Archive for ‘cookin’’

December 1, 2010


Growing up we had something like the opposite of traditions.  The only thing I really remember holidays having in common was that they were all sort of chaotic, but then a lot of my childhood was somewhat chaotic. 

My parenting now, though filled with all the love and intention I have, is sort of only loosely based on What I Know Not To Do.  (Except for the many tips and tricks I have picked up from My Amazing Friends and the countless parenting books I have devoured.)  One thing I have learned is that traditions are important. 

And this year, these Amazing Kids, they realized it too.  This year instead of racing back and forth to get all of the ornaments on as fast as possible, they slowly picked each one up and let it dangle by it’s hook.  And then they talked through each one- why they liked it, what year they got it, the kindergarten teacher they loved so much and the corner that was getting a little worn.  And I sat on the couch smiling and answering questions and yes, just as I am now, wiping the occasional tear. 

When the tree was all done Emmy glanced down at her hands covered in glitter from all of the ornaments.  She squeaked a delighted squeak and then I’m not even kidding, Griffen put his arm around her and said, “That’s Christmas dust, the magic of Christmas is all over our house.”  And then he went to his room and pulled out his library book and told all the Little Ones to sit down because he had checked out a book just for them.  Good grief it was almost too sweet. 


When they finished the book we made some Christmas Waffles together.  (Nothing amazing really, just waffles with red and green M&M’s, but the kiddos think they’re “like the best thing ever to have for dinner.” ) 


It was a very normal, (if a little sappy), Christmastime evening I think. So maybe it was just the sugar rush, maybe it was a some holiday high I don’t know, but as we all piled on the couch to watch Rudolph that night, I felt Love oh so tangibly fill up and flow out of every empty space in the room and my grateful heart swelled with the amazing amount of warmth and joy that surrounded us. 

Gosh, so blessed.  So, so blessed.  

October 23, 2009


Fact:  It is physically impossible for me to clean my kitchen when my girls are playing in yummy light.


Fact: These cookies are healthier than most breakfast cereals.  

Fact: We eat them for breakfast sometimes


Here's the recipe.  It's a combination of a couple recipes and adjustments I've thrown together.  They aren't pancake-y like some applesauce cookies because I adjusted the baking soda and flour amounts. Although removing the oatmeal, besides removing some of the nutritional value, does make them a bit more pancake-y, don't really recommend it.   And the applesauce adds sweetness so these need less sugar than most cookies.

Yummy Healthy Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 four
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips  

(edited to add: 3/4 cup packed brown sugar)

   1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
   2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.
   3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla.
   4. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda, then gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
   5. Finally, stir in the oats and chocolate chips.   (I sometimes refrigerate for 15-20min. before baking so they won't spread as much, keeps the middle nice and soft and the outside  crispy)
   6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
   7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.



Fact: A cookie-less house leads to two-year-olds biting their sisters.

(No sisters were harmed in the making of this storyboard.  Okay maybe a little, but I made her some cookies very shortly after.)


October 20, 2009

Running Dialogue


In order to avoid the “How was your day?”  “Fine.” scenario around here, we play a little game.  Each night at dinner, every person says their high and low for the day.  Highs are generally things like “I got a 100 on my spelling test” or “This spaghetti is so yummy.”  Lows range from “My friend at school said something mean to me and hurt my feelings” to “I don’t like eating broccoli for dinner.” Hopefully this does a few of things.  Hopefully it teaches them to all listen, to pay attention, to ask questions and to care about others around them.  Hopefully it is giving them a time and space to talk about their feelings and have them validated.  Hopefully it is giving them some perspective and helping them understand that things are generally not all good or all bad. 

These are things that I am only just figuring out and wish I’d understood more clearly earlier in life.  Concepts I would love to help them have some comprehension of.  Mostly it’s just fun for me to hear them talk about their days and discuss whatever issues they might have, big or small. 


Life has been pretty good around here lately.  A few nights last week, there were no lows at the table.  They celebrated with fist bumps and high fives.  I explained that it was not the most important thing that we not have any lows, but more important that we were all able to sit and talk with each other about the good and bad things in our lives. 

Really I have no idea what impact any of this will have on their lives.  Kinda wish I could fast forward and sit down with their adult selves and see, but I can’t.  I do think it is keeping an oh so important running dialogue going between me and My Loves. 


October 9, 2009

Cooking (Eating)


    Not really news to peeps who know me, but earlier this year I struggled with some disordered eating issues.  I jokingly said many a time when complimented on losing weight that "divorce does wonders for the figure."  Unfortunately that's partially true.  For me it was for all the wrong reasons though. 

    Among the hundreds of things that were shaken in me over the last couple of years, self image was one of the most shaken, and understandably so I think.  The lack of control I felt over my life contributed as well; I compensated by trying to control anything that I could, that mostly played out in my eating habits.  I went from healthy changes like cutting down on snacking and eating late at night to eating nothing but a half slice of dry toast, raw spinach and tomatoes in a day. 

    Not eating gave me some sense of control and hunger felt good.  Things were not good.  My goal went from being healthy to being thin.  The thing is towards the end, I realized I wasn't in control of my eating at all.  It was in control of me.  Twice when I went to have a cookie with my kids, I found myself literally unable to swallow it.  Something in my brain told me that eating a freaking Oreo would make me fat.  I walked to the trash and spit it out.  And then I freaked out.  And then I got help.  With lots of counseling, prayer, talking, more praying, grieving and letting go – I'm kind of in love with food again. 

    Everything in moderation of course, but my goodness cooking and eating are fun.  We eat a pretty healthy, mostly vegetarian diet around here.  We go for walks and bike rides.  Some pizza and a little dessert aren't gonna kill me.  I'm only just discovering this.  Let me tell you, it's a super fantastic realization.


    So here's a recent recipe that we (almost) all loved (Gabe had his sans eggplant and mushrooms).


  • 1 pound eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/2 pound medium fresh mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 sweet red pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 pieces each
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) container reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Coat two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place eggplant and mushrooms on a prepared pan. Place the zucchini and red pepper on the second pan. Combine the oil and garlic; brush over both sides of vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Turn vegetables over. Bake 15 minutes longer. Remove eggplant and mushrooms. Bake zucchini and red pepper 5-10 minutes longer or until edges are browned.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Layer with four lasagna noodles (noodles will overlap slightly), half of ricotta cheese mixture, half of vegetables, a third of pasta sauce and 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with half of basil. Repeat layers. Top with the remaining noodles and pasta sauce.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until edges are bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 piece equals 361 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 fat.

More yummy recipes to come.  And if you have or are struggling with eating issues.  I feel your pain, there is hope.  Let's have a coffee sometime. 

September 24, 2009

Cooking With Pie

We made chocolate-chocolate chip-banana muffins yesterday afternoon.  About half way through the process I went to go check on the boys out front.  Since the batter was pre-egg, I figured it would be fine to leave her with it for a minute.  "Here Pie, you stir.  Don't eat it."   And then, well, I came back to this:

"Oh, hey Mom."


"Grace.  Did you eat some?"

"Who me?!  Nuh-uh."



"Are you sure about that?"

"Yeah.  I Didn't eat any."




"Really?  It looks like you ate some."




"Well, what's that all over your face?"

"Hmm…  Don't know."



She's a mess that Pie. 

Not to be trusted with muffin batter that's for sure. 




July 1, 2009

Second Breakfast

If you don't know about or have second breakfast, you're missing out.  The most important meal of the day if you ask me.
We often have omelets, we've done bacon and egg sandwiches, sometimes it's cinnamon oatmeal with cranberries and walnuts.  Basically it's just a hearty, not very healthy brunch after breakfast.  And we love love love it.  The other day we made french toast.  Yum right?
Right.  So here's the recipe, super easy, a real crowd pleaser. 
According to Emmy, it's very important to put your apron on first, so we did. 
If you're not an apron person, that's fine with me, just don't tell The Princess.

* 6 thick slices bread
* 2 eggs
* 2/3 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
*  salt to taste

Griffey cracks the eggs, he's a pro, no shells in there.
1.  Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
3. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides.
4. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden.
5. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
6. Devour.
You're welcome.

May 3, 2009

dinner with them

Some Thursday nights, I get to have dinner with Paul and Debby.  Some Thursday nights I cook, sometimes he does.  She usually does not, but this Thursday, she, in her ridiculously adorable apron
 made us a very yummy dinner.
At the table
And although I love the food that we eat together on Thursdays, it's not why I love the dinner.  I love the conversation more.  I love being in the presence of these two people.   I love hearing about all of their history and watching their present unfold.
I love when he walks in the room and grins slightly like this.
I love whatever quip comes accompanies the slight grin.
I love her hands that are never still.
I love her laugh.  She sits in the chair opposite of their awesome bay window and the way the light falls on her smiling face is magic sometimes.  I wish I had a picture of that, but she strictly forbid it, so it is my memory to keep, her smiling face lit up by the setting sun. 

Most of my Thursday night memories are mine to keep- Stories I've heard and told.  Questions I've asked, and some I have answered.  
These Thursday nights are packed full of love and life, given and received. 
And I'm grateful for that most of all.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie

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