Another Breakfast Recipe

I probably have 12 favorite breakfast recipes that I rotate, and yet… I still get bored with them.  In fact, I think my favorite Pinterest board is my breakfast one. When in the mood for a change… check Pinterest.  Last night I came across a recipe for overnight apple oatmeal that claimed, “Perfect for a crisp fall day.”  It scared me a little that it’s only May with just a few hot days under our belt, and I am already dreaming of fall!  But anyway, if I had pinned it originally I think I would have said, “Perfect for Bible Study mornings when it’s impossible to get out of the house on time and the kids need a good filling breakfast so they don’t overkill on goldfish all morning at the Bible Study.”  That would sell anybody, right?   Oh, and I think I would have called it apple pie oatmeal.  Because, (at least for the kids), it’s all in the name, right?  Like last night when I got home from a 5 hour trip to the dentist and was still super numb and sore and made elbow pasta with marinara and cheese; the kids refused to touch it until I called it “mac n chizza;” then they gobbled it down!  (True story!)  But, I regress…  So, I made this apple pie oatmeal.  And, I was right; they were all excited to try it because of the name.

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Unfortunately, they didn’t love it.  They said they did — but didn’t eat that much.  I would have to concur; it was a little disappointing.  I will do it again.  But next time I am using granny smith apples for a little tartness, and perhaps upping the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.  And, I will be taking the lid off first thing in the morning to allow it to cool and permeate the house with the fresh apple pie smell!

Mother’s Day 2013

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I was resigned to the fact that my husband had to work on Mother’s Day.  It’s happened a few times before, and I find that it’s silly to whine about it when I am blessed beyond…BEYOND!  So, I was totally resigned to that fact, and totally ok in my heart.  Saturday night came, and I found out he was going to take the day off.  It was the best present ever!  The day was simple.  Flowers.  Pastries, iced coffee, and cake from my favorite bakery.  Church.  More swimming.  Dinner.  Family time goofing off with the kids.  Here’s the goofy picture:

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And, here’s the dinner:  (Don’t drool!):

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I truly felt blessed.  The dinner was awesome; the other goodies were great.  The homemade cards; lovely!  But, just all being together as a family was precious.

Beating the Heat

Whew… we have had some cuh-razy weather down here!  It all began about 10 days ago when we made a spontaneous decision to have the outside of our house painted.  Two days later we had painters washing down our house and prepping it for paint.  Once it was all taped-up with plastic sheets along all the windows, the wind came.  (Not just any wind, mind you; the torrential Santa Ana’s that made it sound like the house was about to blow to Oz!) So, the next day they came and took down all the torn plastic and said they’d be back once the wind stopped.

It stopped.  They returned.  They prepped again.  And finally, they painted.  I gasped.  I pride myself on choosing colors well.  I did not choose well.  It looked pink.  And our front door is chartreuse.  Pink and chartreuse; AAAH!  My husband came home from work and had the same reaction.  “It’s pink.”  So, we agreed to have the entire house re-painted.  (Ouch is right!)

But then the rains came.  And came.  The re-painting that was suppose to start on Monday had to be pushed to a Friday.

Finally Friday came.  And, so did the heat!  Hot, hot, hot!  But the painters pushed through, and as of right now it is officially done.  (I am THRILLED!)  I’ll show you pictures soon.

Anyway, summer literally came overnight and shocked us.  So, the girls jumped in the pool.  I am so happy that Sierra finally enjoys swimming!  And, I just love how the girls could be turning purple and through chattering lips exclaim, “I’m not cold.  This is so fun!”

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Little boy, on the other hand, had no trouble telling us he wasn’t happy.  Poor kid did not even enjoy a second of it, (which kind of shocks me since he asks to play with “wa-wa” all day!)

While the kids were out enjoying their first real swim of the season with their Papa, I decided to make some spring rolls for dinner.  Spring rolls are something I’ve always wanted to try, but always had a fear of doing.  But, the possibilities to stuff in them on a hot summer night when you don’t want to heat up the house are endless.  I tried this recipe for chicken and avocado spring rolls I got from Pinterest.

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The trick for me was not to overstuff them.  I was wishing I had larger rice paper to use, but this was the only size I found at our local Asian Market.  I set-up an assembly line and got to work.  I had two plates: one for the ones I was able to fold, and one for the ones that were sort of a disaster.

spring roll 2 CollageFinal score: Disaster: 6 Good: 9  And, the good won!  Hooray!! 🙂 (But the disasters were eaten, as well.)   Give these a try.  You can do all the prep in the afternoon and then stick them in the fridge until dinner!  They’re a fun hot day alternative to grilling or cold sandwiches.

The Maloof Gardens

I believe last year at this time, we were completely done with our curriculum.  Completely.  This year?  Yikes — we are behind.  Well, sort of.  We are fine with Language Arts and math… just behind on science and history.  How did that happen?  Well, the girls are pretty independent when it comes to LA and math.  But, it takes a lot of mom to do science and history; and right now the little two require a lot of mom.  Can we just say that I am counting down to summer?  I’m definitely ready for a chance to organize, gather my thoughts and ideas, plan, and… breathe!

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That’s kind of what we did today.  We took a little breather.  And oh, how wonderful the air tasted!

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So, where did we go?  Let me back-up for just a minute.  Last week while the girls were at piano and the little ones with Daniel, I decided to go for a jog.  I love jogging.  Love it.  But, I haven’t done much of it this past year due to time constraints and my knee.  {A torn acl, torn meniscus, mild arthritis, and scar tissue from a past surgery are giving my left knee some trouble… but that’s another story!}  Anyway, as I jogged up this street, I came to a museum at the top of the hill with a flyer.  It was the house of Sam Maloof; apparently a famous wood worker.  His house is now a museum that gives tours, and the gardens have a free tour.  I’m all about free, so I decided we would give it a shot!

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We started at the visitor center with a map, and then followed it around the garden.  There wasn’t a whole lot to see other than lots of lizards and lots of lemons.  But, the map was marked with bird houses to find, which was kind of fun.  And, it really was fun just to walk around and look at the different trees and flowers.

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And lady bugs are always exciting… (until they fly off the hand of a 3 year old, and onto the shirt of her big sister.  Then they’re simply cause for a major tired 3-yr-old meltdown tantrum!)

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Natalie and Allison brought notebooks to sketch and journal in.

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…And Sierra found a wood-carved carousel.  If only it was a real working carousel; perhaps the ladybug flying away incident would have been less traumatic!

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We left Malachi at home to nap while Daniel was still busy working away at our new chicken coop.  Can’t wait to have that project finished, too!  Oh summer, please come soon!

Life

Another random post… here we go!

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This boy loves his doggy.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over and seen him lying on this dog.  The problem is, our doggy is camera-shy.  Whenever I grab the camera, he runs!  So, I was very lucky to even get this shot.  A boy and his dog.  Precious.

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This girl officially has her new desk area like her sisters.  We even got her a matching pink chair.  She is ecstatic.

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We’re big fans of Lowe’s “Build and Grow” program for the kids, but decided to give Home Depot’s kids’ program a chance.  Turns out we’re big fans of this one, too.  They even got to paint these special planters!

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Daniel is loving his new birthday present.  Notice the oven — yes, a bull’s eye was drawn with dry-erase markers!  In fact, they may have also been drawn on our back windows, our whiteboard, and any other wipeable surface throughout the house.

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We introduced the not-so-little chickies to our big chickens today.  So far so good.

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The kids are busy observing and analyzing their interactions.

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…And, Daniel is busy trying to get the new coop built!

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This dude loves doing the dishes.  And, squirting windex.  (I may have delivered a slightly damp windex-smelling boy to the childcare workers at Bible Study this morning.  Oops.)  Between this and his need to sweep the house, he has earned the nickname “Cleaning Crew.”

ll 9And last, but not least… our garden!  It got pretty beat-up during our unexpected Santa Ana’s last week. And, it is infested with worms, causing the peas to die off and the squash to thwart its growing.  Organic gardening is work.  I’ve pinned some tips to help, but been too busy to look at them.  At least our lettuce is doing well — for now!

And, that’s a glimpse of happenings around here.

Pinterest Recipe Review

Hello, hello!  Are you Pinterested in some recipe reviews? 🙂  If so, read on…

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The first is Greek pizza.  Let me start by saying I am a HUGE fan of greek salad.  Actually, Greek food in general appeals to me… Gyros are the ONLY way I will eat lamb!  So, I was excited to try this recipe.  And, it didn’t disappoint!  Both my husband and I thought it was awesome.  I followed the recipe exactly, down to Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust — except that I grilled it, of course.   You can get the recipe here.

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Next up? Carrot cake granola bites.  These were ok… they tasted more “healthy” than the peanut butter-honey energy bites we used to make all the time.  I didn’t even try them on my kids. Ironically, my husband thought they were “too sweet.”  Here is the recipe if you are so inclined.

pr 3Next we have our parmesan pretzels dipped in marinara.  Big hit all around.  I just used the pretzel dog recipe from the other day.  (Can you tell we are currently “into” pizza and pretzels?)  Grab the recipe here.

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Last, but not least we have our breakfast cookies.  To be honest, I love the 3 recipes I’ve tried.  These are very similar to the blueberry coconut ones I made here.  But, just different enough that my girls didn’t like them.  (Much to my surprise!)  Again, I thought they were awesome.  You can check out the recipe here.

“Going Granola”

Let’s see…

We raise our own chickens.

We have a lovely little organic garden.

We began buying {mostly} organic foods.

And now I’m making my own granola?

When did we become hippies?

Ha!

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Actually, I have always wanted to make my own granola.  Back in college I spent my summers as a camp counselor in Montana.  They made THE BEST homemade granola.  Remind me to track someone down for that recipe!

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Anyway, I was looking for a new breakfast idea the other day and came across a recipe I pinned a while back.  The best part?  It was tagged “easy” and “just 5 ingredients.” THAT was the recipe I was looking for!  Of course, I had to make it my own.  I added coconut, flax seed, chia seed, and almonds.  (I wanted to add raisins as well, but I knew that would eliminate it as an option for one of my children.)

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Allison tried it with almond milk and loved it.  Sierra took hers with plain milk.  I had mine crunchy like a bar with a cup of coffee…

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And, little dude had his plain as well.  (Mostly because I was not in the mood to put a bib on him and clean up a milky mess… I was looking for easy, remember?)

Here is the original recipe.  FYI, I quadrupled it and added the aforementioned ingredients.  I will be doing this often.

PB Granola
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. oats

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 20 seconds). Stir.

Stir cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture. Add oats and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture. Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 7 -8 minutes until granola is slightly browned. Let cool until granola is crunchy.