Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sugar Free Granola




We go through a LOT of granola in this house.  Peter eats a yoghurt parfait everyday and now that the boys want to be mini-Peter they like to eat them too.  Also baby three seems to think granola is the greatest thing ever.  We also try to avoid refined sugars in our granola but it is hard!  It is either 5 or 6 bucks a package or get the cheap stuff that has all kinds of added sugar.  So I decided that this month was my granola experimenting month.  I'm also attempting granola bars but all I've done so far is buy the oats!

This is a recipe modified from Foods of Our Lives.

7 cups old fashioned oats
1 and 1/2 cups slivered almonds or chopped pecans (I use almonds)
1 and 1/2 cups shredded coconut 
3 T cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3 T pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups sugar free applesauce
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup or agave
1 package Craisins 

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  The one area I cheat in this recipe is the shredded coconut.  It is impossible to find coconut that doesn't have a little bit of added sugar.  I know you can get it at bulk food stores and eventually I will get around to getting a TON of coconut but for now I use the shredded version I find at the store.

Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and toss until it's coated.  The dry mixture should be coated but not super wet.  If you still have loose oats rolling around you can add additional applesauce.

Spread the mixture out evenly on baking sheets.  You'll want to use the kind with rims so you can mix it.  Bake at 275 for 40-50 minutes.  Stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so.  Once it's dry remove it from the oven and let it cool.  I think it is better to take it out earlier than later.  The last batch I made is bordering on overdone but baby still loves it!

This is not super sweet.  If you want it to be sweeter but still don't want to refined sugars you could either double the honey/syrup or add coconut sugar.  That's what I'm going to try next time!


It makes a LOT of granola!


This is a great recipe for little helpers!!

I hope you enjoy!!

Odds & Ends

Wow.  I'm exhausted.  All the time.  

One of my friends posted this on her Facebook page today and I swear it is the truth!!

Photo: I've said this time and time again to my husband, but driving a car while communicating with a 4-year-old and 2-year-old can be WAY more mentally exhausting then closing billion-dollar deals for a major international law firm!  :)  Honestly...there just is no break, and if you try to just say, "Uh-huh" or "Ummmm" or "Yes" to give yourself a breather, they KNOW you are faking it...by the time we get where we are going, I am completely tapped out!

Part of the exhaustion comes from when I either don't understand exactly what they are saying and have to guess (for Graham, when words like "truck", "duck", and "stuck" all sound about the same) or they ask the oddest questions or make the strangest statements where I have no idea how to respond (that would be Ava).  Perfect example from this morning:

A: "Are we driving on an interstate, Mommy?"
Me: "Yes, Ava, this is an interstate."
A: "Are there lots of interstates?"
Me: "Yes, there are."
A: "I don't want there to be a lot of interstates, Mommy!  I just want there to be one!  Why can't we just have one?!"
Whaaaa?!?

And babies are even worse!!  The little one is really taking it out of me.  I know a lot of it has to do with the pelvic discomfort that I'm dealing with (more on that in a bit).  But seriously...it's some hard work taking care of babies when you are pregnant!

***

The Little Guy started pre-school this week.  I wasn't sure if he would be ready this year.  I wasn't sure if I would be ready this year.  But a few months ago he started asking me when he could go to school.  I'm pretty sure his definition of school is playing outside on the playground since that is what he sees at the little school down the street from us.  But never the less the timing was just right for him to start.



I dropped him off on Tuesday and y'all he didn't even hug me goodbye!  He was SO excited.  When I picked him up I told him how proud I was and he said

"Mama, I'm proud of you for picking me up!'

So there you go.

***
Speaking of babies.  This poor little girl is going to be the one in the hospital with no name.  I can just tell.  We are NO WHERE closer today than we were 29 weeks ago to having a baby name.  Well...I guess we have ruled a few out.  But I am finding it WAY harder to name this one than either of the other two!

***
What should be easy is picking out a fun animal for her!  I've taken milestone pictures of each of the boys with their individual animal.  So far we have used a pelican and an orca.  What are your suggestions for baby girl?  I kind of like the idea of having something that potentially would have clothes that would match (like you know you'll see rabbits, kittens etc on clothes) but not something super common.  So far I've thought of a deer and a peacock.  I mean...how cute is this??


Give me some suggestions!!

***
We currently live in a 2 bedroom, 1 walk-in closet house.  The bedrooms are a nice size but don't do much for keeping the kiddos separate during naps etc.  I've been brainstorming about how we can rearrange depending on how long we will be living in our house etc.  I've also been brainstorming about decorating up a storm once baby girl HAS a room.


These Betsy McCall paperdolls were my Mamas when she was little.  They were one of my favorite things to play with growing up.  Mom would only bring them out every once in a while.  Thankfully my sister isn't as nostalgic as I am and she was willing to give them to me without a fuss.  These dolls and dresses are getting framed and will be the decor in the baby's room.  I can not WAIT!

***
I've been struggling with a lot of pelvic discomfort associated with SPD.  Most people haven't heard of this condition and even if you have heard of it you probably don't understand it.  It's weird!  It's hard to explain and it's not very common.  The funny thing is I now know 5 or 6 girls who have suffered from this during pregnancy!

The gist of the dysfunction is too much of the chemical Relaxin.  Relaxin is a good thing later in pregnancy.  It preps your body for delivery.  My problem is it's been prepping my body since the very beginning of my pregnancy.  Basically my pelvis is made of jello at this point.  Everything wiggles around and bumps into the wrong thing.  By the end of the day I can barely walk.  You can hear things cracking and creaking in there and sometimes I can feel my whole back settle into place.  

I went for my Drs appointment last week and she suggested a support band.  I remember trying one of these when pregnant with Reed and it was so uncomfortable that it was worse than being in pain.  Literally within 10 minutes of wearing this I was feeling better.  It is amazing!  It doesn't take all the pain away...and it is uncomfortable...and super unflattering...but it really helps!  I am so thankful!

***

I am just loving my Rodan + Fields business.  This month I was able to pay for the Little Guy's preschool...save for my non-profit...and have some leftover!  It is so fun getting to share these life-changing products with people and I get to do it all from home in my pjs & support belt.  Haha!!

If you are looking for a way to change your financial future I would LOVE to talk to you about this amazing opportunity!  If not and you've been looking for some new an innovative products to add to your skincare regimen here are a couple of my favorites!

I use this microdermabrasion paste once or twice a week instead of my usual facial cleanser.  It seriously makes my face feel SO soft I can't stop touching it.  And it smells like summertime.  

This is my home spa!  It removes millions of dead skin cells and I use it once a week to keep my skin looking and feeling soft and smooth.  LOVE!!
Some nights I'm just too tired to do a whole entire facial regimen.  These are perfect!  In addition to removing impurities from your face they contain peptides which help reduce wrinkles and improve skin quality!

***
That's a little bit of what is going on in our world.  I have lots of pictures to update and a few additional recipes to share!  We are counting down to baby girl...a visit from my Mom & Aunt...and the Reedsters 2nd birthday!!

Have a fabulous weekend!!!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Sausage, Kale & Potato Soup



If you've been a reader here for long you know that I rarely make a recipe without adapting it a little myself.  This one doesn't need much changing.  The only thing I changed were some of the measurements.  Also I need a bigger pot.

Pioneer Woman's Sausage, Kale & Potato Soup
(modified slightly)

1 punch kale, cleaned and torn/cut into small pieces
8 red potatoes sliced
1 whole onion, chopped
1&1/2 pound Italian Sausage
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
4 cups half and half
splash of heavy cream
dash of oregano
black pepper
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup water

So.  I initially made this and did a lot of stuff wrong.  The original recipe calls for 12 potatoes.  I thought mine were huge so I only used 6.  Strike 1.  I also didn't have any whole milk on hand.  Strike 2.  I picked up breakfast sausage because honestly I don't know a thing about sausage.  And I'm pretty sure the day that I decided to try this the commissary was out of ALL OTHER SAUSAGE.  Strike three.

Version one was pretty good.  Version two....oh wow!

So let's skip ahead to version two.  I used 8 pretty large potatoes.  Perfect.  I bought whole milk.  AND I used a pound and a half of Johnsonville Italian sausage instead of a pound of breakfast sausage.  Score!!

So here is how to make it!

Chop your onion.  Saute with the sausage.  While it is going slice your potatoes and boil.  Drain any excess oil from the sausage mixture.

Add milk, chicken broth, half and half, red pepper flakes to your sausage/onion mixture.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remember when you simmer to put the top on! 

Taste your soup.  If you like how it tastes then add the potatoes, a bit of heavy cream and the kale.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until kale is no longer crunchy.

Eat five bowls.

Seriously.  It's so good.  I want to eat it everyday forever.  

I am always in the mood for a good soup recipe and although I am happy with the creamier version Peter likes a thicker version.

So I added 1/4 cup water & 1/4 cup corn starch to thicken it up a bit.  If you prefer not use corn starch you could always cook extra potatoes and mash them up well in the soup mixture to thicken it a bit.

I hope you love this as much as I do!!  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Valentine's Day Specials!!






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 Package 5 "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" Includes Lip Micro-Dermabrasion, 2-pack of Lip Balm and Lip Renewing Serum. $78 plus shipping

Package 6 "Ready for Bed" Includes Night Serum (60 day supply) and Micro Dermabrasion Paste $151 plus shipping

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 Package 9 "Hold My Hand" Includes Brightening Hand Treatment & Age Shield Hand Balm. $60.00 plus shipping



Contact me today to create a custom package for your sweetheart!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living with Purpose



My 2014 "word" came very quickly to me.  I had been praying about a word I could focus on for this year and the Lord clearly spoke to me.

Purpose.

I love it.  But I think it is going to stretch me.  I don't think I've been living my life purposefully.  I certainly have a purpose and I think I am where God wants me to be.  Wife, Mama, friend, new business owner.  But am I doing each of these things purposefully?

One of the things I've noticed that takes up my time is what I call "busy work".  It keeps me busy for sure but it isn't work.  It's the internet.  Duh duh duh.  And as much as I want to say I don't spend too much time on it....I can't.  In fact I spend WAY too much time.  And the sad part is I've morphed from spending productive time (blogging, researching, business running) to just browsing for no reason!

So one of the biggest changes I've made is taking social media off of my phone.  I think smart phones are great but only if you are smart about how you use them.  I want my social media time to be limited so if I'm going to be on it I'll log in on the computer.  I also didn't want my kids to get used to me always having a phone in my hand.  I can already see a difference.

I'm also evaluating how I use my free time.  I want to be purposeful about the time I have to myself.  Again, it's ok for me to get on and blog or read facebook for a bit.  But I don't need to do these things all the time.  I didn't even come close to my reading goal last year (I read more books but I didn't read the books I set out to read) so I am setting new reading goals and hope to accomplish some of those during down time.

I also want to make time to exercise.  I hate exercising but I know I need to.  Because of some pelvic issues in this pregnancy the only thing I can do is swim.  So I am committed to going twice a week at least.  Gotta get some use out of that cute maternity suit!

I want to be purposeful in the activities I plan for the boys.  Play time is great.  TV time has it's place.  But I want to do more arts and crafts and just a variety of things with them.

I want to be purposeful about how I spend my money.  We stick to a budget but we have some wiggle room.  Now that we've just purchased a new vehicle we need to start saving again.  I want to be sure that the items I am purchasing have a purpose in our home.

And talking about purpose in our home.  We have too much stuff.  I've been saying this for a year now and we did a huge yardsale last year.  I still feel like we have too much stuff.  So I am still cleaning and purging and getting rid of excess.  Excess is gross in general.  Excess fat on your body is yucky.  Excess stuff in your house is yucky.  If it doesn't have a purpose in our house it is out the door.

I'm still muddling through what PURPOSE looks like for me.  It clearly not only affects me but my family too.  Because I think I can derail easily I've also committed to making weekly and monthly goals.  These will help us stay within our budget (by weekly meal planning) and also help me organize my time.

The last thing I want to do is get our non-profit off the ground by the end of the year.  I have LOVED this first six months of working from home.  We have money saved from my earnings to start helping others and as that grows I can't wait to purposefully use those funds.

Here's to 2014...and living with purpose!

What's your 2014 word??

Pepperoncini Crockpot Roast


Well I never thought a bottle of peppers would be life changing but after tonight I think they might be.  I'm not a pepper person or a crockpot girl.  I've tried.  Really I have.  But mostly I find crockpot meals to be dry and peppers to be unpalatable.

Enter Crockpot Pepperoncini Roast.

My foodie friend Allison sent over this recipe the other day and since I love and trust her I decided to give it a go.  As usual with any recipe I do or share here it is easy and delicious.

London Broil or Chuck Roast
16 oz jar of pepperoncini
salt
pepper
garlic or garlic powder
onions 
(Allison added these but I forgot...I will definitely add next time because onions make everything better in my opinion)

Put it in the crockpot.  Cook it on low all day.

Yep that's it!

Yum.  Seriously yum.  I served it on rustic bread with mozzarella cheese (because I didn't have any swiss) and some of the pepperoncini that were left in the crockpot.  It was spicy and delicious and didn't even HINT of dry.  Amazing!!  I'm basically sitting here trying not to go into the kitchen to eat the leftovers!!

So....after trying it once with success I'm willing to try again.

What is YOUR favorite crockpot meal???

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The 52

I am SO behind on everything.  But it's ok.  I'm working on living in the moment and enjoying it and not stressing when I'm behind.  The only things I'm really behind on are things and ideas and expectations I create for myself.

This year I am living my life with PURPOSE.  It's my word of the year and I will blog more about that later.  Yep I'm a few days late but that's ok.  I've been PURPOSEFULLY spending time with family and reflecting on what I want this year and what the Lord wants this year to look like for me and those around me.

With that I will share one resolution that I hope you'll join me in!!

One of my goals is to memorize more scripture and encourage women around me.  So...I've started a facebook group for those interested in memorizing scripture too!  We are the 52...although I hope there will be like 5200 of us!!  Each week we will memorize a verse together and at the end of the year we will all know 52 new verses!!  I can't wait!!

Want to join me?  Send me an email laura_euler@yahoo.com and I'll add you to our group!!

Happy New Year!!!

My Hot (but hopefully not too hot) New Gadget!


As a busy Mom I am all for anything that makes my life with littles easier.  I was SO excited to be selected to try out this Braun thermometer.  Lately my three year old is into "being sick".  I'm sick Mama he will say and then he thinks he needs medicine.  Sigh.  I'm certainly glad he isn't sick as much as he claims to be but when I need to check it out this little gadget has come in super handy!!

This is a forehead scanning thermometer and for very little children that is wonderful.  There is nothing worse than knowing your child is feverish and having to wake them up from sleep to try to determine their temperature.  Ok I am sure there are worse things...but temperature taking wise that is the worst! I always hate trying to leave the thermometer under their arm for a certain amount of time and the not knowing for sure if it is totally accurate.  They get wiggly and I usually have to undress them part way to get the thermometer in between the layers of clothes!

This thermometer is so easy to scan I can do it while they are asleep.  I can also see it in the dark because of the lighted screen!  The numbers are big enough that my 3 year old can tell me what his temperature is....thus dispelling the myth that he is actually "sick".  

If you are a new Mama put this on your registry.  If you have littles splurge and purchase!  It's a pricier item but the convenience totally pays off!!

***

Thanks to Influenster for letting me test out this great product.  I did receive a thermometer but all opinions are my own!

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