Shooting the Bullseye

Rebekah has been interested in archery ever since she saw a pretty pink bow a Dick’s Sporting Goods a few years ago. She asked about the bow, begged for it, wanting us to get it for her off and on since then.

We said no. Not that we didn’t want to support her in the desire to learn archery, but that we thought it was no more than a passing phase. That she would grow out of it, forget about it.

But she didn’t.

After we realized that she had not lost interest, we took her to a local gun shop that had an indoor archery range to try it out. We wanted to see if she would really like it, once she shot a bow, and realized it takes focus, effort, and practice.

And she did. She loved it.

We ended up buying her a bow for Christmas. Blue. With blue arrows.

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Rick and I refurbished my parents 1970 something compound bows, they are in fantastic shape, to be able to shoot with her at the range. And I think Rick has found his niche also!

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Something they can do together. Something they both love.

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I am in trouble!

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Proud

This man. I am so proud of him. Twenty years military service. So very proud of all he has accomplished in his career, and proud to support him in it.

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Desolate

I have a love hate relationship with my Christmas Tree.

I love it before Christmas. All stuffed with presents, and just waiting in anticipation.

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See what I mean, just waiting for the big day!

After Christmas, I began to not really like it. It always seems so desolate now that Christmas is over , and the presents are gone.

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See what I mean, desolate.

I always want to take the tree down as soon after Christmas as I could, and this year was able to enlist Rebekah to help. Thankfully, because it went so much quicker!

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Homemade Gnocchi

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My family loves Gnocchi.

Well, that may be an understatement. If given one food to eat for the rest of our lives, gnocchi would be one of the top choices for my family.

Today, I decided to surprise my cherished family with some homemade gnocchi in browned butter and garlic.

Making gnocchi is a fairly easy process, albeit a bit time consuming. It is a combination of 2 parts mashed potatoes to one part flour, and an egg to bind.

Since I didn’t have potatoes left over (we don’t typically eat mashed potatoes), I decided to bake about 6 medium Idaho russets until they were fork tender.

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After they had cooled enough to handle, I scooped out the insides and mashed them with some butter and milk (using my hand masher).

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I placed them in a container and stored in the refrigerator until I was ready to begin making the gnocchi.

I mentioned before that gnocchi is an easy recipe, and it is. I measured out 2 cups of the potatoes, one cup white flour, got my egg and brought it all to room temperature before starting.

(I didn’t get pictures of these parts)

I floured the counter with about 1/4 – 1/2 of the flour, and dumped out the potatoes onto the floured counter, then created a potato mound with a well in the center.

Into the well, I cracked the egg (do that in a separate bowl and then add it into the well. That way, if you get a bad egg the entire mixture is not runid!) and added the remainder of the flour.

Mix this with your hands until a dough forms.

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Divide the dough into 3 parts, to make it easier to work with, and create a roll with each part out until they are about an inch thick.

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Using a pastry scraper or a knife, cut each one into one inch segments, and roll along the times of a fork to create ridges.

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These are crucial, because they will hold all the yummy sauce!

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Once all of the gnocchi is completed, boil in salted water 2-3 minutes or until they float. The gnocchi will float when they are done.

Cover with whatever sauce you like! (I browned some butter and garlic for ours!)

 

Snow Bound!

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It’s here.

The snow that the weather forecasters have been predicting all week has finally arrived.

8-12 inches for central Indiana. With blizzard like conditions predicted for the afternoon.

If you know anything about people in central Indiana, you know we like to be prepared. And there was a lot of preparation for this storm….

Facebook friends reported multiple stores in the area had run out of milk, bread, produce, meat…. beer (hey, I said we like to be prepared!)

The snow was supposed to start last night, but the weather models changed the beginning of the snow fall to this morning. And now it is here.

Big, fluffy, beautiful, flakes of snow.

(I am anticipating a snow day for school tomorrow!)

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Old Fashioned Bean Soup

Okay, I have to say it… I do not like bean soup.

I think my southern relatives just had a heart attack.

I don’t know where my dislike of bean soup came from. I grew up eating it. All my family loves it; the family I grew up with, and the one that I have now as a mom and a wife. My husbands favorite is lima bean and ham (yuck), and my daughter loves any type f bean soup (double yuck).

That being said, I have made it my mission to make bean soup for them. Not as often as they would like, I’m sure, but I make it about 3 times a year.

This past week I had a ham bone from a spiral cut ham that we had for Christmas and a bag of great northern beans. The perfect combination for ham and bean soup.

This soup is “souper” easy (heehee) to throw together, using onion, garlic, beans, one ham bone, chicken stock (I would use vegetable stock if I had it on hand, but chicken stock works well too), salt/pepper, and bay leaves.

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Starting the night before, soak the beans according to the package directions.

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Dice onion and garlic,

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and saute the onion in a large dutch oven until translucent.

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add garlic, beans and the ham bone. Cover with stock, and add salt, pepper, and 3 bay leaves (or however many you desire.)

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Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until the beans are tender.

Remove the ham bone, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.

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(my two beggars)

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Continue cooking until the beans are creamy.

I typically serve this with some type of bread (corn bread, biscuits) and a salad.

Old Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Great Northern Beans (dried)
  • 1 Ham Bone
  • 1 Large Onion (diced)
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 32 oz Chicken Stock (or Vegetable)
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Soak the beans following package directions. Remove any beans that are bad, and drain.
  2. In a large stock pot, saute onion until translucent. Add agrlic and saute for another minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer until beans are tender (around 1 1/2 – 2 hours.)
  5. Remove ham bone and pull the meat off the bone.
  6. Return the meat to the soup, and discard the bone.
  7. Continue simmering uncovered until the beans are creamy.
  8. Remove bay leaves, and serve!

Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream Ice Cream – Knock Off

One of my favorite ice creams ever is Cold Stone Creamery’s Sweet Cream Ice Cream. I first had it this past Labor Day weekend in Anaheim, while we were at Disney. It was a very hot weekend, and there is nothing better than munching on this ice cream while walking back to the hotel after a hot, sticky day at the park.

I have thought about, dreamt about, desired this ice cream since then.

I had to have it!

Since the only Cold Stone Creamery is 30 miles away, I was left with making it at home. After an exhaustive search on the internet (okay, really just typing in what I wanted and clicking on the first link) I found this recipe.

Churning the Ice Cream

Churning the Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could it be? My Sweet Cream ice cream?

The reviews look promising. I had all the ingredients. There was nothing left to do but plunge forward with trying it.

It was creamy, delicious, heaven!

I mixed in some M&Ms I had left over from holiday baking, and if I closed my eyes I was transported back to Anaheim. That is until I heard the snow and wind howling outside the window….

Oh well. The ice cream was still fantastic!

Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Directions:

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch until combine. Pour in cream, milk and corn syrup and whisk until well blended. Cook mixture over medium heat (sometimes I even cook it over medium high to speed it up a bit), stirring constantly until mixture comes just to a gentle boil. Once mixture reaches a gentle boil, reduce heat and allow mixture to gently bubble, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Cover mixture with saran wrap or wax paper, pressing directly against the surface of the ice cream base to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate mixture until fully chilled, then transfer to freezer and freeze 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours (I’ve found this really helps the ice cream structure when freezing post ice cream maker processing, it basically gives it a head start). Transfer extra chilled ice cream mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until nearly firm, or freeze until firm and soften in microwave about 5-10 seconds until slightly softened. Mix in desired “mix-ins” (if you wanted to prepare just as Cold Stone does, you could freeze a marble slab then use two large spoons to fold in mix-ins using chilled marble slab, or alternately you could add the mix-ins in during the last 5 minutes of processing in ice cream maker).

Recipe from http://www.cookingclassy.com/

Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

I found this recipe on Pinterest while looking for an easy bar recipe to take to a holiday gathering. They were super simple to make, and are probably the best bars I have tried.

Ever.

They satisfy the desire for something sweet, while adding that sharp tang from the cranberry which cuts through the sweetness.

That, combines with the ease of making them, what could be better? Not very much in my opinion!

Bliss!

Bliss!

Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 2 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbls lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 16 oz jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 Tbls cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray (I used the spray for baking, with the flour in it)
  2. Mix cake mix and oatmeal together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add melted butter and mix until a crumb forms.
  4. Press two-thirds of the cake mix mixture into the bottom of a prepared pan, reserving the remaining to become the upper crust. Set the pan aside.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, whip the room temperature cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Pour over the top of the prepared crust.
  6. Combine the cranberry sauce and corn starch, then spread over the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Sprinkle the reserved cake mixture over the top of the cranberry sauce, and press down lightly.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
  9. Cool completely, let firm up in refrigerator until set, and cut into 24 pieces.

There you have it. A very yummy, tart, and sweet bar to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Enjoy!

Anticipating Christmas

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. From the hustle and bustle of the stores, while finding the perfect gift for my loved ones, church Christmas pageants, driving around town looking at Christmas lights (drinking hot chocolate and snacking on popcorn), the candle light service at our church, baking cookies for Santa, putting out food for the Holy Family, and decorating the tree.

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Christmas Tree 2013

Christmas is such a special time.

Magical really.

A time to rejoice because God’s plan for salvation will see it’s birth with the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

A time of tradition. Religious tradition, and family tradition.

We have a number of Christmas traditions in our family, but they month seemed to get away from me, and some of them slipped by.

One family tradition, however, was not able to be passed on. Opening new Christmas pajamas when we get home from the candle light service. to be quite honest, I had not actually planned to get the pajamas this year. I was just too busy, and then it was 2 days before Christmas!

But Rick asked, and then Rebekah asked.

So, out I schlepped to the store to get new jammies. I had a hard time finding ones that were Christmas themed… being as close to Christmas as it was. But I did find ones that, while they may not be true Christmas themed, everyone loved.

Merry Christmas Eve, form our pajama clad family to yours!

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Blessed

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The weekend that i was baptized stands out in my memory fresh and bright. It was just yesterday, right. Really it was almost twelve years ago, but the memory is so vivid, tinged with emotion, that it remains bright in my mind.

I thought that nothing could be better.

Until I saw my daughter baptized.

I can’t even begin to tell you the feelings that were inside me.

Nothing can beat that.

Ever.

Ready to be Baptized
Ready to be Baptized

Declaring her Faith.

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Blessed

Blessed. Welcome to God’s family.

 

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