Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stationery card

Joyful Moments Religious Christmas Card
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Friday, October 12, 2012

roasted caulifower with bacon, mushrooms, and white cheddar cheese

this is TO DIE FOR! and pretty easy, too,

got the recipe from http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/10/roasted-cauliflower-and-aged-white.html and made my own changes.  if you don't follow closet cooking, you should.  emails go directly to your inbox about once a week or so - and his recipes are always delicious (and usually easy and with regular ingredients, too!)

start by cutting up 1 large head cauliflower - cut into florets - toss with 1 - 2 T of oil and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (they start turning brown - and stinking a little.  cauliflower is in the cabbage family so it has that smell.)
bechemel sauce: in a medium saucepan, add 3T butter and let it start to brown.  then add 3T of some kind of flour (i used rice flour).  mix with a fork or an egg beater and when that starts to brown, slowly add 1-1/2 cups of milk (i used 1 cup 1% milk and 1/2 cup half-and-half) using the egg beater to wisk away any lumps.  the first 1/2 cup will thicken what you already have in the pan, the last cup will become liquidey but will soon thicken.  add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, salt and pepper (i didn't measure), a dash of thyme, and a dash of onion powder - and then 4 oz of aged white cheddar cheese.  i did not shred mine, i just cut it into small squares.   i actually bought an 8 oz block and the conversion is 1 cup shredded = 4 oz on the block.  i did shred the last 4 oz and use it later... mix the sauce well and turn off the heat once the cheese is melted. it'll be pretty thick.
heat a skillet and add 1 T of oil and 8 oz chopped mushrooms (i buy mine pre-sliced, i just chopped them up a little more).   i added one of those 2 oz containers of real bacon bits (to skip the step of cooking bacon) to the skillet once the mushrooms wilted.  when it gets hot and all is sauted, then i added that to the bechemel sauce. 
when the cauliflower gets roasted, add that to the bechemel sauce too and stir gently to coat.  pour it in a baking dish (i used a medium sized one). i topped it with the remaining 4oz (shredded) aged white cheddar. 
bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees.  my cheese did not brown but it was all really bubbly.  it was DELICIOUS! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Family Photos, Photographer included.

When it comes to family photos - whole family photos - it is hard to do it when you're the one holding the camera.  Honestly, I am rarely in photos.  Not only do I hate my photo being taken (it is so awkward - yes, I feel like you do), I also rarely like the outcome (too fat?  too white?  too me.).  I'm not a big fan of editing-to-the-point-you-change-the-appearance so making myself skinny on photoshop is out of the question.  However, my kids need to remember me right now as much as I need to remember them.  I wanted a photographer that could capture how much we love and care for each other, as well as make me look like a model. 

Like most folks seeking a service, I got online and started browsing through some local photographer's webpages.  I had two requirements - that it not be too expensive and that I recieve digital files so I can print myself.  Most folks want that these days anyway, right?  As a photographer, I really want people to print because in 30 years, you won't be able to see your images on a DVD (our kids may not even remember what they are).  I will print my photos for sure.  Even plan to make Christmas Cards with them!

This all reminded me of how important your website is - because that is how someone gets to know you and first impressions count!  From this, I plan to make some changes to my own (this) webpage. 

I also have a goal of using our in-closet clothes to make coordinating (not matching) outfits for our shoot.  OK, so maybe  can buy one or two things, but I want the majority of it to be in-house.  That is one thing I try to tell customers is to pull from what you have first.  Pick one or two things and then go from there.  We'll see what I come up with!

Last, I love photojournalistic style of photography.  I used to love posed shots.  However, when Holly was almost 1 and we were as broke as broke can get, my friend, Gretchen, graciously took of our family-of-four portraits for free.  I was hooked on the way she captured natural poses... interactions rather than poses.  I still treasure those photos.

I chose Sara Davis Photography to do our 2012 family photos.  She is out of Durham and I loved all the images she had on her website.  She was recommended by one of my biggest local inspirations, Ginny  Corbett Photography (who only does weddings).  I simply cannot wait. 

And, so my diet begins today. 30 day shred, here I come!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

i'm his biggest fan

hello.  thanks for calling.  please listen carefully as the menu options have changed.  the old menu was 1 for snappy, 2 for bossy, and 3 for what-do-you-mean-you-can't-read-my-mind... the new menu is 1 for forgiving, 2 for supportive, and 3 for i'm-so-proud-of-you-i-could-just-explode.  press 0 at anytime for the bottom line.

1. though my husband has always been a good man as long as i have know him (and he was good before that too, i just can't site specific instances), he has not always been active in church.  i haven't either.  but... this summer when my sister visited, we started going to church at her old church (we went our first time as a family-of-four with her).  i can't even begin to explain how life-changing something so simple has been.  i suppose that people that are inherently good may not realize why they are that way.  and, by going to church, my husband has seen the light inside of him - and it has only grown brighter.  where he was kind before, now he is even kinder because he knows that his God wants him to be that way.  where he was gentle before, he is now even gentlier because he knows that God wants him to be that way.  this has also helped him (and us) handle one small situation that has burdened us for years.  that'd be an issue of forgiveness.  i know things don't just happen instantly (for the most part), but over the last month i think the meaning of forgiveness - and the fact that we must forgive because God wants us to - has really sunk in.  praying about burdens such as this has really become a release.  (reminds me of that book about baggage - melissa, what is it called?  i still have it but it is at home so i can't think of the name right now.)  so anyway, it is so refreshing to have God at the forefront of our lives in our lives 7 days a week now.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

2. i had an opportunity a few weeks ago that would have meant big changes in our life.  rather than doing what i usually do - which is whatever i want to do, even if it involves our family - i solicited my husband for guidance and leadership on the matter.   “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Prov. 12:15).   this is probably my first time making an effort to not "lead myself" but to let nathaniel do what God intended of a husband, which is be the head of household.  he is a kind and gentle leader, just like God says for him to be - he does not rule me (for anyone with their mouths on the floor right about now).  so, after he thought about it - his response was the opposite of what i wanted to do.  but, i let him make the decision because it was truly a family decision and, honestly, he was right.  i prayed for myself to "get over it" so to speak.  as hard as it was (ok, so i did feel a little bit ruled when i didn't get my way), i swallowed that pill and just let it go.   in the end, everything turned out better than i could have ever imagined regarding that opportunity.   Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-4).

3.  nathaniel has been reading the kids bible stories + a devotion every night.  interestingly, the devotion he read always seemed to have something to do with an issue we had that day (fighting, not listening, being kind to animals, etc.)  last night, he didn't feel well so i was going to read them their devotion.  i looked for the index... there wasn't one!  i just KNEW nathaniel was picking out certian stories to read based on their meaning.  interesting that he was not... God was present and in control!  I can't say i have as good of an eye (or hand) for picking out devotionals, though.  or maybe there just wasn't a bible devotion about why you should not get in trouble playing in the bathroom.  lol.

0.  i want to be my husband's biggest fan. it will be a tough competetion (being the biggest) because kendal sure loves him a lot.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of Preschool 2012!

My poor neglected blog. After seeing some other folks post a daily log of their kids' clothes, i thought i'd try it.  not committing though.

Kendal is wearing a gymboree shirt from the early spring (may have been the first like out 2012).  his shorts are children's place, and his shoes are stride rite.  socks are gymbo too!

Holly here is wearing gymboree shirt and skort from the fall 2012 "smart and sweet" collection. Hairbow was purchased on sweetiepiehairbow on etsy.  Her boots are from target.

Monday, August 6, 2012

God knows the truth

From today's devotion - Had to post it so I wouldn't forget it!

The Bible says that when we love someone, we won't want to advertise his or her sins, but keep quiet about them.

Q. There were probably many people who passed judgment on Joseph and Mary when they saw that Mary was pregnant but not yet married to Joseph. It must have really hurt them. Have you ever had someone believe something bad about you that wasn't true? What should you do when that happens?

A. You should try to explain the truth to those who have passed judgment on you, hoping that they'll realize their error. But, even if they don't, you can be thankful that God knows the truth and trust that He will eventually clear you, just as He did Mary. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

into the uncomfort zone

it sure has been a while since i've been to blogger.  however, i had to write about this in case it helps anyone else and also so i won't forget the feelings i have right now.

ok.  how to make a long story short and non-specific...

well, first off, nathaniel and i have been going to church now for a month and a half.  we feel like we've found one we really like and thus far they have not even come close to having a sermon that pushes us away.  in fact, the sermon this past sunday was so moving, it took us all the way into church to meet with the pastor.

last week, the sermon was about forgiveness.  the pastor gave a personal account of how truly forgive someone very close to him (his dad) - the hurt (for him) began in childhood and moved into adulthood.  it was just an amazing story.  when we left church that day,  we both agreed that we needed to talk to him.  no one is an expert in forgiveness, but when one so openly discusses personal trials and triumph about something so profound in his life, then i felt like he could provide us some help in a way to move into our own triumph:  forgiveness.  not sure exactly how to explain our issue, and i don't think WHAT it is is relevant, but just trust me, time has not healed our pain and it has definitely hindered things we've wanted to do.

so - we made an appointment to talk with the pastor.  we sat for 1 hour and talked about our honest and innermost feelings with him, without shame (it was uncomfortable at times, but we got through that).  it was such a release.  i can only speak for myself when i say that several times, i felt like i was going to run over with emotions.  several times i could feel tears wanting to build (i suppressed them).  after that hour was over, i was a SO proud of my husband (for talking - you know, communication isn't easy for all men!).  i really feel like we have hit the road to recovery.  recovery meaning TRUE and COMPLETE forgiveness.

i'm shaking right now writing this!  this is so emotional.

here are some key points that i want to remember:  talking to the person/people with whom caused you pain and hurt (laying it all out on the table) is the best **and probably easiest** path to forgiveness.  sometimes, though, that doesn't work - and it is ok.   there is another way.  you have to look deep inside your heart and truly and honestly forgive - without the acknowledgement from anyone else.  closure is not always possible - and should not stop you from achieving your goal.

we naturally wanted to know how one could truly and honestly forgive.  one suggestion was to write down honest feelings about what hurt you, how you tried to work it out, what you wish could happen - everything related to said topic.  this could be an essay, a letter, something - but when you are done, throw it away/burn it/something (do not share it) and that is symbolic of releasing the pain that binds you to the issue.  and, you forgive.  this was such a wonderful idea.  though nathaniel doesn't write ME letters, he is a great writer and i know he gets much enjoyment from it.  we both thought this idea would help.

probably the most important thing the pastor said to us was to know that even in true forgiveness, your relationship with that person(s) may never change.

i think that is one place we had it all wrong.  previously we felt like our forgiveness (the one we would do in our hearts without involvement or knowledge from the other party) would mean we had to mend the relationship.   it is not required at all.  after forgiveness, you can't expect the other person to change - or for you to suddenly be involved in their life or they in your life.  that doesn't mean you haven't forgiven them.

so that is what we did for the first time.  talked about our pain, hurt, and how to get over it.

last bit - nathaniel said in the car after we left that that was the first time he'd ever heard anyone pray for him. (i laughed because i pray for him all the time, just not outloud) - so another thing we need to practice is OUT LOUD talks with God (prayers) as a family and including our kids.  i sure don't want them going through life not thinking anyone ever prayed for them!  and i don't want them to think praying is just for blessing food.

that's all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lincoln Memorial

I know i've mentioned how crowded DC was easter weekend.  The Lincoln Memorial was shoulder to shoulder packed.  We couldn't even get close enough to really see the statue.  Since we had walked so far, we thought we deserved a break.  so after viewing the grand statue, we walked around back in view of the river and the bridge and tried to sit down.  this is where kendal had a meltdown and thought the sky was falling (or something).  he wouldn't eat.  he wouldn't sit down.  we got a rest but he did not.  of coarse, he was getting to rest while we walked.  we did have to endure his screaming and whining.

and on the walk back there, holly decided that kathy was someone she really liked.  she preferred her hand over mine.  it just melted my heart and i'm sure it did kathy's too!  holly held kathy's hand more than just that time.  it was precious to watch!

 and of coarse we had time for silly shots.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Washington Monument and Korean Memorial

what i'll remember about the washington monument is that there were only 4 stalls in the women's restroom, and a really long line to get in there.

but i did snap a few good shots of it on the walk by it!  and, a view of it from the lincoln memorial.  they are redoing the reflecting pool as well as a lot of the mall so there is a lot of construction visible in the photo.  and people.  have i mentioned how many people there were?

we also breezed by the korean memorial.  kendal and holly had a screaming contest over there so we had to hurry away.  seemed a bit disrespectful to be screaming around a memorial. i did stop for a second to take a picture!

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

first of all, we went out and decided to get off at the l'enfant metro stop rather than smithsonian.  at that stop, there are three options for coming out of the ground.  we picked the l'enfant plaza choice because we did not know which to do.  it wasn't the right choice, but there was a starbucks at the top of the 1000 story escalator.  woohoo!  coffee.

here is one from the morning on the metro - taken by holly:

first thing to do:  find our way to the the air and space museum (which will now be called the AASM).  we picked this stop because according to online, there was a mcdonalds there (and there was).  with one really picky child, he sorta has to be accommodated when it comes to eating out - and mcd's is one place he will always eat.  so, air and space was first.  kathy was very patiently waiting for us!  i think we were about an hour later than we thought we'd be.  (starbucks only took 5 minutes.)  our lack of metro knowledge took the rest.  think "which way do we go?  which way do we go?"  we needed a compass.  and a map.  that would have been helpful.

ANYWAY, the kids sorta liked the AASM.  they liked the big planes but it was REALLY crowded so there were long lines to do anything.  there wasn't much to "touch" - and whatever was to touch again had long lines.  it was a really busy weekend in DC.  think NC fair on a friday!  like that. 

and i have this thing about taking pictures with strangers in the background.  so, i really didn't take too many.  but, i have a few.  here are the ones from the AASM.  i'd like to go back, maybe on a day that isn't so crowded.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The DC Metro

gosh, the most favorite part of washington dc to little kids (at least mine) is the "train" by far!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

NC's Hidden Treasures

well, here's a contest that is looking for photos (or drawings) of north carolina's hidden treasures. submissions have to be publically accessable natural lands.  boy can i think of many of these places!  two family favorites come to mind.

first, dehart botanical gardens - right here in louisburg (off 401) is definitely a hidden treasure.  most of the time we go there, you don't even see another person.  you can barely hear road traffic.  you will see birds, flowers, trees, grasses, frogs, fish, and if you are quiet enough - turtles!  my kids love to see if there is a troll under the bridges (they know the story about billy goat gruff).  there is even a bamboo garden and a waterfall at dehart.  you can visit here every week and never see everything!

this first photo was taken around 9am one morning in the fall. the second and third photos are my kids enjoying the beauty of dehart.

the next place that came to mind as a family favorite is blue jay point which is a wake county park.  this was the first real trail my kids ever walked.  it is a short trail, but they were really little!  you can always find plenty of wildlife and plants to talk about along this trail.  plus, there is an outcrop along the lake's edge which is a nice place to watch fishermen out in the lake and ospreys fly in the sky. 

the first photo here is of "willie the worm", one of the many animals you can find along the blue jay point trail.  the second one is my son sitting on the rocks down by the lake.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

peas, carrots, tempeh, and tofu with miso-peanut sauce

this is recipe idea was from vegetarian times (but i changed it to fit what i had and what i wanted).

1 cup quinoa

3 Tbs peanut butter (recipe actually called for almond butter but i was fresh out)
1 Tbs lemon juice (from the squirt thingy)
1 Tbs lime juice (from the squirt thingy)
1 Tbs white miso
1 Tbs minced ginger (from the jar)
1 tsp minced garlic (from the jar)
1/3 cup water

1 - 2 Tbs canola oil
1 8 oz package plain tempeh, cubed (bite size)
1/2 package firm tofu, drained and cubed in the same size pieces as the tempeh (bite size) - it would still be fine without this if you are weary of tofu - the original recipe did not call for tofu.  and if you wanted meat, i'm sure you could replace the tempeh and tofu with chicken.
4 carrots, halved and sliced into half-moons
1 lb sugar snap peas (out of a bag)

directions which are SO easy if you have prepped everything:
1.  start cooking the quinoa:  bring 2 cups water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium low.  simmer for 20 minutes.  remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  i added about a tsp of salt in the end but you could do this anytime.  i prepped and cooked the rest while the quinoa was cooking.

2. in a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, the lemon and lime juice, miso, ginger, garlic, and water.  set aside. (by the way, this sauce would be a great dip for about anything!)

3. heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat until water droplets evaporate within 1 second.  add oil and swirl to coat.  (i used a wok.  if you are using a flat bottom frying pan, you may want to reduce the heat a little since you can't shake to cook.)  add tempeh and tofu and stir-fry (shake) for 2 minutes.  add carrots and stirfry for 2 more minutes.  add sugar snap peas and they stay in for 1 minute.  remove from heat, add the pre-made sauce, and mix it around.

4.  fluff quinoa with fork, top with vegetables!  SO easy, pretty,  and it is so delish. if i had known it was going to be so good i would have taken a photo.  it is good leftover too, though the veggies loose their crunch on the reheat.

by the way, it took me less than 30 minutes to make this.  i mean, get stuff out, prep it, cook it, and clean up, which was rinse out the pot for the quinoa, the wok, cutting board, knife, bowl, and whisk - and stick it the dishwasher.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

my after 30s bucket list

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.   - Anatole France

yesterday when i was driving home, a motorcycle passed me on the road.  i was thinking about how when i was about to turn 30, i had a bucket list.  one of the things on it was to ride on a motorcycle (before i turned 30).  that is not on my list anymore.  one of the things ON my bucket list was to swim in the pamlico river.  surprisingly, right before josh was born, i was visiting my sister.  the week i came back, my friends, emily and gary, were visiting a friend (who was also one of my work aquaintances and made the best crab cakes i've ever eaten) at his house, which was on the river.  i actually got in the river - with him - AT NIGHT!  i don't think they knew it was on my bucket list.  i was so scared a shark was going to eat me.  or a crab. either way, this was checked off within weeks of my 30th birthday!  (no one ever said your bucket list had to be exciting, right?)

i was thinking of what is on my list now, and was quite surprised what the first few things that popped into my mind were. 

1. run a half marathon (interesting since i am about 50 pounds overweight and get out of breath walking up 2 flights of stairs). and for some reason, i want to run one in st. louis.  why?  i have no idea!  i don't even know if they HAVE a half marathon!

2. successfully be completely vegan for 1 month.  yes, this means no cheese and eggs.  or butter.

3. juice fast for 1 week.

4. be my correct body weight.

is it clear what i think about all the time?  weight!  eating!  but do i do anything about it?  no!  gosh.  one day, though, i'm gonna do something big for myself.   maybe that day is today.  maybe tomorrow. (i'm excellent at procrastinating.)

so i was thinking about other things i want to do while i LIVE, and here are more:

5.  bike (pedal bike) from hatteras to okracoke.

6. do a 365 project and make it into a book.

7. climb to the half-way point of mt. everest (seriously, only half way: i don't want to need oxygen).

8. sleep in the bottom of the grand canyon (yes, that includes the hike there and back!  probably want to do this during or after my half-marathon fitness training.)

9.  have one of those zipline experiences.

10. learn spanish in spain.

11. mail a postcard to myself from antartica.

12. plant a successful flower garden in which i keep out the weeds and keep the flowers alive.  by myself.

13. see niagra falls.

14.  learn how to sew.  nothing fancy, but enough that i need to buy a sewing machine and i know how to use it.

15. host an exchange student. (from spain would rock, maybe s/he can give me a kick start in spanish!  haha)

16.  have a pet sheep. or cow.  and a dog.

17. take dance lessons with my husband.  and since he's already taken ballroom dancing, my choice for the style is shag!

18.  learn how (and actually do it) to properly wear make up! i know that one sounds weird but i never wear it (outside of colored gloss and mascara), mainly because i don't really know how! 

i don't think any and all of these are un-achievable in a lifetime.  some may be cost prohibitive (like going to antartica) but within a lifetime, i can save for it!  :)

what's on your bucket list?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

rule breaker...

i'm pretty sure i've blogged before about how you shouldn't wear white off season.  open mouth, insert foot.

forget those rules.  as my mom said this morning, probably some old lady in boston made it anyway, right?  yup, it is march 22nd and i'm wearing white pants (that are a linen blend to boot!).   AND, i've been wearing sandals all week  AND... i sent my kids to school in shorts this week. it isn't even past easter yet!  it has been hot enough for sure, we've been near or over 80 for 2 weeks now and not only is it officially spring, the plants are letting us know about it for sure (everything is yellow). 

so, forget tradition.  i'm wearing white whenever i want. 

[ok, so i'm not going to wear white shoes quite yet, but pants - yes!] 

and as i mentioned to mom this morning, if i lived in southern florida or the bahamas, i'd probably wear white (and linen) year round - it's seasonally appropriate there!  :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

White Bean Chili

This recipe is from VegNews recipe club, an email I get about every couple of weeks. 

What You Need:

1 head garlic, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 medium tomatillos, skins removed, cut into quarters
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3 poblano peppers, de-stemmed and cut into strips
2 jalapeño peppers, de-stemmed and cut into strips
2 yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
Zest and juice of one lime
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 baked sweet potatoes
cilantro, for garnish

What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop top off head of garlic, coat cut side with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and tightly wrap in aluminum foil. Bake garlic for one hour. Set aside.

2. Onto a baking sheet, place tomatillos and cauliflower and lightly coat in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until cauliflower is golden brown and tomatillos are cooked down into a thick sauce. Set aside.

3. On a baking sheet, toss poblano and jalapeño peppers with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside.

4. While peppers are roasting, in a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions in 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil until softened, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Add 3 cloves of roasted garlic, tomatillos, and cauliflower.

5. Dice roasted peppers into 1/2-inch pieces and add to pot. Add lime juice, zest and beans and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until beans are heated through. Pour over baked sweet potatoes and serve immediately.

For the record, i did not like it over the sweet potato.  however, i do like the chili by itself.  it was wonderful.  and, separately, the potato was good.  so, that is how i eat it (separated).  nathaniel liked it together - with cilantro as garnish.  together it was too much for me (flavor, texture).

Nathaniel said this was one of the best ones i ever made.  You could not taste the cauliflower - and the peppers and onions were wonderful.  the jalapenos i got were not hot (not that i chose them that way, i justu got 2).  i removed seeds when i cut the peppers into strips.  the pan you put the cauliflower and tomatilloes into needs a lip because it makes lots of juice.  i included the juice in the chili.

enjoy!  this takes a while to cut but total was 1 hour from start to finish.  and, i made the strawberry tart (previous post) while things were roasting too. 

Strawberry Tart

this recipe came to me in an email, originally named Strawberry Cheesecake Bites - it is gluten free and dairy free and absolutely delicious.  it would be better named strawberry tart. it doesn't taste like cheesecake.  it does taste tarty.  and i made it in a cheesecake pan but i made one whole pan of it, rather than individual servings.  anyway, to each his own!

the original recipe is here:

and, here is that recipe and how I changed it (I followed the directions, but just changed the ingredients a little)

For the crust(s):

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats - since oats have a similar protien as wheat, i used 1 cup of bob’s red mill hazelnut meal/flour – bought at earthfare for $12.99
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey i used 2 tablespoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Filling:

3/4 cup raw cashews, covered with water and soaked at room temperature for 3-4 hours I didn’t soak them, they have raw cashews at earthfare in the bulk bin – pieces are $9.99, whole ones are $10.99, you can also find them at whole foods and other places, but i saw those prices yesterday.  raw cashews are great for lots of things!
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup I used raw honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted was $8.99 for the earthfare brand, it melts quick
4 drops liquid stevia I didn’t have this so i didn't use this - it was plenty sweet without it.

Optional, for garnish: I didn’t use any garnish
Raw cacao nibs
Shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 20 cups of a mini muffin pan with mini paper liners. I made it in a large springform pan because I didn’t have mini muffin pan or a tart pan. I sprayed the pan first with non-stick spray.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the oats, almonds, and salt until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the applesauce, honey, and vanilla and process to form a dough. Press heaping teaspoons of the dough into the bottoms of the lined muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes.  i just mashed the mixture into the bottom of my pan, just like a graham cracker crust when you are making a pie.  :)  i also licked my fingers a lot.  it was GOOD! Set aside to cool.

Wipe out the food processor. Drain the cashews and add them to the bowl of the food processor along with the strawberries, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the coconut oil and stevia and process to combine. A blender would make it smoother, but the food processer worked ok. Maybe if I soaked the cashews that would have helped.

Divide the strawberry mixture among the lined muffin cups, smoothing the tops of the cheesecakes with the back of a spoon.  I just poured it over the cooled crust and shook it around a little. it was pretty fluid so it spread easy, sorta like cake batter.  i liked the spatula and it was YUMMY!   Sprinkle with cacao nibs or shredded coconut, if using. Place the pan in the freezer and freeze until the cheesecakes are firm, 1 to 2 hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  i did not put it in the freezer at all, just the fridge.  after an all-night setting, it was "set".  SOOOO good i tell ya! 

now i can't wait to find other uses for that hazelnut meal.  that stuff is delish!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

pin-it back hair

one of my favorite bloggers (that haven't personally met) is chelsea over at thepapermama.com and one of the reason's i love her blog is she posts these really cute ideas such as the one she posted yesterday.  it was a hairstyle called the pin-it back hair, and she posted a tutorial.  she posts hair tutorials all the time.  i never try them.  no, sometimes i do, but i consider myself a hair idiot because i neither know how to tease nor to insert bobby pins - nor really how to pick and choose or apply hair products.  i'm a wash and go kind of girl.

anyway, this one looked easy enough except it did use bobby pins.  and referred to the "bump" in the back of the hair, but i figured i could work around it.  and i DID!

let me first tell you my normal morning, which includes a husband (who does most of the getting everyone ready), and 2 kids (3 and 4), one of which often gets up and takes a shower with mommy because she thinks she's fancy like that. and we have an hour commute to work and we all commute together and we have to be at work at the crack of dawn (yes, poor kids! but they are fortunately used to it).  so, time is not something i have a lot of to spend fixing my hair! and i don't wear makeup or fancy clothes for the same reason.   most mornings i let it dry in the car and if it dries too frizzy or too straight in one place and too wavy in another, then i put it in a ponytail or a messy bun.  fancy that, eh?  i'm very casual (a geologist) so it is is just fine at my job.

ANYWAY, this pin-it back hair just brought my summer work wardrobe to a new level.  gosh, this was easy.  i dried it out straight and used about 10 pins (i didn't count) and did it just like chelsea said (minus the bump).  SO easy.

here is chelsea's tutorial:

here are my results:

closer (such horrible lighting in my office!)

 better lighting outside! (you can tell my bangs aren't very high...)
thanks nathaniel for taking my picture!  
and for telling me when you were going to take it so i coudl smile... hahahaha!
 outside light shows the bottom bun a bit better.  
my hair is about the length about halfway between my neck and where the photo is cropped. my  hair is medium thick and fine feeling (silky), but wavy so it holds fairly well.
i just unpinned it and it was all straight. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

plants vs animals

i get a weekly newsletter from the christian vegetarian association.  today's email was particularly interesting (i.e. why you should eat veggies instead of meat based on the math)!  however, i still want to have pet large animals!  they make great compost for a garden.

here is what it said:

In my local area I've been encountering quite a bit of pushback from people who claim that dependence on plant-based foods such as grains and seeds results in exacerbated land use and the collateral killing of many more animals than if we relied on pasture-raised livestock.

I did some calculations on land use efficiency using figures obtained by doing a Google search of Extension Offices and organic farmers:

Pasture-fed "beef" cows who can be raised on 1 acre per year:
Number of acres needed to raise 1 "beef" cow/heifer = 2 (a very liberal estimate)
Pounds of meat obtained from 1 "beef" cow/heifer = 600
Calories per pound of meat = 800
Calories from meat per acre = 240,000 (800 x 600 / 2)

Sample combination of food crops that can be grown on 1 acre (divided equally) per year:
5,000 lbs carrots AND 4,000 lbs potatoes AND 1,000 pounds wheat AND 4,000 lbs winter squash
Calorie value of those food crops:
carrots = 180 calories/lb = 900,000 calories per 0.25 acres
potatoes = 400 calories/lb = 1,600,000 calories per 0.25 acres
wheat = 1400 calories/lb = 1,400,000 calories per 0.25 acres
winter squash = 180 calories/lb = 720,000 calories per 0.25 acres
Total calories from food crops per acre = 4,620,000

Number of persons who could be fed in one year with one acre (assuming 2,100 calories per day):
With meat calories = 0.3 persons
With food crop calories = 6 persons

Land use-efficiency of food crops over livestock = 19 times more efficient

I suppose the production of meat could be made more efficient by raising different animals instead of just "beef" cattle. Allowing for that, suppose we double the efficiency of producing meat. That still leaves plant-based food crops at about 10x the efficiency of meat production.
-Stephen Augustine

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love You Forever

I saw Hallmark had this as a recordable book.  Can you imagine READING THIS OUTLOUD knowing it would be a memory book for your children?  Not a chance.  Can't even read it silently without tearing up.

Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother's watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, "this kid is driving me CRAZY!"

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town. If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, "You'd better come see me because I'm very old and sick." So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always...

But she couldn't finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Monday, February 20, 2012

our one (and probably only) snow for 2012!

 we got a little snow last night.  not much, and it started after dark.  the kids didn't see it snowing.
 it took them a while to notice the white stuff outside after they got up.  we had a 2 hour delay this morning.  when they saw it, they both said they wanted to go outside.  so, they got dressed and went outside.  holly is the brave one.  it was a little slippery.
 it didn't take kendal long before he joined in.  turns out, it wasn't slippery on the rug.

 also turns out that you can jump on it.


 next we had to see what it felt like to walk on it in the yard.


 it was fun, and it crunched.  just a little.  there wasn't much to walk on.

 holly wanted to taste it.
kendal, come taste!

kendal didn't want to taste.  so, holly ate all she could.

when we got inside, kendal's hair turned out to be a real treat.


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