Citrus in the South

On nearly every street in our neighborhood, you’ll spy heavily laden citrus trees during the winter months. Our yard is lacking in any fruit trees (which we hope to plant soon), but we have had very generous neighbors and friends from church who’ve sent us home with bags of fresh Blood Oranges, Meyer lemons and Navel Oranges.

With loads of fresh citrus, Vance and I decided to try out some new recipes. After a quick search on Pinterest, we chose the Meyer Lemon Sorbet recipe posted on this homemade life blog and the Lemon Sherbet recipe posted on Joy of Baking‘s site.

Both recipes were superb and were made without an ice cream machine. The sherbet recipe I even tried using coconut milk instead of regular milk and it turned out fine! We served a scoop of the sorbet with a slice of pound cake which we drizzled with heavy cream.

Vance and I are eager to try other sorbet recipes now that we’ve seen how easy they are to make. Do you have a favorite?

Moved & Connected

We’ve been in the new house a little over a week and as of yesterday have internet connection. Watch for more house updates which I’ve been itching to share!

“I need a yard….” ~ Spoonflower

Thanks to Meghan’s post over at Pink Peppers, I am eyeing a number of fabric swatches from Spoonflower. With a new house to decorate, I will be able to put some fresh material to good use. If I were really creative, they even offer a service to apply your own design to their material for a one-of-a-kind print. I may have to see if a they can create a similar print to some vintage materials I have that are no longer in production…..hmmm. :-)

Here are a few of my favorites:

Cool Blue IKAT
Cool Flame Ikat
Peacock green
Peacock
WW1 Cream/Grey
WWI Aircraft
Ye Be So Vain, Ye Probably Thinketh This Fabric Be About Ye!
Peacock Feathers
Small totoro
“Totoro” – perfect for a pillow in the kiddos’ room
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Gray Chevron ~ Master Bedroom?
F is for Fennec Fox
F is for Fennec

Running the Race….

Disappeared for a while, didn’t I? Life has been FULL, full of taking one step at a time and making it through this last year. The transition to life with three little ones was STEEP, grueling and Yes, worth every minute, but blogging wasn’t a huge priority….it wasn’t a priority at all, in fact it just didn’t happen.

2011 was a marathon year and thankfully my mommy muscles are now stronger – the grocery trip that once would have struck fear in my heart and left me exhausted and sweat-drenched from loading all three kids into car seats & boosters are now routinely smooth!

My free time (if you can call it that) was spent editing & listing items in my eBay store, Taffeta & Twill, in order to help with saving for a home.  Every month I have been learning more and more about selling online, particularly on eBay, and have been honing my store model to what has worked best for me.

The hard work of saving has paid off and two weeks ago we closed on our new home! After two years of living in a “temporary” <900 sq ft residence with most of our belongings still packed away in storage, I can hardly wait to unpack and stretch out.  :)

But as I find, with all blessings, you must be ready to work – HARD. This early 70s brick home is very well constructed, has a great layout for feasting with family & friends, luscious landscaping & fenced yard, and a few quirks thrown in here and there.

With vintage pink tile, outlandish wallpaper – complete with organ grinder monkeys, mysterious rectangular “holes” in each of the bathrooms, bedrooms so full of nail holes that my spackling efforts looked like polka dot wallpaper and peeling latex paint applied over oil paint, it is highly likely that this blog is going to take a DIY/Home Improvement turn. Home Depot has become my new favorite store and I know many of the employees in the paint department by name! Here’s to 2012 and the year of the house marathon.  :)

Review: The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook

Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook

After checking this out from the library and repeatedly renewing it until I HAD to return it, only to start the process over again, I knew that I needed to own this cookbook. When you have to remove a lot of  ingredients (dairy free, egg free, gluten free, soy free, etc.)  from your diet and many of these are what you consider “essential” to baking, then to find a cookbook that has recipes that result in incredibly delicious, great-tasting allergen free items is a huge blessing! It was on my Amazon wishlist and John surprised me with it for Mother’s Day.

I have been trying recipes as I have time, but one that is on the repeat roster is her recipe for:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Note: All of my changes from the original are in bold and italics.

1/2 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1 TBSP coconut milk
1-1/2 cups g/f flour mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBSP coconut milk
1 cup g/f old fashion oats (I just use regular, not g/f)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I just spray lightly with PAM).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar, mixing on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and egg replacer and mix for 20 seconds.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the mixer in three batches, mixing on low speed, alternating with the milk.

Add the oats, chocolate chips and raisins. Mix on the lowest possible speed until just combined. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to finish blending, if necessary.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets, spacing them 3 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes in the center of the oven, or until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack.

(Sometimes I add cranberries instead of raisins, or nuts & coconut….basically you can switch out the chocolate chip and raisin measurements for similar items and still get a tasty cookie!)

Blender Tips & Tricks

I am really not fond of gadgety kitchen appliances. No, I don’t need a grilled cheese machine, or a smore maker, or a hot-dog bun toaster. What I do like is to find out more uses for the few appliances I do allow to take up counter property, like my blender.


Oster 4096-009 Designer Series Beehive Blender, Chrome

And leave it to my FaceBook feed where I spotted an article on Simply Recipes on what you can do with a Blender and a Mason Jar…making peanut butter, whipping cream, grinding spices. And what’s more, your creation is ready to be stored – no messy transferring from blender to another container. Magic Bullet, we won’t be needing you here!

Has anyone tried a Milkshake blade in their blender?

Oster Milkshake Blade

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to my husband, John Barach!

“The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take” Psalms 37:23-24

I’m so blessed to have a good man as a father to Aletheia, Vance and Tirzah. Parenting alone would be so much harder and I’m thankful he’s at my side as we work at raising godly children!

Review ~ Inspired by Finn Amber Teething Relief Product

As her sister and brother before her, Tirzah started teething very early. Around 11 weeks she was miserable, I was exhausted from trying to soothe her and was ready to try something new. Several of my friends have used amber teething necklaces or anklets with their little ones and I decided to give it a try. My local amber source was out of stock, so I looked into the products sold online by Inspired by Finn which had been highly recommended to me by several people.

Cons:
Their website is quite confusing and cluttered.
Determining sizing is hard just by looking at the website, so I sent a request for more info.
The two necklaces in colors I was most interested in were sold out and I was told it could take 8-12 weeks before they would be in stock!

Pros:
Very quick response to answer questions.
Very helpful to gauge correct sizing for the product I wanted.
Shipping costs are low and speed is fast!
The necklace came beautifully packaged and is gorgeous.
Thanks to the staff’s helpful & timely response to my sizing question, the sizing on the necklace is just right. I ordered the 11 1/2″ ~ 12 1/2″ size which I’m told should last her until she’s a toddler.

 

It’s been over a week now since Tirzah started wearing her lovely Tea colored Amber necklace made of  semi-polished Baltic Amber. Since then her teething symptoms have greatly diminished. She is still drooling excessively and wants to gnaw on everything in sight, but she’s not fussing, tugging at her ears and in a general state of unhappiness like she was prior to wearing her necklace. Let’s pray that this trend continues and her teething suffering will be minimal and my sanity levels stay calm. :)

 

Dueling Cellos!

I never would have thought I’d see a cover of Smooth Criminal performed Dueling Cello style, but here you go!

FREE American Girl Doll Patterns

If your daughter’s American Girl doll could use some fresh items for her spring wardrobe, then head on over to Liberty Jane for FREE American Girl doll patterns. These will fit 18″ dolls, so even if yours is not AG then you might want to take a look at the free patterns that are available.

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