Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe: My House Zucchini Bread

 I love zucchini bread.
And my family does, too.
So three zucchini sitting in my kitchen means I have to make it, even if I'd rather not turn on the oven because it's so hot. I just gotta do what I gotta do.

This zucchini bread is my own take on the Lion House zucchini bread recipe. I've made a few additions, such as additional spices and an extra egg, and swapped some of the white sugar for brown sugar. My family says I should tell the Lion House how to make it better--yeah, right. Instead I'll post my version here and you can be the judge. If you like Lion House zucchini bread, I won't argue. It's a good one. :)

My House Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
4 eggs
1 c. oil
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Grease two 7-8 inch loaf pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 325. Mix flour, soda, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium high until light and frothy; about 3-4 minutes. Add the oil, sugars, vanilla and zucchini. Mix well. Pour in flour mixture and mix it on low speed just until combined--don't over mix. Fold in nuts if desired. Pour batter into pans; each pan should be about 2/3 full. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to the teens!

Happy Birthday to Sarah, who turned 13 today! Here are some pics from the big day.

Black trash bag. That's some great wrapping right there.

Sarah had two things on her list: earrings, and a new comforter for her bed.

She got both! (If she was always this easy to please...)

There are 13 candles on that cake!

As family tradition dictates, Sarah got to go shopping with Mom, and out to lunch to a place of her choosing. She chose Jimmy John's. She also got to choose what I made for dinner, and that choice was hamburgers on the grill, with fresh watermelon on the side. Nicole also took Sarah to get her nails done with shellac. So all in all, Sarah's had a pretty awesome birthday. Happy Birthday, Sarah!! We love you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sorry, no pics on this one. My pics were M. Barassing! But if you're a fan of Sweet and Sour Chicken, you pretty much know what it looks like.

I found this recipe over at Cooking awesome food blog I found not too long ago. I made it for tonight's dinner, and it was Delish! Try it, you won't regret it.

**Note: in the Cooking Classy recipe, she says to add the pineapple, onions and green pepper to the slow cooker for the last 30 minutes of cooking, and to cook on low. I did mine on high, and after about 30 minutes the peppers and onions were the perfect amount of tender-crisp.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 lb), cut into 1" - 1 1/2"pieces
--I used 4 large
1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup white vinegar

3 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 - 1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
--I used regular Kroger brand Hot Sauce

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple (you could also use canned but fresh is best)
--I used canned tidbits
1/4 of an onion, diced into 1" pieces

1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced into 1" pieces

Place diced chicken in a slow cooker.  In a mixing bowl combine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder, ginger, pepper and optional hot sauce.  Whisk until well blended.  Pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker, press chicken into sauce to cover.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook chicken on low heat for 6 - 8 hours.  (Or on high for 3-4 hours).
In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1/3 cup chicken broth and 1/3 cup cornstarch.  Whisk until well blended then gently fold cornstarch mixture into chicken mixture
. Stir in diced pineapple, onion and bell pepper.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook mixture on low for an additional 20 - 30 minutes until sauce thickens and fruit/veggies are slightly tender.  Serve warm with white or brown rice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eight is Great!!

Happy Birthday to my baby, the caboose, and the peacemaker of our family. I tell her all the time, "You are the. BEST. kid!!" And I mean it. She's awesome.

This is her new birthday dress. (Kohl's-- 50% off!!) So dang cute, I couldn't pass it up. I love how cute she looks in it.

This is Libby shopping with her birthday money. She had lots of fun and bought some cute sandals that go with her dress. One tradition we have is that the birthday kid goes to lunch with mom. Libby couldn't bear to leave her most-of-the-time buddy Mia at home, so Mia came too. (That's the peacemaker coming out).

I usually make the birthday cakes around here (see this post for an example), but Libby wanted to go to the store and choose one this year. We found this sweeeet looking cake:

Happy Birthday to the. BEST. kid!! (Dear Other Kids, you're the best too. I really mean it. Love, Mom)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hangin' with Zach

Libby on the motorcycle with Zach
My niece Tara married Zach last fall, and we couldn't be happier about it. Especially Libby and Mia. They LOVE him. I cannot over-exaggerate this fact.

Last week we took a drive out to their house so Tara could cut Nicole's and Sarah's hair. (And she did a great job!) Libby and Mia came along for the ride and were very happy to see that Zach was home that day.

Zach played with them, made them slushies, and gave them motorcycle rides. Here's Mia taking the helmet off Libby so she can have a turn.

Zach made sure each of them wore a helmet, and wore it correctly. An EMT knows what can happen if you don't wear a helmet!

They had a huge blast hangin' with Zach. Oh, and you too, Tara. *wink wink*

Thanks for an awesome afternoon!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A little competition never hurt

Want your kids to get more chores done? Try keeping score. Especially if your kids already try keeping score on each other (if you know what I mean).

A big shout out to the man for thinking it up this morning. He's the one who has "I GET TO DEFINE A CHORE" in his line. This was added after a certain person, who shall remain nameless, tried telling other people what was a chore and what wasn't. :)

One person up there has way more chores done than anyone else...and we knew it would be that way. Let's just say several of my kids have more than a few competitive bones in their bodies.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photography, anyone?

Sarah got up the other morning (about 6:30 is her usual--yes, even in summer!) and said that the sky looked so pretty that she went out and took a picture:

I totally don't blame her. It was very pretty. Good job, Sarah!! If it wasn't for her I would have missed it completely. Translation: I am NOT up at 6:30. :)

A couple of days later, it FINALLY rained around here--and we really needed it. It has been so dry! I guess Sarah figured more picture taking would be a good rainy day activity, and Libby was happy to oblige. Cuteness! And I love how the light was in the rain.

No photography session with Libby would be complete without a silly face.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Real life with diabetes #2

On an evening hike to Delicate Arch.

Last week, Jared went on an adventure camp down by Moab (one our favorite places). Jeff was perfectly willing to go along with him, which I'm really thankful for because it makes it so I can worry less about Jared and all the "what ifs" of diabetes while he's gone.

A mountain bike ride in 100 degrees!
We've been really blessed the last 10+ years in managing the disease. Most of the time, the dreaded "what ifs" don't happen and Jared does fine, even on the scout camps and Pioneer trek where he cared for himself. This time was different.

{Isn't he cute?}

Anyway, as Jared packed for this camp, he expressed the desire not to take any insulin along other than what his pump holds, because it would require a cooler. Jared gets tired of having to haul around "extra" stuff that other kids don't, which is totally understandable. I'd get tired of it too!

Finally the morning of the day they were leaving, I told Jared I felt he should take along the insulin, including the special one we have to keep on hand in case his pump fails. He didn't want to and said "nothing ever happens Mom" but I said, "It doesn't hurt to be prepared." So he packed it up.

Fast forward a couple of days to Friday afternoon. I get a phone call in the afternoon from Jeff. Right away I know it can't be good. I say, "What's up? How are you?" and Jeff says, "Well, I'm okay (sigh) but Jared's pump died."

Right away, I can feel the fear start to grip me, because this is about the worst thing that can happen. The pump is literally a lifeline. But I fought it off and kept calm as Jeff said, "We need to know how much Lantus to give him." Lantus is the special, 24 hour insulin Jared needs if he can't use his pump. It provides the metabolic insulin that he needs to live, and mimics what the pump would do if it was working--provide a basal metabolic amount of insulin continually. I had to keep calm while I looked up the amount of basal insulin that the pump was delivering every 24 hours--luckily I began to keep this information on my smartphone this year. We couldn't have gotten the information off the pump because it was not responding.

The next hurdle was hoping that the Lantus wasn't too old to work. The problem with it is that because we have to keep a vial of it handy, but it rarely gets used (this is the first time since he started pump therapy that we've needed to use it) it's hard to remember to keep it updated. I had no idea what the date on the vial was, but I didn't ask because Jared was already upset enough as it was. No use feeding that fire. Jeff told me later that Jared had said, "I HATE this stupid disease!" Ditto, buddy.

Jeff and Jared managed to catch a ride home that evening with another boy who had to return early for baseball. It was a good thing, because that Lantus didn't work so well. I was up every couple of hours until 3am giving shots of Novolog (quick insulin used for when Jared eats or needs to bring down his blood sugar fast). I managed to get a fresh vial of Lantus from our pharmacist to give on Saturday, so we didn't have this problem again Saturday night. A blessing, cause I'd rather sleep than be up giving shots. :)

All in all, it certainly could have been worse. If Jared hadn't taken the Lantus and some syringes with him, he'd have been in big trouble. He's still on shot therapy now, until a loaner pump comes from the manufacturer Tuesday. He'll be on that one until insurance approves a new pump.

And there you have another "Real Life with Diabetes" story. And a good reason to follow the scout motto and always "Be Prepared."