Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom's Cranberry Bread Recipe

Growing up my mom would make Cranberry Bread every year. It is delicious and we all looked forward to it every fall and winter. It is traditionally made during the holidays but I like any excuse to make it. A whole bag of cranberries have been sitting in the freezer waiting to be turned into bread and today was the day. I thought I'd share the recipe with you in case any of you would like to make some for your family.


1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup real mayonnaise
4 eggs
5 cups flour
2 cup sugar (plus a little for sprinkling)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 tsp orange zest (plus a little for sprinkling)
3 to 4 cups halved cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 loaf pans and sprinkle with sugar.

Mix orange juice, mayo, and eggs. Then add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Blend just until moist. Over mixing will make your bread a little dense. Fold in the nuts, and cranberries.

Pour into your prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with sugar and orange zest and gently pat down. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until done. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans and let finish cooling on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.


- You can make them without the walnuts. It is still yummy. I occasionally make it nut-free so my daughter can take some to school or if I just don't have walnuts handy.

- You can half the recipe and make one large loaf. Just increase the baking time slightly. You may need to cover with foil the last 15 minutes so the top doesn't burn.

- After completely cool wrap 2 of the loaves tightly in a couple layers of plastic wrap and freeze them. Simply set a frozen loaf on the counter before you go to bed and you will have a nice breakfast ready to go in the morning.

- My favorite way to eat cranberry bread is toasted with butter. Serve it with fresh fruit and milk or coffee for breakfast. Or slice off a thick piece for a quick and satisfying afternoon snack.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Garden Planning: Spring 2013

(Sydney's lunch)

We are participating in a community garden. It is such a great way for us to get into the earth and grow some of our own food. It has been a learning experience already for me and it is fun to see the kids learning about where their food comes from. Sydney loves to go out on a weekend and pick stuff for her own lunch. We started some seeds back in September and were able to successfully grow lots of lettuce and carrots. The broccoli was attacked and enjoyed by caterpillars but with a little help and watching them closely every day we were able to save some and now we have some broccoli coming in. The snap peas and shelling peas did not make it.

Now the the new year has begun I have grand plans for this little 4' X 24' garden of ours. I am not sure how much food I can grow from it but I'm determined to use this year to learn a lot and maybe grow a few dinners too. I just recently planted lots more carrots since those are a favorite of the girls to pick and eat. Some kale seeds were also started in an nice spot near the broccoli. Hopefully in a couple weeks we will have lots of new little shots coming in.

This spring I'd also like to grow cucumbers, a variety of peppers, a few different types of tomatoes, and some summer squash. The seeds are ordered and have been received. Now I'm just waiting for the right time to get these started. Do you have or want a garden? What are your best gardening tips? What are you hoping to grow this year?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Year Inspiration

Life seems to be speeding up the older I get. The evidence? Look how big my kids are getting and how long it has been since I posted here. Does that keep happening with each passing year? Some days I feel like I can barely keep up with everything and other days I remember to slow down and look around. It is hard to be present: to see those sweet little faces looking up at me and asking to play, to listen to their thoughts about life, to feel their warm embraces, to recall the importance of slowing down and taking the time to be purposeful in each day, each activity, each moment I have. Please don't think I have figured this out. Truth be told, most days have moments when I choose to be online again or look at my to do list for the 10th time in an hour as if something will magically be completed instead of actually doing something on the list.

A new year brings so much hope and encouragement. We talk about goals for this year. It is a time to set aside bad habits and begin again. This year has me thinking about what are the most important roles or things in my life right now. I'm learning that sometimes I need to say no to good things in order to focus on the few things I can maybe learn to be great in. Being a mom to three young kids is definitely near the top of that list. Being a godly wife is too.

I have some specific ideas and goals I'd like to work on that relate to the things I share here. I'd love to keep growing our little garden and see how much we can actually grow and harvest from it. Hopefully, more crafting and sewing time will appear in the schedule now that the house is unpacked and mostly organized. I have never really shared this much before but I'd like to work on my writing. The goal is not a book or anything crazy like that but simply to learn how to communicate better through the written word. Naturally, the blog is a good place to practice if I can get in the habit of sharing here more often.

What are your goals for this year? What are you excited about? What are you anticipating for 2013?