Coffee with God: Everything in His Perfect Timing

Something I have yet to talk about on this blog is my relationship with the Lord. Nearly every morning I choose to get up at a quarter to five (yes, you read that correctly, 4:45 AM,) before anyone else in my home is awake, to have coffee with God. I read my Bible, work on whatever Bible Study I am involved in at the time, I pray, of course, but most importantly, I listen. Just like having coffee with one of my girlfriends or my sister, I try to quiet my heart and mind, and listen to what He has for me this day. Listening quietly, “waiting on the Lord,” is the key that has changed my prayer life, my relationship with God, and ultimately my life.

This morning, his message for me was this: What’s your rush? Have you forgotten that all things happen in my time?

Not only has God already granted me sufficient time for what He wants me to accomplish each day, but he has granted me the exact amount of time I need, His perfect time. Whether I choose to rush or not. Everything He wills, will be achieved in His perfect time. It is up to me to decide whether I want to be stressed out and frazzled, or peaceful and content along the way. How many days have I rushed and ran through my daily task list; hurrying my children along with me, stressing myself out over whether it will get done and grumbling to myself “Why does nobody in this family have any concept of urgency?” Not only am I causing myself grief over nothing, but I’m causing my family grief as well. As long as I am making decisions according to God’s will and working for His purpose, honoring Him in all that I do, I needn’t worry about achieving everything right now. Everything will be accomplished in His time.

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.

Ecclesiastes 8:6 ESV

Oh My! Pumpkin Pie Latte

Oh My Pumpkin Pie Latte coffee syrupI had to name this post “Oh my! Pumpkin Pie Latte” because that is exactly what came out of my mouth when I tasted this latte. “Oh my!” It is, in a word, phenomenal. Way better than any pumpkin spice latte I’ve ever had at one of those fancy coffee shops. I have a bad habit this time of year to spend MAD DOLLARS on Pumpkin Spice Lattes. (That’s right, I just said “mad.” I’m bringing it back.) So this fall, I’ve decided to make it myself and save some money. I’m happy to say I am thrilled with my results. Just try it. You can thank me later.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup Ingredients
1 c white sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp Grated Nutmeg
1 c water

Directions
Combine sugar and spices in small sauce pot. Add water and turn burner on to medium. Bring almost to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add 2 TBLS of syrup to your large coffee or latte. Store remainder of syrup in an air tight container for up to a month… if you can make it last that long. ;-)

Note: You will notice settling after a few days. I prefer to just poor the syrup off the top, but you can shake to reincorporate if you choose. It’s all about what you like. :)

 

 

Low Fat Biscuits

Yes, my friend, you read that right. Low. Fat. Biscuits. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have a carb problem. I am, in a word, addicted. I love carbs; sweet and starchy alike. Naturally, I’d have an affinity for all things biscuit. Unfortunately, my waistline does not. So I experimented a little, and have come up with a biscuit that is equally delicious, but with a fraction of the fat of my usual biscuit recipe. My original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of shortening. This one has only 6 tablespoons of butter in the whole recipe, which makes 10 biscuits! Give em a try! Your waistline will thank you. :)

Ingredients:
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp sugar
6 TBLSP cold butter cut into small cubes
3/4 c Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Whisk together dry ingredients
3. Using your hands (or a fork if you want to be wussy about it), crumble together butter and flour mixture, until butter is smashed into tiny pieces.
4. Stir yogurt in with a fork or wooden spoon. Dough will become crumbly, just continue to stir until it begins to hold together.
5. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface, and squish dough together with hands, or you can just squish it together in the bowl. DO NOT KNEAD OR “OVER-SQUISH” this dough or biscuits will turn out tough.
6. Simply pat out flat to 3/4 in. thickness and use 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits, or you can just tare off pieces and roll them around a bit in your hand then squish them flat-ish, for a nice rustic biscuit.
7. Place on nonstick baking sheet, or baking sheet with silpat and bake 15-20 min. until golden brown around edges.

 

Lazy Leftovers- Spinach Salad Frittata

IMG_0984

I love leftovers. . . because I’m lazy. If I am going to put the effort forth to prepare a big meal, then all of it is going to be eaten. If not today, then tomorrow. It’s not that I hate to waste food. It’s that I hate to waste time, and any food not eaten is wasted time in my book. Naturally, this compels me to make a lot of repurposed leftover dishes. I don’t like to spend a lot of time on breakfast either. I’m a bagel and cream cheese kind of girl, but if I can make a somewhat impressive meal with leftovers and very little time, I am a happy, happy girl. So when I had left over spinach salad from Christmas #3, (yes we celebrated Christmas three times this year) I made sure to save it… along with the 1/4 of a loaf of sourdough french bread, because I knew there would be a delicious Lazy Leftover meal in my near future, especially after all of the meticulous planing and preparing I had done on the previous Christmas meals.

So this is what I did…

Dice the leftover french bread, and toast in a 2 QT baking dish in oven while preheating to 350 degrees F.

leftover spinach salad frittata with eggs bacon caramelized onions

Meanwhile, warm and wilt spinach salad . . . all of it. Just toss it in the skillet with a little olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Once wilted remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while preparing eggs.

leftover spinach salad frittata with eggs bacon caramelized onions

Whisk together 6 large eggs (or 7 small, if you grow them yourself like I do) and 2 ounces of heavy cream (1/8th of a liquid measure cup.)

leftover spinach salad frittata with eggs bacon caramelized onions

The bread should be slightly toasted by now. Dump it in the skillet, and toss it around a little with the spinach. Grease your baking dish. Spread spinach and bread evenly in baking dish and poor egg mixture over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to sit, so bread can absorb some of the egg mixture. . . and try to find some way of entertaining yourself for ten minutes or so. . .

leftover spinach salad frittata with eggs bacon caramelized onions

. . . reheat your coffee for the third time, and swear you will drink it while it is still hot this time . . .

. . . stare at the cream spilled on the counter, and wonder if it will miraculously wipe itself up . . .

. . . poke at the bread a little in hopes that it will absorb the egg faster. . .

. . . finally decide the cream will not clean itself up, and wipe it up yourself . . .

. . . season frittata with salt and pepper, because you forgot to do it earlier, and, let’s be real, eggs without salt and pepper would be sacrilegious . . .

. . . poke at the bread a few more times out of pure boredom . . .

. . . okay I think that’s long enough. Go ahead and put it in the oven, if for no other reason than you can’t wait any longer. Bake it for 15-20 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. I recommend checking it at 15 minutes, and then adjusting time accordingly.

Finally, divide into 6 servings, reheat coffee for the 4th time, and enjoy.

leftover spinach salad frittata with eggs bacon caramelized onions

 

Ingredients:
~2.5 c diced leftover sourdough
~2 c leftover dressed spinach salad (I used Pioneer Women’s Spinach Salad, the caramelized onions and bacon are perfect for this breakfast dish.)
6-7 large eggs
2 ounces heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 TBLS Olive oil

Directions:
Dice bread and toast in baking dish.
Warm and wilt salad with a little olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
In seperate bowl, whisk eggs and cream together.
Toss toasted bread and spinach together in skillet.
Grease baking dish.
Spread bread and spinach mixture in dish.
Poor egg mixture over top.
Allow to set about 10 minutes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

50 things I love about Fall

So technically fall doesn’t start for 2 more weeks, but I couldn’t wait to post this. It is raining here in the Pacific Northwest (shocker! I know.) We had some awesome thunder and lightning storms today and my mums are already blossoming, so I’m going to go ahead and just pretend it has started already. I can’t wait. After all Fall is my favorite season. Sadly, I never even knew Fall existed, let alone liked it, until I moved to Oregon. I grew up in the Sacramento valley of California. We don’t have fall there. Okay, technically everywhere has an Autumn season, but ours did not have the idilic color changing trees and weeks of cool weather. Fall was identified as those two weeks, between the sweltering triple digits and the rainy season. I am so glad I moved somewhere we have all four seasons. I just love the fall. I love it so much, I decided to write a song about it… Just kidding. I am so not musically talented. I would have if I could have, so instead I made a list of all the things I love about it.

  1. Hunting season- I get to spend time outside with my hubby doing something we both enjoy. I believe it brings us closer every year. (and PS if you are against it, I’m sorry. You are entitled to your opinion, but so am I… and I love it.)
  2. Hiking in the rain- Seriously! It’s not hot and the air is so clean. Plus all the fall colors are beautiful!
  3. hot chocolate
  4. coffee (and all coffee related beverages)
  5. hot apple cider
  6. hot toddies
  7. scarfs
  8. sweaters
  9. boots
  10. wool socks
  11. pea coats
  12. layers
  13. hats
  14. mittens
  15. fall colors
  16. pumpkin patches
  17. corn mazes
  18. carving pumpkins
  19. designing Halloween costumes
  20. Thanksgiving
  21. back to school shopping
  22. back to school schedules- No, really. I am a creature of habit. While the freedom of Summer is fun, I secretly love an organized schedule. It satisfies the type A person in me.
  23. Daylight savings- getting dark earlier means more cuddle time on the couch.
  24. breaking out the quilts for the couch- I love cuddling on the couch with my hubby or my girls under a big warm cozy quilt, next to a blazing fire.
  25. firing up the wood stove- blazing fire, warm quilt, cup of hot beverage- need I say more?
  26. the smell of the rain
  27. the sound of the rain- I actually sleep with my window cracked quite often, so I can hear the rain better. I LOVE the sound of the rain.
  28. thunder & lightning storms
  29. apple picking
  30. apple cider
  31. caramel apple cider
  32. apple sauce
  33. apple pie
  34. canning apples
  35. pumpkin pie
  36. pumpkin doughnuts
  37. pumpkin muffins
  38. pumpkin lattes
  39. chai lattes- they just taste like Christmas to me.
  40. picking pears
  41. canning pears
  42. pear tarts
  43. pear sauce
  44. pears and fancy cheese
  45. cool misty mornings
  46. changing leaves
  47. naked trees
  48. the view of the sun rising through the naked trees
  49. mums
  50.  And the number one thing I love about fall (or number 50 in this case) spending time with family. Fall brings Holidays which means more time spent with family, and that, my friend, makes me a happy girl. . . Especially when I get to cuddle with them under a big quilt, next to a blazing fire, while listening to the rain come down, drinking hot toddies and wearing matching wool socks.  Wink wink. Okay, they don’t have to match, but that just makes it more fun.

Well my dear friends, I hope this fall brings as much fun and love for you as it does for me! Until next time, have a blessed day. Bye bye now!

Mango-Blueberry Freezer Jam

This stuff is magical. Seriously. It has me under a spell. Just look at it. It even sparkles.
Mango Blueberry Freezer Jam
The best part? It was super easy to make. If you hurry, you can probably still grab some mangos at your local grocer, and if you are like me, and picked gallons of blueberries this year, then you should still have a few in your freezer. Get to it girl. You can thank me later.
Mango-Blueberry Freezer Jam
via The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard
(I doubled the following recipe with no problem. It made about 8 1/2 c. of jam)
Ingredients:
2 3/4 c super fine sugar
1 c finely chopped mangoes (aprox 2)
3/4 c chopped fresh or frozen blueberries (note: the measurement is after chopping; before chopping it was about 1 1/4 c)
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
Directions:
1. Place sugar in oven proof shallow pan and warm in 250 degree F oven (120C) for 15 minutes. This helps sugar dissolve better.
2. Combine mangoes, blueberries, orange rind and warmed sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add pectin and lemon juice, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
4. Ladle jam into clean jars or plastic containers to within 1/2 in/1 cm of rim. Cover with tight fitting lids. Label jars and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to set up.
5. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for longer storage.
Makes 3 1/2 cups.
Fabulous Tips:
  • I suggest removing the skin, cutting the fruit off of the mangos and then pulsing in the food processor. It will save a lot of time and energy not chopping by hand.
  • Make sure sugar is completely dissolved before adding pectin and lemon juice to avoid a grainy consistency.
  • Try this jam on ice cream, in yogurt, on pancakes, or in Easy Cheater Hand Pies. It’s pretty much good on anything.

Butterscotch Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chips

Oh my. My, my, my. It’s all I can say after tasting this little experiment. This “blondie” started out a lot like my PMS Cookies. I had a serious hankering for a good chewy chocolate chip cookie, but didn’t have all of the ingredients necessary. Then I remembered a blondie recipe I wanted to try, and again, didn’t have all of the ingredients, so it was up to my creative whim to come up with something new. This is not actually uncommon for me, but what is uncommon is for the results to be successful enough to want to share them with you.  This time, however, I actually impressed myself! Hopefully I can impress you too!

Butterscotch Blondies

1.5 c flour
1 small box cook and serve butterscotch pudding
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick of butter (1/2 c) softened
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
~2 c dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease 8×8 baking dish with butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Slowly incorporate flour mixture until well combined.
Mix in chocolate chips.
Turn out batter into prepared dish and smooth it out a little. Batter will be very sticky. Don’t worry about making it look pretty, the batter will smooth itself out the rest of the way as it bakes. Bake for 40 min or unit tester comes out moist, but clean.

Blueberry Almond Pancakes

Another successful experiment in pancakes this morning. pancakes are kind of a staple food around here. They are so cheap and easy to make, and you can vary them so many ways; it’s hard for me to get tired of them. This morning’s concoction proved to be especially delicious! They were so moist and chalked full of blueberries that they didn’t even need any additional butter or syrup. Of course if you want to add them, please be my guest! I would suggest real maple syrup or blueberry syrup; just my opinion. Oh! Or add a big dollop of real whipped cream! Yum! I hope you enjoy them as much as my munchkin and I did!

I’ve used the same pancake base for years. It is from the Better Homes & Garden Cookbook. I use their batter and just add my own flare to it.

Dry Ingredients:
1 3/4 c all purpose flour
2 TBLS sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3 TBLSP cooking oil
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Additional Ingredients:
~2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
~1/2 c sliced almonds

**Note: If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, you can place 1 TBLSP white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill to the one cup line with regular milk. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before use. For a cup and a half I use 1 1/2 TBLSP vinegar. You won’t taste it I promise.**

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients in med-large mixing bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl or 2 c liquid measuring cup.
Poor wet into dry, and stir just until wet through. Batter should be very lumpy.
Set aside and heat large skillet or electric griddle to low-medium heat; about 275 deg F if you are using the griddle.
Very lightly toast almonds, about 30 sec to one minute. They will cook further when added to pancakes. Set aside.
Butter griddle. I just use the stick and run it all over the griddle.
Measure out 1/4-1/3 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
Next sprinkle batter liberally with blueberries and again with almond slices.
Allow to cook until bubbly and edges appear dry.
Carefully flip and allow to cook through.
Butter the pan or griddle again between batches.
Now eat, eat, eat.

Grilled Summer Vegetables and Shrimp Marinara Cocktail Recipe

Being a self proclaimed foody, I’d have to say my favorite thing about Summer is cooking on the grill. Well, that and using the hose to clean up my toddler when she gets dirty, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to bask in the glory of the grill. I think I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. There is just something about food that is cooked over a fire, (the way nature intended) that just makes it… perfect! It seems to enhance the natural flavors of whatever is cooking on it, and adds a little hint of smokiness. You don’t even need to add seasoning. That’s what makes the grill so great! With this in mind, and two drawers full of fresh produce, I decided I needed to grill today. Looking at all of those luscious fruits and savory vegetables, I had to grill today.

It was so simple and easy. I fired up the grill, sliced some zucchini, yellow squash and a nectarine. I tossed the veggies in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, (Although in retrospect, i think lemon juice would have complimented the dish better, but I didn’t really have a plan yet.) seasoned them with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, then threw the veggies and nectarine on the grill over Med-Low heat (~300 degrees F)

Mmmmm, look at those great grill marks!

Next I hit the freezer for some protein where I conveniently found a bag of precooked shrimp. I remembered the left over marinara sauce from last nights dinner, and it gave me a great idea. I threw the shrimp in a colander to defrost under cold running water, then grabbed my ingredients for my “Marinara Cocktail Sauce.” Starting with about a cup of leftover Marinara Sauce, I added 3 TBLS ketchup, a dash of Tobasco Sauce, 1 tsp prepared horseradish (not horsey sauce, that has mayonnaise in it) and a TBLS Worcestershire Sauce, then mixed it all up. (If it is too spicy or not tangy enough, add a little more ketchup.)

I returned to the grill and flipped everything over. Once the veggies were cooked through and the nectarine had softened a little I removed them from the grill. (Note: the nectarine took less time to cook than the vegetables.)

Finally, I squeezed a lemon wedge over my shrimp and topped it with big spoonfuls of the chunky marinara cocktail sauce, then served it next to the warm grilled veggies for lunch.

Then for dessert, I drizzled vanilla yogurt over the cooled nectarines and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Can we say YUMMMM-Y?! It was delightful. Healthy, yet satisfying. Thank you, my dear grill, thank you.

Cocktail Time: Limey Rum-Martini


I think I have mentioned before that my hubby and I like to partake in a cocktail or two every now and then. Tonight is one of those times. It’s hot. We don’t have air conditioning. Dinner is cooking in the crock pot… outside, because it’s too hot to have inside. We needed something refreshing. I hit the booze cupboard to see what we had, entered the ingredients into google for a little inspiration and this is what I came up with. A cold, boozy, limey, rum-martini. Enjoy. It’s cocktail-thirty!

Limey Rum-Martini
adapted from Siesta Key Lime Martini
1.5 parts Silver Rum
1 part Orange liqueur
1.5 parts lime juice (~2 limes)
~1 c ice
superfine sugar for rim.

Run your lime around the rim of your martini glasses and invert in a saucer of superfine sugar. Set aside.
Combine all other ingredients in cocktail shaker.
Shake shake shake!
Pour into sugar rimmed glass.
Sip. Repeat.

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