Allergen Friendly Brownies that are Worth Eating!

I was pleased to find this brownie recipe to fix my chocolate cravings.

Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Brownies (Gluten & Dairy free)

  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 C. oil
  • 1/3 C. milk (dairy free)
  • 1/2 C. maple syrup
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 C. oat flour
  • 1/3 C. oats
  • 1/4 C. cocoa powder

Cream Peanut butter with oil, maple syrup, sugar and egg. Add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and add to wet ingredients. Mix till combined. Bake in a greased 8×8 pan for 20 min. (Don’t under-bake these or they’ll be rather gooey!)

*This recipe has options! You could easily substitute the peanut butter and use another nut butter. Use an oil that is safe for you. I used  1/2 tsp. baking powder with 2 Tbsp. of water for my egg. A sugar substitute would be fine to use instead of the regular sugar or just increase the maple syrup. Additionally, if oats are a problem don’t be afraid to try an alternate flour that you can have. It may take some tweaking but after all that’s often how allergy cooking goes! Enjoy.

Hearty Bone Broth Soup

I’m hopeful that the title, “Bone Broth” doesn’t disinterest you from trying this fabulous, versatile broth base.  Not only is it the secret to delicious soups; it’s also nutritious and helpful for building your immunity! (Not a bad idea during these cold wintry days.)

Bone Broth 

  • A cooked chicken carcass, or any assortment of cooked chicken, or turkey bones (I use the skin as well.)
  • Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery cut into sticks
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • Several bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Desired spices: garlic, oregano, parsley, etc.

Place the bones in the bottom of a large crock-pot. Top with your veggies, bay leaves and spices. Fill crock-pot with water. Cook on low for at least 20 hours. (I like to cook it a few hours longer to give it a richer flavor.) Strain broth and store in Mason jars in the coldest part of your fridge. Use the broth as a base for soups.

Chicken Veggie Soup is one of my favorites:

  • 1 quart of bone broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley

Bring broth and veggies to a boil. Cook till tender. Add cooked chicken and parsley. Return soup to a gentle boil. Serve.

*Feel free to add other veggies to this soup, or omit the potatoes and make chicken noodle soup with your favorite pasta. I love how versatile soups are. You can simply use what you have on hand and also make it suitable for your dietary needs.

*If you are blessed with beef and are able to eat it, you could do the same with roast/steak bones to create your own tasty beef broth.

# 1 Question asked of me: “What do you with all your time at home?”

It is a valid question. Furthermore, one would think if there are only two living in a moderately small place that there wouldn’t be all that much for a “stay at home” wife to do! There are:

  • No little munchkins depending on me to meet their daily needs
  • No toys scattered through the house for me to pick up
  • No little voices saying, “Jojo, please read us stories like, Buzzle Billy and If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
  • No endless piles of laundry
  • No car repairs that are exclusively my responsibility (Thank God for a husband who can change the oil!)
  • No more 10 hour work days away from our little home

I won’t deny that I’ve struggled to adapt to life when I think about how it used to be. I used to be crazy busy it seemed. I would be gone the majority of each day of the week and then come home to my husband. I would quickly make dinner for the two of us, wash the dishes, straighten our apartment, and be ready to head for bed. I would get up the next morning and do it all over again. Eric and I both looked forward to the weekends when we could spend time together. Though I loved what I did, I struggled to keep up.

I now have no regular paid job that creates a routine schedule. I’m now creating my own routine and finding things to focus on that used to not be possible. Some of those things are:

  • Writing a draft for a cookbook my brother and I hope to publish.

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  • Blogging, amateur though it may be – This new hobby takes more time than I realized it would. It takes time to type your thoughts and express them in a way that is meaningful. Also, pictures make a post. I’m not a photographer like my brother, Eldon; however, I realize they’re a valuable part of blogging. Pictures take time to create. Preparing my favorite recipes to photograph is part of the process.
A “just like Wendy’s frosty-” Yum!
  • Spending more time building friendships– I used to feel like the margin of time I did have could only reach to those closest to me. Now I have the blessed opportunity to spend time with ladies from church, talk with long distance friends without interruption, and build a richer relationship with my mom. (I love that I can talk to my mom not only about how to can tomato sauce but how to be a wife, and how to best contribute to the people around me. ) Also, getting to know our neighbor, Mary has been an inspiration. She lost her husband a number of months ago and keenly misses him.  I find her faith in God to be refreshing. She’s had hard things to accept yet she hasn’t wavered in her faith in God. She knows there is coming a day when she will see her beloved, husband Marshall again.
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I’m so grateful for our neighbor, Mary. It feels good just knowing she’s close by.
  • Thoroughly Cleaning! Yes, it’s true; my time is often spent working at home. Since I have environmental allergies, I have to thoroughly dust once a week. I also do a light dusting several times throughout the rest of the week. I clean behind furniture; I wipe the baseboards off more often than I used to. It’s not just about being a neat freak; it’s about making my environment better. It’s part of adapting to a new normal!
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Cleaning is always on the agenda!

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  • Cooking from scratch- I thought I made the majority of our food before I got sick; however, I had no idea how much I relied on staple ingredients! I bought dairy products, chicken broth, creamed soups, cereal and occasionally mixes. I now have to make the majority of what I eat from whole foods or buy alternate products that are more expensive. Though this is certainly healthier, it takes an abundant amount of time in the kitchen. (My dear sister has found some superb chocolate that is mostly cocoa. It’s such a treat to enjoy something that I didn’t have to create.)
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An attempt at homemade wheat thins! (Hubby says they’re not the same.)
  •  Couponing– I’ve couponed since Lydia Byler told me about the wonderful deals to be had at CVS. I did it in the past as I had time but now I’m more committed. I’m grateful for ways to save my husband’s hard-earned money. I’m indebted to other bloggers who’ve paved the way for me.
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Thanks to our neighbor lady I get coupon inserts each week!

I want to utilize this season that God has given me for His glory.

I want to stay close to Jesus.  I want to communicate with Him throughout my day. I want to read my Bible more often and take time hear what He is saying.

I also want to be the best wife I can be for my husband, Eric. It’s not an old fashioned idea to be a keeper at home. Simple tasks like cleaning, cooking, and laundry take on new meaning when I do them for the man that I love. I also want to learn how to better care about the things that are important to him. I want to hear how his day at work went. I want to hear about his dreams, his plans and his goals for the future.

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My hubby and I…

I want to revitalize book club! I started book club several years ago with a group of ladies from church. Somehow in the shuffle of all that happened last year it didn’t continue. I’m looking forward to getting together with my friends and discussing books. It’s not just about books; it’s about friendship and warm fellowship.

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Book material for 2014!

I’m grateful for this season that is slower paced. It really is a gift and an opportunity to grow closer to my Jesus.

*Clock photo courtesy of flickr user, timlewisnm.

Country Turkey Sausage

This recipe has become a favorite for breakfast since eggs are currently not an option.

Country Turkey Sausage

  • 1/4 onion, chopped, optional
  • 1/2 C. chopped fresh apples, (This makes it a winner!)
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, or 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. oats
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Ib. ground turkey or chicken

Mix all ingredients together well. Shape into patties and fry. Stewed apples on the side are the perfect accompaniment to this hearty breakfast.

My Theme Song and Word for 2014

As I consider this upcoming year, my thoughts have been drawn to a song and a word.

The song speaks of experiences that have been made more real to me in 2013. It also references the eternal. The realization that our souls will never be completely at rest till we’re in the presence of Jesus.

The word that has been coming to my mind time and time again is/was borne out of a season of physical suffering.

Continue reading “My Theme Song and Word for 2014”

Free Photo Brag Book Shipped to Your Door

Walgreens is offering a sweet deal on a 4.5″ x 6″ brag book. Simply use code, SMALLBOOK to get it free. Additionally, you can stack the code, SHIPIT2ME to get free shipping. This deal ends tomorrow so head over now to get your free book.

Continue reading “Free Photo Brag Book Shipped to Your Door”