The Joy of Spring Break

No joke, Spring Break is one of the fastest weeks of your life.  It felt like it was time to pack up and get back on that airplane just after I landed!  But there’s no sense in fussing over the speed at which break flew – that certainly won’t bring it back!  Instead, I’ll remember how much fun I had and remind myself that there are less than 8 weeks left in the semester…thank the Lord.

Break was filled with family time, cooking, bowling, double dates, church, nice meals out, scenic drives, shopping, a lovely lunch date, homework and…*drum-roll*…relaxing.  It’s been awhile since I’ve gone so days without a tummy ache!  I think that’s a sign of chillaxin’ 🙂  Also found in my break were excellent conversations – all uplifting, but some very challenging.  More on those in another post…I’ve written several serious posts lately, so it’s time for something more lighthearted! 🙂

I didn’t take pictures of everything, but I did capture a few moments!  First up, the scenic drive.  Flathead Lake is gorgeous, no matter the season or the weather.  Sunny?  The water is blue and clean, framed by snowy mountains and outlined in pine trees and rocky beaches.  Stormy?  The water’s white-capped fury is breathtaking yet frightening, the gray clouds reflected in the dark water.  We got a mixture – sunny but windy.  Have a look!

Here’s the cloudy look, minus the whitecaps.  But would you look at those mountains?!

And true to Montana weather, the sun came out a few moments later.  It amazes me that looking a different direction will provide an entirely different looking mountain range.  And people say there is no God?  Crazy.

And then there was cooking.  Hooray!

First, I made some biscuits.  They’re just a simple buttermilk biscuit, using this recipe.  The only change I made was that I used all purpose flour rather than white whole-wheat.

Super easy recipe – mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, add buttermilk, knead, then roll out and cut!

I baked just a few of them, then froze the rest in a ready-to-bake form.  Easy peasy!

One evening, I went over to my bestie’s house to make some festive shamrock cookies.  And chat, but that’s a given.

Chelsey had everything out and ready to go when I got there.

After mixing up a quick dough and letting it chill for a bit, we got to cuttin’ cookies.  We had two different shamrock styles and…an elephant.  I found the elephant in mom’s bag o’ cookie cutters at home and thought “eh, what the heck!?”  And Chelsey said “bring it!”  So we made shamrock cookies AND elephant cookies.  Then, with the leftover dough, we made little twisted circles.  After baking them, it was decided that they looked like poo…so it must have been from the elephants!  I swear, we ARE adults…

These chocolate mint cookies, finished with a chocolate coating, were tasty!  You can find the recipe here at the Taste of Home website…although it looks like you have to be a member of their website to see the recipe.  Or you could pick up the February/March copy of the magazine 🙂

Who likes brownies?  How about if I add peanut butter?  Yeah?  I thought so 🙂

Basically, I took those ingredients….

…and turned them into this!  I followed this recipe, except instead of using the frosting in the recipe, I just made a simple “drizzle” with powdered sugar, peanut butter and margarine.  SO tasty!!

I kept myself busy in the kitchen.  After these brownies, I made some Irish Soda bread.  It came out a little tough, but I may or may not have used a little too much buttermilk….oh well…live and learn, right?

Instead of making one big loaf, I made two little ones.  Ain’t they cute?!

They sure did come out nice and golden!  I followed this recipe, except I omitted the raisins, and cut the baking time to 30 minutes.

Sadly, I failed to take pictures of my final kitchen project.  Blame it on fatigue and hurry…both are accurate!  Good thing Dana over at My Little Celebration (where I found this recipe) takes LOVELY photos!

These Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins were divine!  Moist, dense, sweet (but not too sweet)…so tasty.  I want to make them again.  Right now.

Well, this pretty much covers the things I photographed over break.  Coming to you soon shall be a simple pizza recipe and reflections on some of the conversations that took place over break.  Such good conversations.

Take care, friends!

Blessings,

Beth

 

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A Lunch Date

Hello, friends!

Spring break is a lovely time.  Being home, free from lots of homework, no terribly demanding schedule…love it!  Okay, maybe I don’t love the homework part, but you know…it’s less stressful 🙂

My dad works early in the morning and later in the afternoon, and because mom works at a school (during the day, obviously), I get to chill with Dad during the day when I’m home.  Today, we had a little lunch date!  Dad suggested we go to Coffee Traders, a local “hot spot”, and let’s just say…no complaints from me!

Source

Coffee Traders is a cafe and coffee shop (shocker!), featuring locally roasted coffee, and a relatively healthy menu with quite a few locally sourced ingredients.  For lunch, the cafe has a “soup and sandwich/wrap” kind of menu, but “sandwich” is a broad term.  A basic turkey sandwich?  Sure!  Tofu wrap?  Why not!  Burger?  You betcha.  As far as soups go, veggie chili is always on the menu, and you basically can’t go wrong with any of the rotating choices.  Fresh salads, quiche, burritos…and the baked goods.  Ohhhhh man.  Basically what I’m sayin’ is that you need to make a little trip to this place!  You won’t be disappointed 🙂

You may have noticed that I’m quite the soup-lover.  For evidence, just take a look-see at my recipe page…proportionately, there’s a lot of soup.  So naturally, when deciding what to have for lunch, my attention went straight to the daily soup board.

After deliberating between the clam chowder and the vegetable barley, I settled on the chowder.  Creamy but not tooooo creamy, this soup had tender clams, smooth baby red potatoes and the perfect amount of celery and onion.  I didn’t love the red pepper chunks, but I could pick around them 😀  The salad served as a great light and fresh contrast to the creamy soup, and the bread…so tasty.  Oh, and don’t mind the onions off to the side…I always forget to ask for them to be left off!

Dad opted for the manly burger.  No, that’s not what it’s called on the menu.  Yes, this is what I just decided to call it 🙂  I didn’t taste it, but let me tell ya, it looked (and smelled) good!  And dad approved.  A side of fruit rounded out his meal nicely.  Yay for a tasty lunch!

From an eating disorder perspective, this would seem like a pretty successful lunch, right?  Right.  I mean come on…clam chowder?  Do you realize how creamy this stuff is?  In making my meal choice, I thought to myself “You know, there’s probably a good amount of calcium in that soup, so I’ll order a cup”.  But that’s where the little issue arose.  I ordered a cup.  The cashier wrote down “cup“.  But friends, they didn’t bring me a cup.  Scroll back up to that photo.  Look close.  That’s a bowl.  A bowl of creamy chowder.  I didn’t panic, but I certainly experienced a big ol’ moment of uncertainty.

And then I dug in. 

No, I didn’t eat the whole bowl.  I ate quite a bit of the stuff out of it, leaving mostly broth (and red peppers!) behind.  But I ate it.  I didn’t make a fuss.  I mentioned the mix-up to my dad, and then we went on with the meal.  I could feel that ED voice flinging arrows, though.

You should have gotten the vegetable barley.  At least then, the BOWL wouldn’t have been so bad.”

But the chowder sounded good.

Why didn’t you just the sandwich and salad?  Then you wouldn’t have even had to worry about this.”

I didn’t want a cold sandwich.  It was snowing, after all!

So.  I managed to eat and enjoy my lunch despite ED’s nagging.  And anyways…how dare ED barge in on my lunch date with my dad!

And guess what!  Later in the afternoon, I had a little snack.  And so far, I’m okay 🙂

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Blessings,

Beth

Hanging on to Break

Hello, my friends!  Sorry for the huge time-gap since my last post.  I stayed busy and had a nice relax-sesh during break 🙂  Then, it was a flurry of packing and see you later-ing and I hopped on the plane to come back for Spring semester.  Now that I’m mostly settled in and getting back in the groove of school, I decided it was high time to check in, so to speak.

I have a post or two that will essentially recap winter break…hence the title “Hanging on to Break”.  I decided to spread it out rather than stuff everything into one post!

Enough babbling – one of the highlights of break were these two monkeys:

My sister and the boys came over for a few days to hang out with us, and although they kinda wear me out, it was so much fun to see them!  I got to be “Aunt B” to the max – making the boys chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, putting together healthy lunches (I tried to convince them to eat carrots!) and of course, filling them up with sugar!!!!  But come on, chocolate milk with whipped cream is still MILK! 😉  Annnyyywaaaayyyss……

One of my Christmas gifts to Hunter (the one on the right) was a kitchen project of his choice.  We hemmed and hawed, trying to decide what to make, when inspiration struck in the form of…Grandma!  She had been given a jar mix for s’mores bars from her boss, and what better way to use it?  So the night before heading back home, Hunter and I hit the kitchen.  Delicious marshmallo-y chocolate madness ensued.

First, we separated the marshmallows from the graham cracker-chocolate mixture.  Then we stirred melted butter in with the graham cracker mixture.  Hunter did a great job of gently mixing…a chef in the making? 😉  Then, Hunter and I carefully dumped the mixture into our cute little baking dish and got to work on smoothing it down.

Such concentration!

Look how fast he moves!

Next, we topped the crust with an extra handful of chocolate chips and some more (get it…s’more…some more….) graham cracker chunks before drowning the whole thing in mini marshmallows.

Hunter = EXCITED!

Oh, and Austin had to get in on the goings-on in the kitchen!  And Aunt B had a camera.  So obviously, he needed his picture taken 😉

In the oven our little treat went for about 15 grueling minutes.  We watched the marshmallows turn brown.  No joke.

But it was well worth the wait!  Here’s what we were treated to:

Yum!  We let it cool for a few minutes, then sliced it up and served it with a little vanilla ice cream.  Sugar?  What sugar?  😉

I really had a blast working with Hunter in the kitchen.  He was quite antsy to just go-go-GO, but he listened perfectly.  No appendages or digits were harmed in the making of this treat!!

It was like a taste of summer in the dead of winter!

 

Tomorrow is the third full day of classes for this semester.  I’ve taken on a pretty full class load, so there may be a few less posts, but I’ll do what I can.  I like doin’ this!  But of course, class work has to take priority.  So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, don’t worry.  I’m just doing that whole…student thing 🙂

Take care!

Beth