Friday, August 21, 2009

You Pick

After such a long break from blogging I'm curious. Which photo is it you most want to see?

This one?

Or maybe this one?
How 'bout this beauty?
Or this one?
Maybe you like this?
Or maybe it's a non-existent food photo you want?

Besides bringing back priceless, awesome, invaluable memories and lessons from Africa, our family has brought back a stowaway. A stowaway of the illness sort whose very unpleasant symptoms I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that I'm in no form to provide you with food photos. My body can't stomach food at the moment so bear with me.

Beautiful food photos will adorn this blog before long but until then I'll have to beg you to accept the above photos. Thanks so very much my faithful blog followers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Age is Irrelevant

There's nothing like turning 26-years-old. Young and carefree, the world is before you and the regrets are behind. That's right, I said I turned *ahem* 26-years-old. Happy belated birthday to me! For those of you who are old cronies, well beyond 26-years-old, here's how Check Spelling26-years-old looks:

Upon closer inspection you'll notice that 26-years-old embraces weird mouth appliances. Can't see it? Take a closer look at 26-years-old:
Still can't see it? Okay, here's an even closer look at the 26-year-old Mago Bite Adjuster that's a result of years of grinding and clenching:
Nothing like a lisp and protruding lips to make you feel all of 31-years-old. Oops, did I slip and say 31-years-old? Silly me, just look at the top picture and tell me I'm not 26-years-old. Please!?!?!?

Friday, June 5, 2009

What a Way to Start a Day

Mmm, come to mama.

If you're anything like me, mornings are not the most smooth running of times. With summer and summer activities just around the corner, eating breakfast may become a matter of convenience. Not only are these little morsels convenient but they're also nutritionally dense. You'll be left satisfied in yo' tummy and satisfied with yo' good food choice. Add a piece of fresh fruit and you've got breakfast on the go!

Bran Muffins With a Twist

1 C. Whole wheat pastry flour (whole wheat or all purpose should work fine)
1/2 C. White bread Flour (all purpose should work fine)
3/4 C. Ground flax seed (I use my coffee grinder of mini food processor)
1 C. Packed brown sugar
2 t. Baking soda
1 t. Baking powder
1 t. Salt
2 t. Cinnamon
3/4 C. Soy milk (cows milk will work)
1 t. Vanilla
1/3 C. + 1 T. egg white (2 eggs, beaten, will work fine)
2 C. shredded carrots
1 1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 - 3/4 C. raisins
A handful of chopped walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray two standard muffins pans with cooking spray.
2) In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (flour - cinnamon).
3) In a medium mixing bowl combine remaining ingredients.
4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix only till combined.
5) Fill muffins tins 2/3 full w/ mixture.
6) Bake for 25 muffins or till tops or nicely browned at spring back when touched.

Yields 15-18 muffins.

Healthy? Yes! Delicious? You betcha! Packed with nothin' but good for you stuff? Sure!

Enjoy my friends, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One of My Prayers

Our recent trip to visit Zack's family in Colorado has left me with the following prayers on my heart:

Lord, may
1) I please enjoy longevity similar to that of Grandma Marie?
2) 93-years-young look as good on me as it does her?
3) I be blessed with a handful of great grandchildren?
4) My heart and soul be as beautiful and full of joy as her's?

Grandma with her 12 great grandchildren

Here's to you, Grandma! AMEN

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blast From the Past

It was a dark and stormy night. Okay, well maybe it wasn't stormy but it was dark and it was night. Zack and I were sound asleep in our double bed, foregoing any snuggling because I was something like 56 weeks pregnant with Garrett. A belly that looked similar to this...

and a double bed simply didn't lend themselves to snuggling. Anyway, I digress.

At some point, probably right in the midst of precious REM sleep, a jolting sensation rapidly awoke the both of us. Zack, in his grogginess (have I mentioned it takes him a good long while to wake up?) reached over, patted the bed and finding me still there said, "Oh, I thought you'd fallen out of the bed." Niiiicccceeee! It's always wonderful to learn that a literal shaking of the foundation of your home is thought by your husband to be the result of your pregnant girth hitting the floor. No, it wasn't me falling out of the bed; turns out it was a Southern California earthquake!

I think I'll choose to forget this story from here on out. It can't be good for me to dwell on the fact that at 36+ weeks of pregnancy Zack thought my weight great enough to shake our entire house, right? Yes, this I will forget. Hmm, if only I can also forget the following comment by the same dear man during the same pregnancy, "Wow, you're like two feet wide!"

The damage runs deep, I tell ya!

Oh Where, Oh Where...

Have my babies gone?

Be still...

My yearning..



Sunday, April 26, 2009


While you patiently wait for me to be back up and running with a new, virus free computer I have a public service announcement for you.

I'll call this "Sage wisdom from Jennie".

Believe me, you'll thank me for this.

Really, this is kind of how I'm feeling about the whole technology thing at this point.

Are you sure you want to see this?

Wait for it, just hold yer horses...

Here it comes:
You can pick your friends and
You can pick your nose but
You can't pick your friends' noses.

Thank you, thank you very much! And I can just feel the pride beaming from my mother-in-law right at this moment (hi Susan)!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Down But Not Out

Have I ever expressed exactly h0w much I *love* modern day technology? Really, I do! But you know what I don't love? Problems with modern day technology!!!!

My computer got a virus resulting in the discontinuation of our DSL service. It's been a long process of getting everything back up and running, and it's still not at 100%.

Please know that I'm itching to post something of interest, namely "Poster Child for Bike Helmets", as well as some fun food related posts for those of you looking for those.

Hang in there with me. I'm sure that we've all come to realize that technology requires patience. And I am oh so patient (ha-ha)!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mini Me

Nearly everywhere Ashlyn and I frequent together we hear over and over again that we are look-alikes; the salon, the grocery store, the library, the_________ (you name it). We look so similar, people say, that Ashlyn is my" mini me". Quite frankly I'm not seeing it. Do you?

Hopefully this cut-from-the-same-mold talk will chalk up to something. A local contest is asking for mother/daughter look-alike photos, with big prizes in store for the winners. The above photo is our submission. We shall see...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

See this?

Do you know what it is? No, it's not that! Do you really think I'd have that on my counter, in a container? How dare you think in such a manner? No far from that, this my friends is domesticity in a dish! This is homemade, freshly ground peanut butter. Anyone like peanut butter? I see a few raised hands, so read on.

Freshly ground peanut butter yields these:

Don't these raw cookies look delish, luscious, and maybe even rustic? I just found the recipe for these puppies and I am in love! Now don't go all Salmonella on me when I tell you that yes I did eat the dough. Salmonella is no worry with these because it's an egg-less recipe. You heard me right, egg-less cookies! And you know what else? These are cookies you can write home about because mama would be proud. Check out this ingredient list:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup organic, chunky natural peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(Courtesy of

And the directions are pretty darn simple as well:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place racks in the top third.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate larger bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and stir until barely combined - still a bit dusty looking. Let sit for five minutes, give one more quick stir, just a stroke or two. Now drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down on each one gently with the back of a fork. It's a loose batter, so if you're set on doing criss-crosses, go ahead and chill the batter for an hour or so before this step. Bake for 10, maybe 11 minutes - but don't over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Make 2 - 3 dozen cookies.
(Again, courtesy of

Before I proceed let me tell you that my alterations to the above ingredients included adding just a smidge of olive oil instead of 1/3 cup. I nearly omitted all of the oil, just depending on the natural peanut butter oil for fat, but I probably ended up using a mere 1 to 2 Tablespoons. And for the inquiring mind, I used whole wheat pastry flour as my flour choice. And the peanut butter I used? Take a look at this:

Homemade peanut butter is beyond simple. I remember my first time learning of this wonder and was amazed that it could be so darn easy. Here's what you do. Choose your peanuts. The possibilities are endless. At the risk of sounding like a character from Forrest Gump (remember Benjamin Buford Blue, aka Bubba, naming the nearly endless shrimp recipes that abound?) , there are raw peanuts; dry roasted; dry roasted and salted; honey roasted; and Spanish just to name a few. My personal favorite are all-natural dry roasted with sea salt. After purchasing your peanuts, toss them into either your food processor or blender. Note that if you use your blender you'll have to process the peanuts in fairly small batches; a food processor allows larger batches. On my processor I start by using the grind button till the peanuts are roughly ground. I then use the chop button, which reverses the blades, and I process those babies till they reach the desired consistency. This takes some time, like five minutes or so, but oh is it worth it! The taste is undeniably fresh, and there's something so satisfying about procuring your own peanut butter. Plus it's cheap!

And see these?
These, fellow readers, are heavenly. Trust me on this one!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Is In the Air

Bozeman's weather updated 9 seconds ago: 31.1 degrees, 90% chance of precipitation and as I look out the window I see an all out blizzard. Welcome to spring in Montana! And despite the snow and cold I'm in a springy mood.

In my kitchen I have tastes of spring:



And from my laundry room comes the sound of spring:




Weather unaccounted for, spring is in the air!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lest You Think They're Angels

Remember back in the summer when the flood waters rose? Well, for the sake of the story let's travel back to that time. Close your eyes and breath deeply. The water has been rapidly rising and Zack is out of town on business. The friends have been commissioned and the basement has been emptied...

Wait, what am I thinking? Who would be crazy enough to want to travel back to that time? Granted it was a time of clarity and a time of revealing that which is most important. Granted it was a time of lessons learned. Did I just say lessons learned? Lessons, indeed! Lessons such as just because your children have never used the walls as their canvas you are not immune from the attack of the stray writing utensil? Yes, that's right. My boys are not angels!

It had been a long day of box packing, using a blue permanent marker to label said boxes. We had come to a good stopping point, early in the evening. We loaded the kids in the van, not even noticing the permanent marker that will have come into question. Granted the car ride to the condo we were staying at was a quiet one, but it had been a long day and the kids had to have been exhausted.

It wasn't until we put the van into park that suspicious giggles erupted from the back seat along with squeals of, "Mom, we're skeletons!". Blue permanent marker and bones drawn all over the tanned bodies of boys - not a good mix, no not a good mix indeed!

To say I was speechless would be an understatement. How in the world do you remove permanent marker from skin? I mean we had church the next day. We couldn't go to church with blue skeleton boys! All I can say is thank goodness for moms. Not only did she come to help us pack up our ruined home, but she being the saint she is, had the solution to our permanent marker woes. Toothpaste. Not gel but paste. And you know the best part? Mom sent Zack and I out for a date night and single-handedly restored our boys to proper form.

All's well that ends well! Plus, I now know that Garrett and Brody have an accurate understanding of the structural composition of a human body. I mean just check out the femur bones on Garrett! But wait, a belly button bone Garrett? Nevermind!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Post That Isn't (in any form) Titled We Miss Mexico

Zack and Garrett, surf fishing partners

The hooligans chasing waves

Landscape (notice the blue, blue water that I don't miss at all)

Our resort, Royal Solaris del Cabo (and of course I don't miss it. No way!)

The happy couple plus one

I mean, really. What's to miss? It's not like there was sun, warmth, nothing but relaxation, endless food and drink, beach lounging and very little responsibility. It's not that coming back to Bozeman conversely meant overcast skies, cold weather with nearly a foot of snow the day after we got back. It doesn't mean I'm back to all the responsibilities of homemaking and motherhood, school, and every other commitment.

Mexico, hmpf! What's to miss?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Commemorate the Return

Remember my last post? Okay, now forget about it! The long story short is that Zack and Garrett have strongly encouraged me to get back into the swing of sharing my dirty laundry online. And heck, if two of the men in your life ask something of you, you're pretty much obliged, right?

So welcome back, me! Here's to a brand new start on a not so new foray into the blogging world. And to commemorate my return I thought I'd share with you one of my go-to recipes.

As a mom, I love knowing I'm meeting the nutritional needs of my children in the most healthful ways. And not just the kids' needs but Zack's and mine as well. These granola bars fit the bill. If you peruse the ingredient list on a box of granola bars at the store you'll most often find that the list is a mile long and contains one or more not-so-great ingredients. The bars above? Heavenly! And the goods that go into them? Guilt-free!

Whip these up, alter them to your taste, and let your indebtedness to me begin! Oh and just so you know, I change these up each and every time I make them. In the parenthesis below you'll find the alterations I made this go 'round (and here's a shout-out to my mom for the original recipe given to me years and years ago)!


1 C. rolled oats
1 C. crunchy grain cereal, crushed (I used Cheerios)
1/2 C. slivered almonds (I used whole almonds, chopped by me)
1 1/2 C. dried apricots, chopped (I used dried cranberries)
1 C. raisins
1/2 C wheat germ (I used wheat bran)
1/2 C. protein powder (I used vanilla flavored)
1 t. butter or vegetable oil (I always use the oil)
3/4 C. maple syrup or brown rice syrup (I use 10 T. when I use vanilla protein
1/2 C. natural peanut butter
1 t. ground cinnamon

Toast first 3 ingredients in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through (don't let the mixture brown).
Place ingredients from the oven in a large mixing bowl. Add the next 4 ingredients, separating the dried fruit pieces; mix thoroughly.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter/oil and syrup, stirring until bubbly. Mix in the peanut butter and cinnamon till all are combined, mixing constantly.
Pour over dry ingredients, quickly mix together, and press into a lightly greased 9x13" pan. Pat mixture into the pan using waxed paper.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Cut into bars - whatever size makes your skirt fly up - and wrap each in wax paper or a snack size Ziploc bag.
Store refrigerated.

The best thing about these? People, they're no-bake!! Dig in and enjoy!!!