Tuesday, February 20, 2018

52 Recipes in 2018

One of the people I follow via blogging and social media is Megan at The Nerd Nest. For years, she has been doing this project where she aims to make one new recipe per week. I really like that idea and when I felt like we were falling into the same handful of recipes, I decided to try it as well.

I always see things in magazines, on blogs, and in cookbooks that I always say I want to try "someday". So to prepare for this project, I pulled out my planner and started writing down all of the specific recipes I would be interested in trying. I also added more general things like making the kids' birthday cakes. At some point this year I want to make ice cream, jams and jerkies. I added those to my list as well. 

Right now, I think I am at 40 meal ideas on the list and we've made 6 of them. I am working on figuring out how I want to share these recipes, my thoughts, and whether or not we will be eating them again. For now, I have been sharing them on Instagram using the Highlights feature and the #amakeats52. Also, I probably will not sharing the recipes that don't quite work out for us, especially if it is something I come up with on my own. Anyways, keep your eyes open and be sure to check back soon as I start adding updates to this project. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

One Little Word: 2018

Since 2012, I have participated in Ali Edwards' One Little Word. Every year, I choose a guiding word relating to things I hope to achieve in the following year. The concept is not new, and there are several people that employ this idea of a focus word for their year. Ali Edwards' project is specifically centered around the One Little Word creative workshop which goes deeper than just having a focus word. If you haven't heard of it, I highly suggest checking it out.
Image created by my friend Alyssa Bones

This year my word is MAKE. Some years, I choose my word. Sometimes, my word chooses me. Over a few weeks I kept a running list of anything and everything I might want to do, experience, or achieve in 2018. From there, I looked for common themes among those items.

One of the themes that really stood out was making and creating. Seeing that was not in the least surprising. I think I have touched on this before but with each pregnancy it feels like all of my creativity goes out the window. Then the following year I feel overwhelmed with all the ideas I have. In December when it came down to settling on either create or make I ultimately picked MAKE because of its definitions of "forming something by putting parts together" and "alter something so that it forms or constitutes something else." I felt that was a better representation of my goals for this year.

In the past, I have been fairly quiet when it comes to all that I am doing with my word. This year, my list includes a lot of action items. While I may not share what the workshop prompt is each month, I do plan on sharing some of my goals.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Surprise... TinyKrue2


Surprise! One of the biggest things that happened in 2017 was the addition to our family. Little Eliza Mae joined our family on August 25. If you follow me on social media you know all about her and if you read my post on Monday, you saw my teasers. However, I did want to make a formal announcement here.

There is so much I could ramble on about with my pregnancy, her birth, and our decision to not share online and some day I might. For now though, I'll say that our surprise pregnancy and her birth was such a healing experience for me compared to all that we went through with Teddy. Also, Eliza is the perfect and completing piece to our family!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Goodbye 2017. Hello 2018!

Well hello there friends. It has been some time since I have posted. Berkeley gently reminded me that in fact it had been roughly eight months since my last post. At the time, I was not planning a complete lack of posting over the summer months. It just kind of happened while we were enjoying the season as much as possible! Then the holidays rolled by and now here we are.

We have done a lot since May. When I last posted, I shared our list of things to do over the summer. I talked a lot about wanting to keep it slow and simple with a lot of local events like music festivals and parades. We also wanted to work on making our house more of our home by putting a dent in some of our projects. I am really happy to say that we did a lot of what was on our list and so much more.

We celebrated Teddy's birthday with a huge family trip to Disneyland and two cakes! He was quite excited for that. Our list of weekend town events included the car show, 4th of July Parade, the Blues Festival, and the Bluegrass Music Gathering. We even made it to a couple pancake breakfasts. Our Wednesdays were spent at the library in the next town over. We read some 15 books and Teddy even won a prize in The Summer Reading Challenge.

Once the Reading Challenge was over, Teddy and I headed out to California. We went with my family to a beautiful wedding on the coast. Teddy had so much fun playing in the sand, chasing seagulls and seeing whales! The rest of our time was spent just relaxing around my parents farm, spending time with family.

With a busy fire season and unpredictable weather (it was below freezing at the end of May), it took longer than expected to get our beds made and start our vegetables. We just barely got a few ropes tomatoes before our first freeze of fall. Even though our plants weren't physically fruitful, it did get Teddy and I in the habit of going out a few times a day to check on "his garden" and water. He really enjoyed helped to tend to the plants. I am hopeful that those few months of work will stick with him and he'll be just as excited later this year.

Looking at 2018, I could make all kinds of promises about what I want to post but thus far being a mom of two (more details soon) has been a bit of a struggle. I struggle to find enough hours in the day to get any one thing finished. In fact, the only reason why I've been able to post now and the next few weeks is that the government has shut down again and Berkeley cannot be at work.

That said, I do have a few loose plans. I signed up for One Little Word for the first time in a few years. Part of my word and goals for the year, is to follow Megan from The Nerd Nest and make 52 new recipes this year. I will have more about these two projects in the coming weeks and they are really making me excited for sharing in this space again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Krueger Family Summer List


Happy May friends! I know for many, summer doesn't officially start until June, but around here summer starts when Fire Season starts and that is usually the beginning of May. So today, I am sharing whats on our Summer To Do List. Some people call them manifestos and in the past I have called mine a bucket list (which I've never really liked). Really it is just an intentional list of things our family would like to do during this season.

Some things are yearly things that we would celebrate regardless of the season, like Teddy's birthday. How is he going to be two already?!  I cannot believe it! Yearly events like parades and local parties. We also have a few random, every day type things on there too like baking treats, watching movies, and fishing. Although it looks like we planned a lot, I am really looking forward to a slow summer. What about you? Do you set intentions for your summer?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Week In The Life 2017 | Documentation Recap

As you may have seen from my post two weeks ago, I participated for the sixth time in Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project. This year, I didnt have a specific goal other than capturing moments from a random week from our life. I just wanted a record of what our life looks like right now.

I ended up using both my iPhone and my Nikon. Most of my documenting, especially photos from my phone, was shared on Instagram. You can see all the photos shared this year, and years past, using #amakwitl. However, today I wanted to share some of my favorite moments and stories from the week. Not all of these are the greatest photos ever taken, or have the right lighting or are perfectly crisp, but they are the photos that have my favorite stories from the week and best capture our "right now".

Monday 9:30am | Another break from finishing laundry because when a kiddo asks to read the answer should always be yes! 
Monday 5:15pm | That moment when Berkeley says he's taking TinyKrueger out in the backyard to grill and 5 minutes later you see a tow-headed toddler run unsupervised past your front window on the other side of the house! 
Tuesday 6:45am | The bathroom line up. We don'y do very many "products" in our house. These get the most use. 
Tuesday 10:30am | Instead of playtime, #TinyKrueger wanted a movie and a head scratch. I was happy oblige if it meant a few moments of calm.
Wednesday 8:00am | Some mornings require a dump of the fruit + veggie scraps and a turn of the compost. I am excited we were able to keep this going over the winter and can't wait to add this nutrient rich mixture to our garden!
Wednesday 4:45pm | Dad's home so that means TinyKrueger gets to "shoot water" (help water the lawn)
Thursday 4:35pm | "Hi Dad!" he exclaims as he opens the side gate to greet Berkeley when he gets home from work.
Friday 8:31am | This week has been so full of laundry. On top of our typical stuff, it was also time to rotate out clothes. That meant washing, folding, and packing smaller baby and toddler sized stuff and pulling out some larger hand-me-downs that have been waiting to be worn. 
Saturday 6:48am | It's Saturday, and Berkeley is off to work even though it is supposed to be his day off. I guess this means summer is here and Fire Season has officially begun. It seems earlier and earlier each year. 
Saturday 11:45pm | BK finally got home after ten. I was snoozing waiting for him and now I'm wide awake and listening to podcasts
Sunday 7:15pm | Kid, You'll move mountains! Story time with just me and TinyKrueger before bed.

So there are a few of my favorite photos from the week. We were supposed to have just a normal week, and then Berkeley ended up working really late on both of his days off. As a result, I got a lot of photos of what my "Stay at home Mom" life looks like. I also noticed that I tend to taper off my documenting once Berkeley gets home from work. The next time I do this project I want to make a point of taking more evening photos, no matter how grainy they may end up. I also want to be sure to find comparative shots in subsequent years just to see how our life changes and/or stays the same from season to season and year to year. 

I still plan on taking the photos and words and putting them into an album. I am focusing on wrapping up my sister's Disney album prior to starting something else. Once the Disney Album is done, I will be moving on to the Week in the Life album so be sure to look for those updates here or on my YouTube channel. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

For me, one of the best things about having a toddler is that he now has the ability to keep himself occupied for longer periods of time which allows me to play in the kitchen more often. Granted, a lot of times him keeping himself busy includes emptying kitchen cupboards or devising a plan to get up on to the counters, but that is a story for a different day. During one of our more recent "kitchen play days" I decided to satiate my peanut butter and chocolate craving with some cookies!

If ever there was a "healthy cookie" these would be it. On my quest to make cookies, I discovered we had very little flour, sugar, and butter. All of which are pretty standard to a typical cookie. Since we live a good distance from our grocery store now, I made do with what I had. Enter in a plan for some flour free, egg free, peanut butter cookies.

So I talked about what these cookies don't have, but lets talk about what they do have. For these, I turned to old fashioned peanut butter and oats! I have a mixture of rolled oats, and oats ground into a flour. I chose this mixture to achieve more of a cookie texture as opposed to a no bake bar.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
ingredients
  • 1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if desired) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Place 1/2 cup of oats in food processor and pulse until just barely ground. 
  2. In small bowl mix together the ground oats, remaining rolled oats and baking soda; set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl mix peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  4. Mix in dry ingredients and then gently fold in chocolate chips. 
  5. Roll dough into 2 inch balls. Place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart. The cookies may not be as round in shape or flatten to a typical cookie shape while baking but that's okay. 
  6. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. Gently, flatten the tops of the cookies with a fork. They may look slightly underdone but will continue cooking as they cool. 
  7. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April | Currently

enjoying documenting our life during this year's Week in the Life. I love capturing the details of what our life is like right now. If you'd like to see more of that documentation, it's happening this week (April 17-23 2017) over on my instagram @ashleyamak
appreciating that Teddy is at an age that enjoys interacting with the camera. I know sooner than later it will be a fight to get a decent shot. 
reading the Jesus Calling devotional most mornings. I don't discuss my faith much here but spending a little bit of time each day to center myself on The Word has really been beneficial for me. 
eating too many breads and sugars lately. I need to be better about following my anti-inflammatory diet.  
watching the Toy Story trilogy and Up several times a week. They are toddler favorites right now. 
fighting off a woodpecker from taking up residence on our patio. I never thought I would be at odds with a stubborn bird. I guess this is life as an adult. 
working on small patio renovation plans. I am trying to save some weather worn, outdated chairs, Berkeley is growing a more kid friendly front lawn and we are building planter boxes.
waiting not so patiently for warmer weather so the last of the snow and ice melt and we can get started on the bigger yard work. 
hoping to finally plant the vegetable garden we have been dreaming about since we moved into this house in January '16. 
thinking about how fast this past year has flown by. The last two winters, we have been blessed with consistent winter work for Berkeley. He didn't even experience his seasonal layoff this year. It has made for time to fly by. 
embracing this almost 2 year old toddler stage. In just three and a half weeks, I will have a two year old. Again, time is flying by. I will admit, the last month or so has not been my favorite stage. He is so stinking smart, and curious, and inquisitive that some days are a real battle of wills, but it also means that our good days are really awesome and outnumber the trying days. His sense of humor and laughter are everything!
doing my best to remember those moments and days on the more trying days.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week In The Life 2017 | Reminder

image from Ali Edwards


This is just a reminder that today I am joining in with Ali Edwards' Week In The Life. I'll be sharing my photos over on my instagram account @ashleyamak. Feel free to follow along with me there this week.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cranberry Orange Wheat Scones

I have been on a baking kick lately. I don't know what it is but I really enjoy the measuring and mixing of all the different ingredients. The science nerd in me even likes doing the calculations and adjustments for altitude. I also like experimenting with different flavors and trying to making our favorite sugary treats into something more healthy.

This past weekend, I decided to take on scones! While the flavor combination is pretty standard, Cranberry and Orange, I did look for ways to tweak an old recipe so that they are a bit healthier. For me, that meant adding in whole wheat flour, using greek yogurt, and switching the sweetener. Usually, I would try to swap the butter out for something else but cold butter is essential in creating the little pockets of air that makes a scone what it is.

Next up is the fruit going in these scones. It isn't exactly cranberry weather in these parts, despite the frigid temperatures and snow on the ground, so instead of fresh cranberries which would be best, I used some I had in the freezer. A lot of people like chopping their cranberries up, I keep mine whole. I find they do not affect even baking and I love the burst of tart cranberry juice. Lastly, do not skip on the orange zest here. It is where most of your orange flavor is going to come from.

All that is left to do is mix it all up, bake it and enjoy. All three of us enjoyed these for breakfast. They aren't as sweet as a typical scone but if that is something you are looking for, you could easily sprinkle the top with sugar or make an orange and confectioners sugar glaze to drizzle over top.

Cranberry Orange Wheat Scones
ingredients
  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs orange zest
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbs chilled butter
  • 1 c fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 c greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 egg
directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda. 
  3. Use a pastry blender (or the two knives method) to cut the butter into pea sized pieces. Combine with flour mixture. 
  4. Stir in cranberries. Optional: You can roughly chop up the cranberries before adding.
  5. In separate small bowl, stir together the yogurt, orange juice, and egg, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. 
  6. Turn dough out onto a work surface. "Knead" 3 or 4 times. This may be difficult as the dough will be crumbly. 
  7. Form into a circle roughly 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 10-12 wedges. 
  8. Transfer onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes. 
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