10.28.2014

A Few Of Our Favorite Things


We have had just a great streak lately of finding recipes that are huge hits here with us...and yes, I keep singing that "Sound of Music" song in my head.

First up, Homemade Chocolate Syrup.




Beautiful picture of a splattered-up bottle, I know.  This bottle sees quite a bit of action.

Daniel would be happy to drink straight raw milk all day, every day.  The boy is in heaven.  Elisabeth on the other hand, is more, ummmm.....motivated to drink milk if she can add some chocolate syrup to it.  Since store-bought chocolate syrup is not an option I'm willing to entertain, when I saw Danelle's post on easy homemade syrup, I knew we had to try it.  3 ingredients.  3 HEALTHY ingredients at that:  Honey, Cocoa Powder, Water.  Winner.  I've never actually even made this recipe myself.  Elisabeth always makes it, and she is happy to keep us "in syrup".  Daniel and LK help her use it up...and I've tried it myself, and it is really good.  They all mixed some into our homemade ice cream the other night also...and liked it that way too!.


Does Daniel like the chocolate syrup?



Yes...yes, he does!


Yes, Daniel's favorite color is orange...how did you know?







Next up is a new favorite item of Gabriel's....



...."Apple salad".  Or "Fruit Salad" as he alternately calls it:


Apples, walnuts, celery, raisins, ginger...with a Honey Lime dressing.




This stuff is addictive.  G and I could eat it three times a day, every day.  It is a perfect combination of sweet, tart, crunchy and chewy...all in one heavenly little bowl.


The recipe came from Health, Home and Happiness.  I changed it a little the first time I made it because I didn't have oranges on hand...but I did have lime juice.  We've since tried it with orange juice, and we like the lime juice better!




When G finishes his bowl, watch out...cause he'll be grabbing your bowl also!




The first few times I made this dish, I dutifully looked up the recipe on Health, Home and Happiness and followed Cara's directions...because I am a "rules-follower."  It finally occurred to me that if ever there was a recipe that I could just eye-ball, it is this one.  So now I just cut up LOTS of apples, some celery, throw in some walnuts and raisins, dice up some ginger, and then sprinkle in some lime juice and drizzle some honey over all of it.  Give the whole thing a stir....and enjoy!  

And then repeat the whole thing in a day or two, because it's time to make a new batch!





And finally, after all the eating we do....we now have a new toothpaste recipe that we're loving, to get our pearly whites pearly again.  And it is technically a tooth powder.  (First time I've ever used (or made!) a tooth powder...but  we're liking it!)





Back in July when we went and picked blueberries with Kathy, we all went hog-wild eating those things up (all nine gallons are gone now, [sniff]).

Well, in short order, my front teeth were stained.  Yuck.  

But...we also had just brought Missy home, so I tucked "need to look up that trick about using activated charcoal to whiten teeth" on a To-Do list in the recesses of my mind.  But it stayed in the recesses...until this recipe popped up on Mommypotamus.  And guess what it has as an ingredient.....charcoal.


I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I mixed up a batch pronto.  First time I used it....stains GONE!   

In fact, all of our teeth are brighter than they have been in a long time!

And I love the fact that it doesn't contain fluoride, and it doesn't contain glycerin.  

I used on the lower end of the amounts of baking soda and sea salt that she recommended, to prevent making the mixture too abrasive.  (I used straight baking soda for a very short while several years ago, and stopped immediately when it started making my teeth sensitive, which I'd never had a problem with previously.)  I also didn't use the stevia...it was optional and I didn't think we would find it necessary for the taste.




And with the cinnamon, cloves and peppermint in there, this stuff smells so good.



10.24.2014

Rascal

This post is about Gabriel...our Resident Rascal.


So what are two fish doing in a post about Gabriel?


There were 4 fish.  In a 10-gallon tank.  But the little rascal dumped half a container of fish food in the tank.

There are now two fish.

And the big tank (and rocks, and fake foliage and other assorted decor Noah decided on) are in the process of being cleaned.

AND...the big boys now have a child-proof doorknob cover on the outside of their bedroom door so that no little rascals can get in their room unsupervised.  The older boys love their little rascal very dearly, and are so good with him (Noah didn't even get upset with G for doing this)...they just don't love lego creations being destroyed, and said legos dropped in the fish tank...and half a container of fish food dumped in the tank.  (These are all separate, repeated offenses.  We thought the legos in the tank were bad...we should have realized that food would be worse.)

What are we going to do when Missy is mobile?!?






10.23.2014

Spaghetti Squash

God is just so creative.


Squash...




...that shreds into "noodles" very reminiscent of spaghetti.  Who coulda thunk such a thing up?  God, that's who. 



I first became aware of spaghetti squash when Jas and I were a family-of-2, living in Colorado.  




I decided to get crazy and buy one and try it out...see if it really worked like I'd read.




 And it did.  Crazy!




Fast forward, ummm....about 15 years.  It's now been over a year since the 7 of us begun the GAPS protocol...and we have become bosom buddies with spaghetti squash during that time.  It is a yummy and versatile staple in my culinary arsenal...and I'm just sad that it took GAPS to bring it front and center for us.  I usually buy two to four biggish squashes every week at the store.





I had to relearn how to prepare spaghetti squash since it had been forever...but thankfully it is so very easy.


First, I start the oven heating to 400 degrees.

Next, I cut through the squash lengthwise, and lay it cut-side down in a dish (or on a cookie sheet):




Bake it in the oven for between 30 minutes and an hour.  When I get big squash, I cook them closer to an hour.  But sometimes my store will only have smaller squash available, and those only need to cook for about 30 minutes.

Once they're done, take them out of the oven and flip them over in the pan.  Let them cool off before trying to mess with them any further or you will burn the patooky out of your fingers (ask me how I know):





After they've cooled down some, scoop out and discard the seeds, and start "shredding" or raking down the sides of the squash with a fork:


Don't rake across the threads, or you will end up with a mushy mess (again, ask me how I know).



The spaghetti will look like this...




...and this....




Crazy!

And yummy!

Not that it is so yummy right by itself, but as a base for sauces and soups and casseroles...oh, it is so yummy!


We use spaghetti squash in these recipes:

Chicken "Noodle" Soup   (this is hands-down Daniel's favorite supper....every week when I make out our meal plan and I ask the kids what they would like to see that week, he yells "Chicken Noodle Soup!")

Pizza Spaghetti Squash Casserole 

Spaghetti - no link provided here, because I mean just.....you know, regular ole spaghetti.  Ground meat, spaghetti sauce and "noodles".  Yum!


Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?  If so, what are your favorite ways to use it...I would love some new ideas for this great squash!








10.21.2014

Jack Of All Trades

I went to the Together For Adoption Conference over the weekend.  Jas and I joked that "Survive" might be the only thing on his to-do list while I was gone (like the daddy on one of my favorite blog's HERE).

But Jas did more than survive, of course....he is Super Dad!


I was thrilled with him when I got home.  My bedroom looked like this....




...and this....


...and this!



Stuff EVERYWHERE!  It looked as if the closet had exploded...and, in fact, that is exactly (kind of) what happened!

So, why was I happy about this???

While I was gone, Jas took the opportunity (with LOTS of help from smaller hands) to get done a project that he and I have talked about ever since we moved into this house.


When I left, our master closet looked like this:






And it NOW looks like this:





Jas and I've only been together for 21 years now...why am I still continually surprised by how smart and talented and thorough he is?!?!

I may still be surprised, but I am also very thankful!


Jas took "before" and "during" pictures with his phone, so I could see how the project progressed.












This may sound silly, but I truly would have been a happy, happy girl if Jas had just done the wood work...







...even if he hadn't painted anything.  But he did:  the walls, the new (and old) woodwork...and he even freshened up the floorboards and casing on the door!











It is just more than I had ever hoped or imagined...and I am ecstatic!




Jas taking an "after" pic with his phone, so he could brag on FB...as well he should!



Jas even thought to buy us a new little ladder that we will need to access the new highest shelf.






So, in closing....



....My new closet is great...My husband is awesome....





...and AMEN!





10.16.2014

I Heard It

Last night as I mowed (I love mowing!), Chelsea and T-Bone came up to the pasture fence.  They watched me curiously - while lazily chewing their cud - as I circled around and around.





They were in the pasture.  The pasture I no longer need to mow.  Because they're in the pasture.

As I circled around (and snapped this pic with my phone), I told them, "Thank you!"

They said..........(chomp, chomp) "You're welcome." 

10.13.2014

Introducing....


When we first closed on our house in March 2013, I called this section behind the backyard proper the "pasture."  




I was dreaming.

March 2013


It looked nothing like a pasture.



The six of us took down the (falling down anyway) wooden picket fence.

And in February 2014, we had the "pasture" fenced in:



And then in April 2014, my dad drove down on his tractor and tilled up the pasture...



 ...and Jas planted grass seed:





And after a few weeks, it looked like the grass seed wasn't going to take...but then it did!


And on Saturday morning, our pasture looked like this:


A.M., 10/11/14


And then on Saturday evening, our pasture looked like this:
P.M. 10/11/14
Don't see anything different?

Look reeeeeal close back in the left-hand corner...


 AHHHHHH!


There are cows in that pasture!









At times I thought this was just never going to happen.




But here they are....



Meet our two Jerseys....T-Bone, and his mama, Chelsea.



I took this through a square in the fence....they weren't letting us get that close at the time.


More to come about our cow adventures soon.....but I'll sign off with these "milky" pictures...










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