Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A treat that screams FALL IS COMING!

 Well, first of all, I am completely humbled by the amount of people who read and commented on this post last week.   It was a hard post to write because it was me, sharing my heart, and that is way more difficult for me to do than sharing something that I made.  So, thanks for reading it and sharing it.  I hope and pray that you were challenged just as much as I was by typing it!  I hope to do more "heart" posts in the future. . . I want to get out of my comfort zone a little bit more. 

So, funny story.  My mom and I often share things.  We pass stamps and crafting supplies between the two of us and sometimes we even borrow kitchen gadgets.  Several months ago, I had borrowed her candy thermometer to make these, and we just sort of forgot about it. . . until Saturday, when she needed it.  The problem with that, was we don't even live in the same town, and she had just been here the day before.  So, Sunday after church, we ran said thermometer down so my mom could try out this caramel recipe that she needed to try out before she made a very large batch of it.  I honestly think, that she tricked me into it, because I ended up helping her with it.  It was fun.  There was a point we almost quit, but we kept going.  And, man, we are so glad we kept stirring and not worrying about the caramel.  It turned out amazing!  I have a few in the fridge and I might have to have a snack after I finish this blog post.  These were so amazing, that I took pictures of our hard work and decided to share them with you!  

The caramel was so amazing, we couldn't stop eating it.  Ethan absolutely loved it! He even shared with one of the recess aids at school, who apparently thought it was amazing (but that story came from the mouth of my almost 7 year old, so who knows what really was said).  Now, part of the success of this recipe was in the comments on the allrecipes.com post. I am sure, if you have made, or attempted to make, caramel apples you may have ran into a sticky situation when your caramel just falls off of your apple.  Then, you just have this nice apple sitting in a pile of caramel.  Not quite a pretty sight.  There is one step that really MUST be done in order for this to be a success.  It has to be done, even if you are just melting caramel candies down and dipping your apples in them. Many people do not know that when you buy apples at the store, they are actually coated in wax to help keep them fresh and bright. . . so you want to buy them!  This waxy coat is what causes the caramel to stick.

Heat up your large pot half full with water.   Let it come to a nice boil and keep it there.  Make sure all the sticky is off of your apples.  Some of it will fall off in the boiling water, but it's easier if you just get a head start and take the sticker off.  Stick a popsicle stick in the top, by the stem, going down through the core of the apple.  Then, holding on to your apple by the stick, roll in into the water for about 45-60 seconds.  Once it dries, you will notice it's not so pretty.  But the wax will be off and your caramel will stick beautifully to your apples.  Once they are dry, you can start dipping them in the caramel. . . whatever recipe you choose.  But seriously this one I am about to share is really delicious! 

Caramel Apples

Ingredients:
8-12 large apples (I reccomend granny smith, but we did red delicious and they were great).  
8 -12 popsicle sticks
  1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cup light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla 

Directions:
Stir the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk together in a saucepan of medium high heat.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce your heat down to medium (do this, or you will burn your caramel and you might just cry. . . trust me!).  

Cook and stir until theremometer reaches 248 degrees.  It  will take about 30 minutes and you might need a friend.  We found that the theremometer staying put would cause it to start burning so, one of us held the thermometer while the other stirred.  Don't take long rests because this also could cause burning.  Caramel is a fragile thing, but with patience it's beautiful and tastey!  

Once the thermometer reads 248 degrees (or firm ball stage, because you can actually form a ball and it stays!), add the vanilla and stir in.  

Next, start dipping those apples into the caramel,  Cool on a piece of parchment paper and try to wait patiently for it to harden.  

Enjoy! 



Friday, August 28, 2015

Roasted Aritchoke Hearts with a garlic aoli

So, we are two weeks into the school year.   And the countdown has begun to the period of time, I like to refer to as "all things pumpkin."  But, as much as I really fall food, I really LOVE summer food.  And living in the Central Valley, I won't lie. The fruits and veggies are awesome!  I may be spoiled, when it comes to good quality produce.   One of my favorite things I did this summer (twice, in fact) was stop by a produce shop just the 1, between Monterey and Castroville.  I can get 12 artichokes for a dollar and it's amazing.  One of the best parts of this stand is the famous Choke Coach.  They sell all sorts of artichoke food, but my favorite is fried artichokes with a garlic sauce.  They are completely worth the $6 dollars!   Sometime this summer, I found this pin and new I just had to make them.  So, at my next Trader Joe's visit, I picked up a bag of frozen artichoke hearts and saved them for a rainy day. . . well. . . it doesn't rain much here, but you get the idea. 
 
I ended up making them one night for dinner and I probably could have eaten the whole bag.  They taste like fried artichokes. . . without the fry.  In my head, that makes them healthy, right?  I paired these with my traditional garlic aoli.  Just blogging about these, makes me think that I need to go and get some more and make some for dinner next week. . . or maybe just for a snack.

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients:
1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
First, the above measurements are just guidelines.  I don't really measure with this recipe.  I just sprinkle and toss.

Pour your bag of artichoke hearts onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and peper.  Toss with your hands. . . don't be afraid to get your fingers dirty.  Stick in the oven at 425 for about 45 minutes.

Garlic Aoli

1/4 cup mayo
1 garlic clove, minced
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mix together and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let's get real. {for the mommies}

There are days, like today, where I just feel the strong desire to turn off everything.  The more that is required of me, taken from me, or needed from me, the more I need this.  I turn off my cell phone, I send my kids to quiet time, I find some sort of yummy drink, usually caffeinated, and I sit. Sometimes, my mother-in-law comes, and I run away to Starbucks with Bible and journal in tow.
  I bask in the occasional silence (because let's face it. . . my kids don't nap, and they still need me to help them with some sort of lego creation or something), I pray, and I open my Bible.  I read.  I listen.  I study.

I linked you to this post on Monday.  It was a good read.  So, honest and true.  Satan has a goal to destroy the family.  Let me be honest, he's doing a darn good job of it and it makes me sad angry.  We need to do every possible thing to fight off this.  I think one of his easiest targets is us, moms.  We are tired, worn, tugged in every possible direction, and he uses that for his benefit. 

But, I think he tries to steal our motherhood in another way.  One that wasn't even addressed in the article that I shared.  One that guards our hearts and destroys Satan's darts of shame, embarrassment, anger, and inferiority.  And, that my friends, is regular, scheduled time with God. 

I know.  Right now, you are reading this and you are tired.  Go to the One who gives you rest.

It feels as if the life is being sucked out of you as we speak.  Friend, go to the One who breaths life.

Are you feeling sad, depressed, walking through the mundane?  Go to the One who gives Joy and encouragement.

Are you wrestling with something?  Go to the One who gives wisdom and discernment.

Honestly, it makes us better moms.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to go to women's Bible Study.  Part of me didn't want to go.  But, I went. I went even though it disrupted my baby's sleep schedule.  I went even though I was pregnant and nauseous and miserable.  I went and was encouraged, challenged, and I haven't stopped going.   The sweet fellowship, yummy treats, and sweet words from the Bible were what my soul was craving.  There were years that I didn't completely connect with everyone at my table, but I still went.  I still dug into the word each week, even when it was hard (and trust me, some weeks were harder than others). 

I know that every stage of motherhood is different. Some are easier than others.  There are days that I really miss the baby stage (and naps) because I felt like I got WAY more done than I currently do, now that I have one in school and one that I'm homeschooling.  But, don't let Satan feed you the lie that it's okay not to study the Bible during whatever stage of motherhood you are in.  My fear, is that if you do that now, it'll always be hard.  There will always be something stopping you from growing closer to God.  Satan doesn't want that.  He will do everything in his power to feed us lies. 

So, go. Get into the word.  Make it a habit.  Maybe even join a Bible Study.  Stop Satan from winning. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Meanderings {and link up}


  
Ahhh.  Today, I found normalcy.  It was pretty much awesome.   I still have a lot of things to do on my to-do list, but I am pretty sure that will never go away.  So, here's what I have been reading and thinking.  

Today was the first day of pre-k with Weston.  It's a bittersweet day, because it's the last First Day that I will be homeschooling this little guy (AKA next year. . . both kids in school!!!). On another note, Ethan is loving first grade and his new teacher.  If you haven't ready about why we choose public schools read this

I've been posting Ethan's lunches to instagram.  Each day is different from the others and super simple.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing too crazy and nothing that takes longer than 5 minutes.  Have you made any fun lunches lately?

For my teacher friends. . . this post is one of my favorites.ever! 

My mommy friends, this is encouraging.  Save it for a day, when your kids are driving you nuts and you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and have a moment of silence.  Don't let Satan win.  

I started Daniel last week with She Reads Truth.  I am loving it!  I might even be loving it more because last week, they debuted He Reads Truth, which is also going through Daniel.  So, the hubby and I about it at night.  I love that men are getting an opportunity to be encouraged and get into the Bible daily.  

This is one of my favorite dinners.  I almost forgot about it.  My taste buds are so happy I made it again!

And now, it has taken me an hour to type this post.  All because Netflix added Girl Meets World.  Yep.  Major distraction, but so wonderful.  If you haven't watched it. .. Check it out.  I am reliving my high school years of Cory and Topanga! 

Good Night. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I think it's time for a recipe

It's insane around here.  We started the week off with the first day of school and a sick kid.  Thankfully, the sick kid wasn't the one that had to start school yesterday!  Wouldn't that stink!  I accomplished close to nothing yesterday except cuddle with a sleeping little.  It was awesome! 
Today, I am exhausted, but attempting to get things done.  I have a bottle of cold brew just waiting to be open and made into an iced latte.  That might just have to happen. Soon. 

oOne of the best parts of living in the Central Valley is the fresh produce, especially summer produce.  It's a nice exchange for the heat.  We have so many farmer's Markets it's awesome.  But, the coolest part is CSU Fresno is quite literally down the street and they are BIG on Agriculture (it is the Central Valley, of course!).  One thing that they have mastered is their corn.  People wait in LONG lines when it first makes its debut at the farm store.  I have stocked up throughout the summer and have froze several bags full.  I kind of feel like a squirrel saving acorns for winter.  I managed to get some ears on Thursday before they were gone for good.  I was so excited.  So, today, I cooked them up and got them ready to freeze.

And, I made corn salsa.  So, I thought I would share my recipe, which really isn't a precise recipe. . . we aren't baking it.  There's no chemistry involved. . . only your taste buds. So, if you like it hot, or even hot, hot, add more.  If you don't like it spicy at all. . . use fewer (or no) Jalapenos.  This recipe is really close to the Chipotle one. . . so if you aren't  in the mood to go spend all your money on lunch, make this.  There are ton's of recipes all over Pinterest. . . this is how I do mine.  If you want to do more, just make the proportions appropriate to your taste buds and your hunger. 
Small Batch Corn Salsa
note:  I do not measure when I make this, so I am estimating it here.  It really is all about taste and making it just how you like it. 

Ingredients:
1 - 2 cups of corn, cooked
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a bowl and toss together.   Try not to eat it all.  Chill covered until ready to serve with tortilla chips or your family's taco night. 


Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Meanderings and Link Up



 I can't believe we are down to the final week of summer.  Our summer has come and gone so quickly.  I might be in denial that one week from today, my oldest will start first grade and I will be homeschooling Weston in pre-K. Soccer and Bible Study will also start soon.   I have a feeling that this year is going to be VERY busy!  

This summer has been full of adventure, excitement, home improvement, and relaxation.  This week has gotten incredibly busy as my to-do list is really, really long.  But, I sewed a blanket for an upcoming baby gift, because I could.  It was so good to sit and sew into the night.  I hadn't done that in awhile.  

I have also been working reading through the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson.  This is the third time I've read the series and it never gets old.  I'm about to start the last book (#6).  I also just discovered she has a new book. . . it's now in my amazon wish list for when I finish the rest of the books on my list.  

I need to start baking soon.  But, seriously, everything on Pinterest looks so tasty.  I'm not sure what we'll start out with, but I think it will involve marshmallows. . . whatever it is.  Oh, and definitely some granola bars.  

This video with Jen Hatmaker.  I feel like she's in my head.  

I read this the other day and it is sooo true.  And funny.  Really, Really funny.  

I started listening to this podcast this summer.  It's a little less distracting than binge watching tv shows and cheesy chick flicks.  It's like listening in on two friends chatting at a coffee shop and so many times I want to interrupt with my two cents!

I went and bought my Bible study book for the fall study at our church.  It even has recipes in it.  A Bible study with recipes.  AWESOMEness!  If you are local, come join me.  

I want this for dessert.  Tonight.  Maybe the ingredients will just appear at my door?  Pretty sure that's some serious wishful thinking. 

I am thinking I should pre-order this book.  I've heard great things about it over here

I am working on organizing our family room desk to get it all ready for homeschooling and to also mimimalize the clutter in the office/craft room.  Before yesterday, it was just a place to store old magazines and junk we weren't sure what to do with.  I found some great ideas over here

Well, that's all for now.  I hope you have a great start to your week! 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

I need your help. . . .

Hello fellow readers.

 I am working hard trying to get this blog updated and ready for some new blog posts, but I need your help.  I am working on an "About Me" page that you can get to know me.  Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom or on my Facebook page of a question that you want to know about me or are curious about.   I look forward to answering them!  

Thanks! 

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