Monday, December 28, 2015

Healthy Eating

           Like many of you, we treat “dieting” and “exercise” like they are curse words in our house.  But, like many of you, we recognize that we need to do what we can to be healthier.  So how do we avoid those nasty words and still get it done?  We strive for a “lifestyle” change, something that will stick with us and not be just a failed attempt at “diet and exercise”.  In the next few paragraphs I’ll share with you some of the tips we’ve learned and things that have worked and have failed miserably.  We have found that it is worth trying a little harder to live a healthy life rather than have to deal with health issues related to weight gain and inactivity.   
            Let’s start with the easiest and cheapest: accountability.  Find a friend or family member that you can bounce questions off of, share your achievements with, and who will be uplifting when you are feeling discouraged.  I promise you, discouragement will rear its ugly head.  If you have several friends and/or family members who want to journey with you down the healthy living path then start a group on one of the social media sites.  You can share recipes, workouts, joys and struggles you face on this journey.  Yes, it is a journey.  It is not something that just happens overnight.  Some mornings you will wake up excited about the journey and some mornings you will wake up and be ready to give up.  That’s where your accountability partner or group becomes important.  Utilize them and don’t hold back.  There is a good chance they are feeling the same way and you can work though it together and come out stronger.
           Now on to something that isn’t as easy, but which can be cheap (or even free) and make a huge impact on your “lifestyle” change journey.  Fitness.  Exercise.  Workouts.  Words that make people cringe when they hear them.  Instead of fitness, exercise, or workouts, think of it as “activity”.  Start small and slow and (as improbable as it sounds) you will feel your body start to crave more and more activity.  In February of 2015 I started by walking more.  Not far and not fast, but I had a friend I would walk with and we had a great time visiting and solving the world’s problems during our walks.  It was fun, it was not exercise.  I was able to enjoy the walk without my brain telling me I was about to die.  Fast forward to June 2015, and I ran my first 5K with my sister who is younger, leaner and more trim than I am and can run a 5k without practicing.  I never imagined I could run a 5K (or even walk that far) but I did.  While my time was not the greatest, I finished and I beat my sister by two tenths of a second!  Sibling rivalry is a huge motivator.  Running a 5k was not my goal on the journey I started in February, it was just a side benefit of what I was doing. 
     I also researched and learned about crossfit.  I will let you do your own on that, but I will say it can be fun and a nice change to walking, jogging.  You will hurt in places you didn’t know existed, but it will be a good hurt and you will look back after a week of doing squats and think, “man my posterior is starting to look good!”  Look to the World Wide Web for daily workouts and videos on how to do the or check with your local gym for classes.  Many websites post daily workouts that can be done with items you have laying around the house.  A 5lb bag of sugar weighs just as much as a 5lb dumbbell. 

                                             Run For Hope 5K June 2015, Katie Parsons, Missy Husted, Kim Lakins
                Run for Hope 5K, June 2015, Teressa Davenport, Caleb Lakins, Kim Lakins, Missy Husted, Katie Parsons
            We can’t talk about health and fitness without talking about something we all enjoy:  food.    I love food. I love making food, eating food, and sharing food so that makes this part of the “lifestyle” change the hardest for me!  I started out thinking I had to eat bland food that was expensive and no fun to cook.  I was wrong. 

      One of the most difficult things for a lot of people to give up is red meat, but there is an alternative that is starting to become popular and is a very good substitute: bison.  According to the National Bison Association, “nutritionally you are getting more protein and nutrients with fewer calories and less fat.  Buffalo is a dense meat that tends to satisfy you more while eating less.”  Bison is also easier on your digestive system than beef.  While it is a slightly more expensive than good quality beef, the health benefits outweigh the cost in the end.  I found that bison is very satisfying and easy to cook with.  It is a little drier than beef, but if you cook it at a lower temperature it turns out great.  You can replace all your ground beef recipes with ground bison and satisfy that red meat craving you are having.   

      One of my favorite ways to use bison and satisfy a craving is bison sliders with a sweet potato “bun”.  Wash a sweet potato and slice it nice size pieces.  Coat it with a touch of olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and bake at 400 degrees until the potato slices are tender.  While the potatoes are cooking, make bison patties the same size as your potato slices, season to taste, and cook over low heat until done.  Assemble like you would a “normal” burger with mustard, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions.  The resulting “burgers” are very satisfying and the sweet potato “bun” adds great vitamins and nutrition to your meal.   Bison can be found along The Corridor at Ralphs Packing in Perkins. 
                                                 Bison Sliders on "Sweet Potato Bun"
      One of my failed attempts at replacing beef was with turkey.  Now, I know a lot of people love ground turkey and use it in place of beef for everything, but I think there is a few things to consider when doing that.  First, do not buy the cheapest ground turkey you can find.  Yes it is cheaper than beef but that does not mean the quality is better.  Second, do not think you are eating something that is going to taste like beef when you replace it with turkey.  You *will* be disappointed.  Take advantage of spices.  Cajun seasoning helps make almost anything more palatable!

       We have eaten a lot of chicken breast along our journey.  Chicken is reasonably inexpensive, high in protein, and full of nutrients and vitamins.  That does not mean you can deep fry it and call it “healthy”.  A few ways to prepare it include grilling, baking, and stir fry.  When grilling, you can find a marinade recipe that is low in sodium to jazz it up a bit.  Stir fry can be a good, filling option and give you the benefit of a good dose of vegetables.  In a large skillet, with a good dose of olive oil, put in a medium size diced red onion.  Cook it until it is tender, and then add a nice amount of diced bell pepper, zucchini, squash, or whatever other vegetables you like and cook till tender.  Add thinly sliced chicken breast along with a clove of minced garlic and cook until done.  Use about ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce, the juice of a lemon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve this as is or over brown rice.  Give yourself extra bonus points if the vegetables are fresh out of your own garden.

          Remember, one of the most important keys in a healthy lifestyle food change is moderation.  Our bodies are amazing machines, and can use a vast range of foods as nutrition, but even “diet food”, when not eaten in moderation, can cause weight gain.  A friend of mine has lost over 60 pounds in the last two years, and all she did was switch from a full size plate to a salad plate.  She eats the same things she always has, just not as much of it.
         Fads and diets come and go, but a healthy diet combined with exercise is a guaranteed way to lose weight and feel better.  Find an accountability partner (preferably not your spouse, but that’s another article!), make an effort to be more active, cut back on eating fat, and simply don’t eat as much.  It won’t happen overnight, and you don’t need to change *everything* at once.  Start small and work up.  The best time to change your diet and activity level is five years ago.  The second best time to start is today.

Chicken Marinade
½ cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tbsp salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
¾ tsp pepper
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp butter

Heat to dissolve all ingredients

Marinate chicken for no more than 4 hours and then grill chicken

*The Corridor January 2016

Friday, November 20, 2015

Exploring Advent

“I get to open the box tonight!” sang Joy Lin.  “Nuh-uh… It’s my turn.  You opened it last night,” Bekah retorted.  Knowing he had a better idea, John played it cool.  “Fine, but I get to light the candles.”  This is Advent season in the Husted home, and yes, even with the kids married and moved away this is still how dinner starts when we’re all together.  Advent is a serious season for our family, but it is also a season of joy and celebration.  It is a tradition that the Husteds have carried for 35 years as a way of keeping the Christ Child the center of the Christmas season.

      What is Advent?  It is the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays, ending on Christmas Eve.  Many churches and families celebrate using an Advent Wreath, a wreath with four perimeter candles and one center candle, which represents Christ, with a variation of what each candle in the wreath represents.  Our family celebrates Prophecy and Planning the first week, Bethlehem and Preparation the second week, Shepherds and Sharing the third week, and Angles and Joy the final week.  Each Sunday a candle is lit in addition to the previous Sunday’s candles, and on Christmas Eve they are all lit along with the Christ candle. 

The Advent box we speak of is similar to an Advent calendar with a door representing each day of the Advent season.  Each day of the Advent season a small door in the box is opened and behind that door is something.  Sometimes it just a piece of paper with a devotion, sometimes there is a Christmas tree ornament, or even crazy things like a battleship.   But each item in the box comes with a story, devotion, or activity that reminds us the true meaning of Christmas.  Dr. Ben Husted states in his book Christmas out of the Advent Box, “The power of the Advent box comes from the way it centers our lives on Jesus for that all-important season leading up to Christmas.  After filling our calendar with the events, activities, stories, books, Scriptures, and movies, our family has a daily exposure to some relevant truth or application from Scripture.” 
When Ben, my father-in-law, was writing the Advent book, he asked each of us to write a short essay about what Advent and the traditions meant to us.  The first week, Prophecy and Planning, while a bit daunting, has become one of my favorites.  It is amazing to be able to look in the Old Testament of the Bible and then fast forward to the New Testament and see things that God said will happen, happen. 
A devotion for the week one:
What are your plans?
Read Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (NIV) and read Matthew 1:22-23: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’” (NIV)
The Christmas season is one of the busiest and most rushed of the year.  It helps tremendously to take time during the first week to sit down with your family, with a calendar, and plan events and a menu for the next few weeks.  A menu on paper, which you can then use for grocery shopping, really cuts back on the stress of the holidays.
During the second week of Advent we celebrate Bethlehem and Preparation week, and we typically make gingerbread houses.  Why?  Because Bethlehem means “house of bread.”   Although we do not get as elaborate as some, we still have a fun time.  Using graham crackers as our walls and roofs and melted almond bark or decorators icing to hold things together, we take off from there.  With bowls of gumdrops, M&Ms, tic-tacs, mini marshmallows, lifesavers, coconut flakes, and a variety of other fun candies and eatable items we each create a unique house. . .or barn or shed. . .or “I’m not sure what this is.”  I remember one year my mother-in-law built a beautiful cottage while my father-in-law built a barn any dairyman would be proud to own.  It can be a fun contest to see who even has walls still standing at the end of the day.

A devotion for week two
Read Micah 5:2  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
It took God a lot of preparation to get things into place for Jesus birth in Bethlehem.  Take time this week to prepare for the weeks ahead.  Are you going to make cookies?  Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand.  Are you going to put up Christmas lights?  Buy extra bulbs. 
Where is Christ in all of this?  Are you preparing your hearts to receive Jesus anew?  This is very much what Advent is about.  Yes, Jesus came, and He is coming again.  But right now, Jesus lives in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Prepare to welcome Him once again.
Shepherds and Sharing are the focus of week three.  One of our big eating traditions during this week is to share a meal outside “like the shepherds.”  This has led to some memorable meals, since when that’s in the box we eat outside come rain or shine. Bekah still doesn’t let us forget a celebratory dinner that happened outside one year: Eating steaks outside in the middle of December is a unique experience.  Despite the shepherds’ lack of conveniences, Luke 2:8 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” they also got to spread the word about the birth of the Christ. Luke 2:17-18  “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”  How awesome is that?
A Devotion for week three
Make several loaves of Buttermilk Cinnamon Bread and deliver them to neighbors.  Include a note with each loaf sharing the good news like the shepherds did.
The forth week, the Angle and Joy week, varies in length, depending on which day of the week Christmas falls.  That being said, angles play a HUGE part in the Christmas season, from telling Mary, a virgin, that she would conceive the Christ child, to announcing the birth to the shepherds.  What joy both of those events are! 
A devotion for week four
 Read Matthew 2:10, Luke 1:41, 46-67, 58; 2:10
The point: Jesus intends for us to have fun and enjoy life, especially at Christmas.  We find references to joy and rejoicing in the Christmas story…. Tonight we are going to do something just for fun:  play some board games.  First Scrabble, but our words can be capitalized words, as long as they have to do with Christmas.  Anytime we use a word having to do with Christmas, the points earned for that word are doubled.  (Adapt other games of your choice.)
            The last candle we light on Christmas Eve is the Christ candle, along with that, every year for as long as any one remembers is a little block wood wrapped in Christmas paper.  We read Matthew 2:11and talk about how the wise men gave gifts to Jesus to express their love for Him – God’s greatest Gift!   After a great meal of stew and cornbread, we open gifts. 
This closes out our Advent season for this year.  We have gained sweet, fun memories to carry us into next year.  With this tradition, a family bond and a deeper love for Christ, has been created that will last a lifetime

Buttermilk Cinnamon Bread
(Makes eight 8”x3.75”x2.5” loaf pans)
12 cups all purpose flour
6 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups canola oil
6 ½ cups sugar, divided (put 4 ½ cups in dough and save 2 cups for middle and topping)
6 cups buttermilk
6 eggs
2 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts or pecans, for garnish

In a small bowl mix 2 cups sugar and cinnamon, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a smaller bowl combine oil and 4 ½ cups sugar.  Add buttermilk and eggs; ix well.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Spray pans with cooking spray.  Put 1 cup batter in each pan.  Top with 1/8 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Put 1 more cup of batter on top of that and sprinkle with another 1/8 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture and sprinkle with nuts.  Bake 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Cool; then wrap with clear wrap and decorate as desired.  Loaves may be frozen for giving later. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Growing up with an Outdoor Family

*** This is what I was going to submit for the November issue of The Corridor but decided there is too much about me and not enough about food.  So, instead of dumping it completely I thought I'd put it here and see if anyone would enjoy it.*** **** Please note that it has not been to my "editor" so I'm sure it is atrocious, over look that and enjoy the random rambling stories of my childhood***
Outdoor Family
            Granddaughter of Eugene and Susie Davenport, founders of Davenport’s Archery, the oldest hunting store in Oklahoma, you would expect that I grew up in the outdoors, and you’d be right.  I spent summer vacations at the lake with family and friends and fall breaks and Thanksgiving holidays were spent hunting close to home or in deer camp with my dad.  My high school graduation gift from my mom and dad was an elk hunting trip to Colorado mountains.  My 16th birthday I received my lifetime hunting license and for graduation my very first hunting pistol was given to me by my grandparents.  I remember a couple birthdays and Christmas’ where I would get a new hunting rifle, hunting dog, or hunting clothes.  I was not the typical “girl”, I was most defiantly a daddy’s girl.  Even now I call my daddy when I need help hanging a tree stand or want to go fishing. 
Food just tastes better when you’re enjoying it in the outdoors.  My family would mostly cook on a two burner Coleman stove out on a picnic table although sometimes we’d have a small bon fire to roast hotdogs and marshmallows and occasionally we’d light up the stove in the travel trailer and do a little cooking, but that was saved for when the weather was cooler and early morning coffee.  Every morning started with my dad heating water in a baby blue kettle that whistled when it was hot enough for his instant coffee to dissolve.  Dad does not function well until he gets that first cup down, and it went in the boat with him or to the tree stand in an old beat up silver  thermos.  He is the reason I have grown to love coffee, although I do remember when I was too young to drink coffee, he would pack hot chocolate for me to drink to warm up after a cold few hours in a tree stand or if we remember to pack it, I would get my own little thermos to take to my hunting blind with me.  
My mom is a pretty good cook and could make just about anything taste good.  One of my favorite camping meals she would serve was breakfast, crispy bacon, fried eggs, biscuits and jelly….Dad and I would get up before the sun and go out fishing for a few hours and when we would come back mom would almost always have breakfast started or done for us.   You could smell the bacon frying before you could see camp.  We loved “whomp’m biscuits” or canned biscuits, and it has to be the cheap ones.  She would use a heavy cast iron skillet, a requirement for all camp cooking, and smash them out flat like pancakes and fry them until they were brown on both sides and serve them with butter and syrup or grape jelly.  She would also drop them into a deep pan of cooking oil and fry them like a donut and again served with butter and syrup or grape jelly.  She defiantly spoiled our family with good, fattening cooking! 
It was a treat when several of the families would get together and share a meal at the lake.  Not too long ago I went to Lake Texoma for a night with my dad and grandparents and my grandma’s brothers and their wives, things are a bit different now days.  When I was younger we had worn out travel trailers or slept in tents, but now that everyone is older and a little more financially stable, things have been stepped up.  My grandparents have a small but nice motor home while everyone else had fancy goose neck travel trailers with really nice kitchen areas.  We were all camped next to each other and had spent the afternoon out fishing for striper, I, of course, caught the biggest one, and harassed my uncles about getting beat by a girl but it was all in fun.  After we cleaned them and handed them off to one of my aunts, the ladies of camp got busy cooking while the gentlemen took a nap.  When it all came together we had a feast!  Fried striper, hushpuppies, fried potatoes, and  Aunt Trish’s famous baked beans, were just a few of the things offered up for the group of 9 hungry outdoor adventurers.
Yes, I mentioned cleaning the fish.  Something my dad taught me when I was very young along with deer.  If you’re going to kill it you’re going to clean it.  He cleaned my first deer for me, when I was 10, to show me how and every deer after that I’ve had to do myself, with his assistance of course.  I was not raised in a wealthy family and for the most part did not have the advantage of taking our game to a processor.  It was always all hands on deck cutting and bagging our kill for the freezer and venison was what we consumed the most of to save money on groceries.  Mom would take the back strap or tender loin and bread it and fry it and serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy or the ground venison would be turned into the chili or stew. 
Britches Ryerson grew up helping his dad process deer for folks around The Corridor area and has tons of experience making the delightful treat we all know as summer sausage.  Summer sausage is a type of sausage that can usually be kept without refrigeration and in these parts it is usually made with 100% ground venison and cured via smoking with a healthy dose of seasonings.    Ryerson said last winter he made three thousand pounds of summer sausage out of venison for friends and family.  He is well now, especially in the Prague area, for his summer sausage recipe and like most specialty foods, he keeps a pretty tight lid on the recipe.  He has also been know to barter goods or labor for his summer sausage!  Deer jerky is another favorite among hunters and their friends and family.  Thinly sliced venison seasoned or marinated and then dehydrated makes a great treat that many kill for.  When I worked at Davenport’s Archery we had a customer from Sasakawa, Buddy Womack, who made the best jerky you can imagine.  He would bring us each a zip lock bag and you better hide it because if not it would disappear fast!
My birthday is in June and when I was younger my birthday as almost always spent at the lake or the pond behind our house with tons of family.  We did not have money for elaborate celebrations or cakes but mom would always pickup my favorite Pepperidge farm coconut cake and serve it.  Occasionally my sister will get one for my birthday now that I’m older, and when we sit down to eat it many birthday memories rush to the surface.  I would not trade those family trips for the biggest birthday bash in history.  The time spent riding bikes around the camp grounds, hunting for that deer your family member shot and enjoying love and laughter around the picnic table will forever be cherished.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Apricots Apricots Every Where

The place we are leasing for pasture for our cows has an old abandoned house in front of it with tons of fruit trees...  So, early this spring I called Mr. Owner and asked if he was going to do anything with the trees, if he wasn't would he mind if I did?  He, being an old bachelor, was not going to do anything with it and please do whatever you want with them.  So Mr. H. and I went out and killed all the bag worms growing on them and decided it was too late in the year for spraying and pruning so we sat back and waited to see what the harvest would be.  Below is the first tree that is ripe, a big beautiful apricot tree!
 Loaded!  I worked for about 2.5 hours picking....
 I did eat a few as I went to make sure they were good :)
 67 pounds!!!!!!!!
Then it was home to process and below are the results.....
 Dehydrated.... The first batch I did not use any kind of sweetener, now I know why store bought dried apricots are loaded with sugar!  These dudes were TART!  The second batch I did a honey water mix and soaked them, they are much easier to eat!
Apricots in a sugar syrup for pies, apricot syrup for waffles, and apricot jam for toast and biscuits!
 Sugar syrup

And the apricot syrup on waffles.  Deeelish!

Things I learned along the way....
1) if you eat too many apricots they will make your teeth very sensitive
2) you can make apricot jam without pectin, we'll see if it really sets up in a couple weeks like it's suppose to
3) EVERYONE wants to reap the benefits of your hard labor.  "Apricots are my favorite fruit", "If you give me some apricots I'll make jam with my kids", "If you make me an apricot pie I'll give you a hug and come get it" and on and on and on.  hahaha, Back off, this is my reward for my hard work, go find your own tree!  Well, I did do the nice thing and shared some but not many!  ;-)
4) I really enjoy canning and being productive!

Sunday, June 7, 2015


For the last 3 weeks I've cooked Wednesday night supper for the youth at the church we use to go to....  This is something I did for 2 years (feeding anywhere from 75 to 175 kids) until we decided to go to a different church...  Well a few weeks ago I got called out of retirement for a short 3 weeks.  A little different than before, instead of going to the church and cooking for 3 to 4 hours with a group of great volunteers, I decided I would cook it all at my house and just delivery it, that saved me time because I could do things around the house while things cooked.  Something I didn't think about was all those great volunteers always did the dishes!  Yikes!  Anyway, the point is as I was cooking various meals I was thinking and praying for those volunteers I had worked with in the past.  The first to come to mind was an amazing lady named Angie, I thought of here while I was making rice krispie treats, which she ended up making every time they were on the menu!  She's is a great encourager and so fun to be around. You will always be laughing if she's around!  Then there's Vickie and her willing heart to serve, she was the first to show up the very first time I cooked, I had in my head that I would be working alone but thankfully, I was wrong. Vickie was a master salad maker, which we served almost every week!  Then Susie, she is such a positive lady and loves serving, she was our do whatever needed done lady.  I didn't get to work with Zack a lot but occasionally he'd pop in before his bus route and lend a hand.  I thought of him because of the "ranch bread", which is French bread cut in half, buttered, and sprinkling with ranch seasoning.  Zach was a fan and helped cut and eat often.  Oh, can't forget Spiva, he was the dessert helper, and when I say helper, he helped eat it, as much as he could get by with! Last but in no way least is Jacquie!  Jacquie was my.  " handler ", she could "handle" anything thrown at her from dishes to filling in when I couldn't be there and she was also my grocery shopping partner.  I could have done it without all of these wonderful people (and many others!)but it wouldn't been as easy or near as fun and I would have developed lasting friendships!

Friday, May 22, 2015


Last week Mr. H and I spent the week with his mom/dad/sisters/brothers-in-law....  We took a 4 hour drive from home to the mountains in MO/AR!

We stopped here on the trip there for a little lunch.
 A really pretty place with nice "hiking" trails.  We didn't hike much because we still had a 2+ hour drive ahead of us.... The picnic grounds are also well taken care of and very nice to look at.

 I found this funny.  "Deer Cafeteria".
We're getting closer!
We rented this house from VRBO.  (This is the second time Mr. H. and I have used VRBO and it is so much better than hotels!)  We all enjoyed the quietness of the house and enjoyed that we didn't have to go anywhere!  We sat on the great deck or laid in the amazing hammock and took naps or read books or watched the river flow by!

 The great hammock made for two!
 Back of the house where we could read and watch the river flow by or take a nap in a comfy lounge chair!
 Beautiful grounds with interesting flowers and trees.  They had a tulip tree that was really cool but I forgot to take a picture.
 Welcoming front door.
 A fun place for family pictures.  Yes, we took some serious ones but also some fun ones!
Oh and a little fishing fun.  This is the only fish we caught but that's okay it was something fun to do.  And I had to take a pic to send to my daddy!  I knew he'd be proud!  (I love my daddy, maybe I'll do a Father's day post about him)

Each couple took a day and fixed meals for the day so that everyone had a day off from cooking.  It worked really well and the family is full of good cooks so it was much better than eating out!

We also took one day to do something as a "couple". We are not an exciting couple so our day, to most was probably boring, but we enjoyed out time together!  It helps if your husband is your best friend!
We went here for a tour of the distillery.  We were a bit disappointing in the tour, we were the first tour for this "guide" and she didn't know anything except what was wrote on her paper.  So, she couldn't answer any questions about the process.  "We put stuff in this thing and then do this and then it goes into that thing that looks like a giant saxophone......" Yeah, not a lot of help in telling what the equipment was and how the process worked. 

After a visit to the distillery we stopped in Branson, MO to find a place for lunch.  We ended up walking the board walk looking for a place to eat on the lake.  We found White River Fish House, that is owned by Bass Pro.  It wasn't terrible but it wasn't amazing either, but the location with an outside deck over the water was worth it.  I had Blackened Catfish with Shrimp Etouffee and John had Walleye fingers and fries.
After our walk through the boardwalk, which by the way was a very nice walk and a very nice boardwalk, we headed back to the house.  We did get side tracked *several* times by different things making our drive back 3+ hours instead of 1.... This is the dam for Table Rock Lake.
I find it really disturbing that the sign before you go over the bridges says "Wear Your Life Jacket".  Am I the only one that is disturbed by that?
 I love the sound of water flowing and they were letting a lot out and it was pretty loud!
 Mr. H. being a tourist!
 Cool older bridge.  I wish they would quit putting signs up so that my pictures are better.
We finished the day with a nap and a little fishing. 

We headed home Friday with a couple stops on the way....
 This was my first visit to the Precious Moments Chapel and it was way better than I expected.  If you ever get to stop make sure and be there for the hourly "tour".  The history is amazing.  I loved it and would stop anytime I was going to be close.
 The paintings are amazing and all done by hand by the founder.
 This is the "play house" he built for his grandkids.  Beautiful grounds around the whole chapel.
 So powerful.  Way back you can see the "tomb" with an angel sitting there to tell people that it is empty.  He is Risen!

Welcome to the best state in the world!  HOME!  We did make 2 stops in the Great State of Oklahoma.  One at Grand Lake to look at the dam there, we were disappointing because there was no where you could actually stand and watch the water come out of the dam.  And we stopped at the Amish Cheese House, that is a must if we are ever close!  Mr. H. thinks cheese is a food group all on its own!

All in all we had a great week but as always "There's No Place Like Home", and we were glad to be back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dark Chocolate Muffins

Well, it's been a really really long time since I've posted on here, but things have changed and I think this will be a good place to do a little experimenting and venting and rambling and a place for some pintrest pins to point to....So, here's the first one.
 PS, I'm on a journey to becoming healthier so most recipes will be leaning that direction. But I'm also teaching some at the local vo-tech so there will be recipes that are full on fat and butter and all the goodness that goes with it!

These muffins have a little texture from the rolled oats (if you don't like that texture then leave the rolled oats out and add a 1/4 cup more old fashion oats) and are very chocolaty (if you use the chocolate chips) and rich and really took a bite out of my chocolate sweet tooth!!!  There is a hint of banana flavor but don't let it turn you off, it's not strong!

Dark Chocolate Muffins 
 2 banana
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (You could use vanilla Greek yogurt and leave out the vanilla)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or) coconut oil
2 cups old fashioned oats(process in food processor to make into a flour texture)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips (optional) (I use SunSpire brand)
I think some walnuts would be a nice added crunch probably 1/2 to 1 cup...

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside, mix all wet ingredients, then add dry to wet and mix until combined. Divide into 12 muffin tins, sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if you want. Bake 400 about 15 minutes.