"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups (And I wonder why I'm not skinny.....)

These are fabulous.

Do you have a teen aged boy in your house? I do. Here's what you do. Make these. Let him eat a whole bunch. Wait for the love.

.......it will come.

Warning: I cannot be responsible for the weight gain that will surely commence in your home when you make these. You must bear the burden for that yourself.

All you need:
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chip
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix the butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter together in a medium bowl, until well combined:

DANGER!!!!! At this point, do not, FOR ANY REASON, take a taste. Otherwise you'll eat the whole thing. Use self control.

Spread this into an ungreased 9X13 pan:

Then stick the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter into a small, microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute, then stir until smooth and combined:

Spread on top of the peanut butter mixture:

Then chill in the fridge for an hour. Cut into bars:

I will give you 3 guesses as to who took a bite out of the bottom bar. The first two don't count.....

Make these and hide in the closet with the whole pan and a gallon of milk.

Or give them to your family. It's up to you.

I got this recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

There are two kinds of people- those who like peanut butter and banana together, and those who don't.

....sort of like black licorice. There aren't generally people who feel neutral about black licorice. Either you like it or you don't.

I like peanut butter and banana together, hence the smoothie. When I am really watching what I eat, I crave peanut butter like crazy  (I have no idea why, but I have always found this to be true). Of course, I also crave Coke and Red Vines.... but that is another issue.

By the way, have you missed my incessant daily blog posts? I was on a GREAT trip to Zion National Park.... hence the absence from the blog. It was an amazing time- Zion is a wonderful place to take a family camping trip!! It is beautiful and there are a TON of fun activities there!! Here's a link to the park page on the National Parks Website if you are interested in planning a trip there: http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm

Here's a couple photos of the park- gorgeous!!

Anyhow, back to the smoothie!! First, take a cup of almond milk (I like the vanilla unsweetened, because it only has 40 calories in an entire cup!!)

One frozen banana (I slice and bag bananas when they're getting old and freeze them so I always have some on hand for smoothies)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like the Pure Protein from Target)

And 1 Tb of peanut butter

Blend it up in a Magic Bullet or blender until smooth. If the blender gets "stuck" because the smoothie is too thick, just add a little more milk.

MMmmmmmm..... creamy and yummy. I find this smoothie to be quite filling, so I'll often have one for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack when I'm truly HUNGRY. (Yes, sometimes I eat when I'm not truly hungry)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make Your Own Soft, Chewy Wrap Bread!

It's summertime- time for beach trips, camping, hiking, and picnics!!

Don't you love summer?? I do.

I love these wrap breads, because I make turkey wraps, chicken wraps, and pb&j wraps for packed lunches. I hate spending 3 or 4 dollars on a package of wrap breads that are usually dry and cracking after a day or two. These breads are soft and chewy, and tend to disappear as you make them- so you may want to make a double batch!!

Here's what you need:
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup potato buds or flakes
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 tsp yeast
In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid. place two cups of flour. Pour the boiling water over the flour , and stir. (You're doing this to sort of "cook" the flour and take the edge off the flour-ey flavor) set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, put the 1/4 cup warm water in the measuring cup and dissolve the yeast, and let it get a little foamy. Once that happens, add the oil.

In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup flour (you will use the extra 1/4 cup during kneading, if needed) (kneaded, needed...ha ha) and potato buds or flakes, and the salt.

Now put the flour/potato mixture, and the yeast mixture into the Kitchen Aid, put the dough hook on, and knead for about 4 or 5 minutes. This dough takes a little bit to come together, it looks a little slippery at first, but keep an eye on it and add more flour if you need to. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky though, so don't overdo it on the flour.

Put the dough into a greased bowl, turn to coat, and let rise for 1 hour.

After the dough has risen, divide it into 8 equal pieces. Cover the pieces with Saran Wrap and let them rest for about 15 minutes. (They need their rest. They're tired. It is hard being dough.)

Now you're going to cook them!! Heat up a skillet (I almost spelled Skittles. I have been WAY too good with my eating this week if I am subconsciously changing skillet to skittles.) over medium high heat. Roll each dough ball out to about a 8 inch circle, and cook, one at a time in the skillet. It's ready to flip when it starts sort of puffing up:

Then flip it (I just use my hands but you could use tongs or a fork) and cook the other side:

Then I cool them on a wire rack, and store them in a Ziploc bag.

My current favorite wrap is a layer of turkey, some Lite Caesar dressing, chopped romaine, sliced tomatoes, and Swiss cheese. Mmmmmmmm...... I made a breakfast wrap the other day with scrambled eggs, feta, and tomatoes, that was good too!!!

Make a batch for your next packed lunch- if they make it that far!! My boys always grab a few when they're still warm and I am lucky to have any left!!

I hope you have some fun stuff planned for this summer!!

I got this recipe from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/ I love their stuff!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Being Pro-Choice

I am at a crossroads.


I get here fairly often.

Usually around this time of year.

The thing is, I like to be relied upon. To be committed to things. Big things. Little things. Church stuff. Scout activities. Social outings.

Here's the problem. After a period of time, I find myself assuming I can do "x" without really making a choice about it. I mean, I did it last year. I like "x". And, always floating around in the back of my head.... "if you don't do it this year, they're going to find someone better, and there won't be a spot for you again...." (Stinking pride. If there was one sin-ectomy I could have, it would be pride. Pride-ectomy.)

Does that make sense? It's like I tell myself, "well, of course you're going to do that thing! That's what you DO!"

Hence, I am so booked with the things I feel I ought to do, that I am barely squeezing in the things I know I am 100% certain, without a doubt, called to do.

This time of year, the time right after school ends, but before the press of the new school year is felt, I like to think about what I have going on in my life and make choices. Choices about what will stay, and what will go. I am not going to lie- I don't like it. I want to do everything. And I suppose I could....but then, in a way, I am making a choice about the quality I am willing to settle for in how I accomplish "everything".

I had lunch with a dear friend of mine, Julie, and she reminded me to make a firm list with what I am choosing to say "yes" to, so that I can see, realistically, what I need to choose to say "no" to. (Don't you LOVE friends who tell you the truth in a way that makes you want to follow their advice? Such a gift.)

Be a chooser. Don't let the press of urgency, or pushy people, or pride (ugh), force in on you and make you slave to what's hollering at you the loudest. Do what my friend Julie suggested- take some time in a quiet place, by yourself, and make choices. Don't fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent. CHOOSE.

So there we are. I would love to be able to do everything well. But I can't. And sadly, the things that suffer if I choose to take on too many responsibilities.... are the most important things. I don't want that to happen. I want to spend my life pursuing what God has called me to. There are things that I think He may have called me to.... but then there are things I KNOW I am supposed to do. For sure.

So I choose those things. The important ones.

The other stuff will be there when I'm done with what's on my plate, I hope.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Make Your Own Bagels!!!

I don't know why, but there are certain recipes that intimidate me. Bagels have always seemed like they would be difficult and hard to get right.

...but good news!! They're easy to make, and taste GREAT!!

Note the chocolate chip busting out of the bagel. Mmmmmmm....

So you have to start the dough the night before, but it's super simple, you just need to take the bowl of your Kitchen Aid, and stir 3 things together:
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (you can find bread flour at the market right by the regular flour)
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • a pinch of yeast
After you've stirred them together, throw a piece of saran wrap on top and let it sit overnight! You've just made the starter for your bagels.

The next day, take the starter (which you've wisely made in the Kitchen Aid bowl, so you don't need to wash an extra bowl...) and add:
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cool water
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast (I stirred the yeast into the water to dissolve it a little, then put it into the bowl)

Then put the bowl on the Kitchen Aid and use the dough hook to knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes. It took awhile for the dough to come together and climb the hook. During the last few minutes of kneading, add any mix ins that you would want. Some good things to add- chocolate chips, dried cranberries with white chocolate chips, parmesan cheese, dried cherries and nuts, raisins.

Then take the dough and put it into a greased bowl, and let it rise for an hour. Then gently deflate the dough (I just sort of squished it a little with my hands) and let rise for another half hour.

Then you'll want to flour a board or your counter (I can't use my counter because I have tile...beautiful tile, which we laid ourselves... but I digress...) and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (I did 12 pieces and it made regular, grocery store-sized bagels. I think next time I will do 8 pieces and make larger bagels, but you do what sounds good to you)

Then cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They will puff up slightly. (Mine hardly puffed at all, so don't stress about it, it will be fine)

In the meantime, get a few things ready. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Now, I just happen to have parchment paper. But if I didn't, I would have just lined my baking sheets with foil and sprayed the snot out of them with Pam. (Can I say "snot" on a recipe blog? I guess I can...) Or you can use that cool Reynolds Non-Stick foil- that stuff rocks!

You can also get the water bath ready. You're going to give the bagels a quick bath in boiling water before baking them. I just used my large skillet. Add 1 Tb of brown sugar to the skillet, then fill it with an inch or two of water. You'll want to have this gently boiling when you're ready to boil the bagels.

After you've waited 30 minutes, you want to shape the bagels. You just stick your finger through the center of them to make a hole, then twirl the dough gently around until the hole is like 3" wide. Then set them on the lined baking sheets while you shape the rest of the bagels.

Then you need to preheat the oven to 425 and get ready to boil the bagels. I did them 4 at a time in my skillet. You'll put them in, cook 2 minutes on the first side, flip them, then 1 minute on the second side. Take them out with the handle of  a wooden spoon, so you can drain them:

(Sorry this is so blurry- it is harder than you think to remove bagels from boiling water, balance them on a spoon handle, and focus the camera.)

Then put them back onto the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. If you want to put seeds on the bagels, like poppy seeds or sesame seeds, take the bagels out after 15 minutes, spray them lightly with water, and sprinkle on the seeds. Then continue baking for 10 minutes.

Cool the bagels on a wire rack.

Ok, I'm not trying to boss you around about your food, but you HAVE to try one when they're hot out of the oven.... they taste SOOOOO good!!!!!!!!!!!

I got this recipe from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/