Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Coffee Creamer!

Ahhh.....I love milk day. Its no secret that I'm madly in love with the raw milk that I get for my family from our herd shares. I know that I am providing my family with the best of the best ingredients as well as its just such a great feeling to know where our food comes from.

Now the milk is of course a HUGE benefit of the you know...milk. But because we get raw, non-homogenized milk, then we also get the delicious cream that collects on the top. This is a MASSIVE bonus for us. I am able to make all kinds of delectable items out of this heavenly cream. You all know of my butter and Ice Cream making which I am able to make with the heavy cream but I also whip up a batch of vanilla coffee creamer for the hubs every week. He does like his coffee with cream in it. And to be honest.....I love it in my tea to make a London Fog.

Its sooooo easy to make and cost effective. AND I really do love the flavor ;-)

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

You will need:

  • 1 pint of organic Half and Half
  • 1 cup of Heavy Cream (preferable raw)
  • 1 cup of Whole Milk (I use Raw of course)
  • 4 Tbsp of pure Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp of homemade or store bought Vanilla extract

1.) Add all ingredients to your jar.

2.) Put lid on and Shake your jar.

3.) Label. And DONE!!! Ridiculous easy right?!?!

Now...go pour yourself a cup of piping hot coffee.....or in my case steaming cup of earl gray tea. Pour in some of this. Sip that creamy deliciousness that is homemade goodness. <3 <3 <3

Monday, February 17, 2014

My husbands "other woman"

I know  I know....

Its not what you think. My husband loves me more than words can properly express. And I am so in love with him. But he does have a second love. This is the love of Craft Beer. I'm not talking the beer flavored water you buy at the grocery store that has commercials during your Super Bowl. I'm talking the dark, Hoppiest of Hoppy, Beer.

And to really push that love into a full blown obsession: he brews his beer as well. A few years back, my dad had asked if he would be interested in starting to brew as he was going to start. So for Christmas they both received gifts of Home Brew Kits.

Like mad scientists, they research different grains and malts. All different kinds of recipes and brew shops. While my dad likes the darker, Stout kind of beer. Greg prefers the hoppy IPA or I refer to as stinky beer.

I'm not going to lie. I do love it when he brews. The house starts smelling of warm hops and grains. Reminds me of warm grape nuts cereal. You can tell he really really enjoys it. And I love watching him get such pleasure out of this process.

He carefully measures out each ingredient using my kitchen scale. Making sure to sterilize everything before and after as he goes. Listening to Tool or A Perfect Circle on the computer while following his chosen recipe. As I get so passionate about my baking or homesteading, he gets just as passionate about his brew.

After a few days I will watch him go lovingly check on his "carboy" as it starts to ferment and bubble. Checking on it every few days. And then he will switch to a second ferment and then bottle. About six weeks in, he will crack open that first bottle with baited breath. Listening for that tell tale sound of properly carbonated beer.

He will take that first sip and a sense of appreciation and pride with wash over his face and I will be proud of him as well. I'm ok with this "other woman" I guess. Just as long as promises to brew me a Pale Ale ;-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Main Squeeze

Today is my husband's birthday. I can honestly say I don't know what my life would be like if I had never met him. He is my "sun, my moon, My stars" to quote the beautiful Daenerys. My smile on sad days. My heart.

I met Greg when I was 14 living in central Washington. As I tell people: I was the youngest of our bunch of friends and he was definitely the older. Nothing inappropriate but definitely nothing that was kosher lol. I liked to skip school and secretly walk to his basement window, gently wrapping to alert him to let me in. And we would sit and watch TV or I would watch him play video games.

I remember thinking he was so sweet and handsome. He was the friend of my then boyfriend at the time who truly was nothing to write home about. And whenever I would have problems, he was always there to listen to me cry. I never thought he would look at me any differently then the little hippie girl that hung out in his basement room.

I got older and graduated high school and eventually broke it off with the boyfriend I had been dating. And Greg and I showed interest in each other but nothing to call serious. We ended up losing touch. I moved to California to live with my father and then migrated east to Tennessee. He moved off to Seattle with a girl he was dating. And the years would pass. I got married and then divorced. He would stay with the girl but then broke it off after awhile but remained in Seattle.

Then the internet began to grow and social media along with it. Myspace. I know. I'm embarrassed to say it as well. lol. I remember I was living in Nashville, having moved there after my divorce to start over. I had put off opening a "Myspace account" because it didn't really interest me. But push came to shove and I opened one. Not two weeks later and I received a message. It was from Greg Trupp. I remember I was working at a high end pet kennel and was visiting in the groomers room for my break. I opened the message and was astonished. The message asked if I was the Nikki Salazar from Selah Washington and if so, that he had been looking for me for years. To call him, when I could, to catch up. I was completely taken aback. And I'll never forget what one of my groomer friends had said to me. She said "People come in and out of our lives at the times they are supposed. This might be meant to be".

I called that "Greg Trupp" and that night we talked for HOURS. Catching up was an understatement to say the least. We talked more and more. And eventually I would fly out to visit. I knew, when I left that weekend to fly back to Nashville, that Seattle with Greg Trupp was where I was meant to be. Two and a half months later, I would make that happen. I have never looked back.

Seven and half years and many states further, and I am still the happiest I have ever been. Married with two beautiful little girls. I still marvel at the fact that I married "Greg Trupp". He chose ME. He is my everything and I cannot imagine my life any other way. The best husband, father and partner in life than I could ever ask for. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Classic and Quick Spaghetti Carbonara

PHEW what a week! This mama does not get sick so when I started to feel a little under the weather last week, I decided to lay low. Combined with the snow and ice which created an even more depressing week. I will never admit defeat so lets just say I was taking some restful time. ;-)

But before I "took my break" I made this tasty morsel and just hadn't gotten around to posting it.

My husband, God love him, is one of the pickiest men I have ever met. True, he has gotten better with time but he still turns his nose up to a lot. The problem with this is that I LOVE food. All different types of food. As well as good old fashioned comfort foods. I'm talking about Pasta. Glorious, wonderful, flavorful Pasta. I grew up on an absolutely lovely homemade spaghetti sauce that my father would whip up that just warms me up just thinking about it. You know, the rich tomato-ey kind. Buuuttt.....ol' poopsy doesn't like tomato sauce or "red sauce" as he calls it. He'll eat it if I make it but I don't want him to just "Eat it". I want him to really love it.

This is my happy compromise. Sure it doesn't have the "red sauce" that I am so fond of, but it has a creamy, cheesiness, yum that I truly adore. AND the fam loves it too. AAAANNDD its super quick. BONUS!!

Classic and Quick Spaghetti Carbonara

You will need:

  • Half a packet of spaghetti or pasta of your choice (I made some spaghetti earlier that day so that's what I used)
  • 6 Slices of streaky bacon, diced
  • 1 cup worth of baby spinach (I didn't have any on hand so I'm using frozen peas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp. worth of freshly grated cheese of your choice (I'm using mozzarella)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.) Firstly, boil the pasta in salted water. While that is going on the stove, fry the bacon bits until almost crispy. I had peppered bacon which works perfectly for this recipe.

2.) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well to break up the yolks, then add the cheese. Set aside.

3.) Once the pasta is cooked till 'al dente', add the spinach (or frozen peas in my case) and cook till wilted (or cooked). Remove pasta and spinach (peas) from the pot and drain, saving about 1-2 tbsps of pasta water. Add the bacon bits into the pot. Immediately pour in the egg and cheese mixture and toss pasta rapidly with a pair of tongs to coat pasta well with both the bacon and the egg mixture. You have to do this quickly so that the eggs do not cook on their own. If the sauce appears too thick, you can dilute with a little bit of the pasta water saved, adding a little at a time.

4.) Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and that is it! Serve immediately of course. I like to add a bit more cheese to mine on the top. Because, you know....everything is better with cheese ;-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

One of the hardest parts of parenting.

Being a parent is hard. Like really hard. I would have to say, in my 32 years of life, this is probably the most challenging thing I have done with my life. And I've had a pretty "challenging" life. lol. We are blessed with these little sweet blessings without any "training" or coaching. Sure you have advice from trusted sources like your own mother or grandmother. Or friends. But every child is different and this really is not a case of "one size fits all".

I've always been one who, how do we say, likes to have control of situations. I like things a certain way. And I don't really think that's a bad thing. I've never been late to anything that I can control. I'm very strict on the foods that come into our household. I don't do things that I don't want to do. But you know who has a way of challenging all these things about myself? My children. Oh my sweet children. And I've noticed in the almost 5 years that I've been a parent, My voice has gotten louder. I'll just say it: I yell a lot. Sox, I love her so, but darn it if that girl must touch EVERYTHING that does not belong to her. Its like an addiction for her to find stuff that she shouldn't be touching and then she grabs it. *sigh*. And Beanie. Oh Beanie. I love my Beanie but that girl is as bull headed as they come. If she doesn't want to do something, Well she just isn't going to do it. And the kicking and screaming come along with it. And when those two girls are together.....well they either super love each other or SUPER can't stand each other. Screaming and yelling is heard throughout the house. Which turns into me screaming and yelling to be louder than them and get their attention. I'm not proud of it. Its just something that has evolved over the years. I used to marvel at my friends and other parents who seemed to have it together. Well balanced children and such a peaceful demeanor. Why couldn't this happen in my house? I decided, this needs to change ASAP.

I don't know why, but over this past week or so I've had a lot of situations which have left me sitting back and really taking a hard look at myself. And a hard look at myself with my children. I love my children more than life itself. It makes me tear up just thinking about how much. And it just breaks my heart to think of them only remembering their childhood with yelling all the time. So I have made a conscious effort to not yell. And you know what....its been nice.
Just when I get to that point, You know that point: when your blood pressure is getting higher, and you are gritting your teeth while trying to talk. At that point, I find myself almost holding my breath while I calmly talk which is in turn bringing my voice level down. I give the however number of warnings before punishment is given, be it loss of privilege or a time out. Or both. Which has happened. And the interesting part of all of it is that I've noticed I AM happier as well. And I've learned to appreciate my children more. A feeling that I don't ever want to lose. I sit with Sox and look at her while she is explaining something while fidgeting her hands, and just marvel at her beauty and tenderness. And Beanie with all her rambunctious two year old energy. I steal a kiss and a hug whenever I can get them as they are few and far between now. When Sox touches things she isn't supposed to, I warn her and remind her that she must ask first if it doesn't belong to her. And when it happens again, I calmly remind her that she was warned and soon punishment will happen. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But I've learned that she listens more and thinks about her actions more.  Same with Beanie. Of course it takes a few more warnings but she, I believe, is starting to understand more.

Its so funny what you learn when you really take a step back and look at yourself. I try to do this quite often just to keep myself in check. I don't want my house to be a household of yelling and anger. I don't want my children to learn to be that. I want my children to remember a lot of love and peace in our house. I don't want my children to fear me but instead to respect me. These years go by so fast. Why, if we have the choice, not spend those times screaming at each other but instead loving and caring and really teaching our children. And how else are they to learn than from you? Its time for that cycle to be broken in our house. And its starting with me.