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do you believe in magic?

So the other day my friend Dana gave me a little suggestion that changed everything for me.

Or… not quite everything. But it definitely changed my fruit serving capabilities. 🙂

Cheesy infomercial begins now.


Brown apples. We all hate them. They look gross, rotten, kids won’t touch them. Add a little lemon juice to preserve the colour and it changes the flavour. Have you ever wanted to serve a lovely fruit tray with apple slices that stay white? Prepare to be amazed. Keeping your apples white is as simple as this:


Soak them in salt water.


As in… maybe a tbsp of salt in a bowl of water, swish around, let sit for approx a minute? Rinse off and serve, or don’t serve. Throw them in a ziplock bag and in the fridge or a lunch box for a few hours and then serve. STILL WHITE AND FRESH LOOKING. Tastes like apple, not apple splashed with bitter lemon juice!


I actually am excited about this. I’ve been wowing my friends all week, first asking them if they know the secret to keeping their apples fresh, then I dramatically whip a bag of apples out of the fridge and say, “I sliced these 3 hours ago!” and they are always like, “SHOW ME HOW!!” Or something like that anyway. My world is very small. Soak the apples, it really does work.





Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this recipe yet, and I almost don’t want to- because I love being the sole provider of these delicious muffins! 🙂 But here you go… the best lemon poppyseed muffin recipe I’ve tried to date. Found here but I doubled the butter because they were occasionally a bit dry and I use all the lemon juice, usually a touch more than half a cup.


(believe me, you will!)


Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

2 lemons
1-1/4 cups ( 300 mL) granulated sugar
3 cups ( 750 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tsp ( 15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp ( 5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp ( 2 mL) salt
3 tbsp ( 45 mL) poppy seeds
1 egg
1-1/4 cups ( 300 mL) milk
1/3 – 1/2 cup  melted butter

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper cups. Finely grate peel from lemons. Mix half of peel with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sugar and set aside to sprinkle over muffins. Squeeze juice from lemons. Stir in remaining peel.
Using a fork, stir flour with remaining sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg in a small bowl. Then whisk in milk, lemon juice and butter. Milk may curdle when mixed with lemon juice. Immediately stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until combined.
Spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with lemon-sugar mixture. Bake in centre of preheated 375F (190C) oven until golden and a cake tester inserted into centre of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool muffins in cups for 5 minutes. Then turn out onto a cooling rack. Store muffins in a sealed bag at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze.


lemon sugar cookies


Lemon Sugar Cookies

3 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
1 c butter
1 egg
1 lemon (grate finely and juice)

preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg, half the peel and half the juice. Blend until completely combined. Add flour and baking powder and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl.

Dough will be slightly crumbly, you will have to work it into a ball with your hands. Roll onto floured surface (I work with half at a time and try not to roll the dough too thin), cut into shapes. Place on parchment paper lined cookie trays and bake for 7-8 minutes (up to 10 depending on your oven and thickness of the cookies). Let cool.

1/4 c butter
3-4 oz cream cheese
icing sugar
the second half of the lemon juice

Blend soft butter and cream cheese. Add lemon juice and icing sugar until you reach a good spreadable consistency, and it tastes good! 🙂

Ice cookies and sprinkle with sugar topping.

Sugar topping:
mix the 2nd half of lemon peel with 4 tbsp sugar



most boring blog post ever

Who likes cleaning?! Who likes reading about cleaning even more than cleaning?!

Oh ME! ME!


I found this recipe that is meant to get whites white again (as in ditch the gross yellow pit stains on white shirts) and decided to try it on my 9.5 year old, much loved and eaten on, formerly white couch. There is not a chance of a new couch in my future (nor would I really want one, our couch is heavenly comfortable), but it was getting rather shameful…

See evidence below:

Pretty sure that is a healthy mix of feet, food and boogers. Want to come hang out at my house now? 🙂

I’ve tried bleach, oxy-clean, borax, very hot water and leaving them out in the sun to dry. Nothing seems to budge these stains.
Until now.


Click the picture to go to the recipe…

Basically I use dawn, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Mix them together and apply using a scrub brush. The stains started lifting immediately. I let them sit for a few minutes and then threw them in the wash on hot, hung them to dry, and bingo. White.

White and wrinkly apparently, because I never iron.  <insert “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!” here>  Also, it’s hard to take a picture of just white, and it’s Ikea white, which always reads a touch dingy. But believe me, this stuff works.

Infomercial out.

Life, Recipes

on turning 30

Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.
C. S. Lewis

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.

Not entirely sure what I think about that.  I guess I can choose to not really think about it, but then, I love anything that remotely resembles a new beginning… as an opportunity to look ahead and behind.

My big goal before 30 was to lose some weight.  Yesterday I hit my weight loss goal of 15 pounds, so in some silly ways, I feel like I enter my 30’s from a good place.  It’s more than just being a bit thinner though, I think, it’s sort of that… well… after 29 years of steadily increasing along the same path, I changed the direction of the tides.  After 29 years of frequently quitting and lacking self discipline, I actually stuck to something and achieved a goal.  That feels kind of landmark for me, in a way that has nothing to do with the vanity of weighing less.  It makes me excited for the possibility of what my 30’s could hold.  Having possibilities and some unknown element in the future has always been important to me, I find it hopeful.

But 30.  I feel like I should be sad or something.  Isn’t 30 the “over the hill” birthday?  🙂  It certainly feels a long way off from young adulthood.  And yet, there is a part of me that quite enjoys being a “walking and talking adult”.  I like that I am beginning to understand myself better and care less about the opinions of others.  Every year I care less about looking foolish, which is pretty huge for someone as self-conscious as I have always been.

When I examine my spiritual life I have even more to consider.  I mean, I’m 10 whole years out of Bible college now.  10 years since the tumult of teenage years.  Have I grown enough in those 10 years?  Have I maintained or grown or lost the fire and hope and expectancy of those years?  Those 10 years have given me a long list of experiences of His faithfulness.  I feel more tested in my faith, more stable in my understanding of and reaction to the ebbs and flows of spiritual life.  But I also feel more jaded sometimes.  And total surrender is still a daily battle.  I’m still struggling to embrace the worthwhileness of the job before me.  In theory it’s very worth it, but from day to day it seems a bit… empty.  At 30 I’m thankful for what I know now that I didn’t know then, and sort of humbled by the knowledge that there is still so much that I don’t even know I don’t know yet.

I have lost some of the old invincibility.  I’m more careful and cautious now.  I worry about my kids falling off things or whether they eat enough vegetables.  I don’t like to jump into the swimming pool because I don’t like getting my hair wet.  (nothing spells old quite like that to me.)  And I get dizzy if I go too high on the swings or a headache when I jump on the trampoline (it’s so jarring!).

And… now I feel silly.  Because it’s just a day, just a number, it’s 11:55 right now and in 5 minutes I won’t be any different than I am right now.  But sheesh.  It IS a really big number.


All grown up?


And…. because who doesn’t love a great recipe?! I made my own birthday cake today from this recipe…


and it was wonderful.


Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cake


(Click on the above photo twice to get through to the recipe)

I’m not turning my back on Cynthia’s Chocolate Cake by any means… but this one did provide a nice alternative… lots of zucchini, some whole wheat flour and no fat added… not too shabby! It was extremely moist and pretty tasty! I substituted the recommended glaze and nutella topping for a thin layer of cream cheese icing and I cooked it in a 8×10 (i think!) inch pan for maybe 30 minutes?

Rusty asked for thirds, and he prefers white cake, so I’d say that qualifies this as a winner. 🙂

Love this whole blog!

Life, Recipes

A little cleaning magic

Source: via LoriAnn on Pinterest

Made this stuff awhile back… works like a charm! I’ve never seen my tub so shiny- like brand new.

But one word of warning… it STINKS. I don’t like vinegar for cleaning because of the smell, and the stuff I have around the house is double strength, which may mean double stench! BUT! It’s worth it for the no scrub results!


easy homemade bread

Today I made this bread…

And got this response…

It was really simple and it’s REALLY good. And I got immense satisfaction out of the whole process, it felt so domesticated. 🙂

Oh my word. Scroll down to the colic post and look at the picture of little screaming Juno, then scroll up and look at her today. Is it just me or is motherhood the longest fleeting moment ever experienced? The days can D R A G but the years seem to fly.


Sugar Cookie Bars

Well, a nasty gastro bug has had our family under the weather in turns since thursday morning… so I’m not really feeling the blog love today. However, I did try making these sugar cookie bars I found on pinterest recently and they are worth a share. Makes an entire cookie sheet full and they are quite thick, so they can be cut fairly small. Great and easy party snack! The only modification I made was to add cream cheese to the icing. Yum!

Sugar Cookie Bars
Sugar Cookie Bars: (from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.

Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.

Cool and frost.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.

For the sprinkles, I found that they rolled all over the place. To help this, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the frosted sugar cookies and gently press the sprinkles into the frosting.

Chill and cut.

(These cut beautifully with a pizza wheel cutter.)


Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

These were a total hit tonight. I doubled pretty much everything except the black beans, and we had plenty of full wraps… maybe 9?


Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps
*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drianed
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: on some of the wraps, I dotted the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of reduced fat sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it made the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.
Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.