Showing posts from September, 2008

Crockpot Granola

I got this recipe years ago and it's a family favorite. I especially like making it in the crockpot as I can throw all the ingredients together and not think about it anymore. Put 5 cups of rolled oats in a crockpot. Now here is the fun part. You can get creative with what you add - seeds, nuts, coconut, whatever. Just make sure you add your dried fruit after it's cooked. I usually add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract, 1 cup coconut, and 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. Then you need to add 1/2 cup oil (I used canola) and 1/2 cup of honey. Mix well and cook on low for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure you leave the lid cracked or you will end up with oatmeal! Add raisins or some other dried fruit and transfer to an airtight container. Let cool completely before covering.

Whole Wheat Bread

This is my favorite whole wheat bread recipe and it comes out perfect every time. Whisk together 2 1/4 tsp. yeast with 1 1/4 cups of warm water. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Then add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 Tbsp. honey. Whisk well after each addition. In a Kitchen Aid mixer or by hand, mix in 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour. Add 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour and mix well. This wasn't part of the original recipe but I add in 1 Tbsp. flax seeds and 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you are doing this by hand, this is the point where you turn it out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a well greased loaf pan, cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

Boy's Paradise

Ever since we moved to our new house, the boys have been in paradise. Why? Because directly across the street is a train station. It is a commuter train to New York City so the train goes comes every hour or so and stops directly across from our front yard. I was looking for pictures on the camera this morning and came across these that Nathan took. Tracks going north. Tracks going south through town. Train. They've gotten so they can tell what kind of train it is just by the sound. They spend much of their time running across the street to hang out by the train platform whenever they hear it coming. This has been a passion of theirs since they were very little. Personally, I don't get the attraction but I'll just continue to hang out in my backyard. LOL!

Back to the Table

I first heard about the book, Back to the Table by Art Smith from Kelli . It is actually a cookbook but he has so many interesting insights on almost every page that it reads like a book. It has some wonderful recipes and I think this is one I want to purchase. I wanted to share a few interesting tidbits with you. "We should all think about returning to the sanctity of the table, where we can rebuild our families, heal spiritually and physically, and reconnect with those we love. The table is a familiar, uncomplicated, and friendly place where we can celebrate family, friends, food, and life's many blessings." "While cooking for families, I was constantly remided that we are all human, capable of making mistakes, of hurting those we love, and, most of all, capable of forgiveness. I see this over and over again at the table. The act of cooking for others, making dishes they especially like and sharing your own favorites is an act of love. It says to those we cook

Crafty Things

Remember the fat quarters I won from Elizabeth's give away? Well, I used the autumn fabric to make a table runner. Here is the final result. It's 66" long. Close-up. I made my own binding and bound the edges. It was a lot of work but I think it looks nicer than just sewing the right sides together and turning it right side out. Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out and now I have another fall decoration to add to my collection!

Weight Watchers

There is really nothing to report this week. I stayed the same and didn't gain but didn't lose either. So total weight loss to date is.... 26 lbs. I'm still plugging away. :-)

Fun, Fun, Fun

A couple in our church have season passes to an amusement park in CT. They invited us to go with them today because it was a special day at the park where you could bring 4 friends for free. So we had to pay for 1 person. They also have an ongoing special that if you bring a can of food for a local food bank you got $10 off a regular price admission. So 5 of us ended up getting into the park for $23! You can't beat that, especially when normal tickets are $33 apiece. The other neat thing about this amusement park is that all the soda is free. They have soda machines all throughout the park with cups and you can tank up on soda all day long. My kids loved this part, especially since I don't buy soda at home. :-) Racing through the park, looking for a ride to go on. Emily and her friends. Hanging around while the little girls rode a kiddie ride. Mike & Becky. Dan & the boys. The girls wanted to go on this ride that picks you up about 50 feet in the air and then dro

Why I Love Autumn

I've mentioned this a few times but just in case you didn't get it the first 5 or 6 times............I love autumn! I look forward to it all year long. Here are a few reasons why: 1. Wearing soft sweaters 2. The smell of wood smoke on a crisp autumn day 3. Pumpkins 4. Apple picking 5. The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in all kinds of baked goods 6. Hazelnut or pumpkin spice candles burning 7. Hiking in the woods 8. The trees ablaze with color 9. The crackling sound of leaves underfoot 10. Apple cider 11. Anticipation of the holiday season 12. Brisk wind 13. Squash 14. Pumpkin seeds 15. A bonfire on a chilly night 16. Apple pies 17. Fall festivals 18. Going for brisk walks with a jacket and NOT sweating 19. Autumn decorations 20. Hay rides I know that not everyone looks forward to fall because winter is not far behind but I love living in an area of the country where we can experience 4 distinct seasons. God made each one and they are all special but autumn is

Autumn Decorations

It was so chilly out yesterday and autumn was definitely in the air. I finished putting up the rest of my decorations and thought I'd share. I keep it pretty simple just because I don't have money to go all out and to be honest, simple is better. Both doors are decorated. Festive centerpieces. Window cling-ons. Garland hung from the mantle. Candles in the fireplace. Even the mums are in pretty fall colors. So we are all set to go until we put up our Christmas decorations. We have a tradition of setting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. This year, my mother and father-in-law will get to join us for that tradition.

Chicken and Rice

This is a very simple dish and really tasty. Chop 1 large onion, mince 2 cloves of garlic, and chop 1 small green pepper. Cut 2 whole, boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Heat 4 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken breasts. Remove from the pan. Add veggies and saute for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Add 1 cup of rice, 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cumin, and 1/4 tsp. of pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add chicken. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the rice is soft and the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add 1 cup of peas and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Updated Picture

Okay, I really don't like doing this because it feels so self-centered, but a few people wanted to see updated photos of my weight loss. So here goes. This was back in June about 3 weeks after I started the diet. This was today which is 15 1/2 weeks later. I don't see a huge difference in the picture, even though I'm 26 lbs. lighter. Anyway, there you go!

Autumn Skies

I love the view in our backyard and we get to see some really awesome sunsets. I noticed lately that even the skies seem to reflect the changing colors of autumn. The sky last night was breath-taking and I thought I'd share a few pictures. Beautiful!