Refreshing Nondairy Peanut Butter Ice Cream

If you’re learning to adapt to a nondairy lifestyle, you’ll appreciate this recipe. If you’re dealing with a nut allergy, I’m sorry. This recipe would need some tweaking to make it suitable but it could be done. ūüôā Continue reading “Refreshing Nondairy Peanut Butter Ice Cream”

A Season of Suffering; Surrounded by People who Care

It seems almost like yesterday that I was being wheeled down long hospital corridors desperately trying to hold back the tears that were pushing their way to the surface. In that moment it didn‚Äôt matter that I was a grown woman who had just turned 26. I felt like a kid who was having a big bad dream; I needed my mom and dad to tell me it was going to be okay. Continue reading “A Season of Suffering; Surrounded by People who Care”

Healthy Homemade Ketchup

My mom is the canning queen. She has an exorbitant amount of patience and tried and true methods for canning. I still have much to learn and have been very grateful for her willingness to help me. ¬†(I was the one who always said canning isn’t an absolute to be a Mennonite!) Though it certainly isn’t, I’m realizing it is handy to have canned items on hand. The best part is that I know what ingredients were put into the jar! My mom and I tried our hand at homemade ketchup the other day. I was pleased considering I haven’t had ketchup for a long time. (I haven’t been able to find ketchup that is¬†corn free.)

Continue reading “Healthy Homemade Ketchup”

Staple Peanut Butter Cookies with 3 Simple Ingredients

Initially, when I had to remove gluten from my diet; I was thrilled to find a delicious peanut butter cookie that I could enjoy. Later, eggs no longer were an option, so I thought I’d likely not be able to make these simple treats again. However, I’ve started using an egg substitute and decided to try it with these peanut butter cookies. The results were tasty though slightly crumbly!

Continue reading “Staple Peanut Butter Cookies with 3 Simple Ingredients”

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Muffins

I recently tried these muffins and was pleased with the results. They actually looked like a normal muffin and have a wonderful flavor!

Banana Muffins

  • 2 C. brown rice blend (1 1/3 C. brown rice flour & 2/3 C. tapioca starch/flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (Featherweight is corn free.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • *2 eggs, beaten (I used egg substitute- 1 tsp. baking powder & 1/4 C. water)
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. ¬†oil
  • 2 1/2 C. mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mash bananas; add beaten eggs, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir just till combined.

*If you are using egg substitute mentioned, mix the water and baking powder together last and simply fold in your batter. This will help the muffins be lighter.

Bake at 350 in lined muffin pans. Bake for 15-20 min or till toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy! The texture is a bit different from regular banana bread; however, the taste is much the same and delicious. These are best fresh from the oven. If you make a batch to freeze, simply warm them before serving.

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.

2014-01-13 13.54.10

  • 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.
IMG_20131119_125427
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.
2014-01-13 13.58.18
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!
2014-01-13 13.45.03
Cleaning is always on the agenda!

2014-01-13 13.51.38

  • 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.)
2014-01-13 13.43.18
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.
2014-01-13 14.01.05
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.

2013-07-04 21.50.50
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.

2014-01-13 13.55.33
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.