GF Peach Crisp!

We wanted to make a sunday night dessert and what did we hapen to have in the freezer ? …

 

PEACHES!

and what did we have in the cuboard? …

OATS!

photo 2

photo 1

photo 3

Here is what we used:

  • 1 1/2 quarts frozen peaches
  • 2+ cups certified gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup sugar (the most natural you have)
  • 1 cup organic cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1 tsp gluten free pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 free range chicken egg

While the oven was heating up to 375 we put the frozen peaches right into an 8 x8 dish so they would thaw out.

Meanwhile we mixed the other ingredients in a bowl.

When the peaches were mostly thaw with a few frozen spots we spread the topping over the top and pout it back in the oven.

We let it baked it for about 35 min. @ 375.

It came out really tasty. It was a little wet though. We should have added some tapioca starch to the peaches to thicken them up a little.

Another winner from Delicious GF Dishes.

Happy Autumn!

 

 

 

Gluten free on a budget

This has been on my mind a lot lately and if any of you are like me, then you’ve been pondering it, too! We are on a tight budget and food takes up a lot of it! I know there are children out there that eat like birds, but none of that type–not one! have been sent to our home. Poor kids inherited fast metabolisms from dad and a love for food from mom, so they’re doomed. And what kid isn’t into social eating? Dad’s eating? Kids want to, too.

Pre-gluten free, I still made everything (mostly) from scratch, but it was full of gluten. Duh. Or, dough! I had a grinder and made our own multi-grain breads, rolls, muffins, desserts, ect. Our food storage was full of wheat, barley, white wheat, spelt, kamut (my favorite!), rolled oats, oat groats, and steel cut oats…you get the picture. Each of those, if not gluten-guilty, is guilty by association. And I loved Annie’s Mac and Cheese for those busy days (with lots of brocolli!). But, I also had brown rice, and quinoa and used those on a regular basis–just not really in baking.

Now we are gluten free and gluten free pre-packaged items cost more. The trade off is that they usually have better ingredients. Even organic, if that means anything to you. And probably not GMO, which is nice. We also lost eggs and all dairy as well. Or rather, my daughter did, and we all eat to her, for the most part. So off the top of my head, here are some tips for eating gluten free on a budget:

 

  • Eat alike. Feed the whole family the same meal. Saves in many ways, but especially mom’s time. Cooking different meals for different family members is tough. (though I know some who have many intolerances and have to do this…) Home isn’t a restaurant. Which brings me to my next thought:
  • Limit eating out. The good gluten free restuarants are pricey!
  • Invest in a good grain grinder like the Whisper Mill or NutriMill–my Whisper Mill is four years old and I’ve never had an issue with it! And, obviously, don’t buy used–same rule applies to grinders as to cutting boards and toasters.
  • Buy grains and anything else you can in bulk. I buy my grains and legumes in 25 lb. bags. Other items I buy in quantity: agave nectar, raw local honey (it’s cheaper as a local source), sea salt, baking powder, starches, olive oil, coconut oil, ect. Sweeteners and oils are usually cheaper by the gallon or more. I buy my coconut oil in five gallon buckets.
  • Stock up on staples on sale–canned tomatoes, coconut milk, olives, ect. Or at least buy one or two extra when you can and keep them out of rotation to stock up your pantry.
  • Keep aside a portion of your food budget (if at all possible) to save towards your larger purchases (if you can’t buy them outright) such as bulk grains, ect.
  • Utilize Amazon’s Subscribe and Save and Mom’s club for whatever packaged items you may need…chocolate chips, starches, ect. I have a running shopping list and try to buy one 6 or 4 pack of something a month to stock up the pantry–free shipping and 5% off their regular pricing applies in many cases.
  • Cook from scratch. If you can make it, don’t buy it pre-packaged.
  • Buy naturally gluten free foods: potatoes, legumes, fruits, vegetables (frozen, too!), ect. are all gluten free.
  • Check out your local scene: you may be able to find raw honey (for example) less expensively in your area…farmer’s markets are great, as is:
  • Gardening! Depending on grocery costs in your area, gardening may be a good way to help the budget–it’s also great for exercise.
  • Buy your meats and poultry on sale–even just one extra helps.

 

I’ll try to post more ideas as I think of them. These are some of the ways our family eats well–both gluten (and dairy and egg) free and on a budget. What are some ideas you have for saving money while still eating well?

Gaining a testimony of motherhood, part one

*This is the first in a series on Mothering. Join me as I reminisce on my younger days and expound on the mission of motherhood from the perspective of an LDS mama.*

ourfamiology models 4 and 5

I am the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter. (WHEW!) I have 7 younger siblings. I also have lots of cousins. As a child I loved being a part of a large family. Growing up, I had a few experiences that helped define motherhood for me.

My mom and I
My mom holding me

As a young girl, and then on into my teens, I always took it for granted that I would marry young and have a whole passel of kiddos. That is, until I watched five children for 5 days while their parents went away for some time together sans children. Those 5 days were tough; in spite of being a pretty mature 17 year old, and as I’d mentioned, the oldest of 8, I came away with my head spinning. Maybe I didn’t want that many children, after all…

The three oldest daughters

When I got home that Thursday afternoon, all I could feel was relief. I was so glad to be home where I had no children of my own. (My grown up self is laughing here.) It wasn’t 20 minutes later when the phone rang. It was my Bishop and he asked me to talk in church on Sunday. It was to be my first full talk–it was Mother’s Day–and the topic: “The Responsibilities of Motherhood”.

I spent the next two days pouring over the words of the modern prophets on the topic of motherhood. I figured that since I wasn’t any authority on motherhood, I’d better go straight to the source and not rely on my own ideas.

What I read impacted me as nothing had before. I know my Bishop was inspired. I know this topic was for me! And so the material I found and used in my talk was also for me. The three things that came up over and over and over again were:

  • if at all possible, stay home
  • don’t wait to have children; in other words, don’t put off children for school, a house, ect.
  • don’t limit the number of children

I didn’t fully realize then that these were controversial topics.=) But I did realize that these words I read were what I needed. Heavenly Father knows each of us; He knows what we need to learn and He knows how to give His children opportunities to learn it. He knew that I needed a reminder of how important and vast mothering is–and He knew I would get it through a 2 day crash course preparing for this talk.

I think this was a pivotal point in my life. One of my missions in life is that of Motherhood. Preparing for that talk after an exhausting week of watching another mother’s children–that is when I gained my testimony of the Calling of Motherhood.

The girls grown up…mostly.=) Mom is in the center.

Three Things for Sunday???

Or what I found while staying home from church with my coughing kiddos…

I have some of the catchiest titles, don’t I?

The two boys were the coughing culprits that kept me home.

The kiddos…part of the clean up crew in our famiology remodel project.

 

I actually only found two of the three things while home with the kiddos, so had to go with my first title. (Accuracy in reporting and all that…)

The first *ahem* item that I’d like to share is the Youth Theme Song for 2013. Has everyone seen this but me?! I was on www.mormonchannel.org looking for some music when I spotted this gem. We listened to it over breakfast and it turned into a really good discussion. I had good intentions to upload the video, but couldn’t get it to embed properly. I am sure my mad lack of tech skills were in part to blame…

Next up: Also while on the Mormon Channel, I found a Conversations episode that I hadn’t seen before. The picture of a large family is what caught my eye. Counting them; 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! Wow! Ten children! Yay for big families! (I am a long-time admirer of big families.) I really enjoyed listening and you may, too!

And finally, the third thing I stumbled across today was on www.lds.org, which is the LDS church’s (a.k.a. Mormons) official website, was a neat little section entitled “A Parent’s Guide“. It is a nice little handbook on helping your children develop healthy attitudes about gender, family relationships, and intimacy. I was very impressed and it gave me some ideas on some things (there’s that word again!) I can work on with my children. I also had some ideas for devotionals and other moments.

Gender, roles, identity, relationships…they are all SO, so important. And while so many ideas are presented outside of the family and home by media and entertainment, and even in schools (social studies, anyone?), they most often do not fall in line with our principles. Ultimately, the responsibility for teaching falls directly on the parents. It’s always nice to find ideas that reflect and reinforce our ideals of home, relationships, and family! If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you may want to check it out!

So there you have it, 3 resources to recharge your religious batteries.=)

In other news, my baby popped his first tooth 1 day before his 5 month mark! He now holds the ourfamiology record, ousting his oldest brother by…1 day. (But big brother actually popped his first TWO teeth at exactly five months, so I guess he still holds some sort of record, eh?) Ah, the bliss of teething!

Roasted Red Bell Peppers

I’d been buying jarred roasted red peppers for years, but once I figured out how easy it is to roast them myself, there’s been no turning back. (I’m sure everyone else already knows how simple it is, but just in case, I thought I’d do a post on it.)

 

 

 

Roasted red peppers are SO YUMMY! They are great in pasta dishes of all sorts, as well as in paella and salads and salad dressings.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash peppers.

Optional: Rub on a little cold pressed olive oil.

Set upright on a baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, turning every fifteen minutes.

Remove from oven and cool.

Carefully (check for hot spots) remove skin.

Eat within 3-4 days or freeze.

 

These are a few recipes with roasted red pepper potential:

 

 

 

 

Five Things for Friday, House Edition

*I am participating in Women in the Scriptures blog hop! Welcome!*

YAY! After living in a studio almost 4 years longer than we expected to, we are finally going to be home owners again.

I meant to have pics on here, but my computer is down and I also dropped my camera and broke it. (Ouch! I know!)

It is in need of some TLC. We aren’t afraid of that, however, as it’s nothing that time and a little (okay, a lot) of elbow grease can’t take care of. Our plan is to do the main things that will make it comfortable for almost immediate move-in, and then continue on from there. So this house edition exhibits the five things that we hope to finish before moving in.

-1-

Flooring

The carpet is awful. I am a picky carpet person and the thought of old carpet seriously grosses me out. (We all have our “thing”–you know what it is for you…previously owned carpet is one of mine.) Gratefully, everyone agrees that this carpet is not salvageable.

Count your blessings, hah!

So out it goes. We are still deciding what we will replace it with…

-2-

Paint and Trim

One of the easiest ways to update a home, in my opinion, is with paint and trim. And, again, luckily for me, it needs it. The main paint is a peachy-beige and the walls must not have been primed because it is pretty splotchy throughout. Except for two rooms: the master and one other bedroom. The master bedroom has grey paint. I actually like grey, but this one is a pretty dark grey with a purple hue, which is even more dark at night. Not liking the cave experience at all. The other bedroom is a garish red with black mickey mouse symbols (the head/ears thing) all over. I really don’t like most disney related stuff anyway, but I really, really don’t like character-related decor, clothing, toys, ect. My opinion, I know, but it just smacks of McDonald’s kid’s meals–something else I really don’t like….

-2 1/2-

Somehow had to fit this in…

Paint Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is pretty dated, but has lots of cabinets (yay!). We are planning on painting them white and adding some trim. This will help brighten the kitchen which is on the north side of the house and under a porch, making it the darkest room in the house. The bright cabinets will cheer it up a bit, I’m thinking. Painting cabinets isn’t all that difficult, but it is a process. We think it will be lots easier to do this before we move in as we have done this once before–but last time, we were living there while we did it. Here are some pics of our current kitchen, which Daniel painted for me just last year. (Computer down, darn!) I love bright kitchens and am excited to see what a little paint can do to help this one out!

-3-

Gates

The house comes with a huge backyard, which is nice since we are used to living on an acre-plus and it is going to be an adjustment living with neighbors, lol. Also, gratefully, it has a 6 ft block privacy fence. I am already getting a weird “being watched” vibe at just the thought of being in town, lol, and it makes me feel much more comfortable to have this little bit of privacy. However, it has three entries (two drive through and one walk in entry) that don’t have gates. That’s not gonna work for this gal. I need the security of knowing that the kiddos are corralled back there, ya know? Hence the gates.

-4-

Blinds for the Windows

Another measure to help me feel comfortable adjusting to town living. (Or another way to cope with Feeling Watched Syndrome, lol.) Not really in a creepy way or anything; more like I am just not used to sidewalks that random people will walk on near my house. Sidewalks are for parks, ya’ll.

-5-

Bathroom Remodel

Okay, that sounds like a lot of work. Really, it’s mostly a toilet and tub/bath replacement. Oh, and painting the cabinets for the same reasons listed above. Oh, and painting the walls. But the painting would be done regardless. So, like I said, it’s really just a small matter of replacing the toilet, tub and tile surround (which is cracked in a few places). I did mention that, didn’t I? Just another thing that I think will be easier doing before moving in. Mom, I need to use the bathroom!!! Um, can it wait? Dad hasn’t installed the new toilet yet…

Def. doing that before moving in!=)

So there you have it! Five things for Friday=a lot of fun work.

Thanks for reading. And thanks, Heather, for the blog hop!

ETA: I am seriously lacking here for not having pics, I know…they are coming, I promise!

Finding Your Voice

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

 

So I am a semi-avid writer. By that, I mean:

I love paper.
  • I like to write.
  • I prefer paper.
  • I write in my various journals often.
  • I enjoy writing letters.

ETA: (every time I read the bullet list, I start singing, “one of these things is not like the other…”. LOL)

I also really like to talk. Ha. Maybe I should say converse. (Which infers talking and listening.)

I enjoy conversations and the give and take of ideas and experiences.

So I really thought I would enjoy blogging. (And I do!) I enjoy blogs and I like getting in on the mature conversation that is sometimes lacking in my full-of-children-10-and-under home.

But sometimes, I get awkward typing it all out. I am like this when writing a talk for church, too, by the way. I have to use paper and pen in order to get my thoughts out.

But in blogging, I think it’s more of a shyness than a writer’s block. Or maybe it’s just beginner’s jitters. I feel like I come across stunted. Unnatural. Silly.

Like a cockerel learning to crow. (That would be a prepubescent rooster.)

it’s an awkward stage…

When a cockerel is beginning to crow, their crow goes through quite the awkward stage before becoming that perfect-pitch, wake up call that drives us nuts we all know and love.

( I tried to find one for ya to hear, but they didn’t do it justice…trust me; it’s much better in person!)

And most of the time, I feel alot like that cockerel. Awkward. Shy. Hesitant to put my thoughts out there. (What if they hate me?!) HA!

I sometimes think I ought to hand-write my thoughts and then post them up, but who has time for that?! Hopefully, I’ll be able to find my voice, just like the roos do.

And hopefully, when I do, I won’t come off as being cocky. (Pun intended.)

Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I think sweet potatoes are my favorite fall/winter food. Or pomegranates. Or cranberries. Or winter squashes. Hmm…it’s tough to choose!

This recipe is another super easy, lazy recipe. If it isn’t totally noticeable, I really like one-dish meals or meals that you prep and then throw in the oven or crock pot to forget about til it’s done. I try to do most of the work in the morning; late afternoons tend to be chaotic–everyone is getting hungry and probably tired too. The baby (there usually is one in these-here-parts) is fussier just when I need to get dinner going and needs mama. So this falls into that “easy prep” category for me. I never seem to make enough of these…

 

CHILI ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

 

sweet potatoes

cold or first pressed olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chili powder (I sometimes change it up by adding cumin)

1/2 tsp garlic powder, optional

 

Wash and cut sweet potatoes into wedges. Toss with olive oil. (Please do this in a bowl, otherwise you may have a bit of a mess on your hands, lol.) Toss again with sea salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes.

women in combat, is this what we really want…

…for our daughters and ourselves? Given that the majority of women don’t want to be in combat, the answer is NO!
Then why the push for it???

Ask yourself that as you read these:

First, the testimony of a marine colonel: (who shares the impracticality of coed combat).

Second, the opinion of an LDS mother: (who shares how this could affect the family and society). Rachel is a friend of mine who says it better than I can.

We as mothers, daughters, sisters and friends need to raise our voices in a resounding, “No!”.

What’s next? Women in the draft? Not our daughters.

Not convinced? Go back and read Colonel Ripley’s comments on women POW’s…

 

Remembering our legacy…

and how it helps us in keeping ours.

Daniel’s grandma passed on a book for me to read last time he visited her. She knows I am pretty into reading. Wasn’t it thoughtful of her to think of me?

So here is the book: (I can’t seem to get the image to upload, so here is the link:)

Women of Faith

Women of Faith in the Latter Days is a wonderful compilation of LDS women and their life stories. I recognized some of their stories from Daughters in my Kingdom. Instead of only a small portrait of their life, Women of Faith has a biographical sketch and a biography, often in their own words.

As I was reading along, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon one of my own ancestors in the book! Cyrena Dustin Merrill’s story is well known in our family because she wrote her biography. I couldn’t decide whether to read it or run over to my mom’s to share my excitement, so I compromised by reading a bit before I had to rush over to show mom. Then we stood by our huge family tree posters that Daniel created for our Thanksgiving celebration to show just how we were related. (Visuals are super helpful here!) My mom showed me grandma Susanna, Cyrena’s granddaughter and my mom’s great grandma (they called her grandma Suzy). My mom remembers grandma Suzy. Seeing it that way, the generations didn’t seem very far at all.

I grew up with four great grandma’s, and my children knew one of their great-great grandmothers on my father’s side, who died at age 104. Before her death, we had five generations of family living within 5 minutes of each other. They also have another great-great grandmother whom they barely remember but who is still living and is celebrating her 100th birthday this week. My mom, her sisters, and my grandma are all traveling out of state to celebrate with her. We have been blessed to have a living legacy for so long.

I enjoy keeping a journal and over the years have gotten pretty consistent with it. I have always written more for my own needs–it’s therapeutic for me. Sometimes I just need to work things out without dumping on Daniel or others, lol. Sometimes, I want to remember special experiences. And sometimes, I want to remember promptings and impressions, so I write them down. As I was reading the lives of these women, though, I was impressed with the impact their stories had on me–I learned so much while reading them! I felt so much! It made me hope that maybe someday the accounts I am keeping will be relevant to and help someone else besides myself.

All of the biographies touched me in some way, but reading Cyrena’s really impacted me. I hadn’t actually read her entire biography before; I just knew some of the highlights passed on orally from my parents. Family history is an important work, but all to often, it can seem like only a bunch of names devoid of meaning. Cyrena Dustin Merrill was my great, great, great, great grandmother. That could have been all I knew of her. But because of her writing her stories down, we knew her stories–It is the STORIES that help us create a personal link to the name. Just as in studying history, do we only know the dates and historical facts? (In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…) What are such data without the stories? They help a name become the actual person. Now I have another purpose for writing.

Here is the story that put a name to the face for me growing up. But first, a few facts…Cyrena was born on January 6, 1817 in Genesee County, New York. She was always a sickly child and her family pampered her quite a bit growing up. They didn’t want her to overdo, so she “was never expected to do anything around the house but all the family waited on [her]”.

When she was baptized at the age of 20, all but her father were quite scandalized. She says that her father probably would have joined also had one of the elders whom he had befriended not conducted himself in an unwise manner. (she is vague there.)

Cyrena determined to go with other converts to be with the Saints, in her words in “a spirit of gathering”. Because of the tension in the home caused by her joining the LDS faith, she moved out prior to this. Before leaving, she visited her family to say goodbye and bear a last testimony. Her family tried to convince her to stay so emphatically that she was worried that her father would try to stop her from leaving the next day.

Her account reads:

“…a few nights before we started for Missouri, I went to my father’s house and I talked with all of them: my father and mother cried and begged me not to go, even until late into the night; when they found pleading was of no avail…We all then retired and in the morning early father went away so for he could not say “goodbye”.

As I was leaving the house, I turned back at the door and bore a faithful testimony to the truth of the Gospel; and that was the last time I ever saw any of my father’s family.”

“We started early in the morning, and were fearful that father would stop us, for we had to pass his house, but as we neared home we saw the hand of the Lord in causing a dense fog to envelope the house, until after we passed; we could not even see the signboard at the street door…”

That is the story that I grew up hearing about grandma Cyrena. In spite of numerous physical hardships (remember, her health was delicate) she was able to grow strong enough to marry and have a family. In fact, she outlived all her children but two. She crossed the prairie with the pioneers, and eventually helped pioneer southern Arizona. She died in Layton, AZ (now called Safford).

She ends her biography in 1898:

“Now all my children, but two, have gone to the spirit world, I am waiting for the call which shall bid me join them, and I hope and pray that all my posterity will be faithful and endure to the end, and may some of them carry on the work for the dead of my father’s house which I have commenced but have not been permitted to finish.”

I hope I can pass on my faith and stories to my children and grandchildren and teach them of their ancestors–it is truly and legacy of faith!