Monday, June 30, 2014

Multigrain Pumpkin Seed Bread

Homemade Bread with fresh produce is great remedy after a long travel.  
As I frequently say, use your bread machine—especially with travel lag.
The nutty flavor of the pumpkin seeds, combined with multi-grain says "Welcome home-so glad you are back for real food".
Makes 1 ½ pound loaf
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter-softened
  • 1 1/3 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flower
  • 1 cup multi-grain cereal (uncooked) I use Trader Joes brand
  • 3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast.
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (we use sprouted)
Place ingredients in order except for pumpkin seeds in bread maker bread pan.
Process in bread machine according to machine’s  directions.
You can bake completely in your machine---but I always have the machine mix and raise the dough, before baking I take out the dough divide it in two and place in standard size bread pans. 

Let it rise until doubled, bake a 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Option: brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with pumpkin seed before baking.

Mother Judith

July Gift Guide

How is it possible that July is tomorrow? Where did the days of June run off to?

We like to provide you a monthly gift guide from not only our shop, but also from local artist that create jaw dropping gifts. All are fantastic for birthdays, bridal showers, or baby showers!

Rawr! The apron is fierce! Your feisty friend or relative will look marvelous in this one of a kind figure flattering gift. Perfect for when guest come over and you want to look all super fancy schmancy.
Made by Becki from JMG Fabrics.

Mini Heart Baking Pan

A great gift companion with the leopard print apron. Cute, sweet, but strong. A Nordic Ware product from their Platinum Collection.
"Original painting on canvas by Kelly Renee. Art is sealed with a glossy varnish. Sides are painted. Canvas does not require a wire to hang." Isn't is gorgeous?
You can find it here at Kelly's Etsy shop.
Stylish, hardy, adorable. Great for that on-the-go lady in your life, or a cute book bag for the scholarly one.
Made by Nordic Ware. Any baker would enjoy finding thing strong pan in their gift bag!
We hope you find this handy!
The Grays 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

100% Easy 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

You cannot go wrong with this healthy pizza. A favorite of white bread eaters and whole wheat eaters alike.

The pizza dough flavor enhancer really aids to the taste, but is optional.

What you need:
  •  Bread machine
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons King Arthur pizza dough flavor (optional)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Place all ingredients in bread machine. Let mix for 45 minutes. Place in bowl and let rise for at least one hour. I tend to let it set for around 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°F (Optional, place pizza stone in oven while preheating, if you don't have one you should seriously consider it). Roll out dough on parchment paper and add toppings. Place pizza in oven, bake for 15-20 minutes.

When time is up, let cool a bit then enjoy!

Nancy Jane

Thursday, June 26, 2014

To Pick a Zucchini

As any zucchini grower knows the plant is sneaky. You harvest the squash everyday with care and dedication. However, there is always one that gets away! It'll grow as thick as a man's arm with the potential of being bitter and dry.

A sinful vice in a Christian's heart can share the same experience as a zucchini. An iniquity can enter our heart unbeknownst to us. Eventually it'll grow out of control, ruining a perfectly good heart.

A simple case of disliking a person can grow to bitterness and hatefulness.

It is so easy to not notice a sin entering our lives and taking over. Pick the zucchini as soon as you can!

Nancy Jane

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tomato Thoughts

Every time I pick tomatoes there is always one out of reach! All my efforts are put towards this tomato. When the long sought after fruit is finally plucked, I look up to find that there were just as many beautiful tomatoes all around me. Alas, my thoughts were only honed in toward that particular item.

How often do we do this in our daily lives? Our focus is toward a singular emotion or entity, never noticing what is around us. It could be distress causing one to only look at the miserable part of life. It could be a job we are after, forgetting all the family we love. Or, it could be someone thinking about what they are missing out on in life rather than seeing what they already have.

As human beings we are quick to forget what we are blessed with. We have this magical capability to only zone in on the bad aspects of life. We put all our focus on what God hasn't given us, while in reality we are given far more than what we deserve.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count Your Blessings, Johnson Oatman, Jr.    

So what is the tomato in your life? How can you look past it?

A way to start is to always remember the Lord is faithful and consistently good to us.

Nancy Jane

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lime-tastic Fajitas!


Fajitas. How can you go wrong with fajitas? Healthy, quick, and tasty. The dish is one I always order at Mexican restaurants, and it never fails to please my taste buds.

Here is a personal favorite recipe of mine. It is incredibly effortless, you cannot go wrong with the dish. Nonetheless, do not be fooled into thinking that because it is easy to make it is simple in taste. Lime-tastic Fajitas are oh so flavorful!

  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons season salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 3 cups chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • Any extra veggies you'd like to contribute to the dish. I added zucchini to the batch due to the overwhelming amount coming from the garden.
Combine chicken, lime juice, and season salt in Ziploc bag. Make sure ingredients mix well together. Let set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and no more than 4 hours. The lime juice has the potential of overwhelming the chicken.

After the desired time is up, add chicken to chopped veggies in pan.  Add a little olive oil to help with the cooking. 

Cook until chicken is done.

Serve with tortillas, guacamole, chips, and chopped jicama for some extra crunch!

I was proud of my batch of fresh tortillas. The last few batches have turned out ugly!

Don't forget to garnish with a lime. You won't need it, however it makes the plate look all fancy shamancy.

Nancy Jane

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Planting a Plethora of Pumpkins

Today is the first day of Summer! Which means pumpkin planting time, my favorite time of the year!

The obsession of growing pumpkins started two years ago when I moved home. We had some old seeds and I needed something productive to do.
Who knew this would start a pumpkin mania...
The first variety grown was Musque de Provence. Boy were they absolutely stunning! We did not expect the seeds to all germinate. So when they were sown, a lot were put in the ground. That year I ended up with over 30 was out of control!
We were told to plant pumpkins by an old gardener by the 4th of July. This is why we start in June just in case it takes a while for them to sprout or if replanting is needed. Last year the weather made it hard for the seeds to develop, so they ended up not popping up until the end of July. Which meant I didn't get any pumpkins until the end of October. Boo!
This year I am growing Cinderella's Carriage, Jack Be Little, Sugar Pumpkins, and Triple Treat. One for looks, one for cuteness, another one for eatin', and one for carvin'. Well, there are culinary plans for all of them.

The hardiness and beauty of pumpkins make them incredibly attractive to grow. Nothing beats homemade pies made from freshly picked pumpkins.

K.E.G likes to say that hot off the press garden pumpkins add some pizazz to the land.

Now get to planting your pumpkins!
Nancy Jane   

Friday, June 20, 2014

Popping Pizazz Patriotic Drink

You can describe the drink as thirst quenching glittery glory. Jubilant, sweet, and delightful.

Technically they are called Italian Sodas and French Sodas, but we like to use them as a fun and unique way to add colors to an Independence day celebration.

Choose red or blue and you got yourself a perfect drink to party with!

Items you need:
  • 16 ounce cup
  • Club Soda
  • Ice
  • Torani flavored syrup. Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry work for Patriotic colors.
  • Cream (optional)
  • Frozen Berries (optional)
Add four tablespoons of syrup to cup. Add club soda, filling 3/4ths of the way, stir. Add ice, top off with club soda and enjoy!

Optional additions are:

Put frozen berries in with ice for some extra color and firecrackers.

To create a French soda, add a little bit of cream. Makes the drink have a richer taste.

Nancy Jane

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Virtuous Pre-Wife, Part 2

Take time to learn to serve others before yourself.

I always had dreams of being a successful business woman while raising a family. These visions blossomed as I began my Bachelor's and continued to grow as I started my Master's degree. The world was an exciting open book where I could turn the page and start a new adventure as a professional musician. I practiced hard honing my skills; all I wanted to do was perform.

However, as I reached the end of my second semester at graduate school I began to really think about my future. How would I be able to work as much as I am now without sacrificing something. A decision had to be made; be a career woman or family woman.

At that moment of time I saw it as me accepting success or failure. Choosing not to go on with my profession was nothing less than me giving up.

I see now this thought process was wrong. You can work and be a homemaker, but you do indeed need to chose what to sacrifice. Family is the most important aspect in life.

She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants...She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.
 Proverbs 31:15, 24
The Proverbs 31 woman had no idle time on her hands! She cared for her own, and also provided a small income. However, her husband and children were number one in her life.
Society tells women of this generation careers first, family second. But sacrificing your profession for family doesn't make you a failure!

It is an act of love.

As a single woman waiting on marriage, now is the best time to learn to serve others before yourself. Even as a Christian we are to learn humility just as Christ humbled Himself for us.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.
Philippians 2:5-6 

What service is your church needing right now where you can help others? Is there a local homeless shelter that needs volunteers? Find ways to put others before yourself. Learning these qualities is not only good for your future as a wife and mother, but a skill to better yourself as a person!

And when you do this, you will be praised by the ones you love and by God!
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and praises her: ''Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.''
Proverbs 31:28-29
My dear fellow Pre-Wives, what better reward is there than achieving our Heavenly Father's praise? Let us begin now serving Him and assisting others so we are better prepared to humbly attend to our own.

*Disclaimer: There are women who have no choice but to work. That is still a work of servant hood and most importantly love.*

Nancy Jane

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Heavenly Father's Artwork

The roses have made another grand return. The Gray household is surrounded by perfect blooms and sweet aroma.
How blessed are we to be graced by our Heavenly Father's artwork?! No man's artistry can possibly equal God's creation.
We Gardeners were given the honor to grow His living paintings. 
Thank you Lord for cheering up our daily lives with stunning works of art.



Nancy Jane

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Patriotically Pomp Flowers

Are you looking for dazzling and stunning ways to show tribute to our Nation? Try using flowers! Freedom and patriotism can be symbolized with petunias and other flowers!

Or place a flag in a pot to add some extra boom and pop to your porch!


Nancy Jane

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Oat-Sunflower Seed Bread

Bread notes: The bread machine is a modern marvel.  Every kitchen should have one, the instructions are for using the bread machine, but can be modified for hand baking.

While the joys of hand kneading dough are incomparable, time is a major factor in our lives, especially if bread making is a way of life in your kitchen.  So, in order to provide health building breads, have my family come home to fresh bread, avoid additives----this bread baker uses her bread machine frequently.
Oat- Sunflower Seed Bread
---I split the dough in half and let the last rising be in two standard size bread pans, we like the size for sandwiches.
1-¼ cups warm water (just warm to touch)
2 Tablespoons butter—softened
1 1/3 cup white bread flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast
add ¼ cup sunflower seeds (we used sprouted, but just a personal preference.) when machine calls for add-ins
Place ingredients inside your bread machine---set controls to process for whole wheat bread.
Or—place  in your bread machine, set controls to dough only.  After last rise is complete-take out the dough, place in two standard size bread pans. 
Let rise until doubled---bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Mother Judith

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gloriously Delicious Cast Iron Skillet Barbequed Veggies

I have a serious problem, I am addicted to potatoes. As I wrote on a previous blog post it's terrible how spuds can control my appetite. Magnificent, spectacular, sometime buttery, sometimes fried, sometimes garlicy taters.
Am I obsessed? Maybe. But only the Lord can judge my overzealous appeal towards tubers.   
Now that I officially sound loopy, I present you one of our favorite family recipes. It was developed by Mother Judith and Dad-I expanded on it a bit.
Covered in flavor, kissed with tastiness, and healthy! (That's always a plus) The dish will be a hit! 
There is a lot of olive oil in the recipe, but it is needed for the barbequing section of the recipe. It helps make the potatoes nice and crispy, almost like fries.

  • Barbeque
  • Medium Sized Cast Iron Skillet with lid
  • Spatula
  •  4 cups chopped red potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon season salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil-plus extra for later 
  • 1/2 cup turkey bacon (or regular bacon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups green beans
  • 2 cups squash
Place potatoes, onions, season salt, olive oil, and garlic in cast iron skillet. Place on barbeque. Turn on to medium heat, place lid on top. Let cook, stirring occasionally. Make sure to scrape bottom of skillet. Caution: Lid will be extremely hot, be sure to use oven mitts when handling lid.

When potatoes are soft, add bacon and green beans. At this point you might need to add extra olive oil to skillet. If food is sticking to the bottom, add oil and reduce heat a little bit. Stir well. Cover, let cook, and stir occasionally.

When green beans are almost cooked, add squash. Stir, cover, and continue to cook. As soon as squash is soft, with an oven mitt, remove skillet from barbeque and enjoy!

Hope you and your family love this recipe as much as we do!

Nancy Jane