Just say NO! to Soy.

One of my fondest memories of kindergarden was having milk and a graham crackers everyday after our nap, yes! we had to lay down for a few minutes everyday.  I don’t know why we had to take a nap,  maybe it was a kinder and gentler time.

My mom packed a lunch for me almost everyday of my elementary school years that either included graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

I have many fond memories of using graham crackers to make S’mores while camping or summer back yard barbeques.  As a kid I loved to crumble a few of the cinnamon variety in a bowl and cover them with milk and eat it like cereal. A afternoon snack could be peanut butter spread on to a graham cracker.

So you can see I’m no stranger to graham crackers.

Over the past few years i’ve become a bit of a food nazi, being careful to read ingredients on boxes to stay away from  products that contain corn and soy.   A few people think I take my eating style to the extreme, but it works for me, and I have even gotten a few people to pay more attention to what they are consuming.

So a few weeks ago out of the blue I decided to buy some honey maid graham crackers, I even bought some marshmallow cream to make a quick S’more.  I don’t know what I was thinking but, I didn’t  even bother to do my usual check of ingredients on the label.

I had blind faith in the people of Nabisco,

and that friendly little  bee on the pretty little blue box.

When I did get around to reading the ingredients on the label I was shocked to see that the honey maid graham crackers contained more soy than honey.  I decided right then and there to “just say NO! to soy” and make my own.

So I checked the internet and found a few recipes, some of them by celebrity chefs.  But I came upon one recipe that sounded very easy that even included a recipe for marshmallows.  Yummy!  Visions of S’mores came dancing in my head.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

In a bowl of a standing mixer, add flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking power.  Stir to combine, then add butter and mix till you have  coarse crumbs. Add honey and water, mix until it forms a large ball.

Shape dough into a flat disk, roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper 1/4 thick for crispy cookies, thicker if you want softer cookies.  Cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.   re-roll any remaining dough.  Don’t over bake!

I made them the other night, and let me tell you, they are yummy!  And the best part is……   Wait for it… They have real honey in them and NO soy!  Yay!

Because you make them yourself, you decide if you want them thin and crispy or fat and soft.

I  like to make my cookies big, fat and soft.

 But I did make some thin ones too!

   I will make these cookies again, because I already have an idea to make a all in one  S’more cookie.  I almost always tweak a recipe I like into something  a little more decadent.

P.S.   After reading the label I also discovered that the graham crackers were made in Mexico.  Since I have a choice of where I spend my money, and I try to buy American made when I can.

 

  I’m saying, adios to Nabisco.

 

 

 

 

 

XOXO

 

 

Day tripp-n in Ojai

Sunday My boyfriend and I took a little day trip to Ojai. 

 We had talked about spending the weekend at the Ojai Valley Resort and Spa, but because I live an hour away from Ojai we decided do a little day trip instead.

 

First stop was the New Oak Ranch in upper Ojai Valley to Pick Lavender.

  Who knew there were acres of lavender growing a few miles outside of downtown Ojai! 

 The lavender season is short.

 mid-June to the end of July-  (weekends only).

It costs $5.00 per bunch of lavender (that you cut yourself).  They supply the cutting shears and twist ties.

 

This is about as much as you can fit into the twist tie.  Its a great deal!  Take a deep breath of that…ahhhh!

 

 

 

 

 They have more than 5,000 lavender plants.

 The ranch also has 1,400 Tuscan olive trees, which produces a olive oil that they are very proud of!

 The ranch has 35 walnut trees that are harvested in the fall.

 Aww…baby walnuts…aren’t they cute?

You’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and savor your lunch on a walnut shaded table.

 

You can also purchase quite a few items made with their lavender.

 Everything from body care product to  honey, and even a tomato jam!

 (sounds weird, but it was quite yummy!)

 Yours truly, Big floppy hat and all…

Next stop, downtown Ojai to visit the Farmers Market.

We bought lots of amazing items, like flavored goat cheese, lemon cookies, strawberry pie, fresh basil, pixie tangerines, olive oil.  All the great looking fruits and veggies made me so hungry, I forgot to take pictures!

 We decided to get something to eat at a quaint little health food store called the Rainbow Bridge Market.

 Me, pigging out on a de-lish  avocado- veggie sandwich.

  I eat one whenever i’m in Ojai.

P.S.

I bought a organic olive oil while I was at the Farmers Market.  They have a tour that will be in part 2 of day tripp’n in Ojai.

 

Move over Rover

and let Jimmy take over

Look close, you will see a Bee

 Humming the song

 Purple haze.

XOXO!

Janice

 

 

Things have a way of turning out for the Best!!

I’ve been working on my house once again.   Yet,..another episode of this old house!

Houses are so needy!  They take up lots of your time and most of your money.   I have owned this house for over 25 years now, and over the years almost every thing has been replaced or re-modeled.

Last year I discovered that the sprinklers in the front yard had caused some major damage to the windows in the living room.  Water from the sprinklers had been hitting the windows for who knows for how long.

This caused not only the windows to mold, but also my wood floor in the living room  *sigh*

 

So…2 months ago I decided to order some new windows for the living room.   I received such a great deal on them I decided to replace all the windows in the front of the house.  I was told it would take about 2 weeks for the windows to come in.

The windows were on their way,  so my son in law  decided he would  install them on December 3.  But as fate would have it… on December the 2nd a powerful wind storm hit the Los Angeles area….causing the delivery truck to blow over,  and all of my windows were  broken in the accident!   *darn*

But all was not lost for December the 3rd… we decided to have a pregnancy photo shoot for my daughter who was due to have her first baby daughter in 2 weeks.

Instead of installing windows…  my Son in law had a day of rest.  Here he is catching a few well deserved winks between photos.

 

And it was a good thing Chad didn’t have to work that day…. because my daughter, April went into labor a few hours after the photo shoot was over.

So, that was an wonderful example of… “things turning out for the best”.  Chad would have been exhausted after a full day of installing windows, and then helping his wife go through labor.

Now….Back to my window story.

So we had to wait for my windows to be made once again.  A few days before my windows arrived I was looking at all the houses in my neighborhood that had installed new windows.

Seems everyone had replaced their windows with windows that didn’t have grids in them, and the windows I ordered had grids. *darn*

I wondered if I should have ordered my windows without grids?  Yes….. I think I should have… I liked the way the windows looked without the grids!

Now what I’m I to do?…. it’s too late to cancel them !  *sigh*

So, a few days later I receive a phone call informing me that my windows are in, but they wanted to know if I ordered my windows with grids or without grid.???  Seems my windows came in without grids….OMG!

Once again…”things have a way of turning out for the best”!

I love my new windows…the view is so much better, and being insulated makes a big difference in how much warmer the house stays, and less outside noise to hear…so…take that you noisy bumpasse’s…..tee hee hee!

XOXO,

Janice

My Holiday Baking

Chocolate & Raspberry Shortbread.

Dough

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together..add flour and mix till it forms the dough.

This makes enough dough to cover a 13 x 9 baking pan, or you can make 2 pans of  8 x 8.  I made one pan of 8 x 8 shortbread and saved the other half to make chocolate toffee bars…(Next recipe)

 

Choose your size pan.. and pat the dough into pan.

then cover with seedless raspberry jam..

if you use a 13 x 9 pan use the whole jar…8 x 8 pan use half of jar..I use this Jam…

bake at 325 for about 20 minutes…take out of the oven when done..while still hot.. sprinkle on…

Wait about 10 minutes…and then swirl melted chocolate and raspberry together

Now…. lick the knife…YOU know… you want to!

I had to also lick my camera len.. because… I’m a dork… I got chocolate all over my camera while taking these pictures!

 

Chocolate Toffee Bar

You need the above shortbread and…

I used the whole can…for a 13 x 9 pan…take them out of their wrappers and put into blender to chop into smaller bits…..pat shortbread into pan…sprinkle on the toffee bits…bake 10 minutes at 325…then sprinkle on chocolate chops..bake another 10 minutes…let cool an few hours and then cut into squares..

MORE recipes  coming soon….

 

Candy cane cake pops

Snowmen cake pops

Snowball cake bites

 

 

Chocolate cake bites with pretzel sprinkles

 Pecan Carmel.

 Sugar Cookies

 Merry Christmas to all

Love,

Janice

Let There Be Christmas Lights

Ohh,,,Christmas lights

Ohh,,, Christmas lights!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Hope You’re all keeping warm and toasty!

XO,

Janice

 

My House has Gone Winter Wonderland

I love this time of the year,

   I’ve been into Christmas decorating mode for a few days now.

 

Some close up’s of the ornaments.

 

 

Is anyone as crazy about snowflakes as I’am?

I hang them from the ceiling..

Or, anything that doesn’t move.

I not only deck the halls

but the bathroom too!

Can’t forget the hearth..

 

Or the front porch…

I Wish You…

XO,

Janice

The Birth of Vivian Rose

The much anticipated,  much dreamed about,  much talked about…has finally happened.

The Birth of Vivian Rose, my first Grandchild!

 

This is Vivian one hour old, she weighed  7lbs and is 19 1/2 long.  She is Grand ma ma’s perfect little princess!

A few months ago I posted a story and ultrasound picture of her. I thought she was already adorable at only a few weeks old.   Grand ma ma went a little crazy buying things as soon as she knew for sure her first grand child was going to be a girl.

I bought a chandelier for Vivian’s bedroom…Grandma ma doesn’t even have a chandelier in her bedroom…at least not yet!

 

I’m so proud of my daughter April, she had a 100% natural birth just like I did, NO meds of any kind.  I was shocked to know that things have changed so much in the past 20 years or so.  Back in my day we did everything we could not to take any drugs of any kind, now everyone tries to talk you into taking medications for the pain, it’s even hard to find a doctor that still believe’s in a natural birth.  April’s doctor still believe’s in natural births but said he has delivered only 4 babies natural (that is without drugs) in the past year.

 April’s birth plan is very rare indeed!

 

This picture was taken 6 hours before April went into Labor.

24 hours later……

What we lovingly called the  “baby dance”.

 When April had a contraction she would lean into her husband Chad and sway from side to side till the pain was gone.

   Vivian was born, Sunday December 4th at 8:28 pm

 after approximately 24 hours of labor.

This is what a baby born without drugs looks like.

 Wide awake, and taking in her new world!

I hope anyone reading this who is pregnant, or knows anyone who is pregnant, Please consider giving birth without drugs.  Don’t let your doctor or nurses try to talk you out of it, women have been giving birth for thousands of years without drugs.  Yes, giving birth is painful, but it can be done without drugs!

XOXO,

Grand ma ma

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Making My List

Checking it Twice

Oh Yes,

 I have been Very Nice!

 Faux fur Jacket, I ordered it, I couldn’t wait for Santa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year I bought the black fur version of this, and i’m so glad I did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I love anything Brocade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I guess i’m going to have white fuzz stuck in my eyelashes.

 Can we say Ice Princess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   New Years Eve Outfit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Where’s My Hot Chocolate?

Dear Santa baby

I have been a Very Good girl

So Please bring me everything on my list

XOXO,

Janice

My latest Obsessions

I’m currently obsessed with quite a few  things.

 

 I’m having a lot of fun making Cake Pops!

  I find myself singing a little song while I make them.

It goes a little like this.

Bake  er  ella

 you’re as lovely as your name

~*~Bakerella~*~

All hail the mighty Bakerella,

 I just love this book!

Here are a few of the cake pops I’ve made.

For my first attempt, I made these for my daughters baby shower.

I made these for Halloween.

I plan on making these for Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t tried making cake pops yet,

  I can highly recommend it.

 They’re the hit of every party, and ever so yummy!

~*~

Soon the Holidays will be here

and Being the nut job that I’am

 I have a new Christmas decorating theme.

I think it would best be described as Winter Wonderland.

I live in Southern California

So the closest I get to icicle’s, snowflakes and snowballs are the kind you buy at the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Crystal Snowflakes

 

  Feather Poofs.

 

 Glamorous snowballs

 

 

 

How cute is this peacock?

Yes, there really are white peacocks, I saw some while traveling in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been going gaga for Mercury Glass, if you want some I suggest you act fast, before I buy  it all!

XOXO,

Janice

White House/Black Market,,,going-going-gone

My latest purchases.

Off the shoulder shimmer top

 

Fair isle sweater

 

I love this sweater, it brings out the Norwegian in me!

 

Trapunto stitch trench

Is there anything better

 than getting something cute on sale?

 

Black trapunto stitch trench

The trenches regular price $188.00 on sale for $89.99

 

High contrast cardigan

 

I know I have bought something cute, when one of my daughters wants to borrow it!

Cardigan regular price $88.00 on sale for $49.99

 

Slouchy carryall bag

 

I can hardly wait to Rock this bag!

Regular price $88.00 on sale for $44.99

 

Flounced coverup

 

Not on sale yet,,,but oh yes!,,, they will be mine!

 

Quilted vest

 

Fur vest

 

 P.S.  I don’t work for

White House/Black Market

I just love their clothes!

 

XOXO

Janice