourself better?

It’s not about weight loss, it’s about feeling good.




Birthday Time!!!

That’s right. Another birthday in our family. This time is was for my youngest son Jonah. He turned two last Friday and I can’t believe I’ve had two years with him already. It’s crazy how time flies!

So, as you may have guessed, I had to come up with a cool cake for him. I was going to make a veggies tales cake, but have had no inspiration for one. And I have been planning on veggies tales for a few months now and had no ideas and didn’t actually sit down to start planning it until last Tuesday. Still nothing.

Beth was here baking cookies for her mom, while be discussed cakes and themes. The only other idea I had was making a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake. I adore the Very Hungry Caterpillar and I decided that you could really only use that theme while Jonah was little. He will be too big for it next year when he turns three. (THREE!?!? I’M NOT READY FOR THIS!!!!!) So, I did some searching on Pinterest and found some different ideas for cake. Many use fondant, which I didn’t really want to get into for this cake.  I debated going with cupcakes and shaping them to form the caterpillar… But in the end, we went with a bundt cake, two-layer, 6 inch round cake, and rice krispy bars 🙂

Yes, I know that is adorable. We loved this caterpillar before he was even frosted!

Beth came over on Friday to help me decorate him. We spent about 4 1/2 hours making him beautiful. And it was so worth it!

Isn’t he cute!!! I could just eat him up!!! (oh wait..I did!)

We couldn’t have been happier with the outcome and I’m so proud of my ‘big’ two year old! He is truly a blessing to my family and brings us such joy (and trials) every day! I just love him so much!

Here’s a couple things about my upcoming week:

I have some fun posts to come and some changes (in my life) that I will be sharing with you all! Also, Beth and I are headed to Illinois for the Annual Wilton Tent Sale on Saturday!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!!! I will be sharing all about our trip next week, along with pictures of everything I buy!! Woohoo!! I’M SO PUMPED!!!! (can you tell? hehehe)

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Thanks for spending time with me today 🙂

Rhubarb Crunch

I know what you’re thinking… two posts in less than 24 hours…crazy! Last night was totally on a whim and this morning I happened to have lots of time to bake since I woke up with my husband at 3am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was not thrilled about this at all, but decided to make the best out of it. So I did my devotions is peace, planned my day, and baked this dessert all before the news came on at five. I even had time to read part of a book that has been sitting on my shelf staring at me for a year. (yeah, I don’t read much) I showered, only to find my oldest out of bed and playing in the living room. We do have a rule in our house: do not come out of your room until 7am. He’s only three, but he knows all his numbers, so we bought an alarm clock for him and he “usually” doesn’t come out until closer to seven.

So now that I’ve been awake for 4 hours, I’m blogging.

I love adore this recipe. It tracks back to my childhood and probably to my Mom’s and maybe even my Grandma’s childhood. I do think that rhubarb is an acquired taste. I’ve known many people that haven’t liked it or haven’t even tried it. Which just seems unreal to me. I grew up with rhubarb. We had two patches of it on our farm. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t like a granola crust with fruit in the middle that is drowning in sugary syrup? I mean come on.











Rhubarb Crunch

4 cups raw, chopped rhubarb

For Crust:

1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour (any flour works fine. Use your preference)

3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

For Syrup:

1 cup white sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Crust:

In medium bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Melt butter and pour into flour mixture and mix until crumbly. Pour half the mixture in greased 9×13 pan and pat down.

Place rhubarb evenly on top of crust.

Directions for Syrup:

In small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Over medium heat cook, stirring often, until mixture becomes thick and clear. (this part has always confused me. When I start cooking it, I think, “how will I know when it’s ready?” But it’s very ‘clear’ when it’s ‘clear’) Pour over rhubarb.

Sprinkle the rest of the flour/butter mixture on top of rhubarb and syrup and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubble around the edges or the crust is browning slightly.

Let cool a while and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

NOTE: I tend to 1 1/2 the crust recipe. So it would be 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and so on. I also use extra rhubarb, because I love rhubarb!


Here’s a picture of it baking in my oven..I couldn’t resist. Ignore my incredibly dirty oven door and the fact that you can see my reflection. Yes, I am wearing flamingo pajamas.

Basic Frappachino


So today has been a little rough around here. And my house proves it. I’m trying un-bury my kitchen of all the dirty dishes that have been around since probly Tuesday (yes, I know. It’s gross) and my boys had a field day with being sassy today, so my wonderful hubby took them to a park after dinner. I LOVE him so much 🙂 So, while doing dishes (thankfully, I don’t have too many to do by hand because I have a dishwasher. Praise the Lord!) I remembered that there was some coffee leftover in the pot from this morning. I used to be able to drink rewarmed coffee, but no more. It’s so nasty. But, I do love me a good ‘ol Frappachino from Starbucks…sadly, I don’t make millions of dollars, so i can’t afford to go buy one whenever I want. (i have, however, thought about getting a job there just for discount on the coffee..hehehe) So, I am a fan fanatic of Pinterest, so I knew I had something on the there for iced coffee. And I found this. I’m pretty sure its the best thing in the world, and not too unhealthy. I almost used coconut milk instead of my lowfat milk just to add some extra sweetness, but decided against it. Maybe next time.

Basic Frappachino

Equal parts brewed coffee and milk (you could use chocolate milk or chocolate almond milk to give more flavor too) Two packets Truvia (you could also use sugar) Two handfuls ice cubes (this is seriously how precise I was)

Optional: chocolate syrup, coffee cream (i used caramel macchiato) etc.
Put ingredients in magic bullet or blender and blend until desired consistancy…

Pour into glass and enjoy!

You could top it with whipped cream and drizzle if you want to get fancy, but i didn’t feel the need to do so.

Weekend, Baby!!!!

I’ve discovered two things this weekend: its impossible to blog when your computer refuses to connect to the internet (again) and in case mosquito bites aren’t bad enough, why do they have show up the next day when you were thinking ‘wow! I didn’t get too many bites this time!’ Sigh….bring on the hydrocortisone cream. Although, I feel much worse for my kids. Their bites swell up so much more. My oldest is into scratching his itches, so he could end up with a lot of scars.
As for my internet, I have no idea what’s wrong. Everything says it fine, but our network is not even ‘there’. So, who knows what’s going there. So for now, I’ll have to use my phone.
The weekend was SO much fun!
Friday was complete chaos, getting ready for everything. I had to pack for my boys and food for the whole weekend, bake and decorate a cake for a friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday Franci!), pick rhubarb (thanks to my friend Melissa for all the tasty rhubarb!), bake muffins, and I cleaned the whole house (besides my Monkey’s [Jonah’s] room, I need to organize his room very badly) before leaving Friday night.
Saturday was rummage sales in the good ‘ol Town of Winneconne. My in-laws live there, its where my hubby grew up, and where my grandparents lived when I was growing up. So I stayed at my in-laws on Friday so we could get an early start on rummage sales! Yes, I am that into rummage sales. I need the bumper sticker that says ‘I brake for rummaged sales’. Seriously. And I found some good great AWESOME deals too! Tons of clothes for me, some for my hubby, my oldests’ whole 4T woredrobe, toys and some decorating things. Rummage sales are the best! I just can’t get enough!
So, while I was rummage saling saleing (I don’t know how to spell that), my hubby had our boys at the campsite. (with some of our bestest friends!) I joined up with them Saturday night and Sunday.
The best thing about camping is there is no schedule. We played at the park, we ate, we talked, we sat around and did nothing. It was great. So relaxing. Although, I have to say, I hate coming home, not just because I have do all the laundry and clean up the big mess, but it means back to reality. As I’m typing this, my boys are watching Sesame Street and we are all still in out pj’s.
But today I plan to jog and do my other workouts, I have a pile of rhubarb to cut up and freeze or make something with, and laundry…lots of laundry.
So I guess I better get busy!
When my internet is fixed, I will share the cake I made on Friday as well as a few other recipes that I’ve been dying to share with you!
Have a great Monday!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Ahhh…Mother’s Day. A day of honoring our moms that have worked so hard on us over the years in hopes that someday we might NOT embarrass them to no end every time they go to a store or church or out to eat. I don’t know about you, but I remember plenty of times that my embarrassed me too. Although, I’m not sure if it really makes up for all the tantrums and screaming “YOU NEVER BUY ME ANYTHING”  that I put her through. I love my mom. And I’m truly sorry for all the trouble I’ve cause over the past 25 years, and now (to my whole family’s delight) I have two boys that are giving it back to me.

 A mother’s work is never done. It never will be done. And I’m pretty sure mom’s worry about their children when they’re 3, when they’re 25, and even when they’re 58. I don’t know what it will be like to have older children. I still feel like a child myself sometimes. (But I don’t throw tantrums for my mom anymore. I promise!)

Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day with my husband’s family. It’s always the first big grill out of the year and boy, was it good! I love the smell of grill. Even if it is propane. It’s still wonderful.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, eat, enjoy everyone’s company, and play croquet.


Yup. That’s my husband. He’s a pretty serious croquet player.


In lieu of Mother’s Day, I offered to make the cake. Which ended up being cupcakes. And were pretty darn delicious, might I add. I have to admit, I used a box mix for the vanilla cupcakes, but that is only because my mother-in-law can’t eat gluten and offered a cake mix to me to make so she could eat some of the ‘cake’. I graciously accepted her offer and decided on cupcakes. I chose chocolate for other cupcakes since we had vanilla.  And I had so much fun decorating! I found the idea for the piping on Pinterest and I couldn’t resist trying it out! So yes, I made a test batch the week before and LOVED  how they looked! The chocolate cupcakes were a recipe from one of my favorite blog of all time Annie’s Eats. I’ve made them once before and they were delish! So I knew that these would be the winners. 

This is what my kitchen table looked like Saturday Night.



These are all the Mother’s Day projects I worked on with my kiddos on Saturday Morning. (don’t look mom!)


My kiddos did not help with the bags in the back. That is a gift especially from me 🙂 And here’s a picture of what is inside 🙂


In case you are wondering what that is. It’s Homemade Vanilla. Another wonderful recipe/idea from Annie. It has changed my life. It has such wonderful flavor and it’s SO much cheaper than buy the real stuff from anywhere else.

This is my oldest enjoying his second cupcake of the day 🙂


And here’s my not-so-little guy who’s almost two! (He’s showing me his belly-button) And he had almost three cupcakes, since he snuck off to eat one when we were all talking in the living room. He’s kind of a stinker…



All-in-all, it was a wonderful Mother’s Day! I am so blessed to have such a loving family!

Taco Seasoning

I don’t know about you, but there seems to be a baby boom lately! I just heard on the news the week that the birth rate is down compared to past years, but not around here! There’s baby’s coming out everywhere! (okay, maybe that brings a bad word picture to mind, but you get the drift)

I was just at a baby shower last night and we also had one a couple weeks ago for another friend. Both of whom are having girls. I have so admit, I’m a little a lot extremely jealous! I have to admit, I LOVE my two boys. I wouldn’t trade them for anything! But there’s something about having a newborn baby..and a girl would be wonderful. (at least until she’s a teenager…) But since this blog isn’t about baby’s and it’s about food, I will move on.

What got me started on baby showers, is I always make food for them! I enjoy sharing my talents (if you can call them that) with people, and then I don’t have to eat it all. (and let’s face it, I would) Since my friend Beth is always summoned to to the cake/cupcakes or whatever dessert there will be (since she absolutely amazing at it!) I get to try some other recipes and fun little treats.

Last night I decided on Taco Dip. One of my favorite ‘snack’ items at parties. I like to believe it’s a healthy option. At least compared to cake, cookies, and cheese. Just saying.

I used my taco seasoning in my taco dip last night, and it was amazing! I has so much more flavor than the packaged stuff from the store, and it also so much healthier since it doesn’t have all the preservatives in it. You can use it in taco dip or with any meat that you would normally make tacos out of. I have halved the recipe before, just so it didn’t make as much at one time. But it keeps for a long time. You could also store it in the fridge or freezer, I’m sure.


Taco Seasoning  (from Annie’s Eats)

4 Tbsp chili powder

3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp paprika

3 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

When making tacos, use about 2 heaping tablespoon per 1 pound of meat. Add about 1 cup water to meat and seasoning and simmer until most of the liquid is gone.




Black Bean Brownies


Don’t let the name fool you. These are fantastic! I’ve had other black bean brownies, but they’ve always a bit too dry or not chocolatey enough for my taste. (and I ❤ chocolate) So when I found this recipe (originally named Fudgy Black Bean Brownies) I had to try them!

My husband even liked them and he’s always (until quite recently) refused to eat beans of any kind. But now I can sneak black beans in things and I don’t hear too much complaining coming from his side of the table. My two boys think they’re jelly beans. I’m not sure how much longer I can get away with that.

The brownies do NOT taste anything like beans. They are more dense and dry than the fudgy brownies you would buy in a box at the store, but I refuse to use boxed foods when I can make it just as good, or better, all by myself. I am also into switching out ingredients for a healthier option. So no sugar (other than the chocolate chips) and no oil! I like feel a little better about the junk I eat.Image


Black Bean Brownies (adapted from Pennies on a Platter)

1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed very well)

3 large eggs

3 Tbsp applesauce

3/8 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Grease and 8×8 inch pan.

Process (in a food processor or blender) the black beans until smooth. (I only have a blender, and it works okay, but I add the eggs right away to blend the beans, otherwise, they just get pasty and my blender stops blending) Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and process again until smooth. Mix in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and pulse/blend a few times just until the chocolate chips are incorporated well.

Pour the batter into you greased pan and smooth.  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

Cut and Enjoy!

These would be tasty with some homemade ice cream or Greek Yogurt on top!

Easy Almond Milk Ice Cream

It’s a hot summer day. Humid. You’re sitting around wishing you had a popsicle or some ice cream to cool you off. Well, your search stops here.

Not only is this ice cream extra cold (don’t ask my why, it just is), but it D. Lish. Us. Not to mention super easy as well!

Four ingredients, an ice cream machine and only 5 minutes of your time preparing it.

Sadly, I did not get to make this on a day that was hot and humid as today is here in the good ‘ol state of Wisconsin. (we have to savor these days, they seem to be few and far between) No, the day I made this on was rainy, windy, and cold. I’m crazy, I know. But we were with some great friends and I wanted to try it out so badly!


Easy Almond Milk Ice Cream    (adapted from Bay Area Bites)

1 1/2 cups chocolate almond milk

2 ripe bananas

2 heaping tablespoons baking cocoa

2 Tbsp sugar (you could also use an alternative if you wanted it to be ‘healthier’)

In a microwave safe bowl, whisk almond milk and cocoa together until combined. Microwave for 40 seconds, then stir. Place bananas and almond milk mixture into a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds or until banana is all mixed in. (no big chunks)

Pour mixture into ice cream machine and blend for 20 minutes. I had to put it in the freezer for a bit longer, but if you keep it going for maybe 5 more minutes, the consistancy would have been perfect.

Serve right away or store in freezer. (p.s. It is amazing with peanut butter on top or mixed in)

After being stored in the freezer for a while, it does get very hard. To the point that my husband and I couldn’t get it out with a hot ice cream scoop (heated under hot water)

Watch out for brain freezes and enjoy!!!