A Rainbow with Sprinkles Weekend

A Rainbow with Sprinkles Weekend

In case you haven’t heard, we have had a little bit of rain around here lately.  Thankfully our home hasn’t floated away and since the weather app says no more storms this week I feel safe in saying we don’t need to buy that boat.

Normally I like to sum up our weekend in a simple theme for y’all, to make it easy to follow.  But this past 2 days was so all over the place that it can’t even be gathered in my brain.  Between the big party my kids had that lasted much later than James or I expected, to my drive to Austin, to the weird audiobook I listened to…and that’s just Saturday, Sunday had its own share of busyness, I can’t give it a theme.  Unless we want to call it “rainbow with sprinkles“.

That’s what it was….every color of activity and emotion and then some extras.


Photo Credit Sweet Bake Shop

My drive to Austin on Saturday was excellent.  Did I tell you that I got a new (3 years old but new to me) car?!  Yep.  It’s such a blessing!!  I drove it to Austin as my first big outing in it and felt so low to the ground.  After driving only a minivan or 15-passenger van for the past 17 years, it feels weird to be cruising around in a regular sized vehicle again.  It’s like a Mom-graduation-present.

“Here are the keys to your car that only fits 5 people.  Congratulations!  You are on the downhill slide and next thing you know you will only be paying for 2 meals when you go out to eat.”

But I can’t start counting that extra money yet.  I still have 4 kids in homeschool and a long way to go. #worthit

On Saturday I had an audiobook ready for when I got tired and about an hour into the drive I turned it on.  It was, let’s just say, not keeping me awake {{yawn}}.  So I turned it off and went back to jammin’ with TobyMac.  He will definitely keep you awake!

For the drive home I decided to download a different audiobook and it was so much better!  The first was a children’s story  that I was going to check out for my boys and the second was a success-in-business type of book.  You’d think the second would have been the most boring, but the narrator was so good and the author tossed in a bunch of surprise funny lines and it kept my attention.  PLUS it inspired me in several ways with my business.  SCORE!

I got home from Austin around 6:30 and my kids’ big party was still in full swing.  James and I took our youngest out to dinner and when we got home at 9:00…yep….the party was still going.  It gave me flashbacks of my own young adult parties and seeing my parents slip up the stairs and go to bed long before my friends went home.  I never knew how nerve wracking that must have been for them until last Saturday night when a houseful of “kids” (who probably wouldn’t want to be called kids) were here.  James and I sat in our bedroom in the recliners trying to stay awake, but we just couldn’t.  Our old age and full day got the better of us and we gave up and went to bed long before the party ended.

OK kids, you win.  Mom and Dad can’t outlast you anymore.  That may seem like good news to you now, but it’s only a few years from us needing you to buy Ensure and show us how to change the channel every half hour.  Don’t get too excited.

On Sunday after church I had a nice, long nap then worked on some final edits for my book.  Afterward I made the mistake of watching “Little Women”, which, as you would expect, made me cry buckets for an hour.  Why-Oh-WHY can’t they all just be together?!

Although it may not be just the sweetness of Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy that got to me.  These days tears seem to be right below the surface and I have myself a little cry at least once a day.  It’s usually over something sweet and the gratitude I feel, but once in a while I tear up because a crowd of 20-somethings are in my living room at midnight.  OK, I didn’t actually cry over that because I was sound asleep at midnight.  I can’t pull anything over on y’all.

Looking back, my rainbow sprinkle weekend was great.  Our home is intact, our family is still strong, I got to drive my new-to-me car, I learned some business stuff and I have a boring audiobook to give to my kids.  (and if I wasn’t off of sugar I would be wanting a slice of that gorgeous cake in the photo above!)

Thanks for stopping by!


Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs

Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs

A few years ago I shared my friend Martha’s great recipe for pretzel dogs.  These have become a family favorite and we make them every year on July 4th.

Today I will be serving these delicious dogs, but with a twist.  Get it?  Twist….pretzels….

Since I have several gluten-free kids now, I have converted the recipe to GF for a treat for them and the rest of the family still likes them.  I buy gluten-free flour at Costco and it is a little bit sweet, and not our favorite for everything.  But it is really good for these dogs.

Gluten-free pretzel dogs!

Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs
1 Tablespoon SAF Yeast (I love this yeast!)
1¼ cups warm water
½ cup brown sugar
3.5-4.5 cups GF flour flour
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups water
Butter for brushing, melted

1 pkg Oscar Meyer Selects Black Angus Hot Dogs (I learned that from Martha!)
parchment paper

I use a Bosch or KitchenAid to mix my dough.  Put the yeast into the warm water, add the sugar and mix for just a sec.  Then add the flour and salt.  Knead for 8 minutes then let rest for 20 minutes.  Then punch it down and divide it into 10 sections.  Roll each section into a “snake” and wrap it around the dogs.  Dip each wrapped dog into a mix of water and baking soda.  Bake on parchment paper for 400° for 12-15 minutes.

These stick to the parchment so pull them off as soon as you can touch them.  The longer they cool the harder they are to get off.  If you have a silicone mat they won’t stick to that as much.

You can replace the GF flour with all purpose flour of you don’t need gluten-free.

Now just sit and watch your family enjoy them!


Essentially Summer and Some Guacamole!

Essentially Summer and Some Guacamole!

It’s time to get this summer started with some recipes for fun ways to use your essential oils.  I have been so excited to read all of the recipes in this series that I almost bought myself a hula skirt!  And if you’re here from Tamara’s place….aloha!

My all time favorite summer treat is guacamole.  I’d eat it every day if I could!

An amazing guacamole recipe using essential oils plus link through to 35 summer essential oil recipes!!!

Last year I went to a restaurant that served tableside guacamole which was possibly the best thing I have ever tasted.  I watched them make it….made mental notes of the ingredients and went home to try to make my own.

If you follow me much, you know I am not a great recipe creator.  I’m more of a burn-it-and-forget-the-salt kind of cook.  But I figured, what’s the worst that could happen?  I’d have to eat some less than perfect guacamole?!  I was willing to risk it.

I like things simple, so this is what I came up with….

An amazing guacamole recipe using essential oils plus link through to 35 summer essential oil recipes!!!

2-3 ripe avocados
1/4 c diced red onion
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c chopped tomato
garlic powder to taste
sea salt to taste
Young Living Lime Oil (4-6 drops)
Young Living Orange Oil (3-4 drops)

Here are the instructions….ready?  Mix it all together.  There.  Bam!

Now, I don’t really like tomatoes so I left those out of mine.  But the essential oils add such a wonderful kick….you will love it!  And any of it can be adjusted to your liking.  I like to keep the avocado the star so the flavor doesn’t get lost, but if you love garlic or onion….go ahead and play with it!

An amazing guacamole recipe using essential oils plus link through to 35 summer essential oil recipes!!!

Now you know since I’ve been on my weight loss journey (83# lost so far!) I don’t eat chips, so I added a dollop of this deliciousness to my fajita salad.  And I may have eaten a few extra bites right out of the bowl.  With a spoon.  I can’t stop.

An amazing guacamole recipe using essential oils plus link through to 35 summer essential oil recipes!!!

I hope you’ll try the oils…..they really bring out the flavor of the avocado, which in my opinion, is God’s perfect food.

So, are you ready to jump into this wonderful world of caring for your family with Young Living essential oils?!  The time is now!  Click HERE to learn more or contact the person who introduced you to the “Essentially Summer” blog recipe series!

Next up is my good friend Jenn from 4tunate!

Be sure to check out all of the posts in the “Essentially Summer” blogger recipe series by clicking HERE and reading through all of them!  And thanks to the wonderful Myra for hosting this!

Essentially Summer series of recipes using essential oils!

My Weight Loss Journey: What I Eat for Breakfast

My Weight Loss Journey: What I Eat for Breakfast

I told you last week that I have lost 75 pounds so far on this weight loss journey that I started last summer.  It’s been a great experience and I have learned so much about myself and my body, but I still have a long way to go.

Truthfully, I think it’s a lifelong journey.  There’s always a new layer of experience waiting to be had.

Can I get an amen?

Lately I have stalled a bit.  I’m still eating what I am supposed to and doing my daily exercising.  But I have traveled a lot and not been home as much and it’s been harder to really know what is going into my food.  Eating out can be a killer on the diet.  And I think travel does weird things to my metabolism.

Anyway, I am still at about 75#, alright maybe 75 1/2# lost.  But that’s OK because I am still doing everything I am supposed to.  I haven’t lost my drive to stick with it.

One of the things I notice makes a huge difference is what I eat for breakfast.  When I eat a good, protein rich breakfast I get a better start, have less cravings the rest of the day and more energy.

what I eat for breakfast

Before this diet I would eat cereal or toast for breakfast.  I always had a slight stomach ache and I never knew why.  Well now I know it was the breakfast I was eating because as soon as I started eating just protein and berries that stopped.  And I used to drag, but now I have energy to last me well into the rest of the day.

I have several quick options for breakfast.

1. Omelet and blueberries (I put a little chopped up turkey bacon and some grated parmesan cheese, maybe spinach or and mushroom, in my omelet)
2. Hard boiled eggs with slices of turkey bacon and strawberries
3. Plain yogurt with blueberries and cinnamon (this took some getting used to but I like it now)
4. Protein shake (if I’m in a hurry I drink a powdered protein shake mix with almond milk and a little PB2)
5. Scrambled eggs with sprouts and chives

I really don’t need a huge variety of options.  I’m a simple girl and I’m happy with a variation of any of these.  My diet doesn’t allow dairy (except a tiny bit of dry cheese) except yogurt or fruit except berries.  That makes my choices limited, but still tasty and satisfying.

I notice if I skip breakfast I am more likely to have out of control cravings and be more fussy.  So even though I generally don’t feel hungry in the mornings I always get some protein in.

Like my momma always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Be sure to follow me along on Instagram where I share daily updates on my exercise and meals.

Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

In my Taco Soup recipe (which I made last weekend and will make again this coming weekend because I can’t live without it) I mentioned that we make our own taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.  So I thought today I’d share with you how we make those.  It’s so easy and you can be confident that you know exactly what is in your mixes!

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed, dried red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of paprika

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in cool, dry place in an airtight container.

This makes one “packet.”  I usually make a huge batch and keep it ready to use.  We make taco meat several times a week, so it goes pretty quickly.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix:

1/2 C dry buttermilk
1 TBSP crushed, dried parsley
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender until mixed well.  Store in a fridge in an airtight container.  One heaping tablespoon makes a “packet” of ranch dressing mix.  Again, I make up a lot at once and use it often.  I often add fresh chives when I am ready to use it.  It’s great for not only the Taco Soup, but mixed with yogurt for a quick salad dressing, rubbed on chicken for baking, added to mashed potatoes….yum!

It’s so easy and with some of us sensitive to gluten and all of us trying to avoid msg we like to make our own as much as possible.

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Lisa’s Energy Bars

Lisa’s Energy Bars

So after last week’s granola recipe, I’m sure you’ve been waiting by your computer for this one.  You won’t be sorry, this is a good recipe.

When the kids were all little I needed a way to feed them something quick and affordable in the car.  I hated the Goldfish crumbs and petrified french fries I’d find on the floor in the back of my super cool mini-van.  So I messed around with recipes and finally came up with this, which everybody loves!

Now I want to say up front, it has sugar in it, so I’m not claiming them as healthy.  But you have control over the amounts and it’s something worth playing around with if you need good snacks for the kids.

Lisa’s Energy Bars

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 C peanut butter
3 1/2 C granola
1/2 C peanuts

In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until blended.  Add granola and peanuts and stir to coat.  Press into a buttered 9″ square pan and allow to cool.  Cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

That’s it…easy easy easy.  And it’s great to take for an addition to a meal you take to a sick friend or recently had a baby.  These are perfect for breakfast, snack or lunch.


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Simple Homemade Granola

Simple Homemade Granola

I very, very rarely post a recipe on here because, well, let’s just say if you ate my cooking you would not be asking me for recipes.  It’s all about burning food and underseasoning at my house.

But when I make meals for friends I often send along my homemade energy bars and then I get requests for the recipe.  I mean every time.  My friends are all, “What’s that recipe Lisa?!” and “I have GOT to have the energy bar recipe” or “I shared these with my mom and she’s threatening me to get the recipe or she’s taking me out of the will!”

But the problem is, I can’t give you the energy bar recipe without first telling you how we make the granola that is the main ingredient of the energy bars.  I think using homemade granola makes the bars so much better than using store bought granola (although you could!).

So today the granola recipe, then next week I’ll give you the energy bar recipe then I will go back to my regular stuff that is mostly useless information.

Lisa’s Homemade Granola

I try to use the freshest ingredients possible.  I buy my nuts in bulk and freeze them so I can get a better price.

1/2 C honey
1/2 C oil
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
8 C oats (whatever kind you like)
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C chopped almonds
1/2 C chopped cashews
1/2 C chopped pecans

You can add dried fruit, or anything else you like in your granola.  Just keep the proportions the same.  So if you add 1/2 C raisins then take out 1/2 cup of nuts.  If we only have cashews, we just make it with lots of cashews…it’s very flexible.  Unlike me.

In a microwave safe bowl mix honey and oil then heat in microwave for 30 seconds.  Then add in cinnamon and vanilla, stir.

In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients.  Then drizzle on the oil/honey mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated.  Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and bake at 300° for 30 minutes.  HERE IS THE KEY: stir well every 7-10 minutes to keep it from burning around the edges.

And oh your house will smell amazing!  As soon as it’s out of the oven my kids come running for a taste.  You can keep it in an airtight container for about 5 days, but ours never lasts that long. Not only do we use this in our energy bars, but we also eat it just like it is or over yogurt.  You will love this stuff!

Stay tuned next week for the energy bar recipe.

Happy eating!

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Finally I Make Great Turkey Gravy!

Finally I Make Great Turkey Gravy!

I have mentioned before, I’m not the best cook.  I just don’t have the touch.  I have a few really good recipes that we make over and over and over.  No real variety going on here.

The worst thing I make….the absolute worst….is gravy.  I just can’t do it.  It always turns out lumpy and flavorless and most of the time it has a slight burned taste.  I tried lots of tips and tricks but I just couldn’t master it.

I used to get really tense when the clock started ticking down to Thanksgiving.  I can handle most of the meal.  The meat is tender, the mashed potatoes are delicious, but I couldn’t get the gravy right.  I finally decided to try a mix and add a little of my own twist to it.  Guess what!  No lumps, great flavor.  I was sold.  What took me so long?!

When McCormick gave me the chance to tell you about their Turkey Gravy Mix, I knew it was perfect.  I already swear by it!

I like to use the mix as kind of a base instead of just following the directions on the package.  (You’ll be glad to know it has natural spices, no artificial flavors and no MSG!)  My favorite way to use it is following this recipe on the McCormick website and I usually add some sage or thyme.  To give you a hint, you combine the mix with flour and add a little bit of the pan drippings from the turkey when add the water.  It makes the gravy taste homemade and seriously, NO LUMPS!

I mixed some up last night so I could try it again before the big day next week.  My kids were thrilled.  They love Thanksgiving, so this little pre-turkey-day practice meal was a special treat.

Just so you know, last year we had a crowd for Thanksgiving and I got plenty of compliments on my gravy.  I’m definitely planning to use the same recipe again this year.

If you need an easy gravy for this Thanksgiving, try the McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix.  It’s so easy to add a little extra seasoning to make it just the way you like it.

And as if easy gravy wasn’t enough to get excited about….McCormick is going to let me give one of YOU an awesome prize!  One of you will win a Le Crueset Gravy Boat, Le Crueset Condiment Ladle and a $50 Crate and Barrel gift card.  It’s worth $75….Woohoo!

The giveaway ends on Sunday at midnight and you can earn up to 7 entries…..good luck!

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I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network.  Mom It Forward and McCormick partnered in support of this campaign.  McCormick compensated me for my participation, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

Pinterest Friday Numero Cinco

Pinterest Friday Numero Cinco

I’m so delighted with myself this week.  I finally got some pumpkins for my front porch; my life is complete.

Speaking of pumpkins, this picture I found on Pinterest makes me feel all warm and cozy.

Don’t you just want to skip down that pumpkin-lined lane and see what is at the other end?  In a perfect world there’s pie.

Or maybe this is at the end….

This photo came from a book called, “Romantic Prairie Style.”  I was so happy to discover it came from a book.  If this was a real person’s porch I would feel completely inadequate.

One of my favorite pins of the week is this list of homemade Christmas gift ideas.  It’s 101 tutorials for gift ideas including these darling linen napkins.

My recipe for the week….chocolate.

Mississippi Mud Pie.  I still have to say the elementary school chant when I spell that.  M-I-crookedletter-crookedletter-I-crookedletter-crookedletter-I-humpback-humpback-I.

Last is my favorite saying of the week.


If you want an invite to Pinterest let me know.  I’d be thrilled to send you one!


Pinterest Friday Numero Quatro

Yesterday I went into Pinterest to discover they had made some changes.  It’s just small things like moving buttons and tabs.  I hope they don’t go all Facebook on me and switch everything around.  I get confused easily.

This week on I found a bunch of things my kids would love.  Since I have 9 Christmas stockings to fill I’ve been on a hunt for cheap, easy things I can make myself.  I am going to make some of these for my boys.

Squishy balloons.  They are filled with Playdough.  Genius, right?

While we’re on subject of things for kids, here’s a great idea for a surprise lunch.  I probably won’t put these in their Christmas stockings though.

I’ve also been focused on fall decorating ideas.  I love this simple and inexpensive jar filler with a candle.

I can’t get through a Pinterest Friday without sharing a recipe.  My number one I-might-actually-try-this recipe of the week has to be this brownie.  Just the picture makes me swoon.

And I can never leave you without one of the simple sayings that I love so much.  This one is from an etsy shop called VinylLettering.

If you want a Pinterest invitation let me know.  I’ll be happy to send you one!

Have a great weekend.