I'm still here...

I promise!!

Just insanely busy being pregnant, tired and trying to get ready for a long road trip with the whole family packed into a tiny car!

Did I ever tell you I hate packing?  Because I do.  Because I always forget something important.


So...  help me out here friends!  What am I forgetting?

What do I need to have for this trip of over 3,000 miles with two toddlers, a preteen, a pregnant me and the hubs all packed into our little blue prius?

I've got the dvd player and videos.  And I'm heading to Costco for snacks this afternoon.

What else do I have to have?  (Remember, space is very limited!!)

And how crazy are we for even attempting this in the first place?!  ;o)  (Be nice!)


peach raspberry crumble pie

If there was ever a day I needed some pie in my life, it was yesterday.

The boys and I all woke up on the wrong sides of our beds and were grumpy, whiny, tired messes.  Plus, we had back-to-back doctor's appointments right in the middle of naptime, which never makes for a good day!

All I could think about was how badly I needed a treat.  Pie specifically.  Then I happened to spy a lovely pre-made organic all-butter pie crust in the freezer at the grocery store and the effort-problem was solved!

As soon as we got home from the doctor's appointments, I started making my pie.  And in the time it took for the oven to preheat, it was in the oven baking away!

Now, I should tell you I made some healthy, hearty dinner to fill my family before dessert, but that's just not the case.  We had leftover chili.  And pie.  And some of us may have eaten our pie before dinner...  but I'll never tell who!  ;o)

You can use fresh peaches and raspberries in this recipe, of course, but I had some beauties in my freezer that I had been hoarding in my freezer since last summer for just such a day as this.

This was a perfect and delicious treat and it definitely made at least my day end on a much better note than it started!!

Yay for pie!!

Do you have any foods like that in your life?  That no matter what kind of a day you have had, they just seem to make everything better??

Peach Raspberry Crumble Pie Recipe

1 single-crust for a 9" pie plate (homemade or store-bought)
for the filling:
4 cups peaches, peeled & diced (fresh or frozen)
1 cup frozen raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter
for the crumb topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and put your pie crust into a pie plate and flute the edges if you haven't already done so (or if you're not using a frozen preformed pie crust like I did!).  Place in the freezer to set for a few minutes while you prep the filling and topping.

In a large bowl, very gently toss together the filling ingredients, except for the butter;  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the topping ingredients, mixing together with a fork until they are moistened and crumbly;  Set aside.

Remove the pie crust from the freezer and gently dump the filling into the crust.  Dot the filling with butter and then top with the crumb topping.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the bottom crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling.  Let cool a bit before serving!


cardamom berry crumb coffee cake

Yesterday was a coffee cake kind of day.

It was a cool, but beautiful spring day outside and we had friends coming over to play...  It doesn't get much better than that!

Now, I really am all about making excuses to make coffee cake, but I think a playdate is actually a legitimate one, don't you?  :o)

And we did a pretty good job of finishing off the whole pan...  even the picky little kiddos loved it!

(And I realized several hours after I made it that I totally baked it at the wrong temperature - preggo brain attack - but it still turned out great, and will be even better for those of you that are not currently afflicted with pregnancy brain and can actually follow directions!)  :o)

I had planned to make this one a blackberry coffee cake, but I realized that I didn't have as many blackberries in the freezer as I thought...

So I opened a bag of mixed berries from Costco and it was their turn to shine!

Cardamom Berry Crumb Coffee Cake
makes 9 servings

for the crumble topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
for the cake:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 cups frozen mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Grease a 9" square pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients, except for the pecans, and mix together with a fork until crumbly; Stir in the pecans and set aside.

In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar.  Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth.  Blend in the flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).  Fold in the bluberries.  (The dough is quite stiff, so be patient as you're folding in the berries! Don't mush them up!)

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crumble topping.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool, and cut into 9 large squares.

Serve warm, with extra butter on top, of course!  ;o)


Well, what are you waiting for?

Think up a good excuse and get baking!!


striving for perfection makes me a bad mom...

I've come to realize lately that striving for perfection actually makes me a worse mom, instead of the better one that I am trying so hard to be.

When I try so hard to fit that perfect mold of motherhood that 'they' seem to make look so easy, I cause more damage than good in my family's and my life.

The tidier I try to keep my house, the quicker it seems to get messy.

The more I desire quiet and calm, the louder I seem to snap and yell at my kids, which in turn causes more chaos and noise!

The more I try to keep control, the more I seem to lose it.

This need and constant pressure to have things in order, clean and calm, makes me a not-so-great mom.  In fact, at times it makes me a horrible mom.

When I should be enjoying my kids laughter and games, I find myself frustrated with the messes they are creating.

When I should be playing with my kids, I find myself being pulled instead to the dirty dishes and laundry that never seem to end.

When I should be having quiet time with my Abba, I find myself drawn to the to-do list that runs constantly in my head.

Why is it so hard to see what's really important in the everyday moments of our lives?

Why do I always think the dishes are more important than the tiny hands pulling on my legs?

And that the stuff that needs to get done is more important than spending time with my precious family and with the One who gave them to me??

I want to be a better mom.  I want to be the mom my kids deserve.  And I can't be that until I quit trying so hard.

Until I quit caring what other people think, or say or do.  Until I start caring more about what my kids think than about what the world thinks.

Because when it comes down to it, all that really matters is what my kids will get out of these years.

I will survive these years, these hard, exhausting years, and someday look back on them as a fond memory of time gone by.  (Right?!?)

But my kids...  My kids need to thrive in these years.  They are growing and learning and shaping the very core of who they are, and who they will become based on these years.

And THAT is why I need to stop trying so hard.

I need to stop trying so hard to be the perfect mom, and instead focus on being the best mom for my kids!


thai chicken pizza with peanut sauce

Oh my goodness is this pizza good!

The combination of the sweet, spicy peanut sauce, chicken, sweet peppers and a drizzle of sweet chili oil is an amazing combo.  It truly is the perfect marriage of Thai food and pizza...  two of my favorite foods!

I have been in love with Thai Chicken pizza ever since the first time I tasted a frozen California Pizza Kitchen one several years ago.  It's the only frozen pizza I have a hard time sharing with anyone else.

Or at least, I did!  I was so sad the day I realized they stopped making it (or at least, they stopped selling it in any of the grocery stores in my area...  do you still have it in yours?).

Anyways, since the closest CPK restaurant is over 2 hours away I just haven't been able to get my fix.  I still find myself looking in the frozen pizza aisle every time I go to the grocery store...  even though it has been a few years since I have seen it there!

I have been missing those sweet, spicy flavors for way too long...  and now that I've found the perfect pizza crust, I decided it was time to get down to business!

Now, you've probably seen a few Thai Chicken pizza recipes floating around lately, or maybe you even tried the one that Papa Murphy's had a little while ago...  But if there's no peanut sauce on that pizza, it's just not the same thing!

Thai Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce Recipe

pizza dough*
for the sauce (makes enough to sauce 2 pizzas!):
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons garlic chili paste or chili oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger)
2-3 teaspoons soy sauce
for each pizza:
1-2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sweet chili oil

Preheat the oven (and your pizza stone) to 500ºF.  *See my Perfect Pizza Dough recipe for more directions on making your own restaurant-style dough!

In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until smooth and combined.  If it's too thick, you can add a touch of hot water to thin it out.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to taste.  (Remember, the flavors of the pizza toppings will round out the peanut sauce flavor!).  Toss the chicken with a few tablespoons of the sauce and set aside.

Shape your dough into a large round.  (If you'd like, brush a little bit of olive oil around the edge for the crust).   Spread some of the sauce onto the center of the pizza.  Sprinkle 1 cup or so of the shredded mozzarella over the sauce.  Sprinkle the chicken, onion & pepper evenly over the top.  (You can also add some shredded carrots here too...  Yum!).

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top (as much as you'd like!) and place onto your baking stone in the preheated and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.

When the pizza is done to your liking, remove from the oven and top with the fresh chopped herbs, the chopped nuts and drizzle lightly with the sweet chili oil.

Slice and serve!


easy no-knead honey oat bread

I have been on a huge homemade-bread kick lately.  Actually anything with yeast and kneading and old fashioned, homey aromas in the house.

It's a pregnancy thing for me...  all 3 pregnancies so far, I have been completely into bread-baking!

And then baby comes out and it all stops until next time.  Can someone please explain this to me??

Anyways, this bread was super quick to throw together and I loved the results.

It's a no-knead dough, so very easy to get into the oven...  perfect for those days when I forget to plan ahead but still want some homemade bread!

I use coconut oil in my bread for the health benefits mostly, but the hint of flavor doesn't hurt at all!  Feel free to substitute oil though, if you prefer.

Do you have a favorite bread (or any yeasty-baking) recipe you wouldn't mind sharing with me?  Or something you've been wanting to try?  I'd love to hear from you!!  

Since bread-baking is not usually my forte, I need some ideas of what to make next!

No-Knead Honey Oat Bread Recipe
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
makes 2 loaves

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water (105º-110ºF)
1 cup oats, divided (3/4 cup + 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted if solid
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups (or so) flour
1 egg, beaten

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  Let sit for about 10 minutes, until foamy (proofed).  In your mixer bowl, combine the 3/4 cup oats, honey, coconut oil & salt.  Stir in the yeast mixture until combined.

Mix in enough flour to form a soft dough (start with 4 cups flour and then add the last bit a few tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together...  you may not need the whole 5 cups!).

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning once to coat with the grease.  Cover and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled...  1 - 1 1/2 hours or so.

Gently punch the dough down and divide it into two portions.  Form each half into a loaf shape and place them both on a parchment lined, lightly floured baking sheet.

Cover the loaves with a towel or plastic wrap and let them rise again for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  When the rising time is up, remove the towel, brush the tops of the loaves with a bit of the beaten egg and sprinkle them evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup oats.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.

Let cool before slicing for best results, and store in the freezer if you are not going to eat both loaves right away!


my favorite grilled cheese sandwich

I know this sandwich may sound a little different, but trust me...  it is amazing!! 

A version of this was one of the most popular items on the menu at a café I worked at several years ago.

The combination of the tangy, salty pickles with the sweet tomatoes, the gooey cheese and the hint of creaminess from the mayo makes for an amazing flavor combination in your mouth.

If you're ever looking to try something fun and different, try this!

You won't be disappointed!!

The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

2 slices sourdough bread
chopped dill pickles
chopped tomatoes
cheddar & pepper jack cheeses, shredded or sliced

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Spread mayo in a thin layer on one side of each piece of bread.  Lay the bread on a cookie sheet, flat ends touching (to make the fold onto each other/serve part easier!).

Sprinkle both slices of bread with some cheddar cheese.  Sprinkle the tomatoes on one slice of the bread, and the pickles on the other.  Top them both with some pepper jack cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble.  Flip one half onto the other and press down.

Serve immediately and enjoy!


dark chocolate mocha cake with cookie dough filling

Do you remember this cute Cookie Monster cake I showed you the other day?

Well, here's the inside...  and it's an absolutely delicious, very grown-up friendly dessert!

Moist, dark chocolate mocha cake, with a delicious layer of (eggless, of course!) cookie dough in the middle...  Pretty much heaven in cake-form!

It was a big hit with both the kids and adults at Bjørn's party...  and I have to admit, I've been sneaking some of the leftover cookie dough filling the last few nights before bed!

Blue frosting and the Cookie Monster theme are definitely not required for this cake...  but they sure do make it fun!

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cake with Cookie Dough Filling Recipe
cake recipe adapted from Hershey's Classic Recipes

for the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup very hot strong coffee (or 1 cup boiling water)
for the filling:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

for the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour (or use a baking spray with flour in it!) two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large mixer bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, soda, powder & salt until combined.

Add in the eggs, milk, oil & vanilla and mix well, on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the hot coffee until the batter is smooth and thin.  Pour evenly into the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

for the filling:
In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.  Mix in the milk and vanilla until smooth.  Mix in the flour until just well combined and then stir in the chocolate chips.

This will make more cookie dough filling than you probably need...  but I'm sure you'll be able to figure out what to do with the leftovers!  ;o)

for the frosting:
I used a simple vanilla buttercream frosting recipe (this one) for my cake because I needed to decorated it like cookie monster.

I would probably use a milk chocolate buttercream or even my nutella buttercream frosting if I wasn't trying to decorate it that way!


good reads for moms...

Here are some gems I have been stumbling across lately specifically for moms...

These all touched me in a huge way and I want to share them with you!

Your Children Want YOU! - from Power of Moms

With all the pressure these days to be the perfect "Pinterest Mom", I loved this sweet reminder that all our kids really want is US!

Dear Moms With Littles - from Finding Joy

This was a great little note from a 'seasoned' mom of 7!  This time, this phase I am in (are you here with me too?) of littles, littles, and more littles, is the hardest phase of being a mom.  And we are doing a good job at it, you and I.  As hard as it feels...  that's because it IS hard!

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons - from Team Studer

Just what it says.  And they are lovely and thought-provoking!

Spirit-Led-Parenting - on I Take Joy

"Because we know we aren’t the only ones for whom that first year of parenting turned out to be so very different than we thought it would be..." says it all in this book intro from the authors.  I can't wait to get my hands on a copy and read this book!


In which I write a letter to you, mama - by Sara Bessey

A beautiful letter, reminding us that there is no perfect mother.  Only I am the perfect mother for my kids!


Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!


a Cookie Monster birthday cake!

We had a fun little birthday party to celebrate Bjørn's 3rd birthday this weekend...  his birthday cake request?

Cookie Monster!

So, I took that theme as far as I could with my very limited birthday-party-planning-skills and made a dark chocolate cake with a cookie dough filling (recipe coming soon!) decorated to look like Cookie Monster.

Oh, and we had plenty of Monster Cookies to go along with it of course!

I actually surprised myself with how easy it was to decorate this cake.

I have never decorated a cake before this, and I was nervous.  Silly, maybe...  but that's just the truth of it.

Wanna know how easy it was??

I used a classic vanilla buttercream frosting for this cake, dyed blue, for the main frosting.

(Here's a tip:  food coloring gel works much better than liquid for getting a rich color like this...  and can easily be found at places like WalMart and craft stores in the decorating section!)

I frosted the whole cake with a thin layer like any normal cake, then I used a small star tip to pipe/pull the frosting on top into a hairy-mess!  This is the part I was most worried about and I thought would take forever.  It wasn't bad at all!

I bought a can of black frosting pre-made to draw on the mouth and eyes, because I didn't want to deal with black frosting.  And I made the eyes out of white chocolate candy melts piped into circles and then chilled until firm!

Oh, and what's a Cookie Monster cake without a cookie and some crumbs!

Happy Birthday, sweet 3 year old boy!  

I'm glad you liked your Cookie Monster birthday!!


homemade Mounds candy bars

Mounds Bars and Almond Joys have always been some of my favorite candy bars.

I remember being a kid and standing in the candy aisle trying to decide which one I wanted and then I would eagerly enjoy my pick, all the while thinking maybe I should have gotten the other...

(Which reminds me...  WHY do they not make a pack with one piece Mounds and one piece Almond Joy for the indecisive among us like me?!)

Needless to say, I was so excited when I found this idea for homemade Mounds Bars and even more excited at how I could enjoy them without all the guilt!

This is a super easy, delicious little recipe...  and the result is quite a bit healthier than you might expect!

You could actually take these quite a bit further into the healthy-zone, but I am happy right smack dab here in the middle.  :o)

Homemade Healthier Mounds Bars Recipe
adapted from Tasty Yummies

2 1/2 cups flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey (melted if it will be too firm to stir!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt until well mixed.

(The mixture may seem very greasy...  don't worry about it.  Everything will firm back up into a wonderful moist, chewy texture!)

Fill about 12-15 cups of a mini-muffin pan with the mixture, pressing down evenly and firmly.  Place in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil.  Spoon the chocolate evenly over the coconut in each cup, spreading smoothly.  Place the pan back in to the freezer to set another 30 minutes.

Use a knife to gently pop each candy bar out of the pan and transfer to a freezer-safe Tupperware to store in the freezer or fridge.  Or serve immediately!

These will get soft at room temperature for too long, so keep them cold until you are ready to serve them!


It's national grilled cheese day!!

And who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich?!

Here are two of my absolute favorites...

I think I'm gonna make myself one of those Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese sandwiches for dinner tonight to celebrate the holiday.

Any excuse I can get, right?!  :o)


3 years already?!

I am sitting here in absolute shock typing these words.

My little boy...

My first sweet little baby.

The boy who made me "mom" is 3 years old today!

3 years ago I was in a hospital room waiting as patiently as possible to meet my little boy...  now, I can't imagine life without him and I can hardly remember life before him!

Bjørn Mikael,

I am so blessed to be your mom.  You challenge me every single day, and your spirit brings light to my life.

Sometimes I think God gave you to me specifically to bring forward all of my insecurities, smudges, and areas that need refining.  I thought I was a pretty calm, even-keeled person...  until I had you.

I thought I was patient...  until I had you.  I thought I was strong and self-reliant...  until I had you.

You have pushed me closer to God in ways that I never could have imagined.  I need Him more now than I ever did before, and I am so glad that you have helped show me that.

Yes, we have our battles.  You are just as stubborn as I am, if not more!  We have a lot in common, you and I, and it's such an interesting journey to experience the good and the bad of yourself in another person!

I love you so much sweet boy.  My life changed forever the day I found out you were coming.  When I saw you, and held you, for the first time, my life centered and found its purpose.

You fit, you were perfect and you were perfectly mine.

I'm sorry I struggle so much in being a mom.  I really thought this would be an easy thing for me, but boy was I wrong!  And unfortunately for you, being my firstborn, you experience the worst of my failures as I see them come to light.

But you seem to love me anyways...  And that love is why I get out of bed every morning!

Thank you for making me Mom!

Here's a little glimpse of who you are at 3 years old:

You love to watch tv as long as you can control the remote.  You prefer the credits, previews and special features of "ddd's" more than the actual movies!

I took you to the store this morning and let you pick out your own special birthday treats.  You wanted a maple donut for breakfast (which you ate only the top of!), some "booas" (giant easter egg marshmallows this time) for snack, and "macker cheese" for dinner.  I wasn't surprised.  :o)

Your favorite foods are noodles with butter, goldfish crackers, "cabby patties" (hamburgers/breakfast sandwiches), "booas" (marshmallows), yogurt, toast with butter, milk, candy of course, and "peanut butter celery time!"

Oh, and popcorn!!  I can't believe I almost forgot popcorn!  You see, we can't even say that word around you because you absolutely flip out from excitement (and then disappointment if we're not actually having it!).

You love to go to church and play in the nursery.  I think it's your favorite place in the world besides "Bapa's house"!

You are Daddy's boy through and through.  You are never happier than when you have a tool in hand, and you often sleep with a hammer or saw at night.  You also love your gadgets...  your LeapPad or grandpa's phone being your favorites right now!

You love Dora & Diego, Elmo & Cookie Monster...  you picked Cookie Monster for your birthday cake theme this year (we'll see if I can actually pull that off!).

You give great hugs and kisses, when you are in the mood...  otherwise it's "Ewww YUCK mom!  NO KISSES!"  :o)

Oh, and you insist on wearing a hood...  all. the. time.  If your shirt or jacket doesn't have a hood, you get quite upset.  I'm not sure what you are going to do this summer!

You are growing up way too fast.

And that is all.  Slow down sweet boy.  Slow down.

I love you so much sweet boy.


sesame garlic green beans

I got this recipe from my sweet midwifriend (yes I know I made that word up!) recently and I absolutely fell in love with it the first time I tried it.

Sautéed green beens, loaded with garlic and sesame...  super simple, healthy and packed full of flavor!

I'm pretty sure I could eat this every day.  Or at least every other day.  :o)

Even Haakon, my little 1 year old munchkin, can't stop eating these and finished off half my plate-full last night!

This is more than a method than an exact recipe, since it all depends on your tastes and how many green beans you plan to cook, so you can't really go wrong with this one!

Try it out and see if you get as hooked as I am!

Sesame Garlic Green Beans Recipe

fresh green beans, trimmed
olive oil or coconut oil for sautéing
lots of fresh minced garlic
sesame oil
lightly toasted sesame seeds
salt & pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the green beans and sauté until the beans are starting to get golden and crisp (don't let them get to the mushy stage!) toss in the garlic and let cook for a few seconds.

Remove from the heat, drizzle with a bit of sesame oil, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and season with salt & pepper if you'd like.  Serve immediately!


roasted veggie & ham overnight egg bake

Our Easter was very low-key this year.  Usually we are adjusting back to normal after some or all of us have gotten back from a mission trip to Mexico, but this year we all stayed home.

Then Bjørn got sick, and boy am I glad his daddy was home when that happened.  I can't imagine having had to deal with both boys alone while in the hospital with my pneumonia-boy!  (He is SO much better now, by the way!).

It wouldn't have been pretty, that's for sure.

Anyways, we didn't do much in the way of celebration yesterday...  just a lovely time at church and then a quiet day at home.  But I just couldn't let easter go by without a little something special for breakfast...  specifically an egg bake!

(yes, I realize this is not a picture of an egg bake, but sometimes, pretty
pictures of egg bakes on busy holiday mornings just don't happen!)

I just love a good egg bake.  I mean, really...  who doesn't, right?!  And some holidays, Easter & Christmas morning especially, just need an egg bake to make them perfect.  

Caramel rolls don't hurt either, but that's not what we're talking about here...

I don't especially care for egg bakes filled with bread, potatoes, and other fillers.   I like mine chock-full of veggies, meat and cheese...  just how I like my omelettes and scrambles!

This makes a full 9x9" pan, and if you serve anything else with breakfast (toast, caramel rolls, fried potatoes, fruit!) it will be plenty for 6-9 people!  

If you're not serving anything but this, I would plan on it serving 4-6.

Roasted Veggie & Ham Overnight Egg Bake Recipe

1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped veggies (I love red bell peppers and mushrooms!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese (combination of cheddar & pepper-jack or mozzarella)
1 cup chopped ham or canadian bacon
5 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
salt & pepper, to taste

To roast the veggies:  Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the chopped onions and veggies together with the olive oil and some salt & pepper, coating well.  Spread them out so that they are in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes or so, until the veggies are soft and starting to brown a bit.  (If you don't want to roast the veggies for this egg bake, you can sauté them in a pan!).

Lightly grease a 9x9" baking dish.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the bottom, then sprinkle the chopped ham in an even layer over the cheese.  Spread the roasted veggies evenly on top of that.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk and some salt & pepper until smooth.  Pour over the rest of the ingredients in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, take the egg bake out of the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the eggs are set an a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the egg bake sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving!


Happy Easter friends!

I hope your day is blessed and full of beautiful sunshine and joy!


chewy No Bake peanut butter Special K bars with creamy milk chocolate butterscotch frosting

These delicious little treats (known simply as Special K bars) are sadly neglected because of their uncommonness and their simple name.

After making them twice this week, I realized they needed a bit more descriptive name and another chance to shine, so I am re-sharing them with you today!

These are seriously one of the most scrumptious, rich, satisfying, delightful and easy little treats you will ever make.

And unfortunately, unless you live or have spent time in the midwest, there's a good chance you've never heard of them!

I really hope you will give them a try.  Please...  do it for me!

They are amazing.  That's just all there is to it!  

Special K Bars Recipe

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups Special K cereal
2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.

Bring the sugar and syrup to a boil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter & vanilla until smooth, and then the cereal to coat.

Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish and let cool before frosting.

For the frosting, carefully melt together the butterscotch and milk chocolate chips, stirring well until smooth, and spred over the bars.

 Leave at room temperature until set, cut into small bars (these are VERY rich!) and serve!


creamy stove-top mac & cheese for two

This easy, rich and creamy mac & cheese is a treat that is simple to throw together on a moments notice.

You know, like when the kids are finally asleep and you just want to crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy some yummy carbs in peace...  Or something like that!

Of course you can double this recipe for 4-6 people, but if there's only 2 of you sometimes and you're anything like me...  you will probably eat what you make, so why not help yourself out ahead of time!

This is one of my all-time favorite mac & cheese recipes.

I have a lot of favorites.  And a lot of recipes.

But when I am craving a good, rich, homemade mac & cheese for myself...  this is the recipe I turn to about 99% of the time!

I especially love the chicken stock in this recipe.  There is just a little more...  umami...  in this recipe because of it.  A rich savoriness and layer of flavor that you don't usually find in mac & cheese.

It definitely makes this version stand apart!  (Give it a try and let me know what you think!!)

Creamy Stove-Top Mac & Cheese For Two Recipe

1/2 pound penne or other short pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups, or so, shredded cheddar cheese
pinch of dry mustard powder
pinch of nutmeg
1/8-1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste

Boil the noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the onions and sauté until soft and translucent.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until lightly golden and smooth.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chicken stock, starting with 1 cup, letting the sauce simmer and thicken.  If it gets too thick for your licking, stir in a bit more chicken stock, but remember you are about to add some cream too!

Stir in the cream, spices and cheese until melted and smooth.  Taste and add more seasonings if needed.

Toss with the noodles and serve immediately!  (You could, of course, throw this into a casserole dish at this point and bake it for a few minutes if you prefer a baked mac & cheese!)

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