What We Did on Labor Day

All weekend I would have these sudden inspirations of joy. Why?  Because Monday Craig would be home, and not even on call! The big question was: WHAT were we going to do?!

Monday morning was a happy morning. Of course, I needed to do a town run, and 98% of the rest of Cleburne decided to shop at HEB at the same time. And Craig mowed grass. Not terribly romantic, but necessary.

But soon after we were up, Craig came up with an idea.

You have probably realized by now, that Craig is the one with the “ideas” in this marriage. He has very good ideas!

I was sitting on one of the only two stuffed chairs we own, which makes up most of our living room furniture…drinking green tea. He said, “What can we do today that would be fun that wouldn’t cost any money?” I said, “I don’t know!”

A little later he said…”Let’s fix up the plum room into a coffee shop, and make drinks for ourselves and hang out and read!” I said, “Yessss!!”

And so, after our work was done, and our naps were taken, we did just that.

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Craig’s other idea was to make chocolate eclairs! I didn’t feel like all the work, so we settled for some cream filled doughnuts with chocolate from the bakery at HEB. The kids thought it was wonderful…

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Our first drinks in the coffee shop were made with fresh lime and fresh strawberries. Once again, the kids thought they were in heaven…

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It wasn’t quite…an authentic date atmostphere 100% of the time. :) But what can you say when such darlings want to share your space?

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We had refills for free. :) And talked a long time. Sat quietly, drinking in the peace…

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I know, no pics of us. But they would have been on the edge of…appropriate. :)

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After we ate dinner, we had our second coffee shop course. See, when you spend a lot of time at a coffee shop, you need to indulge in several different types of drinks…

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The kids were being babysat by Curious George. :) For their second drinks, they had milk with these chocolate straws that their Grandma had sent. Bomani feels very loved when he drinks chocolate milk. This is because of his Grandma and the good ole’ days. :)

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All in all, it was a fantastic day. We had so much fun. We read a lot, talked a lot, and enjoyed a coffee room for many hours. In fact, we like it so well that we left it as is. Now our living room area boasts one sort of comfortable piece of furniture: my glider rocker that speaks to you as it rocks. :) This morning we both had a happy quiet time together in the plum coffee room. :)

And that was Labor Day 2014!

What We Did on Saturday

My songbird.

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I woke up Saturday morning, inspired! This marked a new era in my life. :) I was excited about cooking!! I decided to make a fat pizza. And make enough dough to do a fun loaf of bread as well. One of my favorite memories growing up, was when mom would give us each a pat of dough to make whatever we wanted to make. Ahhhh…the fun. And then we got to eat it! Bomani chose to make a small pizza. He had a lot of fun!

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They put the peppers on for me. :)

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And then the girls and I did cinnamon, raisin, butter breads. They would have rolled that dough for hours…

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Daisy put a lot of raisins in hers. :)

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The finished pizza.

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Very happy and proud of his!

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The cinnamon bread didn’t last too long…

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And THAT was Saturday!

When

every step takes effort. It’s one of those days.

And when you get dressed, then realize that you are most definitely outgrowing your clothes.

Whatever.

So I gave up and went out to the shed and hauled in my box of maternity clothes.

The kids are currently trying them on.

I don’t want September 10 to come.

I won’t be able to say, last year this time, Anja was still with us.

It feels like I am losing her forever.

Dear God, help us…cuz it looks like we need to live this next month.

I have Made IT!

I Stand.

Ready to take the step.

Into my Second Trimester.

How poetic. :) I guess to celebrate, I am eating chocolate granola with raw milk, raspberries, and chocolate chips. :)

I guess also to celebrate, I felt terrible last evening. Like, more nausea than I’ve had in days! But I slept it off. By morning, I felt awesome! Possibly I worked too hard yesterday. I organized my laundry room, which was terrible. I did laundry. I made food. Not sure what all else, but I was tired!

This morning I got up, got the girls combed and dressed, did other morning like things, finished getting the house ready to be cleaned, then I left my kids with two of my neighbor’s girls, and went to the Birth Center to hear my baby’s heartbeat! While I was gone, the two lovely girls cleaned my house like it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks! Hopefully not months, but I won’t count. :) On coming home to a clean house, my morale hit the roof. :) I am feeling veeeeery happy. :) :) :)

As far as a baby bump picture, Maria…hmm. I don’t have much of a bump yet! It’s still in the wannabe stage. :) I am fiercely determined not to gain tons of weight this time around. But we’ll see. I feel like I know a hundred time more about nutrition than I did any of my other pregnancies, and I know what I should and should not eat, in order to feed my baby well, but not pack on pounds. You know…chocolate granola with chocolate chips… ;)

Maybe I should just post a picture of when I was pregnant with the twins instead. Just to make me feel…well…thrilled to be carrying one baby this time!

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I know. It doesn’t even look that bad. But it was. Every night I would groan. And wonder, can I get any bigger without…I don’t know? Bursting? Maybe actually the worst part, besides the fact that I am a small person, was all the arms and legs inside there. They would shift and I would take a deep breath, try not to freak out, and let everything settle back into spaces…

I am waxing nostalgic. :) As delightful as it is to have twins, and as much as I would never, ever want either of them to go away, I am SOOO happy to be carrying one baby! This is going to be pie in the sky. Thank You, Jesus. :)

I’m not even freaked out about a VBAC. Why be freaked out? I have a fantastic birth center full of amazing professionals! But far more than that, God has taken away my fears and worries. I don’t know how it will go. But I’m happy. He’s taking care of us.

The sun is shining! We had several inches of rain over the weekend. I cannot tell you how amazing and fantastic that was. You know you live in Texas when it thunders and rains and your Texas friends are one by one posting that it is raining!

Okay, lata!

Just Little Bits of Things.

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Sometimes I think he may be getting lost in the shuffle of life. So I took him to the park with his trike…

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Love my Buzzie Boy.

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They make slides. It’s all the rage right now.

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My tomato piglets.

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I was craving peach cobbler. :) So I made it. Of course…a scoop or two of protein powder into the dough can really…redeem it…

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I eat other stuff too. :)

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Daisy is the mommy around here…

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We are dehydrating tomatoes. It’s fun!

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“Sun dried” tomatoes! It makes me feel…exotic. :)

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Not everything is big in Texas.

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This is the only pumpkin I have managed to scratch out of the ground. Sigh gently. Something bit all my squash and pumpkin plants. Or for some reason, the entire plants just keeled. My dad, who can raise an entire market in his garden plot, would…laugh, and then feel sorry for me. :)

But! Eternal optimism abounds! We are going to do a fall garden. Only, we should probably be planting it now…

Peace.

Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Here’s the recipe! Sort of…sorry, I do too much dump and guess work in my kitchen…

 

4 C. black beans, cooked and rinsed
6 eggs
2/3 c. melted butter
1 scoop protein powder
3 t. baking powder
cocoa powder
stevia
honey
chocolate chips

Put everything except chocolate chips in blender. Blend. I added some heavy cream the time I rinsed my beans, because it was too thick to blend well.Turned out well both times. :) I just spooned the cocoa in. A half cup or so?? For the honey, I would guess at a half to 3/4 c…but seriously, I don’t know. And stevia either. I often just put some of each into whatever I’m making, using some honey to get rid of the stevia flavor, but using some stevia to keep the sugar content as low as possible. I never made these cakes very sweet. The chocolate chips I put on top before I baked them, saved them. :)

Bake at 350. I never timed it. But I tried to get it out as soon as it seemed done, because it’s sooo good moist.

Enjoy!

Casablanca Chutney Chicken

I cannot begin to describe how delicious this is.

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This is way beyond sweet and sour. It’s tangy, intense flavors meld together into something that will completely revolutionize the name of chicken for you, forever. Okay, enough drama. :) Can you tell I’m feeling better? I’m raving about food!!!

So, last evening I got inspired. I said, I’m going to pull out my slow cooker taste of home recipe book and make tomorrow’s meals today!!! The thought of a break from the constant, “What AM I going to cook today?” was lovely. So I threw together, Casablanca Chutney Chicken.

I’ll give you the recipe as it is in the book, but I used like 3 lbs of chicken, doubled some ingredients, didn’t have dried apricots, and used garlic powder. And of course, measured only half the ingredients and guessed for the other half. :)

 
Casablanca Chutney Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 can chicken broth
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. sweet, red pepper
1/3 c. chopped carrot
1/3 c. chopped, dried apricots
1/3 c. chopped, dried figs (mine were sticky)
1/3 c. golden raisins
2 T. orange marmalade (I used a fresh orange, peeled and cut into pieces.)
1 T. mustard seed
2 garlic cloves
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. crushed, red pepper flakes
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves

Throw that into a crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Stir in:

2 T. minced, fresh parsley
2 T. minced, fresh mint
1 T. lemon juice

Sprinkle each serving with chopped pistachios. Which I don’t have, so didn’t do. Oh yes, add salt.

Ahhhhh…

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This is really speakin’ my name, friends. :) Besides being so incredibly delicious, it is so easy! And cooking it on low like that for so long, all the flavors blend together and permeate the chicken. So now I’ll shut up about it, cuz maybe it won’t be as delicious to you, and then I’ll feel a bit funny. :)

It’s just so different from the cheap, sweet n sour dishes a person makes with sugar and ketchup. Know what I mean? Wait. I was going to shut up…

Despite the sad fact that our garden is going back to the earth from whence it came, we still have more tomatoes than just for fresh eating. So Saturday I made a large batch of pizza sauce, and froze some.

(I would take a picture of Daisy now, as she is “ironing” Haze’s pj pants with a teapot. It’s too cute. Only problem is, she is stark naked. HOW to keep that girl in clothes??!)

So, for this pizza sauce we first “roasted” the ingredients in the oven for a while. Then I stick blended it all. Then I pushed it through a sieve. It was yummy!

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It looked good enough to eat as a salad, raw. :)

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My little twins.

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That’s what I mean by “Daisy hugs”. Sometimes I can’t breathe…

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I’ve been on this chocolate kick recently. :) And so for a while, I kept making chocolate cakes for my snacks! This is no ordinary chocolate cake. The bulk of it is made of 4 c. black beans, cooked and drained, and 6 eggs. I also add a scoop of protein powder to up that even more! Add some honey, stevia, cocoa, and baking powder, and you are in business! I sprinkled chocolate chips on top. I know. But seriously, the hope of biting into one is just too lovely. I like this cake best straight out of the fridge. And not overbaked! Then it is so moist it’s like eating a chunk of chocolate. Mmm. I think I may have made three in a row before I went on to something different in the chocolate vein. :)

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And that different thing was…

Chocolate granola!!

My mom used to make a granola where she would put chocolate chips into it after it came out of the oven. The chips would melt enough to give you a delightful burst of chocolate here and there. This time, however, I put cocoa into the granola. Why not? :)

It’s really good! Only problem is, I overbaked it. :( Very sad. But it’s still good…

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So…I don’t really know where and when the chocolate kick will end. :) I bought this large container of gourmet baking cocoa in February. Yesterday I finished it. So, now we’ll see how long it takes to use the next one!

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Today I am putting some of our tomatoes into the “sundried” variety. We’re going to use our dehydrator, although it’s hot enough outside to sun dry about anything!

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This is a solar flair tomato. Lovely, isn’t it?

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I am so grateful to be feeling better. I am currently at 11 weeks! I am still really tired and have times of not feeling well, but the worst is behind us!

Grateful to Him…

Rachel

I Run

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I’ve never had a day like this
When things become so clear
And I can feel You here.
I’ve never had to pray like this
It’s all that I can do
To see me through the fear.
But when my faith begins to fail me
And I can’t find my way

I run
I fall
Into the arms of my Father
To a love like no other.
I walk
I crawl
It doesn’t matter how I get here
Only that I can be here at all.

Now all that seems to crowd my mind
Is how can I be strong
And how do I move on?
And I will call upon you Lord.
You’re worthy to be praised.
And so shall I be saved.
But I know You will never fail me.
You will be my way.

I run
I fall
Into the arms of my Father
To a love like no other.
I walk
I crawl
It doesn’t matter how I get here
Only that I can be here at all.

(Hallal)

Dedicated to my dear friend.