Friday, October 31, 2014

pumpkin spiced milk

anyone ready for a low(er) fat, seasonal treat?!
i am.
our trunk or treat was last night and i might have stuffed myself.
you know, the typical mom thing: let your four and two year olds have a few pieces and then claim that sugar isn't good for you??
and then send them to bed and eat it all for yourself?
>> guilty.

still, i wanted pumpkin on halloween but this is way healthier and oh, so tasty.
the boys loved it and didn't know that they were drinking a whole serving of veggies too!

Pumpkin Spiced Milk
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 dates, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes

Blend everything in a high-speed blender until completely smooth.
Enjoy immediately, refrigerate until very cold, or pour over cereal!
And then don't feel guilty about eating sweets tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

pumpkin cornbread

I saw this recipe online somewhere and had to try it.
I'm obsessed with pumpkin bread (aren't we all right now?!) and love love cornbread.
So, when I saw this, I said, yes.
Maybe out loud.
Really loudly.

Anyway, I stuck mostly to the recipe that I found but tweaked it here and there.
And it's pretty much exactly what I thought it'd taste like.

Fall is winning in this house.

(and yes, we are still eating clean so we let the boys eat most of this. again, I say, most of it...)

Pumpkin Cornbread
Makes one, 8" round
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
ps-great for breakfast too!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses

Preheat your oven to 400*.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Whisk all wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
Add wet to dry and fold gently until barely mixed.
Spoon into a greased 8" round cake pan and smooth out the top.
Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until set and top is getting golden.
Enjoy warm with lots of butter and dark cane syrup!

Monday, October 27, 2014

pumpkin snickerdoodles

These came at a crucial time.
These came after a couple weeks of clean eating.
We are trying to get my dad to be a bit healthier so we embarked on a clean eating spree.  
No processed foods, no sugar, and only good carbs.
We've all been doing so well on our little diet.
But, my mom and I (the sweet teeth in the family) are about to die.
So, I played my "this is baking season" and "must. have. pumpkin." cards.
And I searched pinterest for the perfect pumpkin cookie recipe.

Folks, this is pretty much it.
Quite possibly the best pumpkin cookie I've ever tasted.
No joke.
They are super easy too so go try them.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes about 18.
From Sally's Baking Addiction, via Pinterest.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Melt the butter in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in white chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350*.
Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough each. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Roll each of the dough balls generously in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on 2 baking sheets. Slightly flatten the dough balls because the cookies will only slightly spread in the oven.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Keeping them in the oven for longer may dry them out. Remove from the oven.
Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack. The longer the cookies cool, the chewier they will be. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

pumpkin, sausage, and fried sage pizza

It's pumpkin season, y'all!

I'm in love with Fall.
Everything about Fall.
The temperatures.
The colors.
The flavors.
The pumpkins.
But, guess what?
I don't even really like pumpkin.
Shhh, don't tell Fall that.
But, tis this season and I still use it allllll the time...I just dress it up!

So, this week, we'll be doing lots of pumpkin recipes!
Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin, Sausage, and Fried Sage Pizza
Serves 4.
1 recipe of your favorite pizza or homemade
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/8-1/4 pound smoked sausage, any variety you like, diced into half moons
2 tablespoons canola oil
8-10 fresh sage leaves, cleaned and dried well

Begin by preheating your oven and pizza stone to 500*.  The longer, the better!
Roll our your dough and prick with the tines of a fork.
Combine pumpkin puree with all the spices in a small bowl and spread onto the dough with the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle cheese and sausage over the top.
Bake in preheated oven for about 10-14 minutes, until bubbly and golden around the edges.
Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a small saucepan, over medium-high heat.
When the oil starts to shimmer, drop sage leaves in the oil and fry for about 30 seconds until crispy but still green. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
When pizza is ready, garnish with the fried sage leaves and enjoy hot!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

foods i DON'T homemake.

in a follow up to this similar post, i've decided to share what i DON'T homemake.
that is, what's better or easier from the store.

ice cream.
i know. this is kinda bizarre. so, let me be specific.
i love, love homemade ice cream.
this one being my fav of all time.
but, blue bell cookies n cream will always, always have my heart.

speaking of cookies, eh?
i've tried homemade.
not. oreos.
good, very good.
but, not oreos.

granted, i don't buy the tostitos jar but good, old-fashioned velveeta + spicy rotel is where it's at, when it comes to that once a year, must-have-queso, football game. sorry cheddar, you ain't got nothing on melty velveeta. 

i don't do bread dough. i can. and i have. and i have no doubt that later in life, i will embrace it fully. but for now, i have a bread machine that we use a lot. so, it's semi-homemade, right?

we love homemade granola. but the boys love plain cheerios, the hub loves honey bunches of oats, and i love the shredded wheat minis. yes, the frosted ones. definitely don't have cereal every day (or every week). but, yes, the frosted ones.

i'm all for homemade sheet cakes, bundts, and certain layer cakes, but when it comes to a good birthday cake, nothing beats a betty crocker layer cake. something about the artificial, over-sweetness really hits the spot ;)
ps-that goes for frosting too...

i'm all for butter. or browned butter. or really browned butter. but, in my favorite cookie ever, crisco is the. way. to. go. 

i would be remiss if i didn't include our boys' beloved goldfish. we don't do a lot of processed food around but i am not making tiny goldfish. i could not, would not, sam-i-am.

so, tell me! what do you love homemaking and what do you buy at the store??

Sunday, October 19, 2014

things i DON'T do homemade.

you all know that i try to do a lot homemade.

diy deodorant, toothpaste, hairspray, lotions, dish and laundry detergents, hair conditioner, baby wipes and spray, house cleaners, etc.
and we try to get as minimalistic as possible too, with shampoo bars, organic soaps, essential oils as remedies, cloth napkins, cloth diapers, and etc.

but there are some things that i just can't live without. 
or can't homemake. 
or (shh!) haven't tried to homemake yet. 

here's my guilty pleasure list:

nail polish/remover.
cannot live without my nails being "dun up". any suggestions on diy or organic nail care?

i know there are organic products out there but i haven't found one that beats maybelliene mascara. i only ever wear eyeliner, mascara, and blush so i don't feel too terrible about this one...
although! i found a "recipe" for homemade beet-root blush that i will be trying, post-haste!

ok. help on this one. we've tried so many diy remedies from essential oils to old wives' tales but darnit if i can't find one that beats good, old-fashioned OFF. especially in texas in the summer. 

aaaaaany and all recipes welcome! i've seen many a recipe but haven't tried any yet. does your work? i've seen many including carrot seed essential oil...anyone with diy experience on this? i'd love to try but i don't want to spend $40 on a tiny bottle if it's not gonna work...

i (kinda) like to sew.  i am not very good. i make the boys' stockings, curtains, Halloween costumes, and the occasional miscellaneous item or two. but clothes are always probably something i'll go shopping for. 

so, that's about it. but i'm sure there are more.  what suggestions do you have for me??  i would love to try your recipes and tricks!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

spicy asian cobb salad

man, oh, man.
was this ever good.

i've said before how i really don't care for traditional know, the ones with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers?
but, this.
oh, this is something else entirely.

fresh, crunchy, healthy, and filling.

Spicy Asian Cobb Salad
Serves 4.
Inspired by a picture on Pinterest :)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sriracha sauce, or to taste
Salt and pepper
12 pineapple rings, fresh would be best but I used canned and patted dry here, in a pinch
8 cups, washed, chopped, lettuce of your choice
1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed, dried, and cut in halves
4 small, ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
12 ounce bag of frozen then steamed edamame
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly

Marinate the chicken thighs in the canola oil, sriracha, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper, for about an hour and up to 8 hours.
Preheat your grill to medium-high.
Grill thighs until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove to rest.
Grill pineapple slices, until sizzling and slightly charred, about 2 minutes per side.  Set aside.
Divide the lettuce onto 4 plates.
Slice the chicken into thin slices and divide evenly onto lettuce.
Add 3 slices of grilled pineapple, a small handful of the halved cherry tomatoes, 1 sliced avocado, and 3 ounces (1/4 of the bag) of steamed edamame to each plate.
Sprinkle with a bit of red onion and serve with your favorite Asian-inspired salad dressing.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

homeschooling wrap up: september!

can you believe we are starting another year of homeschooling?!
i can't.
and with two kiddos this year!

even with a(nother) move squeezed in the middle of september, we managed to learn alot and have fun doing it!

jack jack started his letters-of-the-week...

and his color-sorting.
amazing what the second child has already picked up on!

mv reviewed his letters and was matching upper case to lower case here...

and now he's on to beginning reading and spelling!

jack's color of the month was orange and shape of the month was circle!

and i thought we'd might as well practice orange and circle with some going on a bear hunt crafting for our party ;)

and bear-print thank you's!

practicing shape-tracing...

and gross motor skills for jack.

c for caterpillar!

and more sight-spelling
jack's social studies were focused on our family tree

and then, to make things just a bit more interesting (ha ha.), we moved!
back to east texas and in with my parents!
(my dad offered m a job and to teach him the "family business", and we decided the boys would be happier here anyway!)
so, the new schoolroom set-up in my parents' library!

then, back to usual routine :)
exploring spacial relationships...big, bigger, biggest, etc.

and farm week, of course!
did you see our fun trip to the state fair of texas?

the boys do tractor rides with daddy or paw paw almost every day anyway ;)

stockyards at the state fair of texas!

it was a great month and we can't wait for more fun!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


lately, we've been...

picking wild american beauty berries all over my parents' land...

...and teaching mike how to make american beauty berry jelly!

mulling over starting my own meal planning business...and taking pictures to promote it ;)

trying to take family photos ;)

enjoying this newly-smiling baby!  
can't believe he's 8 weeks old already!

loving these farm-fresh eggs every morning

and watching our big boy play soccer every saturday!

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