Thursday, February 6, 2014


Okay, really weird name, I know. You can laugh all you want. My husband and I came up with it late last night as we were eating the granookies for a late-night snack.

Basically a granookie is half chewy granola bar, half cookie. Make sense now? The granookie was spawned after I began making a cookie recipe I had found, realized I didn't have half the right ingredients, and so created something unique and definitely yummy.

The nice thing about these is, they're very adaptable (that's starting to become a theme for me, I think  . . . . what can I say? I like versatility in cooking!). You could totally add a little of this and leave out a little of that and have your own unique granookie.

I just like saying that word. Granookie. Granookie, granookie, granookie.

Ahem. Moving on . . . .

Another nice feature about these? They're completely gluten free! That's right, 100% no gluten. That means they're healthy. Very healthy. Packed full of protein, fiber, and  . . . yumminess! What's not to love?

Disclaimer: because they are so healthy, they are not super sweet . . . there's no added sugar. If you like things a little sweeter, try adding 1/2 cup or so of some honey or raw sugar. That should help make them even more delicious. Since I was making these as a snack, we wanted them to be a little healthier, so I left the sweetener out. Again, totally adaptable to what you'd like. :)

Okay, okay, enough about granookies! Here's the recipe:


Makes about 2 dozen

3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt or plain applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda 
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
3 cups oats
1/2 cup peanut butter 
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped dates 

Mix the bananas and yogurt in a stand up blender for a minute or two, until well combined. Next add the peanut butter, again until just combined. Add in the egg, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, and blend well. Then add one at a time the oats, chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, and dates, each mixing in until just combined. 

Scoop out rounded spoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until they are started to golden on top. Let cool, and enjoy. 

(I kept mine in the fridge so they would last longer, not that that helped, since we ate them so quickly! They are probably perfectly fine left out too)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Yesterday and today have definitely been days for warm drinks. Like Mexican Hot Chocolate kind of warm drinks. So I made some. And it was yummy. You really should make some. Here's a good recipe if you need one....

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Makes 6-8 cups

6 cups water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate powder 
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat until simmering, stirring often. Serve warm with marshmallows, whipped cream, or just by itself! It's so yummy just as it is! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Well, today I thought I'd share one of my family's favorite recipes: BBQ Chicken Pizza. It's just so yummy. Sweet, tangy, saucy, a little bit spicy, and all-around delicious! I love it because, once again, it is just so versatile! You can really make it your own by playing around with veggie combinations, different sauces, etc.. We usually use Sweet Baby Ray's sauce because it is really yummy and smoky sweet, but I can envision a number of delicious scenarios all based on the sauce. I've tried this recipe with cabbage and sweet potatoes too . . . TO DIE FOR. Literally, one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten. And don't forget, you have multiple cheese options! I often use cheddar because I seem to have that on hand more, but I've also used pepperjack (with the cabbage . . . phenomenal!), swiss, and good old mozzarella. Other ideas/combos, anyone?

I use Bobby Flay's pizza crust recipe, here. I've been using it for a while now and it never fails. He says to use bread flour, but I usually just use all purpose, which makes a nice, soft, chewy crust.

I know this post is short and sweet, but I'm working it in between nap-time and feeding a hungry newborn, so, no complaining! So without further adieu . . . . (what does that mean, anyway . . . ?)

BBQ Chicken Pizza

2 prepared pizza crusts (recipe above)
2 cups (approx.) your choice of BBQ sauce. Here I used Sweet Baby Ray's.
2 cups grated cheese, again, your choice. Here I used Cheddar. 
Various veggies, chopped. Here I used 1 large sliced red onion, several handfuls of baby spinach, and I usually use chopped roma tomatoes. 
2-3 cooked and diced chicken breasts
Dried basil and oregano
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place prepared dough onto greased cookie sheets/pizza pans. 
Spread the bbq sauce over the crust thickly. You don't want it all to soak in, so use a good amount. I use a pastry brush for this. Next add the spinach evenly over the pizza, and then the chicken and onion and tomatoes (or whatever other veggies you have). Top with grated cheese. I usually add one more little swirl of bbq sauce over the top of that, but more for looks than anything. Finally, sprinkle a little salt, pepper, basil, and oregano over the very top. 

Pop into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is a nice golden brown and the cheese is melted. Enjoy! 

(Sorry for the terrible picture . . . )

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saltine Cracker Chicken Casserole

Coming out of the stomach bug woes, ours tummies have been a little tender. I made some chicken noodle soup for the first few days, but that got old after a bit. We all wanted something a little heavier, not too flavorful, and yummy.

I tossed around a few ideas, did some web/Pinterest searching, and finally came up with a recipe that fit the bill. It was delicious. You know how sometimes when you've been unable to eat good food, and then finally you eat something filling, how wonderful that feels? This was one of those meals. Warm, flavorful (just enough), a little salty, not too much dairy, meaty, "herby", a little sweet, and something other than liquid. 

This would be a great meal to take to someone after they get out of the hospital, have had a baby, etc.. It is not just an after-sickness casserole, though. I think we may have to put it on the favorites list! It's also a very versatile casserole. You could really make it your own by adding different veggies and spices. Since we were going for a blander taste, I just used sweet peas, but the possibilities are endless..... 

Saltine Cracker Chicken Casserole

*Makes 1 9x13 casserole


4 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
1 bag frozen sweet peas (a can would work too)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 sleeves Saltine crackers
1 stick butter
2 cups water 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1/4 cup corn starch 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of dried rosemary (optional)
pinch or dried thyme (optional)
pinch of dried herbs de province (optional)

To Make: 

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit. 

Crush 1 sleeve of crackers and spread the crumbs in the bottom of the dish. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour on top. 

Cook the chicken in a deep skillet or pan until almost done. While it is cooking add the water. This will help to make a broth. When the chicken is almost done, remove and cube. Leave the broth in the pan on low heat. 

Place the cubed chicken on top of the cracker crumbs in the dish. Mix in the peas. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top of all.

In the saucepan, heat the broth up until is it simmering. In a small bowl, whisk the corn starch into the heavy whipping cream until it is dissolved. Slowly whisk this into the broth until incorporated. Turn the heat down to low again. Add the salt, garlic, onion, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and herbs de province and stir until incorporated. Turn off the heat. Gently spoon the sauce onto the chicken mixture. Use the spoon to tuck the sauce down into the mixture, being careful not to dislodge the crackers on the bottom (this allows a nice golden crust to form on the bottom). 

Crush the remaining sleeve of crackers and sprinkle on top. Gently press this down into the mixture. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and pour over all. 

Pop into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crackers on top are a nice toasty golden brown. Remove and serve piping hot! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Take Courage, Mothers of Vomiting Toddlers!

I love being a mom and a wife! But I have been realizing this weekend exactly how much responsibility that actually is . . .

We got the dreaded stomach bug/norovirus/whatever-yuckiness-is-floating-around. It started out with Molly, my 16-month-old. She woke up from a nap with major diarrhea, and I got the sinking and depressing feeling that we were in for it.

I came down with a terrible stomach ache the same evening. Graciously, God allowed that to be all I had (albeit, I'm still having minor issues with it off and on), and I was able to still be up through the night helping Josh care for vomiting, feverish, diarrhea-diapered Molly.

Josh came down with it violently the next day. It wasn't pretty. He was very ill for the whole evening. Molly was thankfully feeling better by this point, so I was trying to care for him as much as possible.

All the while, I was scrubbing my hands like crazy, and nursing my 1-month-old, Amy, to the point of bursting, in the hopes that she wouldn't get anything. She's still healthy, and I think we're in the clear now, thank the Lord.

One thing I must insert: I HATE vomit. I hate vomiting. I hate talking about, thinking about anything to do with it. Let us be clear. But when you're a wife and a mommy, you gotta do what you gotta do, and for me that was cleaning up vomit off of the floor and other places, and fetching cold rags and ice chips, among other things. There's just no way to escape the yuckiness, unfortunately.....

One evening, in the midst of all of this, we were still trying to keep up our evening family Bible reading. Josh read Psalm 139. That was such a comfort to me to hear those words. It reminded me of just how much God does care for us and knows what we are dealing with.

The part I especially liked and have dwelt on in the past few days was verses 1-6, as follows:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

It's perhaps a simple thought, but I was very encouraged this week by the Psalm, and remembering that God's knowledge of us is intimate, and He surrounds me. So I can take heart, even in the midst of vomit, because God knows me perfectly, and therefore knows exactly what I am going through, what I need to be sustained, and what I desire, even before I can utter a word to Him. I am so encouraged to serve such an awesome and all-knowing God!

So take courage, whether you're a mommy with vomit on her hands or not, because, if you're a child of God, he cares for you, intimately and deeply!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why I Don't Have Time For Blogging . . .

I'm finding being a mother of two wonderful . . . . and a lot harder than I thought.

I think Molly is upset with me. Ever since we brought the baby home she has been, shall we say, very difficult.... here's a picture of what I found today when I got done nursing Amy . . . I'll let the picture speak for itself.  And for today, "that's all there was . . . there wasn't any more."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Texas Trail Mix Cookies

So, I stumbled upon an amazing discovery last night in the form of a new recipe. 

I was sitting there in the kitchen, craving cookies. Nothing out of the norm . . . Suddenly the thought occurred to me, "what if I were to create a new kind of cookie? A trail mix cookie!". And so I did. 

Sure, it's probably been done before. But not this good, I guarantee it . . .  (not to brag . . . ). These cookies are fantastic! Ooey, gooey, chocolately, sweet and salty goodness all in one little cookie . . . or big cookie . . . depending on how serious you take your cookie eating. I take mine very, very seriously. 

So why the "Texas" part? Well, I guess I can't take all the credit for these cookies. I played off of a good old Texan recipe from former First Lady Laura Bush, and added my own twist to the ingredients. Here's the original recipe if you'd like that. They are fabulous just like that, I assure you. 

But they're not trail mix cookies, and that's what we're going for here. 

Every year as a girl my family went up into the mountains of California to camp. Those are some of the best memories I have of my childhood. These cookies make me think of those sunny days and cold nights up in the mountains. Sleeping in the bed of the old orange pickup truck. The smell of pine that tantalizes your nose. The feel of needles and leaves and twigs crunching beneath your feet. The taste of the fire-cooked pancakes and bacon. Fresh coffee. Swimming in clear mountain spring pools. Climbing rugged mountain rocks to look out over beautiful views that will literally take your breath away. Long chats and scary stories around the campfire. Toasting marshmallows and making s'mores. And trail mix. You gotta have trail mix to go camping. That is just a must, in my opinion.

Or you could just take a big batch of these cookies along . . . that would do too.

All right already, just make some. :)

(Sorry, once again, a lack of pictures. I did take one, though!)

Texas Trail Mix Cookies

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs 
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups toasted coconut flakes (just toast them in the skillet until they're a nice golden color)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cups dry roasted peanuts (I used plain, but honey roasted would be good too)
1 cup raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup cran-raisins 

**Makes about 3-5 dozen cookies, depending on how big you like them

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, blend softened butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs in one at a time, blending well. Mix in vanilla. Add the flour mixture slowly until incorporated. Then add the mix-ins (oats, chips, raisins, nuts, coconut) slowly, until just combined. You never want to overmix cookies or they get kind of tough. 

Scoop balls of the cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I do about 1/4 cup in size. We like our cookies a little larger around here . . . ). 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the cookie. 

Cool and enjoy with a big glass of milk! g on how crispy you like the cookie. 

Cool and enjoy with a big glass of milk! 

printable recipe