Thursday, January 28, 2010

Classic Oatmeal Waffles

My kids and I are big breakfast eaters...staying home with them has reminded me of the benefits of starting off the day with a healthy, nutritious meal.

I have really enjoyed trying new breakfast recipes the past few years. To provide better nutrition and save money, I try to make pancakes and waffles that are packed with good things (pumpkin, blueberries, bananas, whole grains, etc..) and then freeze them in freezer bags to reheat for quick, healthy, inexpensive breakfasts.

My mom gave me a new Gooseberry Patch cookbook for Christmas and I found a new waffle recipe that my kids (particularly Trevor, my more picky eater) and I have really enjoyed! These oatmeal waffles are really good if you top them with peaches and maple syrup that have simmered together for a few moments.


2 eggs beaten
2 cups buttermilk (as usual, I did the 1 cup milk/1 TBS vinegar substitution)
1 cup quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP oil (I omitted this)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in large bowl. Add oats; mix well. Stir in molasses and oil. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir into egg mixture. Thin with a little milk, if necessary. Pour about 3/4 cup batter onto lightly greased waffle iron. Bake as directed.

Here's to hearty, healthy starts to the morning!

Popover Pizza!

When I was a kid, I remember loving when my mom made popover pizza for dinner. I also have recollections of making a few pans at a time for the guys at Jimmy's apartment during college, and them scarfing it down and loving it (of course any homemade meal was a hit for them back then!)

I googled some popover pizza recipes and adapted one yesterday for lunch. At first my little skeptics glanced at it apprehensively, but then they gobbled it up - Trevor even deemed it "de-wicious!!" I served it with green beans and garlic breadsticks.

It fit the criteria I have to judge most meals by these days...inexpensive for a tight budget, nutritious for growing kids, quick to put together for a busy schedule, and filling and yummy for hungry, sometimes picky eaters.

Hope popover pizza is a hit in your home too!

Here we go...preheat oven to 400.

Brown 1 lb - 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef. I seasoned mine with garlic salt, oregano, and Italian seasoning as it cooked. Add a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or if you are like me, whatever brand was buy one, get one free at Publix). Spread meat and sauce at the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Sprinkle meat mixture evenly with an 8 oz package of mozzarella cheese.

Beat together 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 TBSP oil (I used olive oil), 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 cup flour. Pour batter evenly over meat and cheese in casserole.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you have it (sadly I was out).

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes until batter puffs up and is nice and golden brown on top.

Cut into squares and serve, crossing your fingers that it will get a "de-wicious" around your table too!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We Are Pathetic

So, in order to paint a realistic picture of how some days go around here, I have got to fill you in on a conversation my husband and I had last Monday. It went something like this.

Me: Jimmy, we have like no diapers left.
Him: Oh, sure we do.
Me: No really, I promise I just used the last one and forgot to get more at the store.
Him: I think there's some in his backpack.
Me: But there were only two in his backpack when I took him to church yesterday, meaning at most there may be one left. I'm serious.
Him: Yeah, but don't we have an emergency one stored under the seat in the car?
Me: Oh yeah, I think so...(this said while heading out to the van to check his backpack and go searching under the seats)

Somewhere during this conversation it hit me that sometimes we are just plain pathetic! Forgetting to buy diapers for our kid and then acting like it's all cool because there's a crumbled, wrinkled diaper that's been sitting under the seat in our van along with McDonald's crumbs and who knows what else?! What is wrong with us??!!

Needless to say, I ran to the store that day and bought a pack of diapers and a pack of pull-ups because after all, if Trevor would just get potty-trained, this wouldn't have even been an issue!

So if your life is not perfectly together, don't fret, you are not alone. We are more pathetic than you.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Giving Over This, My Journey Lord...

Life is a journey, and that's one of the things I just love about it. But sometimes the journey takes us on twists and turns we don't see coming.

Anybody out there know what I'm talking about?

Even though most of you are sleeping as I write this I can hear your agreement. It doesn't take a whole lot of living to learn to expect the unexpected and know that a moment can change everything.

I have been riding a large curve on my journey the past three months, one that came out of nowhere as many curves do.

It started with the flu. The worst flu of my life. 10 days into the flu when my fever was finally starting to break, a pain ripped through my shoulder and down my arm. It didn't even start to subside for 11 days. I do not cry often, except for tearing up at songs or movies, and I sobbed every night. It was impossible to recline because the pain took my breath away, therefore sleep was just a mere hope. When I did manage to fall asleep sitting up on the couch, the pain inevitably woke me up within 45 minutes. I have never experienced anything like it.

I was prescribed heavy painkillers that didn't even take the edge off. I had a cortisone shot that didn't do a thing. Finally in an act of desperation, the massage therapist at my chiropractors office wrapped me in kinesiology tape which gave me the first bit of relief and gave some rest to my sleep-deprived self. 

I started physical therapy, and eventually the acute pain subsided and was replaced with a dull ache. And numbness. And weakness. I could no longer lift a gallon of milk with my arm or pick up my kids unless absolutely necessary. Playing the piano made my arm go completely numb, which made my heart ache.

But one night while editing pictures I noticed that my shoulder looked strange in the photos - it seemed as if my bones were protruding. I looked in the mirror and indeed they were, and I also had a sizable discoloration on my shoulder.

I'm not a worrier by nature, but I sort of freaked out.

The next day after an MRI of my neck, I went to my physical therapist who studied my shoulder, used a lot of big words with another therapist, and told me my muscle was deteriorating. The level of the deterioration concerned him, and he got me an appointment with a neurologist. 

Which brings us to today. Now as I said, I am really not a worrier but I was not looking forward to this test. I had heard it involved being pricked with needles (which it did) and I could write several blogs about my (humorous) encounters with needles being a not-good-at-medical-stuff kind of girl. I'll save those for next time (I'm sure you'll be waiting on pins and needles, haha) and spare you the details on the test, but let's just say it wasn't fun.

However, after listening to my story the doctor said he thought he knew what I had, and after seeing my shoulder (and studying it with the same concern and puzzlement that the therapist did) he was sure of it.

So now here I sit, one of the less than 200,000 people a year who get Parsonage Turner Syndrome, the statistics making it a rare disorder. You can google it to get the details but basically when I had the flu my immune system (which is a piece of junk no matter how many vitamins I take or the amount broccoli, almonds, and blueberries I eat) attacked a nerve instead of the virus, destroying the nerve in the process. After the nerve died, my muscle wasted...if you look it up I am a textbook case. Excruciating pain, dull pain, numbness, weakness, muscle wasting, all caused by a confused immune system that killed a nerve.

It hasn't been the most pleasant process.

But as I type my heart is so very grateful for a thankful for specialists who are well-trained and knowledgeable in their field of thankful that I still have (limited) use of my grateful for friends and family who pray...and so thankful for a God who can heal. Jimmy was joking in the office today that I should have married a doctor, but the cool thing is I'm the daughter of the Great Physician! Boy, am I thankful for that.

And tonight I am also thankful for things I am learning through this curve in the road. I heard a long time ago that God does not waste our pain, and I believe that with all my heart.

Even though I am not a crier, I could burst into tears right now thinking of a song I listened to on the way to my doctor's appointment earlier today. We practiced it tonight at praise band practice, as our friend Marlene will be singing it Sunday. Every time I have heard it today, the lyrics have ripped through my soul, making my heart feel like it could burst. The words literally take my breath away.

So I will leave you with the lyrics to Christy Nockel's song "Choose" as the stunning lyrics reflect the desires of my heart to choose Christ on this curve in the road, and on every other road I will go down on my journey.

Be blessed and much love to you on your journey.



Let me be in love with what You love
Let me be most satisfied in You
Forsaking what this world has offered me
I choose to be in love with You
I will choose to be in love with You

Let me know the peace that's mine in You
Let me know the joy my heart can sing
For I have nothing Lord apart from You
I choose to call on Christ in me
I will choose to call on Christ in me

For in the fullness of who You are
I can rest in this place
And giving over this, my journey Lord
I see nothing but Your face

Let me know that You have loved me first
Let me know the weight of my response
For You have long pursued my wandering heart
I choose to glory in Your cross
I will choose to glory in Your cross

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chocolate Covered Promises

I love chocolate, but then again what girl doesn't? Actually, I know a few females out there that don't enjoy this decadence, but it's a rare few. Most of us know what the combination of cacao, milk, and sugar can to do to change our mood, brighten our day, or compliment a meal!

A recent chocolate obsession of mine are Dove Promises. I went crazy over the chocolate caramel ones at Christmastime. (Don't even get me started on how soft and smooth the caramel filling is! Pure bliss.) Now that we're in 2010 I'm going after the dark chocolate and almond treats, for their obvious health benefits of course (smile).

As I unwrapped one of an undisclosed number of these I enjoyed the other day, I smiled as I read the promise on the inside of the gold foil wrapper. It read, "Be still, breathe, know-you are fine."

Good advice, but my mind immediately went to Psalm 46:10a in God's word..."Be still, and know that I am God."

You see, when I take a moment to be still and breathe, I know the reason that I will indeed be fine no matter what my circumstances...the God of the universe is, and always will be... not only that, but he has my very best interests mind and a perfect plan for my little life! He is God and I will be okay.

I reflected on this truth as I enjoyed my little chocolate delicacy, and grinned as I realized that while I do love Dove Promises, I love God's promises even more!

New Recipe I've Been Dying to Share!

If you didn't know before, you know now that I love to bake and cook and try out new recipes, especially breakfast recipes these days. Here's one I loved and hopefully you will too!

Mimi's Cafe Buttermilk Spice Muffins

Note...I have always been CRAZY over these muffins at the restaurant - they are my favorite and I start thinking about them and tasting all the warm spices before I even walk in the door and get my seat! I went on the Mimi's Cafe website and lo and behold, they had graciously posted the recipe - Go Mimi's! Try these, they are sheer delight for any cinnamon and nutmeg lovers. And I didn't have any walnuts on hand so I used pecans which did just fine. And as always, I didn't have any buttermilk so I did the whole 1 TBS white vingegar to 1 cup milk substitute, which has always worked just fine for me!


Muffin Batter:
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Butter or margarine
3 Eggs
2-½ cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Nutmeg
½ tsp. Cinnamon
¾ cup + 1 tbsp. ButtermilkNut Topping:
½ cup Sugar
1 cup Walnuts (finely chopped)
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. NutmegInstructions
Preheat oven to 375°. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter together with an electric mixer. When they are thoroughly mixed, add eggs and beat one more minute.
Sift the flour into a separate bowl, together with the baking soda, nutmeg and the cinnamon.
Add the flour and the buttermilk to the first mixture, mix at low speed until smooth. To avoid lumps in the batter, add the wet and dry ingredients alternately, in small amounts.
Make the nut topping: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Grease muffin tins with butter or margarine. You can also use paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter. Add a full, rounded tablespoon of nut topping on top of each muffin cup of batter. Bake immediately or the topping will sink to the bottom of the muffin.
Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin should come out dry. Home ovens heat differently from commercial ovens so you may need to adjust the temperature or the baking time accordingly.
Recipe yields 12 standard-size muffins, or six Mimi's-size muffins. If using the jumbo muffin pans, reduce the oven temperature by 25° and increase the baking time 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let Her Play

My house, as usual, is littered with toys and other things that my kids have dragged out to play with since they bounded out of bed at 7:45 this morning. I'm sure I have at least two or three loads of laundry to do, even though I have done more loads than I can remember over the past week. I have several organizational projects I need be working on, as mission organization is probably at the top of the New Years Resolution list that I have yet to write.

But here I sit on our little front porch, which I suppose is actually more of a stoop than a porch, to the sounds of country love songs thanks to my Alan Jackson station on Pandora. Our day has been action packed of course, with the usual meal prep, clean up, and dishwashing; playing American Girl Doll school with Madi; keeping busy Trevor occupied; baking and delivering some muffins. Though we have done much, there is still lots to do - but the temperatures, which have been abnormally cold for Florida, have warmed up to a beautiful 58 degrees with a bright, warm sun and clear, blue skies. After putting Trevor down for a nap, Madi and I went outside for a few minutes where she began making a collection of leaves and rocks and enjoying the sunshine and breezes in her bright, striped sweater and comfy, embroidered hand-me-down jeans. She was having so much fun that despite the work I needed to do inside, I decided to sit outside and let her play.

After all, there aren't always cool, sunshiney afternoons to enjoy. Sometimes life is too hot, too cold, or too rainy. There aren't always moments when we aren't being pulled in a hundred directions or don't have places to be other than our front yard. Sometimes life is too overwhelming and too busy. And my little girl won't always be four and home with me. Sometimes life goes too fast. But when she grows up and leaves home, I sure want her to remember sunny afternoons with mom and rocks and sticks and sunshine on her shoulders and long hair blowing behind her while she ran because I stopped, sat, and let her play.

We just ran inside to grab a freshly baked muffin and a Capri-Sun. As my striped-sweater girl settled on the step with her cinnamon spiced treat and juice, she turned to me and said, "Mom, it's nice to have a little snack outside sometimes."

You know Madi, you sure are right about that. You sure are right.