Sunday, May 31, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies

My daughter has been trying all of her aunt's cookie recipes lately because, well, we just found them. I "organized" a few years ago and half my stuff ended up down in the basement.  I forgot about this until I "organized" this week and found some things we really needed!

My daughter with Celiac disease has had a hard time getting her cookies to turn out okay.  They usually flatten out WAY too far, or the ingredients separate.  Since we found this flour blend at Costco that we use regularly, we thought it might be worth a try to use some of these tried and true recipes of her aunt's (my sister) once we were reunited with the cookbook they were in :).

Finally...a keeper!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 C butter
1 C Peanut Butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t soda
2 1/2 C flour (we used the gluten free flour blend)

Mix ingredients in order.  Place 1 inch dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Flatten with fork each direction.  Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

This is the brand of flour mix we use:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The New Western Home

When I started this blog it was called Western Warmth (you can still get to it at that address).  Because for years I wanted a business named that.  I was fascinated with western design in homes and also quilting.  I wanted to use in some way for western quilts - or home decorating?  It doesn't look like that will happen, but I still love both things.

I've gotten lots of searches for contemporary western design ideas so I thought I'd compile some of my favorites here.  Western design has been pretty timeless although some details change over the years.

What I am finding (or maybe I'm just more drawn to it) is the western accents are more subtle.  An otherwise sparse room with clean lines given a few rustic touches or hints of the west as seen in this landing and staircase above.

I love me some contrast.  Sparse with west.  Modern shine with west -  as seen here.  The mix of old and new is like a musical harmony to me.

Rustic Bedroom by Atlanta Architects & Building Designers Peace Design

And don't forget the outdoors!  I've seen a lot more western looks, like with log swings and rusty hardware, but I thought this was a subtle look from the pillows paired with a nice landscaping feature you'd see in any suburban backyard.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gluten Free Strawberry Cream Crepes

This is a recipe created by my daughter who lives bravely with Celiac disease.  It has been a struggle sometimes, but she has been independent enough to really try some new things and cook what sounds good to her.

For this recipe we used the GF flour blend found at Costco.  I'm guessing it would work with any GF flour blend.


Blend in blender:

1 1/2 C milk
3 eggs
2 T melted butter
3/4 C flour blend
2 T sugar
dash salt

Melt some butter on a pan or electric skillet.  Pour the thin batter onto the hot pan and lift and rotate the pan to make a very thin coating.  This will cook through quickly and then you can flip to lightly brown the other side.  The crepe making part goes quickly!


1 package of cream cheese
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 C powdered sugar

Whip the filling together in a mixer with the whisk attachment.  Put a little filling in each crepe along with fresh sliced strawberries.  Then decorate the filled crepe with the filling and strawberry slices on the top too.

****Note:  We also like to make this recipe for the rest of the family with regular all-purpose flour but it takes more.  Double the flour to 1 1/4 C.  The gluten-free crepes tear a little easier than the regular ones, but still taste great.  This makes a fun family treat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Unique Bathroom Mirrors

Our downstairs bathroom is still mirrorless.  Which hasn't been much of a problem.  But eventually I want our house to be a little more "done" and adding a mirror above the sink is part of that.  I have an idea in mind of a white framed mirror, either oval or rectangular shaped, but I have yet to find what I am looking for in a home improvement store.

I scoured houzz for ideas and here is what I found.  What would you pick?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tom and Chee Omaha

Okay, I'm kinda liking my "job" when it involves going out to eat with friends and then giving away free stuff to you!  Just this last year I've been discovering all the great things about living in Omaha and even better restaurants that are making their way here.  A local family that lives right down the road from me called to get a Tom and Chee franchise within days of seeing it on Shark Tank.

And they kindly opened it nice and close (if you are in Omaha, its at 144 & Maple in front of Lowe's).  I've watched a few episodes of Shark Tank but I hadn't seen this one, so I was glad they invited me in to see what it was all about.

these are our local owners - seriously nice people

My local blogging friends had given me hints about this place and that the focus was on grilled cheese donuts.  So I was expecting greasy, indulgent state fair food.  I think that's why this restaurant review experience really blew me away.  I am picky about my ingredients and I don't like fake (fake butter, fake cheese, etc.).  They make everything homemade.  They have no fryers or freezers. They make their own CHEESES!  No joke.  And the cheese and light vinaigrette on this salad sung with flavor.  It was such a fresh salad I would go just for that if I had a salad craving.

Their specialty, though, is grilled cheese.  The best part about this (for me) is all the things you can add on...from freshly roasted chicken to hummus, to veggies of all kinds -- this is not your greasy diner grilled cheese.  There are specialty breads (including gluten free!) and of course their gourmet cheese that melts so smoothly.

The thing that made them famous is here:

The grilled cheese donut.  Now this is not a sweet glazed bakery donut.  The flavor to me was much less sweet and reminded me more of french toast.  So with the savory and sweet mix of cheese and fruit it was much more like a brunch type treat in my opinion.  The sugar overload I was expecting didn't happen, and the biggest reaction from me was -- with amazing ingredients, I LOVE grilled cheese.

I didn't even write anything up on the soups because I spent more time just savoring that one.  Creamy tomato is my all-time comfort food when I'm sick so I really wanted to take time to test their soup to see how it stacked up to my old stand-by.  My conclusion was that I'm really sad I didn't know about this place until now.  Our sick bodies would have appreciated that place so much.  It is made fresh there in the store and you can taste and feel it as it goes down.  Especially the fresh onion and garlic that is so soothing and healing to a sick throat.

Anyway, I've written enough that now I want to drive right back for more soup.  And my intention in writing this wasn't to make myself slobber :), it was to give stuff away!  I want you to go try Tom and Chee for yourself!  

I've got stacks of these cards to get you fully addicted to this place!  Its a $50 value.  Enter today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Getting Counters

So I just have this one, not so great photo of the installers putting in our quartz countertops.  Sorry 'bout the glare :).  I thought it was interesting how they just had the triangle notch there and then cut the sink area out on site.  They even re-installed my sink, which I wasn't expecting.  So that was kinda nice.

We did the two-tone thing like I'd been dreaming and planning.  Both were from Home Depot a year apart.  The "experts" say a kitchen remodel takes months and must be done at once and you basically need to move out of the kitchen during that time.  For convenience, yeah, I see their point.  But it CAN be done one step at a time as  you can afford it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Indian Cave {Camping Near Omaha}

Here's why we love Indian Cave for camping:  We get a secluded spot.

We can boondock.  In fact our power was completely out (battery issue) our first time here, so it was basically like tenting it.  In a super comfortable tent with a toilet, of course ;).

There were established spots.  There may have even been hook-ups.  I don't right remember because we were so craving an off grid couple of days.

This guy loves to chop his own wood.  Notice his daughter mimicking the arm swing. 

He only harvests already-down lumber, in case you wondered.

But he employs child labor in hauling the downed tree to our camp area.

Team work!

The morning cuddles are my favorite.  Both to be part of and to watch.

He covered his eyes cause he's tired of all the pictures.  (Sorry!)

But he fell back to sleep with the comfort of someone else's ear to rub...

And woke up to Daddy's wonderful Camp-cakes.

I'm not sure why they ended up back in the camper playing barbies.  But I guess it was something that doesn't require batteries or electricity, so there ya go.

Indian Creek Campground:

  •         Places to boondock unplugged and have a little privacy
  •         plenty of firewood
  •         a couple of hours away from Omaha metro
  •         enough trees to feel like you are in the mountains if that is what you are used to

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Garth Brooks lyrics

I saw this meme -- and LOVED it of course.  First of all, they are just great words.  But what brought a big grin to my face was a memory.

A memory of a boy in my summer singles ward.  He was someone I met and admired and did my best to drop hints to :).  When it was his turn to speak in church he used some Garth Brooks lyrics in his talk.  Nowadays if someone did that I think my cheesy alarm would go off - but I had a big enough crush that I found it touching.  He had a gift for speaking in a way that got to people's hearts and I still enjoy remembering that feeling and the admiration of watching him, 17 years after our love story began.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Willow Lake, Iowa {Camping Near Omaha}

Sure, they are different states but a lot of Iowa camping is just as near the Omaha metro as Nebraska camping.  This spot is a nearby favorite of ours.  A big factor was that despite other campers being there that weekend we got a nice secluded spot.

There was a peaceful patch of water (and accompanying water fowl) for us to watch, but it was far enough away that I still felt like the kids were safe while being watched.

Most of my pictures are from the evening as we got settled in and ready to cook dinner.  It was a really easy hot dogs over the fire kind of night.

I like catching the view out the window when I wake up in the camper.  It's such a peaceful feeling.

One of my favorite memories of the whole weekend we were there is that it was Arbor Day and they were giving away free trees nearby.  We planted all three in our backyard here in Omaha and its a fun way to remember that special spot in Iowa.

Our lilac we planted in the front yard - free on Arbor Day weekend 2014

It really is a gorgeous and peaceful recreation area and a great way to enjoy midwest nature close to home.

Here are some of our other local camping spots:  Fremont Lake, Lake Mac, Louisville SRA, Two Rivers