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  • Five Minute Friday: Pattern

    A pattern is something that can be followed, memorized, repeated. There are so many ways we can follow patterns in life. Crocheting, knitting, sewing, crafts, laying tile, building, decorating, etc. God uses patterns in His creation. There can also be patterns of behavior, good or bad. We develop patterns of behavior in our lives from the time we are small and carry them with us to adulthood. Hopefully the good patterns have been cultivated and the bad patterns have been weeded out. Most of us will have patterns we need to break. When we bring those bad patterns to God He is faithful and will help us break the bad patterns and cultivate the good. (Written for Five Minute Friday, prompt: Pattern. Set a timer for 5 minutes, start writing and stop when the timer goes off.) My Podcast: www.gritandgracepodcast.com Follow on Instagram: www.instagram.com/the.grit.and.grace.podcast Available on Spotify, Apple, Google and iHeart podcasts.

  • The animals in my yard, Part 1

    Today I watched him run up the crab apple and plum trees in the front yard. Nothing left of them but their skeletons. He still climbs them, I assume, looking for any last bits of the late summer fruit. You would think he would know by now it's a futile endeavor. Even the deer know and don't come through the yard as often. I first spotted him as a baby last spring. He was under my car in the driveway. He was so tiny I mistook him for a mouse. His tail gave him away. I worried he wouldn't survive being so tiny and on his own. And yet he had a tenacity that showed he was a lot tougher than he looked. Almost on a daily basis I can see his fluffy, little tail swish back and forth out my front window. His little nose sniffs the air with intensity. His head and body moving in jerky movements monitoring his surroundings, running from one tree to the next. He's full grown now but still much smaller than the other squirrels that live on the property. He doesn't yell at me like the other squirrels. The squirrel that lives in the trees off our back deck yells at me every time I step out the back door or take the trail to the river. He believes, it seems, my only motive for being there is to pillage one of his many stashes of pinecones and dried up mushrooms. There's probably an apple core or two. One late fall day this past year I saw him running through the trees, jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree, with a WHOLE apple in his mouth. It was almost as big as him. Not sure how he managed it, but he did. Little squirrel lives out front and never yells at me. We'll cross each other's paths, pause and stare curiously at each other. I'll say hello, then we each go on our way. The chickens don't mind him. When he runs by the chickens free ranging in the yard they cock their heads curiously at him then go back to their foraging... (The "yeller".)

  • Annie's Festive Death by Chocolate Cookies

    I have been baking these cookies close to two decades now. I have tweaked the recipe over the years to make them exactly the way I like them. You can adapt them for any holiday or season by changing the M&M's to colors inspired by the season. At Christmas time you can also switch out the vanilla extract for a couple teaspoons of peppermint extract to make chocolate mint cookies. Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups flour 3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder. 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 whole egg, and 1 egg yoke separated 2 tsp vanilla 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 3/4 cups M&M's of your choice. Directions: 1. Cream together the butter and sugar. 2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. 3. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. 4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. 5. Mix in the chocolate chips and M&M's. I do this part by hand so the candy doesn't break. 6. I use a 2 tbls size cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. They can be close together because they are going to be going into the freezer for a little bit before baking. 7. Gently press a couple extra M&M's into the top of each dough ball. 8. Put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes until firm. At this time preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 9. Bake for 15 minutes. Since they are brown you can't tell when they are done by looking at them so I have found 15 minutes to be just right. 10. Let cool on a wire rack.

  • Buttery Drop Biscuits

    When you don't have time to roll and cut out biscuits these drop biscuits are an easy and equally delicious alternative. I sometimes have to make a double batch because my son and husband gobble them up. Ingredients: 4 cups flour 2 tsp salt 6 tbls baking powder 2 tbls honey or sugar 2 cups whole milk 1 cup butter, melted Directions: 1.) Preheat oven to 425°. 2.) Combine dry ingredients then add the milk and melted butter and stir to combine all the ingredients together. 3.) Spoon your desired size of biscuit onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. I usually making the aboit 1/4 cup size. 4.) Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on size. Enjoy!

  • Vegetable Lentil Soup

    This simple, nutritious soup is perfect for a fall lunch or dinner. Keep it warm on the stove so everyone can help themselves throughout the day. Serve with homemade sourdough or any other favorite crusty bread. Ingredients: 3 carrots, finely diced 3 stalks celery, finely diced 2-3 small onions, finely diced 3 garlic cloves, finely diced 2-3 tbls reserved bacon fat (adds good flavor), or other oil of choice 3 tbls tomato paste 14oz can petite diced tomatoes 2 cups green or brown lentils 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 2 cups set aside Salt and pepper, to taste Directions: In a large pot heat your oil of choice. Add the carrots, celery and onions and sauté over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and let that saute with the other veggies for just 1 minute so the garlic doesn't burn. Add in the tomato paste and stir until combined. Then add the diced tomatoes. Add 8 cups of broth and the lentils. Bring to a low simmer, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes checking the liquid and tenderness of the lentils. You may need to add more broth after 20 minutes to continue to cook the lentils. Once the lentils are tender add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

  • Homemade Mayonnaise

    One of the things I discovered this year was homemade mayo and I can't believe I haven't made it sooner. It's so easy and you control the ingredients. I will never go back to store bought. The only downside is it only keeps in the fridge for a week. You can definitely half the recipe if you need a smaller amount. Ingredients: 2 eggs (preferably homegrown fresh eggs) 1 tsp salt Juice of one small lemon 1/2 tsp distilled vinegar 2 cups Avacado oil Put the first 4 ingredients into a large wide mouth mason jar and blend together with an immersion blender. Slowly add the oil while blending until you get a nice thick, mayo consistency. Will keep in the fridge for one week.

  • Hi baby!

    Luke and I had a couple hours to kill in Couer D'Alene between a morning appointment and the ultrasound. Since we live an hour and fifteen minutes north of there going home in between wasn't an option or very practical. We ran a couple errands but still had a little time to wait. I was feeling nervous and restless and couldn't sit in the car any longer. We were near a Michael's craft store and that sounded like a nice distraction and good place to walk around in some air conditioning to walk off some nerves. I couldn't tell if my queasiness was from morning sickness or nervousness. Probably a little of both. We made it to the ultrasound place a few minutes early and they took me back right away so we didn't have to wait. All my previous ultrasounds for my pregnancy with my son were done at the doctor's office and felt very cold and sterile. This place had a warm, cozy atmosphere and the ultrasound room was warm and comfortable complete with a big couch for other family members. I was expecting to look at a small computer screen but they had a projector that displays the screen larger than life on the wall in front of you. I climbed up on the bed and got ready. Luke took my hand. He wasn't worried at all but knew that I was feeling anxious. I was so thankful to have him there. His calm, gentle presence is always a huge comfort for me when I'm anxious. She found the baby right away and there they were on the screen! Our little one inch bean, wiggling around, heart beat fast and strong. I felt the weight of the past month and a half of wondering melt away and I struggled to hold back the tears. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and relief to see the baby was just fine, all cozy and safe. She printed out the pictures for us and said we could come back in a month at 14 weeks and find out the gender. I was amazed! 14 weeks?! When I was pregnant with my son they weren't able to do the gender ultrasound until 20 weeks. I guess ultrasound technology has gotten better in the last 14 years. So, we will definitely be going back in about a month to find out if the baby is a boy or girl. I could do a blood test right now and find out but it's not cheap and I would rather spend the money to see the baby again. The pictures are now up on our fridge in a clear envelope where we can look at them often. They are being held up by a little magnet picture frame that holds the picture of my son's first ultrasound. Yes, I still have it...❤️

  • First Trimester Musings...

    I’m not one to ever wish that the end of summer would come quickly but with nearly 24/7 morning sickness the August heat is not helping the nausea. I don’t usually start looking to fall until about mid September but this year I find myself in mid August looking forward to the cooling air and changing sunlight that is the long deep breath before the plunge into winter. According to the calendar I should be coming out of the first trimester towards the beginning of September which, if this is anything like my pregnancy with my son 14 years ago, means that the nausea should start easing and my energy should be returning. I am so looking forward to feeling up to baking and cooking again especially as the seasons change. I’m looking forward to fall soups and stews and curling up with a book and hot cup of tea on a rainy fall afternoon. But even more so I’m looking forward to continuing to plan and prepare for baby’s arrival in the spring. This Friday is my first ultrasound and I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. At my first ultrasound for my first pregnancy, 17 years ago, I went in with so much hope and expectation only to hear the words, “We can’t find a heartbeat.” I know full well there are no guarantees when it comes to pregnancy. My heart rests in the truth that God is fully in control and I can trust Him no matter what happens. But you can bet I pray for this baby many many times throughout the day and night. My sweet husband prays with me every night before bed and prays for the health and safety of this little one. He knows all to well the pain of losing a child as he lost a son at 18 weeks gestation… Even with the knowledge that there are no guarantees I am praying against cynicism and resting in God’s mercy and grace and focusing on being thankful that I’m still feeling waves of nausea which means everything is well today. That’s my goal for right now, pray, be thankful and focus on today…while still looking forward to fall. 😉

  • Caramelized Onion and Zucchini crust-less Quiche

    I threw together this crust-less quiche for dinner this week and it was a hit. I decided to caramelize the onions and I'm glad I did! This makes a big quiche that is baked in a 9X13 inch casserole dish. Ingredients: 2-3 tbls bacon fat or oil of choice 2 onions sliced and chopped thin 2 medium zucchini shredded, salted and drained of liquid 3 garlic cloves diced very small 3/4 cup flour 6 eggs 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup cottage cheese 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan, shredded 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste Directions: 1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Line casserole dish with parchment paper. 2.) Sauté the onions with oil on medium heat until caramelized. Once caramalized add the garlic, toss together and immediately remove from heat. 3.) While the onion is caramelizing grate the zucchini, place in a tea towel, toss with aboit a teaspoon of salt. Let sit in a bowl for about 5 mins. Wrap up the towel and squeeze the water out of the zucchini. (This helps control the amount of moisture in the quiche.) 4.) In a large bowl toss the zucchini and onions with flour and a little salt and pepper. 5.) In a very large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cottage cheese, cheddar, Parmesan and nutmeg. 6.) Add the zucchini and onion mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture into the lined casserole dish. Bake for about 1 hour until set and right before it starts to brown on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

  • Homemade Sprinkles

    Sprinkles are one of my favorite decorations in baking. I recently started making my own sprinkles and it's so much easier than you might think. Plus you get to make whatever colors and color combos you'd like. Here's my recipe for homemade sprinkles: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1 tbls light corn syrup 2 tbls water Mix together 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the water and corn syrup. Add the additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar gradually until you get the right consistency. It needs to be pipe-able and not too runny or too thick. Separate into as many portions as you need for the colors you are going to use. Using small piping bags or ziploc bags with the corner cut off, pipe in straight lines on parchment paper. You can also make little dots. Let dry overnight then break up and store in an airtight container.

  • Easy Pickled Jalapenos

    We love these quick and easy pickled jalapenos. They don't last long once I make them so I make a nice big batch. You can always halve the recipe you need a smaller quantity. These are so good on tacos, burritos and salad or anything else your heart desires. Ingredients: 3 cups distilled white vinegar 3 cups water 6 tbls sugar 3 tbls kosher salt 10 garlic cloves, peeled, whole (or more if you'd like) 20 large(ish) jalapenos, sliced into rings, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick 3 pint size mason jars with lids, cleaned Directions: 1.) In a large saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the sliced jalapenos and cook 6-7 minutes. They will go from vibrant green to muted green. 2.) Using a slotted spoon, scoop the jalapenos into the jars. Make sure to get a few cloves of garlic in each jar. Using a measuring cup, pour the cooking liquid over the jalapenos until each jar is full leaving a tiny bit of room at the top. 3.) Put the lids on the jars tightly and let cool completely before putting in the fridge. I have found they are good for up to 4 weeks in the fridge. You can use them right away or wait a few days for the heat to mellow a little bit more.

  • Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles

    There's nothing like a good ol' fashioned snickerdoodle cookie fresh out the oven. This is my son's favorite cookie. Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles: 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 whole egg and 1 egg yoke separated 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp cream of tartar 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt For rolling the cookie dough balls: 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2-3 tsp cinnamon 1.) Cream together the melted butter and sugar. Beat in the whole egg and egg yoke. 2.) Mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the wet ingredients until incorporated. 3.) Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop (I use a standard sized scoop) scoop the dough into your hand and roll into a smooth ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least 15 mins. 4.) Preheat the oven to 350°. Place balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 14-16 mins. Place the rest of the frozen balls in a ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until ready to bake.

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