Friday, August 31, 2012

Duluth Through My Lens

I finally downloaded all of my photos from our Duluth trip that the Hubs took me on in the beginning of August to celebrate our anniversary. We spent most of our time walking down by the lift bridge, people watching and boat watching.

The Beautiful Lift Bridge 
Duluth, Minnesota  

Looking back at Duluth as 
the sun is setting for the evening

The Hubs made me get out from behind the camera

  One of the lighthouses at the end of the jetty

Loving the golden sunshine with my seagull friends

Watching a 1000+ foot ship come through the canal

 The view from our hotel room
of a very cool old building in downtown Duluth

Lake Superior
Duluth, Minnesota

Thursday, August 30, 2012

PF Changs Wanna-Be

I love PF Changs lettuce wraps. I would order 3 whole orders for them just for my meal if I could, but all of their food is so good that I usually just settle for 1 order. I've wanted to find a gluten free version that I can do at home. I know they sell the PF Changs dinners at the store (check out your local Target), but those are NOT gluten free and I cannot have those without seriously regretting consuming some of their delicious lettuce wraps later on. SO! I decided to use what I had and make my own lettuce wraps.

First, before I started anything else, I took an entire head of lettuce and peeled off entire lettuce leafs. I then rinse each leaf individually in cold water, shook them off and then put on a dinner plate and put into the fridge. This makes them delicious and crisp.

Second, I moved onto the filling for my wraps. I browned some beef (You could do shredded chicken or any other meat you have around, or even just go meat-less and do all veggies).

Third, while the beef was browning, I grabbed all the veggies I could find- most of which came from our own garden.  Including:

Cut them all up into smaller than bite size portions and sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and bit of garlic. (Cooking side note - you should only ever use about a cap sized portion when you're cooking with any type of oil. That's typically all you'll need since it goes a long way!). 

Fourth, I went back to the browned beef and drained all of the extra water/fat that had come off of the beef when I was browning it. I then added a bit of an organic tropical sauce that I buy at Trader Joes (and of course cannot remember the name right now!).

Once everything was done cooking, I kept the meat and veggies separate so that the Hubs and I could build our lettuce wraps however we wanted. We sat down and enjoyed a fabulous meal! It was a different taste from PF Changs, but I got my lettuce wraps! I also shredded some lettuce (in other words, it didn't peel off of the head of lettuce nicely) and we had salads with the extra vegetables. It was fantastic, healthy & most of it was straight from our garden.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

God is Good. All the Time.

The Hubs wrote out his story a while back. You can read it here: His Story. He shared his heart, where he has come from and he shared where he hoped he was going. In the past 3 years since he's graduated, I've shared about how the roads been hard. There's been a lot of ups and a number of downs, something that comes with doing life together. Yet, despite all of that, together we've stuck to the motto that God is good. All the time.

Well, once again, we've been blessed. For those who have been praying as we've been on the journey, thank-you! The Hubs is currently working through his training for a police department in the area. He is a not a full-fledged police officer, but instead he's kind of a police-officer-in-training.

So what does this mean? He is going to have the experience and training needed for a future job in law enforcement. He is going to school to have the education required for a job in law enforcement. AND in the meantime, he's also taking firefighter classes and enjoying being a volunteer firefighter. All of THAT put together means that God has once again provided. He provided a job that the Hubs' is passionate about. He provided financially. He provided in so many ways that we're just so thankful.

To those who've been with us on this journey, thanks for praying. But don't stop... sometimes the Hubs' jobs, both with firefighting and in a police department, can be dangerous. He has a lot of studying and learning in the next year. He has a lot of potentially dangerous situations that he'll be in. I have a lot of supporting to do and a lot of prayers to say. But, we're thankful for where God is taking us and using us in ways that only he can do. God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zucchini Pizza Bites

These are the easiest things to make ever. Ever.

Cut up zucchuni into thin slices. 

Lay the slices on a greased cookie sheet covered with tin foil 
(it makes the clean-up easier). 

Broil on high for 2-3 minutes on each side 
(careful when you flip them, they are super hot!).

Add pizza sauce & a bit of cheese on each zucchini slice.

Pop them back in the oven and broil until the cheese turned a golden brown.

Enjoy while they are still hot!

Let's Chat A While

The urge to write has been growing in the back of mind with such a strong sense of urgency, I can't ignore it. Life has been busy. What's new, right? It seems like everyone's lives have been crazy busy this summer. Always filled with good things and good intentions, busyness creeps up in such a way unless you close your eyes and take a deep breath, you can get swept away in such a whirlwind before you even realize it. I've promised myself since I first started blogging over a year ago (crazy how time flies, hey?), that I would not get worked up, stressed out or all hot and and bothered about writing when life got busy. Writing is one of the few things that gives me a simple sense of satisfaction like few other things do. The idea of being able to create by only using words is an amazing thing. Something that I love to do.

Despite the desire to write, nothing incredible pertinent has been needing to escape. Yet, I want to write. i want to express myself.

Alas, I'll just show you what we've been up to lately.... 

The Hubs surprised me with a trip to Duluth for our anniversary. 
Complete with arranging for me to miss a day of work! What a man!

We went to the Minnesota State Fair, which puts every single fair and rodeo to complete shame. Millions of people pour of the woodwork to enjoy incredible food (a lot of which you can find "on a stick"), see fun shows like the lumberjacks, and enjoy all of the cool stuff Minnesota has to offer. This is my third year going and each year the gluten free options have improved exponentially. This year, they had a delicious hot dog with a gluten free bun. It was to-die-for-awesomeness. So good. I also got to see cows, baby bitty piggies being born & a horse show, which is always a good day in my book.

As I'm sure you are dying to know, Remington is doing wonderful. He's over a year and a half and such a great dog. He's become quite the snuggler and sometimes even sneaks into my bed when the Hubs is working late. Just don't tell the Husband.

My gardens have taken off. I have sunflowers with incredible rich red and golden yellow hues. My morning glories are taller than our farmhouse and the back garden is humming with birds, bees and hummingbirds. It's a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the scenery, especially right now as summer begins to wind down.

So... that's a quite catch up with us. Life's been busy, but filled lots of good things. Lot's of enjoying the beautiful Minnesota we live in, going camping, gardening, baking and hanging out with some of our favorite people. Summer has flown by and school is around the corner which is nutso. 

How've you been?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

Baking gluten free always comes with challenges... baking bread is a big one. Often times, my bread (or any cake or muffin) won't cook the whole way through. This way of cooking may have just changed my life. My bread was cooked the whole way through and didn't crumble apart like it had been cooked too long. This pumpkin bread was fantastic!

1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin
1 1/2 cup of pamela's pancake & baking flour flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tbsp. xanthum gum
1 tsp. baking soda

1. Blend all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Pour the batter into a greased bread pan (make sure you're bread pan fits in the crockpot!)
3. Put 2 cups of water into the crockpot.
4. Place bread pan into crockpot.
5. Cover the top of the crockpot with 8-10 paper towels & the crockpot lid on top of the papertowels.
6. Bake on high for 2.5 - 3 hours.

* I let mine cool a bit before I served it which helped it stay together better.
* I took some to work the next morning and it tasted even better than the night before!

Even Remington tried to get in on the delicious-nous... 

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