Lemon Cream Pie – GF/DF

So first on the blog I want to share one of my all time favorite pie recipes! This is a recipe my mom made when I was growing up and was one of the first dessert recipes I tweaked to be GF/DF. This I’m not sure where it originates from but it’s an absolute favorite in our family and if you prefer, go ahead and make it with all the gluten and diary.

Before going diary free I would top it with homemade whipped cream (SO GOOD). Now I just eat it as is and serve regular whipping cream on the side for all of my diary eating family.

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1 – 10” baked pie crust shell – (Gluten Free Pie Crust) or (Regular)

Filling: 
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot if you prefer)
1 ½ cups water
1 cup almond milk (coconut or whole milk also works here)

6 egg yolks
2/3 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible)
4 Tbsp. butter or 
margarine
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon zest

Directions: 
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium pot. Add water and milk. Beat egg yolks until light colored and add to mixture. Cook on medium-low heat stirring constantly with a whisk until thickened. Remove from heat then stir in lemon juice, butter and peel. Stir until combined. Pour into cooked pie crust and cool completely.

I leave it on the counter to cool for a bit then put in the fridge to cool completely. I highly recommend sharing this delicious pie with a friend or your family!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Hello.

Well…It’s been over two years since I’ve blogged. To be honest the whole blogging thing has always been a challenge for me. I’m not good at doing it regularly, writing isn’t my strong suit and I think I’ve felt a little intimidated by the “professional bloggers”.

IMG_1095So I’m hear to tell you I’m back but in a really simple capacity. To share recipes, maybe a little bit of life and whatever else my heart needs to share. My hope is to share gluten & diary free recipes, tips and tricks for living a GF/DF life, and maybe a little about life and family. I’m hoping to post one to two times a month. Even that will likely be a stretch for me.

So lets start with the beginning – Why am I gluten & diary free now? In November 2016 I decided to seek out a naturopath to address some longstanding health issues I had been struggling with. I had GI issues, cystic acne & migraines. At her recommendation she suggested I try going gluten and diary free. Within two to three weeks I saw a huge improvement in my health. I’ve tried re-introducing both items back into my diet a few times and it hasn’t worked. So I’ve dug into figuring out how to bake and cook really yummy food that is gluten & diary free.

Over the years a few people have asked me to share the recipes I use. The thing is, I tend to use “normal” recipes and tweak them to fit my needs. So here I sit. Ready to give this blogging thing a try again. It will be simple. I won’t be fancy,  but I hope it’s a place where people can find a few yummy recipes and some hope that life doesn’t completely suck when you have dietary restrictions.

I hope you’ll stick around for my less then official blog – maybe we can have a little fun together!

I want to leave you with this pretty photo…the current recipe I’m trying to figure out. A diary free cheesecake. I made this by following a Martha Stewart recipe and making a few tweaks. I need to make it again and tweak a few more things before I post the recipe here. But just look how pretty it is!!

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Ten

Today we celebrate 10 years of marriage. That’s a big deal.

We got married when we were just 21 years old. We were babies. So to say we have changed a lot in the last 10 years is an understatement. But here we are. We have made it through what I would consider to be some of the hardest years. But we are here. We are here only by the grace of God. He is the reason we have made it this far.

 Engagement Photos – 20 years old

We have had our ups and downs but I know that the good times and the bad have shaped us into who we are today. I know life will bring more challanges but we will make it through them together.

Wedding day – July 14, 2006 – 21 years old

 Here are a few pictures from our 10 year trip we took in February. We had the opportunity to build houses with a team of people from our church in Roatan, Honduras. After that portion of the trip was over our church friends left and we enjoyed a few additional days on the island together.

Thanks for begin so patient with me. I am obsessive about things that shouldn’t matter, I am a planner and I am a perfectionist. Thanks you for looking past all the things that are totally opposite of your nature and for loving me anyways!

Marriage is work… really hard work. It’s choosing daily to love. It’s letting the little things go (which is so hard…remember perfectionist). It’s hard but in the end the work pays off. Here’s to many more wonderful years ahead. I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years takes us! Love you babe!

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Where we got married – 10 years later

That One Time God Provided All The Things…

Do you ever have things happen in life that are so obviously God?? When those things happen I can’t help but smile. We recently had a few of those experiences and I wanted to share. Towards the end of last year we found out some major changes were happening with our health insurance. Without going into all the details we found out that our premiums would be going up by about $500 per month. When you live on one income a hit like that will stop you dead in your tracks. I freaked…shed a bunch of tears and then slowly gave up on trying to fix it and decided to let God work it out. During this time I started looking for a job. I wasn’t exactly sure if that’s what God had for us but I figured doors would either open or close. I had been a stay at home mom for the last 4 years but I felt like I should at least try looking. I applied for several jobs and nothing came of them. Almost all of them were rejected by computerized systems. One day in December I got a call from one of the hospitals I had applied to. I went through several interviews and ended up accepting a per diem position. It was the perfect fit for our family.

The first couple months of the year were tight, but we had money in savings and we were grateful for that. We knew we would be getting our tax return so we thought we would be able to replenish our savings quickly. One day in February I noticed a couple discolored spots on the living room ceiling. Our contractor friend was coming over to bid a job for us so I asked him to take a look. He found multiple leaks. My heart sank. We had really wanted to replace all the windows in our house but this was obviously a higher priority (we live in the Seattle area….SO MUCH RAIN!!). Just hours before we found out we had an issue with the roof I filed our taxes. The return was more than we usually get so we were really excited. We made plans for that money but God had other plans.

IMG_8975After getting several bids we were able to get our roof completely replaced for almost the exact amount of our tax return!! And by a company that came with great reviews! Say WHAT??? God is so good! We were living on one income, and while our budget was/is tight we have never missed a bill. Through it all we continued to tithe, He provided the perfect job, and we were able to PAY CASH for a full new roof! So many details to work out and he did it. He was and is providing for us left and right!! No doubt about it!  So my point…it’s not always easy to trust God. We all have those moments where we think we can fix things…but it has been made clear to me time and time again that the better option is walking through life with God.

Roasted Green Beans

Today it dawned on me that not everyone roasts their veggies. In our house it’s the main way I cook almost all of our veggies. We grow  green beans our garden every summer and they are a favorite in our house. I’ve always known we could roast fresh ones but I recently tried roasting frozen beans and they turned out great! I prefer to eat fresh veggies when we can but it’s nice to have a couple frozen things on hand as well so these are a great way to cook up frozen green beans! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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Ingredients:
3 cups of frozen green beans
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional but so yummy!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Put the frozen green beans on the cookie sheet pour the oils and remaining ingredients on top of the green beans and toss until they are all fully coated.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until slightly crispy & brown.

Tips:
Buy your green beans at Costco! they are cheap, delicious and organic!

One of our favorite veggies to roast is broccoli. If you have never roasted broccoli before check out this recipe it is AMAZING!!

Goals for 2016

Well it’s 2016 already! Where does time go??

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law posted on Facebook asking people what their resolutions or goals were for 2016.  In the past I’ve not really been a resolution maker. I’ve never really felt like it was something I needed to do, but this year her post made me stop and think about it. So I actually came up with a few goals for this year and thought I’d share them with you!

1. Open my home up to friends and family more. This one might seem like a no-brainer but for whatever reason we just don’t have people over often. To be honest a lot of the reason is that it’s expensive. We live on a tight budget and I always feel like if we are going to invite people over we should provide the dinner.  But I’m going to move past that. We have been blessed with a wonderful place that we call home and I want it to be an inviting place that we can enjoy with our friends and family! So my goal this year is to have people over! It may be for snacks, or a potluck or just dessert but we are going to have our people over!

image12. Be healthier then I was last year. For the last year and a half I’ve been on sort of health/fitness journey. I’m trying to find my groove. I want to make exercising and eating healthy just part of who I am. I’m not trying to join some fad diet or just make a new years resolution because that’s what people do but I truly want to figure out a maintainable way to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be here for my family and my kids. I want to be an example to those around me. I want to feel good in my own skin. I’m currently eating clean and am part of an online fitness community called Fit By First. This group has totally changed my approach to working out and the need for community to keep you accountable and to be an encouragement. If you want more info on these challenge groups check out this website (I don’t get anything thing for promoting this – I truly just love this group!).
FullSizeRender(1)3. Make time for creativity. I love to be crafty, I love photography, I love redoing furniture but last year didn’t allow a lot of time for the creative things I love. I want to make sure I make time for some of those things, the things that are just for fun. I think so often as mom’s we get so wrapped up in all that goes on in our house that we forget to do the things that bring joy to our lives. Taking time for ourselves is so important.

4. Be more intentional about praying. There is so much power in prayer I believe that with every fiber of who I am and this year I want to be more intentional about who I’m praying for. I punched a hole in all my Christmas cards and tied them together. They sit next to my bed and each week I pray for one family. I pray for the things I know are going on, and for the things that are unseen. God knows what they need but I still want to be faithful to lift my friends and family up in prayer.
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When I look at all my goals I see a trend – being intentional. Goals give us something to work towards and that is why I set a few this year. The older I get the more I’m learning that without direction we just sort of float through life. I don’t want that. I want to make an impact on this world. I want to look back on my life and feel like I lived it!

Cheers to a new year and fresh starts! What are your goals for 2016?

Post Christmas Trip – Leavenworth

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Ours was great but SO busy. Why does Christmas time have to be so dang busy?? I love christmas but all that goes into it can just be crazy. This year we decided we wanted to spend some time in Leavenworth around Christmas. The little town is so beautiful in the winter. They put up so many lights and it’s only a 2.5 hour drive from where we live. In the greater Seattle area we hardly get any snow. Leavenworth is generally covered in snow around Christmas so we soaked it all up this year!

2 days after Christmas we loaded up the car and took off! We rented a little cottage that had the perfect sledding hill right in the driveway and also had a hot tub! I ended up being pretty sick the whole time we were there but we still had a good time. Board games, hot tubing, sledding, and family time were the only things on the agenda. It was perfect.

I think this may be a new family tradition! Getting away is one of the only ways for me to get a chance to relax. Mom’s you know what I mean! There is always so much to be done so a couple days away is always nice!

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas season. We will do this again. Hopefully next year! It was the perfect way to end the holiday season.

My Perfect Potato Bread

Over the last couple years I have been making all of our bread in my bread machine. When I was a kid my mom did this and I hated it. I wanted store bought white bread (which was totally off limits – and now I know why). I make our bread for a few reasons….It’s cheaper, healthier and yummy! I’ve been perfecting our recipe for the last year and this has become our go to sandwich bread.
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I started with a recipe called Linda’s Easy Potato Bread from the book “Bread Machine Magic“. This book is great and has a lot of yummy recipes! It has options for small, medium and large recipe so it’s great for any size machine! I tweaked the recipe to work for us.

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup milk
3 TBSP Olive Oil
3 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat
2 TBSP Honey
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
5 TBSP potato flakes

Follow the directions for your bread machine (mine is liquids first, then dry ingredients on top) and bake.

Tips:
Let the bread cool completely before cutting.

If you are planning to make homemade bread on a regular basis I would recommend buying an electric bread knife. I found one at a thrift store for $7 and it’s worth every penny. It allows us to cut the bread much easier than using a normal bread knife.

If you aren’t eating your bread up quick it will mold. Homemade bread doesn’t contain all the preservatives like the store bread do. You can cut the loaf in half, wrap half in plastic wrap then place it in a freezer bag and freeze. We try to eat the bread within a week so it doesn’t dry out.

I hope you enjoy this yummy bread!

God’s Provision…What It Looks Like For Us

So Sunday at church our pastor Jason was talking about tithing and stepping out in faith that God will provide. He shared a story about getting an unexpected check in the mail in college that was the exact amount he needed (and didn’t have) for a bill. As I was thinking about how God has provided for us over the last few years I thought I needed to share. We have also received random checks in the mail but it’s so much more than that.

Roughly 3 years ago when I was pregnant and working full-time I started looking into daycare costs for both my kids. It was insane! When we did the math I would have been working full-time to keep our benefits and make roughly $400 per month. For some people that is ok, but for us it wasn’t. We decided that I would quit and stay home with my kids. But that was a scary decision to make. I made almost 50% of our income and held the benefits for our whole family (very good benefits I might add!!). Before I quit I had a random lady that I didn’t know ask me if I wanted some boy clothes. She gave me 6 black garbage bags full of clothes 0-2T!! After my maternity leave was over I quit my job; it wasn’t an easy transition for Taylin and I but it was the right decision. Over the years we have had many random blessings come our way.

I have gone grocery shopping to find that nearly every item on my grocery list was on sale…God Stretching our budget. Pretty sure Fred Meyer didn’t know what I needed that week!

Many hand me down clothes and shoes for both Taylin and Bryson. We have bought almost no clothing for either of my kids in the last 2 years!!

Random side jobs at Christmas for both Tom and I

Random checks in the mail – we just got one last month!

A free tire for our car when it was leaking and couldn’t be fixed – Discount Tire rocks!!

Currently I’ve been provided with opportunities to work. Work that I can bring Bryson to. While I’m technically a stay at home mom I also clean 2 houses, nanny for a friend and substitute at the preschool at our church. Often Gods provision is opportunity. I could have easily said no to all those money making opportunities but I haven’t. With me doing side jobs we can put a little money in savings, we can go on a vacation. We can get a random cup of coffee at Starbucks. It just adds a little margin to our budget.

Trusting God isn’t always easy, it’s not always glamorous but if you step out in faith he will come through for you. Last year when I did our taxes I was surprised to see that Tom made a couple thousand dollars shy of what WE made when WE were both working!! Are you kidding me!! God is SO faithful!

If you aren’t currently tithing I want to encourage you to start giving something consistently. Anything just do it consistently.

30 Happy Days ~ Days 3&4

Day 3:
Friday our evening was filled with cousin fun! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were out celebrating their anniversary so we had 3 extra kids for dinner and into the evening! They played and had a great time together!

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On Saturday we spent most of the day at home. I needed a couple of things from the store so we decided to walk. The kids rode their scooters. I love that Bryson is finally getting old enough to do these kinds of things! photo 2(1)In the evening we headed to Anthony’s in Edmonds. We enjoyed a Mother’s Day celebration with my mom’s side of the family. My mom grew up in Hong Kong and Taylin loves to hear stories of her childhood. Taylin always says, “Tell me a story of when you were a kid!” and my mom always has lots of fun stories to tell!

photo 1(2)So grateful for my mom and her special bond with my kids! They are lucky to have such an awesome grandma!