Sunday, November 30, 2014

Salad Dressings

My SIL Beth is working on a cookbook of all of my mom's best recipes and asked each of the sisters to submit something.  

I make all of our salad dressings (and believe me, that's no small task with all the salad we eat!) so I figured it would be perfect to pick a couple of our favorites:

Kristen's Creamy Vinaigrette
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/8 c. coconut crystals (or raw sugar)
2 T. organic mayo
1 glove garlic, crushed
real salt and pepper to taste
Combine in blender.  Then, slowly drizzle in 2/3 c. organic olive oil

Lemon Vinaigrette
juice of 2 organic lemons
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T. whole grain mustard
1 T. dried italian herbs
2 T. raw honey
1 T. coconut crystals (or raw sugar)
real salt and pepper to taste
Combine in blender.  Then, slowly drizzle in 1 c. organic olive oil

Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 c. Bragg apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. coconut crystals (or raw sugar)
3 splashes of worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. paprika
Blend all ingredients and then slowly drizzle in 3/4 c. organic olive oil
Add: 1 T. poppy seeds and 2 t. sesame seeds and pulse a couple times

55 Salad Dressing (from the old 55 Columbus restaurants) - a Costello sister favorite
3 gloves garlic
1 T. dry mustard
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
Blend in blender until smooth
Slowly add:
1/3 c. water
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar (I use raw honey or coconut crystals)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. black pepper
2 c. vegetable oil (original recipe calls for this, I use olive oil)
Blend for 10 minutes to prevent coagulation

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Grain Free Carrot Cake (or Cupcakes!)

I have tried a few carrot cakes and, once again, combined about 12 recipes until I "got it" the way I wanted it.  You may even improve it more (if you do, lmk!) but here's what I did:

For the carrot cupcakes (makes 12):
Just under 2 c. of almond flour (I like Honeyville)
1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 heaping T. pumpkin pie spice (which is just cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice :))
3 organic, free range eggs
1/2 c. organic, unrefined coconut oil (softened but not melted)
1/4 c. raw, organic honey from my bees
1/4 c. real maple syrup
(you can use all honey also and just do 1/2 c.)
1 T. vanilla
1 c. organic carrots (I use carrot pulp leftover from juicing so if you are using shredded carrots you may not need the entire 1/2 c. of coconut oil.  Hold some back and see if your batter looks moist enough)

For the cream cheese frosting:
4 ounces of Greek cream cheese
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. vanilla
dash of real salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease muffin tin with coconut oil.  Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.  In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients and mix well.  Add dry mix to wet mix and then gently fold in the carrots.  Put batter in muffin tin and cook for approx. 15-20 min (my oven is 15 min on the dot!)  Let the cupcakes cool for 5-10 min. in the muffin tin and then remove to wire rack.  Cool completely before icing.  Make sure your kiddos know you are making them or somehow (!) all 12 will disappear before they arrive to the kitchen to eat them.  I'm kidding, I would never eat them all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grain Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are amazing.  Seriously.  I have tried a ton of recipes and I really, really love these.  I combined a few recipes I found online and this is what I came up with.  And yes, I have made a new batch every day for the past few days.  Not because I am compulsively eating them.

1 c. almond flour (I like Honeyville the best)
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. real salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 T. coconut oil
3 T. real maple syrup
2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. or so of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
I add a large handful of raw, sprouted pecans or walnuts -- totally optional!

Mix coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla.  Add in all dry ingredients.  Then add in chips and nuts, if desired.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 min and then LEAVE ON TRAY for 5 minutes.  This is super important when baking with almond flour.

This recipe makes 10 cookies.  And you will eat them all in less than 10 hours.  But honestly, if you're going to indulge, these are pretty harmless.  At least I hope so.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grain Free, Gluten Free, Banana PB muffins

Wow, that's a mouthful.  I combined a few ideas I found online and created these gems today.  And they are delicious.  I've been gluten free for over a year now but my alternative doc recommended I try grain free a few months ago so I am always looking for ideas.....of things that taste good.  I'm not into eating cardboard.

1 c. peanut butter (yes, another nut butter would be healthier but I looooove pb!)
2 very ripe bananas
2 organic eggs
1 t. Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
3 T. pure maple syrup

Throw all this in the BlendTec and blend until smooth.  (eggs first makes it easier to blend)
Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15 min. at 375.  This recipe makes 12 muffins.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend

It's been the best weekend ever....parades, festivals, pool parties, family time, fireworks, games and more.  I love this time of year.

Today, I ran across this throwback picture of Gabe from when he was 2.  Awwwwwww.  And now he's 7.  Sniff.

Monday, June 9, 2014


The girls recently performed some violin and piano pieces downtown, at a benefit for Buckeye Ranch.  It got us talking and we decided to create a Be Someones Miracle Summer List (BSMSL) to complete this summer.

I let them create the list completely on their own.  Here are some of the things they came up with:

* Invite a random family to dinner (and cook a great meal!)
* Bake and deliver cookies to a nursing home
* Pay for a stranger's meal
* Buy a stranger ice cream
* Cook breakfast for Hazel's House of Hope again
* Make another blanket for a child with cancer

Here's a picture of Lauren performing.  On our way home that night Madeline commented, "Well, I've officially performed at a bar!"

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spring Piano Recital

The girls had their spring piano recital last night and it was wonderful.  It was such a proud moment for me to watch them performing with some of the best students in the city.  Hundreds of hours of sitting through piano lessons (yes, I am required to sit in on all lessons!) and a gazillion hours of daily practice (on 2 pianos!) truly paid off.

This year, Madeline competed in TAP through the Royal Conservatory's Development Program and all 3 girls competed in Guild, a national audition program.

Madeline received a trophy for "Top TAP score" and also for "Outstanding Student."  Truuust me, these girls are up against some stiff competition.  You wouldn't believe some of the performances we heard last night.  Abigail took home 3 trophies last year (a record!) so Lauren said next HER year.  GO BUG!

Just found a quick clip of 2 of the students who performed a duet together:

Friday, May 30, 2014

3rd Annual HHI Trip!

We made our 3rd trip to Hilton Head Island and it was the same as the previous years.....spectacular.  I think I love it most because it's 9 days of completely uninterrupted time with our kiddos.  No distractions, no meetings, no sports, no school, nothing.  We even all agreed (ok, girls may have been a tad reluctant ;)) to turn off our phones except a quick 4 pm check each day.  That was even more incredible.  

We stayed at Shipwatch this year and loved, loved it.  Already booked it for next year!  Did I mention we loved it??  We rented bikes (obvi!) and biked all over, per the usual.

Bike rentals this year:
1 tandem (Abby and Lauren)
2 bikes with alley cats (Mads and Linc and Daddy and Gabe)
1 bike with a baby seat (Kendie and me!)
Trust me, we are quite a sight traveling around the island!

I managed to capture this moment of 2 of my beauties (no pose!) as we walked around Harbor Town in Sea Pines one evening.  I stopped right there and thanked God for all the incredible memories we have been able to make on these trips.  They are so very precious to me.  I am blessed beyond words.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter 2014 - Forget the Frock!

A friend shared the Eyes That See organization with us today and we were intrigued.  They are all about breaking traditions in the name of love.  Forget the Frock is about passing on that new Easter outfit for a much cheaper tee shirt, and donating the money to feed children.  For a month.  

I am only all about this kinda thing only if it comes from the heart.  And no guilt!  Please know that there have been many a year that I go out and buy exactly what I want for my family so we all look adorable for that perfect Easter picture.

I traipse through the mall looking for that perfect dress.  Oh and shoes.  And a sweater -- we do live in Ohio -- which means probably tights.  And let's not forget I need to times this all by EIGHT.  It's exhausting.  And expensive.  So when I read through their website today, it took about .8 seconds for me to be.....IN!  SIGN ME UP!  YES, PLEASE!

I wanted to run it by the family though and I was so proud of them for taking about as long to sign up also.  We showed them the website and read the mission to them.  One of the kiddos said, "So no fun new Easter outfit?"  And another said, "But, we do get to feed a child for a month!"  And then they all said, "LET'S DO IT!"

Love this gang.

So, when you see us on Easter, we will be in our blue jeans, flips and these lovely tee shirts.  Anyone wanna join us?  :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Incredible Gluten Free (and Grain Free!) Bread

I've followed Danielle Walker's blog, Against All Grain for some time now so when she recently debuted her recipe book, I Two-Day shipped that book right to my house. (thanks, Amazon 1-click shopping!)

This morning I made her "world famous sandwich bread" which is grain free.  I've tried a few GF breads and to be honest, they aren't great.  This one is fabulous!  I'm going to mess around with the rise a bit on the next round (I failed to add the milk until the end, oops!) but all in all, it is fantastic.  The only thing I will say, it's a bit pricey, however I found a few bulk cashew butter options online that my grocery budget is going to love.

Here is the link to the recipe: Best GF bread, right here!
(P.S. I substituted raw cow's milk for the almond milk)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beet Smoothie!


We have lots of lots of beets from our CSA so I've been making beet smoothies the past week.  Beets are a blood purifier, improve digestion and have a significant amount of fiber.....and that's just 3 of the many beet benefits!

I make them similar to my green smoothies (and I even add greens) and grind away.  Here's what I did this morning:

purified water
frozen organic blueberries
organic lemon (cut off outer peel)
handful of organic beets (locally grown from our CSA, yay!)
a few large handfuls of organic greens (your choice!)

Grind in the BlendTec and serve!  Yum.

*thank you stock internet photo.  We drank ours before I could snap one!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Carl Linnaeus

Today during CC art the kiddos learned about Linnaeus, who was most famous for his work in taxonomy (the science of identifying, naming and classifying organisms.)

He would spend hours, week and months intricately drawing and painting different plants and identifying their parts.  He went on to create a system of naming plants and animals that we still use today and is known as the "Father of Taxonomy."

This was Abby's interpretation of what Linnaeus' work may have involved:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All 6!

Happy Birthday (again!) my Love.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Kendall!

Happy 1st Birthday to our youngest!  Kendie, you have made the past year the BEST one yet!  You are an angel and the most content child I have ever encountered.  You make every day brighter.  God has given us miracle after miracle this year and we are so thankful.  We love you, Bunny Boo.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


During CC classes this week, the kiddos learned about Edgar Degas, one of the founders of impressionism.  This was Lincoln's interpretation.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Potato Salad -- Sweet Style!

We saw a potato salad on Food Network and since we had a bag of potatoes from our CSA, we decided to give it a try.  We drastically changed the original recipe (which called for sweet potatoes and mascarpon cheese to start) but ours was delicious so here's what we did:  I'm going to do my best to guestimate the amounts....

1-2 lbs. potatoes
Dice on a cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until somewhat crispy on outside but soft inside.
Let cool completely.

Dice 2 organic apples (we used honeycrisp but I think granny smith would be amazing)
1 c. dried cranberries (didn't have on hand so we used raisins)
chopped nuts optional (I desperately wanted toasted pine nuts but my kids voted no nuts)

1 c. raw yogurt (or plain organic yogurt)
1/2 c. organic cream cheese
2 T. Ohio maple syrup
1 T. dijon mustard

You may need to adjust dressing amounts depending on how many potatoes you cook.  And beware -- this salad is completely addicting!