Archive | June 2012

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

 

I don’t know about you, but after a hot sticky day, a cold treat always hits the spot. Ice cream, popsicles, sherbet. It’s all good!
Last week we had the privelage to eat dinner at Beth’s house. If you’ve checked out her blog, you know that she’s always making something yummy and baking something in her beautiful kitchen. I’m always excited to eat there! ( and of course talk cakes and whatever else we come up with!)

Usually when I make ice cream or sherbet, I totally forget to put our ice cream make pail thingy in the freezer the day before…but not this time! I remembered and I’m so glad I did. This recipe was totally worth the wait! Although, I may have snitched some during the day just to make sure it was going to taste good. (I wouldn’t want to serve it if it wasn’t going to be good. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Come on, be honest.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Beth for letting me photograph my frozen yogurt in her beautiful Fiesta Fruit Bowl!

Besides the waiting, this is a super easy and fast recipe! It’s as simple as cutting some fruit and mixing it together and blending…seriously…it’s that easy. Okay, well maybe there’s a couple steps that I’m missing there. But it’s so worth it. It’s like heaven on a spoon. It’s like…well, you’ll just have to try it for yourself 🙂

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Lime Frozen Yogurt   (adapted from The Mother Huddle)

3 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

3 kiwi’s peeled and chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (Don’t be afraid of this. It turns out tasting just fine!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Note: Wash all fruit before using 🙂

Place strawberries, kiwi, lime zest and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl and mix together. Add the sugar and honey and mix. Cover and place in refrigerator for about an hour.

After an hour remove from fridge and place in blender or food processor with the 1 cup of Greek yogurt and blend.

Pour mixture into an electric ice cream maker and let it run until it reaches begins to harden a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it looked like when I first put it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it looked like shortly before I stopped it and put it in the freezer.

Place in the freezer overnight or for the whole day (depending on when you make it) I put mine in a Pyrex container, since I thought it would be easier to travel with and scoop out. But you can put it in whatever freezer safe container you have.

Once hardened to a sherbet or ice cream texture, scoop in to bowls and enjoy!

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Late Night Walmart Run

After my busy day yesterday, I ended up stopping at Walmart on my way home to pick up a sprinkler so my kids won’t die from heat this weekend. (and it will definitely help water the grass too!)
When I first got there, I had to use the bathroom, so I walked in, found a stall that I could actually lock the door on. (I won’t fill you in all the details in there…lol) So I come out, wash my hands and, of course, check myself out in the mirror to make sure I ‘look presentable’ for the rest of the Walmart world. Then I thought to myself, why? Why do I need to look good for everyone else? Why do I care what other people, that I will probly never see again, think of me and what I look like? Why do I feel like I need to be accepted by these people? I have someone WAY more important that I should be thinking about.
The only person that has the right to judge me, inside and out, is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:3-5 says,
‘Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe youselves instead with the beauty that come from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.’
So why do I continue to care how I look for everyone else? I should only be concerned with making sure my heart is right. That I’m praising the Lord in all I do AND in all my thoughts.
So next time you need to make yourself look beautiful to go out, remember Who you are looking good for and make sure your heart is in the right place. Then you will be truly beautiful.
*stepping off my soapbox now*

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean and Lean. That’s the motto for eating clean. Now, I may not be 100% great at eating clean, but since I’m about half way through with my clean eating challenge, I’m trying my hardest to keep at it. (we’ll just ignore the small portion of Culver’s custard I ate after lunch…shhh) So other than that, things are going pretty well. I feel great! I’ve lost weight. I have not, however, been doing so well in my exercise challenge. Since my hip was hurting a couple weeks back, I couldn’t do much a while, and even now, if I do too much it still hurts. So I’ve seeing the chiropractor and getting it fixed.

I also decided this week that our cars needed some cleaning. So I got out my bucket, water, soap, tire brush, wash rags and drying towels and went to work. I had my two boys get out their bikes and ‘wash’ them too (because they were obviously dirty…). Either way, that had fun playing and splashing around in the water.  In the middle of washing the van, my phone rang, so I started to walk into the garage to see who it was (it turned out to be a number I didn’t recognize anyway) I slipped and my flip-flop got stuck between the driveway and the lip of the garage floor, slamming my big toe into the garage floor lip. Yeah, it hurt. No, I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I decided to go inside and get washcloth since I was bleeding all over and I’ve had band-aids on it ever since. It hurts to wear real shoes, so I’ve been walking around with socks and crocs on all week. (real classy, I know) On the flip side, my youngest is participating in a diaper study this week and I have to wear socks while I’m there with him. So it all works out really! Besides not being able to go jog or do cardio at home. Grrrr…

You might be wondering what all of that had to with zucchini brownies. Nothing. Just keeping you up to date on my challenges!!!

So, I made these delicious zucchini brownies last week. To be honest, they weren’t really like brownies, but more like zucchini bread with chocolate chips in it. So there are two things that I will change next time I make them and I’ll let you know how it turns out. Either way, they were amazing. And I’m pretty sure my hubby never tried them and my kids didn’t like them, so I got to eat them all myself!!! They lasted almost a week and a half though, so it’s not like I mowed them down or anything. But oh my, I did have to control myself. They were so good!

I won’t leave you in suspense any longer! Here’s the recipe!

(I also didn’t get a picture of them cut, because I kept forgetting and then ended up eating them all before I remembered :/ )

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies  (adapted from Delighted Momma)

1 cup of almond butter (I used my DIY Almond Butter)

1 1/2 cup of grated or chopped zucchini ( I suggest shredded/grated)

1/3 cup of  honey

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but you can use whatever you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in to a mixing bowl and mix together. Pour batter into and 8×8 or 9×9 in pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Note: My first attempt at these I chopped the zucchini, but I would suggest shredding it or grating it (I have the shredder attachment for my kitchen aid mixer, so I will use that next time. Also, I would melt the chocolate chips if you want that ‘brownie’ consistency

Sweet Summer

June 7, 2012.
I’m sitting on our front ‘porch’ (aka, a slab of concrete in front of our house) and sharing a wonderful snack with my two beautiful boys. Yup, you probably guessed by the picture..strawberries. we picked them ourselves yesterday. I don’t know how life could get any better right now.

June 9, 2012
What is it about the out doors that are just so great? We’ve spent most of the day out in the 90 degree weather with our friends Eric and Alaina and their ADORABLE baby boy! It’s evening now and turning ‘cooler’, but there’s just something about being out in God’s creation that makes this night so special. Birds chirping, beautiful sunset and my two boys riding bikes and laughing. Could life get better than this?

June 11, 2012
Monday mornings are always hard, especially after a busy weekend. We got the chance to celebrate a friends graduation yesterday and had lots of fun! I’m so happy to have such wonderful friends and awesome students that love my kids and actuated fight over which one is cuter! (you know who you are!)
Today I choose joy. Today I choose happiness. Today i choose to listen to what God is telling me and see what He is showing me.
Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to be a mom and for giving to privilege to witness to these two beautiful beings You so graciously gave me.

It’s Monday. Choose Joy 🙂

DIY Almond Butter

Nuts have never been my thing (not THOSE kind of nuts. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter…lol. Just kidding) Seriously though, I’ve never like any kind of nut besides peanuts. I enjoy love will eat just about anything you put peanut butter in or on. I don’t know what it is about peanuts and chocolate that just make my mouth water. Peanut butter cups…mmmm. I just don’t understand how anyone can’t like peanut butter. It’s the best thing since sliced bread (and it happens to great on that too!)

So, for me to branch into other kinds of nuts is a rather large feat for me. Last summer was the first time I’d ever enjoyed an almond and it’s flavor. It could have been the fact that is was smothered in cinnamon and sugar and warm and gooey…so I really didn’t taste the almond, but boy did I enjoy it!  Then this past February, I changed my eating habits majorly and the diet that I started following to begin this change had almonds as a snack (among many other things) But I knew that I would never be able to enjoy plain, boring almonds. Not happening. I refuse.

It wasn’t long after that, that I went grocery shopping for some healthy food and stumbled upon cocoa roasted almonds. OH MY GOODNESS! These things have changed my life! Not only do I now enjoy almonds (I still don’t enjoy them plain), but they give an extra boost of energy, and they taste like chocolate! Yay!!!! Something healthy that tastes good! I know, I didn’t believe it either.

Now it’s my goal to find healthy alternatives to my favorite treats. Like my Black Bean Brownies.
This time I found a recipe called Zucchini Brownies. I was instantly intrigued, since I love brownies and love zucchini. And what’s better, no flour or sugar! So gluten free and ‘clean’ (for those that may not know what ‘clean’ food is, I may write a post in this in the future) However, this post is not about the brownies…but is it about a very key ingredient IN the brownies. Almond butter. It’s uses a whole cup of it! I checked out prices on almond butter and decided I couldn’t spend $7.00 on a little jar of this stuff and use it ALL in a recipe for brownies.

I’ve been wanting to find a good price on almonds to use for other reasons, bit just haven’t found a great price. Untilast week. Fleet Farm, of all places, had a great deal on them! So I bought a bunch and tried my hand at almond butter.

My first attempt was less than successful. I forgot to roast the almonds first (apparently a key thing in this process) so I got, what I call Almond dust. (good thing I got a good deal on the almonds!)

I had to laugh. I was trying to make some cupcakes and text with a friend while I was doing this….I should know better than to multi-task.
When I figured out my problem and roasted the next batch of almonds and then processed them, it turned out great! And it was so easy! Trust me, if making things DIY scares you, don’t let it.This is something you can do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Butter

2 cups plain almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds in a single layer on a jellyroll pan (a cookie sheet with sides). Roast almonds for about 10 minutes or just until fragrant.
Take out of oven and place in a food processor (be careful, the almonds are VERY hot).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Process almonds about 15 minutes or until ‘buttery’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will want to scrape the sides of the processor a few times during this time.
When its done processing, scrape into a storage container (I used Pyrex) and let cool a bit before refrigerating.
Use in any recipe or on toast like peanut butter.

One thing I may do next time is add a bit of honey. I thought it was a tad bitter. But that’s just me.

So there you go. Easy DIY Almond Butter! Could it get easier than that?

Wilton Tent Sale = Heaven on Earth

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I had traveling to Woodridge, Illinois for the annual Wilton Tent Sale at the beginning of June. It was amazing. Fantastic. Heavenly. (besides the rude man who thought I was going the wrong way down the aisle. Sigh) So besides that, I had more fun than I could possibly imagine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously this was not the tent. I was so excited when we got there that I didn’t take any pictures of the actual tent!!

This tent was close to a mile long with 5 rows of wonderful, discounted Wilton supplies. From baking pans to sprinkles to frosting tips. It WAS Heaven on Earth. There were a few things that they were out of already when we arrived around 9:30am and they opened at 8! I don’t really know how to explain it other than incredible.

Here’s are a few pictures from our day 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were way to excited to going! (and no, we did not intentionally match that day, we are just that good)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our wonderful ‘drivers’. (hey, they offered to drive us down there and listen to our chatter and giggles for the whole 8ish hour ride there and back) Beth’s hubby, Andy is on the left and my hubby, Arron is on the right 🙂


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had no idea that  you could see the skyline of Chicago from where we were in Illinois. I thought this was so cool (I don’t get out much)  So while we were driving home I had to try and get a picture of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We even got caught in a real Chicago area traffic jam! Oh the fun!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were planes flying right over the highway when we drove by O’Hare Airport. I also, have never driven by that airport. It was pretty exciting for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we had nothing that we really had to get back for, we decided to stop at the Jelly Belly ‘Factory’ (I use the term loosely. It was really just a distribution center). It’s located just inside of Wisconsin. And who doesn’t love Jelly Belly’s!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The building even lives on Jelly Belly Lane!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s right. We took the tour 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jelly Belly’s were hanging from the ceiling in the waiting room for the tour. There were some cooler ones hanging from the ceiling while we were on the ‘train’ during the tour, but we were told not to take pictures during the tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had to wear these lovely hats..you know, to keep out hair out of the processing. Don’t they make a cute couple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to steal one picture during the tour. We came across these flamingos!!!! How could not take a picture?

That concludes my picture tour of our day.

If you choose to check out the tent sale next year, I would suggest making a detailed list of things you really want. I didn’t and did buy some stuff that I really wanted, including a Wilton Master Tip set  so I can not pipe just about anything!! (after I practice a lot, anyway.)

I also purchased some fun Zebra print and hot pink candles, cake platter, and cupcake liners for my sister’s upcoming birthday. That will be fun!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our day as much as I enjoyed writing this and remembering everything!!!

Thank you and God Bless!

Buttercream Frosting

I don’t know about you, but I think frosting is the best part of eating cake. I used to love the cake, but after having so many dry ones (store bought, wedding, etc) I opted to just eat the frosting. The cake is merely the vessel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cake. But come on, who really doesn’t purposely take stake out the corner piece with the all the piping and big roses. Mmmm, just thinking about it makes me want to run to my kitchen and bake a cake right now!

I’m always on the search for yummy frosting recipes. My husband LOVES cream cheese frosting and I’ve never actually used a recipe, but my friend Beth found a great recipe that I will share someday when I make a cake that need cream cheese frosting. (which will probly be October for my husband’s birthday) For now, I have butter cream.

I got this recipe from a dear mommy friend of mine. She had made a Minnie Mouse cake for her youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday and I loved the frosting! So, of course, I asked if I could have the recipe, and it’s the only one I’ve used since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also decorated cookies with this frosting and much much more. I just don’t have pictures of it all!

It is a sweet frosting, so if you’re not into really sweet frosting..this isn’t for you. But I have another recipe to two that I’d like to try that you might like better, so stay tuned!

 

Butter Cream Frosting  (from my friend Andrea)

1/2 cup shortening (I use butter flavored, because it’s what I always have on hand)

1/4 cup butter (softened)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

4-6 Tbsp milk

Cream shortening and butter until combined. Add vanilla. Mix in 1 or two cups of powdered sugar, or until it becomes to stiff to beat. Then add 1 or tbsp milk. Keep alternating until you have your desired consistency.

Spread or pipe on to cake or cookies….or right into your mouth..that’s yummy too 😉

You can also color it with any type of food coloring. It does get warm fast, so you may need to refrigerate it a few times if you are planning on piping.