what’s your favorite?

I use my phone as a camera more than I use it as a phone these days.  Our poor old Canon Rebel has been abandoned, sitting in its case for months at a time.

But my online friend Brooke recently inspired me to pull out the camera again.  I’m so glad I did.  I snapped these photos of the kids a few days ago, and while I was working myself into a sweat trying to keep them still-for-just-two-seconds-for-goodness’-sake, I asked them the question, “What are your favorite foods?”  Here are their answers…

Calla: “Those noodles and beef we always order at the Chinese restaurant…what are they called?  Oh yeah, ‘ho fan.’  I like spaghetti a lot too.  And pho.  And grapes.  And cherries.”

Hudson: “Ummm…chicken wings, chips, ice cream, pizza, ketchup, big big big crab legs.  I like to eat lots of clams too.”

Boulder: “Chiten and chiten wings and coo-cumbers and ice cweeeeeeem!”

If Shepherd could talk, I’m guessing he would say, “Noodles!  And please excuse my bedhead.” 🙂

 

Abby

Posted in Kiddos | 6 Comments

coconut-cinnamon coffee cake

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  I’m blaming it on a combination of traveling, sickness, and…well, busyness!  I’m not quite sure how I posted multiple times a week in the past, because it’s just not happening these days…

But, I just have to take the time to post this recipe for Coconut-Cinnamon Coffee Cake.  It was inspired by a friend‘s Facebook posting a few weeks ago; she linked to Smitten Kitchen’s Coconut Bread, and as soon as I saw the recipe, I dropped everything and started baking immediately!

The coconut bread was good, really good.  The six of us polished it off within 24 hours.  A couple of days later, I was attending a baby shower and wanted to bring a dessert, so I modified the coconut bread into a coffee cake with a cinnamon swirl.  Dare I say?…it was even better than the original recipe.

Here’s what I did:

Coconut-Cinnamon Coffee Cake {adapted from smitten kitchen}

1/2 c. butter, melted (or coconut oil for more intense flavor)

3/4 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 c. milk (or coconut milk, if you want even more coconut flavor!)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. flour (add an extra 1/4 c. for high altitude)

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 c. flaked coconut, divided

Cinnamon Swirl:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 T. cinnamon

2 T. flour

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a small mixing bowl, combine melted butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut.  (Reserve remaining 1/4 cup for topping.)  Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 T. flour, and reserved 1/4 cup coconut.  Set aside. 

Grease an 8×8″ or 9×9″ cake pan.  (I use a Pyrex dish.)  Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture over the batter.  Spoon remaining batter over the brown sugar; smooth out as much as possible.  Sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over the top.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until coconut is starting to brown and the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Enjoy!

 

Abby

Posted in Cooking, Recipes | 6 Comments

number four turns one

As of this week, we have a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 1-year-old!  Our home is not lacking in noise or energy.  It’s a party all day every day! 🙂

We celebrated Shepherd’s first birthday with a little family get-together at home.

He is a well-loved little man…

Shepherd & Grandma

Shepherd & Mama

He was a little confused by everyone singing to him!

I made a grain-free banana chocolate chip birthday cake...

 

...with lots of whipped cream 🙂

 

I love my family!

 

Little man playing with some of his new toys...

 

...and graciously sharing with his big brother 🙂

 

I can't get enough of his scrunchy-nose grin!

 

We love you, sweet Shepherd!

 

Abby

Posted in Kiddos, Our home | 7 Comments

our earliest walker {video}

Shepherd will be a year old next week.  (Is this real life??  Where does the time go?!)

My big little boy started walking two weeks ago, which makes him our earliest walker.  Hudson took his first steps before he was a year old, too, but he quickly reverted back to crawling for a while.  Shepherd has been trying out his new skill whenever he has the chance!

You can watch him here:

Shepherd is walking!

 

Happy Monday, everyone!  I’ve gotta go chase my baby now. 🙂

Abby

Posted in Kiddos | 1 Comment

{a productive} eight years

Eight years ago, in the enchanting state of New Mexico, two college students were married…

They lived in Albuquerque, in a little third-floor apartment.  The couple had a baby girl and after a few years, they moved to a mountain town in Colorado.  Their first son was born at home, in December, in the middle of a snowstorm.  Soon after, they moved again to another mountain town (which is a bit closer to civilization) and were blessed with two more boys.

Over those eight years, they had their easy days…with a few hard days here and there.  Raising and homeschooling four kids in an old, smallish, rented two-bedroom home isn’t the most convenient way of doing life, but being humbled and reminded to trust and rest in the Lord is certainly a good thing.

{Thanks to my sweet friend Stacey for these photos!}

In the words of their pastor, they’ve had “a productive eight years…in a good way.” 😉  Growing closer as a family and seeking the Lord together is their overarching theme.  Sometimes they’re impatient with one another.  Once in a while, you’ll find someone grumbling and complaining.  Sometimes they yell.  One or two (or six) of them occasionally throws a temper tantrum.

But at the end of the day, this husband and wife know that God’s grace is sufficient.  He is the One who brought them together and created their family, and He will complete His work in their hearts.  Because He loves them, they love one another.

Also, they have a lot of fun together. 🙂

{And I really really REALLY like this guy.}

Happy anniversary to us!

Abby

 

Posted in Our home, The Mister, Thinking thoughts | 13 Comments

honey roasted pecans {you can’t eat just one!}

Buying spring mix in the gigantic package at Costco means we’ve been eating lots and lots of salads lately.  The usual toppings include grated carrots, sliced cucumber, chopped bell pepper, and avocado.  But what (I think) makes a salad extra special are these crunchy, sweet-and-savory honey roasted pecans.

Homemade honey roasted pecans are absolutely delicious by themselves, but since I tend to eat far too many that way, I try to save them mainly for salads.

Here’s how I make them!

Honey Roasted Pecans

1 egg white

1 T. lukewarm water

1 T. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. pecan halves

2 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Beat egg white with water, honey, and vanilla until foamy.  Stir in pecans until coated.  In a separate bowl or a ziplock bag, combine the sugar and salt.  Using a slotted spoon, remove pecans from the egg white mixture and add to sugar mixture, tossing until evenly coated.

Spread pecans on a well-greased baking pan or foil-lined sheet; bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time.

Stir pecans immediately after removing them from the oven to prevent them from clumping and sticking.

After pecans have cooled, store them in an airtight container (if you have any left.) 😉

-Abby

Posted in Cooking, Nutrition, Recipes | 3 Comments

a white Christmas {only 3 weeks late}

I realize Christmas was almost a month ago.  Don’t judge me for failing to post pictures until now!  (Ok, ok, judge me, I deserve it.)

We enjoyed spending our beautiful White Christmas week with my bro and sis-in-law and their two boys who came to visit.  Breckenridge sledding, frozen yogurt eating, gift opening, and Bingo playing (a tradition from my Dad’s side) were a few of the ways we spent our time together…

Whew.  A fun and busy week resulted in a tired baby!

I hope you had a blessed Christmas.  Happy New Year!  (Since Chinese New Year doesn’t officially begin until next month, I can still say that.) 😉

Abby

Posted in Family fun, Kiddos | 2 Comments

grain-free pumpkin spice bread

Whenever I think about the reality of reducing our grain (particularly wheat) consumption, I have to admit that I get a little sad-faced.  I am a bread girl all the way, and there’s not much I enjoy more than a steaming cup of coffee with a slice of pumpkin bread. Or a blueberry muffin.  Or a slice of carrot cake.  I’ll stop now.

Who knew that grain-free quick breads and cakes were possible?  (I didn’t until very recently!)  I somehow stumbled across two recipes last week (at Elana’s Pantry) for paleo pumpkin bars and pumpkin bread.  {“Paleo” refers to a type of diet that contains only whole, unprocessed foods, and rules out grains of any sort.}

Apparently a yummy version of quick bread can be made with ingredients such as almond meal and coconut flour.  I tried it, and it really does work!  Grain-free bread is denser and more moist than a typical quick bread made with grains.

I combined the two recipes I found into one delicious pumpkin spice bread.  The first time I made it, I added a half-cup of chocolate chips (to ensure my kiddos would eat the bread, ha!) but the second time, I left them out.  Because this recipe is so spiced, I prefer it without the chocolate.  Also, I think it tastes best with both butter and coconut oil, but feel free to use just one or the other!

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Bread {adapted from this and this}

1/4 c. almond flour

1/4 c. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

4 eggs

1/4 c. honey

1 c. pumpkin puree (homemade works best in this recipe)

2 T. butter, melted

2 T. coconut oil, melted

handful of chocolate chips or raisins or chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (eggs, honey, pumpkin, coconut oil, and butter.)  Whisk for about a minute.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts, if desired.

Transfer batter to a greased 8 x 8″ baking dish.  (This recipe won’t bake properly in a traditional 8 x 5″ loaf pan.)  Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Abby

 

Posted in Cooking, Nutrition, On the Crunchy Side, Recipes | 2 Comments

grain-free raisin breakfast cookies

Figuring out the “right” way to eat for our family is a never-ending task.  Vegetarian?  Paleo?  Ferment & soak?  Gluten-free?

Maybe it’s my background in nutrition, but I do enjoy the challenge of feeding my family delicious and nutritious food.  At times it can be frustrating — I can be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless research and opinions about the “healthiest” way to eat.  But I always come back to the same foundation: real food, as unprocessed as we can get it (and organic when possible) is the best.  And as I read and learn more, I continually grow to appreciate the value of LOTS of vegetables and fruits, as well as the important role of good fats (like coconut oil, olive oil, nuts & seeds, flax, and butter.)  As a side effect of bulking up our diet with produce and healthy fats, we tend to minimize grains, dairy, and meats.

My mom posted a link to this recipe for “Grain-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” on Facebook last week, and I immediately bookmarked it.  I followed the recipe for the most part when making them for breakfast this morning, and wow!  They’re really good!  (There’s no oatmeal in the cookies, by the way…I think the recipe author named them as such because of their resemblance to the typical oatmeal cookie.)

My kids get excited about eating cookies for breakfast, and I get excited when they enjoy something that’s so good for them.  Here’s the recipe!

Grain-Free Raisin Breakfast Cookies

2 apples, peeled and cored

4 eggs

1/2 c. honey

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. almond flour

2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. coconut flour (I think you could use any type of gluten-free flour if desired)

1 c. raisins

{The instructions call for using a food processor, but if you don’t have one, that’s ok.  Just finely dice the apples, and everything else can be combined in a bowl with a mixing spoon.}

In a food processor, process apples until lightly pureed with a few chunks remaining.  Add eggs, honey, and vanilla; blend until mixed.  Add almond flour, shredded coconut, baking soda, spices, and salt; blend until just combined.  Add in coconut flour and raisins and lightly process.  (Processing shouldn’t take more than 10-15 seconds for each step.)

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I used a teeny bit of coconut oil.)  Place heaping tablespoonfuls of cookie dough on the sheet, about two inches apart.  Flatten cookies with a spatula or back of a large spoon.  (The thinner the better, in my opinion.) 

Bake for 15-17 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies and how browned you want them.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

(Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen)

Enjoy!

Abby

 

Posted in Cooking, Kiddos, Nutrition, On the Crunchy Side, Recipes | 4 Comments

winter squash recipe ideas

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash: Image from Eating Well

 

I’m over at Springs Bargains today with some ideas for what to make with winter squash!  Butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are all $0.49/lb (a GREAT price) at Sprouts this week.

You can view the post here: What To Make With What’s On Sale: Winter Squash!

 

Abby

Posted in Cooking, Link love, Nutrition, Recipes | Leave a comment