Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sewing Wednesday... (or is it Thursday???)

I really don't know if I'm coming or going this week...not unlike most weeks, but this week in particular seems a bit wild.  Maybe it's b/c of Memorial Monday, or the neighborhood garage sale that two of my kids insisted on being involved in, or the pool that was to be installed on Wednesday but our backyard was just too wet, or the skirt I sold on Etsy waiting to be shipped (it's shipping today!), or the painting project that I started my week out with (it's done!), the husband that is traveling again (so thankful for his job!), the kids sports that never take a night off, the food that always needs to be made.  Sigh.

Today I'll be sitting out on my driveway with my kids...they have about 3 tables of stuff for sale and a bunch of drinks and goodies.  I hope it's warm and sunny.  Looking forward to hanging with my neighbors and a few visits from friends.

I've got some cinnamon raisin bread working itself out in the bread maker as we speak.  I'm off to make my chai tea...

XOXO Tiffany

"I crossed the studio and shut the door behind me.  I always regretted that decision.  I never got to have a proper look at the finished painting".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Hawaiian Sandwich and menu planning

 Happy Memorial Day!  We got all our partying done on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...so now we get to have a nice relaxing "home day".  Well, I don't know about "relaxing"...our list is never short.  But, at least it's a home day. 

I made this sandwich a couple of weeks ago...it's one of my favorites!  I call it The Hawaiian Sandwich.  You'll need bread, cheese, pineapple slices, ham, basil, and butter. 
 I sliced up my homemade bread.  I just realized that I've never shared that recipe...I'll have to do that one of these days...
 Layer...bread, cheese, ham, basil, pineapple, more cheese, more bread.
 Pre-butter and grill.
Buttered and grilled.  (you'd never guess it..but the back side of these babies are charred!  The phone rang, pre-flip, another soccer mom wanting me to pick up her daughter for practice...yada yada...minutes later...smelled something burning...CRUMB!  My sammies!  Yes, they were blackened...but you actually couldn't taste the burnt stuff at all.  That was a close one.)
Here's the recipe all in one spot...

The Hawaiian Sandwich
Bread
Havarti Cheese
Ham
Fresh Basil
Pineapple slices
Butter

Layer up your sandwich...butter both sides....place on a medium/hot grill pan...grill, flip, slice, and enjoy!

Here's my menu for this week...I'm only going to list breakfast and dinner...we'll be doing leftovers and cleaning out the fridge at lunchtime.  Matt is out of town again, and we have a birthday girl on Friday, so it should be a pretty easy week, menu wise.  And, though I didn't always write it in, we'll be snacking on, and adding in, lots of fruit and veggies!

Monday:
B-Shop the fridge and cupboard :)
D-Clean out the fridge (girls will be at book club)

Tuesday:
B-Creamy Wheat
D-Creamy Baked Chicken and Potato

Wednesday:
B-French Bread and Apple Butter
D-Italian Dunkers/Salad

Thursday:
B-Honey Whole Wheat Pancakes
D-Mac and Cheese

Friday: (Lulu's 10th Birthday!!!)
B-Homemade Bagels and cream cheese (she planned the menu today)
L-Hong Thai and Red Velvet Cake (with chocolate frosting...I've never done it with chocolate (always with butter cream), but what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets)
D-Jimmy Johns (on the way to Daisy's soccer game...maybe we'll stop for ice cream after)

Saturday:
B-Cranberry Quinoa Muffins
D-Lasagna Soup

Sunday:
B-Cranberry Quinoa Muffins
L-Small Group after church
D-Lasagna Soup
(I won't be making ice cream b/c the kids have their piano recital and there will be cookies after that.)

I can't decide if I want to paint today...or sew.  I need a can of paint and I don't want to go out and get it.  Maybe Matt needs to run out today and I can see if he'll grab it for me.  Otherwise, I'll be sitting at my sewing machine.  I'm looking forward to temps in the '70's.  Those 90's yesterday wiped me out!  We met friends out at Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis (for pizza, beachy fun, and ice cream), and Kelly and I decided to run (OK, it was a walk/run) around the lake (only 2.7 miles)...it felt good at the time, but when I got home, I was exhausted and probably dehydrated.  I took an Excedrin and drank lots of water....I feel like a million bucks now and can't wait to enjoy this day!

XOXO Tiffany

"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tiffy's Top Ten...Things to do this Summer...May 2012

Good Morning!  I got up at 4:39am (hit my 9-minute snooze once), checked my emails, sorted 7 loads of laundry and got a load started, read my Bible with my morning Chai...now it's 6am and I'm sitting down to write a post. I knew a few months ago that my May Top Ten post would be about summer.  I am totally ready for summer!  On Monday, Sweetie and I (and the kids) spent about 5 hours putting this trampoline together.  The kids liked the 3 "boat" boxes almost as much as they liked the trampoline...isn't that how it goes?  You could just run to the grocery store and get the kids a box.  But, seriously...hours upon hours spent on this trampoline.  Plus, it provides a wonderful shady spot underneath for picnics!
 Here's my Top Ten!

Tiffy's Top Ten Things to do this Summer:
1.  Go on picnics...with a picnic basket.
2.  4:30am...I would still like to get up at 4:30...if I can be good about making a little "to do" list the night before, getting up isn't a problem.
3.  8-10am...Kids work time.  I am going to have the kids continue to work on math and piano all summer...as well as reading time.  They will also have a little household project to do each morning.  I like them to get their stuff done right away in the morning, because once they're off and running, it's tough to reign them back in!  And, though they won't admit it, they really do better with some structure.
4.  Garden with the kids!  The kids each got their own 4' x 4' garden box this summer.  They are so proud of their gardens!  They check them every day and watch for sprouts.  They each got a couple of plants...but then the rest of their garden is seeds.  This week their beans started shooting through!
5.  Farmer's Markets!  I would like to take the kids to several Farmers Markets this summer.  So many to choose from...I'd like to try several and pick a couple of favorites.  Top on my list are:  the Buffalo Farmers Market, the Mpls farmers market, and the Mill City (mpls) farmer's market.  I would also like to take the kids to the Nicollet Mall (mpls) farmers market on a Thursday afternoon.  I used to love that one when I worked downtown!
6.  Continue to eat "real" food.  We're doing well with this, but the kids have their moments.  The other day Daisy said, "Oh, why can't we have Goldfish anymore?!?!  MJ said, "Because they're processed".  Ha!  They know the reasons, but it can still be tough sometimes.  I wish I had known what I know now when they were babies.  But, overall, I think they are enjoying the way we are eating.  I know I am!
7.  Go strawberry picking...make jam.
8.  Enjoy entertaining in our backyard this summer.  In 5 days we are getting a big 'ole above ground pool installed.  Can't wait!
9.  Nature walks every week.  I'm hoping to continue our Nature Walks...as I've said before...these are some of my favorite moments spent with my kids.
10.  Thankful Journals.  Last night I gave the kids each a Thankful Journal before bed.  I couldn't believe how well they received them!  They were like kids on Christmas morning!  I gave them their journals with a new sharpened pencil and explained to them what I hoped for these journals.  My sister-in-law gave me "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp for Christmas last year, and as I read it, I thought, the kids and I need to be thankful!  For everything.  For clouds.  For buttered toast.  For sunsets.  For clean laundry.  Ha.  And, for all the obvious things like friends, and family, and God, and our house.  They could hardly wait to get started.  I told them I would like them to write down 5 things they are thankful for each day, and they couldn't repeat any.  They immediately filled their books with 10 things that they were thankful for. 
 I love how Ann Voskamp says, "as long as Thanks is possible, then Joy is possible".  If we can be thankful for what we have, right where we're at (there's always someone with more!), then we can have joy.  And, if we have joy, then we can give.  Of course, we can "give" without being thankful and having joy...but I think it will be more fun, and maybe we can give more abundantly.
 I snapped this shot of my kids through my front door window this week.  I didn't want them to know I was watching them, and I didn't want to disturb their time.  They were on a picnic blanket, in the shade, having a little snack and playing with their "water babies".  While at a friends house recently, they filled big balloons with water and drew faces on them.  They carry them around in blankets and name them and love them.  Strange, but fun.  3 have popped in the house...they are now banned to the garage and outside.
I'm looking forward to a fun Memorial Day Weekend.  We are attending 3 birthday parties!  We'll also head to the lake with friends.  Should be fun!  I am planning on combining work with play this weekend.  I have 3 projects that I would like to get done...I finally got a mirror for above my fireplace, so I would like to get that hung.  I have a curtain rod that needs to be hung outside my sewing studio.  And, I would like to paint the archway that leads from my kitchen to my family room.  I'm hoping to get most of it done today!

I also finished two skirts last night...I'll list them today!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

XOXO Tiffany

"To find the lovely in the ordinary sometimes takes a bit of work, but the more I look for it, the more quickly it shows up".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sewing Wednesday...Skirts (trying to find the time)

 My calendar had looked so promising a few days ago...I thought, "Oh, for sure I'll have time to sew four skirts and list them on Etsy before Wednesday".  Just didn't happen.  Last week I cut out about 16-18 skirts...I just can't wait to see them all done!
 I will still be selling some $20 skirts...but I will also have some fully-lined skirts that will be $27.  Some of the fabric is just too sheer, and will need to be lined.  When lining a skirt, it is almost like making two skirts.
Maybe I'll try to sew a bit this morning before the kids get up...we have such a busy day!  The kids will have some school work (piano, math, reading, read-a-loud), then we're going on our nature walk at 10:30am (always something interesting out in nature...pair of mating toads anyone?  Oh, the conversations we've had about those toads...), we'll come home and do our nature journals, have some lunch (the last of the enchilada soup), Daisy and Lucy are having two friends over after school, I am bringing dinner to a friend (who is going through a divorce), we'll have dinner, friends go home, Daisy has soccer from 6-7:30pm, MJ has swim team from 6:45-7:30, showers and bed.  Maybe while the kids play I can get a little sewing done....I love having my sewing room on the main level just off the kitchen.  What a dream! 

Try to do something creative today!

XOXO Tiffany

"To accept the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected things in our days, knowing that God sees them and has an eternal perspective, is to say with confidence 'I receive your timing.  I accept that you know so I don't have to.  Even when it all goes wrong'".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homemade Bagels...

 I just put my Amish Oatmeal into the oven and I thought I would share this recipe for Homemade Bagels.  I mean, really, there is not much better than a warm, chewy, homemade bagel.  These are not difficult at all.  Especially if you have a breadmaker.  The dough takes an hour and a half in the breadmaker...then you divide the dough into 8 sections...make little bagel shapes...let them sit for 10 minutes...boil the bagels in sugared water for 3 minutes...
 Place them on a greased pan...egg wash them and sprinkle with toppings...
 Bake for about 15-20 minutes...
 Get out the cream cheese...
 And, enjoy!!!
Homemade Bagels (using a breadmaker):
Layer the following ingredients into your breadmaker:

1 cup of water (warmed for 30 seconds in microwave)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Set your machine to 1 1/2 lb, Dough Course and start it up! (Mine was setting number 11 and it took 1 hour and 27 minutes.)

Take your dough out and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Stretch and roll it out into a snake shape.  Divide it into 8 sections.  Pick up a section and mold it into a biscuit shape and then just pull the dough apart making a hole in the center.  Place each bagel onto a greased baking sheet.  Place plastic wrap over the bagels and let them sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.

While they are sitting...boil a pot of water (about 2 qts) with 2 tbsp of sugar in it.  After the 10 minutes, place about 3 bagels into the pot and let them boil for 3 minutes (flip them over after 1 1/2 minutes).  I set my microwave timer each time...it's amazing how long 3 minutes is when you are waiting to flip a bagel!  Take the bagels out with a slotted spoon and place back onto the greased pan.  Place the next round of bagels into the pot.  When all the bagels are boiled, beat 1 egg in a little bowl and lightly brush each bagel with egg.  Then sprinkle with desired toppings (poppyseeds, dried minced onions, sesame seeds) or none at all.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes...turning the pan after about 10 minutes.  (the first time I made these, I forgot to turn the pan as you can see in the photos).  Cool on a wire rack.

I don't buy commercial bread anymore...the only bread I would would buy would be Great Harvest Bread Company...but we don't have one close to us.  After reading the ingredients on the label...I was cured.  My favorite Costco Bread (the whole wheat Bed and Breakfast Bread) had an ingredient called "Mold Inhibitor".  I decided that my family and I probably shouldn't be consuming something called "mold inhibitor".  Not to mention the 10 other ingredients that we couldn't pronounce.  Now I make homemade bread of some sort about 3 times a week.

XOXO Tiffany

"Years of hauling water, wringing out clothes, scrubbing floors, emptying out chamberpots, with no chance of beauty or color or light in my life, stretched before me like a landscape of flat land where, a long way off, the sea is visible but can never be reached".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Planning...Week of May 21 2012

Oh my goodness...I almost forgot to share this weeks menu plan!  The above photo is of my Breakfast Tacos from Friday.  I just scrambled some eggs with a little bit of minced onion.  Warmed a tortilla with some cheese in the microwave.  Layered on the eggs, some Jones sausages (Costco freezer section), and sour cream and salsa.  Mmmm.  Here's the plan for this week!

Monday:
B-Berry Smoothie and Buttermilk Blueberry Bread
L-clean out the fridge
D-Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Tuesday:
L-leftovers
D-Creamy Baked Chicken and Baked Potato

Wednesday:
B-Homemade bread/Apple Butter
L-Chicken Salad

Thursday:
B-Buttermilk Pancakes
L-Leftovers
D-Chicken Tacos

Friday:
B-Scrambled eggs/Sausage/Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
L-Leftovers
D-Italian Dunkers/bread/salad

Saturday:
L-out to a birthday party
D-another birthday party...I better find out what I need to bring...

Sunday:
B-Almond Zucchini Bread
L-Day Trip with friends....
D-Lasagna Soup

BTW...if you ever see something repeated from last week...it's most likely b/c I never got around to making it.  I'll continue to post recipes when I can.  The kids have started getting up...I'd better get moving.

XOXO Tiffany

"I'm becoming an intentional noticer and it is leading me into thankfulness for things beyond the obvious".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman

Enchilada Soup

 I was so proud of myself for prepping this soup on Saturday...Sunday got out of control!  We had church in the morning...9-10:30, small group 11-2, then I left for a bridal shower (for my cousin!) from 2-4:30, Matt left and dropped the girls off at a friends house, I picked the girls up after the shower (a beautiful bridal tea...loved it!)...of course I got to chatting..., rushed home to make dinner and get Daisy fed because she had soccer from 6-7pm.  Incidentally, she didn't have time to eat her soup, so we sent her out the door with a banana and she would have to eat her soup after practice.  Which she did...and then we made homemade vanilla ice cream.   
 This is the second time I have made this soup.  It is from the Farm Chicks in the Kitchen cookbook.  I love that cookbook.  I only changed one little thing at the end of the recipe...they temper the sour cream before adding it to the soup...I prefer to skip this step and let people add their own sour cream.  I doubled the batch this time because I am bringing a meal to a friend on Wednesday.  Here is the recipe:
Enchilada Soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups chicken, shredded or chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
7 oz salsa verde
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Juice from half a lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream and tortilla chips, for serving

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic; saute for about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth, chicken, black beans, tomatoes, corn, salsa, jalepeno, and chili powder; heat to simmering.

(On Saturday...I prepped the soup and stopped after adding the chili powder.  I put the soup in the fridge and then on Sunday I heated it to simmering and continued...)

To thicken the soup...add the water to the cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until smooth.  Stir this into the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir the lime juice and cilantro into the soup and serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

My kids have always eaten spicy food.  Sometimes they say, "mom, this is really spicy".  I say, "I know, but it's so good for you and it makes you want to drink a lot of water, which is also so good for you".  Ha.  I want my kids to leave the house knowing what real food should taste like.  If one of them is ever struggling (Lucy did not want to eat her soup last night)...we just say, "Oh, that's fine, dad will eat your homemade ice cream for you".  Lucy ate all her soup.

Have a fabulous Monday!

XOXO Tiffany

"Whatever she saw or understood, she decided to stir the pot once more".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Almond Granola Bars (no bake!)

Happy Saturday!  We had a busy morning at a swim meet for Lucy and MJ...but now the rest of the day is mine!  The house is clean (Thursday), the laundry is all done (Friday), and the only thing on my list for today is to work on my "pile".  After this post, I think I will sit down and tackle it.  And, maybe prep Sunday's Soup, since we'll be gone all day.  I got a lovely email requesting some specific recipes...this was one of them, so I thought I would quick share it.  I got this recipe from a favorite cooking blog:  Iowa Girl Eats.  I LOVE these granola bars...and I really love them because you don't need to bake them.  Oh, and almond extract is my favorite.

Almond Granola Bars:
1 cup whole almonds (raw preferred)
1 cup pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cherries, chopped if large (or craisens)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey (raw if you can)
3 tbsp coconut oil (virgin and organic if you can)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
dash of cinnamon

Add 1/2 cup each of almonds, pecans, and oats into a food processor.  Process until fine then pour into a large bowl.  Roughly chop remaining almonds and pecans, then add to the bowl.  Add remaining oats, cherries, and sesame seeds...mix well.

Combine honey, coconut oil, salt, extracts, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the mixture melts, then foams, then count to 15 and remove from heat.  Pour over nut mixture and mix to coat all ingredients.

Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with non-stick spray.  Pour in granola.  Press firmly.  Cover with saran wrap and chill for about 4 hours.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

I'll be honest...I scoop out a little serving of the warm chewy goodness and eat it with a spoon.  There is no way I can wait 4 hours.  I'm warning you...this recipe is dangerous...you'll need to practice some restraint.  But, what a fun and healthy little snack!

I'm hoping to share a soup recipe on Monday!  Also...if anybody would ever like to "comment" on my blog...at the end of each post there is a little link that says "0 Comments".  If you click that, a little comment box will pop up.  Or, click on the title of my post and then it will be at the bottom.  It should be slick and easy...let me know if you have troubles...but, I welcome comments if you have any!

XOXO Tiffany

"Martha, Martha.  You are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary".  Luke 10:41-42  (I fear I totally would have been Martha in the house that day...)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cleaning Day...and a Mango Smoothie

 Ahhh...relaxing on a log down by the Crow River.  Our weekly nature walks have officially become a habit.  We sure do love them!  Oh, the things we find and observe!  It's probably our most anticipated event of the week.

Last week, I was in the mood to clean.  Matt was out of town and I wanted him to come home to a clean house.  So on Thursday, I told the kids we were going to clean the house from top to bottom.  I made myself a list, and I made the kids a list.  Here is what we accomplished (in under 3 hours!).

Tiffany's List:
dust main level
sweep main level
vacuum main level
clean main bathroom
clean kids bathroom
clean master bathroom
dust master bedroom
vacuum stairs
vacuum upstairs

Kids List:
pick up kids bathroom
clean bedrooms
dust bedrooms
wipe down 4 kitchen chairs (each)
clean porch
get all laundry downstairs
shake out 3 kitchen rugs

The kids were done in about an hour and then they got busy playing.  But, we felt so accomplished!  I think I would rather spend one full day cleaning than have to do a project or two every single day.  And, this week, I finished my list in 2 hours!  It takes a lot less time to clean a clean house.  Hmmm.  I'm hoping we can continue this!  It's so nice to enjoy a clean house!  And, when the kids participate, they're much more picky about keeping it clean. 
I made this Mango Smoothie last week and the kids really loved it.  Here's what I did:

Mango Yogurt Smoothie:
1 mango (peeled, chopped, frozen)
2 bananas, frozen
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar

Blend until smooth and enjoy!  Makes 4 (large) smoothies.

Oh...I added a little update to my Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies...I made them healthier!  Instead of 4 cups of white flour, I did 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of white flour.  And then, I cut out 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  I actually think they taste even better!  I posted this change to the cookie page.

This afternoon my parents are having all 4 grandkids over to play...I'm going to run errands (and maybe sew?).  Then, they are having Matt and I and my brother and sister-in-law over for Thai food.  Should be a fun day!

Have a wonderful weekend!  BTW...I've been reading through a lot of Emilie Barnes books on organizing...I've been getting a lot of great tips...you should check some out from your library!

XOXO Tiffany

"I leaned against the warm brick wall and gazed up.  It was a bright, cloudless day, the sky a mocking blue".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sewing Wednesday...getting organized

I set my alarm for 4:30 this morning.  Lately I've been waking up around 5:30 or 6am.  I really miss my 4:30.  But, the kids sports going until 8:15pm most nights...and by the time they get home and have a snack and shower, it's around 9pm (I like them in their rooms by 8pm on a perfect night...they are still free to read or play Legos or journal to get sleepy).  Then I need to read for a bit to wind down and then it's like 10pm.  So, I only got about 6 1/2 hours of sleep last night...I like 8-9 hours.  But, my list is long and I would really like to accomplish something today!

I've sold 14 skirts in the last month...my little shop needs more!  I have TONS of fabric just waiting to be made into cute little skirts...the problem:  organization.  Some of the fabrics haven't been washed, some of the fabrics need to be ironed, some of the fabrics are ready to go!  Last night I started really going through 3 storage tubs of fabric.  I decided to sort.  This morning I want to wash a couple of loads of fabric and also iron the fabrics that have already been washed.  The task is simple but it seemed overwhelming...it's always good when you can break it down into little do-able segments.  So, today I'd like to get all my fabric prepped, and then (maybe) tomorrow, I can get some skirts cut out, and then the next day get some skirts assembled!

I hope you have a wonderful day of accomplishments!!!

XOXO Tiffany

"Well, girl.  You have set the cat loose in the poultry house now."  (Ha!  Love that one!) Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread

 I have been making the same banana bread recipe since 2001 (yes, I date my recipes when I make them).  It is from the Dayton Hudson Cookbook from 1989.  My mom gave me this cookbook before I got married and I have made so many recipes from it!  In my quest to consume less white (refined) sugar and less white flour, I decided to change up my recipe a bit...the results were outstanding and Matt and the kids didn't even notice the change!
 I usually make it in a glass loaf pan, but both of my loaf pans were being used (I store our homemade ice cream in them), so I used my bundt pan.  I overbaked it by about 5-10 minutes...it cooks a lot quicker in the black pan as opposed to my glass bread pan.  So, I would bake it for 60 minutes in the loaf pan (if light or glass) or 50 minutes in a bundt pan or dark pan.  Just check it!
Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey (raw if you can)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Grease your loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients.  Add bananas.  Whisk next 5 dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Add to banana mixture.  Add milk and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes.  Cool about 10 minutes in pan (if you have that much patience) and remove onto cooling rack.  Slice, butter and enjoy!

XOXO Tiffany

"As we surrender to Christ's power and to his love, we are able to experience strength from weakness, beauty from ashes, and freedom even in the midst of failure".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman

Monday, May 14, 2012

Power Balls and this weeks menu...

Have you guys seen these Power Balls around?  I LOVE them!  They're a great little snack (or breakfast) to have in the fridge.  My Sweetie had a few this morning with a banana.  It's like eating cookie dough!  Here's how I make them...

Power Balls
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and form into balls.  Chill in the fridge and enjoy!

I've got my menu all set for this week...I have to say...I planned too much food for last week.  But, I would rather have that problem than not enough!  With Matt gone, we had way more leftovers than normal.  We still have a ton of food in the fridge, so the kids and I have been working on it today.  Here is what it looks like:

Monday:
B-Banana Cream Smoothie and Homemade Almond Granola Bars
L-Clean out the fridge!
D-Clean out the fridge!

Tuesday:
B-Creamy Wheat
L-Stuffed Peppers
D-Bean and Cheese Enchilada

Wednesday:
B-Homemade Bread/Homemade Apple Butter
L-Kids at a friends house...
D-Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday:
B-Apple Pannekueken
L-Leftovers
D-Meatballs/mashed potatoes/salad

Friday:
B-Breakfast Taco
L-Leftovers
D-Italian Dunkers/Salad/Blueberry Pie

Saturday:
B-Blueberry Corn Muffins
L-Homemade bagels/cream cheese/strawberries (swim meet)
D-Cheesy Pizza Twists

Sunday:
B-Blueberry Corn Muffins
L-Small Group
D-Lasagna Soup

I've not been great about posting all my recipes...I'll keep trying, but if there is a recipe that you are waiting for...just let me know!

This week my Top 3 Things to Get Done are:
1.  Clear the clutter of baskets above kitchen cabinets
2.  Hang my 4 weeks worth of clean laundry that have created an insane mountain on my closet floor!
3.  Clean the glasses cupboard.  I've started saving jars/lids and this cupboard has gotten out of control!

Have a great week!

XOXO Tiffany

"I looked down, stung by her words.  They were a mother's words, words I would say to my own daughter if I were concerned for her".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Friday, May 11, 2012

Clouds

This is just a little shot of how I spend my mornings.  Cup of chai tea...a great book...paper and pencil (where'd the pencil go?).
We had the best clouds ever on Tuesday.  These pictures were taken on my deck, but when I was driving MJ to his baseball game, we were just in awe at the clouds!  I said, "MJ, I think I'd better pull over and get a picture of these amazing clouds".  He agreed.  I pulled off on a country road and snapped some shots.  Those are on my little camera that I keep in my handbag...and I haven't downloaded them yet.  This first picture is of the skies to the east. 
 This is a shot of skies to the south.
 This is what it looked like in the west. 
The kids and I are road-tripping today down to the Mall of America (50 minutes south-east).  Now, typically, I avoid that place like the plague...but we will be down there visiting my cool Auntie Nancy and her kids.  I will also get to go spend a little time with my Grandma Max (turning 88 this month).  When I talked to her on the phone yesterday, she asked if we had any snow up here...oh, what a sweetie.  I think it was like 72 degrees in Minnesota yesterday.  I can't wait to sit and chat with her!  So, when we head south of the river (Minnesota River, that is), we make a little stop into the Lego Shop at the MOA.  Get me in and get me out...I don't know when malls became so offensive to me.  Oh, we are also going to do Sea Life!  Should be a fun day!

XOXO Tifany

"We have a God who sees and cares and notices.  He will not come undone.  He remains un-overwhelmable".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sewing Wednesday...Me and Lulu

 I finished the two little skirts for my cousin Jenny, who is 8.  My aunt had given me some fun fabrics...the above skirt is made of chocolate and cupcakes and polkadots.  Fun!  I just cut it all into little squares and then had fun on my serger.  The skirt below is made from 4 sections of fabric that she cut off of her Pottery Barn curtains.  I hope she enjoys her new little skirts for summer!  We get to see them on Friday!
 I made this little skirt for a girlfriend.  She had picked out the fabric last fall and I just got around to it.  I don't do well with special orders. 
 Lucy was really bored the other day and she wanted to SEW!  Yes, I get a little excited about having one of my kids interested in sewing.  Lucy got her first sewing machine about 2 years ago on her 8th birthday.  We made a few things right off the bat...but then she lost interest.  I just packed it up, hoping that one day it would come back.  I'm thinking that the first few projects that I gave her were just too advanced.  So, we dug back into this sweet little sewing book, "Sewing School" and picked out some projects that she liked.  What I like about this book is that it starts them out with ALL hand sewing.  Lucy has never wanted to do hand sewing...I think she's too impatient.  But, this time it worked, and she had a blast!
 She even got on her sewing machine for a bit!
 She made this sweet little Needle Book.
 She learned how to sew on two different kinds of buttons.
 And, here is her favorite project.  Little Buddy and a Blanket.  Little Buddy was made all by hand...and for the blanket, she just cut out to rectangles and stitched them together.  I can't believe what a difference 2 years makes with her on the sewing machine!  Her birthday is in 3 weeks so I already have some fun sewing stuff picked out for her!  I can't wait!
I think the kids and I will head out to some garage sales this morning...a neighboring town is having a neighborhood sale.  Then, we'll do our nature walk and our nature journals...then they are having some friends over.  I'm hoping to sew after I've fed them all lunch.  The only sport tonight is MJ's swim team!  What a relief!

Have a great day!

XOXO Tiffany

"Afterwards we cleaned up, and then I had a little time free to rest and sew on the bench out front, or back in the courtyard".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's and other menu planning

 I've really slacked off lately with my menu planning...I've been "winging it".  A lot of times when I try to wing it, we end up wondering what to eat for dinner.  The thing that works the best for me is to print off a blank monthly calendar and in each box write a B-, L-, and D- (for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  Then, I start filling in.  I try to come up with a couple of themes.  Like on Sundays, I love to make soup and ice cream sundae's for dinner.  Meatless Monday's.  Salad Bar Tuesday.  Thursday needs to be easy because it is our craziest evening for the kids sports.  I would like to make a pie every Friday evening, so I planned for that.  On Saturday morning I am going to make a sweet bread (banana, blueberry, poppyseed, or zucchini).  We'll eat half of it on Saturday morning and the other half on Sunday morning. 

I will be sharing my weekly menu one week at a time and will post all the recipes for that menu throughout the week.  Some of them are already listed on here!  Matt is traveling this week...so it's just the kids and I until Friday dinner!  This is what we will be eating this week:
Monday:
B-Cereal
L-Chips and Cheese/Fruit
D-Homemade Corndogs/celery and carrots

Tuesday:
B-Homemade Almond Granola Bars
L-Cheese and Crackers/Corn on the Cob/fresh fruit
D-Salad Bar

Wednesday:
B-Homemade Bread and Apple Butter
L-Annie's Mac and Cheese/Carrots and Celery/fresh fruit
D-Stuffed Peppers

Thursday:
L-Leftovers (stuffed peppers)
D-Cheesy Pizza Twists (a new recipe!)

Friday:
B-Scrambled eggs and sausage/homemade WW Bread
L-Quinoa Muffins/Fruit/Homemade Cheese Crackers (on the go)
D-Spaghetti/Salad/WW Garlic Bread/Berry Apple Pie (Daddy's home!)

Saturday:
B-Banana Bread
L-Spaghetti Leftovers
D-Grilled Ham and Cheese with Pineapple Sandwiches

Sunday (Mother's Day):
B-Banana Bread
L-Hong Thai (take-out)
D-Enchilada Soup/Ice Cream Sundae's

So, that's it!  I'm going to get my grocery list together...I think I only need a few things.  It's nice though, because you can always switch things up as needed.  It's just so nice to have it all written down in one spot!  Maybe I'll share next weeks menu on Friday.

Last week I made a family favorite...Pannekueken!!!!  This one couldn't be any easier...I got it from my friend Susan...enjoy!
 Pannekueken
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt one stick of butter in 9 X 13 pan while the oven preheats.

          Blend in blender:
            1 ½ cup milk
            1 ½ cup flour
            6 eggs
            1 tsp vanilla
            dash salt

Pour in pan and bake 20-25 minutes.  Top with pure maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve with fresh fruit.  And, Susan always served it with 'Lil Smokies.  Yum!
A couple of little tips on how we eat over at the Millers...
We've been trying to eat LOTS of fruit and veggies.  I go to Costco every weekend and stock up...I let the kids pick out whatever they want...I don't buy processed foods/snacks anymore, so I feel like I just put that money toward our fruits and veggies.  I spend about $65/week on fruits and veggies.  We get:  watermelon, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples, clementines, grapes, avocados, carrots,  celery, corn on the cob (whoops...I think that's a grain), spinach, romaine, pickles (heehee), peppers. 
I only have about two cereal options...Kashi Cinnamon Harvest (I got it on Amazon) and Grape Nuts.  These both have less than 5 ingredients on the label and seem like a somewhat healthy option.  They will have cereal about once or twice per week in the morning if they are not in the mood for whatever else I made, but they really love it for a bedtime snack.  And, Lucy drizzles honey on everything! 
The kids snack on lots of fruit.  I also buy dried fruit and raw nuts.  Cheese.  Triscuits and Wasa crackers. 
Here was today's lunch.  Chips and cheese (I used mozzarella), a big bowl of fruit, and some Mama Julies Salsa from the Minneapolis Farmers Market.   Stuffs good.
Have fun eating healthy!  Try to buy things with less than 5 ingredients...and you don't want any form of sugar to be in the top 3.  Go for whole/real foods!  We function on a 90/10 scale.  We try to eat real food 90% of the time...that way when we go out to eat or to a party, we don't need to stress.  We just have that account for the 10%.  We don't have pop or candy in the house.  These are just some little tips if you're interested!  I'll be sharing more along the way.

Have a wonderful Monday! 
The kids just went to Piano Lessons and then we have Soccer and Swim Team tonight.  

XOXO Tiffany

"I don't have to figure out the mess.  I do have to trust the One who can".  Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman