Monday, February 28, 2011

More to come...

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1:27

More on this to come...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gluten-Free Beef Stew

Thick and delicious! You could easily make this non-gluten-free if you're no where near our house. Bella thought the meat was amazing, but threw the potatoes on the floor. I thought it was the perfect dinner for a night where the weather is turning colder again (BOO!).

In the ingredient list there are a bunch of things without quantities. Use however much you want. This will drive people like my sister, Melissa, crazy. It's payback for my childhood dear sister.

Beef Stew

1/2 cup GF flour mix
garlic powder
dried thyme
dried basil
sea salt
black pepper
2 lbs. stew meat
olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 sprig rosemary
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups red wine (you can sub unfiltered apple juice, but it's not as good)
2 super large carrots, cut into largish chunks
3 golden potatoes, chunked up as well
8 baby portabella mushrooms, quartered
1 can tomato paste

Place 1/2 your flour and seasonings in a gallon sized plastic bag. Add half you meat and shake to coat. Brown in your Dutch oven in olive oil. Repeat with the rest of the meat. Remove the meat and set aside.

Add some more oil to your pot and saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Add your garlic and saute for a minute more.

Return the meat to the pan. Pour in your beef broth and wine and scrape the bottom to get all the delicious brown bits up. Throw your sprig of rosemary in. Bring to a slight boil and then turn to lowest burner setting. Put a lid on it and let it do it's thing for 90 minutes. It should be at a very, very low simmer. This works best in a cast iron pot. You may have to turn the heat up a little bit to keep other types of cook wear as hot.

Add your potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms into the party. Turn the heat up the slightest notch, put the lid back on, and leave it be for another hour.

Stir in your tomato paste until well incorporated. Serve it up.

This would be great with some hot dinner rolls. Whenever I figure out how to make the perfect gluten-free dinner roll I'll be all over that. Until then, enjoy the hot, flaky goodness for me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


We took full advantage of the gorgeous weather on Thursday and hit up the park.

I think I know where Annabelle wants to spend her afternoons.

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Evelyn and I were reading the book "David Gets in Trouble". We were talking about what David did wrong on each page. On this page David did something wrong because he ate dog treats. Why was that wrong I asked Evelyn. Her response, "Cause they have duten".

She is quickly learning what things do and do not have gluten in them, and she knows she's not supposed to eat dog food (something that has indeed happened several times) because it has gluten in it. Not to mention it's DOG FOOD! Blech.
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Homemade Maple Vanilla Yogurt

I have two crazy yogurt eaters in my house. We literally go through a gallon of the stuff a week. I used to buy Stonyfield Cream Top yogurt, but they changed their formula and they homogenize it now. :( So sad. But, it renewed my desire to figure out how to successfully make my own at home. I have a yogurt maker for goodness sake, I should be able to do this!

My first couple attempts totally flopped. Everything I found online told me that I needed to add powdered milk, which I wasn't going to do. Finally though, I found the magic formula for us. Here's my process to make a 1/2 gallon of yogurt.

Step 1: Buy a gallon of raw milk from Farmer Doug. Literally. I have a farmer named Doug who sells milk outside my house on Saturday mornings as well as eggs, cheese, and butter. We're weird. I know. I've accepted that and moved on.

Step 2: Heat up the milk to 185 degrees. I fought this step in the past. Didn't that defeat the point of using raw milk? Not really is what I ended up deciding. Me gently heating local delicious and un-messed with milk on my stove is (in my mind) better than whatever they do at the milk factory.

Step 3: Stir in 4 tablespoons of real maple syrup (Costco has it the cheapest I've found) and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Step 4: Cool the milk down in an ice bath. I fill my sink up with cold water and dump some ice in. I put the whole pot down in the water and whisk away until it cools to 110 degrees.

Step 5: Stir in 3/4 cup yogurt. Whisk it up really well so that it's not lumpy.

Step 6: Pour it into the containers of your yogurt maker (or crockpot or anything that will keep it at 110 degrees) and let it do it's thing for 10 hours.

Step 7: Put the lids on and let it cool in the fridge.

Don't start this process during your children's afternoon nap. Otherwise you will end up having to put your yogurt in the fridge at 3 a.m.; and while you may be up at that time anyway if your children are anything like mine, you won't want to be messing with yogurt then.

A Lesson in Parenting

I admit it. I struggle with judging other parents on their parenting decisions. I've gotten a lot better at it since my own children have humbled me beyond measure, but it's still there.

I used to cringe when other children would throw a fit at bedtime about wanting to sleep with a certain toy or needing things a certain way. I was going to avoid that. I had it all figured out. We just wouldn't let Evelyn sleep with any one toy or get overly attached to anything so that it would never be a battle at our house. Oh how I had life figured out.

This is Evelyn before her nap a couple days ago. She throws an absolute knock down, drag out fit if she doesn't get to sleep with not just one, but up to EIGHT of her favorite stuffed animals and MULTIPLE special blankets. That's right folks. Good thing I never let her get attached to just one, huh?

God has an amazing way of teaching all kinds of important lessons.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oooooh, a Giveaway.

Who would turn down a chance at getting something fabulous and fun in a giveaway? That's right, no one. So now you have no excuse but to head on over to Love is Rising for Rachel's Etsy shop giveaway. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Missing Her

A series of events today has brought my Grandma Evelyn to the forefront of my mind. I've found myself dwelling on memories of her and it makes me acutely aware of just how much I miss her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Shaped Treats

When we were growing up my mom would always make us giant heart-shaped cookies for when we got home from school on Valentine's Day, so in the spirit of eating heart shaped goodies, here are my loves enjoying their treats!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Banana Pumpkin Bread

Here's the recipe for the Valentine's Day treat I made the girls. I'll post pictures of them later devouring it!

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil or melted butter
1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill works great)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 T pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl then stir them into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Makes 1 large loaf, 2 small loaves, or 4 mini loaves.

Bake 30-45 minutes (depending on size of the loaf) or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

To Brighten Your Day

Just in case you need a little pick me up this Friday morning.

We've had a rough few days around here, so this little smile has been priceless.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

6 Months Old

Happy 1/2 Birthday Annabelle!

A joy. A delight.

Weight: 16 lbs. 9.5 ounces
Length: 27ish inches (this child does NOT want to hold still)

Teeth: 2!

New Tricks: Trying desperately to crawl and getting very close, moving from sitting to laying down by herself, once she got herself from laying on her tummy up to sitting, eating

Favorite Foods: roasted sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes

Not much has changed in the sleep department. She did start sleeping through the night (3 whole nights in a row!), but then she got super sick and needed constant attention (literally) all night long for a couple nights while she battled a high fever and the sleeping went out the window for a while. It's slowly but surely returning to normal.

She always does this funny thing with crinkling up her nose. The best is when she does it while smiling.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Littlest Love

You bring me so much joy, Annabelle!

Bring on the Snow

It stuck to the windows.

It blew in through the door.

It kept Scott busy.

But our girls loved it and stayed nice and warm.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Foods

I can hardly believe that Annabelle is already old enough for solid food! She was showing all the signs of readiness though, so we went ahead and let her start experimenting.

It's made dinnertime much more enjoyable because Scott and I don't have to take turns eating while the other keeps the baby happy.

The wrist rolls make me gush.

She is more than content (at least for a short while) to sit in her high chair and play with food.

Her first attempts were with roasted sweet potato, but she has also tried banana, chuck roast, mashed potatoes, potato soup, spaghetti, and pork roast.

She has yet to meet a food she won't attempt to shove in her mouth!