He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

31 May 2011

Coconut Ice Cream {Asian Style}

As I mentioned in my kefir post you can use coconut milk rather than cows milk to make the kefir. For us, this means we have a lot of creamy coco-nutty goodness lying around for the taking.
When I tried to find a recipe for coconut ice cream I assumed they'd all include coconut milk.
I was wrong.
Most recipes call for heavy cream and milk and then you add imitation coconut flavoring and sweetened shredded coconut for the actual flavor.
So after minimal searching I found this recipe and, based solely on its coconut milk base, I tried it and I'm so glad I did.

What You'll Need:
4 c unsweetened coconut milk {2 cans}
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t coconut extract {optional}
1 1/2 c shredded coconut {divided}

What To Do: 
In a medium bowl, mix coconut milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add extract and 1 1/4 c shredded coconut. You can either put this into a freezable container and let it set in the freezer or pour into prepared ice cream machine and make to manufacturers directions. {For the Cuisinart I was using, I mixed it for 30 minutes.}
While ice cream is freezing, heat remaining 1/4 c shredded coconut in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until toasted. I don't recommend walking away from this while it is on the heat. It can burn quickly.
When the ice cream is finished, serve with toasted coconut flakes over the top.

I really like the texture of this recipe. It's more of a sorbet consistency then a creamy one so it's very refreshing without tasting heavy.
Next up is Ginger Maple ice cream.
Sounds exotic, doesn't it?

29 May 2011

{Whole Wheat Honey Bread}

So I'm going to completely reinvent the wheel here but 100% of the credit goes to Heavenly Homemakers. She even has pictures of the process but I guess I got trigger happy and snapped a few pictures of my experience with it. Seriously though, this is her recipe. Not mine.
Just thought you should know.
Also... I LOVE this recipe. I have made it several times since the first time I tried it. It makes two loaves so I freeze one and we use the other for sandwiches and toast. I haven't had to buy store bread in months!
So here goes...

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
What You'll Need:
6 c (give or take) whole wheat flour, divided
{if you're new to whole wheat, you may want to try 4 cups whole wheat, 2 cup white, first to get used to the taste of pure whole wheat. The white helps it rise better too if you don't want a dense loaf. I've tried it with all measurements of flour and have been happy with the flavor every time.}
1 ¾ c warm water, divided
1/3 c honey
1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
1 t sea salt
3 T melted butter

What To Do:
Mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 ½ cups of warm water in a large glass bowl.  Allow this to sit for about 30 minutes.  This will break down the gluten and help the bread to rise better.
In a small bowl mix together ¼ cup water, 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast and 1/3 cup honey.  Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and mixture becomes bubbly.
In the meantime, melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a small sauce pan.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  You don’t want the hot butter to kill the yeast.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, melted butter and yeast mixture to the flour and water mixture.  Gradually add the remaining three cups of flour and stir well.  As the dough becomes harder to stir, pour it out onto a clean counter and begin to knead the dough.  If you create a nice dough before adding all three cups of flour…you don’t need to continue to add it in.  Just add enough to make a nice, non-sticky dough.
Once you’ve kneaded your dough, place it into a bowl, cover the dough with a cloth, and let it rise for at least one hour or until it has risen to twice  it’s starting size.
While you’re waiting for your dough to rise, get two bread pans buttered...
Once it has risen, give the raised dough a nice punch. 
{hello, post preggo belly!}
Knead for three or four minutes until the air bubbles are all gone.
With a sharp knife, cut dough in half, shape into two loaves and place into buttered pans. 
Cover and allow 30 minutes to one hour to rise again.  They should double in size, but the rising should happen more quickly this time because the yeast knows what to do by now.
Bake the bread uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you thump the top of it.
Allow the bread to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove it to finish cooling on a wire rack.
MMM! So good! 

27 May 2011

Other People's Genius {Rooms for Boys}

 classic boy

that bed looks SOO cozy! maybe even a little "dr. seuss-y"
{Rate My Space bkjohnson24}

i'm often unimpressed with overdone themes like all things sporty and nautical. 
now this is original!
{Rate My Space by jak1975}

an abstract version of an orbital theme. good stuff!
{Rate My Space by restyle}

a vintage approach .. i particularly like the star pendant light
{Rate My Space by nikkigrandy}

Have a Happy Weekend!

26 May 2011

Surviving Rainy Days

{For the record, the sun is shining here today!}
This rain is killer! 
Whereas I appreciate the look of the lush green forest that's growing behind our home these days, being cooped up with little ones is starting to get to all of us. We actually "hung out" at the grocery store earlier this week just to be out of the house.
Sad. Very sad.
Thanks to CJ, we've managed to bring just a pinch of Spring into our home though... 

It's fairly easy to complain about all this rain, though I've fought it and tried to be thankful. It's much easier to do when I remember there's drought in parts of the country... and floods in others... and lethal tornadoes in others. {We are praying and will continue to pray for you all.}

25 May 2011

Pillow Makeover

Our pillows desperately needed a pick me up.
Between the juice, chocolate, cookies and milk smears, it was time to update them a bit.
For the two larger pillows I made simple slipcovers by cutting two different fabrics into squares slightly larger than my existing toile pillows, put the two pieces face to face, stitched completely around three sides and much of the way around the fourth side, turned the case right-side-out, stuffed the old pillow inside, and hand-stitched it closed. 
For the shaggy pillow, I followed this tutorial I found at V and Co. and after a lot of cutting... 
and stitching...
 ended up with this! 
Totally worth it!
Have a Happy Wednesday!

24 May 2011

{Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream}

{Feel free to skip my blabbing,,, the recipe is down below}

I've discovered a dangerous thing...
Amazon Wishlist
If you're not familiar with this thing of beauty then, in short, it's an adult version of the Toys R Us or Sears Christmas catalog where you can earmark every single thing you've ever wanted in one place except it's all online and other people can access it to know precisely what you're pining for come Mother's Day, your birthday, or any ol' you're-the-most-specialist-person-I-know-day.
So anyway... at the top of my list was the new Adele CD.
Thanks to Hubs it was recently deleted from the list and placed into my hand along with a few books I've been wanting.
Yay for me!
Now I have my sites set on a Cuisinart ice cream maker and I borrowed my mom's tonight to make sure I liked it.
After freezing the bowl for 24 hours it took a little over 30 minutes to make some homemade chocolate ice cream.
Not too shabby.
So I thought I'd share the recipe I found on the Cuisinart website. It may seem unnecessary but I can't tell you how good I felt after pulling out a carton of store bought ice cream from the freezer only to see a list of ingredients that was as long as the carton was tall. I looked online, even the simplest ingredient list of a popular brand has 19 ingredients, some of which I've never heard of.
The recipe we made tonight has six ingredients and I can pronounce every one of them!

What You'll Need:
1 c unsweetened cocoa
2/3 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c whole milk
3 1/4 c heavy cream
1 T pure vanilla extract

What To Do:
In a medium bowl mix cocoa and sugars together until blended.
Add milk and mix with a hand mixer or whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Slowly stir in heavy cream and vanilla.
Pour into machine and run for 30-35 minutes until ice cream is formed.
It will be smooth and soft but if you pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours it will harder all the way through.

We all liked it fresh out of the mixer. It's a little firmer than a Wendy's Frosty. But, if you're patient and wait for it to really harden, you end up with something smooth and dreamy! 

Next up vanilla bean or maybe coconut... or PEACH!
I guess it's time to buy! 

22 May 2011

The View from Here

We've managed to be fairly boring around here over the past week.
I've concluded that The Bean is already growing too fast for my liking. I have no idea how much she has gained but, my goodness, she seems big already.
I do not like this!
I've decided that her and I are going to have a special bond.
To be honest, I'm not sure if that's something one can "decide" but if it is, then I have.
First, Bean was born one day before my 28th birthday.
May birthdays are easily overlooked in these parts, as I may have pointed out before, because it's our business' craziest time of year so she and I will find ways to celebrate all on our own.
She also is the only one of my children who has my coloring.
This goes to show that you should be careful what you pray for.
Early in our marriage I prayed that our kids would have Hub's beautiful blue eyes. After two kids who are as pale, blonde haired and blue eyed I prayed for one who had my coloring. And... ta da!
Plus, I've known many-a third child in my life and I believe they need some extra lovin'.
I'm here to give it.

Mak has brought pure joy into my life these days.
I have been weighed down with some things going on outside of our home and family and just when I've started to get "blah" or even angry she has wobbled towards me with a giant grin on her face and I can't help but smile back or laugh out loud. {gotta love the bed-head}
Makenzie Grace truly brings grace into my life.
She has the most fantastic facial expressions and knows just when to use them.
I watched her use her wiles on Hubs the other night. The kids were having a rough night and just as he was at his end Mak offered up a huge snaggle-toothed grin and he crumbled.

She melts my heart.
OH! And she's finally walking! Praise God!
I L.O.V.E. how she swishes her little booty when she walks. I only want to put ruffly skirts on her now just to watch her shake it.

CJ has made motherhood a real project these days.
Downright disobedient.
Completely ignores instruction.
Where did he learn this stuff?! 
I'm amazed at the fact that here is no need to teach that kind of thing. My sweet boy is a sinner and there's no getting around it. Boo!
 ...and yet he makes us laugh. a lot.
He's so witty!
...and smart!
It's a treat to watch him grow and understand concepts even if it makes his disobedience all the more creative!
The poor kid has been bored lately and I don't think that helps things. Have you checked the weather for New England over the past weeks?
Rain. Rain. and MORE RAIN!
We manage to get out of the house for grocery shopping and to take walks around the greenhouse.
Please God, send the sun! My little man needs to run!
I must tell you... he's an AMAZING big brother!
He's so gentle, so loving, and so tender.
Lady toddlers, beware!... he may break your heart some day.

Oh! I forgot to mention my favorite thing! 
All three of the kids nap at the same time every day! 


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