Cilantro Lime Chicken

corn dog muffins

My first job after graduating high school was working in the Sears shoe department. At that time Al Bundy graced the night

I used one (16 ounce) package of Marie Calendar’s corn bread mix. The recipe calls for brown sugar but I swapped maple syrup for the sugar.

2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

9 hot dogs, what is ed advice cost cut in half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog half to each muffin.

Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown
corn dog muffins

My first job after graduating high school was working in the Sears shoe department. At that time Al Bundy graced the night

I used one (16 ounce) package of Marie Calendar’s corn bread mix. The recipe calls for brown sugar but I swapped maple syrup for the sugar.

2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

9 hot dogs, advice cost cut in half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog half to each muffin.

Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown
corn dog muffins

My first job after graduating high school was working in the Sears shoe department at the mall. It was not the most glamorous of professions, prostate standing around for 9 hours but it paid. Occasionally for breakfast I would stop by Cinnabon for a mini roll and wash it down with a pint of milk. Sometimes for lunch the owner of the Chinese Wok would cook up a special plate of spicy Tai food for me. But my favorite lunch was at the corn dog place. I loved the cheese sticks. A stick of cheese dipped in corn bread and then deep fried to perfection. As a teenager there was no such thing as eating healthy. I have not had a corn dog in an extremely long time. When I bit into a corn dog muffin I was sent back in time to the little table in the Sears break room where I sat and ate my cheese stick.

These little guys are really great for an after school snack. I used one (16 ounce) package of Marie Calendar’s corn bread mix. It is a little sweeter than the Jiffy mix so I swapped out the sugar for maple syrup. I am thinking I might play around with adding some vegetables, medicine carrots, peas or corn.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com
2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
9 hot dogs, cut in half lengthwise then chopped into half moons or diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the milk mixture, cheese and hot dogs into the dry ingredients until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full.

Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
corn dog muffins

My first job after graduating high school was working in the Sears shoe department. At that time Al Bundy graced the night

I used one (16 ounce) package of Marie Calendar’s corn bread mix. The recipe calls for brown sugar but I swapped maple syrup for the sugar.

2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

9 hot dogs, advice cost cut in half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog half to each muffin.

Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown
corn dog muffins

My first job after graduating high school was working in the Sears shoe department at the mall. It was not the most glamorous of professions, prostate standing around for 9 hours but it paid. Occasionally for breakfast I would stop by Cinnabon for a mini roll and wash it down with a pint of milk. Sometimes for lunch the owner of the Chinese Wok would cook up a special plate of spicy Tai food for me. But my favorite lunch was at the corn dog place. I loved the cheese sticks. A stick of cheese dipped in corn bread and then deep fried to perfection. As a teenager there was no such thing as eating healthy. I have not had a corn dog in an extremely long time. When I bit into a corn dog muffin I was sent back in time to the little table in the Sears break room where I sat and ate my cheese stick.

These little guys are really great for an after school snack. I used one (16 ounce) package of Marie Calendar’s corn bread mix. It is a little sweeter than the Jiffy mix so I swapped out the sugar for maple syrup. I am thinking I might play around with adding some vegetables, medicine carrots, peas or corn.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com
2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
9 hot dogs, cut in half lengthwise then chopped into half moons or diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the milk mixture, cheese and hot dogs into the dry ingredients until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full.

Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
I found this really great Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe in the Eating Healthy section of Woman’s Day magazine. Normally I glimpse over the section and toss because they rarely have any recipes, search that although I might enjoy them, I feel my kids would not eat it. This time I found a few recipes to try Cilantro Lime Chicken being one of them.

A couple summers ago I had this obsession with cilantro and limes. I could not get enough. I tried several Cilantro Lime Chicken recipes but was never impressed. In this particular recipe the hint of sweetness from the honey, the pungent cilantro and tart lime build upon one another creating a nice mingling of flavors making this my go to recipe for fajitas. I doubled the marinade and used it to baste the chicken while cooking. The flavor was perfect.

Source: Woman’s Day 2010
Cilantro Lime Chicken:
1 tbsp
1 honey
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 chicken breasts

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, lime juice and cilantro. Pour this mixture over the chicken breast and marinate for 20 minutes. Discard marinade.

Grill or broil chicken for 6-8 minutes per side until it is cooked through and no longer pink.

Grilled Vegetables with Pasta and Sausage

Table Manners:
Learn how to set an informal dinner table

Dinner Table Etiquette:

Table Manners:
Learn how to set an informal dinner table

Dinner Table Etiquette:

Grilled vegetables with Pasta

Grilled vegetables with pasta is one of my favorite ways to use up vegetables and left over meat. Except in winter when they all go in a pot for soup. This dish is a throw back to my days in college. It is cheap, order quick, what is ed easy and the variations are endless. Back then I used Top Ramen onions and peppers. On a college budget 10 for $1.00 for Top Ramen was not bad. The grilled vegetables seemed to turn an ordinary plate of noodles into an elegant meal. Throw in some black beans and I had a sustainable meal for all those hiking trips in the mountains.

6 ounces Italian Sausage, for sale chicken, pork, steak or 1 can of black or garbanzo beans,
1 small red onion, sliced
2 zucchini, halved then chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Pepper
1 pound pasta of you choice

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the grease. Add the vegetables. Let cook a few minutes before stirring. Continue sauteing a few minutes longer. The vegetables should be tender but still have a bite to them.

Drain pasta. Dish pasta onto plates or bowls and top with a serving of vegetables.

Serves 4

Variations:
Meats: chicken, steak, pork chops, bacon, black beans, garbanzo beans, Kidney beans, tofu, ect.
Vegetables: eggplant, squash, tomatoes, peas, asparagus, artichoke hearts, bok choy, broccoli, ect.

Setting a Table and Dinning Etiquette

Growing up, visit we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, try Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, treatment so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Growing up, visit we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, try Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, treatment so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

place-setting-guide

If we want to have an enjoyable and civilized dining experience with our kids we have to take the time to teach them. That means eating together as a family and practicing good habits at home. Etiquette is defined as the rules for socially acceptable behavior. Bad table manners are a form of disrespect. If you want to make a great first impression on a first date, ailment land a job interview or be ready for Thanksgiving at Aunt Bertha’s practice makes perfect.

Consider dinnertime as an intimate social event. You are not only there to eat but to enjoy each other’s company. Etiquette helps us know what is expected of us and what we can expect from others. It is like a coordinated dance from the placement of the dinnerware to the movements of the dinner guests. Knowing and understanding table manners (the dance steps) allows everyone to enjoy the meal and avoid embarrassment.

Younger children require constant reminders. Over time if we stick to it they will surprise us. Avoid saying “do not do that” and never scold them when they slip up. Small children lack the coordination therefore; meals are going to be messy. Making negative comments or yelling at them only embarrasses them and encourages them to misbehave. Instead use positive reinforcement to explain what they should be doing and why. When a glass of water is unintentionally spilled quietly help them clean it up. The same rule applies when adults tip a glass. We would use our napkin to calmly and quickly stop the spill from running over to the persons next to us. Withholding our agitation at the mess teaches them by example how to handle the situation properly. Should a child want to purposely cause mayhem remind them of the rules; food belongs on the plate not on the floor. If they insist on making a mess they can eat dinner alone in the other room or take their meal away.

It is important to explain to children and teenagers precisely why we have rules of etiquette at the dinner table.
–Always wash your hands before eating.
— We wait until everyone is served or the hostess says to start eating because that is the polite thing to do. It is rude to eat in front of someone especially when we are a guest in someone’s home.
— Always place a napkin in your lap so that food lands in the napkin and not on the floor. You also do not want your napkin to invade your neighbor’s eating space.
— We don’t put our elbows on the table, ambulance because it crowds others and you could knock something over.
— We don’t burp out loud, unhealthy because it is unpleasant and offensive to those around you.
— Chew with your mouth closed because no one wants to see your chewed food, it is gross.
— Take small bites because you could choke.
— Ask brother to pass the peas. Reaching for things far away on the table could knock something over.
— Always say please and thank you to show gratitude.

For everything you ever wanted to know about dinning etiquette visit EtiquetteScholar.com. The following videos will cover setting an informal dinner table and touch on a a few basic principles of etiquette.

Warm Spinach Salad with Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette

Shepherds Pie is a meat pie dating back to the Middle Ages. Traditionally “Mutton Pie” was made using lamb or mutton and vegetables baked in a thick pastry shell called a “coffyn”. The pastry was thick, viagra 100mg tough and inedible. The “coffyn” was a type of baking dish patterned after the stoneware dishes of Ancient Egypt that could withstand hours of heat.

The “Cottage Pie” is believed to have originated in Scotland. The cottage pie was traditionally made with beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes unlike the shepherds pie made with mutton and vegetables. Pies or casseroles were a useful way to use left over meat. The vegetables consisted of what ever was available that season. The Elizabethans favored a similar “Minced Meat Pie” seasoned with cloves, mace, pepper, saffron, raisins and prunes.

Cottage pie came across the seas to the America’s with the English. There are as many versions of Shepherds or Cottage pie as there are Grandmothers. This recipe for Cottage Pie is a mixture of beef with gravy and loaded with veggies.

Source: Elli Krieger
1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher) or turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or creamery potatoes
1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
2/3 cup 1 percent lowfat milk
2 tablespoons butter

In a large nonstick skillet cook the meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Drain any fat remaining in the skillet.

Heat the oil in the skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, covered, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately-high. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and their liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a simmer being sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peas. Pour the mixture into a 12-cup shallow baking dish (about 11 by 9 inches).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Arrange the potatoes in a steamer basket, and steam for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower to the basket and cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes longer. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher until smooth. Heat the milk, butter, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper and stir into the potato mixture.

Spread the potato mixture on top of the meat and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Variations:
— For a smaller serving bake individual cups using 6-oz ramekins per person; or use half the mixture and bake in a 9X9-inch pan.
– Use the leftover potatoes with another main dish later in the week.
– Use the leftover meat mixture in a pot pie. Grease a pie plate with oil or butter. Lay 1 pie crust in the bottom then fill with meat mixture. Top with another layer of pie crust. Freeze or use within the next two days. – Make a Mexican pie. Add a tablespoon chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, black beans and corn. Layer in a cake pan: tortilla, mixture, cheese. Repeat. Freeze or use within the next two days.

Research: Food Time Line & What’s Cooking America

Shepherds Pie is a meat pie dating back to the Middle Ages. Traditionally “Mutton Pie” was made using lamb or mutton and vegetables baked in a thick pastry shell called a “coffyn”. The pastry was thick, viagra 100mg tough and inedible. The “coffyn” was a type of baking dish patterned after the stoneware dishes of Ancient Egypt that could withstand hours of heat.

The “Cottage Pie” is believed to have originated in Scotland. The cottage pie was traditionally made with beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes unlike the shepherds pie made with mutton and vegetables. Pies or casseroles were a useful way to use left over meat. The vegetables consisted of what ever was available that season. The Elizabethans favored a similar “Minced Meat Pie” seasoned with cloves, mace, pepper, saffron, raisins and prunes.

Cottage pie came across the seas to the America’s with the English. There are as many versions of Shepherds or Cottage pie as there are Grandmothers. This recipe for Cottage Pie is a mixture of beef with gravy and loaded with veggies.

Source: Elli Krieger
1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher) or turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or creamery potatoes
1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
2/3 cup 1 percent lowfat milk
2 tablespoons butter

In a large nonstick skillet cook the meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Drain any fat remaining in the skillet.

Heat the oil in the skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, covered, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately-high. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and their liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a simmer being sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peas. Pour the mixture into a 12-cup shallow baking dish (about 11 by 9 inches).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Arrange the potatoes in a steamer basket, and steam for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower to the basket and cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes longer. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher until smooth. Heat the milk, butter, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper and stir into the potato mixture.

Spread the potato mixture on top of the meat and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Variations:
— For a smaller serving bake individual cups using 6-oz ramekins per person; or use half the mixture and bake in a 9X9-inch pan.
– Use the leftover potatoes with another main dish later in the week.
– Use the leftover meat mixture in a pot pie. Grease a pie plate with oil or butter. Lay 1 pie crust in the bottom then fill with meat mixture. Top with another layer of pie crust. Freeze or use within the next two days. – Make a Mexican pie. Add a tablespoon chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, black beans and corn. Layer in a cake pan: tortilla, mixture, cheese. Repeat. Freeze or use within the next two days.

Research: Food Time Line & What’s Cooking America
I am amazed that so many recipes have withstood the test of time. Take roasted chicken, malady green beans and mashed potatoes. A traditional dinner menu that has not evolved much over time. Add a few herbs to the chicken, generic a little garlic to the beans and some butter and milk in the potatoes and you have yourself a tasty dinner. Cooked spinach and liver on the other hand needed a serious overhaul and with today’s culinary artists spinach is finding its way into our homes once again. Warm Spinach with Ginger Soy Vinaigrette is not your Grandmother’s slimy  flavorless spinach. For picky kids pair with a side of fish or pasta.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine
Vinaigrette
1 tbsp fresh ginger, pharm minced
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup light or blended olive oil

Salad
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup shelled edamame beans
4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted cashews
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes; set aside.

To prepare salad heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add oil and mushrooms; saute until cooked through. Add edamame sauteing to heat through, about 2 minutes. Add spinach; heat until leaves just begin to wilt, about 1 minute.

Pour spinach mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add cilantro and cashews. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.

Cilantro

It is said that baking is not only an art but more importantly it is a science. First let’s take a look at the science of baking a cake for each main ingredient in a recipe serves an important purpose. The basic carrot cake recipes are all pretty much the same, treatment 2 cups sugar, nurse 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups oil, 4 eggs and 3 cups carrots.

  • Every carrot cake recipe I found called for 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour. Flour is the primary structure builder in most cakes. The gluten in the flour reacts with the leavening agent (baking soda and baking powder and oil) during baking to make the cake rise.
  • The second ingredient is sugar. The first rule in baking states that the sugar should weigh slightly more or equal to the amount of flour used. This is because the sugar is needed to tenderize the gluten in the flour and acts as a sweetener and preservative to keep the cake moist for several days. About 50 percent of the sugar may be replaced with a liquid substitute; although, when replacing granular sugar for the liquid form, the liquid content of the recipe must be reduced slightly by a couple of tablespoons to a ¼ cup to compensate. The combined weight of the liquid (eggs, fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar.
  • The third ingredient is oil. Oil like sugar acts as a tenderizing agent to keep the cake from drying out while baking. Oil is also used in correlation with baking soda and powder as a leavening agent. When the oil is mixed into the batter it helps to incorporate air into the cake giving it volume.
  • The fourth main ingredient is eggs. Eggs react with the flour and oil in providing structure and strength. Because of the tenderizing properties of oil the proteins in eggs are necessary to give the cake support. Therefore, the weight of the eggs should equal or exceed the weight of the oil.

Other things to consider:
It is necessary to consider the amount of fat, eggs and liquid used in a recipe. The liquid in the cake (milk, water, milk, eggs, vegetable, fruit, vanilla) serves to develop the gluten, dissolves the sugar, ignites the baking powder and regulates the temperature of the batter while in the oven. Liquids should always equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. If not enough liquid is used to dissolve the sugar, the cake will collapse in the center. If there is too much flour there will not be enough liquid to dissolve the sugar. The amount of liquid is partially controlled by the type of fat used as oils, margarine and shortening vary in the amount of water they contain.

In our carrot cake recipe we need 50-60 percent as much oil as flour. The weight of the eggs should equal or slightly exceed the weight of the oil. The combined weight of the eggs plus the liquid (fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. The weight of the sugar should equal the weight of the flour.

On to Substitutions:
I have just given you the rules based on the science of baking a cake. Now let’s discuss the exceptions to the rules. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly without a replacement in most recipes. Substitutions are not ideal especially when baking delicate foods such as pastries. Quick breads like banana bread or carrot cake offer a little more room for error.

Cake Baking Science Project:

Put science to the test with this cake science project. Learn about chemical reactions by baking 4 small cakes leaving one important ingredient out of 3 of them. The ingredients are only for 1 cake, so you’ll need to measure and mix 4 times.

What you’ll need:
• A small soup or cereal bowl
• Several layers of aluminum foil
• A pie pan
• Cooking oil to grease the “cake pans”
• Measuring spoons
• A cup or small bowl for the egg
• A small mixing bowl
• Your science journal

Ingredients:
• 6 tablespoons flour
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 or 3 pinches baking powder
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 tablespoons cooking oil
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
• Part of an egg
(Break egg into a cup, beat until mixed.
Use 1/3 of it. Save the rest for 2 of the other cakes.)

What to do:
1. Wrap several layers of aluminum foil around the outside of a cereal or soup bowl to form a mold.
2. Remove your foil “pan” and put it in a pie pan for support.
3. Oil the “inside” of your foil pan with cooking oil so the cake doesn’t stick.
4. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
5. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ones (only use 1/3 of the egg). Stir until smooth and all the same color.
6. Pour batter into the “pan.”
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Bake 3 more cakes:
Leave the oil out of one.
Leave the egg out of another.
Leave the baking powder out of the third.
Cut each cake in half and look at the insides.
Do they look different?
Do they taste different?
9. Write about, or draw pictures of, what you see and taste.
Heat helps some chemical reactions to occur as the cake bakes:
It helps baking powder produce tiny bubbles of gas making the cake light and fluffy (this is called leavening).
It causes protein from the egg to change and make the cake firm.
Oil keeps the heat from drying out the cake.
It is said that baking is not only an art but more importantly it is a science. First let’s take a look at the science of baking a cake for each main ingredient in a recipe serves an important purpose. The basic carrot cake recipes are all pretty much the same, treatment 2 cups sugar, nurse 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups oil, 4 eggs and 3 cups carrots.

  • Every carrot cake recipe I found called for 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour. Flour is the primary structure builder in most cakes. The gluten in the flour reacts with the leavening agent (baking soda and baking powder and oil) during baking to make the cake rise.
  • The second ingredient is sugar. The first rule in baking states that the sugar should weigh slightly more or equal to the amount of flour used. This is because the sugar is needed to tenderize the gluten in the flour and acts as a sweetener and preservative to keep the cake moist for several days. About 50 percent of the sugar may be replaced with a liquid substitute; although, when replacing granular sugar for the liquid form, the liquid content of the recipe must be reduced slightly by a couple of tablespoons to a ¼ cup to compensate. The combined weight of the liquid (eggs, fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar.
  • The third ingredient is oil. Oil like sugar acts as a tenderizing agent to keep the cake from drying out while baking. Oil is also used in correlation with baking soda and powder as a leavening agent. When the oil is mixed into the batter it helps to incorporate air into the cake giving it volume.
  • The fourth main ingredient is eggs. Eggs react with the flour and oil in providing structure and strength. Because of the tenderizing properties of oil the proteins in eggs are necessary to give the cake support. Therefore, the weight of the eggs should equal or exceed the weight of the oil.

Other things to consider:
It is necessary to consider the amount of fat, eggs and liquid used in a recipe. The liquid in the cake (milk, water, milk, eggs, vegetable, fruit, vanilla) serves to develop the gluten, dissolves the sugar, ignites the baking powder and regulates the temperature of the batter while in the oven. Liquids should always equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. If not enough liquid is used to dissolve the sugar, the cake will collapse in the center. If there is too much flour there will not be enough liquid to dissolve the sugar. The amount of liquid is partially controlled by the type of fat used as oils, margarine and shortening vary in the amount of water they contain.

In our carrot cake recipe we need 50-60 percent as much oil as flour. The weight of the eggs should equal or slightly exceed the weight of the oil. The combined weight of the eggs plus the liquid (fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. The weight of the sugar should equal the weight of the flour.

On to Substitutions:
I have just given you the rules based on the science of baking a cake. Now let’s discuss the exceptions to the rules. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly without a replacement in most recipes. Substitutions are not ideal especially when baking delicate foods such as pastries. Quick breads like banana bread or carrot cake offer a little more room for error.

Cake Baking Science Project:

Put science to the test with this cake science project. Learn about chemical reactions by baking 4 small cakes leaving one important ingredient out of 3 of them. The ingredients are only for 1 cake, so you’ll need to measure and mix 4 times.

What you’ll need:
• A small soup or cereal bowl
• Several layers of aluminum foil
• A pie pan
• Cooking oil to grease the “cake pans”
• Measuring spoons
• A cup or small bowl for the egg
• A small mixing bowl
• Your science journal

Ingredients:
• 6 tablespoons flour
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 or 3 pinches baking powder
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 tablespoons cooking oil
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
• Part of an egg
(Break egg into a cup, beat until mixed.
Use 1/3 of it. Save the rest for 2 of the other cakes.)

What to do:
1. Wrap several layers of aluminum foil around the outside of a cereal or soup bowl to form a mold.
2. Remove your foil “pan” and put it in a pie pan for support.
3. Oil the “inside” of your foil pan with cooking oil so the cake doesn’t stick.
4. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
5. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ones (only use 1/3 of the egg). Stir until smooth and all the same color.
6. Pour batter into the “pan.”
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Bake 3 more cakes:
Leave the oil out of one.
Leave the egg out of another.
Leave the baking powder out of the third.
Cut each cake in half and look at the insides.
Do they look different?
Do they taste different?
9. Write about, or draw pictures of, what you see and taste.
Heat helps some chemical reactions to occur as the cake bakes:
It helps baking powder produce tiny bubbles of gas making the cake light and fluffy (this is called leavening).
It causes protein from the egg to change and make the cake firm.
Oil keeps the heat from drying out the cake.

cilantro-leaves

The Coriander plant originated in 5, purchase 000 BC Greece, malady where it was first cultivated and used as a spice to flavor meats and breads. Its popularity grew throughout the Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions as its medical and culinary properties began to gain appeal.  By the mid15th century cilantro, the leaves of the coriander plant, became an essential part of Latin cuisine in Mexico and Peru through the culinary influence of the Spanish conquistadors. The entire Coriander plant is edible including the roots which are featured in traditional Thai and Chinese cuisines.

coriander-roots

Cilantro leaves are derived from the coriander plant and bear a strong resemblance to Italian flat leaf parsley. In fact I often have to smell the two to tell them apart. Cilantro, although highly aromatic, has the ability to subtly enhance the other flavors in a dish. Cilantro is an elegant delicate herb often used sprinkled on salads, soups, mixed in sauces and salsas and as tenderizer for meat. Select cilantro that is deep green and vibrant, without signs of wilting or yellowing. To store, rinse well, dry and place moist in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Coriander the spice refers to the fruit of the coriander plant that contains two yellowish-brown seeds that are ground into powder. It is best to buy whole coriander seeds instead of coriander powder since the powder loses its flavor more quickly. Coriander seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle when needed to season soups, meats and sauces.coriander seed

The health benefits of the coriander plant have been used since Hippocrates.
(Use daily in cooking or essential oil form)

  • Anti inflammatory. Often used to alleviate arthritis.
  • Prevents nausea. Safe for pregnant women.
  • Aids in healthy digestion by preventing indigestion and relieves intestinal bloating.
  • Is known to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics by stimulating the secretion of insulin.
  • Protects against of urinary tract infections
  • Lowers bad cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol levels reducing the effects of hyperglycemia.
  • Has antimicrobial properties. Effective antibiotic.
  • A natural cleansing agent.
  • Kills the bacteria that causes salmonella.
  • Treatment of skin diseases.
  • Cold and cough remedy.
  • Used to remove toxic agents and other heavy metals from the body.
  • A good source of iron, magnesium, flavonoids and phytonutrients.
  • Fight against the free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage.
  • Immune booster. Helps fight chronic infections.

*Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A love of the Earth

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, web softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, web softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Several years ago during Christmas time my mom bought a package of lobster stuffed ravioli. We thought it would be interesting to try. I was a bit leery as to how the kids would react to salmon colored stripped pasta knowing their phobia to anything out of the ordinary. Surprisingly they devoured every last one. To this day they still ask for them. I was sitting at my desk trying to come up with a weeks worth of dinners when the oldest pipped up that he wanted the red pasta. I gently told him that I would do my best. I knew the grocery store would not have it and so opted for the spinach stuffed ravioli instead. May I suggest that if you have a picky eater you might consider vegetable stuffed pasta. I used the leftover ham from Sunday dinner at the inlaws and replaced the green spinach linguini with the spinach stuffed ravioli. Even the picky eater ate his fill spinach linguini with ham and broccoli.

Source: Martha Stewart
Serves 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 ounces cooked ham, shop cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, visit web minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
10 ounces spinach linguine
1 head broccoli, cheap stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.

Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, web softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Several years ago during Christmas time my mom bought a package of lobster stuffed ravioli. We thought it would be interesting to try. I was a bit leery as to how the kids would react to salmon colored stripped pasta knowing their phobia to anything out of the ordinary. Surprisingly they devoured every last one. To this day they still ask for them. I was sitting at my desk trying to come up with a weeks worth of dinners when the oldest pipped up that he wanted the red pasta. I gently told him that I would do my best. I knew the grocery store would not have it and so opted for the spinach stuffed ravioli instead. May I suggest that if you have a picky eater you might consider vegetable stuffed pasta. I used the leftover ham from Sunday dinner at the inlaws and replaced the green spinach linguini with the spinach stuffed ravioli. Even the picky eater ate his fill spinach linguini with ham and broccoli.

Source: Martha Stewart
Serves 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 ounces cooked ham, shop cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, visit web minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
10 ounces spinach linguine
1 head broccoli, cheap stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.

Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 ounces cooked ham, store cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 3 garlic cloves, information pills minced
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
* 10 ounces spinach linguine
* 1 head broccoli, more about stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.
2. Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, web softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Several years ago during Christmas time my mom bought a package of lobster stuffed ravioli. We thought it would be interesting to try. I was a bit leery as to how the kids would react to salmon colored stripped pasta knowing their phobia to anything out of the ordinary. Surprisingly they devoured every last one. To this day they still ask for them. I was sitting at my desk trying to come up with a weeks worth of dinners when the oldest pipped up that he wanted the red pasta. I gently told him that I would do my best. I knew the grocery store would not have it and so opted for the spinach stuffed ravioli instead. May I suggest that if you have a picky eater you might consider vegetable stuffed pasta. I used the leftover ham from Sunday dinner at the inlaws and replaced the green spinach linguini with the spinach stuffed ravioli. Even the picky eater ate his fill spinach linguini with ham and broccoli.

Source: Martha Stewart
Serves 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 ounces cooked ham, shop cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, visit web minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
10 ounces spinach linguine
1 head broccoli, cheap stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.

Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 ounces cooked ham, store cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 3 garlic cloves, information pills minced
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
* 10 ounces spinach linguine
* 1 head broccoli, more about stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.
2. Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Black Bean Chicken Salad

In the past I posted a Southwestern Chicken salad recipe and another recipe for Taco Salad. They are simple recipes with very few ingredients. This recipe for Black Bean Chicken Salad is a step up and showcases a zesty dressing that turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Yes it is a bit more work but oh so worth it especially if made with Cilantro Lime Chicken.

Source: Allrecipes.com
6 cups torn lettuce
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, ask rinsed and
drained
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar
cheese

Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
1 garlic clove, visit web minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder

In a large serving bowl, combine the lettuce, chicken, beans, tomatoes, green pepper, onion and cheese. In a blender or food processor, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Jeff Eusebio – CEO/Co-Founder

Jeff Eusebiois the CEO and Co-Founder of Family Mint. Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, rx the parent, cheap sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, visit web handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing allowance money in each child’s account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly. Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.

We know that kids love to spend money. It is up to us as their parents to teach them fiscal responsibility.

Oliver Twist

I was in the parking lot loading the groceries into my car one morning when I was approached by an older woman begging for money. I recognized her from the previous month the familiar story of grief and financial woes. How do you know? How do you know if she really needs it for her hungry child at home or is she taking advantage of the economic backlash she is aware we are all suffering through? The store is not far from an area officially deemed as “tent city”. The population consists of thieves, visit web vagrants and a host of inhabitants who are down on their luck reminiscent of the barrow as described in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The book paints an illuminated picture of a dark 19th Century London plagued with contempt and greed. The only redeeming element is Oliver an orphan boy who remains pure-hearted and honorable despite a life of abuse and neglect as a result of the corrupt and flawed social institutions. Oliver was deemed a “troublesome” boy from birth with the propensity to amount to nothing when he was rescued by caring souls who saw him not as a delinquent but merely a lost soul in need of basic human sustenance. I surmise it was Oliver’s gracious gentle nature that procured a place in the hearts of those who saw fit to provide him with the opportunity escape his prison to prosperity. His story like many others touch us because they provide hope that anyone can overcome tribulation with their dignity still in tacked as long as they hold fast with integrity. His story also gives merit to those individuals who see a need and act to fulfill that need with selfless devotion.

Is there not someone in our mist that is in need of some form of Motherly Adoration? That when met with unbiased attentions could provide the healing power necessary to recover from years of torment and abuse? We pass people everyday on the streets, cure at work, at home, at school, in a store, at church who suffer in silence. They feel lost and helpless. Their afflictions come in many different ways from sickness, physical and mental abuse, peer pressure, financial worries, addictions, loss, shyness, embarrassment and pride to begin with. When in public they hide behind a facade that everything is ok. Their false appearance may sometimes present itself to others as haughtiness (they are better than us) or strength (their life is perfect). When in reality what they need most is a kind hello, a polite acknowledgment they exist or an invitation to chat.

I did not know this woman who approached me in the parking lot. I could not discern her true intentions. Whatever her story is she is human and so I gave her a few groceries to take with her. We never know when our acts of kindness will touch someone. Unbeknownst to Oliver his forgiving nature had an enormous impact on Nancy, a girl acquainted with Fagin’s group of thieves in London. The streets had been her home since she was a child. Through Oliver’s example she found courage and risked her life to save him.

This month’s resolution is Share. When I made my list of resolutions in January my intention was to write real letters instead of emails. Email is my favorite form of communication. It is fast, no waiting days for the letter to reach the intended. Phones calls have a way of interrupting at the worst possible time and I always forget to send snail mail. Share also meant to record Memories. I have really been awful about keeping memories since our second child came along. Then last month I had an “email” conversation with my sister about strengthening our families. I was already working on my immediate family as my resolution for April was Family. Originally I had planned on recreating stronger ties with my extended family but there were a few set backs in March that placed my focus here at home. I finished off the month accomplishing both. Then I almost lost a very close friend in childbirth. Baby and mom are well and safely at home thankfully. Later the same week I had a conversation with a group of friends over dinner about the negativity they often feel in social circles. The topic of Share began to take on a new meaning.

Sharing is not about us. When we teach our little ones to share it is because we want them to learn to think about other peoples feelings. When we share we help make another living being happy and in turn we feel joy. When we share advice ideally it is given with good intent to help that person through a difficult problem because we want to see them happy.

To share means to think about others. Some ways we can do this are:

  • Send your friend or family member a letter. Yes we live in a fast paced world but there will never be a comparable replacement for an old fashioned letter. Think of something uplifting to say such as how they were a positive influence on you and how much you appreciate them.
  • Share your feelings. The goal is to help not impede by keeping negative comments to yourself. If you are not used to sharing your feelings it can be quite difficult at first. Start out small by telling your children and those close to you how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate your son when he helps around the house.
  • Praise your children constantly. Avoid coarse and abrasive language. Think of your kids as a coworker. Would you talk to your boss that way?
  • Share your time. Help a young mother at church by offering to hold their baby. Set up a co-op to babysit for your friend one day a week for a couple of hours. Organize a service project.
  • Do not judge. We cannot know what another person is suffering. As moms we can be highly judgmental of each other. We need to band together not tear one another apart.
  • Share your talents: Start a book club, game night, dessert night, mom’s club, art class, babysitting club, cooking club and invite friends from church, school or work both young and old

banana cookies

There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, sickness on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, clinic softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas and stir in baking soda.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

Cream butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, web softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Several years ago during Christmas time my mom bought a package of lobster stuffed ravioli. We thought it would be interesting to try. I was a bit leery as to how the kids would react to salmon colored stripped pasta knowing their phobia to anything out of the ordinary. Surprisingly they devoured every last one. To this day they still ask for them. I was sitting at my desk trying to come up with a weeks worth of dinners when the oldest pipped up that he wanted the red pasta. I gently told him that I would do my best. I knew the grocery store would not have it and so opted for the spinach stuffed ravioli instead. May I suggest that if you have a picky eater you might consider vegetable stuffed pasta. I used the leftover ham from Sunday dinner at the inlaws and replaced the green spinach linguini with the spinach stuffed ravioli. Even the picky eater ate his fill spinach linguini with ham and broccoli.

Source: Martha Stewart
Serves 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 ounces cooked ham, shop cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, visit web minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
10 ounces spinach linguine
1 head broccoli, cheap stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.

Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 ounces cooked ham, store cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 3 garlic cloves, information pills minced
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 2 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
* 10 ounces spinach linguine
* 1 head broccoli, more about stems peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, florets cut into bite-size pieces
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add ham, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.
2. Stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese; cook until melted, about 1 minute.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions, adding broccoli during final 3 minutes. Drain; transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add cream-cheese sauce and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Black Bean Chicken Salad

In the past I posted a Southwestern Chicken salad recipe and another recipe for Taco Salad. They are simple recipes with very few ingredients. This recipe for Black Bean Chicken Salad is a step up and showcases a zesty dressing that turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Yes it is a bit more work but oh so worth it especially if made with Cilantro Lime Chicken.

Source: Allrecipes.com
6 cups torn lettuce
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, ask rinsed and
drained
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar
cheese

Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
1 garlic clove, visit web minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder

In a large serving bowl, combine the lettuce, chicken, beans, tomatoes, green pepper, onion and cheese. In a blender or food processor, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

mother-earth

Photo By: Unknown

It was a beautiful clear day in Southern Florida. The date January 28th 1986. I was in fifth grade at the time and a member of the Jr. Science Academy. I joined the club with the promise that one day I would be the one looking out the window back at earth. I doubt anyone was more excited than our Science teacher as we stood on the lawn with our faces to the sky. We watched as the speck of light ascended upward our teacher radiant with anticipation for this monumental occasion. The mood changed from delight to horror in what seemed like an instant. I heard the words “Oh no” muttered and turned to see tears blinding my teachers eyes. I like many of the other students were confused. These were not tears of joy. Something was amiss. With eyes turned upward we gathered together as our teacher pointed out the scene before us. The boosters ejected but the brilliant star in the cloud of smoke dropping from the crystal blue heavens was not normal. The Challenger Space Shuttle had exploded.

The months following the Challenger disaster brought clarity and closure. Extensive investigations revealed the failure of an O-ring on one of the boosters that allowed gas to leak out upon take off. Fingers were pointed and the blame passed from department to department and person to person  until the country moved on and forgot. Cities, viagra schools and clubs did their best to honor those fallen through memorials. Our group of Jr. Scientist banned together with our fearless leader to ensure that no one would forget the crew on board the Space Shuttle Challenger that frightful day. The press was called. The dignitaries invited. The school witnessed as we each stood around a young newly planted tree and dedicated it in the memory of Michael Smith, troche Dick Scobee, pharm Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Renick. In

In 1993 I took a summer job with the City of Parks and Recreation Department in West Palm Beach teaching art and drama at different summer camps throughout the county. My last week of summer camp took me to the Christa McAuliffe Middle school in Lake Worth Florida. Being there reminded me of that day we placed plaques for each member of the Challenger team around the base of young tree. Last I knew the tree was torn down by a hurricane but the vegetable and herb garden at the middle school was vibrant and thriving.

Earth Day and Arbor Day reside in the month of April. It is only fitting as Basho told Annie and Jack in The Dragon of Red Dawn, “After something is destroyed by fire, a good new thing often takes its place…just as after the bleakest winter, beautiful flowers return with the spring.” When I think of Earth Day I am reminded of all the bounties Mother Earth gives us. The towering trees for shelter and shade. A babbling brook for respite and thirst. Flowers for beauty. Clouds for the rain that cleanses the dusty fields. It is our job as caretakers of this world to minister to the land. We each are charged with the task of keeping the grounds clean and beautifying the planet. The thing that moved me most about the memorials for the Challenger astronauts was the thoughtfulness of planting a tree and garden. It was not just an hour of band music and crafted speeches that die off with the close of the ceremony. I believe these seven men and women cared deeply for the earth and the galactic space around it. What better way to pay tribute than to plant a life that in return can help sustain us.

Caring for the earth should be an everyday mission. On April 22 the world will come together to celebrate our amazing planet. Many will join with local groups and organizations to plant, clean and educate. Here are just a few ideas to teach your family and friends about caring for our home and to usher in the glorious spring.

Trash Duty: Clean up the trash around the neighborhood, school, park, beach and highways. It is important to keep our beaches clean. Trash can be deadly to the native animals that live near and in the water. In addition to picking up trash along the shoreline we can plant grass and plants that aid in the building up of the dunes to deter erosion.

Graffiti Patrol: In the city where we used to live there was a graffiti task force that went out every morning at the crack of dawn looking for tags to clean up. Where we live now the city is not so concerned about vandalism. If your town does not have a system in place local volunteers can work together to keep the signs and fences free of graffiti.

Green Thumb: Plant a garden, trees, flowers or herbs. Use egg cartons as pots to start seeds. Learn how to compost. Composting is a way to recycle kitchen scraps and and yard waste. When done properly compost becomes a healthy chemical free fertilizer.

Earth Friendly: Switch to earth friendly cleaners such as the Shaklee brand of chemical free products. Spruce up the home with energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. Always ask if antibiotics are necessary. Dispose of harmful chemicals, batteries, cell phones, appliances and paint at designated depositories.

Conservation: Use less water by turning the water while brushing your teeth and taking shorter hot showers. Monitor the sprinkler system to avoid over watering the lawn. Start the dish washer when there is a full load. Adjust the washing machine to the size of the load. Quickly change loads as soon as the dryer stops. The dryer will not have to work as hard to heat back up again. Turn off the lights when leaving a room that is not occupied and unplug appliances when not in use.  Change out air filters. Make repairs to leaky faucets and toilets. Carpool, take the bus or ride a bike.

Declutter: Vow to live within your means. Buying less unnecessary items equals less stuff in the land fill. Sell, donate or freecycle unwanted items.

Recycle: If you do not have a recycling service help implement one or take your recyclables to a local school that has a recycling program. The money they earn goes right back into the school for programs and supplies.

Recycled art: Milk jug bird houses, pine cone bird feeders, paper necklaces, cardboard doll house, Egg cartons space ships, kids clothing and tote bags from t-shirts. Family Fun, Kaboose,

Ways to Celebrate: Enjoy a hike or picnic. Relax, connect with nature and enjoy the little things around you. Host an Earth Day Party. Have booths set up to teach your guests how to compost, seasonal cooking, plant a garden and recycle clothing and toys into something else.

Classic Carrot Cake with Variables

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/

Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, sildenafil divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef (buy the package that says market fresh or fresh)
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
— Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
–Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream with the meatballs in the serving bowl.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/

Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, sildenafil divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef (buy the package that says market fresh or fresh)
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
— Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
–Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream with the meatballs in the serving bowl.

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, approved raisins, approved nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, sildenafil others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

The Science of Baking Cakes

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it!

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, more about interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful that when correcting a child you do not cross over to criticism. Positive encouragement give them confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it!

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, order drugs interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful that when correcting a child you do not cross over to criticism. Positive encouragement give them confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Growing up, hospital we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, no rx Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, viagra so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Growing up, hospital we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, no rx Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, viagra so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Growing up, page we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, prostate Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temerature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Growing up, hospital we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, no rx Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, viagra so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Growing up, page we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, prostate Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temerature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

savior-and-redeemer

Savior and Redeemer (Author Unknown)

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, store Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), salve Catholic lent, and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Growing up, hospital we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, no rx Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, viagra so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Growing up, page we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, prostate Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temerature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

savior-and-redeemer

Savior and Redeemer (Author Unknown)

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, store Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), salve Catholic lent, and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, story raisins, cialis 40mg nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, approved others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate.

Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.
Carrots have been used as as an inexpensive sweetener for cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages . The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts and remains as popular as it was then. The contents of carrot cake depends on region. For some folks additions like coconut, troche ambulance raisins, viagra order nuts and pineapple are a must have.

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

savior-and-redeemer

Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, pharmacy Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), pilule Catholic lent, store and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Growing up, hospital we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, no rx Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, viagra so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temperature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Growing up, page we always had turkey on Thanksgiving, prostate Christmas and Easter. Stephen is not a fan of turkey, so we only have it on Thanksgiving, because it just seems right to have turkey on Thanksgiving. For our Easter feasts so far, I have tried lamb and ham. With Spring comes all the beautiful and lush scenery. A pallet of pastels and fragrant flowers. For Easter, I felt we needed something light. This year, I was anxious to try this recipe for apricot and mustard glazed pork roast. The vibrant image of the apricot’s orange flesh felt like spring to me.

Source: Family Circle
2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 pound lean boneless pork roast

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Spread about 2/3 of the glaze all over roast.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast another 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Temerature will raise to 160 degrees. Cut into very thin slices and serve.

Note: can be made up to one day ahead; do not slice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

savior-and-redeemer

Savior and Redeemer (Author Unknown)

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, store Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), salve Catholic lent, and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

womenatjesustomb

Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

spring-bunny-carolyn-bell

“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

norman-millauer-getty

Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.
Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, story raisins, cialis 40mg nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, approved others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate.

Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.
Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in cafes of Britain and co
The contents of carrot cake depends on the region. For some folks additions like coconut, sildenafil raisins, tadalafil nuts and pineapple are a must have.

For the past two months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic food. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There is not one perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some prefer a spongy moist cake, nurse others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, a cake filled with extras, a wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake and the list goes on.
The flour in your cake give it structure. The gluten in the flour coagulates during baking providing the support for the oils and sugar.

Sugar tenderizes the gluten and acts as a sweetener (Mmmmm…..). It also carmelizes during baking giving us the delious brown crusty top. Furthermore, the sugar retains moisture and keeps your cake moist and savory for days.

Baking powder acts as the leavening agent creating gas vapors that create the volume in your cake.

Oils help incorporate air into the cake giving it volume. (It’ s cake not a cookie!)

Eggs help the flour in providing structure to the cake by coagulating during baking.

The liquid in the cake (milk) serves to dissovle the sugar, provides consistency for the batter and controls the temperature in the oven.

CAKES DEPEND ON MANY FACTORS SUCH AS INGREDIENTS USED, MIXING METHOD, BATTER TEMPERATURE, BAKING,

Sugar is considered a tenderizer because of its tenderizing effect resulting from the softening action on flour proteins.

Flour is the primary structure builder in most cakes.

Sugar helps to retain moisture left in the baked cake after baking thereby keeping the cake moist and edible for several days.

A portion (about 50 percent) but not all of the sugar may be replaced with sirup. When this is done, the liquid content of the sirup must be deducted from the liquid going into the mix.

If not enough liquid is used to dissolve the sugar, the cake will collapse in the center.

The proteins in the eggs coagulates during baking and assists the flour as a structure builder.
If a weak flour is used, the eggs can be increased. If the percentage of shortening (a tenderizer) called for in the formula is increased, the eggs must be increased also. It is important to know the percentages of fat, moisture, and protein content of eggs when balancing cake formulas.
Milk solids have a binding effect on the protein of the flour, thereby increasing the toughness in a cake.
proteins in milk, adds food value and flavor to the cake, and helps to retain moisture in the cake.

Incorporation of air during mixing, chemically leavened and vapor pressure created in the oven. The manner of leavening depends upon the type of cake being made in regard richness of formula, consistency of batter and baking temperature. Cakes low in water and high in ennriching ingredients get a larger amount of leavening during mixing and require less chemical leaveners than cakes made from lean formulas high in liquids. In addition to leavening the cake, chemical leaveners control the eating qualities of the cake.

Liquids in some form is required in every cake formula. The liquid may be in the form of water, liquid milk, eggs or any other ingredient which contain water. Water has several functions in cake production. It developes the gluten, dissolves the sugar, makes the function of baking powder possible, regulates the batter consistency, and controls the temperature of the batter. It is possible to carefully regulate the water portion of the formula by figuring the liquid content of any liquid ingredient used in the batter. The amount of water going into the cake formula is partially controlled by the type of shortening used. An emulsified type shortening will carry considerably more water in the mix, thus allowing the use of more sugar such as in High Ratio Cakes The total liquids (Liquid in the form of water and the liquid contained in the eggs) should always equal or exceed the weight of the sugar in the formula, because all of the sugar in the formula must be dissolved to produce a quality cake.

Formula Balance. In order to create a cake batter that will produce high quality cakes, certain amounts of the different ingredients have to be put together in a definite sequence at controlled mixing speed, time and temperature. The general relationship of ingredients that have to be brought into balance, differ according to the type of cake to be produced. In other words, the formula balance for batter cakes differs considerably from that of the foam type cake (Sponge cake and Angel food cake). These will be discussed separately. The following general rules apply to Batter type cakes:

RULE 1. The weight of the sugar should equal or exceed the weight of the flour. There is a top limit, of course in the amount of sugar which can go into a cake. For White and Yellow Layer Cakes, 145 percent sugar-flour ratio seems to be about the generally accepted practical top limit. Higher sugar-flour ratios are possible in cakes containing cocoa or chocolate. The more cocoa or chocolate used in the formula, the higher the sugar-flour ratio can be. The amount of liquid also become significant in determining the amount of sugar to use. When RULE NO. 1 is applied and a specific amount of sugar is selected, both the amount of sugar and the amount of flour become fixed. To set up the formula, it then becomes necessary to consider the amount of shortening, eggs and liquid which can be used. As the percentage of shortening is increased, the percentage of eggs must be increased by the same amount. This is due to the fact that shortening is a tenderizer and to keep the cake from being over tenderized, additional structure in the form of eggs is needed.

RULE 2. The weight of eggs should equal or exceed the weight of the shortening. In applying this rule, the type of cake desired must be considered. For example, a true pound cake will have equal parts of shortening or butter, sugar.flour and eggs. A high ratio layer cake will have about 50 or 60 percent as much shortening as flour and the eggs should at least equal the amount of shortening in the mix. Eggs generally exceed the shortening by 5 or 10 percent. Since shortening carries air into the batter, a cake with a high percentage of shortening will be classified as a rich formula. The air carried by the shortening will result in less chemical leavening being needed.

RULE 3. The combined weight of the eggs plus the liquid, should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. In layer type cakes, the weight of the liquids usually exceed the sugar by 20 t0 30 percent. In devils food cake, the liquids usually exceed the sugar by 40 to 50 percent. In pound cakes, best results are obtained if the liquids and sugar are nearly equal because pound cake batter needs to be slightly thicker.

And so the carrot cake debate rings on .

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with
Crsytalized ginger

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html
Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in cafes of Britain and co
The contents of carrot cake depends on the region. For some folks additions like coconut, no rx about it raisins, cheapest nuts and pineapple are a must have.

For the past two months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic food. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There is not one perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some prefer a spongy moist cake, visit this others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, a cake filled with extras, a wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake and the list goes on.
The flour in your cake give it structure. The gluten in the flour coagulates during baking providing the support for the oils and sugar.

Sugar tenderizes the gluten and acts as a sweetener (Mmmmm…..). It also carmelizes during baking giving us the delious brown crusty top. Furthermore, the sugar retains moisture and keeps your cake moist and savory for days.

Baking powder acts as the leavening agent creating gas vapors that create the volume in your cake.

Oils help incorporate air into the cake giving it volume. (It’ s cake not a cookie!)

Eggs help the flour in providing structure to the cake by coagulating during baking.

The liquid in the cake (milk) serves to dissovle the sugar, provides consistency for the batter and controls the temperature in the oven.

CAKES DEPEND ON MANY FACTORS SUCH AS INGREDIENTS USED, MIXING METHOD, BATTER TEMPERATURE, BAKING,

Sugar is considered a tenderizer because of its tenderizing effect resulting from the softening action on flour proteins.

Flour is the primary structure builder in most cakes.

Sugar helps to retain moisture left in the baked cake after baking thereby keeping the cake moist and edible for several days.

A portion (about 50 percent) but not all of the sugar may be replaced with sirup. When this is done, the liquid content of the sirup must be deducted from the liquid going into the mix.

If not enough liquid is used to dissolve the sugar, the cake will collapse in the center.

The proteins in the eggs coagulates during baking and assists the flour as a structure builder.
If a weak flour is used, the eggs can be increased. If the percentage of shortening (a tenderizer) called for in the formula is increased, the eggs must be increased also. It is important to know the percentages of fat, moisture, and protein content of eggs when balancing cake formulas.
Milk solids have a binding effect on the protein of the flour, thereby increasing the toughness in a cake.
proteins in milk, adds food value and flavor to the cake, and helps to retain moisture in the cake.

Incorporation of air during mixing, chemically leavened and vapor pressure created in the oven. The manner of leavening depends upon the type of cake being made in regard richness of formula, consistency of batter and baking temperature. Cakes low in water and high in ennriching ingredients get a larger amount of leavening during mixing and require less chemical leaveners than cakes made from lean formulas high in liquids. In addition to leavening the cake, chemical leaveners control the eating qualities of the cake.

Liquids in some form is required in every cake formula. The liquid may be in the form of water, liquid milk, eggs or any other ingredient which contain water. Water has several functions in cake production. It developes the gluten, dissolves the sugar, makes the function of baking powder possible, regulates the batter consistency, and controls the temperature of the batter. It is possible to carefully regulate the water portion of the formula by figuring the liquid content of any liquid ingredient used in the batter. The amount of water going into the cake formula is partially controlled by the type of shortening used. An emulsified type shortening will carry considerably more water in the mix, thus allowing the use of more sugar such as in High Ratio Cakes The total liquids (Liquid in the form of water and the liquid contained in the eggs) should always equal or exceed the weight of the sugar in the formula, because all of the sugar in the formula must be dissolved to produce a quality cake.

Formula Balance. In order to create a cake batter that will produce high quality cakes, certain amounts of the different ingredients have to be put together in a definite sequence at controlled mixing speed, time and temperature. The general relationship of ingredients that have to be brought into balance, differ according to the type of cake to be produced. In other words, the formula balance for batter cakes differs considerably from that of the foam type cake (Sponge cake and Angel food cake). These will be discussed separately. The following general rules apply to Batter type cakes:

RULE 1. The weight of the sugar should equal or exceed the weight of the flour. There is a top limit, of course in the amount of sugar which can go into a cake. For White and Yellow Layer Cakes, 145 percent sugar-flour ratio seems to be about the generally accepted practical top limit. Higher sugar-flour ratios are possible in cakes containing cocoa or chocolate. The more cocoa or chocolate used in the formula, the higher the sugar-flour ratio can be. The amount of liquid also become significant in determining the amount of sugar to use. When RULE NO. 1 is applied and a specific amount of sugar is selected, both the amount of sugar and the amount of flour become fixed. To set up the formula, it then becomes necessary to consider the amount of shortening, eggs and liquid which can be used. As the percentage of shortening is increased, the percentage of eggs must be increased by the same amount. This is due to the fact that shortening is a tenderizer and to keep the cake from being over tenderized, additional structure in the form of eggs is needed.

RULE 2. The weight of eggs should equal or exceed the weight of the shortening. In applying this rule, the type of cake desired must be considered. For example, a true pound cake will have equal parts of shortening or butter, sugar.flour and eggs. A high ratio layer cake will have about 50 or 60 percent as much shortening as flour and the eggs should at least equal the amount of shortening in the mix. Eggs generally exceed the shortening by 5 or 10 percent. Since shortening carries air into the batter, a cake with a high percentage of shortening will be classified as a rich formula. The air carried by the shortening will result in less chemical leavening being needed.

RULE 3. The combined weight of the eggs plus the liquid, should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. In layer type cakes, the weight of the liquids usually exceed the sugar by 20 t0 30 percent. In devils food cake, the liquids usually exceed the sugar by 40 to 50 percent. In pound cakes, best results are obtained if the liquids and sugar are nearly equal because pound cake batter needs to be slightly thicker.

And so the carrot cake debate rings on .

I want to clear up a few myths about making substitutions in baking. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly with out a replacement in most recipes without effecting the final product too much. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce, or as we did in this recipe with buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions. We have tried to list substitutions that will benefit most people.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cups
2 cups sugar , 1 1/2 cups
2 cups flour, 1 wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal, 3/4 white
1 tsp soda
1/2 salt
2 tsp powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup toasted nuts, optional

Variations:
Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup omitting the buttermilk.
To substitute flour, replace all or part with wheat flour or half wheat half all-purpose, all spelt, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal.
Add 1 cup toasted coconut.
Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained, omit one egg and reduce sugar by 1/2 cup.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add 1 cup raisins – soaked in orange juice or rum.
Sugar- Xylitol, reduce sugar to 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups, use equal parts white and brown sugar, 1 1/2 white and 1/2 brown, replace sugar with
Crsytalized ginger

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
# In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
# Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, peeled and grated, 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
Mom’s Carrot CakeBased on v monte’s recipe on allrecipes.com
6 carrots, quartered (don’t peel them leave all the skin nutrients on)
2 cups white wheat flour (or 1 3/4 flour and 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup organic raisins (or 3.5 oz flaked coconut)

Frosting
4oz softened cream cheese
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook the carrots in a small saucepan covered with water. Bring water to boil and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fork mash them and let cool. Meanwhile beat eggs, add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, mashed carrots-(I like bigish chunks so you can see a nice orange color in the final product), nuts and raisins or coconut. Pour into 2 round 9” cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done (insert toothpick in center, it should come out clean). For 13×9 pan bake for 55 minutes. Place cake on plate and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes better after overnight refrigeration. I make a double batch of icing to ice the rounds, you need more to ice the middle layer and sides.

http://foodwithkidappeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-grain-birthday-carrot-cake.html

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, stuff buy information pills raisins, more about nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, cost others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, stuff buy information pills raisins, more about nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, cost others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it! For some this may not be an easy feat. With practice you will begin to find the words and the emotions needed to connect with your loved ones.

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, order interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful when correcting a child that you do not cross over into criticism. Positive encouragement gives them the confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, stuff buy information pills raisins, more about nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, cost others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it! For some this may not be an easy feat. With practice you will begin to find the words and the emotions needed to connect with your loved ones.

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, order interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful when correcting a child that you do not cross over into criticism. Positive encouragement gives them the confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it!

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, help interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful that when correcting a child you do not cross over to criticism. Positive encouragement give them confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, stuff buy information pills raisins, more about nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, cost others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it! For some this may not be an easy feat. With practice you will begin to find the words and the emotions needed to connect with your loved ones.

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, order interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful when correcting a child that you do not cross over into criticism. Positive encouragement gives them the confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

home_family

I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.

February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.

Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.

Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.

knight-with-dog-clipart

— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it!

— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.

— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.

— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.

— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, help interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.

— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful that when correcting a child you do not cross over to criticism. Positive encouragement give them confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.

Photograph by: Romulo Yanes
Photograph by: Romulo Yanes

It is said that baking is not only an art but more importantly it is a science. First let’s take a look at the science of baking a cake for each main ingredient in a recipe serves an important purpose. The basic carrot cake recipes are all pretty much the same, advice 2 cups sugar, treat 2 cups flour, purchase 1 1/2 cups oil, 4 eggs and 3 cups carrots.

  • Every carrot cake recipe I found called for 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour. Flour is the primary structure builder in most cakes. The gluten in the flour reacts with the leavening agent (baking soda and baking powder and oil) during baking to make the cake rise.
  • The second ingredient is sugar. The first rule in baking states that the sugar should weigh slightly more or equal to the amount of flour used. This is because the sugar is needed to tenderize the gluten in the flour and acts as a sweetener and preservative to keep the cake moist for several days. About 50 percent of the sugar may be replaced with a liquid substitute; although, when replacing granular sugar for the liquid form, the liquid content of the recipe must be reduced slightly by a couple of tablespoons to a ¼ cup to compensate. The combined weight of the liquid (eggs, fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar.
  • The third ingredient is oil. Oil like sugar acts as a tenderizing agent to keep the cake from drying out while baking. Oil is also used in correlation with baking soda and powder as a leavening agent. When the oil is mixed into the batter it helps to incorporate air into the cake giving it volume.
  • The fourth main ingredient is eggs. Eggs react with the flour and oil in providing structure and strength. Because of the tenderizing properties of oil the proteins in eggs are necessary to give the cake support. Therefore, the weight of the eggs should equal or exceed the weight of the oil.

Other things to consider:
It is necessary to consider the amount of fat, eggs and liquid used in a recipe. The liquid in the cake (milk, water, milk, eggs, vegetable, fruit, vanilla) serves to develop the gluten, dissolves the sugar, ignites the baking powder and regulates the temperature of the batter while in the oven. Liquids should always equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. If not enough liquid is used to dissolve the sugar, the cake will collapse in the center. If there is too much flour there will not be enough liquid to dissolve the sugar. The amount of liquid is partially controlled by the type of fat used as oils, margarine and shortening vary in the amount of water they contain.

In our carrot cake recipe we need 50-60 percent as much oil as flour. The weight of the eggs should equal or slightly exceed the weight of the oil. The combined weight of the eggs plus the liquid (fats, milk water, fruits, vegetables, ect) should equal or exceed the weight of the sugar. The weight of the sugar should equal the weight of the flour.

On to Substitutions:
I have just given you the rules based on the science of baking a cake. Now let’s discuss the exceptions to the rules. Theoretically the sugar and oil can be reduced slightly without a replacement in most recipes. Substitutions are not ideal especially when baking delicate foods such as pastries. Quick breads like banana bread or carrot cake offer a little more room for error.

baking science

Cake Baking Science Project:

Put science to the test with this cake science project. Learn about chemical reactions by baking 4 small cakes leaving one important ingredient out of 3 of them. The ingredients are only for 1 cake, so you’ll need to measure and mix 4 times.

What you’ll need:
• A small soup or cereal bowl
• Several layers of aluminum foil
• A pie pan
• Cooking oil to grease the “cake pans”
• Measuring spoons
• A cup or small bowl for the egg
• A small mixing bowl
• Your science journal

Ingredients:
• 6 tablespoons flour
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 or 3 pinches baking powder
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 tablespoons cooking oil
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
• Part of an egg
(Break egg into a cup, beat until mixed.
Use 1/3 of it. Save the rest for 2 of the other cakes.)

What to do:
1. Wrap several layers of aluminum foil around the outside of a cereal or soup bowl to form a mold.
2. Remove your foil “pan” and put it in a pie pan for support.
3. Oil the “inside” of your foil pan with cooking oil so the cake doesn’t stick.
4. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
5. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ones (only use 1/3 of the egg). Stir until smooth and all the same color.
6. Pour batter into the “pan.”
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Bake 3 more cakes:
Leave the oil out of one.
Leave the egg out of another.
Leave the baking powder out of the third.
Cut each cake in half and look at the insides.
Do they look different?
Do they taste different?
9. Write about, or draw pictures of, what you see and taste.
Heat helps some chemical reactions to occur as the cake bakes:
It helps baking powder produce tiny bubbles of gas making the cake light and fluffy (this is called leavening).
It causes protein from the egg to change and make the cake firm.
Oil keeps the heat from drying out the cake.

Add the Final Touch to the Dinner Table

http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole grain flour
2/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Notes:
If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.
http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole grain flour
2/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Notes:
If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

Potato Eaters

Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

the-red-vineyard
The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

auvers-town-hall-1890

starry_night
Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

    1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
    3 large eggs, see beaten
    6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
    8oz (1 cup) carrot, search peeled and grated, malady 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
    1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    2tsp nutmeg
    2tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    Before you start…

    Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
    Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
    Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
    Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
    Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
    Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

    1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
    3 large eggs, see beaten
    6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
    8oz (1 cup) carrot, search peeled and grated, malady 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
    1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    2tsp nutmeg
    2tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    Before you start…

    Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
    Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
    Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
    Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
    Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
    Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
    Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, web I envision happy children with hands washed, website like this eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag!” Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time. I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music,will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

    1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
    3 large eggs, see beaten
    6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
    8oz (1 cup) carrot, search peeled and grated, malady 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
    1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    2tsp nutmeg
    2tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    Before you start…

    Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
    Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
    Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
    Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
    Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
    Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
    Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, web I envision happy children with hands washed, website like this eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag!” Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time. I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music,will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.

    “Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, price I envision happy children with hands washed, eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag! Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time.” I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music…will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.
    http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

    The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
    http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
    Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

    You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

    During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

    I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup whole grain flour
    2/3 cup honey
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Notes:
    If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

    vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
    Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

    March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

    Potato Eaters

    Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

    Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

    1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
    3 large eggs, see beaten
    6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
    8oz (1 cup) carrot, search peeled and grated, malady 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
    1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    2tsp nutmeg
    2tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    Before you start…

    Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
    Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
    Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
    Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
    Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
    Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
    Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, web I envision happy children with hands washed, website like this eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag!” Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time. I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music,will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.

    “Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, price I envision happy children with hands washed, eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag! Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time.” I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music…will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.
    I took the kids on a little road trip to the bigger city with an actual mall to pick up a package for Stephen. While we were waiting for the store to open the kids and I ran around the child’s play area. Everett, information pills my drifter, saw the electric cars across the way and took off. Everett and Adelin jumped from one seat to the next pretending to be an ice cream truck driver, in a Nascar race, an astronaut… A young boy and girl approached the stationary cars. The boy an awkward teen. The girl giddy with a crush. I watched the boy show off by squeezing into the circus van. His girlfriend rewarded him with a giggle that said “you are so funny…and cute.”

    When I was young I did some pretty lame stuff too like speaking in different accents in public or having conversations with people I did not know using certain precalculated words in a sentence. We thought we were so witty. I am sure most people saw us as knuckle-brained teenagers.

    Games are a fun way to strengthen the family. They can break down barriers relieving awkward feelings. Games such as Word Play not only help little children with their language they provide a means for communicating.

    How to Play:

      1. Make a list of 3-4 words.

      2. Choose a topic to talk about.

      3. Start the conversation. During the discussion each person must use all the words on this list.

      For example one time the topic was God and the words were astronaut, popcorn and pencil.

      You may also choose to time the game. Maybe who ever does not use all the words in five minutes has to do the dishes that night.
      http://www.xobobox.com/lunchboxes/lunchbox-happy-sacks-reusable-sandwich-bags.html

      The countdown to the last day of school is close at hand. With two months left I find myself
      http://www.themayfiles.com/2009/01/scrumptious-honey-whole-grain-cornbread.html
      Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, this water and salt this early version of cornbread became a valuable staple to the New settlers those first few years after their arrival. Cornbread was especially popular throughout the Civil War as it was quick and cheap to make. The ingredients used depended on the region; for instance, clinic the addition of sugar and flour was typical of the North while the South favored an unsweetened version cooked in a cast iron skillet. Cornbread has had quite a makeover over the years. The variations are endless with each family claiming to have the best recipe ever.

      You would think my dad being a farmer from Georgia would have passed along a treasured recipe. All we got was Betty Crocker and Jiffy. Needless to say I was never a fan of cornbread as it was always dry and flavorless. Then I met the Odoms in Woodville Texas. A loverly little town in East Texas with fresh air, tons of trees and lots of old 19th century houses. Odomville was a small community comprised of the descendants of the Odom family located about 30 minutes out of town heading East toward Fred Texas.

      During my visits in Odomville I mostly enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Odom and Alice eating a square of cornbread. Alice died of old age shortly after I arrived in Woodville. It was a somber time for us all even more so for her beloved Mr. Odom. They had known one another since childhood and the loss was almost more than he could bare. I continued to visit Mr. Odom when in the area as I so enjoyed his stories of Odomville. And so it was on my last day in East Texas I was with him at the kitchen table once again sharing a meager snack of cornbread and milk.

      I am extremely particular about cornbread. There are but two recipes I can say I have enjoyed one being Alice Odom’s recipe and the other one is this recipe for honey whole grain cornbread. The sweet kiss of honey mingles well with scrumptious earth grains. Serve as a side with chili or a salad.

      1/2 cup butter, melted
      2 eggs
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      1 cup whole grain flour
      2/3 cup honey
      1 cup buttermilk
      1 cup yellow cornmeal
      1/2 tsp salt

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 baking dish; set aside.

      In a medium bowl, mix honey and butter until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk and soda; mix well.

      In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; folding just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

      Notes:
      If you do not have a natural foods market near by Whole Grain Flour can be found in most supermarkets that sell Bob’s Red Mill flours. If you cannot find whole grain try blending 1 part kamut + 1 part spelt + 1 part hard white wheat.

      vangogh-self-portait-as_an_artist
      Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

      March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, prostate 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  Though he had little success during his lifetime his status as an artist has been compared to the likes of Rembrandt.

      Potato Eaters

      Van Gogh was taught drawing in middle school by a successful artist from Paris. Although he excelled in the subject he found the boarding school “gloomy…cold and sterile…” He immediately dropped out of school and returned home. His Uncle persuaded him to take a job with a local art dealer in London where he was successful for a time later commenting it was the “happiest year of his life.” However after accepting a 2nd transfer to the Paris office he became notably displeased with his situation and was shortly thereafter terminated.

      Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)

    Van Gogh had thought to become a Pastor like his father and in May 1877  left for Amsterdam to study Theology. Religion would later prove to be an unsuitable profession for the emotional Van Gogh. After he failed the Theology exam he took a position as a missionary in a coal mining village in Belgium. He was later released for being “too overzealous.” The church authorities felt his choice of living conditions undermined the church. All was not lost for while Van Gogh was in Belgium he spent much of his time drawing portraits of the villagers. After his dismissal he lingered for a spell in Belgium working on his drawings.

    the-red-vineyard
    The Red Vineyard was the only painting Van Gogh sold.

    In 1886 Van Gogh traveled to Paris at the behest of his parents and brother Theo. Theo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery, was so impressed by Vincent’s drawings he convinced Van Gogh to study with the accomplished Willem Roelofs. Willem was dissatisfied with Van Gogh’s dark somber palette and recommended he attend the Royal Academy of Art. Van Gogh would later be influenced in the art of Impressionism by greats such as Cormon, Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin.

    auvers-town-hall-1890

    starry_night
    Starry Night was the only work he managed to produce while checked into the Insane Asylum at Saint Remy in 1889.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death. The piece was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.
    The Blossoming Almond Tree painted in the Saint Remy asylum 1890 a few months before his death was dedicated to Theo's newborn baby, Vincent.

    Unfortunately Van Gogh was plagued with mental illness that ultimately lead to his demise. SadlyVan Gogh only sold one painting while alive. His fame would not come until eleven years after his death at a gallery showing in his name organized by his widow Johanna Gesina Bonger van Gogh. After the death of Van Gogh Johanna actively began collecting all his letters and artworks.  It was her hard work  and dedication that brought about the recognition Van Gogh so rightly deserved.

    On March 30th we pay tribute to the remarkable artist Vincent Van Gogh was.

  • Visit an art museum.
  • Make a Sunflower Cake.
  • Plant Sunflowers.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Take the night off to star gaze.
  • Make a craft, draw or paint one of your favorite Van Gogh pieces. For inspiration visit the Van Gogh Gallery to view all 2000 works of art.
  • Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather

    irises

    vase-with-12-sunflowers
    Vase with 12 Sunflowers was considered a masterpiece and still remains one of Van Gogh's most popular works of art.

    I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, capsule however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again.

    This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the whippedtheblog.com website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is.  Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans.

    Whippedtheblog.com Banana Bread:

    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    Additional Thoughts:
    – Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
    – What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
    – Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
    – Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
    – Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
    – Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

    Dazzledish Variations:
    Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
    This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
    Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
    Replace some of the sugar with honey.
    To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

    2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
    1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 eggs, beaten lightly
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 tsp vanilla

    Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

    Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

    Variations:
    Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

    Coconut and Macadamia but: Adjust rack to middle position. Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia.toast until golden brown about 6 min.

    Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.
    Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
    2 medium acorn squash, stomach halved lengthwise, capsule seeds removed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 celery stalks, diced
    2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
    8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
    Parsley to garnish

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

    Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

    Variations:
    — Replace the sausage with black beans.

    This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

    The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, see it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

    Source: Good Life Eats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
    1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 pinches of allspice
    1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
    1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs
    6 tbsp butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

    Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c white sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 large orange, web about 2 1/2 Tbs
    • 1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 pinches of allspice
    • 1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, here mashed
    • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbs butter, adiposity melted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

    Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

    Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

    If you have any leftovers (good luck with that!), store cooled bread wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.

    Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

    Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, troche a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.

    Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.

    Source: GoodLifeEats
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely chopped
    1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
    1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 cups water or broth
    1 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
    4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

    Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

    Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

    Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
    Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

    1 1/2 sticks 6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
    3 large eggs, see beaten
    6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
    8oz (1 cup) carrot, search peeled and grated, malady 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, 3 carrots
    1 large apple 9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
    2tsp baking powder
    2tsp nutmeg
    2tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    Before you start…

    Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
    Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
    Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
    Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
    Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
    Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9
    Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, web I envision happy children with hands washed, website like this eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag!” Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time. I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music,will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.

    “Sitting down at the table together is still one of the best ways for families to grow and stay connected.

    When we gather around the dinner table, price I envision happy children with hands washed, eager to devour the meal prepared for them. Once seated, there is a hush as we take hands and offer thanks for our bounties. The conversations are light and fun. There is a feeling of warmth as we enjoy one another’s company while we discuss the highlights of our day.

    There is a book that has been nestled among my cookbooks since Christmas. It is called “Dinner? It’s in the Bag! Bringing your family back to the table one meal at a time.” I have only ever leafed through the recipe section. Tonight, however, I had a few spare moments while I was making dinner to peruse the book a little further. The last section is titled “Table Talk and Family Fun.” There were a few ideas I thought worth noting.

    “Meal time is a time to relax, connect and learn. Discipline, unpleasant subjects, tragic stories and stern lectures have no seat at the dining table. Those subjects can be discussed later in a private setting. Laying the cares of the day aside, turning off the television, video games, internet, telephone and turning on soft background music…will greatly enhance your efforts. As families gather around the table, the door is opened to learning about what we are all thinking, feeling and dreaming.”

    The author goes on to say, when her children were young every morning during breakfast her husband would pose a question. The children were encouraged to think about it during the day and collect research on the topic in preparation for discussing the answers that night at dinner. I was reminded of stories I have heard Stephen’s father tell about growing up around the dinner table. It was a question and answer feast each night as his father would ask a trivia question based on the current events of the day, past history or uncanny bits of information.

    Another suggestion that was made in the book was about the importance of gratitude. Meal time is the “perfect time to express love and gratitude for each other and for our blessings.” She and her husband encouraged their children to take turns sharing their positive feelings about what they like about each other. She then talks about a friend whose family keeps a gratitude journal. When their children were younger, they would tell someone what to write in the journal or they would draw pictures. Today, the grandchildren have the opportunity to add their thoughts to the gratitude book.

    I feel our lives are so busy during the day and especially more so leading up to dinner time. There have been times when the kids have dug in and left before Stephen and I ever got to the table. When we gather around the dinner table, for me, it is a time to sit together as a family. The only time during the day that we can toss our to do list aside and focus on each other. We give a sigh and let the rush of the day go. Sometimes, in the silence I can hear the children wondering “what is that strange sound?”

    We can make dinner time more exciting by playing games such as trivia or making up stories. Take the time to really communicate. Ask questions. Be interested. Be positive. Really Listen.
    I took the kids on a little road trip to the bigger city with an actual mall to pick up a package for Stephen. While we were waiting for the store to open the kids and I ran around the child’s play area. Everett, information pills my drifter, saw the electric cars across the way and took off. Everett and Adelin jumped from one seat to the next pretending to be an ice cream truck driver, in a Nascar race, an astronaut… A young boy and girl approached the stationary cars. The boy an awkward teen. The girl giddy with a crush. I watched the boy show off by squeezing into the circus van. His girlfriend rewarded him with a giggle that said “you are so funny…and cute.”

    When I was young I did some pretty lame stuff too like speaking in different accents in public or having conversations with people I did not know using certain precalculated words in a sentence. We thought we were so witty. I am sure most people saw us as knuckle-brained teenagers.

    Games are a fun way to strengthen the family. They can break down barriers relieving awkward feelings. Games such as Word Play not only help little children with their language they provide a means for communicating.

    How to Play:

      1. Make a list of 3-4 words.

      2. Choose a topic to talk about.

      3. Start the conversation. During the discussion each person must use all the words on this list.

      For example one time the topic was God and the words were astronaut, popcorn and pencil.

      You may also choose to time the game. Maybe who ever does not use all the words in five minutes has to do the dishes that night.
      In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. We

      The Spring Bunny:
      The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money to hide later and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

      Our Spring Bunny arrives Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, see beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, buy information pills a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles, a water gun (for our family water fights in the summer) and a toy geared toward each child. In the past there have been items related to summer like a bucket and shovel or a ball and stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

      The Easter Feast:
      Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast served on fine china.

      The Journey:
      Holidays such as Easter are steeped in a myriad of cultural traditions. There is Easter with the bunny and eggs, the Jewish Passover that recounts the escape of the Isrealites from Egypt, Catholic lent and the Spring Equinox to name a few.

      Dinnertable Flare

      In many a household dinner has become a rush of events. From mine own experience with little ones crying from hunger, dosage look the baby begging to be held and the chaos that ensues now that mom is not looking can dampen any attempt for a peaceful family dinner. In a rush to console the masses plates, look cups, silverware and napkins are piled on the table followed by a weary call to come to dinner.

      Make dinnertime special by adding a little flare to the table.

      – Use fun tablecloths to add color.

      – Arrange a small bouquet of flowers for a centerpiece.

      – Move dinner outside on a blanket or enlist a couple helpers to carry the table outdoors.

      – Pull out the cloth napkins.

      – Put away the plastic kid-proof plates once in a while.

    Moroccan Tajine Chicken & Lentils

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, medicine unhealthy online a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, buy shop oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, and during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, unhealthy online a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, shop oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, and during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, troche a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, check oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, unhealthy online a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, shop oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, and during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, troche a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, check oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, stuff a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, discount oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, purchase during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, unhealthy online a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, shop oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, and during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, troche a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, check oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Green Gables

    Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There was two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, stuff a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, discount oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.

    This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, purchase during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.

    Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.

    The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

    Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.

    In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.

    I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.

    The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.

    Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.

    Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.

    Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.

    Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.

    All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.

    Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

    Morocco is located at the northern tip of East Africa spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara desert. Morocco is largely mountainous with a great expanse of coastal plains and desert.
    It is noted that Morocco has the the most diversified cuisines in the world sharing a mix of Berber, dosage Spanish, sales French, sickness Portuguese, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African influences. Saffron, mint, olives, oranges and lemons in addition to imported spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. The most commonly eaten foods are chicken, beef and couscous with meat pie (pastilla), stew (tajine) and soup (harira) and mint tea.

    If you have never tried Moroccan cuisine this Tajine recipe for Moroccan Chicken & Lentils is the perfect introduction. Chicken and lentils is one of my favorite ethnic dishes. The spices are similar to a curry but those with an aversion to the strong flavor should find the combination a bit more pleasing.

    Source: Stolen Moments Cooking
    1 tablespoon paprika
    2 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 large onion, sliced thin
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
    1/2 pound baby carrots or sliced carrots
    1 1/4 cups chicken stock
    1/2 cup dried lentils

    In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. Set aside.

    In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir in spice blend and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently so that the spices do not burn.

    Add chicken, carrots, lentils and chicken stock to the skillet. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 20-25 minutes. Check chicken for doneness. If fully cooked remove from pan, shred. Return to skillet when lentils and carrots are tender. Stir to combine.