Thursday, December 2, 2010

Romans 12:8

Romans 12:18 (New International Version)

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quadruple Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe

Quadruple Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe

2 c. pumpkin (see below)
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
1. tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Pumpkin pie spice: (see below)
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. ginger
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves

walnuts (for garnish)

Pumpkin: You will need one small pie pumpkin. Cut a round hole in top, scoop out seeds. Cut pumpkin in half and place cut sides down on greased baking sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees for an hour and a half. Take out of oven, let cool, scoop pumpkin out of shell and mash. Measure out 2 cups for recipe. This may be done well ahead of time and placed in fridge until needed.

Pumpkin Pie Spice: Mix together pumpkin pie spice ingredients in a small container. Reserve 2 tsp. for cake recipe. Remaining spice can be stored in cabinet for several weeks.

To Make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan(s).

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

In another bowl, combine sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. (I Beat everything by hand with a wire whisk and my cake came out great.) Spread into pans.

Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Test with toothpick in center of cake to see if it is done. If toothpick comes out clean, cake is done.

You may bake this in 2 layers, and cut each layer lengthwise. I baked 4 little layers and just checked them and took them out a bit earlier. I was afraid of the crumbs getting into my icing if I sliced the layers in half...

Ice the top of each individual layer with your favorite icing or ganache. (I wasn't happy with the icing I used on this cake and will change it next time I make it.) When you place the top layer on, ice the top and then garnish with a crusting of walnuts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quadruple Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake

I made this last night to go with dinner. If I have time today I will try to post the recipe. It was yummers! I think i'll use a different frosting next time though.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"...and then I got saved. The end."

Today I am joining the Good Morning Girls for Women in the Word Wednesdays.

Romans 10: 12-13 states:
" 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentiles-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." "

I love how this verse proclaims that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be blessed-no doubt, with eternal life, but also, I believe, with blessings in this lifetime. No matter who you are, or where you live, you most likely have at least one thing to be thankful for. (Shall we start with salvation? The BEST thing to be thankful for!)

We are blessed when we call on Him-but it doesn't end when we call on His name! It's just the beginning!

I was sitting in on a high school Bible study with one of my teens while my littles were attending Awana this past Monday. One of the facilitators, Ian, started talking about people and their testimonies. He shared that often, people who have grown up in the church, and don't have a dramatic testimony, feel that their testimony is "boring" or that they don't really have a testimony, compared to those of us who have gone through crazy things and then miraculously experienced salvation. Ian brought up an excellent point-he stated that just being saved is an exciting testimony in itself.

Ian went on to point out that many people with riveting, dramatic testimonies tell all this amazing detail about their lives before they were saved-they weave these wonderful stories that reel us in, and then end with: "...and then I got saved. The end." as if nothing exciting happened to them after they got saved! This was a huge revelation for me, because it was something i've never noticed. As someone who has a pretty wild past, I have thought many times about writing my own testimony, and, to be honest, before sitting in on this discussion, it probably would have ended with "and then I got saved. The end." After hearing what Ian had to say, I started thinking about some of the fun, exciting things that have happened to me since i've been saved. It really gave me food for thought.

I was saved in May of 2008. I went on to be baptized in August of 2008. I am still just a baby in all of this, but I have been so blessed even in such a short amount of time. This is a very small list of some of the blessings that have occurred in my life since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior:

*I got custody of my 15 year old daughter, who had been raised by my mom since I was 18 years old. (Yes, I was a teenage mom-to two children.) I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend a few years with her before she reaches adulthood and possibly moves on. This is one of the biggest blessings in my life, as I had never thought it would happen after all these years.

*After years of being a single mom, I married the most amazing man ever. He treats me like a princess and I am so thankful that I don't have to do this alone anymore. I feel that my husband and I truly are a team.

*I have had the blessing of seeing 4 of my 5 children baptized so far.

*I get the pleasure, every Sunday, of taking my whole family to church-laughing with them and spending time at church events and praising God. This is an amazing, beautiful thing for me. My family didn't attend church when I was a child and I had to go to Sunday school alone when I went. I am truly blessed that my children have memories of being with their whole family and enjoying worship time.

*I have "inherited" a beautiful, loving mother-in-law. She is the caretaking/nurturing type and she spoils us rotten.

*Church: my pastor, friends, an amazing support system. I really don't feel so alone anymore.

*I was blessed with a van large enough to hold all of my children. I don't like listing material blessings, and I know that a vehicle isn't a necessity, but let me tell you-it has made life SO much easier, (especially grocery shopping!) and I LOVE that we can offer rides to church for kids in the neighborhood!

*One of the biggest blessings of all, just a general appreciation for every day life spent in my house. I don't feel like my housework and tending children are mundane, unappreciated tasks. I know that this is a calling, a job, that I have been chosen to do, and I take it seriously. I love normal, routine days where we all just hang around and relax together, where I teach the girls a hobby or we sing songs together while working in the kitchen. I love teaching my kids to keep house and take care of their future families-this is my career and it fills my heart with joy. I get significantly less burnout and resentment towards my family now that I realize that there is a purpose to all of this, and I have been blessed with it, not "cursed with housework".

It seems that often, as we pray, we ask ask ask for so many things-I hope that today we would take the time to give thanks for at least one thing in our life. And if you have a testimony, make sure to amend it now, to include the amazing things that have happened since you've been saved. As Ian pointed out, the book of Acts is full of wild adventures Paul had after his conversion-and WOW, what amazing adventures they were! What a testimony!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Split Pea Soup Recipe

Well, this is not an innovative or new recipe by any means, but split pea soup can be a frugal and deliciously healthy dish. Dried split peas are very economical and have a long shelf life. (I like to buy mine in the bulk section at Winco.) I got my potatoes for 99 cents for a 10 pound bag, my baby carrots @ 79 cents a pound, and the celery was pretty cheap, too. Add half a brown onion, chopped, and some leftover ham from a meal a few nights before and we had a big pot of pea soup for a very low price per serving. (I didn't actually work out exactly what that price was, i'm too lazy, but, trust me, it was a cheap way to feed a big family + some guests.)

you'll need:
*2-3 cups dried split peas, rinsed and rained
*8 to 10 cups water, plus more for replacing evaporated water while pea soup boils
*1/2 medium onion, chopped
*20 baby carrots, cut into 4ths
*4 celery ribs, halved and then sliced
*5 to 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked (amount varies depending on how much you like potatoes. We like more rather than less in our soup.)
*ham steak (optional, I make this vegetarian style quite often by omitting the ham), diced, or you can just throw in a ham bone for flavor without having chunks of meat in your soup
*salt & pepper to taste

1.Throw your split peas, water, and diced onion into a large stockpot. bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. DO NOT ADD SALT until later, because if you are using ham in this recipe the ham will add a bit of salty flavor on its own-if you salt now you may end up with very salty pea soup.

2. Boil about 20 more minutes. If you keep it at a medium high boil, your peas will start to disintegrate. After your second 20 minutes is over, add your diced ham. I like to cut mine fairly chunky so that my pea soup will be hearty with good sized dices of meat. You may want to add more water at this point to replace the water that has boiled down. Depending on how thick you want your pea soup to be, you can add as much water as you'd like.

3. Boil for another 20 minutes. Make sure you stir often because this will begin to thicken and the bottom could burn. I like to use a good, heavy bottomed pan so that it doesn't burn so easily on the bottom. Keep on checking the water level and adding water to suit your taste.

4. Add your carrots, celery, and potatoes. Taste the broth to see how salty it is. You may add a teaspoon of salt to give some flavor to the potatoes so they don't end up tasting flat. You can also grind some fresh pepper into the mix if you'd like. Boil for 40 more minutes, stirring often. You should end up with a thick, hearty soup, with nice chunks of potatoes and ham and some dices of celery and carrot for flavor and color.

This soup is high in fiber and iron, making it a hearty and healthy choice for your family-you can also sub the ham for turkey ham, it is still very flavorful and has less fat and calories. I usually use regular ham but I trim it very well before I dice it for our soup. We like to serve ours with whole grain bread and Smart Balance margarine-this tastes delicious dipped into the soup. This is great on a cold fall or winter day and the leftovers are awesome for lunch for hubby the next day, too!

Note: If you soak and rinse your peas for several hours before making this, it shouldn't give you gas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heart of the Home

We don't own a home. We live humbly, but I try to make our surroundings pleasant. This is my kitchen window. It has (unfinished fabric) curtains that I got for less than 2 dollars per yard a while back to line my bread basket with. I liked the fabric better as curtains and it really brightens up the room so I hung them up-they aren't hemmed yet, that's on one of my UFO lists. Clock above the window was a gift from mom. Veggies on either side of clock, and rocks on windowsill with the words "Believe", and "Love" were from the 99 cent store. Little cherry candleholder in the middle was part of a set ordered from a dropshipping site for a business I had on Ebay a few years ago. I liked them so much I ordered myself a set-this is the only one that survived the years and children. :0) The large candles on both edges of the window are gifts from my husband. Each fall he buys me a large candle with a fall or holiday type scent. It's kind of a tradition, he has done it every year since we met.

The plaque, left of the window, was my grandmother's. It says:

My Kitchen Prayer

God Bless my little kitchen
I love its every nook
And bless me as I do my work
Wash pots and pans
And cook.

I love it, it's so homey and old fashioned. I should probably hang it somewhere else, but I have it by my stove so that I can look at it often while i'm cooking and ask God to bless the food I make for my family.

I'm in my kitchen for at least a few hours each day, and it isn't too fancy. I like it simple so that it is easy to clean up when it looks like a bomb went off after i've made a huge meal and dessert. I think everyone has their own decorating style, but it is possible to decorate nicely on a very limited budget. I stay home and take care of my home full time and I find it much more enjoyable when it is pleasing to the eye.

Titus 2:3-5
3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fried Rice Recipe

When it comes to frugality in the grocery budget, using up leftovers tops the list. This recipe uses some leftover rice and meat, and if you have leftover peas and carrots you can throw those in here as well. (Personally I like using frozen peas and carrots in this because they retain their texture as they cook and don't become soggy.) I like to make mine in a large heavy bottomed nonstick 12 inch skillet-it gives me enough room to stir everything in without it spilling over the sides and onto the stove top.

I don't really measure the stuff I throw in this, but i'm going to include measurements because I know some people rely on them. Please remember that they are approximate.

  • 2 cups leftover steamed white rice, preferably chilled overnight
  • about 1/2 c. to 1 c. leftover meat, diced small. (This depends on how much meat you like in your fried rice-also, if you are using fresh meat and not leftovers, using less meat can save you money.) For this pic I used some bacon ends (pork) but you can use leftover chicken, beef, etc-even shrimp if you'd like
  • about 8 oz. frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced-mostly white tips-you can cut off the green stems, chop and reserve to use for garnish
  • 4 eggs, scrambled, with a dash of soy sauce-I use either Kikkoman or La Choy
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • dash of sesame oil
  • vegetable or olive oil for frying

1. Heat skillet, add a bit of veggie oil and a dash of sesame oil. Make sure skillet gets good and hot. Fry cubed meat for 4 to 5 minutes to brown it up.
2. "Sprinkle" rice into the skillet with your hands. Make sure that they don't stick together in clumps, break them up into pieces of individual rice.
3. Fry rice for a few minutes. Make sure the heat is up nice and high, but don't burn your rice. Stir frequently and mix meat all up into your rice.
4. Add soy sauce to pan. Stir rice around so as to coat the individual grains with sauce. They'll turn kind of a nutty color.
5. Pour pea and carrot mix into the pan. Stir around to integrate the veggies into the rice.
6. With a spatula, slide your rice to one side of your skillet, leaving half of the skillet empty. Add a teeny bit more oil if necessary.
7. Pour scrambled egg mixture into empty side of skillet. Let set for a few minutes so that the bottom of the eggs can get firm-don't let your eggs get brown, that might add a funky flavor to your rice.. Mix and scramble until mostly cooked in the one half of your pan.
8. When your eggs are mostly set, stir your rice vigorously but gently to get all the egg mixed up into your rice. You want to use your spatula to break up the egg so that you have little pieces evenly distributed through the rice.
9. Toss in your scallions and stir into your fried rice. You can let it fry just a little more on high heat if you like your rice more firm and brown...

If you'd like, you can top this when serving with some of the sliced green scallions you reserved at the beginning. I like to throw some hot chili sauce on mine as well.

**This is probably going to sound weird, but when you initially make your steamed rice, let it set in the pan with the lid off for an hour or two before putting it away in the fridge. It will help it dry out a bit so that it doesn't stick together too much. Also, if you make your rice nice and firm it will work better for this recipe. Rice that is made with a higher proportion of water tends to get gummy in the pan and comes out clumped up and soggy. (Ask me how I know.) :-) I have found long grain white rice to work best for me.

This recipe gets better and better the more you make it. My first few tries didn't come out too well, texture wise. They tasted good but didn't look so great. It takes a little practice sometimes to get it down but the high heat is a must, it keeps everything frying and not getting soggy in the pan.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Tall Tale

This is the story of a man....

...and his sandwich...

As an added plus, the tomatoes and green peppers on the sandwich came from our garden. Yay for growing stuff we can eat! :-)

Proverbs 12:11
He who works his land will have abundant food...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Love Nest...

Proverbs 31:12: "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

As we go through the somewhat complicated process of moving William into our home, it has been a bit chaotic. First off, I had been sharing the master bedroom with Autumn and Echo, and Gwennie and Jenna had one of the smaller rooms. We decided to put all 4 girls in one room with 2 sets of bunk beds and William and I chose to take the smaller room. Not only are we moving his things into the house but we are moving my things out of the master bedroom and into the smaller bedroom and we are moving the girls' things out of the smaller bedroom and into the master bedroom. :-) It has actually been kind of a big project.

(wall across from my bed-no, the things on the wall aren't crooked, the pic was taken at an angle.)

Unfortunately, with all of the other things we have been focusing on, our room kind of fell by the wayside and became the place where we just went in to sleep and not relax because it was fairly messy. I decided that it was not fair for my hard working husband to come home to an unorganized, unwelcoming room each day after work. He really should have a place where he can relax and wind down from a long day. While he was gone on Tuesday I decided that I would be a blessing to him by giving him a restful haven to come home to. I set to work cleaning and straightening up our room and turning it into a teeny little Love Nest for us to retire to in the evenings.

Our bedroom isn't fancy, and most of the (mismatched) furniture that we have in it is stuff we have been blessed with, but I absolutely love it-right down to the walls we painted pink for our little princesses, long before we ever knew we would be moving into the room ourselves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Braelyn Rae Photography

I was lucky enough to have Braelyn from Braelyn Rae Photography take pictures at my wedding. She is awesome, and takes the most beautiful pictures...I just wanted to post a couple of my faves, and post a link to her main site.

Me and my handsome groom!

My bouquet, a hand tied bunch of wildflowers. I thought it suited Tiny and I perfectly, as we love nature and doing things outdoors.

ETA: I don't know why the Braelyn watermark didn't stay on the photos when I downloaded them and transferred them to my blog...(?)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kindergarten Baby...

Well, she is no longer a kindergarten baby. :( On the first day of school last August, I put Miss Autumn on the bus to start kindergarten. I thought I was going to be able to ride with her to the school like I did with her older sisters, but, apparently, because of liability issues, they do not allow parents to ride the bus with the kinders on the first day anymore. This is what Miss Autumn looked like when I told her that I couldn't ride the bus with her on the first day...(notice the giant aligator tears running down her cheeks.)

She must have adjusted to school pretty well, because this is Miss Autumn perched in her booster seat in the back of Tiny's truck on her last day of school...(she looks so much more grown up!)

And here she is with her teacher, Mrs. Phillips. We love Mrs. Phillips, she was Jenna's kinder teacher too!

This marks the end of a huge chapter in my life. For many years now I have had little ones at home in the mornings. My littlest is officially going to be in school all day this upcoming year. :( It makes me so sad to think that I won't be able to snuggle under blankets this winter and read books and watch morning cartoons (PBS Kids!) with a little one anymore. My kindergarten baby is officially going to be a Big Girl First Grader. Does that make me an old lady?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pancakes with sweet ricotta filling and triple berry reduction

This is what I made for breakfast this morning. Pancakes piled high with sweet ricotta filling in between and a triple berry reduction syrup on top. I didn't have any, myself, and instead opted for a ham, swiss and scrambled egg sandwich on whole grain bread, but the kids tell me this was delicious!

To start, make your favorite pancake recipe. Any pancakes will do, but because of the sweetness of both filling and topping, I would suggest plain buttermilk pancakes so you don't end up with a too sweet brekkie.

For the ricotta filling:
~ 2 cups ricotta
~ 1 cup confectioner's sugar
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

For the berry reduction:

~1 bag frozen berries
~ sugar, to taste
~ water

1 bag of frozen berries (this is convenient, you can use fresh if you'd like.) Any type of berries will do. I used a berry medley of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. If you use a larger fruit like strawberries you may want to cut the berries into bite sized pieces like I did.

Pour your berries into a saucepan. Cover with 1 to 1 1/2 half cup water. Sprinkle with sugar to taste. Boil your berries, stirring occasionally, as you cook and flip your pancakes. By the time your pancakes are done you will have a nice sauce. If you like your berries firm, don't cook as long and they will hold their shape and texture.

To serve:
Place one pancake on a plate. Spread ricotta cheese mixture on top as if icing a cake. Top with another pancake. Add as many pancakes as you like, (there are 4 in my picture), when you get to the top pancake, instead of icing with the spread, top with your fruit reduction, making sure to scoop several berries on top of the pancake as well as the juice. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar for a nice finishing touch. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kickin' off Summer!

Yesterday, we decided to take some friends up to Stoddard Canyon and kick off summer by playing in the water and going hiking. Tiny and I had a little adventure when we hiked up the middle of the creek and had to climb down a 20 foot log on our hands and knees to get back out.

I think the crowning glory of the day, though, was watching everyone go down the waterfall. Tiny went down first, and then he proceeded to be lifeguard while Leinani, Lai-ana, Patty (who is a teeny half-pint), and Jeremy all slid after him. Then, Christian, Kai-Kai, Marky and I hiked down and around the creek to get them Marky and I had our own adventure sliding down the shale cliff. Then we all piled into the back of Tiny's truck and flew back up the bumpy dirt road.
Good ole country fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bringing Sexy Back...

Ok, not really, I just thought it would be a cute name for this blog post. LOL.

After yesterday's BBQ sauce fiasco, I was determined to redeem myself.

This morning, while the kids were at school, I put a cute, little (but not skimpy), kind of sparkly top on. Then I slid into my favorite, dark, slimming pair of skinny jeans. The finishing touch-my husband's favorite pair of black high heels-open toed, to show off the cute pedicure he got me the day before our wedding-pink, black, and white plaid. Yep, sounds tacky, but take my word for it, it's cute. If you still don't believe me, here's a pic. (Meh, disregard that dark spot on the conrete, ok?)

[Same pedi, different shoes]

I went into the bathroom and put on some foundation, mascara, and a light touch of glossy pink lipstick. Then I brushed through my hair so it would be nice and shiny and full.

I hopped in the car and excitedly drove to my husband's work, intending to surprise him for lunch. As I drove, I prayed that God would bless and anoint our marriage and help us to love and respect each other for all of this lifetime. I also decided, right here and now, that 20 years from now I still want to excitedly get dolled up for my guy and giggle in anticipation as I drive out to surprise him at work.

When I got to my destination, I parked my van right next to his big ole Dodge Ram (that still actually says "Just Married" on the back window-we're taking care of that today) and started walking across the parking lot.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a forklift coming around the corner, and heard a low whistle, and then "What is my wife doing here when I thought she was at home, resting?" He looked at me with a huge grin and a gleam in his eye as he pulled up in the forklift.

We went out for Mexican food and had a really nice lunch together. We got to chat and spend time together alone (that doesn't happen often with all the kids at home.) He just kept staring at me up and down the whole time with this adorable grin. It made me feel so pretty! It was wonderful. Next time I am going to bring him a lunch from home so that we don't spend our money. I appreciate his hard work so much, i'm glad I was able to show up and show him how much I adore him in the middle of a long, hot workday. :-)

Of BBQ sauce and other things...

Yesterday, while my husband slaved away at work, I was at home excitedly making one of his favorite things: BBQ sauce. I don't usually eat BBQ sauce, but he loves it, so I thought i'd try my hand at making it homemade. I had an awesome dinner in mind for us: bbq chicken, beef spareribs in tangy sauce (recipe to come) that had been baked for 4 hours on low and then grilled for a bit afterwards, southern style beans and rice, corn on the cob, and french bread with butter. I know my honey likes slightly spicy BBQ sauce so I found a recipe that had a good kick to it. It called for 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, among other things...

Unfortunately, as I was measuring the cayenne, it didn't want to come out of the bottle. It just sat there, stubbornly sticking to the top and sides instead of falling into the measuring spoon as I wanted it to. I gave the bottle a couple of hearty shakes, and it finally decided to leave its safe haven-most of the bottle spilled into my BBQ sauce mixture. WOW! I like hot but this was ridiculous.

Hubs came home and I sadly told him about killing the sauce. He tasted it and started seriously cracking up and asked me to use considerably less cayenne next time. I playfully told him that he hurt my feelings making fun of my sauce and that he WOULD be eating it on his chicken at dinnertime or I would beat him in his giant head. (Hey, what can I say, this submission thing comes slowly, eh?)

**BTW, guess who had BBQ sauce on their chicken at dinnertime? Pretty much everyone except the littles. It wasn't so bad when lightly smeared on the chicken and grilled. Haha-oh, and dinner came out awesome! We ate like kings! :-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wedded Bliss...

My friend Challice had this posted as her FaceBook status, and I thought it was beautiful.

~~Let the wife make her husband glad to come home
and let him make her sorry to see him leave. ~ Martin Luther~~

Thank you, Mom

Mom helps me get ready for my big day.

More pics to come!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On May 30th 2010

I officially became Mrs. William Figueroa. I thank God for sending such a wonderful man into my life. I'm so excited for the future, with my husband and our beautiful family!

**Above image courtesy Braelyn Rae Photography.

Yeah, I dunno why Christian's head is cut off in this pic. LOL

More pics to come!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our honeymoon!!!

My uncle Jim and Aunt Marna just called to tell me that they have reserved and paid for 2 nights in the Pirate room at the Castlewood Cottages!! Here are some pics, the website is absolutely amazing! I'm so excited, I never thought we would be able to have a honeymoon!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Getting Married!!

I have an event page on facebook.!/event.php?eid=121940147840434

This is so exciting! It's a bit stressful too. Yesterday I didn't even have time to eat all day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cinnamon Almond Crusted French Toast Recipe

In the fall I like to make pecan crusted pumpkin french toast topped with a dollop of maple whipped cream. It's almost more of a dessert than a breakfast. I wanted something lighter for the summer months, so this morning I experimented with cinnamon almond crusted french toast. Please excuse my pic of breakfast, above, as I am certainly not a food photographer, haha. The little white lumps are powdered sugar. As an afterthought i'm sure breakfast could have done without it.

Here's what you need to make this:

*a sturdy skillet
*plastic ziplock/freezer bag
*rolling pin or other suitable almond smasher (for the fun part, you can even get the kids involved)

*several slices of your favorite bread. (I use Milton's Whole Grain Plus bread-it has lots of fiber and a good supply of iron, which I need, because I struggle with chronic anemia.)
* eggs, I used about half a dozen for 7 slices of french toast
*a splash of milk to mix with your eggs to make them nice and fluffy
*a handful of almonds
*Smart Balance margarine sub, or whatever type of butter/margarine you use

Now, here's what ya gotta do:

1. Put your almonds in a sturdy, sandwich sized freezer bag. Don't close it because then it will probably pop while you are trying to crush your almonds. Lay your freezer bag flat on the counter, try to lay the almonds in one flat layer. Now take your rolling pin and crush your almonds, still inside the bag. Beat them, roll over them, just make sure they are in small chunks with some that are almost powdered.

2. Pick up your bag of almonds and shake a little cinnamon in for flavor. As much or as little as you like. Shake the bag all around to mix the cinnamon and almonds together.

3. Get a small dinner plate and pour your almond/cinny mixture out in a flat layer on your plate.

**At this point you may want to turn the heat on under your skillet to medium-high. not too high, not too low. You want your skillet nice and warmed up for when you put your french toast in. If you have a good nonstick skillet, you may not need any butter or margarine. If not, throw a small dollop of Smart Balance margarine sub in there to add a nice buttery flavor and keep your french toast from sticking.

4.Take a small, shallow dish that is big enough to fit your bread slices in and crack some eggs into it. Add some milk, a bit of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to your liking. Beat your eggs until they are light, fluffy and yellow.

5. Take your slice of bread, and immerse each side in your egg mixture. Make sure that you get the whole thing covered in egg.

6. Now, take your egg drenched slice of bread and press each side into the almond/cinnamon mixture. Make sure the bread is covered with yummy pieces of almond and flavorful cinnamon.

7. Lay your bread in the hot skillet. Keep an eye on it and flip it when it is a nice golden brown. I can't even tell you how long, you just have to practice a few times and get a feel for it. Cook on the second side until golden brown and crusty.

Note: This french toast is very rich, I only make one crusted piece per person. I pile their plate nice and high with regular french toast (same recipe sans almond mixture step) and then top it with 1 slice of crusted french toast.

You can serve this with butter/margarine/Smart Balance/whatever you use, and some maple syrup, or even a fresh berry reduction and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. If you use the bread and stuff that I did it has a good amount of iron and fiber, and it also has some added vitamins and minerals. It will have kind of a chewy, grainy texture. I love it this way but if you are a white bread kinda person it may take some getting used to.

I am eating this for breakfast this morning, even while I do my Biggest Loser contest. I love modifying recipes to make them healthier.

**If you have an aversion to egg yolks, just use egg whites (no yolks) in your egg mixture.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Echo

never smiles for the camera. I had to take soooooo many shots to get this one! It was right before she busted up laughing. Isn't her smile beautiful?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Biggest Loser

About 4 weeks ago, I joined a Biggest Loser contest with a bunch of other HK ladies. It has been so much fun! I haven't lost a whole lot of weight-actually, less than 10 pounds-but I have started exercising consistently, eating much better than I was, and getting to bed at a decent hour each night.

I have noticed some awesome changes in my body from the exercise, and my energy levels have been so much higher. I had some health problems over the fall and ended up gaining about 20 pounds over fall and winter. My goal is to lose about 18 more pounds. The pic above was taken by my son before I started the competition. maybe i'll take some sort of "after" pic or something once I get to my goal weight.

I don't know if she even knows I have a blog, LOL, but I want to thank Tawna for putting on the contest. She is doing it all by herself and it must be such a big job! She has worked really hard to make sure everything is done fairly and she has put so much time and effort into it. I also want to say to my fellow contestants, GO BIG LOSERS GO!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Princess Gwennie

Pics taken December 23rd, 2009

(Haha, I put the wrong date at first and my friend emailed me and asked me how I could take a pic of the future.) Thank you, Leigh! LOL!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I spent a good portion of the day scrapbooking with my kids. It was a lot of fun!

This is only the second time I have scrapbooked but I hope to do it more often. (Those of you who are pros, please forgive my novice scrapping, haha.) What a lovely way to relax and record memories with my children.

* An added bonus: Most of my scrapbooking supplies were bought at the 99 cent store. Frugal AND fun!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Echo and Autumn, my oldest and youngest.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Strawberries! my backyard.

Tiny bought me these for Valentine's Day and they are finally producing fruit!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The girls wanted their room painted



Who were we to argue?

I feel all happy inside every time I walk into their room and look at the cotton candy walls.

An added plus-the paint only cost $3.50. It was a custom color that the store mixed for someone. They weren't satisfied with it, so they didn't purchase it. At first I thought flat paint would look odd, but I really like it. It has a nice textural look to it when you see it up close.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

National Day of Prayer tomorrow-Thursday, May 6th.

You can go to the official NDOP webpage to find events in your area.

Also, make sure to read their mission statement here.

I plan on attending the prayer rally for my city at Upland Pacific Christian Center.

Let's all get together and pray for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

God bless you and yours!

With Love,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jenna's Baptism

This is Jenna. She is 7 years old. She is getting baptized today.

jenna smile

We start with an awesome praise and worship service led by our church's worship band.

worship band

Jenna is so small that we can't see her face above the baptismal.

jenna baptism

"I baptize this, my sister, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit."


Jenna is dunked and comes back up dripping. Tiny said he could see her giggling, blowing bubbles under the water. :)


Proud Jenna. She waited for over a year to get baptized because I was afraid she might be too young and not ready.


(Jenna and our wonderful family friend, Tiffany) We wrap up the evening with cake and punch to celebrate the 6 people that got baptized. What a great way to start off 2010!

jenna tiff