Monday, November 30, 2009

broccoli soup and apple crisp

I am sooo excited about this new cookbook I got! My sister once bought me a year's subscription to Everyday Food magazine and I recently ordered it for another year, I love it so much. SO, when I had a 40% coupon at Barnes and Noble, I found this new cookbook, Great Food Fast, and it's one big compilation of recipes from the magazine, organized by season. AND, there is a picture of every single dish! which I love. I made two recipes from this book today and both were fabulous. Here's the one I made for lunch with some garlic bread:

Creamy Broccoli Soup
1 Tbl olive oil 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/8 tsp groudn nutmeg 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 1/3 cup rolled oats 1.5 lbs. broccoli, stems cut off and florets separated
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over meduim-low heat. Add the onion; cook until softenend, 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg; cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth, 1/5 cups water, the oats, and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup in batches, filling the blender or food processor halfway. Return the soup to the pot., and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: when blending hot food, allow the heat to escape to prevent spattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover the hole with a dish towel while blending.

This is another great cookbook I got recently. Everything in it is really fresh and again, organized by season. I have been on the hunt for months for a good apple crisp recipe with no refined sugar and this one turned out great! Exactly what I've been looking for. The girls enjoyed it with some plain yogurt last night.

Apple Crisp

12 apples (peeled, unpeeled or both), cored and sliced
1/4 cups pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tbl whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, which worked fine)

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbl ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 375.

To prepare filling, place apples in large bowl. Fold in syrup, cinnamon and currants. Sprinkle on flour and gently fold until combined. Spread mixture into 9x12 baking dish.

To make topping, use the same mixing bowl and combine oats, flour, nuts and cinnamon. In separate bowl, whisk together syrup and oil, add to dry ingredients and mix until crumbly. Spread topping evenly over apples, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until apples are cooked through. Remove from oven and serve.

Serves 8-10

Saturday, November 28, 2009

busy! in a good way :)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's a flurry of Christmas preparation at our house, as I'm sure it probably is at many of your houses too. I've had most of my shopping done for awhile, since I've been picking up things when I see them for several months now. I'm excited to have some of my little boot ornaments done! I really think they're turning out cute :)

Kelby is a good little "helper" with the buttons, as you can see!

After a super-fun and tasty Thanksgiving day spent with some dear friends, we came home and set up our Christmas tree. It's little because Kelby is little and it's high up because Kelby will shake the ornaments off and then eat them :) This is the way we've been doing it since Natalie was a baby, but this is probably the last year for our little tree! Next year we can put up a big three with all our ornaments and actually put the presents underneath it and no one will eat them ;)

Natalie has not been into getting her picture taken lately (erg) but Layla was especially cooperative :)

Despite our Christmasy joy, my heart is a bit heavy today, after learning the news yesterday morning from some sweet friends that their first baby was born and then taken Home to be with our Heavenly Father. Please keep my friends in your prayers, that the peace of God will be with them and will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I got to go Archiver's with my friends Angela and Jessica over the weekend. It's what I had asked for for my birthday, but it didn't work out until this weekend. An hour into it, I was having sooo much fun and suddenly realized that no one had asked me for anything in a whole hour :) Blissful! Here's a great quote I found recently that made me think of taking photos and archiving them for future generations:

“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
~Richard Llewellyn

Obviously, I'm a little behind. These girls are so much bigger now. I don't have any of Kelby to show because I haven't even gotten pictures printed since he was tiny. Eek!!

And here's some new boy paper that I couldn't resist. Boy stuff is steppin' up in cuteness, I tell ya! Or maybe it all seems so cute to me after having two girls :) I'm off to upload pics to get printed!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a like list

  1. This Bible verse...
And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Ezekial 34:26

and this one...

...those who plan peace have joy.
Proverbs 12:20b

2. This ornament coloring book that Natalie especially is really enjoying

She has ornaments hanging in lots of random places around the house :)

3. My new little bias tape maker!

If you don't have one of these and make your own bias tape often, go get one!!!! I cannot BELIEVE I haven't had one up until now. Well, I bought one once, but it was too small, since the measurements shown are for single-fold bias tape, just FIY. Now this little toy, combined with the tutorial I posted about the other day (about how to get 5 yards of bias tape out of one fat quarter) make me want to make tons and tons of bias tape :)

4. Heidi Grace fabric at JoAnn

I love every cute little print. I bought these three on sale the other day. My friend Angela and I discovered JoAnn's best-kept secret--they are really dead the hour between 5 and 6pm, so it was heavenly in there :)

5. This one is for my sister--Heather Bailey's wool felt. They come in 8x10 pieces, I think and the colors are gorgeous...of course, we are talking about Heather Bailey here, so of course they're beautiful :)

6. My Christmas playlist
  • Baby it's Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
  • Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson
  • Mary's Boy Child (in the style of Boney M) by the Jingle Belles
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) by Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Chris Tomlin with Christy Nockels
  • Carol of the Bells/Sing we Now of Christmas by Barlow Girl
  • Merry Christmas, Baby by Nichole C. Mullen
  • Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michealson
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Francesca Battistelli
  • Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) by Chris Tomlin
  • Another Christmas Song by Stephen Colbert
  • Greatest Time of Year by Aly and A.J.
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas by Reliant K
7. And, of course, my family's nostalgic favorite, Bing Crosby's Christmas Album. This plays often around here, we just love it:)

So there ya go! Hope you get some good ideas or at least some good i-Tunes out of this :) Have a happy Saturday and a blessed day of rest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

plugging away

Since making Natalie's Christmas dress was so much fun, I got right to work on Layla's! I think I may like this one even better, if that's possible :) Cute, right? By the, way, all the fabric for both dresses is from Hobby Lobby. GREAT coordinates there and awesome quality. Oh, and good prices too :)

And...I couldn't resist posting this pic of my little guy. He is in to everything nowadays. I think this picture captures his mischievous ways. Good thing he's so cute ;)

I'll be back tomorrow with a list of some things I'm diggin' lately. It's a good one! :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

unconventional, maybe

I made Natalie's Christmas dress and I am SOOOO happy with it!!! I can't believe how cute this pattern is and how fast it came together. After I finished this one, I took the girls to Hobby Lobby to pick out fabric for Layla's dress. I'm really excited about hers too, the fabric we picked is super cute.

Natalie really likes it, she said she feels like a Christmas angel in it! She was floating around the house, until I made her take it off :) Mean Mommy.

Here's the pattern I used. Yes, these designer patterns are more expensive than the $1.99 sales at JoAnn, BUT they go from size 2T to 7 and there are usually several views, so I feel like I'll get a lot of use out of this. Plus, the instructions are great, color photos of the steps are included and certain tutorials are written into it, like making bias tape, for example, so they are sooo much more beginner-friendly than commercial patterns. I get realllllly annoyed with major pattern companies, so this pattern was absolutely delightful to make. I can't wait to make Layla's dress now :)

One more thing, I was so excited about a month ago to see this tutorial on making 5 yards of bias tape from one fat quarter of fabric. I used this technique here and it was awesome, I'll be doing it this way from now on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

we're ready

First things first, HAPPY VETERANS DAY!!!! to my husband and all the other brave ones out there that have served, thank you so much!!!

Kelby's stocking is done! I love it, the train idea won out over the ornament idea, although Casey didn't think a train was very Christmas-y? I proved him wrong, I think :)

And now we have a complete set! Good thing I had plenty of left-overs. I even had the forethought to cut an extra lining because I knew we may have another kiddo and I was right! I really like the birds (which is mine) but I think the train is my new favorite. I originally saw stockings like these in a Pier 1 catalog about 5 years ago. I copied the trees and birds from the catalog and was one my own for the other three. I made them out of wool felt so they'll last awhile, which is good, cause it'll be awhile before I get tired of these!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

tiny yarn animals

I've been enjoying some crochet in my downtime this week. After the kiddos go to bed, if there's no laundry to fold and I'm too pooped to sew, it's nice to have something to keep my hands busy while watching those stars dance :) I finished this little owl yesterday. All the kids really seem to like him.

Here's the book where he came from. It is reallllly cute, all of it. I picked it up at Barnes & Noble on a whim because it reminded me of some button animals my sister and i had as kids. I was going to make several animals and turn them into little ornaments to attach to Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews. However, they are not quite as "tiny" as I expected. Maybe I'll still attach them, just not as ornaments. hmmmm.

Here are some more pages from the book. That octopus is to die for.

The yarn I've been falling in love with is Vanna's Choice. Acrylic yarn comes so much softer now than it used to, but I love the muted colors of this brand, I think they're all beautiful together. It just so happens to be one the least expensive too!

Monday, November 9, 2009

told ya

When I said I was making a stack of these snack bags, I meant it! Whew! Now on to Kelby's stocking...and Natalie's bathrobe, and the never-ending pile of boot ornaments...oh and Christmas dresses for the girls. Good thing I enjoy the process :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

one down...

I have a LOT of Christmas sewing to do. The good news is, the shopping is pretty much all done! I actually used a lot of the fabric I already have on hand, and I've been collecting other gifts and stocking stuffers when I see them, for several months. I finished crocheting Kelby's hat last night. It will go in his (yet to be made) stocking along with the Captain Hook sword I found on clearance after Halloween :) What else do you get for a one-year-old boy's stocking??

My friend Angela came over yesterday. I am helping her make a quilt (I'll have pictures to share in about a month, I'm soo excited and proud of her) and she taught me a little bit about the manual settings on the camera that I bought from her in July. I'm so excited! I played around with it a lot last night and all three of these pics were taken without flash, on manual settings! I know there's still room for improvement, but what a difference!!!

I think this is such a sweet photo of Kelby and Casey. And look at the top left, I even got some sun flare in there!!!

And here is one of our breakfast for dinner (a Friday night tradition.) Insignificant subject, I know, but you should see the one on Auto setting cause this one is much better :)

Makes me want to make a new blog header, hehe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

some random snippets

I meant to post this recipe on Tuesday for this swap (because I promised my lovely sister that I would) but I was too busy turning 28 :) Ha! This meal is cheap and vegetarian, if that's your thing and it can be made in the crock pot too, as most soups can! SO, here it is, just as tasty as if I had posted it Tuesday...

Fresh Lime and Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
1 chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
sour cream, fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Saute onions in a tablespoon of olive oil, add beans, tomatoes and spices and cook to boiling. Let simmer however long and presto! done. BUT, the toppings here (sour cream, fresh cilantro and lime juice) are VERY important, they make this recipe great, so don't skip them and then tell me what a horrible recipe this is ;)

Moving right along, I got my Christmas catalog in the mail from Anthropologie and had to share this awesome quilt here. Doesn't it look like huge yo-yo's?? I loathe yo-yo's...making them, that is, but this quilt is beautiful, it makes me want to go the the store so I can touch it and inspect how it's made ;) The super-cool leather chair isn't bad either.

AND, my mom discovered this herbal tea and I am swooning over it lately. It tastes like apple cider with just the right number of red-hot candies. Only no sugar, so much healthier :) We get it at Vitamin Cottage, it's on the bottom shelf of the tea isle. But I don't know why, it should totally be at eye level, it's that good!!!

And here are my oldest and youngest children being silly. Kelby and Natalie have always had a special bond, I don't know what it is. He loves to waller (how do you spell that word? or is it even a real word?) whoever happens to be lying on the floor.

I took this picture on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was a bad day to represent, since it's the first game the Broncos have gotten creamed this season. Hmmmm, it was also the first game we've I the common denominator?? No way, it must be Casey :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

feeling green

We recently became recyclers! and we're very proud of ourselves. But also a little shocked and ashamed at how much we've thrown in the trash that could be recycled. I was doing some cleaning and decluttering last weekend and threw a TON of things away (newspaper, phone book, etc...) until I remembered we are now recycling. Almost the whole kitchen trash can was full of recyclables! So I dug it all out and put it in the bins Casey bought for the garage :) I think our trash men will thank us.

On the "green" theme, I cut out a bunch of these washable snack bags and whipped one up the other day. You can find the tutorial here, although I added the little wrist strap to reduce the risk of little ones dropping them :) I plan on sticking these in with Christmas gifts.

And, I want to share my favorite notebooks. I get them from Barnes and Noble and they are made from 100% recycled materials. They are called ecojot and they're fat and awesome and have the cutest designs EVER. I bought the first one for a prayer journal and then another when I needed a new sewing/planning notebook. I hope this inspires you a little bit to think about your carbon footprint :) God is green, so they say (at Mars Hill Bible Church, anyway).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

cupcakes and cow pokes

Last night we went to our church's harvest festival and it was sooo much fun. The kids were a big hit, the girls in their mama-made cupcake costumes and Kelby in his cowboy outfit. The party was a huge success as their were a LOT of neighborhood families there, which made it a great outreach opportunity.

(Thumb break)

I dressed up as a cowgirl to match my little cowpoke. he thought the hat was pretty fun :)

Cake walk. We stuck around until we finally won :)

Casey went as a sports enthusiast...or as someone else said, an athletic supporter, hehehe :)

AND.....I took this picture on the way to the church last night. We Coloradans call this kinda thing proof that God is a Bronco fan. GO BRONCOS!!!!! 7 & 0, HERE WE GO!!!!!