Monday, September 26, 2011

All things NEW!

Don't we all just LOVE new things!? I get SO excited every time they come out with something new, I just want to buy it immediately! This includes small things like new flavors of gum (I'm a sucker and even buy it when it's the same gum and new packaging!) a new outfit to wear for work, or the big things like new iphones, cameras, or computers! SO FUN! (By the way, has anyone seen the new iphone 5 yet? So curious what they can even come up with that's cooler than the iphone 4!). I LOVE trying new recipes (see below) or buying new things for our house!!


Something cool I've been thinking about (as my 7th grade bible class continues to ask a million questions about the end times and heaven!) is that in heaven, God says, ALL THINGS WILL BE NEW! Woo hooooo! This is SO exciting! Sometimes people think heaven is going to be boring, floating on clouds and playing a harp (although floating on clouds seems pretty AWESOME to me! Did you know Jesus' mode of transportation in heaven, according to scripture, is riding on clouds? I'll race ya when we get there!). Anyway, just something to think about.


2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.


Isaiah 65:17 Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.


Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”


EVERYTHING will be NEW! I cannot WAIT to see what he has in store for us; the Maker of creativity, the King of beauty! Colors we have never seen, streets of gold and a mansion awaits us!


In the meantime....
NEW things in my house!







Last week we got bedroom furniture! I have never before bought bedroom furniture so we researched for months. It is NOT cheap! But we found a good brand we love, great quality, and they delivered it and set it all up for us last week. When you get stuff online, you just never know, so we were a bit nervous, but Beautiful Rooms is great fine furniture company and we love our Cresent furniture. Here are some pics! The lighting isn't great, but we got 2 dressers (tall and wide), the sleigh bed set, and 2 night stands. We are such grown-ups now! (we'd been using old dorm furniture before).


That's not all! So yesterday was Sunday, which is a fun day for me to experiment with new recipes. Baking of course. I WAY prefer baking to cooking because I'd rather eat dessert than real food :) I made 3 different things for the first time and they all turned out to be DE.LI.CIOUS. So here ya go.


FIRST: I made blueberry raspberry scones for Kent and I to eat this week for breakfast!


Ingredients:


1 1/3 c oats
1 c oat flour
2/3 c wheat flour
1/3/c brown sugar
 1      Tbs baking powder
4       tsps ground golden flax
1/2    tsp ground cinnamon
1/2    tsp salt
8       Tbs (4 ounces) chilled butter
1/2    c heavy cream (I used nonfat half & half)
1       Large egg
1       Large egg yolk
1        C fresh blueberries & raspberries
Cooking spray
2         Tbs turbinado sugar to top it off

1. Preheat oven to 400`. Combine oats and dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender, or carefully with fingers, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Combine cream and next 2 ingredients in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Add cream mixture to dry ingredients; stir until combined. Add berries and gently stir to combine.

3. Form dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, using very lightly floured hands. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

4. Cut dough into 8 wedges, leaving room between to spread while baking without touching. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake at 400` for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.
Yield: 8 servings.

These are GLORIOUS! I found them on this website here.

NEXT: I made our own granola bars for a snack at school. GOODNESS they are WAY better than store bought granola bars!

CHEWY LOW FAT GRANOLA BARS
Ingredients:








  • 1 cup oat flour* (or 1 cup oats finely ground in food processor or blender)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350°; line a 9 x 9 baking pan with 2 long pieces of parchment paper, long enough to go up over the sides for easy removal. Lightly spray with oil.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

    In a large bowl, with a mixer cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed.

    Add the egg followed by the honey, applesauce and vanilla extract.
    Stir in the flour mixture, oats, and liquid mix until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the chocolate chips, raisins and nuts.

    Spoon oats onto prepared baking dish, flattening to make even. Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges. They will seem soft and undercooked, but once they cool they will set completely.
YUM! You will LOVE these! I just wrapped them up individually to throw in our lunch bags and when we both tried them at school today, we said we need to make these all the time!

Last but not least, the quickest and easiest to make:

Chocolate Cake cookies
Ingredients:
1 can pumpkin
1 box Pillsbury Sugar free Devil's food cake mix
1 c chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix together pumpkin, chocolate chips, and cake mix! 
That's IT! Bake for 12-15 minutes and ENJOY!

Well, that's what's new in the Austell house. We are eating well and enjoying life :). Hope you try some of these recipes!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Good weather, Good food, Good God!

I'm back! About to tell ya what's new in the Austell household. We are still LOVING the house God has blessed us with, loving our jobs (although still feeling clueless at times on how to teach these kids effectively), and are just THANKFUL for how God has provided in bringing us to this new city. The saddest thing besides leaving our favorite people in northwest Arkansas is not being a part of the craziness that is football season! Fayetteville is such a fun place to be when the Hogs are playing! Hardcore fans, cookouts, tailgates, excitement, and lots of people getting together. At least we now have cable and can watch the games on TV.


Anyway, two weekends ago, I drove to Dallas with my old roommate from Arkansas to a good friend's wedding. She married the perfect guy God had for her and it was SUCH a beautiful, honoring wedding; the Lord's presence was all over it. Then my parents came down to visit labor day weekend, and it was SO fun for them to see our place and be our guests, (as it has always been the other way around). Mom helped me make our house a little homier, with some plants and flower displays.
She put together this one which we put in our entryway.
<---------
Dad and Kent put some stuff up on the walls- kitchen curtains, this mirror, and they picked up this bench from hobby lobby for me for the entry way. I LOVE it!












It's FINALLY gotten cooler and there is a crispness in the air that I absolutely LOVE, meaning fall coming! Today was the perfect sunny day, 78 degrees with a cool breeze. I went for a run after work and then cooked up a dinner full of new recipes (from pinterest) for my husband and I. Whenever I cook a new recipe, it really does take me FOREVER. The dishes I made for dinner might not all go together exactly, but I've been wanting to try them for a long time, bought all the ingredients awhile ago and haven't had a chance!


So first I started on these:
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with baking spray and put in the cubed potatoes.
  3. Pour on the olive oil, garlic salt, salt, paprika, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Stir everything around until the seasonings coat each potato.
  4. Put the baking dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the potatoes with a pair of tongs (they will stick to the bottom), and put it in again for another 15-25 minutes til they are crispy.  Taken from here.
Next, I bought zucchini to either make zucchini bread or these baked zucchini chips. (I WILL be making zucchini bread soon!)

Baked Zucchini Chips




3 Zucchinis, rinsed
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Egg Whites
preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Slice zucchini as thinly as possible if you want them to be crispy.
2. Place on a paper towel for at least 10 minutes to let excess moisture drain.
3.Mix together all the dry ingredients. In a bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy.
4. Place the zucchini in the egg mixture, then coat in the bread crumb mixture.
5. Place on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Pull out the baking sheet and flip over the zucchini chips. Return to the oven for another 7 minutes.
Found at this website here.

Next time i'd make these with a pasta dish, because they would be SO good with some marinara sauce!

Anyway, we made some Tilapia with it, but like I said, it wasn't the best combination of dishes, but each one was DELISH! And I LOVE trying new things!

My new OBSESSION for dessert is this: 


No Bake - Graham Cracker cake:
Ingredients:
-2 boxes Sugar-free Vanilla Instant Pudding
- 2 Lg Box graham Crackers
-1 Lg Ready Whip/Cool Whip
-Chocolate Cake Icing. 
Directions:
Mix pudding as called for, add in cool whip after pudding is made. Mix well, layer pan with graham crackers, then pudding/cool whip mixture. Continue layers until pan is full. Last layer on top must be the graham crackers. Melt cake icing just enough to pour over top of last layer of graham crackers and let chill aprox 1 hour. Cut, serve, and enjoy!

Now this picture isn't really how it looks, the layers are vanilla (unless you wanted to do chocolate pudding!) and the top is chocolate frosting. But OH MY GOODNESS it is so yummy. 

SO: those are the latest greatest recipes I've discovered. 

Nothing else too exciting to report! READY FOR FRIDAY!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Labor day

Today it really DOES feel like fall! It's sunny, windy, and 69 degrees, people. BEAUTIFUL labor day and we just back from a long bike ride at Shelby Farms with our new friends, Emily & Andrew.

Of course on a day off work, I take the chance to try some MORE new recipes (that I found through Pinterest...see previous post!) Today, I had 3 over-ripe bananas to use up, and also half of huge can of pumpkin I had  leftover from the other pumpkin recipe I made. So, after researching a few options, I decided it best for everyone if I didn't try to combine the bananas WITH the pumpkin, but used two separate recipes. Here is what I came up with, and I'll let ya know how they turned out as soon as the timer goes off.
First recipe:

Banana Oat muffins (greenlitebites.com)
  •  3 mashed bananas (the more ripe the better!)
  • 1 cup vanilla Almond milk (you could use skim but you may want to add a little sweetener)
  • 2 eggs ( I used 'flax' eggs, each one is 1 Tbs flax mixed w/ 3 Tbs water. let sit)
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 3 cups (240g) Old Fashion or Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (42g) mini chocolate chips 
They smell delicious and will be ALL for me..since Kent doesn't do bananas. Too bad my parents just left this morning after a wonderful visit this weekend. Dad would have loved these for breakfast!

NEXT up: to use the leftover pumpkin... I wanted to try a new recipe although the one I used last week was fabulous. I stuck with the greenlitebites.com website and tweaked their 'Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal cookie' recipe. Here's what I used:

Vegan (no eggs) Pumpkin Oatmeal cookie


  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • 3/4 cups applesauce (183g)
  • 2 tbsp light syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp whole flaxseeds (20g) ground
  • 3 Tbs vanilla soy protein 
  • 1 cup either raisens OR chocolate chips
After trying these (they just came out of the oven), I realized they needed some MORE sugar to sweeten them up. I did half the batter raisens and 1/2 chocolate chips and again & the chocolate chips ones are WAY better because they add the sweetness needed. But they are delicious nonetheless, ESPECIALLY hot! Now these cookies are sort of crisp on top when they come right out of the oven which i LOVE, but whenever you use pumpkin and no oil or butter, they don't crisp up like normal cookies. Still, I'd make these again, and I do eat them for breakfast every morning =). 

Now, I have enough food to last me the next 3 weeks! Who wants to come over and help me eat these healthy sweet treats!?
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