Sunday, June 28, 2009

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

For Bill's birthday today, I made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing from scratch. I didn't get a picture of the cake, so here is a picture snapped while Daniel was napping and his attack dinosaur was standing guard.
4 eggs
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose baking flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup applesauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans.
2. In mixer, beat together eggs, oil, sugars, vanilla, applesauce. In seperate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add dry mix to wet mix in mixer. Fold in carrots, pour into pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
4. To make frosting: In mixer, 1 stick butter, 1 block cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla and 4 cups powdered sugar - mix until frosting is desired consistancy.

Lunch Guests Menu

Today we had Mom and Bill over for lunch. Bill's 65th birthday is today. It's hot, hot, hot and with Bill's health, his appetite is really poor. Bill is also very sensitive to smells, so I didn't want to cook anything "smelly" - good or bad.

Today's lunch fare:


Seriously, what a great plan for a non-messy lunch for when we are having guests! We had fresh baked bread from Publix, 2 different deli meats, 3 different cheeses, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, mustards, mayo - and anything else one could want on a sandwich. The easy-peasy part of this is that most of these things are normal items from our refrigerator anyway! The huge sandwich making bar was a great hit. Paired with some chopped fresh fruit, and baked tortilla chips - everyone was happy!

While this seems like such an easy solution, it was really eye-opening for us. We've been wanting to introduce ourselves to visitors at church and invite them to lunch at our house after church. However, it's always really hard to figure out what strangers would want to eat for lunch. But we're thinking this sandwich making bar just might be a step in the right direction! How do you do a quick lunch for guests on short notice?

Hot summer night dinner and yogurt woes

It's a hot, steamy, stormy night. I didn't really want to fire up the stove, and it was too stormy to grill out. A bento-type meal was in order!

Tonight's main fare:
Peanut butter cracker sandwiches
Chopped fruit

With a big glass of ice water

My concern is this: I've spent way too much time reading the yogurt labels lately. Yogurt is really high in sugar. I don't want to do Light or any other low-sugar yogurt, because then the sugar is replaced with a chemical alternative sugar substance, and I'm even less of a fan of sugar substitutes than I am of pure sugar. I've tried Greek yogurt, and honestly, I'm not a fan - it actually makes me gag to even think about it.

I'm considering making my own yogurt. Anyone else try this? I'm gonna need some tips!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking time to reflect

I haven't posted on our family blog or this blog for probably the longest hiatus since I've begun blogging. I just needed some time to really think about if I wanted to continue blogging. I get very afraid of the written word. Since this is only one dimension of communication, I worry that my words could be read in a way that gives them a different meaning than what I had intended.

I had taken a bit of a break to really think about what was going on in my life and to prioritize. As I've shared, my step-father is very seriously ill. He's doing great all things considered and is planning to come over to our house on next Sunday for his 65th birthday.

I'm also 6 months into my new full-time job and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the large amount of responsibility. I can now admit that after the first 2 months into my position, I really enjoyed spending quite a bit of time with the upper management of this large healthcare institution. I started to think that was the direction that I should move in. I even met with a few college recruiters to consider an MBA, which is the next logical step for me for leadership in healthcare. However, it's such a big decision, I couldn't do it without lots and lots of prayer and reflection. I've had some really large nudging in the other direction, showing me that middle and upper management is not my calling. I enjoy my job, and I'm consistently told that I'm doing a good job, but I can't put my finger on what doesn't feel right - there's something there that I just know that this is just a stepping stone launching me to something completely different. So, after some serious consideration, I'm hoping to have my application to the Frontier School of Nursing complete by the end of July. I'm planning to obtain my Masters in Nursing with an emphasis as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I'm not linking to the school's website, but if you have time, check it out - the history behind it is fantastic and I'm really excited about the school. Nearly two years ago one of my best friends was trying to talk me into going to the school with her, I wasn't able to go because I had not finished my Bachelor's degree yet. She's now almost through and I am so excited for her.

Hubby and I have started going to our friends' house for Bible study on Friday nights. Last Friday night we took the motorcycle and it was a fun ride over there. It's a great group - the host family and our family are in our early thirties and three other couples are young dating college couples. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like the more turmoil my life is in, the closer I feel to God. And because He knows my every feeling right now, I'm finding it really hard to offer even the most benign "thank You for our food" type prayers without feeling teary. It's really hard to explain.

Anywho - this is what's happening with us and why I've been absent. I've decided to continue to blog because it's a great outlet. But I've also decided that my days of trying to keep a daily record of what the kids are doing - yeah, that's pretty much over. I need to spend more time living in my life, and less time typing about it. :)

Fresh Fruit Crepes

All I can say is, "yummy!".
Last week for dinner one exceptionally hot night, I made fresh fruit crepes. I have to admit that I actually purchased my crepes from the grocery store, instead of making them from scratch, even though it's super-easy to make crepes, I've just been on over-drive lately with being so busy.
1 package of crepes
assortment of chopped fresh fruit
I let the kids help me put these together. Basically, just pile the fruit in the middle of the crepe, dollop with yogurt and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of granola over the top. I used Kashi cereal since we were fresh out of granola. Which reminds me that I need to post my recipe for granola - it's super easy and super yummy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuna Patties


1 large can of tuna, packed in water, drained
1 box of Stove Top Stuffing prepared
1 lg egg
1 chopped onion
1 chopped celery

1. Smoosh all the ingredients together into little patties.

2. Cook over med-high heat until cooked through and crispy on the outside.


Cold Tortellini Salad

Tortellini - cooked and cooled
Whatever else is in the fridge :)

Tonight I added:
Cherry tomatoes
Chopped broccoli
Chopped red and yellow peppers
1/2 can of garbanzo beans
1 chopped cucumber
1 small can chopped olives

There really aren't any directions - just mix it all together in a pretty bowl. Set on table with a few different salad dressings. My oldest likes Lite Italian. The middle likes Ranch. The youngest likes Mustard Honey (or Honey Mustard, for the over 3 crowd!).

Strawberry Banana Ice Pops!

This weekend, I made some strawberry banana smoothies - but I excluded the greek yogurt this time - so it was just strawberries, bananas, orange juice and ice. Yummy! The best thing about making smoothies is the leftovers! I pour our leftovers into our ice-pop makers.

We've got a few different types of ice-pop makers. Some folks advocate using a paper cup and popcycle stick, but I'd rather use something re-usable, and with a smaller serving size. So one of My Favorite Things this week is my ice-pop maker. I get to give the kids wholesome Popsicles.