Category Archives: Food

How to Make Baby Food in the Crock Pot

How did I not know that you can make baby food (without a bunch of mess!) in the crock pot?? Why didn’t someone tell me on kiddo #1, the child who ate gallons of purees?

Well, I want to save you from that sad, late realization.

How to Make Baby Food in the Crock Pot

This video is SO. FUNNY.

Because Emma.

Well… you’ll see.

If you didn’t watch – all you do is poke the veggies, wrap them in foil, and turn the crockpot on low! That’s it! Even with a full crockpot, my veggies were all done in 6.5 hours.

Make Baby Food in the Crock Pot

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino – Copycat Recipe

I am not a fan of keeping my appliances out on my counter – I’d rather have them all tucked neatly away. But in our house, the blender stays out and ready for use. We use it at least every other day. Often, we make smoothies with breakfast, and many a day I make a copycat frappuccino!

I’m telling you – these are simple, quick, and really do taste like the ones at the ‘bucks (of which I’m a huge fan)!

Today I’ll share my recipes (decaf and caffeinated) for the salted caramel mocha frappuccinos. Yum!

Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino (decaf version is different and shown below)

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 pouch Starbucks iced caramel VIA (if you like a big coffee punch and caffeine- use the whole thing)
  • 2 tbsp. instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch sea salt (optional)
  • whipped cream or topping (optional)
  • caramel sauce (like for ice cream – optional)
Starbucks salted caramel mocha frappuccino recipe

the caffeinated ingredients

Put the first 4 ingredients in the blender and blend (I told you it was easy!). Optionally, you may top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and a pinch of sea salt. (I actually make mine without, but go for it!)

Decaf version (until Starbucks comes out with a decaf version of iced caramel VIA which is unlikely)

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 pouch Starbucks decaf Italian Roast VIA
  • 2 Tbsp. chocolate pudding
  • 1 Tbsp. caramel syrup
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch sea salt (optional)
  • whipped cream or topping (optional)
  • caramel sauce (optional)

Put the first 5 ingredients in the blender and blend; top it if you like.

This makes me very happy.

Happy momma

Use Dyeing Easter Eggs to Learn Memory Verses

I have such fond memories of dyeing Easter Eggs with my family. We did it every single year without fail. My brothers and I got to choose our dye colors and write our names or put stickers on the eggs. My mom always made a ton, and then she made a giant jar of pickled eggs and beets (which are delicious and I miss them!).

Last week, Samuel and I dyed eggs for the first time. He loved standing on the chair and watching, dipping his fingers in the dye every time I turned my back. He got a big kick out of the tablets dissolving in the vinegar because they’re super fizzy. We used one of the kits from Paas that has the dye tablets, cups, egg dipper, and magic crayon.

Oh yes, you remember the magic crayon. You get to write your name or whatever you want on the egg before it’s dyed, and like magic, that part of the egg isn’t dyed at all, revealing your secret message. Such fun!

I didn’t look up where Easter eggs and the Biblical Easter (celebrating Christ’s resurrection) intersect, so I just made up my own illustration. I told Samuel that eggs symbolize life, and we’re celebrating that Jesus rose from the dead – He’s alive! So we’re coloring eggs to celebrate!

We decided to focus our magic crayon messages on the gospel, too. For example, we wrote words on the eggs that were sort of color-coded to the Gospel Fuzzies song (this isn’t the exact rendition we use, but kids love this and Samuel knows what all the colors mean – at 2!). So the green egg says “Growing,” gold says, “Heaven,” and so on.

In the middle of dyeing eggs, I had the idea to use them when practicing our memory verses! Brad started teaching Samuel some Scripture – and it’s such a great idea, even at 2. Those little spongy minds can learn anything, and Samuel is into it. He loves anything having to do with “Bible verses,” as he says.

So on a couple of eggs, I wrote the Scripture references we have been working on. Later on, when he gets to choose an egg to “eat” (or just unpeel as the case may be), we have to say the memory verse first.

By the way, my eggs are brown eggs, so that’s why the colors turned out all vintage-y looking. Don’t they look fab!? I didn’t know if they would color at all. I feel so accidental-Martha-Stewart.

What fun ways are you incorporating the gospel into your Easter eggs, baskets, and candies? I need some more ideas!

A Lesson From Ginger Scones

I’d love to hear if anyone has tried my tips on organizing a baking day!

One of the recipes I made that day was Ginger Scones. I first had them at a little tea shop here in Austin called The Steeping Room. They were so to-die-for that I came home and looked up a recipe… which of course ended up being on epicurious – a gourmet foodie magazine.

I had never made scones from scratch before, so I didn’t know what to expect. It looked a little complicated but I figured – it’s just a recipe!

If you’ve ever made scones by hand, you know something I didn’t know then:

In the middle of your work, you think you are failing.

Let me show you what I mean.

In the recipe, you combine butter with dry ingredients, make a well, and pour in whipping cream:

Scone dough making a wellThen, you combine the dough by hand, and turn it onto a surface to start kneading. Except that the dough is so crumbly, you think – this will never stick together and make a scone! It looks like this:

Scone dough crumbly stageHere’s why (I think): your butter is cold when you make dough. In fact, I recommend freezing it – after cutting it into little pieces – and food processing it frozen.

Your hands have to keep working the dough until the butter melts just enough to stick to the dry ingredients. The heat from your hands and your perseverance turn the dough into this:

scone dough formingAnd this:

Scones slicedAnd this:

Ginger Scones::slobber::

Do you get where I’m going with this?

You have to keep working and move past the failure to get to the success.

I love that!

Head and Helper in Marriage: Who is the Sous Chef?

I am leading a Biblical Womanhood group right now, and we’ve been fleshing out what Genesis – and the rest of the Bible – have to say about how God designed us as men or designed us as women.

We’ve talked about how the genders are designed with equal value, and we are both given the task of loving and leading creation by creating more people who believe in Jesus. All of this with the help of God Himself, of course.

But there was an order in creation – Adam was created, and then Eve. Not only that, but Scripture is clear that even though Eve, the woman, was deceived in the garden, God holds Adam responsible for not stepping up to the plate and leading his partner and himself away from Satan’s temptation (Genesis 3:8-9).

1 Corinthians 11:3 explicity says, “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (NIV). But we don’t know what this word “head” means! We think of “head” and our mind races to ways women have been treated unfairly. So we cry NO! I want no head! I want equality!

But notice that Christ Himself submits perfectly to the Father in the Trinity. This headship is not inherently a bad thing. It is simply the structure of relationships that God chose to use, in His perfect wisdom. Once we pervert it with sin, then it becomes something treacherous, something that God did not intend.

While God made Adam the head, Eve was created as the helper. And notice that the Holy Spirit is also called our Helper (John 14:16-17). This helpership is not inherently a bad thing. But again, I think we misunderstand it.

I have only touched on this sensitive concept, but I want to use an example to illustrate how we do not know what headship and helpership is.

In our Biblical Womanhood group, a friend said that when her and her husband are doing something together, if she’s better at the task, she sometimes wonders if she’s doing the wrong thing by doing more of the work or having more of the ideas, etc.

And I would say NO! God designed each of us with strengths and weaknesses, and they often compliment the strengths and weaknesses of our spouse! So you and your spouse as a team should come up with how that works itself out. If your husband is better at cooking, and you, as a team, decide that he’s going to lead in that – awesome! If your wife is better with the finances, and you, as a team, decide she’s going to roll with that – awesome!

To the women, I would say make sure you’re giving your husband the room to lead. To the men, I would say make sure you’re leading! When something is out of whack in your home, it’s your job to take the initiative.

I have a personal example, too. 😉 Brad, my husband, while he can cook, cannot plan to cook. If he made our meals, he would go to the grocery store before each one, get the groceries, then come home and cook. This would be a little bit challenging for a family who is always on the go!

So while I was having my baking day, I asked if he wouldn’t mind being my sous chef for a bit. He very happily filled the role for me, chopping candied ginger, strawberries, and butter. Just look what he did for me!

Not only did he help me, but he actually got to play the knight in shining armor because cutting candied ginger is a pain!

Bottom line: we have a lot of emotion attached to the words “head” and “helper” – but if we fill the roles as God intended, we will be an example to the world. An example of how God loves us through Jesus:

…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27, NIV)

How to Organize a Baking Day

Have you ever heard of a baking day? Ever wanted to try one? A baking day is when you plan on making several recipes in several hours so that you can freeze and prep food for the future.

And…it’s also an excuse to sample all of your amazing eats. 😉

I managed to squeeze in an afternoon of baking this past Saturday, and you’ll get to see my delicious results below. Also, if you’ve never held your own baking day, I’ll sprinkle my tips on how to organize a baking day throughout this post. The tips will be in bold. 🙂

Decide how you’re going to plan.

Most people would say to plan, plan, plan for baking day. To me, that just makes me anxious about all of the time on my feet … and it makes me much less likely to do it! Instead, I like to make a last-minute “let’s have a baking day” decision! It’s based on the sales for that week, if I have a need to put away baked goods, and whether we actually have a weekend day free (pshaw! very rare!).

Only plan baking day when your most expensive ingredients are on sale.

When I plan baking day, it’s because I want to make yummy treats like muffins, scones, breads, etc. Usually, my baked goods have berries! And berries are very expensive, so I wait for my favorite local grocer, Sprouts, to have a berry blowout sale. They’ll put three types of berries on sale for only $1.50/unit! That’s a steal! And perfect for baking day. If you find a deal like this but can’t do a baking day, pop those jewels in the freezer for next time. Except raspberries. I find they are bitter once thawed.

The other items you really want to get on sale are butter and whipping cream. I usually stock up on butter when it’s on sale, so I usually am not lacking there. Whipping cream is much harder to find on special, so I usually just get it for full price. However, did you know that you can freeze whipping cream? Yes! Unless you want to actually whip it after freezing, you can freeze it for use later. So here’s what I do: buy whipping cream when it’s on dairy clearance and stock some in the freezer. I really lucked out and found some clearanced for my impromptu baking day: organic whipping cream for $1.50 – another steal! I bought one to use and one to pop in the freezer.

Other baking ingredients, such as flour, sugar, baking powder, etc., are relatively inexpensive, but if you can find them on sale, go for it.

Once you have your grocery steals, make a list of the recipes you want to make. I usually keep mine all over the Internets, but guess where my list is now!? Pinterest of course! Here is a board of some of my favorite baking day recipes, and I will keep adding to it. While you’re there, follow me and I’ll follow you back. 😉

I don’t always manage to do this, but it’s a good idea to look at your recipes and check how much you need of your staples:

  • butter
  • milk
  • eggs

Since these are ingredients you likely have on hand, you might not have as much as you think, and it will be a bummer to interrupt your baking mojo to run to the store. Or does this only happen to me!?

Plan for childcare.

Once my husband was done with work on Saturday morning, I turned to him and asked, “Would you mind if I did a baking day this afternoon?” (Do you like how I gave him a lot of warning!?)

He knows that means he is on childcare duty because mama cannot be interrupted while baking. 🙂 And he was happy to oblige because he benefits from all that hard work! (Thanks, babe.)

Put all of your main baking ingredients on one counter. You will go back and forth and don’t want to go in and out of the pantry.

Think about the order of the recipes. For example, I used the bread machine for one of my recipes, and it takes 1.5 hours to mix the dough and let it rise – but the machine does all of the work of course. That was my first task. Also, I planned to do two muffin recipes as well as scones, so I ordered the recipes muffins, scones, muffins, scones. That way, I left time for pans to cool and be washed, if necessary (maybe it’s gross, but I reuse my baking pans without washing, if possible!)

Which reminds me, get parchment paper! I didn’t do this, but wish I had this time. Not only because I don’t like washing dishes while baking, but also because berries get sticky when cooked and are stubborn to wash off.

Clear off counters and tables that can be used to prep, but also cool, the baked goods.

Get all of your measuring devices, bowls, mixer, food processor, etc. out and get started!

The recipes I made this time around were:

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

(These are unbaked because I freeze them – delicious!)

Blueberry Cream Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Drop Scones

Strawberry Muffins

Ginger Scones – my absolute favorite!!

My last tip is about storage. If you want to freeze your goodies, double-wrap them in saran wrap, cover in foil, then put in a ziploc bag. Yup – it’s overkill, but they will actually stay fresh this way!

My freezer (and tummy) are now overflowing with yumminess!

Have you ever had a baking day? What do you like to make?

If you liked this post, subscribe by clicking here. You’ll get every candid article delivered to your inbox or reader!

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!