Friday, August 2, 2013

Wedding Pictures!

My favorite photo of us, sitting on the bench in my mom's garden under my brother's tree.

Such a sweet, private moment with my husband and our all time favorite Harvest Day Cake!

Our cake was my Harvest Day Cake, with some chocolate cupcakes - made by a good friend of Steve's.

After the ceremony, playing in Coval Creek. I LOVE Mandie behind us!

Siren Song

My sweet Mandie, asking permission to walk in the water.

Under my brother's Empress tree in his memory garden in my parent's yard.

I love this shot of my hair and my flowers.

My wonderful wedding party!

Steve and his guys - Jim, Karl, Truman, and Hunter.

My wonderful women - Cristina, Michelle, Shelby, and my Mandie.

Cristina, Michelle, and I.  I love these ladies so much!

My posed "moment of reflection". It does show off my dress well. I am very happy with how it turned out!

My two princesses - Shelby and Mandie - showing off their dresses I made.

Shelby and Truman have been inseparable since Shelby was born!

Shelby and I were really really missing her mama.

My wonderful, sweet boys. Hunter cracks me up in his hat and binoculars!

I LOVE this shot of the smiles on the guys faces!

My favorite shot of my four kiddos! (Shelby's been my princess since she was born.)

I love this photo - especially the mischievous looks on Mandie & Hunter's faces!

Not sure what cracked Hunter up, but it's a great photo of my loves.

My babies and I.

One of my favorite of all our photos - heading off into our new life together. I also love the back of Mandie's dress!

With Pastor Howard Smith. He had everyone laughing through the ceremony!

Our happy walk to the altar.

Hunter getting last minute instructions on the carrying of the ring book!

This one is so sweet! Shelby & Truman heading towards the ceremony.

Mandie telling Steve how much she loves him before the ceremony.  I LOVE her hair in this shot!

My friend/makeup artist Sharon grabbing a shot of Mandie and I after hair and makeup was done.

  Sorry these are in reverse order.  I have no idea how to get them back to the correct order I started with! lol    

 Steve and I wed on an amazingly beautiful Monday in May, in an area which had been under several feet of water just two weeks beforehand.   We were surrounded by our very best friends and family, who worked hard to help us celebrate our wedding the way we wanted to - outside, with our dear friends and family present.  We got married at Coval Creek at Ottawa Friendship House, and had the reception at my parents home in South Ottawa.   Friends & family came from all over the state of IL, as well as IA, CO, CA, WI, and AK to share our day with us.  Two of my dearest friends, whom I've been close to since grade school, came from CO, and CA to celebrate. 

  The night before the wedding Michelle, Cristina, and Robin came to our house and helped with a pre-wedding dinner before spending the night with us.  Deborah had come in from CA a day before that, and attended our dinner and was the biggest blessing with all of her help.    My dear friend and Mary Kay Consultant - Sharon - came to our house the morning of the wedding and did makeup for me, Cristina, and Michelle.  My wonderful cousin Cristina did all of our hair, while Michelle (Steve's niece/my dear, dear friend, came all the way from AK via her sister's NH wedding) was my wedding planner, chef, calming presence, and all around kept everything flowing smoothly all weekend.  These amazing photos were taken by my very talented cousin Robin, who blogs, does photography, is a mom and step mom, massage therapist, and wonderful friend.  To see more of her work, check out her blog, Write On, Mom!   
 If you want to see more wedding photos, please feel free to look at them here on Snapfish There are some fantastic shots of my flowers, done by my buddy Jody, and the dresses I made myself, Shelby, and Mandie.  Our Honeymoon Photos are here also.  We went to Galena for a few days in June, so that we could relax without worrying about getting back for work.    All in all, our wedding was exactly what we wanted, and what God had in mind for us when he put us into each others lives three years ago.  Every single detail was perfectly orchestrated, and everyone told me during and after the wedding that they saw God's hand at work not only in the details of our perfect day, but also in how He brought us together.   Yes, I am a very blessed woman!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homemade Fruit Leather Roll Ups

 I've had several recipes for these floating around for quite some time, and I meant to make them for Mandie for school lunches last year, but had too many other things to make and managed to forget.  I unearthed my recipes last week, before we went to WI, and made up a batch for Mandie.  They turned out very well, with the same texture as the store bought organic variety I had gotten for the boys.  Now that I know how easy these are to make I will make sure she has some on hand for after school snacks and lunchbox treats!     I'm sure these could just as easily be made in a dehydrator, but since I do not own one or have the space for one, the low oven method worked out just fine!

My finished fruit rolls, ready to put in the container.


2 lbs of fresh fruit, cleaned
1 cup unsweetened applesauce/pureed apple
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey

Preheat oven to 170*F.  Put ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Line 2 large jelly roll pans with parchment paper.  Spread fruit mixture evenly on pans, making sure to get as thin and even a layer as possible.  Place trays in oven until dry – anywhere from 6 – 24ish hours depending on humidity, checking every couple of hours or so.   When done they will be a bit sticky, and have the same texture as the store bought kind.  Cut into strips and store into an airtight container on the counter. 

This is how it should look after it has dried.

I personally found it was easy to use my kitchen shears to cut the dried fruit into strips.

I stored mine in a plastic container so that they would travel easily and safely.

Perfect Sandwich Bread

I have another bread recipe up on this blog, but I can't resist trying any new recipe that catches my fancy.   This one did, but of course I totally modified it and came up with my own mix of flours and grains.  Steve loves the texture of the whole millet and amaranth grains inside, and the dusting of teff grains on the top.  The kids say it has an amazing flavor and is yummy to eat even cold from the fridge (every other gluten/corn/dairy free bread I've ever made or eaten is honestly best either warm or toasted - so this is a HUGE plus).  My personal favorite features are how easy it is to whip up in my beautiful new KitchenAid and also how it slices perfectly without any crumbling! 

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups millet flour
1 ½ cups tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
½ cup amaranth or quinoa flour
½ cup brown rice flour
4 ½ tsp. guar gum
4 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. + ½ tsp. active dry yeast
½ tsp. cream of tartar
4 Tbsp. pure cane sugar or raw sugar
3 cups warm water (I sub in 1 cup of bone broth)
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 egg whites, beaten with a whisk
¼ cup whole millet
2 Tbsp. amaranth grains
2-3 tsp. teff grains for dusting tops (optional)
What the dough should look like.  Pretty mixer, huh?

Grease two bread pans (I use the tall ones from King ArthurFlour) and set aside.  Turn oven on to 200*.  Put an ovenproof bowl of warm water on the lower rack.  Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a good stand mixer.  Whisk to combine.  Add oil, vinegar, egg whites, and warm water to the mixer as it runs on low speed.  Scrape down sides of bowl and turn mixer up to at least half speed and mix for 6-8 minutes until a semi-stiff dough has formed (may have to add ¼ cup more warm water, depending on humidity in the house).  Turn off the oven, leaving the water inside.   Divide dough between loaf pans, place in warm oven, and cover with a clean dish towel.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Remove covered pans from oven to stove top to finish rising.  Remove water from oven. Preheat oven to 375*.  After 15 minutes, uncover pans,  and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, bread sounds hollow when tapped, and/or when a meat thermometer inserted in center reads 200*.  The outside will form a nice brown crust.  Cool the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pans and cool for another 10-15 minutes before cutting.  Cool completely before storing in a plastic bag.   Can be stored on counter top for 2-3 days, and in fridge for 10 days.  This bread freezes well.

Linked to Living Well Wednesdays