My Top Ten

Friday, June 22, 2012

camper, sweet camper

This is our new camper. New to us, in good used condition. Purchased off of Craigslist because we love Craigslist and Garrett is a deal finder. I was orginially calling her Big Bertha by default. But upon further thought, I realized she's not a big camper. She is just a little thing by comparison to some of the mammoth rigs that are out there. Thus, we decided she need a sweeter, daintier name. So..without any further ado, meet Lil' Lily.

We purchased Lil' Lily because we are getting ready to head into the wild blue yonder for the summer with our fellow missionaries (14 of us) for survival & wilderness training. AKA character development.

What would a camper, sweet camper, home-on-wheels be without some new curtains? I'll leave you with this photo; the stack of fabric that is being transformed into curtains for Lil' Lily by my talented stepmother!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Trail Bars

Initially I was going to call these granola bars; however, I decided that doesn't do them justice. They are not to be clumped into the generic category of "granola bar" which has the Quaker Oats granola bar image attached to it. No, no, no. This recipe was designed as an uber healthy alternative to a store bought granola bar.

I made these bars for the trail. Garrett & I hiked Hillary Peak, one of the Mt. Princeton peaks, this weekend with our dear friends Caleb and Em in celebration of Caleb's 30th Birthday. These bars supplied us with necessary fuel. Alas, the trail bar has been born. These are gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Literally every ingredient is some kind of nutritional superstar in it's own right. Except for the 1/3 cup brown sugar, but they have to have some kind of sweetner. I haven't made them enough to experiment with completely removing the sugar and using a 100% alternative sweetner - such as brown rice syrup or maple syrup. I am sure it can be done. As is, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup brown rice syrup. To me, this is acceptable as the sugar is immediately burned as an energy source for us while hiking and engaging in outdoor activities.

First: make a chia egg
This is done by mixing 1 tablespoon chia seed to 3 tablespoons water, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes and it will turn into a nice thick gel.

The chia gel is used in place of an egg. If you aren't into chia, you can substitute a real egg. In chia's defence, I'd like to say how easy it is to use, works really effectively as an egg replacer, has no noticeable taste, and is extremely healthful. Dr. Oz has referred to chia as the Ultimate Superfood.

In large bowl, combine:
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup rolled barley
1/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup hemp protein
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped or sliced almonds

On stovetop in small sauce pan over low heat, gently melt:
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup

Stir them together until they being to meld and the coconut oil has almost completely liquified. Remove from stoptop, add 1 Tablespoon real vanilla extract and 2 Tablespoons water. Stir until mixed.

In a blender, Vitamix or food processor, blend the coconut oil & rice syrup mixture with the chia egg on low. You are simply ensuring that the chia egg is evenly distrubuted throughout the liquid that will hold the bars together. 

Lastly, pour the liquid from the blender into the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir well to coat.

Gently press the trail bar mixture into a lightly oiled 8 X 8 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. They are done when the edges are lightly brown and bubbling, the center still slightly soft. They may look undercooked, but they will set up as they cool. Allow them to fully cool before handling.

Friday, March 23, 2012

extra protein

Have you been wondering how to increase your protein intake for breakfast? Well, Eden has the solution for you! Simply add ground beef to your cereal, and waa-laa. A delicious, protein boosted bowl of goodness. At least she was eating her beef-amaranth cereal like it was delicious.....

For clarity's sake 1) we don't eat ground beef for breakfast 2) Eden eats a 7 grain cereal at night after her dinner to help "tide her over" so she sleeps through the night. Recently, she has started adding her dinner food to her cereal bowl. And eating it. Last night she added her taco meat, delicious.

I do love protein for breakfast, however; I prefer it in the form of eggs. This is the new breakfast special in our home. It is the Haley Smith breakfast special. The Smith family are dear friends who live in Alabama, and on our recent traveling extravaganza; we stayed with them for a week. Haley made us these eggs, and it was love at first bite. Seriously scrumptious. No better way to start off your day than with a pile of veggies. (If chopping veggies in the morning is intimidating or you don't have time, prep them the night before)

the Haley Smith breakfast special

Heat a bit of olive oil in a frying pan
Add dry or fresh rosemary; let it become aromatic
Add thinly sliced zucchini slices (we buy small zucchinis so the slices are small circles)
Add thinly sliced sweet mini peppers (not bell peppers)
Fry vegetables to your liking
Remove from pan
Fry or scramble an egg in same olive oil
Serve egg with friend veggies atop

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the makings of a Spiderman Birthday party...

This post is way over due and old news by now, but I still wanted to share some fun details (and photos) from Bodhi's 4th Spiderman themed birthday party. This party was greatly anticpated by the birthday boy, and he thoroughly enjoyed his superhero status for the day. It was a Superhero/Princess party, with a specific emphasis on Spiderman. It seemed to be more fun to allow the kids to choose which superhero they'd like to be, and obviously, most girls preferred to dress up as a princess anyhow.

All of the Superheroes and Princesses

 the birthday boy with his chosen cupcake

Annie's Mac n Cheese & Kleenex boxes wrapped in red paper 
and turned into Spiderman's city buildings

Wonder Woman made an appearance (We love you, Auntie KK!)

Super G painting Superhero arms & Princess faces with 
eco friendly and skin friendly Clementine paints

Iron Man with (2) Princesses

the Thor twins

sweet Baby Girl

Buzz Lightyear & Spiderman take a juicebox break

Double Spideys with Ariel

the Spiderman Pelota, not Pinata
(Pelota is the Spanish word for ball)

Garrett and I put our  brains together on this one; thinking it'd be much easier for the kids to kick a ball-shaped paper mache around rather than try to swing a stick at it. This was (4) layers of newpaper mache over a balloon. (1) part flour to (2) parts water for the paste each time; allowing it to dry overnight after each paper mache layer. Finally, Garrett painted it red w/ spray paint, used a black sharpie for web line details and made the classic Spiderman eyes. All his handywork to make it look super "Spidey".

 the Ultimate (cheesy) Spiderman kiss. It had to be done, folks.

Super Hero Training Camp

Lifting the 200 lb. Barbell

Jumping over the red hot lava!

Climbing through the webs

Silly string'n the bad guys

more silly string....

Encouraging the birthday boy to kick the Spiderman Pelota

the candy & favors spilling out...

assessing His loot

Garrett & I took the liberty of dressing up as our personal superheroes;
Garrett as Ray Mears, me as Julia Child.

the guys

the girls

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

coming home...

We recently spent three weeks traveling, visiting churches & dear friends throughout Texas, Louisianna, Alabama & Arkansas, in an effort to raise awareness and support of our recent missionary status and all that entails.

It was so fun to see the southern states, enjoy the southern hospitatlity, sweet tea, the dreary ocean coastline, tour the USS Alabama & remember those who procured our freedoms (including Garrett's grandfather who served on one such ship), meet new friends, catch up with dear old friends, encounter different worship styles and experience varying church services -- all of them with one common goal, to push people closer to God. All of them, so encouraging and uplifting in their own right. It was such a blessing and an honor to spend the time we spent traveling and establishing relationship with quality people who love God deeply.

It was nice to come home, to our place of rest.  To be found waking in my own bed, to be situated back in "my" domain. Now home, with alloted time for reflection, I have found myself to be in a place of firm resolve that I am ready for the changes which lie ahead. I am ready for the Lord to stretch me and use me for his Glory. Too long have I lived for my own good. Too long have I opted out of pushing myself, giving of myself, loving others whom aren't easy to love.

I think there may be days when I look back at this blog post and, perhaps, cry for the challenges presently set before me. Or even better; breathe a sigh of relief. A sigh that may allow me to hold my head up high and know that I stepped into the unknown, into the challenge. That I did it. I know it won't be easy, but what matters, is that I was able to give my all to serve the King of Glory. To give Him everything I have to offer, my feeble self. God has a way of taking what little we are as human beings, and doing monumental feats through us. This shall be my story. I know it in my heart.

If anyone out there wonders, why? For us, it's simple. Garrett and I have decided to be intentional with the time we have on this earth. For us, for our family, it means answering the call given in Matthew 28:19. Everyone's purpose is different; but I challenge you:

Are you being intentional with your time? With your months, days, weeks, hours? Whatever you find yourself doing, whatever task you set your hands to; do it well. Do it with purpose and joy, and breathe life into the dry bones of this old world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This serves as a very unofficial announcement that this blog is about to change, err, encompass...more...of life. This "expansion" is due to the fact that our family is embarking on a new endeavor and we are becoming full time missionaries. Therefore; this foodie's blog will sometimes take on a communicative type role for the sake of our dear family & friends. You may see more family-style entries and photos of what is going on with us as we will be traveling a lot in 2012.

I do promise to keep my passion of wholesome homemade food alive, but I may not always have time to share it. So often I think, "I should blog about this" when I make a delicious dish or bake a sweet treat; but when it comes right down to it, by the time I sit down to blog about the food goodness, I realize I would really rather spend my time creating more yummy food to eat. (I admit that was a rather long run on sentence, but I think I pulled it off successfully?) This phenomenon happens to me at home, so add in the traveling bit, and I think my cooking opportunities may wane a little...sniff, sniff. Hang around to see glimplses of our crazy upcoming adventure of a lifestyle.

What better way to get this party started than to say
 Spiderman is in the house.....

 Bodhi turns 4 years old in eleven short days. 
We are having a Spiderman party. Word. 
It's gonna be awesome.

 Ready for Super hero action.

 I think he was actually saying "Ka Chow" for this one. 
We are also very fond of Lightning McQueen.
YOU are my number one fan. 

 Slinging his web to the top of the Christmas tree. 

He was a little ticked at his dad for wearing his sweet Spidey mask, as you can see by his expression.