Friday, August 23, 2013

Lemony Spice Coconut Cupcakes. Gluten/Dairy free.

     As I mentioned earlier, Tate has now decided to become a chef. The problem with when Tate decides something is that it is not optional. When he has an agenda, it is my sole purpose to fulfill his dream. That is according to Tate, anyways. He ALWAYS has a project and lately, it has been cooking. The little guy will google whatever he has in mind and I have to create it. Right now, we are into cupcakes, pies and hermit crabs. Fortunately, the hermit crabs are not for eating. He just thinks they are way cool at this moment in time. 

     Today he was adamant that we make cupcakes. Since he is dairy and gluten free, we have to make some changes and I was low on GF flours. We had to improvise a bit and Tate did the work. I added a couple things that I didn't think would go together but they are totally delicious and these absolutely don't need frosting! They are moist and flavorful and perfectly yummy. Tate agreed. No grains, dairy or refined sugars involved! 

     He is very serious about his work. I told him to make sure all the lumps were out. Believe me, they were.

     Once you get a basic Coconut flour muffin/cupcake recipe down, you can really tweak it to any flavor you like. I only had about 1/3 cup coconut flour left and I needed 1/2 cup so I put some  shredded, unsweetened coconut in the blender and blended until fine. It was perfect and gave the cupcakes a little texture, which I like. Here's the skinny:

Lemony Spice Coconut Cupcakes

1/3 cup coconut flour
2 T. finely blended unsweetend coconut
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Blend together.

melt until just mixed:

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey.

You don't want this hot, just let it get warm so they honey and coconut oil will mix.

Add to the flour mixture:

Oil/honey mixture
4 eggs
2 T. Coconut milk or Almond milk
2 tsp. Vanilla
5 drops lemon essential oil (not extract)

Mix with hand mixer until lump free. Fill mini muffin pans with liners or silicon muffin trays. Bake about 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees or until the middle springs back. Let cool. Freeze any extras. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The oh, so many reasons why I love Costco!

     I love Costco. Few companies really impress me or have my trust but Costco, you have mine. They continually surprise me with the behind the scenes goings on that most of us won't even know about. We go there for deals but Costco is in business with heart. They actually care about us, the consumer and their employees. That is so rare for companies this day. Most businesses are about the dollar. Don't get me wrong, Costco is raking in the bucks but they don't skip on quality and they give back.

      Did you know that the CEO of Costco two years ago capped himself at $350k per year while the CEO of Sam's Club made over $5million? Costco pays their employees on average $17 per hour while Sam's pays around $8. 85% of Costco employees have health insurance. Sam's/Walmart average around 50%. You get the point. But, what I love even more is Costco's dedication to food quality! HUGE! Get this:

     They want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised/made. For their free range eggs, they made sure they are actually free range. When companies said it wasn't economically possible to raise completely free range chickens and eggs, Costco asked their top 3 chicken farmers to test it. They hired people to help the farmers  set up these farms and oversaw the implementation. Well, it worked and you can bet your bottom dollar that Costco's organic free range eggs are exactly that. For their beef, Costco hired the famous Temple Grandin (watch the movie) to go to their Cow farms and to help them design systems for humane treatments of their animals. Temple Grandin! Really. I can't even imagine Walmart/Sam's club even stepping foot into their cow farms let alone hire the biggest name in the business to set it up. Their Chocolate chips have real vanilla in them and just read the back of the bag to see what they did to make sure the cocoa farms are sustainable. I have a year supply of them.

     I went into Sam's twice. Each time I walked out with one item of food: Organic Spinach. That was all they had in the entire store that was organic. Costco, are you kidding me, each time I go there is some new organic or healthy item on the shelves. I am in love with their quality. Here is just a few items that I purchase from Costco:

Organic Chicken
Organic spinach, Kale, greens
Organic beef
Organic Apples
Organic potato and corn chips
Avocado Oil
Organic Peanut Butter
Organic Marinara Sauce
Organic Pasta
Organic Quinoa
Organic Rice
Organic Fruit Twists
Gluten Free bread
Organic Eggs
Organic frozen White corn, brocolli, green beans
Organic frozen berries, cherries, peaches
Organic fresh strawberries
Chocolate Chips
Organic Milk
Organic granola
Real Maple syrup
Organic salads
Organic dressings
Wild caught fish
Organic Strawberry jam
Organic chicken broth
Organic olive oil
Organic creamy tomato soup

And the list goes on.......

Yes, you pay a membership but sign up for American Express and you get some big bucks back from Costco and American express. I usually get over $500 back paying well over my $100 Costco fee. 

Thanks for caring about me, Costco. I will forever be your patron. I can't wait to see what you have next for me. If you don't already, read their magazines they send in the mail to hear about all the great things they are doing. 

I tried you twice, Sam's. I had a free pass. Thank goodness because I would have been ticked that I actually paid to go into the store. Step it up. Costco takes care of people and their products and still manages to be number one in the business. Learn from that, Sam's. It can go both ways. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tender Mercies.

I just had to post this because it is sweet. It's no secret these last couple weeks yielded an extra dosage of "missing my missionary" syndrom. Some weeks are just harder than others. Well, a couple things happened that showed that the Lord has tender mercies for us moms.

I always have very vivid and realistic dreams. In the last 5 months, I have only been able to dream of Bryant twice. It seemed unfair. Why couldn't I just visit him in my dreams a little more often. The other night, I dreamt that we passed each other as I was coming out of the temple and he was going in. We paused and took a long look at each other, smiled and went on. I knew he wasn't supposed to see me so I hurried on but I woke up feeling like I just saw him in real life and I felt so happy and renewed. 

Then, today. I was in the office and the top file cabinet was ajar. I closed it and a paper was sticking out of one of the files. I opened the file and pulled out the loose leaf paper that was sticking out. I don't know how it got there, or why, but I have never seen it or heard it before. It was a poem written from Bryant for one of my birthdays. I don't know when he wrote it and no one here has ever heard it as well. My birthday was a couple weeks ago. It was written in true , wacky Bryant style.

Oh the Lord hears our prayers and knows our hearts. He loves me. I know it. I loved my little poem. Thank you, my son. Thank you for visiting me in my dreams. I love you. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tips for a successful school year.....

My daughter emailed her older and wiser missionary brother for tips for her senior year. I loved his response:

"Senior advice:
1. Dont worry about what people think. Most people are dumb and their opinion doesn't matter
2. Be a female Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec TV show character)
3. Have adventures, even if they are mini but slightly rebelious
4. Stick with your true friends. Ditching them to be "popular" is lame, and one in college cares if you were cool or popular in highschool
5. Dont fall for that peer pressure crap. Be true to yourself
Thats my advice my dear sis. I love you and keep on loving life"

I loved his advice and agree with it all. Maybe I wouldn't use the exact wording but I love his train of thought for my daughter. She is missing having him at school with her so I am glad she has a little of his wisdom to take with her. 

As a older and wiser mother, now in the business for 19 1/2 years, I also have some words of wisdom to kick off this school year. Take it or leave it or maybe you already do it...or not. This is what works in the Goodman home.

The single most important thing moms can do to have a successful school year.....


Huge! Like big time huge if you want to have more time in the day and feel organized. I know that if I get ready after I get the kids off and the house picked up and all that jazz, it seems like it is already lunch time. At that point, I have very little time left to do things before they get home. If I am ready before I get the kids off; as soon as they leave, I can quickly clean up the breakfast mess and the general picking up. I am then ready to do whatever I want/need to do. I know babies throw a little curve ball into this routine but you will at least be clean and cute to sit and take care of them. It feels so much better to be out of jammies and ready to roll. If someone calls you last minute who needs help or someone stops by unexpected, you are ready. In addition, it is nice to have a little quiet time before you are bombarded with questions and requests. I am much happier if I can get going without falling into the immediate mommy role. It is so worth getting a little less sleep. I promise.



I always tell people when they are embarking on a nutritional journey for their family to always start with a good breakfast. Kids need brain food. As a teacher, I can testify that the kids who come to class on sugar cereal and Pop tarts are like wild monkeys. It is almost impossible for them to sit still and focus. I know because I ask them what they eat. Cereal is not good for you. It is dead food. It is full of preservatives, GMO corn, sugar and food coloring. Then, throw in some almost impossible to digest milk and you have a perfect storm. Breakfast doesn't have to be fancy or time consuming. It just takes some premeditation.

Smoothies are quick and easy. You can make whole grain waffle and pancake batter up the night before and even use it for several days. It is even healthier if you make it up ahead of time as the phytic acid and proteins break down if you add some buttermilk, yogurt, kefir or lemon. You can make whole grain muffins and freeze them. Good old toast and jelly or eggs are a great stand bye as well. I use honey,fruit, real maple syrup or coconut sugar as my sweeteners so the kids aren't full of processed sugar. Don't fall for the cereal trap. It is more expensive than making breakfast yourself anyways.



I know by the time bedtime rolls around, you are ready to throw in the towel but if you go to bed with dishes in the sink, toys laying around, school papers not signed and general next day prep not done, you will start off in the red at the get go. Somehow a half hour of prep the night before seems to give you at least an hour jump start the next day. I don't know why but it happens that way. I rarely ever go to bed with dishes in the sink or the house not picked up. It is a sure way to ruin my morning if I do. When you are running around like a chicken with their head cut off looking for kids shoes, school papers and trying to undig the kitchen to make breakfast, the day is not going to run smoothly. A little "pre" work goes a long way. 

I am the type of person that can't handle a huge mess. If I have a big mess ahead of me or projects unorganized, I feel overwhelmed. I spin my wheels and waste time. I need to keep things organized and working in a rhythm so my messes are small and projects are manageable. Life is just easier that way.

May this be a good school year for you all. As much as I am sad to say goodbye to summer, I love having the routines back and truth be told, a little peace and quiet is nice as well. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Missionary Mom...

5 months ago part of my heart was ripped out and put on a plane to England. No one could have prepared me for how hard it would be to send my firstborn off into the world without me.  It's like labor with your first child. You see the movies, you hear other women's stories about their labor and how painful it is but it isn't until you go through it yourself that you can truly know what they mean. For each person it is different. For me, this was far harder than giving birth to him which left me with 47 stitches. 

In our church, we know from the time we have sons that, if all goes according to plans, at 19 (now 18) our young men and some young women will leave us for two years. Two years without seeing them. Two years without daily chats and nurturing. I came home and googled support groups. Really. I didn't know how I would make it for two years without seeing him or talking to him daily. I have rarely gone a day without seeing him. I can count on one hand how many times I have left my children. I am just not built that way. This was going to be rough. I was not prepared.

I did raise him for this. He was ready. He knew how to sew on a button, iron a shirt, do laundry, budget his finances, make simple meals. He could live without me. Maybe that was part of the problem. He could live without me. He didn't need me to mother him as I have always done. He will always need me, but my role is now different. Maybe that is part of what I am mourning. My child is a man.

Now, I know this is where he should be. I know being a missionary is a mighty calling and I couldn't be more proud. He made great sacrifices to leave on this mission. I wouldn't want him anywhere else and he has grown and changed in ways that would not have been possible if he had stayed here. It gives me peace to know he is serving the Lord and blessing those in Wales but I selfishly want him here. It has been almost 5 months and they say it is supposed to get easier. Well, that hasn't happened yet for this mom. I wake up thinking about him and go to bed thinking about him. I want time to speed up but that would mean that time would also speed up for my next child who will be leaving for college next summer. I am thankful that I don't control time. That would be a conundrum, as they say. 

I am sure he will be home before I know it and then he will quickly fly the coop again to marry his sweetheart, Heather who is also leaving on a mission in a few weeks (I will cry just as much to send her off, she is my daughter in every sense)

The bottom line; life will change. My children are growing and they are moving on. I never thought about this part of my life. All I wanted to be was a mother. I don't know how to transition. They just don't tell you about this stage. I don't want free time. I don't want life without kids. Fortunately I will have grandkids and I will spoil them rotten. Time goes way too fast. I swear I just had kids in diapers. 

I love my missionary. Wales, I hope you know how lucky you are to have him! Keep him safe. 

To all those other brave mothers who's hearts are around the world as well, well done! You created a person, raised him/her well, and allowed them to soar without you. Life is meant for us to grow and stretch. It can be painful. I don't like change but here I go. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that I stop crying. Maybe not. Being a mother can hurt sometimes when the heart strings are so tightly strung. I think my heart strings were strung extra tight. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hello again....

Hello my friends. Is anyone still out there? It has been 7 months since we parted ways and I have missed the blog world. When I create a new recipe or find a great article or just have an idea to share, I miss being able to tell my friends about it. Because I feel compelled to share my thoughts and need a place to keep my recipes safe, I will at times post as the Enlightened Homemaker once again. I hope you will stop by now and then. Soon I will catch you up on my inner most thoughts but today I will just share what I made in my kitchen with the help of Tate. (Tate has decided to become a chef) 

My summer garden is almost done but today I came in with some tomatillos, a couple peppers and an onion. I hate to waste so I decided to make some Tomatillo salsa. I wanted the not-so-sweet version that would be great as an enchilada sauce. I perused the internet and tweaked a few things to come up with this tasty and simple recipe that will be great with a variety of mediums. I love to simmer pintos beans with tomatillo salsa or smother chicken with it in the pressure cooker. This would also make mighty fine enchilada sauce. It is cheap and easy. Try it out!

Salsa Verde

1lb husked tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeƱo, seeded
3 T chopped cilantro
1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup water

Bring all to a boil then simmer 10-15 minutes or until tomatillos are soft. Blend till smooth! I added some lime at the end. Use as salsa, in the crockpot with shredded chicken, on pinto beans for burritos or for enchiladas! This made almost one quart. You can freeze for later or keep in the fridge for a good week or so.