Thursday, December 17, 2015

short and sweet. . . and delicious!

I am super tired tonight, but I think that I am pretty close to being ready for Christmas.  Tomorrow is the last day before vacation and I am ready!  I am ready for sleeping in and relaxing days and some fun baking!  We just finished a weekend that was filled with a Christmas party and three kids performances of some sort or another.  So.Much.Fun!  This post is going to be super short, but the cookies can just speak for themselves. . . oh and they are gluten free! 

Also. . . go splurge and get a Theo baking bar or just buy the candy bar. . . so delicious!  They are my obsession (plus they don't use soy in their chocolate, so Weston can enjoy, too!). 

Chocolate Brownie Cookies {Gluten Free}
From Bon Appetit

3 cups powdered sugar, gluten free if you need it to be
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large egg whites
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped*
3 tbsp cocoa nibs or mini chocolate chips**

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt together. Stir in egg whites and egg.  Fold in chocolate and nibs.  Spoon batter with cookie scoop onto silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 14 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheet half way thru.  They are done when they are puffed, and cracked.  Let them cool on the pan so they firm up a bit.

*We use the Theo baking chocolate, which has no soy or dairy in it and it's AMAZING!
** I used Ghiradelli mini chocolate chips

Monday, December 07, 2015

What's for dinner (November Edition)

November is one of my favorite months in the whole year.  Really, it is.  It's my birthday month, the leaves finally start to change colors, the temperature finally drops low enough to actually feel cold, and things kind of slow down . . . kind of.  We had the whole week off for Thanksgiving and it was such a nice quiet week.  I finally found my groove and started cooking again.  The Fall weather really got me in the mood for soups, so I made a bunch, and froze some for later, when things REALLY start to get busy again!

Deen Brothers Tail Gate Chili
This is my favorite meat chili to date and hopefully will get a blog post out to show my adaptations on this yumminess.  It really is scrumptious.

Grandma's Corn Chowder
I don't have a really good picutre of this recipe. Another recipe that I really need to write up a blog post on.  My friend Steph, over at Epiphanie designs introduced me to this recipe years ago and it is so delicious. . . even with Soy Milk instead of regular milk (yay for dairy-free friendly).  But the link is at the bottom and it is sooo delicious! 

Pumpkin Pancakes
I can't tell you how many times I have made these pancakes, but they are delicious!  I think it's the hint of molasses that is added to the batter!  They cook up great and if you have any extras, they freeze great, too!  Ethan loves to take them in his lunch with a little dollop of cool whip and some maple syrup.   

Chicken, bacon and corn salad
I am pretty sure, I have posted this one before, but I felt I needed to share that we really have not just been eating soups.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.   Local friends, this salad is made better by some delicious Fresno State corn!  Plus, it's bacon. . . I mean, what could be wrong with a salad filled with bacon?

Garlic Roasted Mushrooms
We tried these out for our small family Thanksgiving and they were amazing!  My husband isn't a fan of mushrooms, so I might have eaten the majority of these myself. . . no shame. . . no shame!  They were really easy and turned out soft and carmel-ly.  I will definitely be making these again and trying the Earths Best non dairy butter. . . 

Lasagna Soup
This soup was super easy and really yummy!  I will probably be taking some out of the freezer and making it this week for a quick dinner.  We served some fresh french bread on the side and it was perfect to dip in the sauce!  I am really getting hungry typing this post! 

So, that's a peek into last month's menu plans.  What are you making?


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Cranberry Scones

My list of things to do seems to be always growing and even though at times, I feel overwhelmed or discombobulated, I just like to sit and give my mind a break.  It might be one of my favorite thing to do and with kids, it is super hard to do it. . . unless I stay up really late, like tonight.  It is so worth it! 

I decided to subscribe to the Feel'n channel for the month of December and I am probably going to torture my wonderful husband by watching chick flicks all month.  He is currently asleep as I watch The Makeover and type up this blog post.  And after cleaning house all day, I am enjoying just sitting here in a quiet house watching a chick flick with no one needing anything. 

Scones are one of my favorite things to bake.  They freeze well and they taste wonderful.  Plus, if you use the food processor, it takes WAY less time and cuts butter amazingly.  I think that scones are sometimes feared, but they are really quite simple! These scones are wonderful and were a big hit.  Weston even ate them (although he did take out all the cranberries), and if the kids eat them then its a win! 

Usually when I make cranberry scones I just go for the dried cranberries, but at Christmas all those bags of fresh cranberries just call out to baked with.  There's something quite magical about them, because before they are bakes they just look like they could go into a centerpiece, but once they are baked, they are so juicy and sweet and then combined with an orange-almond drizzle you probably can't stop eating them.  

So, the next time you find those bags of fresh cranberries staring at you in the produce section, grab a bag and make up a batch of these scones.  

Orange Glazed Cranberry Scones

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange zest, divided
5 tbsp butter, cold
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp almond extract

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

In food processor, pulse dry ingredients.  Add cold butter and pulse until nice and crumbly.  Add whipping cream and pulse until a ball forms.  Place on floured surface and kneed until smooth.  Slowly add cranberries folding them in.  Roll dough out into a circle and cut into triangles.  Place on lined baking sheet or stone. Brush with whipping cream.  Bake for 13 minutes or until slightly golden.  Let cool. 

In a small bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar, orange juice and almond extract together.  Put in a ziplock bag and cut the tip off the corner.  Drizzle with icing. 

If you want to freeze them, flash freeze for about an hour and then stick in a freezer bag.  When ready to bake, take out of freezer and bake like normal.  It will probably take a few minutes longer because they are frozen.  Then  make the icing and drizzle over.  Freeze for up to 6 months. 

Happy Baking

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Finding joy in the waiting {Advent 2015}

There's something really wonderful about this time of the year.
 The lights. 
The music. 
The fun.  It's just exciting!  I love everything about this time of the year (except the cranky crowds. . but we won't go there).  Today marked the official start of Advent and I am just giddy with anticipation as we attempt to daily prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ's birth.

It is an exciting time as we focus on teaching our two boys what Christmas is all about.  As I sit back (ignoring the long to-do list that eagerly awaits my attention) and reflect on this month's activities, I am drawn to the quiet anticipation that brings unmistakable joy.

Joy that isn't found from presents under the tree or checking items off our Christmas bucket list. It comes in spending time with each other, listening to our 7 year old read from the Bible and watching our 4 year old hear the same stories with new understanding.  The joy is from Christ.  That is the greatest gift of all. 

This year, is the 5th year (I think?) that we have used Truth in the Tinsel and it hasn't gotten old.  Ethan has been reminding me for a few week's now to start getting them ready.  I love how he looks forward with excitement and enthusiasm.  It's contagious.  Especially, when I am tired and wondering if we will even have time to do this at all, after all, he is in school an hour longer now.  I am motivated by my children's desire to celebrate Christ.  They are excited and even though there are nights when I am tired and overwhelmed, its simplicity (especially since I prepare the the lessons ahead of time), make it so easy! 

So, as we wait eagerly for Christmas morning and find baby Jesus in the manger wrapped under the tree, I encourage you to not become overwhelmed, but to sit and soak in the quiet anticipation of Advent.  My quiet may look different than many of yours (there may have been lego mini figures going to battle while Ethan read from Isaiah tonight), but between the things you see around all of the social media outlets that may just drive you to pull out your hair and throw your white flag of surrender up and not do anything, I encourage you to find that one thing that brings you and your family together to focus on Christ and his birth. 

You can read herehere, here and here for more on how we do Truth in the Tinsel and advent. 

Click here to download your own copy. . . it's not too late to start!  You can even do 5 or 10 when you are on Christmas vacation! 

Also, check out this option for the Jesse Tree or this book. . . it's awesome! 

Happy first day of Advent! 


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