Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Day Valentines

I love snow days, especially when they fall on the weekend. It is so nice to spend time as a family with no place to go and no other commitments, it was wonderful! I like how it just made the world so quiet and so peaceful, also it just felt so cozy to be "trapped" in our well stocked, warm abode. My kids spent most of the day wondering when we could go out in the snow so to keep them occupied we made some valentines for Phoebe's friends.

These are so easy to make and smaller children can count out two kisses for you and older ones can help assemble the "roses". I don't even remember where this idea originally came from but I have made these for my valentine before we even had kids. They are fun and yummy and it only takes about a min to throw one together and it only cost about $.25 per rose! This is what you will need to make them.

Hershey Kiss Roses
  • Tissue paper
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Floral tape
  • Hershey kisses 
Cut out about 5" by 5" squares with your tissue paper. I usually just eyeball mine it doesn't have to be an exact science.

Take two kisses and have their bases touch and then fold the middle of the tissue paper square over the tip of one of the kisses to make your rose bud.

Twist the ends of the tissue paper around the bottom point of the kiss and wrap the pipe cleaner around the little tail of tissue paper to make the stem.

Now take your floral tape, and starting at the top wrap from the base of the bud to the end of the tail of tissue paper. It will make it look more uniform and cover up the excess tissue paper.

You can just leave it like this or if you want to get more fancy you can bend some pipe cleaners and make leaves on the rose stems.

Now you have a dozen or two of chocolate roses to give out on Valentines day!

Making these was Phoebe's favorite part of our snow day, even more then going out in the snow! I hope you all had a fun weekend with your friends and family too!

                                                                The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Homemade Vegan Candy Bar

It is the beginning of a new year and quite a few people set resolutions to make this the year they start eating healthy and keeping a healthy weight. Even the best intentions seem to dwindle over time and by Valentine's day most everyone given up on their diet. Why is it so hard to eat healthy? Well when those donuts, ice cream, candy and pizza show up and there you are, staving with low blood sugar, your bodies natural instinct is to eat the most calorie packed food you can get your hands on.

I remember when I was low calorie, low fat dieting I would just smell sugar and then eat whatever it was till it was gone. I was on a cycle of starvation and binge and I just lived in a place of guilt and shame every time I failed my diet. It was terrible until I realized that I didn't need to starve to be a healthy weight and that I could eat treats once in a while. When I did it wasn't because I am a failure at eating healthy it is because there is a time for everything...including ice cream! Especially the homemade kind!

At any rate I am learning to accept and enjoy my size I am today. While it is not the perfect size zero that is flashed all over the media I am healthy and strong, able to have babies, dance, take care of children, clean, cook, help my family and feel beautiful while I am doing these things. I am learning my body is capable of so much more! It is part of growing into my own skin and giving myself the best nutrition. It is perspective, I am not working toward a size that is not sustainable for me, I am feeding my body the fuel it needs to keep my energy stable and body nourished through out my day. Something I really need to keep up with my busy crew! It is a wonderful feeling to be free of needless guilt!

Part of my new life style has been replacing my favorite un-healthy foods with healthy substitutes. This has lead to many interesting experiments, but once in a while you get a winner.

This is great for those moments where you want a candy bar or some chocolate. My kids loved helping me make these. The best best part is that the chocolate coating doesn't harden as quick as regular melted chocolate so kids can roll it in the cool coating before you put it in the freezer and it doesn't have to be time sensitive.  My daughter made the comment, "Mom you are the best cooker!" while making these :) I didn't feel bad at all letting her lick the extra out of our bowl! Here is what you will need to make them.

The Guiltless Candy Bar

  • 8 Date rolls
  • 1/2 Cup coco powder
  • 1/2 Cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8-10 drops of liquid stevia or to taste
  • Pink salt (optional but really tasty!)
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and flatten out your date rolls, shaping them to look like snack size candy bars.

Mix the melted coconut oil, vanilla, stevia and coco powder together with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps in the chocolate coating.

Roll your flattened date rolls in the chocolate coating and place on the parchment paper. Once you coat them all their is a little left over, so I drizzled it over the tops of the bars and sprinkled a pinch of pink salt on top.

Place the cookie sheet with the bars in the freezer for 20 minuets and when you bring them out the candy bars are ready!

I would love to hear what favorite food you have "healthified" for us to give a try! Let me know if there is a food you would like to see a healthier version of and we will try and make it!
                                                           To a stronger healthier future

                                                                The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Growing Pains

I must say that having children is scary. From the moment you realize you are pregnant with them you are constantly concerned with their well being and safety. You want to give them the best; the best possible start to the life ahead of them. The best nutrition, education, friends and family life you possibly can and all of these things require decisions on your part. There are so many decisions, every day, that sometimes it can be overwhelming and I become fearful that I am making the wrong choices for my family. How do I know that my choices will not be fatal? That one day it will cause one of my children to have an unnecessary death, either physically or spiritually? This has been on my mind for a while now and I am realizing I am living my life in a spirit of fear. While it is good to be cautious and watchful I do not want to let fear be my driving force for my life and the life of my family. Where is my faith?

Faith has never been a strong point for me.  It has always been a struggle to believe that God will do what has said. I have seen God do amazing things in our life and I know He is capable, I suppose I feel like maybe asking for all the big and little things all the time is too much. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you. 

I guess a revelation hit me this past week while I was experiencing a difficult trial with one of my children. I was praying for wisdom, clutching my child tight to my chest when I felt a gentle whisper in the quiet tension that pervaded the air. "That is my child" is all it said. I stopped rocking and thought about the meaning of what I had just heard. This child did belong to the Lord, it was not solely mine, I just am entrusted to them for a short time but they are always His. He loves them more than I ever could and He knows what plans He has for them in the future. It is normally hard for me to let someone else take over but this time I was covered in a wave of peace and released the tight grasp on my little one as the Comforter covered us both in that moment.

It seemed like I needed affirmation this week because in our progress of reading through the Bible we were in the story of Moses. His mother was in a bad situation, she was pregnant and gave birth to a boy in a time when the government was trying to eliminate all males of Israel nationality. I am sure as she realized she could no longer conceal him she had that moment with the Holy Spirit where she realized that Moses was not just her child he was the Lord's and she was going to give him back into the Lord's hands. She let Moses go into the Nile. I have never been to Egypt but I have heard from those who have that the Nile is dirty, full of rapids, crocodiles and big fish live in there as well. That was a moment of big faith. The beautiful thing is that in her giving her son into the capable hands of the Lord He gave her son back to her for a little longer and spared his life.

The Lord is so good. He doesn't always choose to give the child back but His way is better and we just have to trust in the plans He has for us. We can't always see or understand what is happening in our lives, but when we cast our cares on Him those cares somehow loose their power over us and peace comes to stay. Rest in His peace and Trust in His plans. Follow the instructions in His love letter and watch the beauty of the glory of the Lord unfold in your life. It is so much better than doing it on our own!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

                                                            The Farmer in the Dell


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gluten Free Bread in the Bread Machine!!!

Yes if you read the title I am so excited! I have finally found a recipe for the gluten-free sandwich bread, made in the bread machine! For necessity is the mother of invention. This is the truth that caused me to stumble upon the illusive gluten free sandwich bread that is fluffy, holds together and is so easy I could do it in my sleep!

Because of the holidays my shopping schedule was all off. For those of you who don't know how I love a good schedule this basically had me in a confused state for the last two weeks, they moved my market day to Tuesday instead of Friday! So I squeezed my market shopping in but never made it to the store to buy all the other things we eat that are not not fruits and veggies. We basically ran out of everything at once come the new year, which means no spelt bread for my dear husbands lunches. However I did have this stockpile of gluten-free flour mix made by Krusteaz. So I got out a bag and and decided to give gluten free bread a whirl even if that meant making sandwiches on dense little slices of brick. (An apt description of what most of my "whirls" with gluten-free bread turn out like.)

Not that my husband wouldn't eat it because he is not a pick eater. One of the many reasons I love him! In fact on one occasion, when he was still living at home, he was usually one of the last to eat dinner. Coming in from a hard day of farming he saw what his mom had made left out for him. There were a couple plates with foil over top to keep the heat in so he lifted the foil off a few of them and saw that there was fish pattys, lettuces, tomatoes, buns and all the fixings for a fish sandwich. So he made a sandwich and dug in. His mom came down stairs and asked if he found everything ok, to which he replied, "Yes, the fish sandwiches are good." His mom looked confused and said, "We didn't have fish sandwiches, we had burgers and hash-browns!" So moral to the story, I can give him just about anything because he can make a fish sandwich out of a hash-brown!

So I kinda thew this recipe together not thinking that much would come out of it, and when I looked into the bread machine and saw this I was shocked! It was fluffy, golden brown and smelled...yummy!

 Now I am happy knowing what I can do with my stock pile of flour. If you eat gluten free or are trying to avoid gluten you have got to give this a whirl! The mix is very affordable (I payed $1.89 for 5lbs!) and almost everything I have tried with it turns out wonderful! Here is my lazy, gluten-free sandwich bread recipe for the bread maker.

Krusteaz Gluten-free Bread

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 Cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 cup Krusteaz gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs yeast
Dump all the ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed.

Set the bread machine on Rapid Medium setting for a 2 pound loaf.

Set and forget it! Until the yummy aroma reminds you that you are making bread!

After it is done I let it set for about 10 min till I remove it from the pan, so I don't pull the bottom off!
Slice and enjoy!

*I like to slice my bread and let it cool, then I layer them in a ziplock bag. The bead stays fresh that way and doesn't go bad. It makes it handy any time I need a slice. 
                                                                  The Farmer in the Dell