Monday, June 29, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

A team effort

Though I felt a little silly posting this request, I'm so glad I did! I was offered more tokens than I need, and I appreciate that so many of you took the time to check your cereal boxes. =)

Mel had a good suggestion to post this on Freecycle, which I hadn't thought of doing (though now I don't need to). Thank you to Monica, my mother-in-law, Eric's cousin Emily, Michelle, and Hestermania for helping me out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recipe round-up

I have been on a major new recipe kick the last couple of weeks, and it's been fun to try some new dishes!

*For a recent dinner we hosted, I made a quick dressing for a simple but gorgeous salad of local greens and strawberries: 1/4 c. oil, 2 T. red wine vinegar, 1/4 c. sugar and 1 T. poppy seed. I also made a rhubarb strawberry dessert that received rave reviews. (Isn't it fun when that happens?!)

*My Father's Day attempt to recreate Eric's favorite restaurant was a little less successful. I tried a knockoff recipe of this soup, and though tasty, the flavor did not compare to the original. (This is Eric's opinion--I didn't have any because it contains sausage and bacon.) The bread I made was quite delicious, though! I received this recipe from one of those e-mail recipe exchanges, and can't remember who sent it:

Italian cheese bread

2 1/2 c. flour (I used 2 c. white, 1/2 c. wheat)
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 T. quick-rise yeast
1 c. warm water (120-130 degrees)

1/4 c. Italian salad dressing
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. ground oregano
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 T. grated Parmesan
1 c. shredded mozzarella

In a bowl, combine first six ingredients. Add flour if needed to form soft dough. Knead for 2 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and let rise for 20 minutes.

Punch the dough down and place on a greased round pizza pan, and pat into a circle. Brush with salad dressing. Combine seasonings and sprinkle on bread. Then top with cheeses. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

*I'm hosting my MOPS group later this week and will be making this fabulous dessert (with homemade frosting), served with a delicious "spritzer" we recently tried at a friend's house. To make the beverage, mix equal parts cranberry cocktail and Diet Rite white grape soda in an ice-filled glass. So refreshing!

*I had some French vanilla creamer leftover from my friend Mandi's visit so I did a search on-line for recipes to use it up. I came across this blended coffee drink and it sounded perfect to share with a friend on a 90-degree day. It wasn't amazing--I tweaked it several times, adding coffee and chocolate syrup as the original seemed watery to me, but it was still fun to try.

Whew--that's a lot of new recipes in one week!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A random request

I debated about even posting this on here, but I figure it's my blog so why not?

I noticed on the back of our Frosted Mini Wheats box that there's a send-in form for a "free" disposable camera. I am interested in this offer because the camera features Tinker Bell, and my sister plans to take my niece here for her birthday this fall. I thought this camera would make an appropriate gift for such an occasion, but I can't seem to find any more cereal with this particular offer on it. I have just one of the 8 tokens needed, so I thought I'd take a chance and see if anyone reading can help me. If you have any of these boxes and don't plan to send away for this offer yourself, would you consider sending them to me? I'd much appreciate it, and I know a little girl who would appreciate it, too! =)

The tokens can be found on packages of Kelloggs cereal, including Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Crispix and Rice Krispies. If you're willing to send them, please let me know in the comments, and I will e-mail you the needed info. Thanks so much!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our community garden

I realized that I haven't posted at all about our garden this year, and it's kind of a cool story. Our old house had a great space for a garden with rich soil and lots of sun, but our "new" yard is mostly shade (which is obviously nice for other reasons), and there was not an ideal place to plant here.

This past spring while Eric and I were deliberating about if and where to plant, I saw a poster introducing a new community garden in our area. Eric attended the informational meeting, we signed up and paid a nominal fee, and then we were set! Each family/individual was given a 10x20 plot, which is larger than we needed, so we are sharing our space with two other families.

It is so neat to see this formerly unused field alive with nourishing veggies! We planted peas, green beans, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, onions, green and red bell peppers and tomatoes. We've already had a bumper crop of the salad greens and are anxiously awaiting the readiness of the other goodies!

Thanks to Eric and Nathan for doing all the planting and weeding! (Their job is to grow the veggies, and mine is to prepare and serve them.) It's a great endeavor for our family, and even better to be doing so alongside other members of our small town.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Marathon man

My dad's marathon was this past weekend, and he did great! Not only did he finish, but he also beat his goal time by a few minutes. Way to go, Dad! My mom surprised him by ordering matching t-shirts that announced we were the support crew for Dan _____. We definitely got noticed since there were a dozen of us wearing the same shirts, and it was neat to be able to share a little of our story. Here's the group photo, which includes my dad's mom and two sisters:
We celebrated Father's Day a week early since we were all together, and I made one of my dad's favorites, apple pie, embellished with the distance he'd run the day before (26.2 miles).
The cousins had a great time together--playing, going to the park and pool, etc. Here's Grammie with her five "grands":
Monica got a lot more pictures on her camera, and this is actually the only one I got of my dad. Here he is with my nephew Samuel.
Thanks to all who "cheered" my dad on from afar--we are so proud of him!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mourning and dancing

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

The past week has been pretty up and down emotionally for me. It has been a time to weep and mourn, as the fathers of two of my dear friends passed away within a few days of each other. Thankfully, both of these men were strong Christians, but one death was very sudden and the other came with just a month of warning. As with any loss, I am grieving with these friends--and from a distance since neither of them are local. In thinking about death and faith, I also listened to this powerful and heart-wrenching testimony last week.

But alongside the mourning, it has also been a time to laugh and dance, because one of my closest friends came to visit for a few days. Our time together was fun, meaningful and refreshing. And we literally danced several times during the weekend--Mandi introduced me to this, and I'm a big fan! Thanks for coming, Mandi. Love you!
In other news, this Saturday marks the day of my dad's MARATHON! I am thrilled that my parents, along with Monica and her kids and a couple extended family members will be in the area for this long-anticipated occasion. I am grateful to God that my dad has been able to not only train for this race, but that he feels pretty good right now. Through all the ups and downs, God is faithful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The flax of life =)

I don't recall where I first read about the health benefits of flax, but I started added it to various recipes such as banana bread. Here are two new favorites using this wonderful grain:

I recently came across this "heart-healthy" oatmeal recipe in this magazine. Nathan and I both thought it was yummy, and it's a great way to start the day!

Creamy cranberry oatmeal (makes 2 servings)

In a saucepan, bring 2. cups milk to boiling. Stir in 1 cup quick oats, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 2 T. dried cranberries. Cook over medium heat for two minutes, or until most of the milk is absorbed. Stir occasionally, then let stand until desired consistency. Stir in 2 T. ground flaxseed or toasted wheat germ.

The recipe suggests topping with raspberry jam. I added applesauce to Nathan's and a touch of brown sugar to mine. Delish!

I love granola bars, but they can be expensive and not always very nutritious. Here's a nice and easy alternative:

No-bake Granola Flax Treats

1/4 cup margarine
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup crushed cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (I used honey grahams instead)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground flax

Melt margarine in a large saucepan over low heat; add marshmallows and stir continuously until mixture is smooth. Stir in oats, graham cracker crumbs, cranberries, sunflower seeds and flax. Mix until thoroughly combined. Spray 8"x8" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Enjoy--anyone else have some winning recipes that call for flax?