Monday, December 28, 2009

Granola Bars Recipe

I've been meaning to make this for quite some time. Months actually. But first I had to finish the 10 boxes of granola bars we had on hand...and then I had to get around to actually doing it! I'm so glad I did. They turned out GREAT and were not hard to make at all. And it's a pretty healthy recipe to boot!

Granola Bars
2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunfower seeds
1 cup peanuts, crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz dried fruit

Preheat oven to 400. Crush peanuts in baggie with rolling pin. Mix peanuts, oats, wheat germ and sunflower seeds in a 9X13 baking dish. toast them in the over for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don't burn and get evenly toasted.

Line a glass 11X13 pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with nonstick spray.

Combine brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Mix everything (toasted ingredients, liquid mixture and fruit) together in a bowl stirring VERY well. You have to get everything well coated with your liquid mixture. When you think you're done stirring.  Stir a little more.

Spread into prepared baking dish. Cover with another piece of sprayed parchment paper and press hard all over. You want to compact it together so that your bars won't fall apart when you cut them.

Wait 2-3 hours until COMPLETELY cooled. Then remove top paper, lift out bottom parchment paper and flip over carefully. Cut into 18-20 granola bars by pressing down firmly with knife, not sawing. (I get 20)

I wrapped ours individually in saran wrap, but you could do whatever. If you put them in a tupperware, put a piece of wax paper between each layer so it doesn't stick.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a white Christmas...

Just like the ones we had in Nebraska...but not so much in Oklahoma! So this is really something here. Most of the interstates and major highways are closed. There is a HUGE car pileup on one of the interstates. But I have to say, this actually does qualify as a blizzard at times. It's snowing steadily and the wind is goin' at it Okie style =).

Kyle is more excited about the snow than Luke and let me tell you. Luke. Is. Excited. But neither of them are as excited as Kyle's brother Jeremy who has been calling all day and making Kyle send him picture after picture of the snow. Jeremy lives in Houston, but I think if his wife Angie would let him, he just might drive up so HE can play in the snow, too!

Kyle and Luke just came in from outside. Luke thinks he built a snowman, but I think just because they've been talking about building one. The snow is too powdery and won't pack. Luke did sled on my jelly roll pan 4 or 5 times Kyle said. They're inside now and Luke is drinking hot chocolate (homemade!...with the frequency of OK snow, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't make it from scratch?!?!) and begging to watch the Polar Express. The boys are headed upstairs right now to the theater room to watch it.

Polar Express

Luke riding the train
Santa came to visit!
Holding his "ticket"
Last Saturday morning we got up early and took look to the Oklahoma Railway Museum to ride on their Holiday train. Luke KNOWS that he rode the Polar Express. When he woke up that morning he thought it was going to be right outside his window, like in the book and was impatient that we actually had to DRIVE to the Polar Express. The most disconcerting thing we saw, was when we got there the train was getting a jump start from an SUV. hmmmmm. But we got on anyway.

While on the train we heard the "Polar Express", drank "hot" chocolate, ate cookies and sang Christmas carols. Luke didn't do much singing, but he really enjoyed looking out the windows and drawing on the fogged up parts of them. It was big fun and made for a great morning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Santa came to visit at our Body and Soul fellowship. Luke did better with Santa this time than he did when we went and saw him at the mall. He smiled! Santa did bring the kids little goodie baggies. Luke knows very well that he wants Santa to bring him train tracks this year for Christmas. He was so excited to get the bag from Santa. He opened it right up, and his grin quickly turned to a frown and his eyes teared up and he looked at me and said, "Train tracks?" I had to quickly explain that this was just to tide him over and that if Santa brought him train tracks, he would bring those on Christmas morning while he was sleeping.

I have been a baking fool lately. I've made several batches of Apple Cinnamon Tea Ring and Orange Cinnamon Swirl bread. I've been using my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook and it really makes my life easier, but it's just not big enough to handle a double batch, so I've just been doing one batch of dough at a time. I just delivered my last Tea Ring this morning and tomorrow I plan on making my last batch of Orange Cinnamon Swirl bread, of which we will get to keep one! for our Christmas morning breakfast. The first day I made bread, Luke asked what I was making and I told him. He thought about it for a bit, and then decided that "Want Mommy make cookies."

Both of these recipes are my mom's and I'm sure mine don't turn out as well as hers, so consider yourself lucky if you receive one from her!

Cinnamon Apple Tea Rings

Prepare 4-H Roll Bread. Divide dough in half and roll into 10X15 rectangle. Place 1/2 of filling on each rectangle. Roll jelly roll fashion. Place sealed edge down on a greased pizza pan and form into a circle. Slash into 1 inch slices, cutting almost through to center. Turn each slice on its side. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done. Cool. Drizzle with confectioners frosting.

3 medium tart apples, chopped fine with skins on.
1/4 c brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c raisins, plumped
1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)
1 T flour

4-H Roll Bread (My grandma Olson's recipe)
1 1/2 c scalded milk, cooled
In a cup dissolve 2pkg yeast in 1/2 c warm water.
Mix in a bowl:
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs

Add milk and dissolved yeast. Mix in 5 c of flour, kneading in the final 2 cups for a total of around 7 cups. Knead until smooth and elastic (10-15 min). Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise. Punch down and let rise a 2nd time. Make into rolls or cinnamon rolls or use in the Tea Ring Recipe.

Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
3/4 cup orange juice, warm
1 c milk, warm
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c shortening
1 T orange zest
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 1/4- 6 3/4 c flour

1/2 c sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon

Turn onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl turning once to grease top. cover and let rise, about 1 1/4 hr. Punch down dough and divide in half. Let rest 10 min. Roll into a 15X 7 rectangle. Spread filling. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with short end. Seal edges. Place sealed edge down into 2 greased 8x14 loaf pans. cover and let rise until double. Bake 30 min in a 350 oven.

I'm not done with my last meal plan, but I'm trying to get ahead of the game so I planned my next one out already.

New Meal Plan
Tater tot casserolel
Creamy Chicken Noodle Sou
Venison Chili with cornbread
Mexican Lasagna
Feta Stuffed chicken breasts
Easy Chicken Pasta
Pizza Loaf
Beef Stroganoff

Creamy White Chili
1 lb boneless skinless chicken reast, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion chopped 1 12 tsp garlic powder
1 T vegetable oil
2 as great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14oz) Chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) diced green chilis
1/2 (10oz box) spinach
1 can hominy, drained
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c sour cream
1/2 c cream

1) In bottom of pot sautee chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is done. Add rest of ingredients except dairy items. Bring to a boil.
2) Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream and sour cream. Serve immediately.

1 cup = 334 cal and 22 g protein.

This white chicken chili is one of my top favorite soups. It's really good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Luke and I made sugar cookies a few nights ago. Just cutting them out and getting them baked with the "help" of this particular two-year-old was stressful enough for me. Above picture should be enough of an explanation as to why it was stressful. The kid is a MESS! Anyway, we'd made the cookies but had never decorated them. I'm taking what's left of them to our end of the year fellowship at Body and Soul tomorrow for the kids so they needed frosted. One of my projects today for during Luke's nap time. While making the glaze is when I had my epiphany.

I made my glaze, poured some into a lid, or other shallow dish with sides (should be large enough to fit your largest cookie entirely, but if it's too big you'll waste a lot of frosting) and then added my dye. THEN I DIPPED EACH COOKIE INTO THE GLAZE, COVERING THE TOP COMPLETELY AND THEN USED MY CLEAN FINGER TO WIPE OFF EXCESS/SMOOTH THE GLAZE. (I'm sure there is some sort of utensil that would work better, but, whatev.) They turned out perfect! The tops are smooth, completely covered....gorgeous! And I probably spent 1/10 of the time it would normally take to frost cookies! That's always the most labor intensive part. I think for tomorrow, I'm just going to leave them like they are, but if you were totally ambitious, after the glaze layer sets you could easily pipe on more frosting to outline or decorate in some other way, too.

Maybe you all have known about the Cookie Dipping Method (or CDM as I like to call it) for forever, but I just figured it out. So maybe I'm not a genius...maybe I'm just incredibly slow, but either way? I feel great right now!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

La la la la

Luke is really into singing songs right now and especially editing the words to songs and creating his own "Luke version". I wrote in an earlier post how Luke doesn't want us singing "Jesus Loves Me" but "Jesus Loves Luke".

Tonight before bed we sang "Day 2", also known as the Creation Song. When we got to day 7, Luke did NOT want God resting in heaven, but on his pillow. We then sang Old McDonald. And on his farm tonight he first had a "Snuggle Bunny" followed by a Sailboat that said "Fish Fish". Then he requested Row Row Row Your Boat. But his boat doesn't row gently down the stream, it rows gently on the water. Finally we sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"...the only song that didn't need revisions tonight. Maybe he'll grow up to be a song writer. Who knows!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Leta's Room!

Here are pictures of what Leta's room looks like currently. Kyle just finished painting and WHAT A PAINT JOB IT WAS! There is still much to be done. Haven't organized her closet, thought about her bathroom, still need get started on curtains and hang something up on her walls! But, it's a good start and we'd be ready enough if she came tomorrow. Hopefully NOT, but her room is ready enough for her!

Monday, December 7, 2009

This n that.

L to R Alyssa, Onawa, Natalie, Tara, Shanna and Me!
Kyle is finishing the paint job in Leta's room tomorrow. YEA! And then I will begin cleaning, arranging, organizing and hanging.

Kyle went hunting with Jeremy up by Pond Creek this past weekend. He didn't shoot anything this time, but it sounded like he had fun none-the-less. He's been a deer jerky making fool since their last hunting trip and so he brought 4 different recipes he's used for them to try.

I also had my Body and Soul winter workshop this past weekend. It wore me out! 6 hours of working out in one evening and morning.... My quads are a little sore thanks to a new move our power strength choreographer likes to call the "Jenga". I presented our boot camp training. I explained how to plan a boot camp etc. step clinic-ed several new moves and then demonstrated a mini boot camp. It went pretty good I think, for my first time to do that anyway. My partner and I had decided which moves she would demo and I would just cue due to pregnancy restrictions, but I missed one! I ended up doing 8 burpees and Leta kept getting squished and didn't like that too much =)

Saturday night was my non-baby-shower Girls Night Out. 5 of my friends took me out to the Melting Pot (my favorite restaurant) and we had a great time. It was fun to hang out with the girls and accomplish nothing but have fun for an evening. And even though there weren't supposed to be gifts, Leta got a gift card, bows, an "L" onsie, a wall hanging and her first doll. Thanks Tara, Natalie, Onawa, Alyssa and SHANNA (who planned it all) for a great night! All of us (except Alyssa) are pregnant or nursing. Quite the group!

Quintessential Luke.

Time for a new meal plan around these parts. I just finished our last one tonight and I need to get to the grocery store, but think that will have to wait until Wednesday since Kyle has a meeting tomorrow afternoon.

New Meal Plan:

Chinese with new sauce (different from last meal plan)
Taco Soup
French Bread Pizza
Creamy White Chicken Chili
Maple Porcupine Meatballs side of Pasta and spinach casserole
Sloppy Joes
Broccoli and Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts
Pepper Jack Mac Cups
Broccoli Tuna Casserole
Ham & Ricotta stuffed chicken breasts with a side of horseradish Crockpot scalloped potatoes

Extras: Sugar cookies, beans, french toast, pizza, chicken strips

Chinese was on the list last week, but I'm using a different sauce this time so it'll be almost like it's brand new. And the Ham and Ricotta stuffed chicken is a repeat of last time because out of the blue (without me asking) Kyle said, "This is pretty good." And I still have leftover ricotta to use up.

My last meal plan had several successful recipes so I have lots to share this week!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (this was was so good I'm still reminding Kyle about it almost 2 weeks later!)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp celery salt
1 onion, chopped
2 qt water
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2-3large carrots, sliced
1 tsp garlic salt
2 celery stalks, sliced

Boil the above ingredients for 1 hr. When chicken is tender, remove and chop and put back in pot. Add

2 cups uncooked noodles.

Boil 20 minutes.

Cream Sauce:
6 T butter
6 T flour
4 cups skim milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
TONS of pepper

Add cream sauce to soup. Season with salt to taste. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Ricotta and ham Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1/2 c ricotta
1/4 c shredded parmesan
3 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 chicken breasts
4 slices deli ham
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
1/2 c flour
1 T olive oil
1 T butter

In a small bowl, combine cheeses, basil and garlic. Cut a deep pocket into each chicken breast (without slicing all the way through). Open breast as much as possible and lay one slice ham in it. Spoon 1/4 ricotta mixture in then close and secure with toothpicks. In a shallow dish, season flour with spices. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour until well coated on both sides. In a large skillet heat oil and butter. Add chicken and cook 9 minutes then flip and cook until no longer pink.

Ravioli Lasagna

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 (20 oz) pkg refrigerated cheese ravioli
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9X9 pan with Pam. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of pan. cover with 1/2 the ravioli. 1/2 remaining sauce. All spinach. 1/2 mozzarella. Remaining ravioli, sauce then both cheeses. cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more. Let cook 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


We traveled north to Ponca City for Thanksgiving this year. At 28 weeks my doctor restricts travel to 1 1/2 hours, so Ponca City is about as far away as I can get from home, but it worked out perfect for us. Doug, JoAnne and Jimmy were supposed to be there, but Jimmy got sick so they wimped out on us. Even though the Herrington's couldn't make it, Pappaw, Grandma Key, Marjorie, Jim and our family managed to have a good time. Luke enjoyed being the center of attention and seeing the trains go by just behind their back yard. It was a highlight for him.

The food was WONDERFUL and there was a ton of it, but I like to think we did our part in consuming it =) We had lots of leftovers to bring home with us that we have been enjoying. It was nice to be able to go up and spend the day. Luke especially thought so since I didn't make him take a nap.

Another Dr. Visit

Luke coloring at his table.

I had another doctors appointment this afternoon. Which means I did TWO things today. Body & Soul, and the doctors appointment. A big day for me, so now I don't feel like cooking supper =) All is well with Leta, although I've moved into a new number in the tens place on my weight, which is never a happy time. My glucose test came back fine as I'd anticipated, but I did find out I'm anemic. I think I was supposed to know that my prenatal supplements were supposed to contain iron, but I'd been taking the ones without this whole time. Well done me. Anyway, I have some samples and a prescription to be filled now.

I reminded the doctor that Luke was 3 1/2 weeks early and asked if that means anything for this pregnancy, and he said, "Yes, generally expect to be about 3 1/2 weeks early this time too." So we'll see. I do have care for Luke all lined up. Luke's "Gigi" and Great Grandpa Wilbur will care for him the whole time we are in the hospital. If we have leave for the hospital in the middle of the night again, our kind neighbors are going to stumble across the street and go back to bed in our guest room and stay with him until Georgeanne and WT arrive to take over.

Kyle has one square left to paint on Leta's room and then I can really get in there and organize it and clean it up. It's a major construction zone right now and will be a pretty big job to get it looking halfway decent.

I'm 32 weeks along right now, and a doctor prediction at delivering early, so everyone needs to start locking in their delivery dates and Leta's length and weight. The person closest will win the bragging rights of ...well...being closest = D

On a side note, I was using a 3 hole punch last night and pinched my belly skin in it. Yeah. It hurt. My belly is just all sorts of in the way these days.