Oh So Good Chocolate Ice Cream

Last week at via mperks at Meijer I was able to bring home 2 kinds of milk for free. I actually had an amazing shopping trip as far as savings go. There were coupons for Fairlife white milk and Fairlife chocolate milk. After trying the chocolate milk I immediately put our ice cream canister in the freezer because I knew I wanted to experiment with some ice cream. The milk was so rich, creamy, chocolatey and delicious!

Since it takes at least a day to freeze we opted to try a shake first. I modified this recipe for Banana Split Shakes and it was good, but not something I could have all the time. John really liked it though.

At last the day arrived. Our canister was frozen and ready. I used the liquid ratios from my standard ice cream recipe and just did my own thing.IMG_0506

A little peanut butter, flavored creamer instead of cream, chocolate milk…the results were oh so good. Seriously, the first bite of this chocolate ice cream each of us took was just amazing, as were each of the subsequent bites. The only way it could be even better is by adding chunks of peanut butter cups. I didn’t have any on hand at the time. But I did find some discounted at Dollar Tree and we added a few on top. It was even better.

There is absolutely NOTHING healthy about this ice cream, but it was sooooo good that I know I will keep it on file for a future treat. I love ice cream season!image

Quaker Oats Steel Cut Quick 3 Minute Oatmeal

oat6I received a free sample via Quaker Oats and BzzAgent of their new 3 minute Steel Cut Oatmeal packets. The packets were blueberry/cranberry flavored. I didn’t know much about steel cut outs except that they take longer to make and are healthier. I don’t have much time in the morning to prepare breakfast so anything quick, easy and healthy sounds good to me. I was excited to try.oat1

oat2It does take a few minutes in the microwave to cook, but it is very simple. The first time I tried it I misread the instructions so I put it in for 3 minutes and when it came out it was very thick and stew like. This wasn’t really a problem because that’s how I like it.oat4

The second time I tried it I followed the instructions and put it in for 3 minutes at 50% power. That made a big difference. It was much more watery, but did thicken up after it set for a few more minutes. I think if I tried it again I would maybe go half power 3 minutes and regular power a minute or so. I like it a little thicker.oat5

Overall I was pleased. It was a little sweet, but not too over the top. It had good flavor and it was simple. It’s not something I will keep in my pantry on a regular basis, but I might buy it if there was a good sale to use for those mornings when I need something quick and I’m out of everything else.

Thank you Quaker Oats and BzzAgent!

4 Simple Steps to Improve Communication in Marriage

Maybe it’s because I majored in Communication Arts in college, or maybe it’s just because I have seen the impact good and poor communication can have in any relationship, but I am keenly aware of the necessity of good communication in relationships and marriages in particular. Without it you can pretty much guarantee disaster from the start.

It’s almost a given in every hollywood romance movie that there is some big event that happens and one party makes assumptions, usually incorrect, that leads them to leave the relationship, only to find out that it was a big misunderstanding and then they come back and live happily ever after. My husband knows that drives me crazy. All that drama could have been avoided if the couple would have just sat down and talked it out. But he reminds me that then there would be no movie. Maybe in hollywood’s mind he’s right. But not in reality.

There is plenty enough drama in everyday life without creating additional drama in what would otherwise be a peaceful marriage. Maybe they should be showing how two adults can avoid drama instead of create it. Maybe then relationships would not end in divorce so often.

Continue reading

Chicken Freezer Cooking Session: 4 Meals in 30 Minutes

This weekend I got some chicken breast on sale and found some recipes to use them for. So I decided to shoot for a mini chicken freezer cooking session. Now that I have a little girl chomping on my heels, getting dinner on the table every day feels like an insurmountable task. So when I found these recipes and was able to do the prep work on the weekend with minimal effort I was excited to try them.

FreezerCooking1I doubled two recipes to make 4 freezer dinners. There was not much prep work involved, a little bit of veggie chopping, ginger grating and some measuring. That’s about it.Chicken Freezer Cooking

1. Slow Cooker Ginger Peach Chicken
2. Red Pepper Chicken

FreezerCookingFinalNow all I have to do when I want dinner on the table is thaw the night before, put in the crockpot in the morning, throw some rice in the rice cooker and make a veggie for a side. Much easier than preparing everything the day of.


What My Baby and Our Garage Door Taught Me About Frustration

garagedoorOur garage door needs some TLC. It’s actually the motor I think. When the weather is below freezing and stays that way a while the door has trouble opening all the way. Sometimes if you open and close it several times you can get it to go up enough to get the car out. We have a small car, thankfully. And we’ve about got it figured out how low the door can be so we can still get the car out.

Sunday, before church, the door would just not cooperate. It would not go high enough to get out. After like 7 tries up and down with no success I was getting frustrated. We finally were able to locate the emergency release and manually opened the door so we could pull the car out.

As the car warmed up I waited for my husband to lock the door and close it back so we could be on our way to church. We were going to be late. I hate being late. I was mad at the situation. I was getting frustrated that it was taking so long to re-lock the garage door. John came back to the car and I thought he should do something one way while he was thinking of another way. (They were both right, but I was too frustrated to see that in the moment.) I got mad and yelled at him. Continue reading

Pinterest Dinner: Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake

quinoapinBlack Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake from Two Peas and Their Podquinoa2

I love that this recipe is healthy, minus the cheese. It is also meatless. I’m not a vegetarian, but meat can be expensive so I always enjoy some good healthy alternatives. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I love enchiladas, but quinoa enchiladas? It was surprisingly tasty.

quinoa1I think it was a little runny, but we found it worked really well with some tortilla chips. You could use it as nachos, or even as a filling for tacos. It did taste good on it’s own as well. It’s not something we will make every week, but it’s a definite keeper!

Our Latest Blizzard and How It Reveals A Problem in Our Culture

blizzard15Chicago’s 5th largest snowfall hit Superbowl weekend. It started Saturday evening and ended early Monday morning with snowfalls around O’Hare reaching 19.3″ Sunday was when the worst of it hit, and the afternoon/evening was especially brutal with high winds creating white out conditions.

And yet…people would not be deterred from going about their business. I’m not knocking you if that is you. It’s not completely your fault. You live in a culture that pats you on the back and says, “Way to Go!” if you can carry on in the face of anything mother nature throws your way. I’m not saying that we should hibernate all winter either. For some reason, people wanting to be out and about in the blizzard this year really bothered me and as I pondered why I came to the conclusion that it’s because it reveals an attitude in our culture that I despise, even though I fall prey to it myself. Continue reading

Free E-Book: The Four Seasons of Marriage

The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage – Kindle edition by Gary Chapman. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com..

Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, has some great insight on relationships and marriage in particular. I think this will be a great read for any married couple! Get yours free thru Feb. 13th.

*Please check the price before purchasing as it may have changed.

Love Is…

menjonIt has been a challenging year to say the least. The birth of our baby changed our lives in more ways than I ever thought possible. Not only have we lived on less sleep than any other year, but we have faced physical challenges that were completely unexpected. My poor husband had to adjust to having a newborn and a wife who could barely walk all at the same time. Thankfully my physical limitations have improved, but I still have some limitations. And I’ve been an emotional roller coaster since April. Our marriage has been put to the test. Not that it’s been bad, but it’s not been easy. I am so thankful that we communicate well.

But even beyond words, I know my husband loves me because he has shown me in so many ways. He has loved me when I had nothing to offer him but tears, again and again. He has loved me when I have been harsh with my words and impatient. He has loved me when I’ve done nothing but complain. He has given me space to work through my mess. He is giving my body time to heal, even though I know it’s really tough and taking a long time. He has given me grace and forgiveness time and time again. He encourages me and serves me. He helps with chores and with our daughter.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s not perfect, but he loves me well despite myself.

My prayer for this year is that God will give me the strength and energy to love him well and be as gracious to him as he has been to me.

Sleep Training – Part 2

crib2I mentioned last week about how well our sleep training had gone, and how thankful I was to have a scheduled bed time. This is still the case. However, the sleeping through the night only lasted that one week. Now she is back to waking every 3 to 4 hours, so I am back to being exhausted again. I had a book recommended to me, so I may check it out from the library and let you know how it goes.

As far as nap training goes it’s a mixed bag. She has been taking afternoon naps in her crib, but they have been very short – way too short. And her morning naps have still been with me. So I think I’m still going to have to do some adjusting. The good news is that she has been learning to put herself to sleep in her crib and not cry so that is a plus. We’ll get there. Eventually.