….grab some take out and go to the park. But be sure you double check your bag!
We got all the way to our favorite city park, found a great little spot to camp out for dinner, and MY food wasn’t in the bag!
I don’t know what it is about this week, but it has felt somber. Blah. My sweet friend said, brittle. YES to all the above. All I wanted was to be outside, in this Fall weather, soaking up fresh air and afternoon sun. We did just that.
We headed to the best city park in all the land! This is a place you MUST experience for yourself. Since September, the park, has been working on a Pin Wheel exhibit that is gorgeous and whimsical all wrapped in one. You couldn’t help but smile as you walked by all the different colors.
The girls tried their hand at a wooden obstacle course. Future America Ninja Warriors, anyone?
There is nothing that makes me feel more like a kid and carefree than being on a swing. Am I right? I remember how much I loved it as a child, competing with my friends to see how high we could go and who could jump the farthest….FROM THE SWING!
The kids and I took turns pushing each other and chatting about random things. Life felt normal.
I think we will make this a weekly occurrence. However, I’ll double check my bag before leaving the drive-thru. 😉
Friday night’s are pizza nights at our house. We either order delivery or visit our favorite pizzerias for dinner on their patios. But this past weekend, we made our own and dined on our own patio!
This was the first time I’ve made homemade pizza dough and it was no where near as intimidating as I had believed it would be. It was very easy to prepare. The longest and maybe hardest part was leaving it alone for 2 hours so it could do it’s thing and double in size. Thank goodness I had a few projects, (decorating our front porch), to keep me busy so I wasn’t constantly taking a peek at the dough’s process.
The recipe I used for this homemade pizza dough comes from The Food Nanny and their cookbook that features all things Kamut Flour. If I haven’t mentioned this in my previous posts, KAMUT Flour has changed my world! It’s so much easier to digest so it hasn’t affected me as most bleached flours do. And the taste is unbeatable, in my opinion.
Step 1: In a large bowl mix lukewarm water, lukewarm milk, stir in sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on and let sit for 5 minutes while it gets bubbly/foamy.
*I purchased this Baker Dough Whisk about a month ago from Amazon and it has become my favorite tool in the kitchen!
Step 2: Stir in the Olive Oil, salt, and Kamut Flour. Use a wooden spoon, or baker dough whisk (MY FAVORITE) to combine ingredients together. Start kneading. The dough will come together. I prefer to knead mine by hand, by dusting a service with flour and kneading for 10 minutes. You may also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Step 3: Pour a drop of Olive Oil in the bowl you mixed the dough in and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a light weight dish towel and let rise for 2 hours.
The kids were so excited to build their own pizzas. My husband fired up the grill and purchased a stone just for this occasion. We sat outside and played card games while each of our pizzas took turn to cook.
Step 4:Punch the dough and divide into 3 parts (or 6 for individual size pizzas, which is what we did.) Let these portions rest for 15 minutes. Then begin building your pizzas.
Since this was our first time making pizza from scratch, I kept the toppings pretty simple. The kids and hubby reached for the traditional toppings of pepperoni, olives, and cheese. While momma went for a more light version with olive oil, pesto sauce, tomatoes, and mozzarella. It was delicious!
We had a blast staying home and making this meal together. Not to mention the money we saved! 😉 If there was one thing I would want my blog to represent, it’s this…….FAMILY meal times. This time around our table whether it’s out on the patio or around our farmhouse table is priceless to me. It’s telling jokes and guessing riddles. It’s sharing our days, our dreams, our hopes. It’s giving thanks to all that God has given us. It’s depositing coins in our memory banks. It’s part of what holds our family together.
Heat grill to 350 degrees. Allow stone to heat up for 30 minutes to an hour.
Warm milk to lukewarm. In a large bowl, combine lukewarm milk and lukewarm water. Stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast on and gently stir. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Stir in the olive oil, flour, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or Baker’s Dough Whisk. (You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.) Begin kneading for 10 minutes. If dough is still sticky, add a little dusting of flour to a flat surface and until smooth and elastic.
Place 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil in the same bowl your dough was mixed in. Place dough in bowl and cover with a light weight kitchen towel to rise for 2 hours.
Punch dough and divide into 3 parts (6 for individual size pizzas.) Let rest for 15 minutes.
Take your portion of dough and begin to shape it till your heart’s content. Build with your favorite toppings and place on stone for 10-13 minutes.
Mornings are my favorite time of the day. Mornings are when I spend alone time with my journal, bible, and coffee or tea. It’s where I set the foundation for the rest of my day.
Now, afternoons and evenings follow close behind as being my favorite parts of the day. Simply because it’s the time I return home from work, change into my cozy pajamas/loungewear, make dinner for the family, and spend some quality time with my husband on the patio under the lights.
All of this just makes me so stinking happy.
I am all for cozy when I’m at home so I have to share with you these two loungewear outfits I scored off Amazon.
I have been on the search for a jumpsuit for quite sometime, mostly to wear around the house, or a quick trip to the store, and even to a late night movie. This one definitely fits that purpose! It’s soft, lightweight, and ya’ll….it has pockets!!! Can I get an amen for that?! There is so much I could do with this jumpsuit besides wearing just around the house. I could throw on a denim jacket, pair it with a blazer, or floppy hat. You could even wear it for date night by dressing it up with statement jewelry and cute shoes. *This jumpsuit comes in many colors.
This pajama set is everything and then some! Loose fitting and soft with a high waisted short (huge plus for me since I have a c-section belly). It’s lightweight enough to wear currently as our temps begin to adjust to the Fall season and perfect for lounging on the patio in the early morning hours with your favorite book and coffee mug. This one is so cute, that even my girls have begged me to purchase each one of them a set too.
My next thing is to find the perfect house shoes! Or slippers? Or loafers? What do you call them??
I love soups and the minute the temps drop below 80 degrees, I’m pulling out many of my favorites. During the Fall and Winter seasons, I add a soup recipe, every week, to our weekly menu. They are easy, they are delicious, and they are comforting. And isn’t that the epidemy of Fall……comfort? It is in our house.
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup – This is the one soup I crave when I am feeling under the weather. It’s homemade chicken noodle soup with a little kick. I could seriously drink this broth alone. It’s straight up delicious. I found this recipe from Cooking Classy when I was on the hunt for a homemade ramen dish that I could make for my college girl. It did not disappoint and has become my most favorite style of chicken soup.
I am a huge fan of dinner around our table. And I’m all about mealtime being simple. You don’t need fancy or time consuming recipes for your dinners to be delicious. The goal, in my opinion, is to just bring the family together as many nights as possible, to the table to eat and converse together. We often play a board game while eating our meals together. The kids love this! And it will be something they take with them when they begin their own families. (I hope.)
2. Lasagna Soup – A Farmgirl’s Dabbles recipe is the real deal! If you are a fan of Italian and lasagna especially, this soup will be everything your heart desires. I serve this with an easy garlic and cheese drop biscuit that my children prefer to use in eating their soup over spoons.
Another thing I love about “soup season” is inviting my kiddos into the kitchen. Since the majority of our soups are made in one pot, my kids view it like a science experiment. They enjoy helping chop and prepare the ingredients and they are ALWAYS begging, “I want to put it in the pot!” It’s always fun. We turn on music, they tell me stories about their day and they are learning to cook without it feeling like a chore.
3. Chicken Pot Pie Soup – Ok, ya’ll, get ready to fall in love! This recipe from Kitchendreaming is to die for! Picture this……..rocking chair on the back porch, blanket draped across your lap, favorite mug in hand, over looking a tree line with it’s warm colors of reds and oranges. Yeah. This is that soup. Cozy. Comforting. Fall.
Something that I’m incorporating this year is allowing my children to have their turn planning a meal. Each child will get to choose a night, choose the meal they want (complete with dessert) and help put it together. We are in a season of staying closer to home with this whole pandemic and I’m going to take full advantage of it. And for me that means spending more time and investing in my children.
4. Loaded Baked Potato Soup – I have tried SEVERAL potato soups in the past and none of them turn out the same every time. EXCEPT THIS ONE! This recipe from Pressure Cooking Today is directly for the Instant Pot. It’s super simple but it is so delicious! My children will claim this is THEIR favorite soup! And they think the best side dish to pair with this is a chocolate chip cookie. 😉
I would love to hear what your family’s favorite Fall soup recipe is and what traditions you may have in your kitchen. Drop a comment below!
We had a birthday celebration this weekend. My youngest girl turned 11! I know that’s not necessarily a milestone birthday, but every birthday is big for this girl. She was born 10 weeks early in order to save my life and hers, entering this world at a whopping 2lb 11oz and spending her first seven weeks of life in the NICU. But look at her now!
In our house, we celebrate birthdays with favorite meals and favorite cakes. This birthday girl wanted a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt cake from the infamous Nothing Bundt Cake company. But I, as her mother and avid baker, wanted to try my hand at my very own bundt cake. Let me tell you………IT WAS SPOT ON! The flavor, the texture, the icing, it tasted just like the one we have purchased from the store itself. My children and husband declared that bundt cakes will now be THE birthday cakes of our family.
This recipe calls for Instant Chocolate Pudding, sour cream, AND mayonnaise. (I know, I know, but stick with me.) I’ve used sour cream in cake recipes before but never mayo or instant pudding. GAME CHANGER! Granted, this was not a gluten-free or paleo recipe, but I’m all for everything in moderation.
I haven’t even mentioned that I made TWO of these cakes on the same day. Not because there was a baker error. Nope. More like there was a dog error. Our Australian Shepherd and Pit mix (Remington) chose to eat half of the birthday cake while it was cooling, and while mom was folding clothes in the bedroom. HALF, PEOPLE! HALF! Needless to say I did not think this behavior was cute in any way. I believe he regretted his decision the remainder of the day.
So second cake went in the oven and came out just as beautiful as the first. This cake was super simple to put together. I am now planning for the next one to try. I’m thinking Pumpkin Spice.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
1 Box Devil’s Food Cake
1 3.9 oz Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup Canola Oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Place all ingredients (except chocolate chips), for cake, in a large mixing bowl. You can use a stand mixer or hand held. Blend/Mix ingredients together till well incorporated.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour cake batter into a well greased bundt pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Be sure and check before time is up, I found mine to be done just before the designated time.
Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Once removed, let rest on a wire rack till completely cool.
While the cake is resting, blend frosting ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Place frosting in a piping back with a large round tip and pipe generous lines all around the cake.
You read that right……DRY NAIL POLISH. Have you tried it???? If you haven’t, you are missing out on a total game changer when it comes to your manicures.
I love having my nails done. It makes me feel feminine and more put together. However, it didn’t matter if I used traditional liquid polish or shellac, my polish DID NOT last more than four days. And it didn’t even matter if I applied the polish myself or visited a nail salon. The results were still the same.
Enter Dry Nail Polish! I discovered this new way of polishing my nails in 2018 and I have not gone back to my old ways since.
I don’t need any tools but a nail file and my own fingertips to apply my nail polish. Seriously, this concept is GOLD! There is no dry time, no mess, no smears, and I can immediately return to life as usual. I am pretty hard on my nails with working at a computer for long periods of time, washing dishes multiple times a day, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and all the other mom things.
These dry nail polish strips allow me to have beautiful, salon quality manicures without the cost or visit to a salon. (Which is perfect during this season of a pandemic. Who ever thought we would say those words??? )
Check out the Fall Collection that was just released! I can’t wait to see what you think!
I read a quote the other day, in a book I’m finally diving into, that if you stop dreaming you stop living. Ponder that for a second. Are you still dreaming? I remember dreaming about owning a book store and decorating it throughout the changing seasons and serving baked goodies and coffee. (We can think “You’ve Got Mail” for that dream.) This past weekend my husband and I sat down together and wrote out the dreams we have for our family:
A Barn home on some beautiful land where we can grow our own vegetables, raise cattle, and have Sunday dinners with our entire family around our farmhouse table.
The opportunity to travel more and create memories.
To build this blog into a legacy that I can leave for my children and their children and their children. A virtual journal, so to speak.
Today, however, we are dreaming about TACOS! Tostadas to be exact. My family (with the exception of my college girl) loves Taco Tuesdays and loves it even more when I make homemade TOSTADAS. There is nothing fancy about this meal. But there is variety!
The base is always a good crisp corn tortilla. I cook mine in Avocado Oil until golden brown on both sides. I also prefer to make my own Taco Seasoning instead of buying the store bought packets.
How you build your Tostada is up to you, I build mine with a foundation of refried beans, seasoned beef, cheese, olives, tomatoes and green onions (if I’m in the mood and I have them on hand), a little sour cream and guacamole (if the avocados are ripe), and sometimes a drizzle of white queso. YA’LL! It’s so good!
When I say this dish has variety, I mean it. There is so much you can do with it. Instead of beef, use grilled chicken, or pulled pork, or shrimp, or brisket! Then add whatever toppings you like.
Corn Tortillas – 2 per person
2 lbs ground beef
Toppings of your choice
Brown ground beef till cooked through and drain the grease.
Add cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. So here’s the thing….I don’t measure my spices in this dish. I just start sprinkling till the top layer of ground beef is covered with the spices I’m using. I use less garlic powder than the rest of the spices.
Add your salt and pepper to taste.
In a small shallow skillet heat the Avocado Oil. Pour enough in to cover a tortilla.
Cook the tortillas, one at a time, till slightly crisp and golden in color. (Flipping in between cooking times to get both sides.)
Heat refried beans in a saucepan till warm.
Spread a layer of refried beans on a crisp tortilla, add your beef, then top with your favorite toppings.
The temperature has finally began to change, here, and after returning to in-class learning (after our distance learning week), I knew that homemade waffles was exactly what my family needed to soothe their spirits. And we happen to be a family who turns to breakfast for dinner when we are needing comfort food.
Warm, buttermilk waffles, with cinnamon sprinkled in the batter and a touch of vanilla is enough to make you swoon. Add piping hot syrup and you may fall head over heels.
I’ve been using gluten-free flour for most all of my flour based foods, however, this time I used KAMUT flour. I’ve been waiting on this flour since March and I finally got my hands on it. This flour is easier to digest, higher in protein, no GMO, and If you don’t follow The Food Nanny may I suggest you do so. They just released a cookbook all about KAMUT. My goal is to cook the book.
One of the many things I love about The Food Nanny is their love of bringing their family around the dinner table every night. That’s also where my heart is as well, Family Meal Time. Cooking and serving my family is where I thrive best, and The Food Nanny shows you how to create this special time with ease and confidence.
These Buttermilk Waffles will surely become a staple in your house as they are in ours. Head over to The Food Nanny blog and let me know what you think!
This past weekend was spent recovering from our first week back at school, and learning how to navigate distance learning. If Friday was an indication of what distance learning is going to be like, please put me in time out (with chocolate) or (chips and guacamole) for the duration.
My step daughter and I first headed out for a 7 mile bike ride at our local trail. There is something so peaceful when I’m riding and coasting on my beach cruiser. Even if it is on an Oklahoma trail and not beach side.
Then, after the past two weeks of flying by the seat of my pants, it was time to get back into the routine of meal planning. The idea of meal planning is to help make meal time a lot less stressful, giving you opportunity and the means to create delicious, simple dinners to bring the family around the table.
One thing that helps me keep things simple is creating Theme Nights: Monday – Comfort Food, Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, Wednesday – Breakfast or Salads/Sandwiches, Thursday – One Pot dish (casseroles, pasta, or Chinese), Friday – Pizza.
The weekends are usually spontaneous. Sometimes we grill, sometimes we use the smoker, sometimes it’s dinner with friends, and many times it’s date night with the hubs!
I just ordered this Meal Planning Pad because I love all things paper products! And it helps me stay organized.
There are so many more tips in regards to meal planning, and I will share storage organization in a later post. But for now, I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you may have that you incorporate in your kitchen.
This weekend went by too fast y’all. My sweet boy and his fiancé came in for a visit and my days with him always seem to fly by. And I’m always asking myself exactly WHEN did he go from being a tiny little human that I could hold in my arms to being grown and almost married???
While they were here this weekend we took full advantage of the nice evenings, grilling out steaks, hanging out on the back patio and eating homemade peach pie. Well semi homemade.
We have a sweet farmers market in town where the peaches are in perfect season and I truly believe your peaches can either make or break your pie.
Now, listen, I mentioned this was a semi homemade pie. I used frozen gluten free crust. Why? Because it was easy and quick and tasted just as good as if I made it from scratch.
I simply used the 2nd pie crust as the top, creating a lattice work. It might not be the prettiest here but there were no complaints coming from the mouths of those who ate it.
It was so good! And I get so much joy from the smile and satisfied bellies of my loved ones. I may have to make a few more of these before the peaches say farewell until their next season.
6 cups of diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoon all purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon
2-3 tablespoons of cold butter, cubed
1. Peel and dice peaches in a large bowl. 2. Add sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, lemon juice, salt and stir. 3. Place one pie crust in a pie plate (or use the foil pan it came in.) 4. Pour peaches in pie crust. 5. Placed cubed butter over peaches (spaces evenly). 6. Cut the 2nd pie crust into strips and lay them over the peaches, in a lattice work pattern. 7. Mix one egg and 2 tablespoons of milk, creating an egg wash. Then brush egg wash over pie crust. 8. Sprinkle with raw sugar. 9. Bake in a 350 degree (preheated) oven does 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the peach filling is bubbly.