Caramel Apple Cake

September 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | 1 Comment
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AppleBake4Adapted from a recipe by Sara Moulton

I found a recipe by Sara Moulton for an apple cake cooked in a cast iron skillet. It sounded amazing!
So I tried to make it.

I realized part-way into the process that I didn’t have all of the required ingredients.

I was out of sour cream and only had brown sugar on hand.
(We’ve been on another island for a week…what can I say?)

So I made a few changes…

and they worked!

The resulting cake was moist, buttery, caramel-apple goodness. 



4 or 5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into six equal wedges

1 3/4 sticks butter

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed



1 stick butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped finely




  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a 9″ or 10″ cast-iron skillet over low heat.
  3. Add 3/4 cup brown sugar to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan. Don’t pack together, but don’t leave large gaps either.
  5. Allow to cook over medium-low heat while you prepare the batter.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 stick softened butter with 2/3 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  7. Mix in vanilla and eggs.
  8. Add the buttermilk and mix well.
  9. Gradually add flour mixture until moistened.
  10. Stir in chopped apple.
  11. Remove skillet from heat. Spoon the batter over the top and spread gently to distribute evenly.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
  13. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.


NOTE: I put a large sheet pan lined with aluminum foil on the rack under the skillet to catch any escaping sugar mix. I’m really glad I did because quite a bit escaped over the edges!!



Momma Needs a Time-Out

September 1, 2009 at 10:10 am | Posted in Homemaking, Kanoa Family Update, Random Nothings | 1 Comment
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It’s inevitable.

Sometimes you just need a time-out.


This week has not started off well.

Judah is in the worst stage of teething…with four teeth getting ready to erupt at any moment.

The girls are being girls…fussing and arguing and trying my patience.

Manly is in Hilo for a long week…he won’t be home until late Saturday night.

My bathroom sink is PLUGGED…and no amount of Liquid Draino is going to help.

Ants are very slowly taking over this house…and are surprisingly chemical-resistant.

Jackson the chameleon eats way too many crickets…and the pet store is out of large ones till Thursday.

The laundry pile magically replenishes itself every time I do a load…as does the dirty dishes pile.


There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done…and even if there were, I wouldn’t have the energy to make use of them.


So…I’m giving myself a blogging time-out.

It’s one less thing for my poor brain to deal with.

I will return later this week renewed and refreshed and ready to start again…I hope.

Try-It Tuesday: Brown Rice Flour

August 25, 2009 at 8:31 am | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living, Parenting, Recipes, Try-It Tuesday, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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brown rice flourMy son Judah is 8 months old and has a wheat allergy. This hasn’t been confirmed by an allergist, but I kept track of the foods I’d introduced and noticed a pattern of rash forming after eating foods containing wheat flour. Since removing all wheat products from his diet, he’s been rash free.

Judah is at the age where he notices everything his big sisters are eating and desperately wants to eat it too. Pasta, bread, pancakes…we are definitely a family that enjoys it’s carbs. My intention is to gradually remove wheat from all of our diets and replace it with an alternative grain. 

Brown rice flour is the first alternative I will be trying. I chose it rather blindly when I happened to run into the health foods market, but I figured that I love brown rice and so does Judah, so it can’t be that bad, right? I purchased a package of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Flour ($5.48 for a 24 oz. package. It’s cheaper online!)

When we got home I went online and started doing some research on how to use it as a wheat flour substitute. Here are some things that I discovered:


  • Brown Rice Flour is milled from unpolished brown rice and has a higher nutrient value than white rice flour
  • this flour contains bran and has a shorter shelf life than other flours; it should be refrigerated
  • it is best to combine brown rice flour with several other flours to avoid a grainy texture
  • excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and selenium


  • replace up to 1/4 of any wheat flour with brown rice flour
  • baked goods made with rice flour tend to be crumbly, so consider substituting a mixture of one part arrowroot or other thickener plus four parts rice flour
  • adding more eggs is another way to reduce crumbliness
  • since rice flour absorbs more moisture, you may need to add more liquid to recipe
  • FOR YEAST BREADS: replace up to 1/5 of the wheat flour in a bread recipe, and try increasing the yeast so that the bread rises more

Try-It Recipe: Brown Rice Pancakes


  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey, fruit juice concentrate or sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


1. Beat egg until frothy.

2. Add buttermilk, oil, and honey and beat until well blended.

3. In another bowl mix brown rice flour and the remaining dry ingredients.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Stir until well blended. Do not over stir. Batter will be stightly lumpy.

5. Lightly grease a frying pan and fry pancakes.

cooking pancakesFrying on the griddle

cooked pancakeBrowns nicely!

judah eatingJudah loved them!

Momma’s Verdict:

The pancakes turned out very nicely. They were quite crumbly, so I will be sure to add additional liquid next time–I’m thinking plain yogurt would be a good thing to add. I also may try to add a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot. My two girls didn’t notice the difference between these and their regular pancakes…and that’s saying something! I froze the leftovers so I am curious to see how they will thaw and reheat for another quick breakfast.




August 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | 4 Comments
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I am a big believer in attachment parenting. I nurse on demand, co-sleep, and wear my babies in carriers from the time they’re born till the time they refuse to go into one! I’ve used many different carriers in the 8+ years I’ve spent having babies, and this time around I’ve been using a New Native carrier.carrier It’s by far the best carrier I’ve had so far. It was a little tricky when Judah was a newborn, but I’ve loved it ever since. He responds very well to being in the sling. It’s comforting, warm and smells just like his momma!

What are the benefits of babywearing?

Dr. Sears website offers some great info:

1. Sling babies cry less. Parents in my practice commonly report, “As long as I wear her, she’s content!” Parents of fussy babies who try babywearing relate that their babies seem to forget to fuss. This is more than just my own impression. In 1986, a team of pediatricians in Montreal reported on a study of ninety-nine mother-infant pairs. The first group of parents were provided with a baby carrier and assigned to carry their babies for at least three extra hours a day. They were encouraged to carry their infants throughout the day, regardless of the state of the infant, not just in response to crying or fussing. In the control, or noncarried group, parents were not given any specific instructions about carrying. After six weeks, the infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43 percent less than the noncarried group.

Anthropologists who travel throughout the world studying infant-care practices in other cultures agree that infants in babywearing cultures cry much less. In Western culture we measure a baby’s crying in hours, but in other cultures, crying is measured in minutes. We have been led to believe that it is “normal” for babies to cry a lot, but in other cultures this is not accepted as the norm. In these cultures, babies are normally “up” in arms and are put down only to sleep – next to the mother. When the parent must attend to her own needs, the baby is in someone else’s arms.

2. Sling babies learn more. If infants spend less time crying and fussing, what do they do with the free time? They learn! Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It may be called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness.

The behavioral state of quiet alertness also gives parents a better opportunity to interact with their baby. Notice how mother and baby position their faces in order to achieve this optimal visually interactive plane. The human face, especially in this position, is a potent stimulator for interpersonal bonding. In the kangaroo carry, baby has a 180-degree view of her environment and is able to scan her world. She learns to choose, picking out what she wishes to look at and shutting out what she doesn’t. This ability to make choices enhances learning. A sling baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy caregiver.

3. Sling babies are more organized. It’s easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm, imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb, now reappears in the “outside womb” and calms baby. As baby places her ear against her mother’s chest, mother’s heartbeat, beautifully regular and familiar, reminds baby of the sounds of the womb. As another biological regulator, baby senses mother’s rhythmic breathing while worn tummy- to-tummy, chest-to-chest. Simply stated, regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant’s irregular rhythms. Babywearing “reminds” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.

4. Sling babies get “humanized” earlier. Another reason that babywearing enhances learning is that baby is intimately involved in the caregiver’s world. Baby sees what mother or father sees, hears what they hear, and in some ways feels what they feel. Carried babies become more aware of their parents’ faces, walking rhythms, and scents. Baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns, and emotions of the caregiver. A parent will relate to the baby a lot more often, because baby is sitting right under her nose. Proximity increases interaction, and baby can constantly be learning how to be human. Carried babies are intimately involved in their parents’ world because they participate in what mother and father are doing. A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him. Baby learns much in the arms of a busy person.

5. Sling babies are smarter. Environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop. Babywearing helps the infant’s developing brain make the right connections. Because baby is intimately involved in the mother and father’s world, she is exposed to, and participates in, the environmental stimuli that mother selects and is protected from those stimuli that bombard or overload her developing nervous system. She so intimately participates in what mother is doing that her developing brain stores a myriad of experiences, called patterns of behavior. These experiences can be thought of as thousands of tiny short-run movies that are filed in the infant’s neurological library to be rerun when baby is exposed to a similar situation that reminds her of the making of the original “movie.” For example, mothers often tell me, “As soon as I pick up the sling and put it on, my baby lights up and raises his arms as if in anticipation that he will soon be in my arms and in my world.”

Normal ambient sounds, such as the noises of daily activities, may either have learning value for the infant or disturb him. If baby is alone, sounds may frighten him. If baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. The mother filters out what she perceives as unsuitable for the baby and gives the infant an “It’s okay” feeling when he is exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences.



Wikiwiki Wednesday: 2 Meals, One Prep

August 12, 2009 at 9:37 am | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes, Wikiwiki Wednesday | Leave a comment
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crockpotEveryone needs a slow-cooker. If you don’t have one, run out and get one ASAP! They save so much time and make everything taste amazing!

Today’s Wikiwiki tip: Cook a beef pot roast for dinner tonight, and turn it into beef vegetable soup tomorrow. 



  • 3 or 4 lbs. beef roast
  • 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. celery, chopped
  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup water

Put carrots, celery and 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of the pot. Add the roast. Sprinkle meat with the onion soup mix. Top with the remaining potatoes. Pour water over all. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.




  • leftover beef and veggies
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 small bag frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 14.5 ounce can beef broth

Put everything in crock-pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2 hours.

Try-It Tuesday: Natural Household Cleansers

August 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living, Recipes, Try-It Tuesday | 1 Comment
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vinegar-_baking-sodaToday’s try-it is in line with my desire to live a more natural, chemical-free, sustainable life. I’ve been using Clorox Green Works products for about a year now, but it doesn’t take a chemist to know that there are still some far-from-natural ingredients in their products. So, after a little internet research and reading through some natural parenting books, I’ve come up with several recipes to try today as I scrub, wash and disinfect. These are the ones I will try today. My bathroom is looking a little scary!



Mix the following in a large container. Store and use to clean mirrors, windows, water deposits in showers, chrome fixtures, etc. 

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water



  • MIX 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray directly on mold and wait at least one hour before rinsing.

I’ll update again later to let you know how it all turns out!




Green Living Ideas

Not-So-Fun Friday

August 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Friday Funday, Homemaking, Random Nothings | 2 Comments

My plans for Family Funday fell through when I realized that I had

at least 8 loads of laundry to do…

And two sink-fulls of dishes…

And sheets to change…

And rubbish to empty and take outside…

And a bathroom toilet to scrub…

And an entire house to vacuum.


Oh, well. At least Friday comes along every seven days!

We’ll try again next week.


The Power of a Praying Wife: Week 1

August 7, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in devotional, Homemaking, Marriage, Parenting | 1 Comment
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the-power-of-a-praying-wife This week I read about praying for the following areas of my husband’s life:

1. His Wife: This chapter talks about the importance of having a pure heart when praying for your husband. The author introduced a wonderful, “why didn’t I think of that?”, notion in suggesting that the wife prays, “Lord, change me,” rather than, “Lord, change him.” Something that was particularly affirming to me was the section on creating a home: 

Part of making a house a home is allowing your husband to be the head so you can be the heart. Trying to be both is too much. God placed the husband as the head over the family whether he deserves it or not and whether he rises up to take his position or not. It’s God’s order of things.

Other important points: let go of your expectations and respect, praise, and encourage your husband.For a biblical list of the characteristics of a godly wife, read Proverbs 31.

2. His Work: A man often finds that his identity is tied to his work. If he feels like a failure at work, he’ll feel like a failure at home. If he feels fulfilled in their work, he’ll feel more fulfilled in general. The author writes how people who have had actively praying parents seem to find their life’s work early–they have a sense of purpose and destiny that propels them in the right direction. My husband has been actively seeking the Lord’s will for his career, and finds peace in knowing that ultimately the Lord wants him to be a teacher and a coach.

As a parent, I was convicted in my neglecting to pray for my children in this area. I am glad to have been made aware of this missing link in my prayer for them.

3. His Finances: Again, much of who a man is and what he experiences in life is wrapped up in how he relates to his work and finances. It is important to commit your finances to the Lord and be wise stewards of the provision He gives to you. It’s also important to realize that it’s okay to pray that the storehouses of blessing will be opened upon him, but pray that all riches come from the hand of God.

Cupcakes Part 2

August 6, 2009 at 7:34 am | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | 1 Comment
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Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using medium speed on an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth.
  4. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
  7. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  8. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula making sure all is well-blended.
  9. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake paper lined tin, filling each liner about 3/4 full.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  11. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes, remove and cool completely.

judah cupcakeMagnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream


Makes enough to ice 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, 2 cups sugar, milk and vanilla.
  2. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


The original recipes were for 2 dozen cupcakes.

I halved the cupcake and icing recipes to make a more reasonable amount for my family.

The recipes above are exactly half of the originals. To make 2 dozen, simply double the recipes. 

Malama Mondays: 5 Ways to De-stress at Home

August 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | Leave a comment
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  1. Do something you enjoyed as a child. I love to color with my kids. My favorite coloring book is Gracie’s Care Bears book. There is something therapeutic about coloring with crayons–the smell of the wax, the sound of the crayon moving across the paper, the way you concentrate on staying in the lines. It’s mindless, thoughtless, effortless fun.
  2. Watch a funny movie. Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits–it reduces levels of stress hormones and is a cathartic process.
  3. Make yourself a cup of tea. Our friends across the pond have the right idea! Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. New scientific evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. Not to mention that it tastes great, is inexpensive, and even the most frazzled momma can do it with a baby on one hip and a preschooler crying on the other!
  4. Sleep. Perhaps the most effective, yet most elusive remedy for stress. Scientists have documented that when we are sleep-deprived our immune system suffers; our thinking and judgments are impaired; and our fuse becomes very, very short. Sleep deprivation impairs our reflexes, judgment and thinking — not unlike what happens with a blood alcohol level approaching intoxication. Not that we need a scientific study to explain this to us… we live it everyday! So, instead of washing the dishes or scrubbing the bathtub when your kids are napping, lay down and nap too! Establishing a regular nighttime routine with a set bedtime is also important. We need to schedule sleep into our lives just as we schedule playdates and dental checkups!
  5. Give yourself a time-out. The baby is screaming. The kids are running wildly through your kitchen. The washing machine is overloaded and suds are leaking onto your not-so-clean floor. Instead of having a meltdown (which is surely just a few seconds away) put the baby in a safe place (exersaucer, crib, big sibling’s lap), pop in a DVD for the kids and isolate yourself for a few minutes. Sometimes the bathroom is the only place to find sanctuary, so go ahead! Lock that door. You deserve a few minutes of peace. Take deep breaths…stretch a little…read a short article from that magazine you’ve been meaning to go through. The kids will survive. And more importantly…you will survive!


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