I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween last night. We had fun dressing up and trick or treating but it was a little chilly for the costumes so it was short lived which was fine by me...less candy the better! My daughter wanted to carve another pumpkin today, so while she was busy with the jack-o-lantern I made the pumpkin seeds to snack on.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from simply recipes

Seeds from a carved pumpkin
olive oil 

Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Carve your pumpkin and place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
Measure the pumpkin seeds. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every 1 cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier. Cover and bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan. I like to sprinkle a little course salt on the seeds and then bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, for medium seeds about 10-15 minutes. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don't get over toasted.
 When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating. 

A treat even for the pickiest of eaters...

Always ready to dress up...
New to all this...
 Ready to go...



My kids planted 15 lbs of seed potatoes 5 months ago and last week they harvested 184 lbs. I can remember when I was a kid driving to my grandparent's farm in Iowa and dreading when the potatoes had to be dug up. We used pitchforks and it was hard work, majority of the time I would accidentally stab the potatoes with the pitchfork so it would be kindly suggested that I sit on the ground and pick the potatoes out of the dirt instead. This time the pitchforks were tossed aside and we welcomed the potato plow; it worked like a charm...184 lbs of potatoes just came rolling out of the ground! 

Contributing a whopping 1 lb to that 184 lbs was this little beauty...
This potato is so ugly that I just can't eat it. It just sits on my kitchen counter, looking at me, reminding me of a blob fish.

Baked Potato
Serves 1

1 large russet baking potato
olive oil to coat
kosher salt

Addition toppings:
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scub the potato with a stiff brush under clean water, dry and prick with a fork all over, I poke mine 12 times for this size potato. Set the potato in a small bowl and coat it with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt on all sides. Place the potato on your middle oven rack. I usually put a sheet of tin foil on the bottom rack to catch any oil that drips. Bake for one hour or until the the skin feels crisp but the inside is soft when you slide a knife in.
I like butter, salt, pepper and whatever vegetables I have on hand. This one has peas and Parmesan.

My favorite time of year...
cattle grazing down by the river...
 Red Tailed Hawk soaring...



As I am trying to weaken my caffeine addiction I have resorted back to some old ways that have worked for me in the past...specifically juicing parsley. There is something about parsley that just makes me feel so good and gives me boundless energy. The kind of energy that makes me want to clean out my closets!  It is a little storehouse of vitamins and a great pick-me-up which I take full advantage of when I am dragging mid-morning.

Serves 1

1 bunch of Italian leaf Parsley
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored
1/2 Lemon, peeled

Wash the parsley, soak if needed. Add the parsley, stems and all to the juicer first then add the apple and the lemon. Drink immediately.

My favorite time of year...


This is a great little smoothie to whip up when your kids are begging you to take them to the coffee shop to get a smoothie after school and you are trying really hard not to go because you know you will break down and get 2 shots of espresso...and did I mention the two shots would be inside 16 ounces of steamed milk with rich chocolate and you have already had one earlier in the day. Yes, I have a serious mocha addiction that I am trying to's not going so good.

Peach Smoothie
Serves 4

2-3 peaches, peeled and pit removed
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons of sugar, or sweetener of choice (if needed, sometimes peaches are sweet enough)
lime juice from 1/2 a lime
8 ice cubes

Put everything in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

On the bright side having a large amount of espresso throughout the day can make it really convenient when you want to be awake from 4a-6a to see the Blood Moon. It was spectacular...

"And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah."  Joel 2:30 -31

"The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and glorious Day of the Lord." Acts 2:20

Printable Recipe 



This is my new favorite summer drink; I love it! It is so delicious and smooth, with sweet coconut and tart lime...yum! Add a little white rum or maybe coconut rum if you feeling adventurous or leave as is for a perfect summer refreshment. 

Frozen Coconut Limeade
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups crushed or small ice cubes
1 cup (8 ounces) coconut milk, well-shaken if from a can
1/3 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons sugar (more or less to taste)
Lime slices for garnish

Juice the lime...

Add everything to a blender and mix until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into glasses, garnish with lime.

Perfect day to put on the swimsuits, the sprinkler and trap the kids in the trampoline...


This is about as easy as it can get AND it is the only way my son will eat this is my new method. In the past, I always used the microwave but now I am trying to eliminate using the microwave as much as into the oven it goes and honestly this tastes 100% better.

Oven Roasted Bacon
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves- not enough!

8-10 Slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with tine foil and lat the bacon on the pan. (I always have to squeeze just-one-more-on-the-pan).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is really crispy.

Watch the bacon closely around the 15 minute mark because it can burn quickly, depending on how thick/thin the slices are. The bacon I use usually takes 20 minutes.

Dry the bacon on paper towels and serve.

We went to the dairy farm my mom grew up on and the kids found some new friends...

once we got home we found three bucks...



Super fresh and easy for a Labor Day Picnic!
Carrot Salad 
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Serves 4

3-4 carrots
1 lemon, juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
flat leaf parsley

Peel and grate the carrots into shreds using a hand grater and set aside in a bowl.
In a small glass, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the carrot shreds, add the parsley and mix. Do not over dress, you don't want to saturate the carrots, taste as you go and adjust seasoning if needed. Enjoy!

Rufus at his dock diving competition! He did well for his first daughter was his handler and he jumped something around 18 feet.




These muffins are a favorite in our house...

Makes 12 Muffins

1 3/4 cups (212 g) all-purpose organic flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup (150 g) melted unsalted organic butter
3/4 cup (150 g) organic sugar
1 large organic egg, at room temp.
3/4 cup (165 g - 188 ml ) milk
For the Coating:
3 tablespoons unsalted, organic butter, melted
1/3 cup organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat convection oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners.

Mix all the dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). Set aside.
Mix all the wet ingredients (butter through milk, incl. sugar).
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes.
In the meantime melt butter and mix sugar and cinnamon for the coating.
Brush or dip fresh and still hot baked muffins with melted butter and roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture.

We went on a 3000-mile family road trip to the ocean...2 15-hour days of driving, 7 days at the beach and 2 15-hour days of driving...11 states in 11 days...and it was so much fun! 
The dogs came with...
Hotel rooms seem a little small with 6 of us...
I wrapped 50 little gifts (mostly from the dollar store) for the kids to open during the long car ride. Glow in the dark sticks (at night), pipe cleaners, barbies/aliens, dry erase boards and window clings were favorites. Quite frankly, just the idea of opening a present was a highlight for them. 

Footsteps from the ocean...
 Dogs loved the waves...
Can't wait for next time...



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