Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have said several times, "I'll post the recipe later," and I'm just now getting to it!!! Many of these recipes I have taken from others, and changed them a bit to make them my own. So, I will credit those that I received the recipes from!

In all of these recipes we:
Use olive oil when it says oil
Use raw, unrefined sugar
Use unbleached all purpose when it calls for all purpose flour
And, we use sea salt when it calls for salt

Honey Granola (from Aunt Lisa)
5 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup sucanat (raw sugar)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup flaked coconut (I use unsweetened)
2/3 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup unsalted butter (I used salted and it was fine)
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp. ground flax seed

I added:
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees

- In a bowl, combine oats, sucanat, cinnamon, raisins, and almonds. Toss to mix. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, add the honey, and stir to blend. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to blend.

- Spread the granola out on a baking sheet and bake until golden and crunchy, 25-20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.

- Store in an airtight container.

Granola Bars (from http://cookhealthyfun.blogspot.com/)
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup peanut butter (natural or organic)
3 cups granola

I personally cut down the amount of honey because the granola has a lot of honey.

Whole Grain Bread (from http://www.cooks.com/)
3 cups warm water
2 tbsp. yeast
3 tbsp. honey or raw sugar
Add 3 cups whole wheat four and beat vigorously by hand or with electric mixer for 5-7 minutes to develop gluten.

-Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and 3-6 tablespoons oil.

-Add whole grain flour, any variety of kinds desired, 1 cup at a time, mixing each cup in well before adding another (about 4 cups), or until the dough is just stiff enough to knead.

-Knead dough on floured surface for a few minutes.

-Wash out bowl, dry it, then lightly oil it. Put kneaded dough into the bowl to rise in a warm place. Cover with towel.

-When double in bulk, punch down and divide into 2 or 3 sections, depending on the size of loaf pans. Knead each section and shape into loaves. (my edit- to make a softer loaf, don't punch it down and knead it again after it rises).

-Put loaves into greased pans and let rise until almost double in bulk, approximately 30 minutes (my edit- don't let it rise too long or it will fall).

-Place in preheated over at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

-Remove from oven and take loaves out of bread pans to cool on rack or towel. When completely cool, store in plastice bags in refrigerator for longer storage. For soft crust, cover loaves with a towel after you remove them from pans.

-We have tried about 4-5 different whole wheat recipes, and this one is the best!!

Olive Oil Crackers (taken from http://www.101cookbooks.com/, although we changed it up quite a bit; might as well say it is ours!)
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

-Whisk together the flours and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Mix 5-7 minutes. Knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky - not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.

-When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes.

-While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees.

-When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin, shape into a flat strip of dough. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand. You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a floured (or cornmeal dusted) baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add any extra toppings, and slide into the oven (on a baking sheet). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before eating - you will get more crackery snap.

-Makes a dozen extra large crackers.

Banana Bread (from http://jas.familyfun.go.com/; this one we do as is)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (we use unrefined sugar)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium-large very ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup sour cream

-Heat the oven to 325°. Line a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan, preferably one with a light interior, with enough waxed paper to drape over the long sides. This will make the baked bread a cinch to remove and the pan easy to clean. Set the pan aside.

-Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next, add the vanilla extract and blend briefly. Set both bowls aside.

-Peel the bananas and place them in a separate bowl. Mash them with a fork or a potato masher and measure out 1 cup. Add the sour cream and stir to blend. Set the bowl aside.

-Using a wooden spoon, blend a third of the dry mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients in this order, stirring well after each addition: half of the banana mixture, half of the remaining dry mixture, the rest of the banana mixture, the rest of the dry mixture. Next, add mix-ins if desired

-Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack until a tester inserted deep into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 70 to 75 minutes.

-Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and cool it in the pan for about 20 minutes. Using the waxed paper, lift the bread from the pan and place it on the rack. Pull down the sides of the paper and allow the bread to cool thoroughly before slicing. Makes 10 or more servings.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread (I found this one on www.epicurious.com/recipes)
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 large eggs
1 16 ounce can of pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn't have this, and it turned out fine)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

-Preheat oven to 350

- Butter and flour two loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions.

-Divide batter equally between prepared pans.

-Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes (until tester comes out clean)

Things that I am Thankful For

This year has been amazing. It has been a year of ups and downs, but God has taught us so much, and our family is closer now than ever before. Until this past year, I personally, have been a very insecure person, always seeking advice from others and not being confident in the way that I did things. I have been learning who I am in Christ, and who I am as a mother and a wife. I am now happy to say that I am confident in who I am, and I am different than a lot of people :). I am okay with that! Being happy with who I am has created a different outlook on life. I'm not spending every day trying to please others; I aim to please Jesus and my family.

Jesus, has blessed me with such an amazing family. I don't know why it took me so long to see that, but I see it now.

I am so thankful for a husband that loves me so much. He is the perfect person for me. He was created for me, and I for him. We absolutely love just spending time together, and our desires and likes are becoming the same. We are still learning what our roles are in our marriage, but we've come a long way. On December 20th, we will be married 5 years. It's hard to believe!

I have an amazing daughter. She is beautiful, creative, imaginative, intelligent, funny, sweet, and more. I enjoy just spending time with her. She loves her mommy, daddy, and even her brother :). She has been an amazing big sister; we haven't had any jealousy problems at all. I can't wait to see who she grows up to be. I know with all my heart that God has amazing plans for her.

My son is young, but I can already tell that he is going to be awesome :). He's so cute :). He's a pretty easy baby; just keep him fed, and he's happy. He loves to smile and laugh. He loves his big sister. He loves his mommy :). If I'm in the room, he wants me to hold him. I love having a son; there's a special bond there. I pray daily that he grows up to be an amazing man of God.

My mom has been such an amazing help to me this year. I have an amazing job, and I wouldn't be able to do it if my mom wasn't so willing to watch the kids. I never have to worry about having childcare; my mom loves to help. She watches them 2 days a week, and she has to drive an hour one way! She also stays late on Mondays so that I can prepare for teaching. What would I do without her?!!

My job (well, actually the ministry that God has allowed me to be part of) is perfect for me. I am able to teach part time, which is something that I have always wanted to be able to do. I teach an amazing group of students, I have an awesome supervisor, and I love the curriculum that I teach. All in all, it's the best job that I could ever ask for. And, God knew all along that this would happen :).

Our church, though far away, is perfect for us. We are challenged, we are fed, we are free to worship, we have great friends, and we feel like we belong there. The church focuses on God, and those who need Him. Their desire is to know Jesus and make Him known. We have gone back and forth constantly as to whether we should try to drive all the way to San Marcos. Then, we began looking into churches that we feel like we would fit in, and they are all about an hour away. So, why not be part of the church that we feel part of? We have made the commitment to continue on at Riverstone, and we are thankful to be part of such an amazing church.

I LOVE that I have time to make things from scratch. Being able to make healthy meals and snacks for my family, and to make my own cleaners and detergents, is awesome. I know it's silly, but I have always wanted to do this! I have also been researching a lot of things, and am happy to put them into practice!

I am excited about being able to homeschool my kids. I know that it will be a challenge, but I feel that I am the best one to teach my children. I am in the process of learning all about home education, and have already begun doing some homeschool preschool. It's fun!

Being here at the camp can be a challenge, but we know that God has brought us here, and that he has amazing plans for this place!! We actually made sure that this was where God wanted us (by praying for several months), and we're starting to see why he wanted us here. Praise God for His provision and guidance!

We love our home, our church, our friends, our family, and most of all, the time that we have to spend with Jesus, daily. We are in a good place. I am content with life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today's Projects

Today, Karis did several little projects, and I made granola and granola bars. When Robert gets home, we're going to bake a new bread recipe. He asked that he be involved in that :).

The projects that I did with Karis were: a cornucopia, a turkey, and a "Five Senses of Thanksgiving" book. It was fun! Here are some pics:

Here are a few projects from the past few weeks:

Here is the granola and granola bars:

(I forgot to take a pic before I put it in the bag! :)

This recipe is much better than the first one that I tried. My aunt gave it to me, and I added one more ingredient to it. It is YUMMY!!! :) (Thanks Aunt Lisa!!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ten things that Robert loves

I was telling Robert that I was tagged to write about ten things that he loves, and all he said was: Courtney, Karis, and Ethan (in no specific order) :). That makes me happy!!

1) Jesus- He has a deep, true love for Jesus. He loves praising Him, reading His word, and praying to Him. He is a true servant. He is here to serve Jesus, and only Jesus. He's human, just like everyone else, so he's not perfect. But, it's what's on the inside that matters!! He has a wonderful heart.

2) His family- Robert and I have been married almost 5 years, in December! :) In that five years, we have had 2 children! He is an amazing husband and amazing father. He always puts our needs before his needs. He has done a wonderful job of taking care of us, and I know he always will. I LOVE LOVE LOVE him with all of my heart!!! He is very hands on with the kids, always taking care of their needs: from bathing, to feeding, to dressing. He reads books to Karis and plays with her. He changes diapers, and helps Karis with the potty.

3) Camping- He has loved camping since he was a child. He used to go all the time, but we have only gone a few times since we've been married :(. We're working on some more camping trips. If he could camp every weekend, he would!! He would camp with nothing but a sleeping bag and enough food to survive!

4) Old Vehicles- He LOVES old vehicles. He can look at one as we're driving and practically start drooling, and I will not understand it because to me they are just rust buckets ha!

5) The Outdoors, in general- He would always rather be outside, doing anything, than be inside. He loves mountains. He wishes the camp was in the mountains. I won't move out of state, so he's stuck here without them :(. He grew up going to New Mexico all the time, so he was used to be around snow and mountains. He hasn't been since we got married in '03! Of course, we went to the mountains for our honey moon!

6) Cooking and baking- I know, this seems weird knowing Robert, but he's an amazing cook! He loves to experiment with recipes, or just throw something together without a recipe. He's much better at baking bread than I am... I am working on it! Without him, I probably wouldn't have the love for cooking and baking that I do. With this love, comes the love for cookware, appliances, and anything that has to do with the kitchen :). Everytime we're at the store, we have to take a detour to the kitchen department. It cracks me up.

7) 42- The domino game. Enough said.

8) Friends- He loves hanging out with people, talking, and having a good time. We haven't been doing as much of this since Ethan was born, but he still enjoys it!

9) Coffee- We both love coffee :). Our absolute favorite thing to do is get up before the kids do and sit on the porch with a hot cup of coffee. This is especially great when it's cold outside!!

10) Natural, "crunchy," "granola" things- He hates using styrofoam plates and cups, he wishes that we could recycle here at the camp, we're going to start a compost pile and organic garden in the spring, he's the one who mentioned cloth diapers in the beginning, he's the one who started researching what it would take to get a goat, he's the one who got me into baking/cooking from scratch, I would never had looked into homebirth if he wouldn't have been so supportive (and he preferred homebirth!), the list could go on and on. I'm so thankful for this side of him because I love that we're both the same in this area now!! :)

We used to have different loves/likes, but the longer that we're married, the more those are starting to mesh together. It was pretty neat writing this because I've begun to realize how much we have both changed!!

I tag Emily!! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My New Lesson Plans for Karis

I have re-vamped the way that I write lessons for Karis. Here is the link to check it out: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pIl6sWamBR06wh9PUZWB1CA. It is much easier to follow, and this way we don't do too much in one day (after all, she still is only 2 1/2). She enjoys these lessons. The funny part is, she would rather learn about letters and letter sounds than do art projects. One day we were discussing the letter I and the sounds of letters through I, using word cards with pictures (reviewing), and then we switched to art. She wasn't happy with that. She wanted to keep talking about the words. Ha! She's going to be challenging as she gets older!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Productive, Family Day

Today was a productive day. Robert was off, and I just worked half a day, so we got a lot done :).

Someone gave us a chair to put in our living room. So, that left us with another piece of furniture, but none of it matched. So, we covered everything, and now most of it matches :). We call our furniture "college furniture," but we don't complain because every piece of it was free. So, we make it work. We see no reason to buy new furniture until this stuff breaks or something :).

We made another batch of homemade crackers tonight. They are amazing. They are called Olive Oil Crackers. Recipe to follow in another blog.

We also made homemade pizzas. These are very different pizzas. The dough is homemade, the "sauce" is actually cottage cheese (1 1/2 cups), parmesan cheese (1/2 cups), oregano, sage, garlic, sea salt, and splash of milk blended together (in a blender). You spread that on the homemade dough (after it's been cooked for 8 minutes), put some garden fresh, sliced cherry tomatoes, add a slither of olive oil and some more sea salt, and bake it for a 8 more minutes. YUMMY.

To end the night, I made no bake oatmeal brownies. This was a family recipe. They are very easy. Again, I will post a recipe later.

It was a fun day :). I enjoyed every bit. We did everything as a family. I love spending time with my family!! And, I love cooking/baking!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers and More

I made homemade whole wheat crackers today :). It was surprisingly easy! And they taste good! The only thing that I will do differently next time is make sure to roll it thinner.

Here's the recipe. I found it online (articles.latimes.com- found through google), but I changed it to make it a bit healthier, and to make it better :).

Thin Wheat Crackers

3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup milk (can use rice, soy, or butter milk as well as just plain old milk)
2 tablespoons honey (you can also use sugar)
1/3 cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt for garnish

1) In a mixing bowl, mix the salt and flour. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, honey, and oil. Pour this into the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon until the dough forms a ball and all the flour is absorbed. The dough will be very soft.
2) Knead the dough for a few minutes on a well floured surface, adding more flour as needed until the dough forms a smooth ball and feels soft and supple, not sticky.
3) Divide the dough into three pieces and form each into a ball. Set two of the dough balls aside and roll out the third. Dust the counter with flour and also the top of the dough, pressing it with your hand to flatten it. Use a rolling pin to work the dough to a think oval, less than 1/8 inch thick.
4) Lightly coat with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on top. Cut with cookie cutters (small ones), with a knife, or with a pizza cutter. Place on pan (covered with wax or parchment paper) very close together (they won't rise or spread out). Repeat with the other two balls.
5) With your oven heated to just under 300, cook for 24 minutes, rotating them every 8 minutes.
6) When they are finished, they will be lightly browned and stiff. Allow them to cool and crisp before removing them from the pan.
Before cooking them: (they are leaf and acorn shapes!):
After cooking them:

Here's a pic of my pumpkin bread:

And, I made peanut butter granola bars: (not necessarily the healthiest thing because of the light corn syrup, but yummy and easy to make!)

What is a good parent?

A "friend" on a site that I regular, called Cafemom, posted this in her journal. It is SOOO true!!
Add to it if you wish! What does it mean to be a good parent?

"I had been thinking about this ever since I read this really dumb question yesterday in the Q and A section. It said something to the effect of why can't people be good parents? They bottle feed so they can go out and they let their babies cry it out and how come they don't know how to be a good parent. I looked over her profile and realized that her oldest child was 4. So in four years, she has mastered the concept of good parenting and it consists of how you feed your child, and if you let them cry or not. How puzzling. It wasn't as much what she said, but more how she said it. It was pretty judgmental and her responses were quite defensive. I thought I would write a quick journal and tell you wonderful moms what I think a good parent is. You can disagree with me if you want to, but know that I won't judge you if you do......

I think a good parent is one that before making any decision, thinks about how its going to effect her children.
I think a good parent is one that is concerned about their childs character, integrity, and what kind of overall person they are going to grow up to be.
I think a good parent thinks about the people they allow into their lives and the lives of their children and actually ponders what kind of influence they are going to be and is willing to say no, even if it means giving up on a relationship
I think a good parent understands that they are responsible for their childs education and training in every aspect of life and doesn't shirk it off on someone else and is willing to be a partner with their teacher.
I think a good parent puts any need that their children have before their own, especially if its an emotional need.
I think a good parent spends more time with them that the school system or the local neighborhood kids.
I think a good parent is willing to stand up to family and say no to things that are detrimental at the risk of having them mad at them.
I think a good parent would rather their child say "I hate you" than to let them do something that would ultimately hurt them.
I think a good parent is willing to say "NO" and give a reason being "because I said so"
I think a good parent realizes that their job is to train their kids to be independent assets to society.
I think a good parent is willing to discipline.
I think a good parent teach character and integrity over math and science."