chicken satay with peanut sauce


There are some flavors I am instantly drawn to.  My number one flavor profile pick though?  It’s gotta be peanut sauce anything.  I think that’s why I love thai food so much and even have two different thai peanut chicken recipes on my blog (a pasta dish here and a wrap dish here).  When I was browsing A Spoonful of Thyme (my assigned Secret Recipe Club‘s blog) and looking for a recipe to make, I totally honed in on her chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce.  It was actually one of the first few recipes on her list and after seeing that, no other recipe stood a chance.  Peanut sauce is king and this recipe was just that, top notch.


A Spoonful of Thyme is written by Kate, a mom and wife.  As a working mom, she always makes time for her and her family to sit around the table and have dinner together, inviting any of her daughter’s friend who may be over to join them.  Food is such a great time to connect with people and she makes sure her family gets the connection in around the table.  Her recipe index is outstanding, and while I only made the chicken satay, there are at least a couple hundred recipes in all different categories to pick from.  The list has to have something for everyone, I’m sure of it.


Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from here


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tbsp  soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of paprika


  1. Prepare your chicken by cutting the breasts lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices.  Cut each slice in half crosswise to make small individual pieces.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp lime juice, sesame oil, garlic, curry powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper.  Add the chicken, toss well to coat and allow the chicken to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare your dipping sauce by coming the remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp lime juice, peanut butter, coconut milk, honey and paprika in a small saucepan.  Heat on low and whisk occasionally until the ingredients come together.  Taste and add salt if needed.  If the sauce seems too thick, thin it with 1 tbsp of water.
  4. To cook the chicken, position an oven rack as close to the broiler as possible and heat the broiler to 500 degrees F.  Spread the chicken evening on a baking sheet.  Broil for 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken pieces, then broil on the other side for a few more minutes until the chicken is done.  Keep an eye on it, the chicken will cook quickly.
  5. Allow the chicken to cool slightly then serve with the peanut sauce for dipping action.


Kate served her chicken satay as appetizers on a stick.  I actually made mine the day before we planned to eat it and just reheated the chicken and peanut sauce, which made for a super fast, simple and delicious lunch for the kids and I.  I paired it was a simple green salad topped with some homemade creamy tomatillo dressing (recipe followed here, except I made a homemade ranch seasoning instead of using a packet) and buttered toasted sourdough bread.  The kiddos went crazy for the peanut sauce like their mama and I was in peanut sauce heaven the entire meal.

I find you either love peanut sauce or are more meh about it.  Where do you fall on the peanut sauce scale?  What is your top flavor profile you jump for every time?


october highlights


I love November.  It’s the beginning of the holiday season.  Everything gets a little cozier.  We turn the heat on more often and I snuggle up with a blanket and hot drink to stay warmer.  But before I get too much into November, I want to share our October.  We spent so much time outside before the rainy days came along.  So much wonderfulness to share. :)


I captured this picture on the first of October.  A rare moment I got Hunter to wear a beanie on a cooler morning, then he posed like a champ for a picture.  He’s such a cool kid.

IMG_0447Apple crumble making with my boy.  We just love cooking and baking together.  And then of course, eating.

IMG_047619 weeks along here and just finished up my Monday line up of 3 classes.  Love the people I get to teach and these for two fitness tops.


Their hand holding melts my heart.


We explored a new to us park near our house and had way too much fun throwing rocks into the stream.

IMG_0752Peanut butter swirl brownies.  Go make them and come back and thank me!  Recipe –> here.

IMG_0575This baby is ready for #flexfriday.  😉  We had our 20 week ultrasound and got to see this little squish for a full hour.  So wonderful.  Read more about the halfway point through this pregnancy here.

IMG_0588Wildlife refuge exploration.

IMG_0601Peeking into the plank house at the refuge.

IMG_0623We harvested these two awesome pumpkins from our inherited garden and added a little fall decor to our front porch.  Their color is so bright and orange and still look amazing a whole month later.

IMG_0620Ya know when you’re trying to make food and the kids are hungry and loud but you don’t want to give them a snack right before they’re going to eat a meal?  This has been my solution lately: water play on the kitchen floor.  They both end up soaked and I get a free mopping of the floor.  Worth every ounce of water spilled.

IMG_0635Baby girl’s first little half french braid.

IMG_0640No sugar added peanut butter chocolate cups.  Yum.

IMG_0658Strata is one of my favorite simple meals to help use up leftovers in the fridge.  And roasted veggies (especially when they’re home grown) make my heart and belly happy.

IMG_0667Chicken eggs on the right, duck eggs on the left.  Happy to have found a farm not many miles from our house to get amazing eggs from.

IMG_0707Downing the rest of mama’s tea.  I’ve been loving herbal chai tea with some half and half in it.

IMG_0733A random walk before getting home for lunch.  Their expressions crack me up.

IMG_0740Hunter spotted this praying mantis at the end of our walk and we spent a lot of time watching it move around on the rocks, although I don’t it appreciated being poked by a stick.

IMG_0767Fall leaves.


Everything turns into some kind of shooter.

IMG_0776 IMG_0806 IMG_0818 IMG_0771

Pumpkin patchin’!


We had a new window installed in Hunter’s room and dirt had to be dug out so they could cut into the wall.  Now we have an awesome dirt pile and it’s one of Hunter’s favorite places to play.

IMG_0960A second kitchen helper.  She’s good.


These cream cheese cucumber bites are so refreshing and delicious.  Try em out.  Recipe –> here.


Twinning with my girl.  Photo taken by Hunter.  22 weeks pregnant and the bump keeps popping more and more each day.

IMG_0963Hunter has pretty much stopped napping.  It kind of started in September but now he’s lucky if he naps once or twice a week.  And I’m okay with it (I wasn’t at first).  Normally he still has quiet reading time in his room, but sometimes, we chill on the couch and drink tea.  And snuggle.  And he helps me remember to slow down a bit more and soak all this wonderfulness in.

IMG_0984Pumpkin goo fun.  And prepping to carve.

IMG_0988My kitty carving was a hit with the kids.

IMG_1018We were away from our house halloween evening so we took some treats to our neighbor kids the day before.  I love how fun these little ‘pumpkins’ turned out.  A little chocolate treat with some goodness too.

IMG_1072And to finish out the month: Hansel and Gretel.  THE cutest.  The lederhosen were Jacob’s as a child, and I sewed Zoe’s brown linen dress (geranium dress pattern) and white eyelet apron (which was made from an old shirt of mine).  The headband she’s wearing was actually a ribbon I used to wear in my own hair, sized down for her.  Halloween was such a blast with friends.  We trick or treated in the heavy rainy.  So very PNW of us.

How was your Halloween?  Any fun highlights from October to share?


Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

August 2015

September 2015

cream cheese cucumber bites


Healthy eating can take a little prep work to make it feel simpler sometimes, but thankfully it doesn’t take hours to do.  These little cream cheese cucumber bites are prepped and ready in 5 minutes and can wait in the fridge until you are ready to devour them.  Perfect little bites when you’re a bit peckish but don’t want to ruin your appetite before a meal.  Or your kid’s appetite for that matter.


Recently Zoe’s started to be my little kitchen helper too.  She loves sitting on the counter mixing things, pushing buttons on the food processor, or sampling as I go along.  When I made these bites she was very eager to try the cream cheese mix.  Then try it again and again.  Girl likes her cream cheese!


I don’t blame her.  I recently picked up this new to me product at Chuck’s when it was on sale a couple weeks back.  It’s a goat’s milk and cow’s milk cream cheese spread.  The goat’s milk adds a nice little tang to what you’d expect in a traditionally cream cheese.  It was truly a marriage between cream cheese and goat cheese and heavenly paired with crunchy cool cucumber.


These bites are so quick and simple to put together.  You could easily add all the ingredients between a couple slices of bread with a little prosciutto tucked in for a more substantial meal, but for me, I kept them as little snacks to munch on.  I hope you enjoy them like we have!


Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites


  • 1 english cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with dill, sea salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  2. Take 1 cucumber round, spread 1-2 tsp cream cheese mix on it, place another round on top to sandwich the spread in, and repeat.
  3. Store covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

I hope these healthy little snack bites make it into your kitchen and belly!

What is your favorite cream cheese spread?  How do you like to use cream cheese?


3rd pregnancy: 20 week update + sugar cravings


On Monday I had my 20 week ultrasound for this baby #3.  Half way through seems like the right time to give a little pregnancy update.  First off, how did I get halfway through this pregnancy so fast already?  It’s crazy.  Just so crazy how quickly time is passing.  Other than the baby movements I get to enjoy in the evening when I go to bed, I really don’t think too much about being pregnant throughout the day. I just don’t have to time to really sit and think about it, so it was super special to see this little babe on Monday.  Getting to focus our attention on all the little finger and toes was just wonderful.


Everything is looking and measuring normal, which is always great news!  We are keeping the sex a surprise until the little one is born.  There was an itty bitty part of me that wanted to find out, but I know that waiting will be so much more thrilling.  Adding even more to the emotional rush of birth. :)  Jacob had much more of an urge to find out but we stuck to the plan of waiting and I know we’re be really glad we did.


I love growing babies.  At 20 weeks I’d say that most of the time I feel like my normal energized self, assuming I get enough sleep.  I’m still teaching all of my classes – a mix of body pump, body combat, fitness yoga and bootcamp with many double class days throughout the week.  I do feel pretty great while teaching, I just make sure to listen to my body and use a little less weight when I feel like I need to give my body more rest to keep the challenge at a moderate level instead of too intense.  More push ups are going from my toes to my knees and I jump a bit less in combat, but for the most part, I do everything I did before.  Every class leaves me so much more energized and less of a cranky pants, so I’m really thankful to continue teaching this pregnancy too.

My one annoyance that I’ve been still dealing with is lower back/glute pain I experienced my last pregnancy too.  It’s definitely worse after an active day, and if I lay on my back for any amount of time.  Since it hasn’t passed yet (I think it had left by this time when I was pregnant with Zoe) I’m just being more careful about sitting up straight more instead of relaxing back or laying back, stretching out my glute muscle a ton more whenever I feel the tightness, and then complaining to Jacob all the time, just like a pregnant wife should. 😉


I’ve totally let my sweet tooth/carb love take over, and it’s getting a bit out of control.  It’s more the fact that I have been snacking on lots of carby or chocolatey things in the evening (like brownies or sour dough bread) and then waking up not feeling great in the morning.  Hormones definitely make it tough to fight the sweet tooth monster, but I’m working on fighting back just so my insides feel a bit better.  I also know it’s not the best for me, whether I’m pregnant or not.

Here’s how I’ve started to take charge of it.  I made these sweetener free peanut butter cups (recipe here – no maple syrup and I used peanut butter instead of almond butter) and I completely love them.  I am a big fan of super dark chocolate so I really don’t mind the bitter chocolate taste and lack of sweetness.   It let me munch in the evening and feel like I was eating a treat, but then wake up feeling better in the morning.  It’s a step in the right direction of getting my evening blood sugar back in control.  And they’re delicious!  Everyone should try them, seriously.

IMG_0641I’m feeling so blessed to be on this journey to add another little babe into our lives.  These two bring so much life and joy into every single day.  Challenges of course, but the happiness they add is overwhelming.  I’m just so in love with this life and everything it brings.


I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Do you have a go-to strategy to fight sweet tooth cravings?  Please share!


peanut butter swirl brownies


Peanut butter and chocolate.  Is there a better pairing?  The answer is no.  I hope you love these two together as much as I do, because then you’ll love these peanut butter swirl brownies too!


A sweet treat to finish out the even sweeter weekend we had.  Between a Friday night date night at the hearth (our most favorite restaurant), Hunter’s soccer game and 2 separate super fun get togethers with friends, plus a relaxing but productive morning doing some yard work, it’s been a marvelous, just marvelous.  And then you add in chocolate and peanut butter.  Nothing better my friends.

These brownies come from my Secret Recipe Club pick for this month, Pale Yellow.  Tracy, the author, has such an outstanding recipe index to choose from.  She has every kind of category you can ask for, especially in sweet treats, which is where I ended up.  She does a lot of baking and sharing with friend – lucky friends of hers.  :)  Her most recent blog post is actually about her Whole 30 beginnings.  The food looks amazing and right up my real food loving alley – go check it out here.


The brownies I picked are a touch healthier than your average brownie, being that they are made with honey as a natural sweetener, and also coconut flour instead of white flour.  I love the soft texture coconut flour adds to baked goods.  The one modification I made was using coconut oil instead of the butter, but that was only because as I began getting ready to make these, I realized I was actually out of butter and not wanting to run to the grocery store.  Oh no!  I improvised and used coconut oil and they turned out absolutely wonderful, although I know I’d prefer butter since butter is just delicious. The coconut oil adds a bit more of a coconut flavor as opposed to butteri-ness you’d expect.  I definitely would love to try them again with no modification made.

Soft, moist and oh so tasty.  I hope these sweeten up your weekend a bit too!.  Let me know how you like them!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies – gluten free

recipe slightly adapted from here


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, not melted when measured (or substitute 1 stick unsalted butter)
  • 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour 
  • 3 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp coconut milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.
  2. Add the coconut oil to a pot over low heat on the stove until it is melted.
  3. While the oil melts, add parchment paper to fit the bottom and over the sides of your 8×8″ pan.
  4. When the oil is melted, remove the pot from the heat.  Add the chopped chocolate, honey and vanilla in with the melted oil.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the eggs in one at a time and whisk until smooth again.
  5. Next, stir in the salt, baking soda, coconut flour and cocoa powder.  Spread the batter evenly into your pan.
  6. Place the peanut butter and milk in a the same pot you prepped the batter in.  Heat until the peanut butter becomes melted and smooth.  Dollop it over the batter and swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into pieces.


What made your weekend sweet and special?  I hope you had a great one!


september highlights


Time to remember and highlight the best of September!  I sure love these highlight posts.  Looking back on these kid’s happy faces bring me so much joy.  Thank goodness I snap a lot of pictures so that when I look back on my photo stream for September I can easily remember bits and pieces of what we did.  Here we go!

IMG_9777Hunter began his first season of outdoor fall soccer!  It’s 7 weeks long and we started September out with his first evening practice, which he absolutely loved.  And doesn’t he just look so adorable with his shin guards, socks and cleats?


We had our big, fun filled, annual canning weekend in Seattle.  Read so much more about it HERE.

IMG_9844 IMG_9847Moving day.  The kids and I got out of the way and headed to ride some dozers at a park near our old house while the men loaded the uhaul and did all the heavy lifting.  Until a yellow jacket wouldn’t leave us alone since the kids snacked on grapes in the car on the way to the park.  They just smelled too sweet for the pest to stay away.

IMG_9849Got the keys!

IMG_9851First day at the new house and just loving our new bigger yard.  Zoe likes to go up-down-up-down-up-down that little step to the grass.  She also likes to fall.

IMG_0494And we found a pear tree on our property.  Bonus, they are delicious!  I’m thinking it’s either a bartlett or anjou pear tree, or at least something that looks and tastes like them.

IMG_0546First game down.  Officially a soccer family.  #soccermom

IMG_0545These BLT bites.  Sure to please with many non tomato options too.   Go make em –> recipe here.

IMG_9931Exploring the wooded area next to our house.  I love that nature is right outside our front door.

IMG_9938Our forest exploration ended after being caught in an unexpected downpour.  Zoe was not amused.


Taking a stroll to the library downtown in Ridgefield to check out story time.  What I love about this picture is Hunter guiding Zoe with his hand on her back.  He loves to guide her in the right direction and can be so sweet with her.

IMG_9954After story time park play.  Zoe loved this slide.  I can’t even count how many times she went down it.

IMG_9955And Hunter’s favorite part, of course.  Backhoe digging.  A boy’s dream.

IMG_0007Soccer intensity at it’s best.

IMG_0051Hunter started swim lessons at the end of August and is getting so much more comfortable and making progress every week. He’s been going full face in the water for a few feet and I’m so proud of the improvements he’s making.  More importantly, he loved it and is always so sad when it’s over.

IMG_0117She’s quite fond of finding sticks on walks just like her big brother.


Hawaiian nachos + kale chips for all the crunch.  So simple.  Just toast corn tortillas in the oven with a little spritz of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt until toasty.  Add leftover diced pork + pineapple (I had some frozen from the freezer) + thinly sliced onion + shredded cheese and bake until the cheese is melty.  Serve with quac on the side.

IMG_0157Home date nights are the best!  We love our standard spread of sausage, cheeses (an aged sharp cheddar, gouda and brie), sour dough bread and apple slices.  Epic.  Every time.

IMG_0239These almond butter zucchini muffins are amazing!  Sub in any nut butter you have on hand and enjoy a filling snack any time of day.  Recipe HERE!

IMG_0287Baby bumpin’ at 18 weeks.  Time is seriously flying by and I actually forget how far along I am all the time.  I’m beginning to notice my growing belly more and more every day.

IMG_0298We found an adorable farm stand a couple of miles from our house.  A lady grows tons of fruits and vegetables at her beautiful home and sells then out of a little area in her garage/barn.  It’s so cute.  We enjoyed all the gourds she had around.  I picked up kale, asian pears, cucumbers and some tea towels I just couldn’t resist.  Sadly she was closing shop for the season the following week so I have to wait until next spring to come back again.

IMG_0309Zucchini almond butter muffin snacking before going into the Portland Children’s Museum.  Energized and ready to take on the last day of September!

IMG_0337 IMG_0349 IMG_0358 IMG_0363 IMG_0395The last time we went to the children’s museum was when Hunter was around Zoe’s current age (19 months) and I was super pregnant.  Both of the kids loved it.  They had a special area set up all about the blue man group with lots of glow in the dark lights and things to learn about sounds and music.  We did clay molding, construction digging (a fav) and water play.  We met some friend there and spent a little more than 2 hours at the museum and did not even get to every area there was.  Perfect for the rainy days we have coming up this fall!

What was a highlight of your September?


Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

August 2015

almond butter zucchini muffins


You guys, it is SO nice having my computer set up again.  With the move I went a good month without it, and posted maybe once or twice via my phone (which is a slow going process).  Sitting at my desk again and typing is such a treat now!  Especially with my canning post and all the pictures in it, a computer definitely makes blogging easier.  I can feel myself getting back into a rhythm of things and I really like it.  I’m getting the itch to sew again, although that’s the only part of the house left to unpack and organize still, and I’m planning my regular blogging schedule again.  Things are normalizing and I’m excited for it!

One thing I left behind at our old house was my garden, but I inherited a great one here.  I’ve been harvesting weekly and the biggest items have been tomatoes by far, then zucchini.  I definitely harvest a lot of zucchini late and the skin gets dark and tough, which isn’t that great to eat.  But not being one to waste, I’m just shredding it up and adding it to a bunch of different items.

IMG_9969I’ll add finely shredded zucchini into pasta sauce since it basically melt into the sauce as it simmers away.  With regular shredded zucchini I’ll add it into pancakes and of course, muffins!


These almond butter zucchini muffins are absolutely wonderful!  The main four ingredients in them are almond butter, zucchini, eggs and honey. And only 1/3 a cup of honey in all 6 muffins.  They aren’t your typical carby muffins, which I love because they keep me fueled and energized longer than typical sweet breads or muffins.  My kids love them and are big fans of the almond butter flavor that comes through.  I have plans to also make them using peanut butter instead of almond butter, because I’m out of almond butter now, and pour the batter into my donut pan for a fun different shape.  And for some odd reason Hunter requested donuts so it will be the perfect option for something much healthier than a regular donut.

A quick note on some of the ingredients.  Since my zucchini was very large and kind of old, it didn’t have much liquid to squeeze out.  If you use a fresher smaller zucchini, make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.  Also, my almond butter was scraped from the bottom of the jar, which is a bit less oily.  If you have soupy almond butter you are using, as opposed to firmer almond butter, you may have to bake your muffins a few more minutes than I did since I didn’t have excess liquid in my muffins.


Almond Butter Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from paleOMG (check out her site for a chocolate bread variation)

Makes 6 muffins


  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, any excess liquid squeezed out
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ¾ cup almond butter (or nut/seed butter of your preference)
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease your muffins tins.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, almond butter, honey and vanilla until fully combined.  Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.  Mix again.  Finally, stir in the shredded zucchini until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into prepared muffin tins (mine filled up close to full).  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin.  Let them cool a bit before removing from the muffin tins, then enjoy!

I hope you give these a try and let me know how they turn out!  We are heading out to the children’s museum this morning so I’m getting some peanut butter zucchini donuts in the oven quickly to take along as a yummy morning snack.

Do you have zucchini still thriving in your garden?  What was the last muffin you made?


third annual libby family canning weekend


We are now 3 years STRONG on our annual canning weekend and I just can’t wait to share about it.  I look forward to this weekend every year and am so excited to share pictures and more about everything we canned this past labor day weekend.  I have to thank my aunt Arlene, the majority of the pictures are from her and she hosted us once again at her beautiful house in Seattle.  Get ready, lots of pictures coming up!

Previous annual canning weekend posts:

first annual libby family canning weekend

second annual libby family canning weekend

IMG_9782The best place to start is with a plan and all the produce.  The plan was to make bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, mixed vegetable relish, salsa verde, sweet pickled green beans, peach salsa, applesauce, whole canned tomatoes, green tomato mincemeat, tex mex soup (pressure caned), pear chutney, green beans, fig jam, mixed berry jam and peach basil liquer.  The page numbers that are listed are from The Home Preserving Bible.  The author Carole Cancler was planning to come out that first day and teach us all more about pressure canning, which we had never done before in previous year.  We always stick with water bath canning, which is much simpler and less stressful in my opinion.

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We had 60 pounds of tomatoes, 40 pounds of peaches, 30 pounds of green beans, 48 pounds of pickling cucumbers, 40 pounds of tomatillos, 12 pints of figs and more than those 2 bins of apples picked.

IMG_9783IMG_9789IMG_4435  IMG_4421 IMG_4436 IMG_4437 IMG_4445 IMG_9786 IMG_9784IMG_4448 IMG_4449 IMG_4468 IMG_9814IMG_4473 IMG_4484Not only did we can a ton that first day and have a pressure canning lesson (although I missed most of the lesson feeding the kids and getting them down for naps), but we also celebrated my aunt’s 60th birthday!  She is a fellow veggie lover, so my other aunt made a beet red velvet cake.  I was then set to decorate it and was inspired my some seed packets I saw when looking for ideas on pinterest.  It may not be perfect, but it was sure fun to decorate it for her!


My uncle made a delicious paella to feed the bunch of us.  And now Zoe’s favorite word to say is paella. :)

IMG_4460 IMG_4467 IMG_9805We didn’t get around to the pinata the first day, so the next day we let the kids and adults whack at it.  Hunter and Caden loved taking the broom stick to it, Zoe and Abigail not so much.

IMG_4478 IMG_4479 IMG_9826IMG_9820 IMG_9822 IMG_4498When everything was finished after that third day ended up with a total of 360 canned jars!  We are all becoming more proficient, that is for sure.  Everyone worked so hard, I was so proud. :)  Jacob didn’t get to join us since he was working on house items (we moved the day after I returned), so I definitely had a lot more kiddo duty than the past couple years.  And I missed having my hubby there!  My brother totally took on the peach salsa and owned making it and finishing it that weekend.  So fun to have everyone go full steam for another awesome canning weekend!

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What would your go-to canned items be if you did a canning weekend?  What have you canned before?  Have you ever tried pressure canning?


BLT bites


Bacon and I don’t keep a very steady relationship.  Sometimes I love it, sometimes I want nothing to do with it.  Right now we’re in a love the taste, but can’t stand smelling it later in the house phase.  My pregnant nose is pretty picky as of late.  But when a recipe starts with these beautiful crisp strips, how can you not fall in love with it?  I just open a lot of windows to air out the smell after it’s done cooking. :)

IMG_9885.JPGBLT bites.  The flavors of a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich condensed into little bites.  Perfection on any appetizer plate.


I’m so glad I was given Jessie Weaver’s blog the Vanderbilt Wife to choose a recipe from for my Secret Recipe Club post just so I could find these BLT bites.  Jessie is married and is a stay-at-home mama to 3 kiddos.  You can tell in her posts that she loves her family and thanks God daily for his grace.  Love that.

While these little bites do take a little work to prep – mainly the little tomato hollowing out – the end result is so worth the effort.  I knew instantly upon looking through her recipe index that I had to make these.  It just happened to work out well that I had the perfect occasion on Saturday to share them since we were having Jacob’s parents and great grandma over for dinner to our new place (we moved on Tuesday!).  They were all big fans as well.

The filling was a mixture of crispy bacon bits, green onion, plain greek yogurt, mayo and parmesan cheese.  It made quite a bit and goes a long way since not much gets added into the tomatoes.


I made a mixture of tomato bites, using tomatoes I harvested from my old garden and some from the new garden I inherited here.  I also baked fresh mushrooms in the oven to soften them up a bit before filling (I tossed them in olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt and baked at 350F for about 15-20 minutes).  I also took some thick cucumber slices and hollowed them out shallowly and added the filling into them.  Cukes from my mama’s garden – garden fresh rocks!  I loved the variety and all we’re super tasty.  Such a great way to use up a mixture of different veggies you have on hand.

IMG_1970.JPGKnowing that my husband isn’t a big tomato or cucumber fan, I’m glad I made a batch of the mushroom bites as well.  They were very much loved and definitely faster to prep than the little tomatoes.

BLT bites

Recipe slightly adapted from here


  • 2 packages Campari tomatoes (or substitute cherry or grape, but Camparis are SUPER sweet)
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped finely
  • 3 TBSP grated parmesan cheese


  1. Prep your filling by adding the bacon, yogurt, mayonnaise, green onions and parmesan into a bowl.  Mix until combined.
  2. Take your tomatoes and slice the tiniest sliver of off the bottom of the tomato. This will help it to keep from falling.  Next take a small slice off of the top of the tomato and scoop out the pulp to create an area for the filling to go.  Lay them top side facing down to drain a bit while you prep all of the tomatoes.
  3. Flip the tomatoes right side up and spoon in the filling.  They keep well in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  4. Remember, other veggies work great as vehicles for the filling as well!

What’s your relationship like with bacon?  Would you choose tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms or something else?  Aren’t they just adorable little bites?

I’m off to unpack all-the-boxes while the kiddos nap then head out to enjoy some of this with them.  I hope your week starts out wonderfully!


august highlights


I try to capture our memories by having pictures to look back on.  It definitely helps me remember them (and I need all the help in the memory department I can get).  But seriously, I have the worst memory, so in an effort to share more and not forget everything, I’m going to try and show bits about our month with a little highlights post.  You can see what’s going on in our lives a bit, and then I (selfishly) have them to look back on too!  Enjoy!


Last blueberry picking trip of the season.


Hunter’s love for puzzles really picked up over the last couple months.  He is so good at them!


We looooove stumptown coffee (roasted in PDX).  There are 2 coffee shops in vancouver that carry it and I happily picked some up to share with my mama since she had never experienced the deliciousness of stumptown before. 


New knitting project started for Zoe.  It’s called the sideways cardigan by lion brand yarn.  Free pattern for it here


Salmon patties made with rice + homemade tarter sauce + roasted parsnips and carrots.  This meal was amazing! 


Peach picking with the cousins, auntie and grandma.  We picked 100 pounds together!


Family zoo trip + yummy elephant ears were had.



Packing craziness as we get ready to move.  All the boxes, everywhere.



Snack break on a lil kiddo hike we took and turtle watching. 


I canned about 2/3 of the picked peaches in a light honey syrup.  Sooo amazingly good tasting.  Check out the post and recipe here.


Garden harvest.  Lots of tomatillos (which turned into canned salsa verde) and tomatoes for munching. 



First midwife appointment and we got to see this little munchkin for the first time!


The best jalapeño poppers made a delicious come back into our lives. Made with panko breadcrumbs instead of millet.


13 weeks captured. 



Their love for each other is the best.



Fun with some great buds we definitely don’t get to see enough.  



This lasagna was amazing.  I followed this recipe and it will totally be my go to lasagna recipe.  I also used a brown rice flour garlic and chive lasagna noodle and it worked perfectly in it.  Everyone loooooved it.  The leftovers were perfection as well. 


Vancouver lake exploration.  We’ve been getting these kiddos outside even more every day.  Everyone is just happier when they get a little more time to just explore and be free. 

August, you were wondeful!  We’re almost halfway through Septempber now.  Crazy. I’m excited to share our highlights of the next month too.

What was a highlight from your August?