Archives for November 2013

All night, all day


AscherFrom my Amanda, on motherhood


Gluten free push-in piecrust

I’ve written before about my mother-in-law’s easy push-in pie crust recipe. Since I’ve been trying to eat gluten free, lately I’ve been experimenting with a gluten free version. Here’s the recipe I’ve settled on. It comes together in five minutes flat, just like the original recipe, holds together well, and has a nice flakiness with a crisp outer edge.  I love it!

Begin by combining the following dry ingredients right in the pie pan.

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. xantham gum

Blend the dry ingredients well with a fork.  Then add the following wet ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup milk

Combine all ingredients with a fork or with your fingers.  At first the mixture will look sloppy and very wet.  Rest the mixture for a minute or so, then knead the mixture just a few turns.  The mixture will form a soft ball.  Run the ball around the perimeter of the pie pan to grab up any extra dabs of flour.  Then begin pressing and spreading the dough out into the pan.  Once crust is spread evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, crimp the edges.  Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.  Fill with the filling of your choice and bake as normal. Enjoy!

One more note:  I made the above pumpkin pie dairy free as well, by simply using a can of coconut milk instead of evaporated milk in a typical pumpkin pie recipe.  Yum!

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Veggie Tales Giveaway

Silas in 'Merry Larry'

The winners of the cookbooks are commenter #21 Janie (you won Y’all Come Over) and #30 vicki c. (you get the The Southern Food Truck Cookbook).

Today I have yet another giveaway for you!  This time it’s a copy of the latest Veggie Tales video, called Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.  We’ve been Veggie Tales fans as long as I can remember, and our girls enjoyed this one too. It features Si from Duck Dynasty for extra fun. If you’d like to win a copy of this video for your child, comment below and tell me one Christmas tradition that you especially love.  I will pick a video winner on Friday.

One that I’ve loved doing with our kids is getting out our stash of Christmas story books around December 1st and reading a different one each night.  On years that I get really organized, I even gift-wrap each story book, so that the kids can open one each night, adding a new book or two into the mix each year.  Since our youngest is 9, we’ve almost outgrown this tradition, but it has been a lot of fun for many years.


Homeward Bound

Christmas Crafts

I am ALREADY fantasizing about the blessed beauteousness of three weeks with NOOO school over Christmas.  If you’re a homeschool mom, you’re probably right there with me, right?  Every year over Christmas break I try to make time to do some crafts with the kids. Sometimes they’re things that would make a good gift.  Other times it’s a new Christmas decoration or an ornament for the tree. Here are a few things I have earmarked to try this December.


Isn’t this Peppermint Monogram Wreath adorable?  I’m sure I’d have at least a couple kids volunteer to help me with this project, since it involves candy. They might even like to make a smaller version for their bedrooms.

Peppermint Wreath



These duct tape notebooks would be a good friend-gift, or just a fun thing to make for yourself.

Duct Tape Notebook

These patterns for making snowflake shapes look like a lot of fun. Click on the photo for more ideas.

Snowflake Patterns

I found the photos for this final project on Pinterest, but then when I clicked through, the links turned out not to be good.  But I’m thinking we’ll try this with a fine point paint pen, and some matte-finish ornaments. I’ll be checking the thrift store first, since sometimes you can find ball-ornaments there.

painted ornaments

Planning any crafts this holiday season with your kids?

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Cookbook Giveaway

Today I have TWO fun cookbooks to give away!  The first one is called The Southern Food Truck Cookbook: Discover the South’s Best Food on Four Wheels.  Not only does this book contain a boatload of fun-sounding recipes, it also tells about the food trucks from which the various recipes come. A New Orleans-based food truck called La Cocinita offers a fabulous-sounding Black Bean and Butternut Squash Empanadas.  FreshJunkie, based in Baton Rouge, shares a Grilled Lime Shrimp Salad with a wonderful vinaigrette. Spoonfed Grill from Birmingham, Alabama, features Slow Roasted Pork with collards and Lime Thyme Sauce.  Hungry yet?  I am!

The next book I have to give away is Y’all Come Over: A Celebration of Southern Hospitality, Food, and Memories.  This book features yumminess like Preacher Fried Chicken and Gravy (it finishes in the oven so you can visit), Old Fashioned Southern Fried Okra, and Rhubarb Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping.

If you’d like to enter the drawing to win one of these books, comment below and tell me what you cooked most recently.  For an additional entry, share this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook using the buttons at the bottom of the post. I’ll choose a winner on Monday. My most recent meal was homemade mac and cheese made with a couple handfuls of salad-size shrimp and gluten free pasta, inspired by the recipe below, from Y’all Come Over.  Cheesy yumminess!

Shrimp Macaroni & Cheese

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3 T. butter, divided, plus extra for prepping baking dish
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups large shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 cups shredded Cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. Add 1 T. butter and toss to coat pasta.
  3. In a large bowl combine milk, egg, salt, pepper, shrimp, and Cheddar, and stir into the macaroni. Pour into baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl, mix Pepper Jack cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle over macaroni.
  5. Drizzle with remaining melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes.


And if you happen to be in the mood to hear more about all things southern, don’t miss my friend BooMama’s What Mississsippi Does.  That’s the kind of lady I want to be.

If I could go back

The little five year old girl was flopping and flipping all over the floor during story time and oh-so-tired momma threatened if she didn’t settle, she’d get a place next to mom’s bed for the night instead of sleeping near newly arrived, beloved big sisters.  Little girl quieted.  But newly arrived 9 year old sister, big-eyed, said, “I be bad, I sleep with you?”

And oh-so-tired momma envisions TWO little girls flopping and flipping on the floor near her bed all night, everyone sleeping only winks all the blessed night.  And the momma,  coveting sleep miser-like, says to that newly-home precious child, voice slow and soft from the weight of guilt, “No… get to sleep with your big sister.”

And that little 9 year old looks disappointed and in spite of that look, in spite of her guilt, the momma feels relief. She’s staked her claim to sleep this night at least.

But long years later she remembers that night and wishes she could have spoken generous, hugged that child tight, and welcomed her into a snug little space next to her bed.  Oh, if she could go back and tell herself to choose to love big despite her exhaustion, she would.

But it’s done and she can’t, and besides, none of those children remember that night anyway.  So finally the momma realizes she needs to show love to someone else in memory of that night:  her (tired, over-stretched very human) self.

Let it go. Forgive that tired momma for not doing everything perfectly. She did the best she could that night.  And by the grace and power of our multiplying-loaves-and-fishes God, her tiny offering will become enough.

Grace.  I need it every hour.

Do you need to offer some to yourself too?



The God of every story

He’s the God of every story,
He sees each tear that falls.
We may not understand but one thing is certain.
He is faithful, He’s a faithful God.

In a Hurry?

Here’s what my daughter Amanda realized on a day when she was.