Friday, February 27, 2009


The past couple of months have been so much fun as Benjamin's vocabulary has increased. He is continually learning new words and often we are amazed when we realize he actually understands what he's saying. As I drive around town, I hear from the back seat "mane" (plane), "bus," "car," and sometimes "cutch," which means truck. He will also point out every car dealership that has balloons flying over their lot. If it's night, he points out the moon and the starts and the lights. It's so fun to hear his chatter. The funny ones lately have been whenever we go to the grocery store and he sees a man with long hair or a beard. He yells out "Jesus!" And how do you explain to an insistent almost 20 month old that the man with long hair is not Jesus? I am thrilled that he gets so excited about Jesus, but we obviously still have some learning to do. Another funny thing is that he has started saying "I know." He is not saying it because he wants me to know he knows something, but rather in imitation of me. Often when I'm talking on the phone and someone tells me something I can relate to, I say "I know." And immediately in the background, I hear his little voice saying "I know." Too funny! And the very latest is actually not really words, but it was still funny. We went to the zoo yesterday and they have this little inside area with all kinds of toys. Benjamin found a toy phone and put it to his ear and began jabbering. But as he jabbered, he paced over to the window, jabbered a bit, then paced back and jabbered some more. He continued this several times and it cracked me up. I guess I must do this when I talk on the phone. This could be scary. I wonder what other habits I have that I'll be finding out about as I see them in him. :)

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Well, we have certainly been enjoying this zucchini bread and have already eaten one whole loaf. :) Here's the recipe:

Whole Wheat Zucchini Carrot Bread

3 cups zucchini -- shredded - I used a combo of zucchini and yellow squash and it worked well
1/2 cup carrot -- shredded
3 cups whole wheat flour
½ c oats
3 T flax meal
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup raw honey
¼ c melted butter
¼ c melted coconut oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two bread pans and set aside.

Combine the flour, oats, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a glass measuring cup combine butter and coconut oil. Place in a pan of water on the stove and heat until melted. Add honey and stir until thinned. In a separate bowl, beat eggs well and mix with applesauce, zucchini, carrot, and vanilla. Slowly combine with honey/butter/oil mixture. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until fully incorporated.

Pour into prepared pans.Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely.

Store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 2 loaves (20 servings)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Happens When Mommy Turns Around

We are having a beautiful day today and Benjamin had a great time playing outside for quite a while. Then, since I was in the kitchen, he decided he wanted to be there with me, so I set him up at the sink (Thanks honey for doing the dishes this morning so the sink was empty) with some water and a couple of wooden spoons. He loves this and it usually keeps him busy for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I looked at one of my favorite stores and saw that asparagus was majorly on sale (.99/lb) and got all excited about all the ways I was going to use it. Then I remembered the zucchini and yellow summer squash in my fridge and the fact that it REALLY needed to get used. Somehow compared to fresh asparagus, the squash just really wasn't sounding all that exciting. So then I started thinking about how my mom always used to make zucchini bread when I was growing up and how yummy it was. Mmmmmmm. I got a craving. But, I wanted a healthy version. So, back to Benjamin. I was in the kitchen at the table trying to find a few recipes with yummy looking ingredients that I could convert to a healthy version of the bread when I heard a crash. I looked over and saw Benjamin standing in the sink of water, fully clothed. The crash was a picture frame being knocked over on the ledge above the sink. He then proceeded to lay in the water and then finally to sit. What could I do but laugh and grab the camera. Silly boy!

I did find a healthier version of zucchini bread that was absolutely delicious. I'll post the recipe soon!

Fresh Eggs

Oh I am SO excited! We now have a source of fresh free range eggs. Matt works with a lady who got chickens a few months back and they have just begun to lay on a regular basis. She even gave us our first dozen for free since they were very small. I have been itching to try making my own mayonnaise, but I'm too squeamish to use raw eggs from the store. So now I am going to try it with these. Aside from that, I'm excited to get all the health benefits that are stripped from the regular eggs in the store due to the chickens being grain fed and kept indoors in cages. Yay for usable vitamins and healthy fats!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Week and a Recipe

Well I have not been a very faithful blogger this past week. It's been a crazy one! We had a Walk Through the Bible (Old Testament) Seminar at our church on Sunday all day, which was wonderful. If you have never done one, it's a great way to see the big picture of the Bible and get a better feel for the timeline as you read through. Then on Monday I went with one of the girls from our Sunday School class and bought over $600 worth of groceries to stock our church's food pantry. Our class is in charge of stocking it this month and God has been so good. He has provided for our class to purchase on average over $500 of food every week. I just love this ministry of our church and it's been a blessing to be a part of it. Monday night, I had a much needed Mom's night out with my MOPS group. I stopped to get a snack item to take and my car died in the parking lot of the store, so that added to the craziness of the week. Praise the Lord it was only the battery and also that a friend came and picked me up, so I still got to have a night out. Tuesday was catch up day since I spent so much time doing the shopping and then taking the groceries over to the church on Monday. Wednesday was another crazy day with getting the battery changed in my car, then going and helping out with Manna Ministries at our church (this is what the groceries went to - they provide groceries once a week to those who are in need, as well as share the gospel). Then I had to do my bi-weekly shopping and get home in time to put Benjamin down for a nap before heading back out for my Bible Study. Yesterday was less crazy. Just the gym in the morning and then some cleaning and cooking in the afternoon. Just going back over all of this is making me tired. :) Today was errand day, yogurt making day, and oh yes, my recipe for the week: cheeseball making day. Mmmmm. And tomorrow, I am hoping to re-paint our bedroom. And to top off this very busy week, Benjamin is definitely in a very challenging stage. He has such a fun-loving spirit and is so sweet, but he is also developing his sense of Independence and defiance when he doesn't get his way. It's been very challenging trying to be consistent with training and discipline without breaking that sweet spirit. We could definitely use prayer for wisdom in this area.

And now onto my yummy new recipe for the week. I am such a snacker! Something about the middle of the afternoon, I don't know, but I always want something to munch. So I have been trying so hard to be healthier with my snacking and today I made this really yummy cheeseball that is great for dipping veggies in. I just love cheese!

8 oz cultured cream cheese (I used some I made with yogurt)
2 1/2 c shredded cheese
1 T mayonnaise
2 T cream
1 t soy sauce
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t Cajun seasoning
2 t parsley
1 - 1 1/2 c chopped pecans

Combine all ingredients but pecans and mix with a hand mixer until well incorporated. Place chopped pecans on a piece of wax paper and spoon cheese mixture on top of them. Use the edges of paper to roll pecans around the cheese. Chill until firm. Would work well with an assortment of veggies, or crackers. Happy snacking!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe

Well, here is the promised pizza recipe at last. :) We love this recipe and usually have it a couple of times a month. Benjamin loves it too and continually walks up to the oven window saying "Pikhah" (Pizza) the entire time it's cooking. Best of all, this recipe makes enough for our small family that we usually get it for at least two nights. (Heart shape is optional, but fun for Valentine's Day)

Whole Wheat Pizza - Makes one large pizza

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 c warm water
3 1/2 c whole wheat four
1 T wheat gluten
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c olive oil

Combine yeast and water with a drizzle of honey to activate. In a mixer, combine flour, gluten, spices, salt, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Combine oil and yeast mixture, then add to flour mixture. Knead in mixer until dough forms and is soft and pliable. Remove from mixer and let stand 30 minutes.

Pizza Sauce - makes enough for two pizzas - I like to freeze the leftovers for a later time

29 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp dried fennel - add a little water and coarsely mash it with a mortar and pestle
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and let sit a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. The flavor improves after the spices have time to sit in the sauce.

Roll out your rested pizza dough and place on a cookie sheet or pizza stone. Spread sauce over pizza along with your choice of toppings. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until pizza is nearly done. Remove pizza and sprinkle 3-4 cups of cheese over top. Bake another 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cooking time depends partly on the number of toppings you choose. It seems to take less time for a one topping pizza than a 4 or 5 topping one. Enjoy!


Well, we are still (or should I say I am still) having trouble staying healthy, but in between being sick, I finally tried my hand at making sauerkraut last week. Other than making a pretty big mess, it was really pretty easy and it tastes great! Matt says it doesn't taste like any he's had before, and this is my first experience with it, but we both like it. I actually think it tastes kind of like pickled cabbage. When I'm not sick with a stomach bug (which I have been twice in the last week - two different kinds,) I've been really enjoying having it on my salads. I think it would also be good with some kind of roast. Those are typically not my specialty as I'm not a huge beef person, so sometime I will get brave enough to try making one to have some kraut with. Anyway, the recipe for the kraut was super easy. I used the Nourishing Traditions book directions and shredded one head of cabbage. I added 6 T of whey (I had a big head of cabbage), 1 T salt, and 1 T caraway seeds. Then I pounded it until the juices began to come out of it. I packed it in two quart jars and set it on the counter for 3 days. I was a little surprised by how much it expanded during the fermentation, but I guess that meant it was doing it's thing. Now I'm feeling a little braver and want to try fermenting some other things.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Finally here are the promised pictures. We had a beautiful weekend this past weekend and we took Benjamin to the park and had a family picnic. He loves slides of all kinds and is quite brave when it comes to going down the big ones alone. I love February in Texas. Today it's in the mid 70s and just delightful. But before you get to jealous, just remember that come June, it will be so steaming hot outside that we will be wishing for some cooler air. :)

I saw this picture and it made me sad because his face looks so grown up already.
One of his favorite past-times
Love this face!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A House Full of Sickies

Well, It's been over a week so I'm feeling the need to post something, but unfortunately I have been neglecting the camera, so no fun Benjamin pictures this week. :(

This whole winter I have been congratulating our family on its ability to avoid sickness for the most part. (Benjamin did have a fever for two days in December.) I should have known better than to think that we could avoid contracting anything. Matt got it first and it brought him home early from work and made him pretty miserable for a little over a week. Then Benjamin got the coughing and nasty nose thing and then over the weekend he was up all night and had a fever. Now it's my turn. I've been in denial the past two days, but today there is no denying it. This momma is sick. My poor to-do list is getting semi-neglected and we are taking it a little slower this week. So hopefully by next week I will have taken a few pictures to share. And, I'll share our yummy pizza recipe.