May 2014 - Buttered Side Up

Rhubarb Crunch + Being an Aunt




This was originally posted on May 7, 2012 on Cooking for Seven. I wrote about my experience when I took care of my sister's kids when she had her third baby. Less than a year later I was a mom myself. It's a bit strange to remember when I didn't have a little person to take of...

Rhubarb Crunch
The other day, my sister called me up and asked if I’d be willing to stay with the kids while she made a trip into town. Of course I said yes – being home alone is kinda lonely sometimes, and I love my little niece and nephew to death.
Rhubarb Crunch
While she was in town and the kids were napping, I decided to harvest some of her beautiful rhubarb and make a dessert.
Rhubarb Crunch
Everything went together easily and it baked up as described by the recipe. When the kiddos woke up from their nap, they were very interested in my creation and desperate to give it a try.
Rhubarb Crunch
Rhubarb Crunch
The guys got home from work and Reuben spied the rhubarb crisp. He, too was eager to try some – perhaps before supper?
Rhubarb Crunch
Just as we were getting ready to eat, my sister announced that she was going into labor. We quickly finished the meal and cleared away the dishes – but she need us to leave: NOW. We scooped up the kids (and the dessert) and headed home.
001
Judah and Ellie finally got to eat their dessert (with whipped cream, of course). We waited (somewhat) patiently for news of the arrival of the baby. Ten o-clock rolled around and no phone call. We put the kids to bed and settled down at the computer to relax a bit after a very busy day.
Susan
Just as Reuben and I were drifting off to sleep, we got the call. It’s a girl!
The next morning we packed up the kids and headed out to see the newest member of the family: Susan.
And what a doll she is.
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I’ve gotta tell you, these kids are aDORable. But, like all little kids, they’re also a handful. They need help doing almost everything, from wiping their faces, to washing their hands, to getting dressed. They seem to have two modes: super energetic or sleepy. After two days of taking care of them I was exhausted.
All of this to say, I have a new appreciation for the unsung heroes of the world: mothers.
The only time you have to yourself is the few short hours when the kids are taking a nap. All other hours are spent keeping the kids fed, happy and safe. Just living becomes a chore.
But their happy faces and excited voices make it all worth while.
So to all mothers: my hat is off.
Rhubarb Crunch
But about this rhubarb crunch.
It’s a bit different than most crisp recipes I’ve made – you press half of the topping into the pan before adding the rhubarb. Also, you boil together sugar and water and pour over the rhubarb in the pan for sweetener.
I used whole wheat flour and a natural sweetener, partly because that was all that I could find in Audra’s pantry (go sis!). Also, she didn’t have any regular rolled oats on hand, so I used quick instead. Feeling a bit lazy, I decided to melt the butter and mix into the topping ingredients instead of cutting it in. A trick my mum taught me.
Reuben thought it was a tad too sweet, even though I cut out some of the sugar. Of course, rhubarb recipes usually call for a ton of sugar to combat the sourness of the fruit (is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?). And we’re not very tolerant of overly sweet desserts.
Would I make this again? Definitely. It was very easy, and I think it would easily convert to other fruits, such as raspberries.


Rhubarb Crunch | adapted from Taste of Home | printable page | make 6-8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used about 3/4 cup sucanat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed (or melted)
  • 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar (I used 1 cup of sucanat)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square baking dish (I used a pie pan because that’s all I could find).
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter or mix in the melted butter. Press half of the topping into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rhubarb on top.
3) In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly mix in the cold water and heat over medium until the mixture boils; boil for 2 minutes or until thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour over the rhubarb in the pan.
4) Sprinkle with remaining crumb topping. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour (start checking at 40 minutes) or until bubbly and beginning to brown.
5) Serve warm with ice cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream or plain cream.

Nutrition 101: Part 1 - Introduction


Nutrition 101

Before we begin discussing the topic of nutrition, I'd like to clear a few things up and tell you about my journey to better health. 

First of all, I do not claim to be an expert in this area. I'm still very much a student when it comes to health. 

Secondly, I'm not trying to say that you need to eat 100% according to the principles I'll be writing about. Everyone has their own standards. I just hope that you're able to learn something and be encouraged to try to live a healthier lifestyle.

Lastly, don't get the impression that I'm a health-freak (well, maybe I am a bit) and never eat anything I consider unhealthy. Just over the weekend we ate fast food. And I like to be polite when I'm at another person's house and eat whatever they have to offer. But I try to make healthy choices when I can.


Let me tell you about my journey: 


I have been concerned about my appearance/weight since I was a little girl. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I heard that someone had mentioned that I putting on some weight. I was horrified. Immediately I put myself on a diet and lost weight. 

At 13, I started to put on weight once more. Again I set myself on a diet. I called it the "half diet" - I would estimate how much food I would normally eat and only take half that amount. I was hungry a lot, but it felt good to see myself get skinnier. 

At this point my ideas about nutrition were very limited. I was definitely following the low-fat craze. I made many smoothies with skim or low-fat milk and ate apples for a snack. I was hungry, so I would eat every part of the apple except for the stem and the seeds. 

During this time we were also doing a lot of bike riding. Needless to say, I was able to lose quite a bit of weight. At my lightest I was about 92 pounds (I'm 5'2"). This could possibly be a healthy weight for some people, but this was NOT good for MY body. 

Then I began to dig a little deeper into the nutrition aspect of food. Even from a mainstream source (I think it was a Reader's Digest article) I was able to discover that not all fat is evil. 

One day Reuben's mom (who has always been a great source of knowledge about health/nutrition) loaned a book called Eat Fat, Lose Fat to my older sister. It really opened my eyes about healthy fats being essential to good health. From there I continued to read about traditional nutrition.

And so I relaxed and let myself eat again. It felt good. Of course I put on some weight, but that was what my body needed. I had to give up my crazy notion that being super thin was the ideal form of health. Again, some people are naturally thin and healthy, but it wasn't a good thing for my body. 

Ever since then I have tried to make good food choices. I eat until I'm full and I can easily maintain a healthy weight. Of course I still struggle with body image - what woman doesn't? But I try to stay grounded in reality.

God gave us our bodies to live in and we should take care of them, but our obsessions about looking a certain way shouldn't be more important than our character (I'm talking to myself when I say this because it's something I still need work on).

Okay, I'm done preaching.



Up next I'll get into more particulars about what I believe to be good nutrition choices.



Thank you for reading my story! How about you? Have you ever struggled with weight/body image?




Cinnamon Ice Cream




Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
If you're looking for a homemade ice cream that's super smooth and full of flavor, you'll definitely want to check out this recipe. I made it for Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen Blog a while back and it was published today.

Stop by and check out my step-by-step instructions

Okay, so I have a quick question for ya'll. What would you prefer to see next: a photography post or a Nutrition 101 post? 

Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage


Homemade Italian Sausage | Buttered Side Up
Homemade Italian Sausage | Buttered Side Up

I have been making my own bulk sausage for almost six years now. When I started to become more aware of the additives in flavored meats, I set out to find a recipe and make my own. To my surprise, everything went together easily and the sausage was delicious.

With this simple recipe you can make all your favorite dishes without the worry of icky ingredients such as MSG and other mystery spices.

All that's needed is some ground pork and spices:




Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons real salt or any other unrefined salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley 

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Add to the ground pork and mix thoroughly (you can use your hands if you wish). 

Cook according to the instructions in your recipe.




Need some ideas for what to make with your Homemade Italian Sausage?

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Sausage Potato Soup. Guest post and recipe by Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven.
I just made this Sausage and Potato Soup the other day. Still delicious.




Tasty Kitchen Blog: Glorious Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Guest post by Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven, recipe submitted by TK member Acher.
Glorious Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Mmhmm.



Hope your Monday is awesome!
Erica




Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own and I would never share a product with you guys that I haven't already tested.
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