Showing posts with label Baking/Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baking/Cooking. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8

Chocolate Zucchini Brownie Cake

You can find this post on my new site,; Click HERE.

Monday, August 10

Cast Iron Convert

One of the most exciting things for me when my husband and I got engaged was creating our registry: LOVED IT! Both of us moved from our parents’ homes straight into our first home together, so we needed everything. I was beyond ecstatic to register for pots and pans…specifically Calphalon pots and pans: 10 years later those pots and pans are still going strong and I do love them!


A couple of times Matt tried to convince me of using cast iron cookware, by bringing out his rusty old pan from his boy scouting days. I wasn’t too thrilled by it and pretty much refused to use it. Then last year we moved in with the in laws and I was forced to use cast iron, all of our stuff was in storage. My mother in law had only recently started to use cast iron again…so I went with it.

Cast Iron Convert Switching to Cast Iron When You're Scared to Death of It at

It was heavy. It was huge. I was scared to death to drop it on my foot or in the sink or on the counter tops {they have granite}. It just scared me. I was afraid of not washing it right, not cooking with it right. You name a potential reason to not like it and that was my excuse.

Then Matt requested a dutch oven for his birthday {he’s so sneaky about how he goes about converting me on things!} and he wanted to try making our own tortillas, so we needed a comal. Then it was a large sauté pan that we needed to do veggies in the oven. Before I knew it we had 4 different cast iron pieces. And here I am…reluctant to admit I love our cast iron cookware!

That’s right. I’m not afraid of it anymore, because it’s pretty much indestructible! Although, I do get nervous with it around my countertops and sink {it is HEAVY}. The only time I pull out one of my Calphalon pans is when I’m making crepes, because the cast iron really is too heavy for all that wrist work, or large batches of liquid.

It’s a worthwhile investment that seriously doesn’t cost much and will last forever. I recently saw a post on facebook from someone who had just inherited her grandmother’s cast iron….it was over a 100 years old! I’m pretty sure no stainless steel cookware will last that long!

Why do I like it now?

I like that it’s indestructible, that if I burn something I don’t have to spend HOURS AND HOURS scrubbing something clean, because chances are it’s not all cooked into it.

It’s easy to clean…seriously…I just wipe it out with some hot water and I’m done.

It’s convenient! I can take things from the stove to the oven and back without thinking or worrying about ruining a pan. It makes it so much easier when I want to sauté things and then brown them in the oven or roast it in the oven and then make a gravy on the stop top.

Here is some other great information about using and caring for cast iron:

How to Season Cast Iron
12 White-Hot Ways to Use Cast Iron Everyday
Cooking with Cast Iron –How and Why to Get Started
5 Reasons to Get Cooking with Cast Iron

What do you use to cook with?

*This post may contain affiliate links, you can read my disclosure policy here.

Wednesday, April 29

What’s for breakfast?

The other day I shared a picture on Instagram about what our breakfast was: Eggs, toast, and some leftover sausage from the night before.  One follower from New Zealand commented:

”I never knew so many Americans cook their breakfasts. I feel a bit guilty that we all just have cereal and toast here.”

What's for Breakfast Why a family of 6 chooses to cook every morning.

Which got me thinking what do most people have for breakfast in the US or elsewhere?

I’ve never been a big breakfast food person: Pancakes made me sick. I hated eggs, bacon, or sausage. Oatmeal was out, unless it was instant Maple Sugar. My parents couldn’t afford to keep us in cereal constantly. I honestly don’t remember much of what I had when I was a kid, at least on a regular basis. I remember my parents making pancakes, eggs, French toast, waffles, or crepes, but they weren’t an every day occurrence.

Even once I had married and moved out breakfast was most likely cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter. It really wasn’t until Ave was actually eating that I ventured into breakfast food, particularly eggs. I had no idea even how to cook them for her, but I learned pretty quickly. We graduated from soft boiled eggs, which I could tolerate with toast, to over easy and scrambled.

5 years later I actually like breakfast foods, enough to have them for dinner…yea.

Pancakes don’t make me sick if they’re gluten free {we love these!} I can eat over-easy eggs if they’re served with a veggie stir-fry or sausage {to mask the whites}. I can eat scrambled if they’re served over avocado, with pepper jack on toast. I’ll eat sausage gravy or eggs benedict {here’s my recipe} for breakfast! I even look forward to the weekends when Matt is home, when we make a big breakfast with eggs, toast, sausage and veggies!

What's for Breakfast Why a family of 6 chooses to cook every morning.

There’s a very simple reason why we cook breakfast every day…whether it’s baked oatmeal muffins, yogurt, eggs or pancakes: CEREAL IS EXPENSIVE! A box of cereal {the kind I’ll actually buy and eat…yes, I’m picky about that too} is $4.50 a box or more. The kids will eat an entire box in about 10 minutes, and be looking for more. We just can’t afford that. Of course, there are all those other reasons about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and such, but for us…it’s money.

What do you eat for breakfast, whether every day or only on the weekends?

Friday, March 20

Sugar Snow

It’s the first day of Spring: YAY! Although it’s not looking ANY different to me out there. There was a bit of melting, then 4” of snow in the night the other day and another dusting today, but the temperatures rising! Instead of a high in the low teens most days, we’re sometimes seeing low 30s {really low 30s}.

The kids are just chompin’ at the bit to get outside! Normally I would just bundle them up and throw them off the back deck, but with the yard not really fenced in all the way and the mountain of snow in the front yard…I’m not trusting them to stay in the back yard where it’s safe. Which means mommy has to go outside too, all the time, and frankly all the ice makes me nervous. I do not want to fall.

One of the sweet perks of the warmer weather means that the sap is starting to flow! We have several maple trees on our little strip of land, but have never had the time to invest in tapping them. This year a neighbor asked if he could…By all means! Go for it! Of course, we did demand some small reparations for the use of our trees.


This is an entirely new experience for me. I hated maple syrup growing up; the smell reminded me of sticky, dirty kids. No idea why. It’s another food that I’ve acquired a taste for only in the past few years, and now I love it {particularly rich, thick, grade B}. Of course the first thing I did once the buckets were up was check them out. On the first sunny afternoon I ran out to see if the sap was flowing. It was, although it was more of a slow drip.


Now, I’ve accidentally licked pitch or sap off my hand before while out in the woods, thinking it would taste sweet and it tasted horrible. I tentatively reached under that little tin roof and caught a drip on my finger: Lightly sweetened sugar water. That’s what it tastes like. Nothing like maple syrup and nothing like what I thought.

The buckets have been out a few weeks, getting dumped and boiled as they start to fill. Then one sunny, if cold, morning, someone was traipsing around the front yard and banged on the front door. A glass bottle brimming with golden liquid in hand. Our rewards for having maple trees on our property: Maple Syrup. The kids and I each anxiously dipped our fingers in the narrow bottleneck, excited to taste OUR maple syrup. It did not disappoint.


**If you want to check out a fun book about a sugar snow, this one is Avie and
my favorite {My First Little House Book “Sugar Snow”}!

Thursday, January 29

My Favorite Must Have Kitchen Tools

You can find this post on my new blog, Click HERE.

Monday, October 20

Kombucha Revolution {a Review}

by Stephen Lee with Ken Koopman

Matthew’s been making kombucha for the past few years, mostly for my parents and himself. I suppose it’s the natural progression of a homebrewer to be interested in all things fermented.


I was looking through the books available for review from BloggingForBooks and asked him if he would be interested in checking this book out.

Now, before you think Kombucha Revolution is just a book full of different flavored Kombucha recipes, let me just tell you…it’s not. There’s all kinds of recipes in this book, with one common ingredient Kombucha!

The book starts out with an introduction of Kombucha, what it is, it’s history, and explaining all the parts and things needed to make Kombucha {it’s a lot easier than you think…Matthew makes it in 1/2 gallon Mason Jars}.

It follows closely with several recipes for making your own flavored Kombuchas and then quickly moves into smoothies, “spirited” cocktails, and a variety of salad dressings, cold soups, and other yumminess!

I’m looking forward to delving further into all the recipes in this book. I may have to try a few myself and not let Matthew have all the fun of fermenting!

The book is well written, with great recipes and instructions, and awesome photographs, that catch the eye. Definitely worth checking out!

**I received this book for free through the BloggingForBooks program, in exchange for my honest review. You can read my disclosure policy here.

**Other Resources: If you want to find out more about the benefits of fermented foods, be sure to check out these other sites:
God Centered Mom Podcast
Passionate Homemaking
Wellness Mama

Friday, September 12

Your Real Food Journey {a Review}

*This post does contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission on your purchase, at no additional cost to you. Read here for my disclosure policy.

Your Real Food Journey A Gentle Guide to Steady Progress by Trina Holden at - Book and Recipe Review from

It’s been more than 5 months, since I’ve had a home, and time, to focus on the food we eat. Not living in your own space, with your own habits isn’t easy. Moving back into your own space at the height of chaos isn’t easy either.

Between projects and the fair Matt and I have spent next to no time with any sort of focus on cooking. It has been whatever can be slapped together when it’s thought of, even if that meant hot dogs twice in a row.

I read Trina’s new book, Your Real Food Journey: A Gentle Guide to Steady Progress, during nap time. That’s right. The whole book took me a total of 1 hour and 50 minutes to read. It was enjoyable. It was informative. And it gave me what I needed to get us back on the path to eating better, right at the time when I had absolutely no motivation to do so.

Where as Trina’s first book was all about the what of eating Real Food, this book, is all about the why. Why you should; Why you can. Without making it some complicated science project that blows up in your face.

We eat pretty healthy, but Matt is very much into eating healthier and eating more fermented foods {he is a home-brewer after all}. He’s been pouring over this book and the recipes in it, fortunately not with a list of things I need to do. Right now, as I’m typing this, he’s working on making sauerkraut {Trina’s recipe for German Kraut}.

So, just how easy are the recipes in this book?

Tonight was another night that I had no idea what to make for dinner. I knew I had a plethora of ground beef in the house, but had no desire to make tacos, chili, burgers, meatballs or meatloaf {my usual ground beef fair}. I then decided to scroll Trina’s book for a ground beef recipe, and came upon Cheeseburger Soup {page 81}.

Honestly, the idea of ground beef in soup is not my cup of tea, but I figured I’d give it a shot. In the pot went my meat, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. Tossed in the salt, pepper, {lots of} garlic, and some other spices {we kind of do our own thing around here with spices and herbs}. Mixed in some roux, milk, plain whole milk yogurt {I didn’t have sour cream}, and cheese.

IMG_3661A little while later, dinner was ready! Think of cheesy cream of potato soup with ground beef and carrots: YUM! Even Avie was excited to have soup for Friday’s leftovers.IMG_3666

Where can you get this little gem for yourself? You can get it through Trina directly at And when you do, enjoy the ease in which you’ll be cooking better and more healthful meals for you family, without feeling like you’re going to fail or be overwhelmed.

Tuesday, September 9

Bumble Berry Pie

I love Pie. I don’t know many people who DON’T love pie, and I don’t know as I would trust someone who didn’t.

I’m always looking for new ways to remake old favorites. One of my favorite desserts was Krusteaz Raspberry Bars, so good, but then I figured out how to make them myself, which was so much cheaper AND so much yummier. Then another time I got a crazy-hair and decided that instead of just using raspberry jam, I would throw in a bunch of mixed berries…oh my…Bumble Berry Pie was born!

BumbleBerry Pie Berry Deliciousness Served Up Quick! At

Here it is:

1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of chopped nuts {pecans are divine in it; I’ve use walnuts in it too}
2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup of Raspberry Jam
2-3 cups of fresh or thawed, mixed berries {the skies the limit so use your imagination!}

Mix all of that together. Press about half of the dough in the bottom of a 9” pie dish {or a 9” square}. Spread with a little more than half of the jam, sprinkle with the mixed berries {even throw thin slices of apples in!}. Warm up the rest of the jam, so that it can be drizzled, and drizzle the rest of it over the berries.

photo (1)

Take the remainder of your dough and crumble it over the top of the pie. This doesn’t have to be beautiful.


Bake at 350* for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown on top and fruit is fork tender.
Allow to cool slightly before serving {otherwise it’s just going to run everywhere.

Serve warm with a heaping dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream. You can just scoop this out, or cut actual pie slices…we kind of do both, with a mix of keeping a fork in the plate to help ourselves.

*Unfortunately I did not get a straight out of the oven shot, since it was night and Matt and I wanted to eat it.

Friday, March 14

How to Make Your Own Freezer Pizza

We love pizza. We usually have pizza 2 Fridays a month, and it is never from a pizzeria. Usually on those Friday afternoons I’m busy throwing dough and slapping on sauce and sprinkling cheese, but sometimes it’s just not worth the work it takes to make a couple of pies. It’s certainly not an “easy dinner”.

And sometimes I would just throw a store bought freezer pizza in the oven, because I just didn’t feel like doing it {or I forgot to make the dough the day before}. And I said to myself, “Self. There has GOT to be a better way.” So I started experimenting.

How to Make Your Own Freezer Pizza {and save $$ too!} @

The first time worked great! I did everything at once: Sauce, Cheese, etc, but instead of throwing it in the oven I threw it in the freezer. Let it firm up, then wrapped it in foil. One night I wasn’t home, Matt threw 2 pizzas in the preheated oven, and he had perfect pizzas in 12 minutes. The next time we tried freezing just the formed dough…that didn’t turn out so good. The dough cracked when we tried to remove it from the pan in the freezer.

Here’s what we do:

This is our go-to pizza crust recipe: Absolutely wonderful! It’s from Cook’s Illustrated and it’s perfection in a pie crust! I should know, I’m kind of a pizza afficionado ;-) A single batch of the recipe will make 2 good size {15”} pizzas. Now, when I’m doing this, I usually make a double or a triple batch of dough. It takes a bit more work, since I can’t fit it all in my food processor at once, but it’s worth it.

Follow the instructions for the pizza crust, just as you would if you were making fresh pizza.

Once your dough is ready to spread out, start spreading it out on a well greased {I use olive oil} freezer safe pan. If you want to do it on parchment paper or foil, that works too. You don’t want the finished, frozen pie to stick to your pan and break when you try to remove it {if you’re like me you don’t have cookie sheets that you can just leave in limbo in the freezer}.

Put on your sauce {about a cup of sauce per pie}, your pepperoni, your cheese, your granulated garlic and anything else you enjoy…even anchovies or sardines, although they don’t grace the pies in our home. If you’re going to throw things like eggplant and other high water foods on, I would hold off and throw them on just before baking them.

Pop the pies in the freezer! Let them get good and hard…a couple of hours usually does it. Once they’re done, let them sit on the counter for a few minutes {letting that grease warm up, because it’s probably hard too}. If you can safely remove the pies from the pans then wrap them up in foil, or plastic wrap, or whatever else you use, and throw them right back in the freezer.

Once you’re ready to cook them.  Turn your oven to 500* an hour before hand, have your stone in the oven all ready. Let the pies sit on the counter for about 5-10 minutes {you want them slightly thawed, but not so thawed that the dough isn’t hard}. Pop’em in the oven for about 12 minutes, checking that they’re getting golden, but not burnt. Pull’em out. Let’em cool. And eat’em up!


There are a couple of ways that this saves you dough {$$$}: One, you’re not ordering from a highly marked up pizzeria. Did you know that it costs less than $2 to make a pie (12.5C on the flour, 50C on sauce, and a $1 or so on the cheese)?! How much are you paying for a pizza? Even freezer pizza {if you can find it for less than $10} isn’t that cheap.

You’re saving money on the ingredients if you buy bulk; buy a 5lb block of mozzarella and shred it yourself: Which is what we do. You have completely control over the ingredients. You know what is in your pizza. For us, knowing what exactly we’re eating is a big deal.

There you have it! Now, that’s pretty easy isn’t?

Monday, September 16

Perfect Pancakes

I’m a bit of a particular person when it comes to my pancakes. They have to be golden. They have to be light and fluffy. Perfect PancakesAnd they absolutely cannot be raw. Pancakes were the bane of my existence in the kitchen for many years until I figured out the trick.

I would constantly burn my pancakes when I would make them, or they would be raw, or too thick or too thin. Then Matt’s parents asked me to do pancakes at the fair one year…I laughed. Me, do pancakes. I forewarned them of my less than stellar history with the flap-jacks. It was all me.

Want to know the secret?

Thin. Hot. Fast.

Your batter needs to be about the consistency of shampoo, runny, thin, but not watery. Watery won’t turn out anything good, and too thick and they won’t cook.

Your pan/griddle needs to be hot. I usually have my flame a little less than middle of the road. It needs to be hot enough to cook, but cool enough not to scorch your pan. I put a pat of butter in the pan before the first batch, then never again.

Pay attention. You cannot be doing a bazillion other things while making your pancakes, because just like that, they’ll burn. They won’t take more than 30 seconds a side, if the pan is the right temp. Once the edges start to round up and bubble, they’re done, flip them over.

And since I obviously can’t stand over your shoulder and tell you whether you’re doing it right or not. Here’s a video, but I’m always open to skyping or facetiming in the name of science. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, September 10


Apple is RipeDoes anyone not like apples? I’m sure there is someone who doesn’t. I used to not like them. Whenever I’d eat a raw apple I’d end up with an itchy throat and the sniffles. Not fun!

Then I realized that it was only some apples, specifically grocery store apples. This was back in the day, when organic farming wasn’t as big as it is now. I braved it a few years ago, and was pleasantly surprised that organic apples didn’t bother me: Yay!

When we bought our house, we knew there were two big trees in our backyard, but it wasn’t until the spring that we realized that they were APPLE trees! Huge apple trees! Nearly 3 times the height of normal, pruned apple trees. That fall we waited, and waited, and waited…finally we got a few apples. It was rather anticlimactic.

Over the years I’ve just enjoyed it for what they where, beautiful trees that shaded our yard. The perfect spot to sit on the stone bench beneath, and breath, listening to the wind chimes hung by a previous owner, high up in the branches, gazing up at the blue sky and the hills rolling on the other side. It is my favorite spot in our yard.

We’re still only picking drops off the ground, but they’re getting to be as big as my fist! The apples on the trees are almost ready. Just a bit longer and we’ll start picking the apples from the trees. I’m sure we’ll be apple-ed out before too long. Fortunately these guys and gal aren’t.


Matt got home early enough this past Friday that he was able to press 2 bushels of apples: We got about 4 gallons of cider, which has been so good. Some of it will be for drinking fresh, the rest will be for hard cider…yum! We’re planning on doing another AppleFest this year, so Matt’s been packing the refrigerated truck full of bushels of apples.

DSC_0136editOn Sunday we went around and picked more of the drops off the ground, sifting through the good and the bad. We still managed to come up with 2 full crates of good apples. The bad apples *hehe* are getting put in the freezer to feed the deer during the winter. They don’t seem to mind brown spots, rot, or bugs.

We've had to get a bit creative as to how to best preserve the deliciousness our trees have given: We've done apple cider, applesauce, apple butter, apple pies, apple crisps, apple slices with caramel or peanut butter, and pretty much anything else that you can think of with apples. I’m beginning to run out of ideas and stamina…and we STILL HAVE TO PICK APPLES from the trees! Oy!

If you’re enjoying the bounty of the apple harvest this year I’d love to hear your favorite apple-iciousness! If you’re looking for some ideas of your own, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, which will go out next week, with a few of our favorite recipes.

Happy Picking!

Friday, August 2

Dry it out!

Last week I posted on Instagram about how I was attempting to make dried fruit. I’ve been wanting to try to do this for quite some time, but always felt a bit unprepared. I googled instructions again and found that most of them had you turn your oven down to 200* or so. There’s no time like the present!

Ipod 001The kids and I were heading out for that road trip and I knew I needed some relatively clean snacks for in the car, so dried fruit it was. I had both apples and strawberries on hand and decided to give it a while. Of course I didn’t have an apple corer to make those fancy round slices that you can find in stores, so I just cut the apples into wedges the way you normally would, just made them thinner. I did the same with the strawberries.

I laid all of the fruit out on cooling rocks over cookie sheets lined with foil, I had no idea how messy this would get and didn’t want to be scrubbing baked on dried fruit juice.

I sprinkled the apples with a touch of cinnamon and in the oven it all went. I kept checking the oven, opening the door and making sure the temperature wasn’t too high {we keep a thermometer IN the oven, because I do not trust the little dial on the stove}. After about 3 hours, everything looked dry and slightly leathery, the way dried fruit usually looks.

I let everything sit for a few minutes, then gingerly peeled all of them off the cooling racks and in a container.

They were so good. What I did learn though is that my fruit didn’t have to be sliced so thin, and would’ve been a bit better if it hadn’t. I think a good 1/3” thick slices for the apples and just halving the berries would have been sufficient.

dried fruit

As for the kids, they loved the strawberries, but weren’t so crazy about the apples. The strawberries were super sweet, but the apples were a little tough to chew, because they were so thin they got a bit over-done, and I hadn’t peeled them. I have since ordered an apple corer from and hopefully I’ll be able to dry some of the abundance of apples we have on our trees.

Easy peasy! The kids were able to have fruit without making a huge mess in the car and I was a happy Mama!

Monday, March 18

Going GF

For a while now my parents and my sister have been pretty much gluten free {due to gluten sensitivities and intolerance}….we’ve gone along with their “odd” meal time sustenance, with more resistance. But we are beginning to slooowwwlllyyyy come around to the whole Gluten Free – Grain Free lifestyle…and I mean, very slooowwwlllyyyy.

I did finally find a flour that I liked for cookies, that didn’t involve me becoming a rocket scientist to figure out what mix of different things I needed {it’s Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix}. We are also loving Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix {which was our first foray into being GF}. Interestingly enough I no longer feel sick a few hours after eating pancakes. Coincidence? I think not.

One of the things that I think makes Gluten Free so difficult for people to embrace, is the idea of it being complicated and giving up foods that you have loved all along. I get that, really I do, which is why we’re sloowwwlllyyyy going that way, because I need to be able to find a really good flour to use in my pie crusts, because I am not going to give those up {I am currently questing for this} as well as my breads. We more or less just limit how much we consume of those things, since I haven’t found a satisfactory replacement yet.

Knowing how overwhelming and challenging the change can be I came across something that I really wanted to share….., 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Going grain-free can be overwhelming for families dealing with gluten-intolerance or Celiac disease, and this week's bundle includes more than 275 gluten-free and grain-free recipes plus a wealth of information and tips from the authors' own experiences. This week only, get all 5 ebooks for just $7.40 (a savings of more than 80%)!

*Against the Grain by Kate Tietje Grain-free doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can include all kinds of interesting flavors, spices, and even sauces. Against the Grain is a cookbook full of delicious, fun to eat, whole food recipes that are grain-free -- and mostly dairy-free and GAPS-friendly. You'll even find a few bread and dessert recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth!, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

*Beyond Grain & Dairy by Starlene Stewart In Beyond Grain & Dairy, Starlene shares 113 grain-free recipes that contain no grains, no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no corn, no gums and no processed sugars. With full-color photos and a handy ingredients index to help you find recipes by ingredient, Starlene has put together a cookbook to show you that there's no reason to feel deprived!

* The Grain-Free Snacker by Carol Lovett Going grain-free doesn't mean you have to give up tasty snacks, and in this brand new ebook, Carol offers more than 45+ homemade, grain-free recipes -- everything from gluten-free dorito chips, crackers and cookies to ice cream, frozen treats and mini pizzas.

*Best of the Grain Free Meal Plans by Cara Faus Cara has helped people from all over the world enjoy their grain-free transition with her meal plans, and she's now packaged the best of her menu planning service in a helpful, full-color cookbook. With more than 70 child-friendly, easy-to-follow recipes for busy households, this ebook makes going gluten-free fun and exciting rather than stressful and overwhelming.

*Gluten Free and Good for You by Kimberlee Tandy & Laura Coppinger Filled with tips and information to help you to eat gluten-free or serve gluten-free meals and snacks to family members and friends who have special dietary needs, Gluten Free and Good for You is both a handbook and a cookbook that uses basic, everyday ingredients that you’re likely to have on hand in your kitchen. Laura and Kim make gluten-free cooking accessible for every family! The Gluten-Free and Grain-Free bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 3/25.

Get yours today:

Why not give it a shot….you may be surprised at how easy it is and the difference in how you feel.

304792_329443267147915_812551418_nHere are some links to my sister’s blog and FB page. While she didn’t write any of these books, she is a vast source of knowledge regarding foods and how they affect the body, as well as how to live well without feeling as though you’re missing out on the “fun foods”.

Kate Beckmann, Nutrition Practitioner

*This post does contain affiliate links.

Monday, January 21

Pint-sized Yummy Goodness

What is it about sugar, butter and flour that can bring the masses to insanity?!

For the trio’s birthday party I made cupcakes. I’ve always loved the miniature fanciness that is cupcakes and have tried to replicate it, with less than stellar results. Finally I found a tutorial, on pinterest of course, that gave away all the secrets of how to decorate cupcakes that look professional: A bigger tip. Seriously, that’s it.

I hit up Michael's the last time we were in Bing-ton and picked me up a Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit, which has the 1M tip for cupcakes.

I was all set, I had everything I needed to make fantastically professional looking cupcakes. I even picked out some highly recommended recipes for Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes.

Then tragedy struck.


I was pretty sure this was not how they should look. The chocolate came out way to airy and collapsed if you touched them and I forgot to add leavening agents to the vanilla. Back to the drawing board.

I redid the vanilla, remembering to use the baking soda and powder and they turned out wonderful. I then used Ina Garten’s recipe for Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes, even made my own chocolate syrup for it. OH MY GOODNESS! That is my new favorite recipe for chocolate cupcakes; so absolutely rich and delicious, without being too sweet.


This time things turned out a bit better.

I used the American Buttercream recipe, swapping out some of the butter for cream cheese {which I’ve never thought do until reading that post}. The frosting was delicious. I like frosting, but I’m not a big fan of super sweet sugary grittiness. The cream cheese cut that down so that you could sit there and just eat a bowl of it.

The chocolate cupcakes I frosted with my favorite Chocolate frosting recipe.

I broke out my new Wilton 1M tip and away I went. So easy! So fantastic looking! I seriously was in love! I find myself looking for excuses to make cupcakes now….not good!


For my tastes it was the perfect amount of frosting, but for aesthetics I think I could have piped on a bit more. Next time I plan on playing with the other tips and testing out what works best.

I found this while I was looking around pinterest and thought it was quite good as well :-)
I’ve never watched The Office, which I think is where it is from.

What are you favorite cupcake tips or recipes?

Wednesday, August 29

Teething Biscuits You Can Feel Good About

I’ve been completely different with the babies, than with Ave, in regards to foods. Ave we went through the steps with each new food, trying and testing, following all the rules. This time we’re much more relaxed, but I am being more stringent on other things.

I really want to avoid giving them anything with gluten in it. Matt, Ave and I still eat gluten (what can I say, we love our bread and cookies…it’s not even pasta so much), but that’s not to say that someday we won’t. Perhaps when mommy has more time to figure out recipes.

But for now, the babies are gluten free.

I looked at the organic teething biscuits and barley biscuits and a plethora of different things, but there was always something I couldn’t feel good about giving them. I finally resorted to the internet where I searched for recipes of how to make your own. I found a few, but most of them still called for ingredients that were prepackaged baby food (not to mention, expensive). I googled some more. Talked to my sister about different food substitutions and came up with my own.

Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Crap Free Teething Biscuits

1 cup of Oat Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour*)
1 cup Organic Rolled Oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Organic Rolled Oats*)
1 really ripe banana, mashed
2 T Coconut Oil (I used Vitacost Extra Virgin Certified Organic Coconut Oil*)DSC_0150

In a food processor pulverize rolled oats until they are a course flour. Mix all ingredients together. You want it to be very thick and not at all tacky, if it’s too wet add some more flour, if it’s too dry add a bit more coconut oil.

Roll out to about a 1/4” thick and cut into rectangles. Place on a cookie sheet. Stab tops of biscuits with fork.DSC_0151

Bake at 325* for 30-40 minutes or until biscuits are very hard. The harder they are the less you have to worry about chunks breaking off and your little one choking.

You might have to flip them halfway through to avoid their getting burnt on one side (mine got a little more done than I would like).










I think they’re a score :-) Even the dogs like them.
They were super easy to make!
I keep them in the freezer so that they don’t go bad, plus they have the added benefit of being chilly.


* This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, August 27

Stop the world - I want to get off!

It’s been a bit crazy, still, around here. The kids all struggled with Hand, Foot and Mouth, this past week. I had a couple of nights of not getting to bed until 5am, then being up for the day at 7am. Fortunately, my mother in law came and spent Friday night so that I could get some sleep.

Last night the kids seemed to be back on schedule. This afternoon I got home from a baby shower and Matt was on the couch, sore throat and a fever. Now I have a sore throat. I’m just praying I don’t get sick and that Matt gets over it REALLY fast.

I have about 5 or 6 posts, some already written, that I keep meaning to finish and get up here, but I just haven’t had time. I had a whole bunch of stuff I was going to say in this post, but now I seriously can’t remember them.

I did declare google-reader bankruptcy and cleared it out. I had over 250 unread posts. No way was I going to get to them and I didn’t really think that brow-beating myself was going to be productive. SO….tell me what’s been up with you, especially if I’ve missed something major (i.e. I didn’t comment on a post).

Also, since I can’t seem to remember what all I had planned on saying, what are your questions for me? Anything goes. Even if it’s something like what kind of PJs do I wear. What are some things you would like to see me do around here: Vlogging? Recipes? Tutorials? House or sewing projects? If you don’t want to leave a comment then feel free to email me jess.white05 at gmail dot come

Let me know :-)

Oh, and I’m not going to be doing the Creating Community through Comments Blog Hop in September. Just too many other things making demands on my time.  BUT I do still, encourage you to seek out new blogs and leave’em some comment love. Feel free to take down the graphic on your blogs.