This is my favorite cereal/granola. I omit raisins and toss in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. It is a good base recipe that you can add to or change out to your preference.

Adapted sightly from Alton Brown
Makes about 6 cups

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut 
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. 

Add raisins (if using) and mix until evenly distributed.

This morning, I felt bad for the squirrels. I have had an empty peanut butter jar hanging in my tree for months now. I finally gave in and pulled on my snow boots, pulled out the ladder from the back of the garage, walked through the snow and slush into my backyard, climbed the wobbly ladder and filled the peanut butter jar with fresh crunchy peanut butter. The squirrels were busy feasting all day long. This little guy is my favorite...





8-10 ounces mushrooms, ends trimmed and sliced
2 Tablepoons unsalted butter
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tablepoons chicken stock or dry white wine
kosure salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped green onion/chives
8-10 slices french bread
olive oil

Preheat the oven broiler.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and sautée, for about three minutes. 

Add mushrooms and continue cooking; stirring for about five minutes.

Add chicken stock, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about five minutes.

Uncover and stir in chickpeas continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Set the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set under broiler for about a minute, watch closely so it doesn't burn. Top each piece with mushrooms and chickpeas and sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

I love studying the Bible; however, I didn't in the past. it seemed overwhelming, I would read it, not understand half of it and forget it. I was lucky enough to be raised as a Christian and I was a Christian but a weak one in hindsight. I didn't have the longing for His Word. Something changed and I praise God it did. I found myself really needing God and wanting to know Him more. I tried a new approach, I started studying it instead of just reading it. I bought a journaling Bible so I could record my thoughts and cross reference. And most importantly, I started to pray to be addicted to His Word...and it worked. For the last 4 years I can be found late into the night with my head in the Bible. It absolutely amazes me how I can study the same books over and over again and it hits me in a completely different way every time, for me that is absolute proof it is the Living Word. When I am in His Word, time is still... it is just me - my Creator - my King - the Savior and Redeemer of my soul...I don't think there could be anything better.




Makes 14 cookies

1 cup instant oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
3/4 cup shredded carrots

Frosting: (optional)
Powdered Sugar
cream or milk

Notes: It’s incredibly important to measure both the oats and flour correctly, using the spoon­-and-level method.  If scooped directly from the container using the measuring cup, you’ll end up with too much, which will dry out your cookies and make them crumbly. To make your own instant oats, pulse 1 cup of old ­fashioned oats in a food processor about 15 times.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the honey until thoroughly incorporated. 

Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the carrots. 

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.) 

 Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper  

Drop the cookie dough into  rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.)

 Bake at 325°F for 12­-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Drizzle with frosting if you need your cookies a little sweeter. To make frosting pour about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and add a splash of cream. Use a whisk and mix. Add more cream until you have your desired consistency.

This little guy and his partner flew into my backyard the other night and hung out with me for awhile. 



This recipe for slow cooker pork canritas is so easy, flavorful and delicious. Instead of the traditional method of cooking the pork in lard to render little crispy bits you simply cook the pork low and slow for about 6-8 hours and as a final step you broil the shredded pork resulting in perfect little crispy carnitas. The biggest trick is to make sure you watch the oven like a hawk when you are broiling the meat, it can dry out fast if you are not watching closely.

Adapted from here  
serves 6-8

1 tablespoon chili powder 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
2 teaspoons dried oregano 
2 teaspoons salt, or more, to taste 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pound pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
4 cloves garlic, peeled2 onions, quartered 
2 oranges, juiced 
2 limes, juiced cilantro, garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Season pork  with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides. Place garlic, onions, orange juice, lime juice and seasoned pork into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 4-­5 hours.

Once the pork is cooked,

 preheat your broiler to high heat and prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, 

and return the shredded meat into the slow cooker for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out evenly in a single layer. 

Reserve the remaining broth from the slow cooker.Place the sheet under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. You don't want to broil much longer than that because the meat will dry out. Remove the sheet, and use a spatula or tongs to toss the pork. Then ladle about 1/4 cup of the remaining slow cooker broth over the porkGarnish with cilantro. 

Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, omelets, you get the idea.




This cake was amazing! I made it for my mother-in-law's birthday. I cut the original recipe in half because there were only 6 of us and I knew I did not want leftovers of this cake sitting around because I have absolutely NO self-control with desserts like these. 

I wanted a traditional birthday cake so instead of a loaf pan I used an 8-inch round pan and it was the perfect size for our party. If you want it for a larger group you could double this recipe for a 2-layer cake and use 2 9-inch cake pans. 

Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Serves 8

1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature (see *NOTE)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
lemon zest and blueberries for garnish (optional)

*NOTE: I never have buttermilk on hand I simply make it by adding 1 teaspoon of white vinegar (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice) to 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will curdle a little bit and it is the perfect substitute for buttermilk.

* Also with regards to the frosting it is taste as you go until you get the sweetness and texture you want. Start with half the cream and whip it for a little bit with the sugar and lemon juice. If it is dry and clumpy add more cream  as needed until you have just the right consistency.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  1. Grease and flour (8-inch round pan) ~ OR ~ (8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan), lining the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
  2. Cream, using paddle attachment, butter and 1 cup granulated sugar in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  1. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
  1. In another bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
  1. Alternately, add flour and buttermilk mixtures to batter, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  1. Add batter to pan, smoothing the top.
  1. Bake 45 minutes - 1 hour, until tester comes out clean.
  1. When it is done baking, cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice in small saucepan, cooking over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove cake from pan and set on cake platter.
  4. Spoon lemon syrup over the cake and allow cake to cool completely.
  2. In a standing mixer with a wire whisk attachment beat the half of the heavy cream, powdered sugar and lemon juice. Slowly, add more cream until the texture is smooth and soft peaks form. 
  1. Pour frosting over the top of the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides.

    1. Garnish with lemon zest...

    Sugared blueberries (simply wet blueberries sprinkled with sugar then dried) and a lemon curl.


    I love candles and I love birthdays!!!



    I busted out the old ice cream maker to make some new sorbets the other day. I had fresh berries that I overloaded on at the grocery store and knew they wouldn't last so this was a perfect way to use them up. The peaches were frozen from last summer, finally found a use for them too! 


    2 pounds peaches, skins and pits removed
    1 cup raspberries
    1 1/4 cup water 
    1 1/4 cup sugar

    Add the sugar and water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Add the peaches and raspberries. 

    Use a handheld immersion blender or a counter top blender and puree the ingredients together. Taste it and add more simple syrup (sugar and water) if needed.

    Cool in the fridge or freezer and once the mixture is cold, not frozen add to an ice cream maker using manufacturers instructions. Mine takes 20 minutes. I like it best right when it is right out the ice cream maker and it is really smooth. Add to a freezer safe container and freeze.




    I am starting to experiment more with gluten free baking, so every once and awhile you will be seeing some gluten free recipes. I still prefer baking with all-purpose flour because it is so easy and usually turns out perfect every time but I am trying to widen my recipe collection. Oatmeal pancakes are obviously going to be denser than a traditional all-purpose flour pancake but they still were delicious. 

    Old fashioned oats are gluten free but most are processed in factories along with gluten flours. If you are extremely concerned about gluten I would purchase gluten free oats; however, if the possibility of a little gluten residue doesn't bother you can certainly go with regular old fashioned oats.

    makes about 12-16 pancakes 

    1 3/4 cup freshly ground oat flour (make by pulsing old fashioned oats in a food processor; 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats should make 1 3/4 cups of oat flour.)
    2 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
    2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2  teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk
    2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    2 large eggs 
    1 cup cooked oatmeal - directions on package

    Make the oatmeal per package directions. For myself, I bring 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add old fashioned oats and simmer on low, stirring occasionally until the oatmeal is thick, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

    Grind the old fashioned oats in a food processor to make the oat flour. Measure and pulse 2 1/4 cups of old fashioned oats in a food processor until finely ground, it should make nearly 1 3/4 cups of oat flour.

    Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl: oat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl mix the wet ingredients: milk, coconut oil, eggs and cooked oatmeal. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and gently combine. 

    Heat a griddle or a large pan over medium heat. Spray with coconut oil cooking spray or grease with butter. Add pancake batter, about 1/4 cup, and cook for about 2 minutes on one side or until the bottom is golden-brown then flip and cook other side for an additional 2 minutes or until golden-brown.

    Serve pancakes warm with warm maple syrup, honey, fresh berries or powdered sugar...or a little bit of everything! In my house I just get it all out and let everyone decide for themselves. 



    Serves 4

    1 lb ground sirloin ~or~ (turkey or buffalo...whatever you like)
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
    1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more for finishing
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    1 zucchini, large
    1 jar of favorite Tomato Sauce
    fresh basil for garnish, optional

    NOTE: I used a mandolin to slice my zucchini and I don't have a very thin slicer so I was only able to get 16 slices out of one zucchini but if you have a thin slicer you probably could get 24 slices out of one. If you don't have a mandolin use a sharp knife and a steady hand or a wide vegetable peeler. Confession of a gluten-carb lover- I also made a little side of pasta to go with this.

    Make the Filling:
    Sautee the ground sirloin and onions in a frying pan over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain sirloin and onion in a colander to remove extra fat. Put the sirloin and onion back into the pan and stir in garlic, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper. You can let simmer on low while you slice the zucchini.

    Slice the Zucchini:
    Use a mandolin, wide vegetable peeler or sharp knife to slice long thin slices of the zucchini, at least 16 slices.

    Make the Ravioli:
    Make an "X" with the zucchini strips: two strips on bottom and two strips on top. Add about 3 tablespoons of filling to the middle, more or less depending on size of strips.

    Fold the strips over the meat filling and set into a baking dish with the zucchini seams facing down.
    Continue this process for all the zucchini ravioli.

     Cover the zucchini ravioli with a little sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    While the ravioli is baking you may have remaining sauce and meat, if you do add them together in a pan and keep warm until your ravioli is ready. You can serve that on the plate with the zucchini ravioli on top or with a little pasta.

    Finish with Parmesan and a sprig of basil.

     Leftover for lunch...

    I was so excited when I was making this recipe because I was able to walk right out my kitchen and  pick some fresh parsley and basil from my garden. I just planted it last week and it already brings me so much joy. There is something about playing in the dirt after a long winter that is medicine to my soul.

    This year I did a relatively small garden; its about 3x15 feet. I managed to get 5 tomato varieties, onions, strawberries, peppers and every herb I use in that space. I also planted two raspberry bushes off to the side.




    Serves 4

    4 (6oz) wild salmon fillets
    1/4 cup butter
    2 garlic cloves. minced
    1 Tablespoon Worcestershire 
    1/2 lemon, juice
    1/4 cup white wine
    1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt

    Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.

    Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the garlic and stir for about 60 seconds. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, white wine, black pepper, salt. Cook for about 3 minutes then remove from heat.

    Place the salmon fillets skin-side down on the prepared pan. Spoon sauce over the fillets.
    Broil in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

    Swimming at the lake...




    1 tablespoon of honey
    3 sprigs of mint

    Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends of the grapefruit, the peel and the white pith. Cut inside the skin of each segment to remove each section of grapefruit. Set the segments aside and squeeze the membranes over a bowl to extract all the juice. Whisk honey and chopped mint into the juice and set aside.

    Arrange the banana slices and the grapefruit segments into a shallow bowl and drizzle the honey dressing over the fruit.

    My dad bought an old farm windmill (60 plus feet) that he is planning to relocate, fix and use to pump water from his well to his garden. So my husband and I went out to help him drop it. I had no idea what to expect or how this was even possible without destroying it but I was impressed when I arrived, everything was well thought out, in place and ready to go. [In this case, the apple did fall far from the tree... I am a measure once, cut twice kinda girl.]

    There was only one small area it could be dropped which was surrounded by trees. The plan was to lower it slowly into the "goal post" at the far end of the photo...with the help of a cable attached to a tractor on one side and a cable attached to a gator on the other side...
    it went perfect...

    It needs quite a few new blades but I hope he keeps the vane; its weathered, old and clearly was used as a BB gun target but it carries a story with it. 



    These pill pockets are the best: mess-free, cheap, quick, easy and most important for me, Rufus eats his pills without any issues.

    This is Rufus...
    He has chronic yeast...all over his body: his paws, his mouth, his ears and his belly. If he is not on his meds it is horrible which means I am giving him four pills per day, spraying his infected areas with a spray and putting ointment in his ears twice a day. He has been on numerous different diets, currently is on an all-natural lamb gluten-free diet. He is a high maintenance dog...but we love him and I hate seeing him in pain.

    Every morning and evening I feed the dogs and drop two pills in Rufus's food bowl. I don't even know why I bother; he can always detect them which means my next step is to grab a fork full of peanut butter and attempt to hide the pills in the peanut butter which he is still often times able to detect. It is frustrating and messy. Then after I finally get him to take his pills I have to get another sample of peanut butter because this guy is giving the the puppy eyes wanting a taste of peanut butter too...

    Adapted from muttnut
    Makes 12 pill pockets

    1 Tablespoon milk
    1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter (chunky if your dog can detect pills easily)
    2 Tablespoons flour (any kind)

    Note: Measurements for 30 pill pockets
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky if your dog can detect pills easily)
    1 cup flour (any kind)

    Add the ingredients to a bowl and mix...

    Form the dough into a ball...

     Divide into 12 small balls...

    You can push a pencil end through the ball if you want a pill holder or just push the pill through when you are ready to give to your dog. Store in the fridge.

    Mess-free and easy...



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