Monday, August 27, 2012

Older and Closer...

"...there is no such thing as being only a mother. You exist as ______________'s mother only because you first exist as God's creature. That relationship is older and closer...He also loves you..."

-The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (p. 91)

When I heard this read yesterday, I was overjoyed and reassured all over again. Yes, we are mothers but firstly and more importantly we are daughters of God. Bearing and raising children is a noble and high calling. But it is NOT where my righteousness comes from. My righteousness comes solely from the blood of Christ. What a relief for me and my children!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sweet Summer Sleep...

Isabella was so tired she fell asleep on the back porch.

Then someone else decided to join her!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blackberry Financiers

I made these today and decided that had to be shared since they were SO delicious, I mean very tasty!! Well, at least I thought so...Hope you try them out! 
Blackberry Financiers
From Bon Appetit Magazine 
  • 1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • nonstick vegetable spray or mini muffin liners
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blackberries, halved
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until browned bits begin to form. Continue to simmer frequently scraping up browned bits at bottom of pan, until dark brown, but not burnt, about 6-7 minutesDo not take your eyes off the saucepan has the butter can burn in an instant.  Scrape the butter and the browned bits into a medium bowl and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Next, process almonds and flour in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Add egg whites and mix until smooth. Fold in honey.
  3. Fold browned butter into batter. Cover and chill for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Place the rack in the middle and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat muffin cups with non-stick spray, or use muffin liners for easier release. Fill cups to 3/4 full and press 3 blackberry halves into the batter.
  5. Bake until cakes are golden brown and just cooked through, 15-16 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then remove cakes from pan. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Here are the pictures of mine...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Belly Target Practice! this is what happens when I leave Isabella with Uncle Ryan and Auntie Beth!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Homemade Graham Crackers

Store bought are pale by comparison. These are amazing and much more like shortbread than crackers. Hope you enjoy them. I made them to take camping for S'mores. If you want to really be gourmet, make your own marshmallows too! Here's a picture of what they looked like all done.

Homemade Graham Crackers
Yield: About 20 (3-inch) crackers
Prep Time: 3 hours | Bake Time: 15 minutes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 & 1/3 cups graham flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and honey, and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended and the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
3. Transfer the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press into a 7-inch square, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.
4. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 3-inch squares. Transfer to the baking sheet, spacing the crackers at least ¾-inch apart, gather any scraps, re-roll, and cut out more cookies.
6. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and then rotate the baking sheet. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are dark golden brown and just firm to the touch. Let cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely (they will crisp up as they cool). Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Note: You could also combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the cookies before they go into the oven for a cinnamon-sugar graham cracker.

Browned Butter Lemon Pasta - A 15 Minute Meal

I must start by saying, this was an absolutely fabulous dinner and oh so simple to make! It had to be shared.
So with that said, here's the recipe:

Browned Butter Lemon Pasta
Yields about 3-4 servings

1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 - 1 tsp lemon zest (use 1 for stronger lemon flavor)
2 Tbsp Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
8 oz spaghetti noodles, uncooked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 oz freshly, finely grated Romano cheese (1/2 cup)
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds (toasted if desired)

Cook pasta according to directions listed on package. Meanwhile, brown butter in a small saucepan (for a tutorial on how to properly brown butter, see link here), set aside. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and lemon zest and saute until lightly golden. Stir in bread crumbs and toast, stirring constantly, until golden (they will toast quickly), remove from heat. Pour garlic mixture into brown butter mixture along with lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Once pasta has cooked through, drain well and return to pasta pot. Pour browned butter mixture over pasta, season with salt and pepper to taste (I'd recommend being somewhat generous with the pepper), add romano cheese, basil and almonds and toss mixture to evenly coat. Serve warm (note that the lemon flavors will tone down and blend in after pasta has rested just a few minutes). 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Family Camping Trip

Daniel took Isabella and I on our first family vacation with only our little family. We went camping and I must say it was a blast!! Not only was the weather impeccable (in the upper 80s), we had access to a pool too. We had such a nice time relaxing and being with each other without any pressure to do anything. Isabella loved finding treasures and grubbing around. But, without a death & life-giving word there is no way we would enjoy being with each other so much.

Here are some special moment pictures.

Sunset tub time

Look what I found! A lizard.

A viewpoint by our campsite.

Making S'mores

Using homemade graham crackers & marshmallows. Yummy!