Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthy Zucchini Bread [muffins] Recipe!

This blog post goes out to Manda who gave me this recipe. She is one of my dearest loves.

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So my dear friend Manda gave me this recipe many years ago, and it's been my go-to.

I've been making it a lot recently [YAY AUTUMN] and nearly everyone who's had them asks for the recipe.

And it's not on pinterest.... until now [here's the link to the pin on pinterest!]!

I've changed it over the years to be "more healthy".

My changes:
Either half white & half whole wheat or just all whole wheat flour, subbed out raw honey for white sugar [no refined sugars woo!], substitute coconut oil [expeller or cold pressed] or sunflower oil [expeller or cold pressed] instead of canola.

I hear there are ways you can substitute something for eggs [to make it vegetarian friendly] as well as gluten free flours you could use if you're gluten intolerant.

So here goes!! Sorry I don't have a step-by-step tutorial. It's pretty straightforward aside from the groupings... but you'll see that below!

"Healthy Zucchini Bread [muffins] Recipe!"
[I've color coded the ingredients by their groupings. The groupings ARE specific because if you just throw everything in helter skelter (guilty) it won't turn out well.]

1 C. shredded raw zucchini
1/2 C. peeled, grated raw apple [I do sugar free applesauce]
1 1/2 C. flour [I do 3/4 cup white and 3/4 cup wheat, you could do totally wheat]
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C. oil [I use coconut oil or sunflower oil. always COLD or EXPELLER pressed]
1 C. honey [raw preferred]
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C. chopped walnuts or pecans [optional, I've actually not yet done this

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or muffin pan).

-Grate zucchini; peel and grate the apple. Set aside.
-In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda/powder, salt, & spices. Set aside.
-Beat oil, honey, eggs, & vanilla until well blended.
-Beat in [to oil, honey, & eggs] zucchini & apple.
-Slowly add flour mixture, beating just until combined. 
-Stir in nuts (optional).
-Pour into pan, baking until bread has risen and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (50-60 min for loaf, 14-17 min for muffins)

They should look a bit like this and taste muy delicioso.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Call it a rant, tirade, PSA, whatever. I have something to say, and I think a good amount of folks may benefit from hearing it.

This goes out to all the parents (specifically of teen-ish age) out there. Oh, and also to the children of the parents to whom this applies.

[[ disclaimer: I love my parents very much and know they did their best. I also know that we all fall short (which I forgive them for, as I also fall short!). This was absolutely not written to highlight their shortcomings but rather to remind parents of the simple things they tend to forget when wrapped up in parenting ]]

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Some of you parents (well maybe most of you) did stupid things you regret before you were married with kids.

Because of these things regretful actions, you decide you want to raise your kids to hopefully not make the same mistakes that you did. 

So you instill in them from a young age values such as honesty, integrity, work ethic, trust, loyalty, ect.

You watch them grow into a honest, loyal, hardworking, trustworthy person of great integrity. 

Oh wait a second, you actually don't. You have such a hard time seeing that because you are still so caught up in seeing yourself at their age and all the mistakes they could ever possibly make, many of which you did.

Or you're so overwhelmed by how much more evil the world is now than it was "in your day" (which was likely less than 20yrs prior) that you worry they can't help but give into alllll the temptation.

You can't see that they want to be a good person. 

You can't see that they actually might want to not make the same mistakes you did. 

You can't see that they are constantly beating themselves up because they're unsure they are making the right decision (ah! I might make the wrong choice and make a mistake! my parents won't love me if I do!).

You can't see how much they are trying to EARN your love by making good choices.

...All the while you know that your son or daughter could never earn your love. 

They stole your heart when they were born.

Why not choose to show them that?

Realize that they will make mistakes (and when they do you will still love them). 

Oh, and I'm sure right about now you're saying, "But Joanna, you've never been a parent. You just don't know how it is. It's not that simple."

No. You're right. I've not yet been a parent.

But at one point I was an honest, loyal, hardworking teen who was trying desperately to earn her parent's trust (and wrongly thought that was the only way to prove to them that I loved them and thus they would return the love).

I know what it's like to wonder why your parents don't trust you when they raised you to be trustworthy (see disclaimer if you missed it). 

It's not healthy.

Why? Your son or daughter will feel that the relationship is devoid of trust on your end. Knowing this, it may encourage them to make poor decisions. Now, it is wise to note that some parents are extremely trusting of their children and the child can also sense this and know that they can get away with nearly everything. Obviously there are extremes... so try and walk the line. 

So what is that healthy line?

Well, since I'm not yet a parent I definitely do not know the ins and outs of that.

But here's a start...

If you're a praying person - pray for your child daily. Realize that God is the best parent.

Go watch Finding Nemo. Not even kidding. So many great lessons on boundaries.

Try to not think of the "what if's" as much as you do.

Tell them what you enjoy about them ("I love hearing how you play piano"... "I love seeing how fixing a computer puts a spark in your eye"). Granted, this is probably easier to start at a younger age so it doesn't seem trite... but seriously positive reinforcement goes such a long way.

Stop worrying so much about them hanging out with the opposite gender (unless they randomly met them on the internet and must marry them upon meeting them for the first time, okay... yeah probably should be wary). 

Stop thinking they're dead when they're half an hour late.

If you want them to do things with you that you enjoy, you better be willing to first do the same for them.

Stop saying, "if you'd only..." and/or giving ultimatums (unless it's a life/death issue which is abnormal). Pretty straightforward.

Stop telling them how they did all their chores/tasks wrong every time you see a slight error.

I'm not saying "be a parent without rules or boundaries!"

Nah. That's silly.

Set healthy boundaries. Ask your child what they think of said boundaries.

If you never have their input and it's always your way or the highway, they are going to have a hard time coming up with healthy boundaries for themselves when you're no longer in the picture.

Remind yourself of the true end goal of parenting: raising a human being who knows they are loved and how to love others.

Sons and daughters - do not be dismayed! I have words for you as well!

First of which is... do not be dismayed!! hahaha

Know that your parents love you. Always have and always will. 

Know that they're pretty much taking out their lack of trust of themselves on you (yeah it sucks).

Know that I've heard these words uttered from a parent to child, "I trust you, but I don't trust Satan inside you." Know that if you claim to be a follower of Christ those words are lies because, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Know that one day you'll be out of their house living a great life and they will likely be wishing these days back to show their love and trust of you.

Know that even when you don't feel like it, it's wise to honor them. That doesn't mean you'll always like it.

Know that you should never give up in proving yourself trustworthy, honest, loyal, and intelligent! It is a noble quest.

To both parties: 
Try to see the best in one another. Try.
"Authority without love leads to authority being despised, and love without authority makes love unintelligible." -David Prince, Why Christian parents should not want good, happy, safe kids ... do read this article, please!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Bath

So we've been quite a bit busy this week! Last Saturday (the 12th) we began painting the guest bathroom. I had actually prepped it for paint about 2 months ago. It's been waiting ever since.

This week we finished up the color. I had a vision from the beginning to do a stripe technique with different finishes of paint (satin and high gloss). I knew that was daunting, but I also knew that the classiness those stripes would provide would be worth the work.

I actually wasn't expecting to finish this project so quickly, but we have an unexpected guest arriving on Tuesday, so it is done! And good thing too because we actually need to shower in there temporarily until some things are fixed with our master bath shower.


Before (white flat finish latex. in a bathroom. real genius. and boring):

In Progress (you'll notice that it's a lighter shade of our family room [a satin finish indigo] accent wall. in progress photos are sans stripes):


Now, some of these photos make the color appear more purply and significantly darker, but it's really not as bold, and is slightly more blue. It's a mysterious color and hard to capture on camera. I'd say the most accurate image would be the very first in the "after" sequence.
I don't know about y'all.... but... uh... I'm in love. Jason digs it too :D

HUGE shout out to my sister, Olivia for helping me with the stripes. She's mad good at taping.
And obviously, another huge shout out to my sweet hubby who puts up with my visions of grandeur.

Now, it's not 100% complete. Just 90%. The medium brown "wood" cabinets under the sink will be painted white (as will the ones in the master bath)... but that may not be for a couple months.

For now I'm enjoying the 90% complete bathroom. It's so loverly!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Accent Wall

So I realized I never actually did a blog post on the accent wall in the dining room. Not that it matters or I really had much time to. But I figured it's one of my favorite walls in the house so it's noteworthy!

I painted this when Jason was last at drill in September. I actually painted it a medium blue on that Friday... and realized that medium blue was totally hideous and clashing with the khaki bandaid color that is on the rest of the walls (that will get painted eventually...).  

That Saturday Jason herniated a disk in his back while at drill. I could do nothing about that situation (sort of used to that by now being a military wife for over two years now). So in order to take my mind off of that (instead of sitting there worried constantly texting Jason to see what was happening and just end up annoying him) I decided to complete this wall project! Take my worries out on a wall!!

A few turns of events (long story) landed me a free gallon of paint of this delicious indigo color. It's so mysterious. The color actually changes dependent upon the time of day and how much sunlight is entering the room. I adore it.

Here it is after we finished the hallway:

Just this past week I actually decided to rearrange the family room for various reasons (hosting, fitting more furniture, making certain furniture last longer). Here it is after the rearrange:

Dramatic lighting:
Oooh. So purdy. 

Glad I took out my worries on the wall on that Saturday :)

(oh and if you're wondering what's up with the banner - several weeks ago we hosted an autumnal baby shower for our brother & sister in law. we now have a new niece! she is tiny & beautiful.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our Grey Great Hall

Okay, so it's not actually a "great hall" - that gives an illusion of grandeur. It makes me feel pretty great and grand, but most everyone else would find it bland.

We wanted to do this project at this time because FALL IS HERE! We entertain VERY regularly (we actually only have 2-4 nights a week where it's just us). And our coat closet in the hall kinda only fits our coats, maybe room for 3-4 more. This had to be remedied for the approach of chilly weather. People need a place to put their outerwear! So we thought about building a corner storage thing, but seemed like it would be a lot of work for not a lot of storage. So... a sort-of-board-and-batten look with hooks!! Yes! The perfect solution. And pretty low cost for a big storage (and decor!) solution.

Just in case you don't remember, here's what it used to look like:

Here's what it looked like in-process (Saturday the 28th):

Here's what it looks like with the grey (all done within 20 hrs, and 10 of those were sleeping! I did some before I went to bed and then after I got up the next day).

Aaaah! Isn't that so much better than bold khaki bandaid color? Yes. Yes it is.

(oh bonus in the photo above: first blog appearance of the mysterious indigo wall that I painted when Jason herniated his disk... as well as an appearance of the banner I made for Meredith's baby shower!) above pics are night, here's a few with cheery sunlight...

A nice close-up of our hooks! Came from Target; oil rubbed bronze pack of 2 for $3.99! Such a great deal. We have 10 hooks total, which is really 20 hooks total, since each has 2.

I actually have a hard time NOT seeing this every time I look at our hooks...
Can't unsee that.

Anyhow... This was a pretty cost efficient project, considering that all the paint was discounted (I am constantly checking the mis-tint sections, and the white we got from the Re-Store). We chose to go semi-gloss because it's a high traffic / wear & tear area. The grey I actually mixed myself. I had two (one previously used on the tops of the dressers) quarts of different greys (mistints!) that I poured into an empty gallon and also added some white to lighten it up. I'm so pleased with my custom mixing job!
The board (chose to buy already painted to save time) was from the trim section at Lowes, $7ish per, and we got 3, still have some leftover. And the hooks were actually purchased using a gift card that a sweet friend gave us (yes, I sent a self-letterpressed thank you note, of course!) as a housewarming gift (she obviously knew we love Target!!). 

Oh I should mention it's not COMPLETELY done yet. Hubby wants to finish off the corners better and then caulk everything to really polish it off and make it look professional. Which is fine by me! But I figured my iPhone (yeah I'm officially a lazy blogger now; just phone pics!!) camera wouldn't pick up the difference so it could hit the blog now!

We both love it! It's greeyeat ;P and utilitarian! We love when form & function come together to make a great addition of character to our home!

Here's some side-by-side shots...


I don't know why I do, but I hold onto hurts. 

[some people seem to have such an easy time of letting go of them]

It's not like I'm sitting here daily holding onto my grudges like a pet rock.

It's usually when the same people hurt me again and again.

It's like I take the rocks, I put them in my little pail, and then when they hurt me again I pick up the pail.... put another rock in and them dump them out to play with.

Sometimes I just look at them.

Sometimes I throw them. Like Jenny does to her old house in Forrest Gump.
[and Forrest aptly says, "sometimes there just aren't enough rocks].

On rare occasion I sit there seeing all the pails and just cry. Why do I have so many?

I used to collect rocks, actually. All the really nice, polished ones. My parents and grandparents would actually buy me a pretty rock in a gift shop if they saw one. I had a box of labeled gemstones. And a bracelet.

I'm not even sure where those are.

But I need to take my pail of rocks and polish into shiny stones. Polish the hurt out of them. 

Until all I have is a collection of "whatever is true, whatever is honor, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." [Philippians 4:8-9]

I feel like that's almost cliché. But just enough truth to not be entirely cliché. 

I guess I better get started then...

How to Polish Rocks
1. Take a clean, empty plastic jar (like a mayo jar, plastic not glass) and fill it with 1/3 of a cup of sand.
2. Slowly, add water to the jar until there is a little more water than sand.
3. Put in your rocksDon't put in too many rocks; leave plenty of room in the jar.
4. Screw the lid on to jar until it's tightTake some duct tape and place it around the lid. Make sure it's very tight so that the water can't leak out.
5. Start shaking the jarShake it until your arms hurt. Then pass it to another friend and shake it until their arms go numb. Then give it to your little brother/sister or your kids and let them roll it around on the floor. This is how the rocks are smoothed out and polished. This will take a few weeks, or even longer, but if you stay committed it will be worth the effort!