Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Colorado Visit

I'm back in Colorado this week and next. Steve has been here much of the time these last 5 months, to finish business and the sale of our property.  As you can imagine, we have missed each other quite a lot.  A long flight last Wednesday, brought me in late at night, and now I am here on this Monday morning with a fire in the wood stove burning, to make our house warm and cozy on an overcast, rainy day.  I am glad I thought to leave some of my winter Colorado clothes here, because I have certainly needed them.  Spring is still on its way here, with the trees only partially leaved out and the temperatures still very cool.  The mountains are as beautiful as ever; the sweet memories that we have had throughout the years as we have raised our children have been running through my mind for the last several days.  The Meadow Larks have been waking me each morning with their lovely voices; a sound that I always associate with Spring in Colorado; one of the most beautiful sounds on earth, to my way of thinking.

I visited with Steve's Mom on Saturday, and had a nice catch up with her, and a friends birthday party on Saturday night. The days are going by quickly, as plans fill them up. I look forward to a few more visits with friends, and sorting through our remaining house hold furniture and belongings. I will be packing those things which are yet to come with us to Florida. Yes the time is already flying.

Its Tuesday now as I finish this post. We had rain all night last night and through the morning, bringing flash flood warnings, and a full creek which has now turned into a river.   I didn't bring my camera with me on this trip, but will try to get some pictures with my phone and perhaps do a post or two… but if you don't hear from me for a little while, you'll know I didn't get around to getting that post done.

This is a pretty picture that I always love.  It is our back yard, looking over the creek.

I love this little dog.  Her name is Ginger Peach; she belongs to Steve's Mom, Jo. Ginger Peach came to  Jo via my daughter Marie, and she is such a treasure.

I took this picture on Saturday.

 And this is what I woke up to today.  Same view from a little bit farther back.


 Today.  Yes, that's a lot of water.

I think its time to make a nice pot of soup and put it on the Wood Stove to simmer.
  Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Creamy Cottage Cheese and Coconut Pancakes

I loved the food in Russia when we were there.  I was surprised at how many delicious comforting foods there were to eat, so many of which were new to me, but readily enjoyed.  One of our favorites, was a Pancake that our hosts called "cheese cakes" I think in an effort to give them a name we could pronounce.  In Russian they are called "Syrniki".  They are just so good.

Now you might ask why I am talking about Syrniki pancakes when I am not posting about Syriniki Pancakes… well, because these pancakes are inspired by those pancakes, and I have been so hungry for "those pancakes" that I came up with "these pancakes".  Cottage cheese is the main factor that makes these pancakes what they are, and gives them that moist, creamy goodness. These are a lower carb version because my waistline has been telling me I need to get back to some Trim Healthy Mama eating, and yet ….my comfort food cravings go down deep.  Sooooo here is one of my starting places to satisfy both sides of this tug of war.  These pancakes have become a favorite of mine; they are a delicious, low carb, zero grain and down right satisfying pancake, and I can eat them with my sausage and egg because they work as an S meal on the THM plan.  Not only do they satisfy me while I'm eating them but they satisfy me a big part of the day, unlike other pancakes, which fill me up momentarily, and wear off too quickly; this is probably due to the high fiber content, in the coconut flour.

Cooking and baking with coconut flour can be tricky, due to the fact that it absorbs liquids like crazy, and can't be substituted measure for measure for regular flour.  It takes a little working with  and experimenting.  The coconut has so many benefits, that I love incorporating it in a variety of ways when cooking… and I could probably do whole post on the benefits of coconuts from oil to flour… but perhaps another day. Just a final note about coconut flour, if you are counting carbs as you go, remember that the carb count in coconut flour is 2/3 fiber, so the "actual" carb count can be reduced by two thirds.

 1. Place eggs and cottage cheese in blender.

 2.  Blend until thoroughly mixed.

3.  Pour into a medium mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well together. 
4. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

 5. Scoop 1/4 cup measures and pour onto a prepared pan.

 6. Cook about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes after you have flipped them.

 6. Serve with berries or sugar free syrup if you are trying to watch those carbs, otherwise, pure Maple Syrup or honey  for our family.

 Creamy Cottage Cheese Coconut Pancakes
1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour ( I use slightly under 1/2 cup, just loosely measured)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Coconut oil for flying

A well seasoned or non-stick pan and a low heat setting are important for these pancakes, because they need to cook a little longer than you would normally cook a pancake, and will brown quickly.  Also, the cottage cheese has a sticky factor to it, so having a well seasoned pan is important.  Be sure it is heated fully and coconut oil is well distributed before dropping the batter onto the pan.
  1. Put cottage cheese and eggs in a blender and blend together until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Pour blender ingredients into a bowl and add remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir well and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  That batter will thicken while it sits.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons or more coconut oil into a frying pan and bring to low heat. 
  5. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter and pour onto frying pan.
  6. Cook about 3 minutes on 1 side and 2 minutes once flipped.
  7. Serve with fresh berries, or a sugar free syrup.


Creamy Cottage Cheese Coconut Pancakes

For any of you who came to this post earlier and liked it or shared it, I had to repost, due to a link error, so I am redirecting you to this link; sorry about that.  And by the way the Pinterest Problem has also been fixed; they were so prompt to figure out the problem and all is well now pin away.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Paper Flowers on Canvas

I think I must have a "thing" for paper projects; I seem to have made quite a few. I can't resist pretty scrapbook paper, so I suppose I am always drawn to just a little more, and am always mulling over something to make with it. You can make these pretty little flowers in no time, and use them to decorate walls, windows, packages, scrapbook pages, envelopes, cards, picture frames, and more.  Last week, I used them to help my grandsons make some Mother's Day presents for their Mama's.  We had so much fun creating pictures on a canvas.

Here they are strung out on a line with clothespins, or you can also sew them together like I did with these and these.  To make a canvas picture you will need the following:

You can buy pre made flowers like the ones on the left, or you can purchase a punch with the flower shapes you want, as seen top left and top right: I combined both.

1.  Pre-made paper flowers or
2.  Paper flower punches
3.  Scrapbook paper
4.  Glue or brads for holding flowers together
5.  Mod Podge
6.  A canvas as shown below
7.  Spray Paint to spray the canvas with.

Instructions as Follows:

1. Prepare a Canvas for your picture:

 I had painted the canvases black before the boys came over, so they were ready to go when they got here.  Black is a good color to make the picture elements pop forward.

2. Cut out flower shapes
If you purchase a flower punch,  you are always ready for a project anytime of the year. 

I got these flower punches at Hobby during one of their half off sales.

The boys had a good time punching out flower shapes.

Each of them loved taking their turn.

3. Layer and glue or attach each petal group together.
You can glue your flowers together, or layer them, pierce a hole in the center, and put a brad through the hole to make a cute center detail and hold them together without glue…. there is an example of the brad in the bottom picture on the left.

4. Glue Flowers and leaves to the canvas.
When your flowers and leaves are ready, draw a line on the canvas with paint or crayon or chalk that will represent the stem of the flower.  Next glue the flowers and leaves to the stem.

They wanted to add a little grass on the bottom as well.

We started out using chalk, for the stems and grass, but ended up using a little acrylic paint once the Mod Podge was dry, because the chalk disappeared under the Mod Podge.  You could start with paint or crayons, and allow to dry before glueing on flowers and leaves.

5. Paint over the top with a coat of Mod Podge.

6.  Allow to dry.
Allow to dry 30 minutes to an hour or maybe more, depending on how thick you paint the Mod Podge on. In these pictures, the Mod Podge  is still drying, because it went on really thick.

When these were good and dry, I helped the boys wrap them for Mother's Day for their Mamas.  They  had a great time, and were very proud to walk out the door with a present ready for Mother's Day.

Here is how it looked once the Mod Podge was completely dry.

Have fun.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Everyday Beauty

My daughter Elizabeth has a blog called "Making Today Beautiful".  I have always loved the name of her blog, because it stirs my heart to do just that; make today beautiful.  There is enough ugliness in the world to dishearten all of us into the grave if we allow it.  All you need to do is turn on the news and  ugliness abounds. Times are indeed difficult.  But we can find  beauty every day,  just by slowing down, looking around and focusing on what we have right before us.  All that God gives us is beautiful and every good and perfect gift comes from above; from our Father of Lights; only sometimes we get too busy  or too stressed to see it.

Thus I find that it does me a world of good, to take a deep breath, slow down, cast off anything that makes me feel as if it is "too much", look around and drink in the goodness of God.  Some times our soul needs healing before we can enjoy His blessings. The more "whole" our souls become in Jesus, the more we can find delight in each tiny thing God has given us.  

When we first adopted our children from Russia, they were very wounded by the trauma of their earlier years.  It was difficult for them to enjoy anything, or see what abundance they had. They "wanted", they "needed", but they had no satisfaction.  We wanted to give them so much, but they could find no delight in any of it at first, because their souls were in great need of healing. God would show us specifics of what to pray for for them, and we prayed diligently for each of them, all the while trying to maintain a peaceful and loving momentum in our home (not always easy).  But after a while, they settled in; healing began, and joy began.  I remember praying that God would open their eyes to the beauty that surrounded them.  The mountains and the countryside were so beautiful, but they didn't notice any of it, until after a season; I remember Olga declaring how beautiful the mountains were, out of the blue one day; almost as if for the first time she was seeing her surroundings.

And so it can be for any of us in one degree or another, if we have wounds in our souls that need healing.  We miss the beauty of everyday blessings.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  We must let Him touch us and heal us.

Little pleasures, simple beauty, each are a gift.  Flowers bought, or cut from the yard, a comforting drink, a beautiful smell, a peaceful sound, a soft touch, a sharing of food, a kiss, a snuggle, a laugh, a walk, a visit, a loved one, a friend, a pet,  are all the sweet things of life, and all evidence of the goodness of God.  How wonderful to have eyes to see, and ears to hear, to be able to taste and feel and smell it all.

God gave us our five senses so that we might receive blessing through them.  Sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing; all amazing receptors.

There is beauty in each creation.  This morning I filled my heart up by feeding these guys.  I love that they all come over as soon as you start feeding them; even the fish come.

Who doesn't love to see a beautiful goose or a big fat turtle swimming in the pond.

I think even the snapping and soft shelled turtle are beautiful, and love how this one comes around for his portion.

The geese and the water are so beautiful.

And this guy was just sitting to the side of my deck this morning, watching the geese and the ducks and the turtles and the fish getting fed. 

Turtles in the pond….

Canadian geese….

Tomatoes on the vine…

Hibiscus in a Pot...

Orchids that I purchased for so little at the flea market….

a little dollhouse from a garage sale, for the grandkids…. so many simple pleasures.  What is on your list of blessings, and everyday beauty?  

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
 Ecc 3:11

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

Two of my daughters have blogs that help you make today beautiful here are the links if you want to read them:
Elizabeth's blog: Making Today Beautiful
Marie's Blog: Baking Chic