slow cooker applesauce and a lovely fall day

Today we made some homemade slow cooker apple sauce and we felt all sorts of Fall. My mama had made this before and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. If you ever have lots of apples to use up, etc, this is SO simple and SO good. Also sugar free!

All I did was cut up maybe ten apples or so. I peeled them but you could even leave the skin on if you want this to be even more quick. Dice apples into big chunks, throw in half a cup of water, and sprinkle top with cinnamon and nutmeg. Turn cooker on high and let those babies soften up for a couple hours!

Once soft, grab a whisk and stir it up to a consistency that you enjoy. I like mine a little more chunky so I don’t do a whole lot of stirring. If you are a smooth apple sauce kinda gal, you could even throw this all into a blender.

And that is literally it! Enjoy it warm right away, throw it in the fridge and save it for later, put some ice cream or whipped cream on top to satisfy that late night sweet tooth if you know what I’m sayin’.

Happy Fall!

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grandma’s rhubarb crisp

 

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For as long as I can remember rhubarb has always been special to our family. My grandparents live in Iowa, and growing up we would make the drive to their lovely little home tucked away in their small midwest town. Every time we would arrive you could expect my grandma to have 1 of 3 things made. (Sometimes even all.) Chocolate marshmallow cookies, peanut butter bars, and rhubarb crisp. Still to this day, she will most likely have one of these treasures made and ready for you the moment  you walk in their home.

For me and my family, these simple little desserts bring all of our favorite memories at Grandma and Grandpa’s house right along with them. Exploring the railroad tracks behind their house, and a basement full of treasures and toys that are still there from when my dad was growing up that created a world so interesting for me. Playing games around their dining room table and helping Grandma with whatever meal she was preparing for that evening. So since childhood, rhubarb has held a special place in my heart, not just because it is plain old delicious, but because I’m reminded of so many special moments every time that I bake with it…

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This time I had some strawberries to use up so I chopped those up and threw them in there as well and it was delicious. So here’s to summer time rhubarb, amazing grandparents, warm memories, and food that may not be the best thing for the body but sure is good for the soul.

5.22.17

1995 you guys. A year full of ER, Seinfeld, Friends, and of course Brad Pitt. What a Year to be alive amiright? In 1995 I was 5 years old and to be honest was quite oblivious to the culture that was going on around me at the time. I was a 5 year old little girl growing up in the midwest with a mind full of imagination and wonder, and could care less about when the heck Ross and Rachel would get back together. (?!)

Isn’t childhood such an amazing thing? There are so many things you can vividly remember. Sometimes you can even taste, feel, and smell memories that meant something to you as even a 5 year old and remember them for the rest of your life.

My childhood was really special and I just vividly remember enjoying it. I remember always being outside. I remember always feeling safe and cared for.  Now looking back I see what a tremendous blessing that is. I remember wanting to be like my big brothers, family dinners, having a pure imagination, and I can remember what it was like to look at the world with wonder. I played with all the kids on my street and we would walk down to the “Candy Lady’s” house everyday and she would give us suckers and we would talk about our days. I remember dreaming, creating, baking, playing dress up, putting on shows for parents, and just living in the very day that I was in and not having to worry about what was ahead. I have no memory of my parents ever being on cell phones or staring at screens or iPads. I remember everyone just being present, and now with where life is now, I cherish how truly truly beautiful that time was.

As I was thinking about all of this the other day, I thought about my sweet Luca G and how he will look back on his childhood 25 years from now.

Honestly I get a little emotional and while I know I will never be perfect, I know I can do better. I want to be present. I want to be here with him and I want him to have the memories that I have of my childhood of feeling safe and cared for and seen and known. I want him to explore and to run and to create and dream and love and everything else in between. I want him to breathe, and listen to silence and not feel awkward or threatened by it. I want him to hear and feel the sensations of the outdoors and beauty and not feel like he needs to take a picture of everything to fully embrace it. I want him to learn and mess up and get sticky and make messes and color on walls and be everything that childhood should be.

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While this day in age can make these things more difficult and rare, I really, really want to try to start doing these things myself because we know our children do what they see. I am by no means going to be able to all of a sudden make a complete life change and never be on my phone ever again or something crazy. But I really want to be intentional in doing the little things day by day to make a childhood for Luca that I know he will love.

I feel like the magic of childhood in all of its wonder and curiosity should in reality be something that maybe never was supposed to diminish. Maybe we are supposed to see things with that perspective in this world until the moment we pass on to the next one. I sure know that is what I would want for Luca, and I’m sure that is what my parents and God had intended for me.

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So here is to opening up our eyes, listening to all the sounds, and even hearing in the silence. To remembering the beauty of the sky and clouds and looking for the wonder in all the little things that are throughout our day to days. Here’s to remembering everything is magical, fart noises are silly, people’s laughs are contagious, and imaginations are creativity waiting to be unleashed. That life is to be fun and an adventure and that we would remember we are always known and cared for by The One who created it all in the first place. I think we need it. I know I do. And I think our kids will be really happy we did.

 

 

1.22.17

Who likes chocolate!? If you’re like me, then you really really like chocolate. Decided I would quickly share such an easy recipe that Justin and I make like literallllyyyyy almost every day. And because I want chocolate every day, this recipe allows me to do that without feeling guilty/bloated/sad haha – These are SUGAR FREE and I promise you, they don’t taste like it.

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What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar free peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup OR honey
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 mini muffin tray

Mix coconut oil, peanut butter, and maple syrup together. Throw in microwave for 30 or so to get them all blended together nice and good. Take out of microwave and add vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until blended! All that’s left is pouring into your tray! Place tray in your freezer until chocolates are solid- normally only about 10/15 min. That’s it! Super easy! Enjoy!

4.21.16

I love thinking about back when everyone didn’t use the internet to find and store recipes. (Don’t get me wrong I still do this constantly. Can I get an amen for Pinterest?) However I love looking through the countless books my mom has full of recipes from everywhere under the sun. I love seeing all the ones my grandma had given to her and others in our family that bring back so many memories of growing up and eating the deliciousness that these recipes produce. I’ve made copies of lots that she had kept that I want to be sure to keep as well; not only to be able to make them here at home, but also be able to keep them in a big book full of recipes that I also find that I can keep passing down to our family. Some of my favorites that my grandma would always make, and still does whenever we are in Iowa: chocolate roll, rhubarb crisp (my rhubarb is already sprouting in the yard!), and her peanut butter bars. So. Good.

So my mama gave me this recipe book and I’m slowly trying to get things in there that I find, and also putting in the old ones that I love. Here’s to old traditions and new ones to come!