Friday, August 10, 2018

Homemade Sweet Granola

Homemade Sweet Granola

*Our family favorite*

Ingredients

3 cups regular rolled oats (or thick)
¾ cup sliced almonds
¾ cup pecans - (I break up by hand)
½ cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg white
*2 TBSP. Flax Seeds can be added if desired.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease a cookie sheet or prepare with silicone sheet.  In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together.  Spread evenly on cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 300°F for approximately 25-35 minutes or until light brown, stirring after 15 minutes.  It will be soft when you remove from oven.   Let cool on cookie sheet -not stirring.  The granola will harden up as it cools.  After it cools, break it up for storage and eating!



Sweet Granola - #2 healthier option

Ingredients

2 cups regular rolled oats (or thick)
1 cup sliced almonds
½  cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seeds
½  cup honey
2 TBLS olive oil

1 cup (dried fruit, raisins, cranberry raisins, pumpkin seeds  or chocolate chips, etc.)**

Alternative Flavor:  Add  ½ tsp. of homemade vanilla!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease a cookie sheet or prepare with silicone sheet. In a bowl, combine oats, almonds,  flax seeds, and wheat germ. In a separate measuring cup, mix together honey and oil.   Pour over oat mixture and stir until well coated. Spread evenly on cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 300°F for approximately 20 minutes or until light brown, stirring after 15 minutes.  It will be soft when you remove from oven.   Let cool on cookie sheet.  The granola will harden up as it cools.

**Add in 1 cup of your desired choice or combination of dried fruits, or chocolate.

Note: These recipes can be doubled or even tripled!  If doing extra batches, just be sure to spread thin layers on cookie sheets - If I double then, I cook using 2 separate cookie sheets and so forth.   I  do not add these last ingredients** until we are ready to use.  We eat this plain by the handfuls, on top of yogurt, or even as a cereal with fresh fruit and milk.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Meatloaf Muffins

Meatloaf Muffins


Ingredients:

3½ lbs. lean hamburger meat
2 eggs
1 medium onion (chopped small)
½ cup milk
1 cup quick oats
2 T brown sugar
4 T mustard
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
salt & pepper

Topping:

ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs (I like Panko)

Optional:  Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease 2 trays muffin pans (regular size dozen).

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well (I usually use my hands).  Shape into round ball (approx. ½ cup size) and drop into muffin pans.  Top with some ketchup and bread crumbs.  Bake in oven for approximately 40-50 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Kid Friendly:  Frost with some homemade mashed potatoes for kid friendly meal!

Freezer option:  Bake the meatloaf muffins and wrap with wax paper and foil and toss in freezer bag and freeze.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

slow moments - summer edition


...because BLT's with avocado served patriotic style set my heart in gratitude mode.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, 
but living as servants of God.  
1 Peter 2:16

May I always remember to be a living servant of God and hold tightly to freedom for His Glory.



...because I made 3 large batches of spaghetti sauce and several trays of lasagna to help with easy meals when school starts.  I was also able to bless my neighbors with several freezer meals.

 ...because this is a reminder of the baby I buried and held in the palm of my hand.

...because we ordered take-out Thai food and prayed for the boys trapped in the cave.

...because seeing an aisle of American flags meant freedom I treasure.

...because summer and watermelon just go together!

...because our neighbors bought a new refrigerator and gave us this one which is far newer than our current one.

...because this is a new family member that is anything but slow!

Meet Hazel {an Australian Kelpie/Border Collie cross} - named for her beautiful eyes. They are a mesmerizing olive green that are so unique. In our research, it is a rare occurrence and they still may change to an amber color, but she very well could keep this amazing hazel color due to her coat and nose color. In the meantime, she has puppy energy keeping us busy (days and nights are still mixed up), but her mellow moments are lying on her back sleeping like a baby. She had her first vet check and she got a thumbs up. She is a distant relative to our older dog, Kesi - a loyal family member of 7 years now.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Little bits about me - Party


August is here and my thoughts are all in homeschool planning mode.  I'm still trying to put together a special "First Day of School" type of event for my girls, so this months questions started to inspire me to get moving.  I have our theme picked out for the coming year and just need to bring ideas together to make it special.

I love family gatherings and especially love to set a beautiful table.  Candlelight, flowers, cloth napkins, the whole cozy feeling.


 1.  Favorite Birthday Party as a Child?  I remember sharing parties with my sister.  It's bittersweet memories as at the time I think sometimes we wanted our own parties, but looking back, especially since she was killed, they are some of the most special memories I have.

 2.  Do you like to Entertain?  Yes and no...I used to like it a lot more, but lately I much prefer to just enjoy gathering together.  I've struggled so much with health restrictions that it makes it hard to plan much.

 3.  What kind of parties are your favorite?  Game nights, family movie nights!

 4.  Big or Small Parties?  I think a little on the smaller side is more quaint and cozy feeling.

 5.  Favorite thing to do at Parties?  Gather together, share a meal, enjoy conversations, and watch and listen.  

 6.  Party Food Favorites?  Giant 3 foot Party Subs!   ... but we really enjoy so many different foods that depend on the gathering event.  Casual BBQ's in summer, to formal dining for other events.  I usually pick a theme and try to work around food and decor together.

 7.  Favorite Flavor of Birthday Cake?  I'm not a big fan of cake so much, but I love brownies!

 8.  Balloons?  Usually, but depends on the gathering:  Birthdays - yes, Thanksgiving - no.

 9.  Best Party Song?  Birthdays - "Happy Birthday" song / Holidays - Christmas Carols

10. Do you like to Dance?  It really depends on the party itself ...but I'm not really into dancing!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Lasagna

For years, I have made our own spaghetti sauce, but I had been looking for a similar type of recipe to adapt and work for lasagna.  I finally received a recipe (from our pastor's wife) that had the texture and consistency I was looking for that would keep the flavor similar to my spaghetti sauce.  It's worth the time to make this from scratch! 

Homemade Lasagna


Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef or BETTER flavor - ½ lb. ground beef and ½ lb. Italian sausage
1 small onion chopped (approximately ¾ cup)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 can 6oz. tomato paste
1 can 15oz. tomato sauce

1 can 28oz. crushed tomatoes
              OR (15oz. crushed tomatoes & 15 oz. petite diced tomatoes -drained)***

¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. (½ tsp. and ½ tsp.) black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ - 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes** (optional)
2 TBSP red wine*  (optional)

16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 TBSP parsley flakes

8 lasagna noodles

1+ lbs. grated mozzarella cheese (I usually use a little more!)
¼ additional shredded parmesan cheese

*Red wine can be frozen.  I usually have a cup or more left over from a bottle of red wine when I make my spaghetti sauce.  I freeze the remaining wine in a freezer plastic bags and will just spoon out what I need for other recipes.

**We like spice and crushed red peppers will add that extra little flavor kick.  Depending on how much "heat" you like will depend on how much crushed red peppers to add.

***If I double the recipe to make 2 trays of lasagna, I will use 1 28oz. crushed tomatoes and 1 28 oz. petite diced tomatoes-drained.

Directions:

  1. In frying pan, brown ground beef with garlic and onion.  Drain off grease.
  2. In medium size sauce pan, combine:  tomato paste, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, salt, ½ tsp. black pepper, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and red wine.   Add drained ground beef.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring to make sure that it doesn't burn.
  3. Boil water and cook 8 lasagna noodles per package just until tender and be sure not to overcook.
  4. In mixing bowl, combine: ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes, and ½ tsp. black pepper and mix well.
  5. In greased 9"x13" baking dish, layer in order:   4 noodles, gently spread half the ricotta cheese mixture, sprinkle a little less than half mozzarella, and top with half of the meat sauce.  Repeat the layers and top with parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella.
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 35 minutes until bubbling.  

OR Freezer option:
  • I choose a disposable aluminum pan and follow all other directions.  Instead of baking, cover the lasagna with sheet of wax paper and foil.
  • When ready to bake:  thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes until bubbly or longer if lasagna is still partially frozen.

Yields 1 pan Lasagna.  Serve with a fresh garden salad and warm French bread!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hello August

Hello August!  You usher in heat waves, exhaustion from head colds, and yet whisper such hope and new beginnings!  The flowers bow to your rays of warmth, the ocean waves beckon my soul to sit and listen with sandy toes, and the longer days give extra daylight to prepare and organize for  days ahead . . . but, I truly thrive in dreaming of the autumn days ahead.  Until then, I will try to embrace you, August.

August plans:

-:- help with baby shower for daughter L
-:- sew some curtains for 2 shelves
-:- clean and organize homeschool room
-:- purge at least 2 baskets of books {ugh...soooo hard!}
-:- craft school wreath
-:- start 2018-2019 school year!
-:- go through my closet and thrift items
-:- stay healthy
-:- catch up on blog posts
-:- start reading my Bible in 90 Days Reading Plan
-:- clean out deep freezer
-:- spray paint vent over stove to match

Update on July:

-:-summer school - try to get in at least 10 days of school before we "start" school ✓ done!  I'm fully surprised we got this done with how poorly I felt, but we just took a very relaxed approach.
-:- make a bunch of freezer meals for my neighbor ✓ done!
-:- a small road trip to visit family - canceled because I was sick for 3 weeks.
-:- order school ID cards ✓ done and received!
-:- watch 4th of July fireworks ✓ done - sort of.  My family all got to see them but I stayed home sick.
-:- have race day (Nascar) family gatherings ✓ done twice with the help of teamwork & potluck style.
-:- finish read-aloud:  Detectives in Togas ✓ done!

....and the things not planned that happened - We got a puppy given to us from the breeder of our 7yr. old dog, and our neighbors decided they wanted a new refrigerator, so we were blessed with a really nice, new to us, refrigerator.  

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