Thursday, February 18, 2010

Honey Baked Lentils

What do we have here?  Looks a bit like bird seed, and perhaps a smidgen like disgruntled peas. In short, doesn't look like much, does it?

But dang, it tastes delicious.

Honey Baked Lentils!  I pulled the recipe from a friend's blog and tweaked it a bit to serve our little family. Here's my version

Honey Baked Lentils
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 and a half tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 
Combine the above in a baking dish, cover and bake at 350* until tender.  (About an hour and 15 minutes, here).

 The original called for olive oil instead of coconut oil, but we're out and actually, I thought that the coconut flavor would be a nice accent to the honey and the nutty flavor of the lentils.  I also added a bit more honey and a bit more garlic.

Initially, I was nervous at how the kids would take to the onions but we have so many dang onions floating around our fridge from the CSA, I couldn't leave it out.

And really, my worries were unfounded.  It might not look like much, (and really, it TOTALLY contradicts my usual attempts to feed first with the eyes, then with the mouth), but it tasted delicious.

And it's super healthy.  Lentils are an excellent source of both fiber and protein.  (The latter being especially important for the vegetarians/vegans).  Lentils also have a LOT of iron, which, for anemic people, (as I am when pregnant), is great.

Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is that pretty doesn't always equal tasty, and tasty definitely doesn't always equal pretty.  It's nice when they mesh, but if given a choice?  I'd rather my food taste good.  My kids do too, apparently.  They loved it too :) Let me know if you try it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gather Your Kids

This is some ridiculous cuteness.

I seriously laugh EVERY TIME I watch it.  Every time!  (If it doesn't work, click here)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Photo Class - Episode 2!

This week, photo class on Amy's blog focused on light and how to manipulate the settings on the camera to achieve the ideal lighting to make a great picture.  While ISO, aperture and shutter speed can be manipulated to get some incredible effects, the focus this time was to adjust the settings to compose a balanced picture.

I've been too chicken to shoot completely manually, (I'm afraid of missing moments that I could have captured because of goofed up settings), so I've been shooting either in aperture priority (Av) or shutter priority (Tv).  I've been trying to pay attention to what the settings adjust to when I change the aperture or the shutter speed.  I definitely think this will help me on those, (hopefully more frequent), instances when I shoot fully manual.

Anyway, here are a few shots that are straight out of the camera that really exhibit good lighting, (in my humble, non-photographer's opinion).  Enjoy!

Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 400
Mode: Av

Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter Speed: 1/40
Aperture: f/2.5
ISO: 200
Mode: Av

Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi
Focal Length: 35mm
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Aperture: f/2.5
ISO: 400
Mode: Av

None of these pictures are perfect compositions, but in each, the lighting adds an element of interest.  The first two really highlight the kids' eyes which immediately makes them the focal point in the pictures.  (Which is a good thing, especially in the second picture because then you probably don't notice the random apple hunk trying to attack my kid's face right away...  this picture could really benefit from a good crop).  The third picture isn't focused quite as sharply as I would have liked, but I like the way the soft lighting captures the deep colors in my niece's (unusually serious) face. 

Anyway, that's my humble contribution to this week's class. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010


A perfect mother never lets her 6 month old play with crayons.

A good mother never lets her 6 month old eat a crayon.

A halfway-decent mother would at least take the crayons away.

Um, instead of any of the above, this mother took pictures.  I'm not quite sure what that makes me...

(Crayon face aside, look at him sitting up by himself!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bagels Bagels BAGELS

I love me some bagels.  I do NOT love old bagels, bagels that are hard, bagels that taste like shoe leather, and bagels full of preservatives and other nonsense. 

That doesn't leave much in the way of good bagels.  After all, we don't live in New York.  The bagels that are good often cost an arm and a leg, and frankly? Shaun would kill me if I fueled my bagel habits as often as I'd like.

So, I took matters into my own hands... quite literally.  It's bagel makin' time, people!

Here's the rundown: 
  • 4 cups of bread flour (bread flour has more gluten which yields fluffier breads, etc...  it's worth it to go for the bread flour, but if you don't have it on hand, I can't imagine it would ruin the bagels completely).
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar 
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of instant yeast (almost all yeast that you can buy in the grocery store is apparently instant yeast... this cuts down on the need to "proof" the yeast before attempting the rest of your recipe). 
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of warm water.  (make sure this is a smidgen more than room temperature, but definitely not hot... this is your yeast's jump start).
  • Optional - cinnamon and sugar, chocolate chips, sesame seeds, blueberries, etc. 
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Nothing fancy.

Mix together until all flour is mixed into dough.  You can add a bit more water if necessary.  When the dough forms a ball, take it out of the bowl and place onto a lightly floured counter top. 

Knead the dough until there are no longer any lumps and the dough starts getting a bit more elastic.  This took me about 4 minutes of hard kneading.  Separate the dough into 8 uniform pieces.  Set these aside and allow to rest for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Now comes the playdough-ish fun.  Take a ball of dough and roll it into a snake on the countertop.  When the dough is long enough to wrap around your hand, place the two ends under your palm and fingers and roll until they fuse together.  This was harder than I expected.  I had a hard time getting a uniform thickness throughout.  Towards the end, I started thinning out the middle of the "snake" and that seemed to help a bit when the fused ends got skinny as well. 

Let the dough bagels rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.  In the meantime, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil and lightly grease a cookie sheet. 

Once your bagels start looking puffy, you need to boil them.  Drop a bagel into the pot of boiling water and allow it to pop around for about 2 minutes.  You'll notice the bagel start to puff and change.  Take it out with a slotted spoon or sieve and let it drip for a few seconds. 

I chose to make our bagels into cinnamon-sugar bagels, so right after they came out of the boiling water, I dropped them onto a saucer of mixed cinnamon and sugar.  Then I placed the bagels sugared side up on a lightly greased cookie sheet. 

Once you get the bagels on the cookie sheet, pop them into the oven for about 8 minutes.  (I have a convection oven and 8 minutes was PLENTY...  according to the recipe I used, it should be 10 minutes, so watch your bagels and judge for yourself).  The bagels will puff bigger and start to look a bit shiny. 

After 8 minutes, flip them and put back into the oven for another 8 or so.  (I actually wasn't 100% convinced this was necessary and might try to omit this step next time). 

Pull the beautiful bagels out of the oven, let cool for about 20 minutes, and then, smear with your favorite spread and enjoy!  

You can add to the recipe with pretty much anything you want...  blueberries, sesame seeds, chocolate chips, etc. 

I used the following recipe and it was fantastic.  (Pay attention to the bagel rolling video if that part gives you trouble).  Let me know if you try it and what toppings or mixes you use!

(I'm not going to lie...  I'm totally going to eat one now). 

Monday, February 8, 2010


They fight... oh how they fight.  The older knows how to push the younger's buttons.  The younger knows precisely how to shriek loud enough to get the older into trouble.

They battle to see who can scream the loudest or sit on the chair first or walk across the floor the fastest.  They always want to use the same cup or spoon or napkin or basket at the same time.

The older gets frustrated when the younger just. won't. leave. her. alone.

The younger gets angry when the oldest doesn't want to play.

They couldn't be more different.

But they wouldn't know what to do without each other.  They're in cahoots.  And they couldn't love each other more.


We have about 34 inches of snow on the ground outside of our house.  And all but about 4 of those inches are from one, massive, wonderful storm over this past weekend.

The deluge of white stuff rendered escape from our house impossible, so Shaun and I spent our time watching movies, playing with the munchkins, cooking comfort food, cleaning cabinets (me), shoveling (Shaun), cleaning the fish tank, eating, and playing online.

I love it!

My poor extroverted husband is going a little stir crazy.  I told him he could talk to the kids all day to ease his need for company and that would soothe my introverted soul too.  (Because truly, there's only so many games of princess dress up that one woman can play without losing her dang mind).  He didn't quite see my point there.  Something about adult conversation and company... and being among the masses.  Yeah, count me out.

At the moment, Shaun and Bean are outside digging paths to our neighbors' houses.  C is curled up next to me watching Sesame Street, (to save me from having to bundle her to high heaven for her to be outside for all of 11 seconds), and Sayer is taking a lovely nap.

We don't have many plans for the day, which is exactly how I like it.  I might grade some papers, make some bagels, or take some photos.  We're supposed to get another foot or so tomorrow, so I'm guessing we'll be marooned for couple more days at least.

(You won't hear me complaining)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lunch Looks

Today I had a tasty little lunch...

Avocados, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and a smidgen of mayo on fresh baked cheddar parmesan bread.

It was quite good! Though a trifle mild. If I were to do it over again, (as I most certainly will... perhaps in the next ten minutes if I'm going to be honest)...  I would probably roast some garlic and spread it onto the bread instead of the mayo. 

Since I can't share my actual lunch with y'all today, I'll give you a little visual treat. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Germs. We hate 'em.

But we're on the mend. And rather than rehash our week of craziness, I'll just treat you to pictures of three delightfully healthy kids.  We paid our dues on germs with this bout, I think.  I know, I know... I should never say things like that.  Ah well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Photo Class - Episode 1!

My friend Amy, over at Flexible Dreams, (yes, the same Amy with whom I'm doing Just Make It A Double), is hosting a photo class!

This week, it was learning about and practicing the "rule of thirds".  I know what it is, I've known what it is... and this week?  I found out that I'm pretty terrible at it.  It took constant concentration to put the focal points of my shots into the appropriate places.  I don't always shoot central, but I neglect to put the most interesting things in those magic spaces.

But alas, practice makes... well, it made me a smidge better.

So for your viewing, here are the two shots that only made me want to tear my hair out a little bit.

Taken with a Canon Rebel XTi
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 400

Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter Speed: 1/1600
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 200

Pain... and practice... it's good for me :)
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