Saturday, April 26, 2014

pen pals

My nephew and I are pen pals. 

He lives in Virginia, and I live in Washington State. 

He is 6 (in a haf), and I am 33.

He loves me very much, but he also loves trains.

When we started writing back and forth, I gave him a bunch of pre-addressed envelopes. Now he can write out our address himself.

I am so very proud of him.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

mixer love

As a combined Christmas and Birthday present (thanks Irene, Mom & Dad!) I'm now the proud owner of a Kitchenaid stand mixer. The color is canopy green, and it mixes like a champ. I tried it out this week with two recipes: healthy oatmeal bars (I used semi-sweet and cinnamon chips), and my staple breakfast muffins. My parents sent me a pouring shield that helps keep the mess inside the mixer bowl (very useful for a messy person like myself).

A couple years ago I experimented with combining various muffin recipes to get something that was healthier, more filling, and used a limited number of measuring cups. At this point I can't remember which recipes I started with, but here's what I came up with:

(can sub applesauce, pureed pumpkin, etc for the oil and water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 0.5 cup vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups plain yogurt or milk
  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (can sub 0.5 cup wheat germ)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran (or oatmeal)
  • 1 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup sugar (I usually only use 0.5 cup these days)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 chopped granny smith apple
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves)

Baking Instructions:
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.
Makes two trays of jumbo sized muffins (12 total), or two trays of regular muffins (24 total).

I've saved some of those clam-shell containers from the grocery store that store 4 jumbo muffins, and I use them to store my muffins in the fridge (remember: no preservatives in these!). I prefer to bake the jumbo size muffins because one jumbo muffin is perfect for breakfast. I'll usually eat a hard-boiled egg with it and that lasts me through the morning until lunchtime.

Warning: these muffins have quite a bit of fiber in them!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April goals

My goals for 2014 are pretty simple: go outside, simplify inside, and celebrate the seasons.

In January I wanted to take a walk each week, clean out the ottoman, and finish our snowflake project. I cleaned out the ottoman the first week, and Joe and I together finished cutting and gluing the snowflake project. We still need to buy some inexpensive frames for the snowflakes.

In February I wanted to reacquaint myself with yogaclean off the top of both dressers, and finish Mason's long-overdue quilt. I finished Mason's quilt, and Joe & I cleaned out the top shelves of two closets instead of the dressers. I didn't do any yoga, but I went skiing twice.

In March I wanted to do yoga at least once each week, clean out and organize the dresser drawers & the bedroom closet, and dye spring eggs. I did some yoga and went on long walks, organized my side of the closet, and dyed eggs.

In April I hope to:
  • continue my weekly walks
    • 4/6 - 3 mile walk with Kristi
    • 4/13 - 4 mile walk with Kristi
  • clean out and organize storage