Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vegan-ish Oatmeal Cookies - 3 Ways

I occasionally check in over at Daily Garnish, and recently read the recipe for these Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Normally, vegan recipes require ingredients that aren't in my pantry (as we're not vegan), but I was eager to try these because I knew we would have all of the ingredients on hand.  You see, even though I rarely purchase bananas, they always, always, end up getting too ripe before they are eaten.  And this recipe calls for a ripe banana - apparently as an alternative to egg.  (By the way, this recipe is a guest post by Madison, who also has ripe bananas on hand.)

Miss M and I mixed them up earlier today, and since we had plenty of bananas on hand (I'm not a fan of banana bread) I went ahead and doubled the recipe.  Then, when it was time to add the mix-ins, we split the cookie dough into thirds and turned two batches of dough into three varieties of cookies.  I let Miss M choose, and we ended up with walnut-chocolate chip, walnut-craisin, and craisin-chocolate chip. 

They haven't been out of the oven long, and I think we've already eaten close to a half-dozen.  While the banana flavor is noticeable, I think it might be less so once the cookies cool.  I'll let you know.  Either way, they are delicious.

Ours aren't completely vegan.  I didn't use vegan chocolate chips.  Also, since I washed it down with a glass of milk....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 As this year comes to a close,

 may you celebrate the joys of the season

surrounded by family and friends.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Dave Ramsey Ruined Christmas for Me

Four years ago come January, we began attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University through our church.  Just a few weeks into the 13 weeks of lessons, I became pretty well convicted listening to Dave discuss all of the "stuff" we have and how it really owns us.  I realized that I had (and still do have) waaaaay more than I need.  So there's not a lot that I want.  I mean, sure, I want stuff.  But when I get to thinking about whether or not I really need it, the want just seems to disappear.  So it's kind of hard for me to give my family ideas when they ask me what I want for Christmas.  I mean really hard.  Let me give you a couple of examples....

Things on my Want List (and justification of why I don't need them):
  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer (no room on the kitchen counter, my hand mixer does just fine, I prefer to mix many things by hand, and my bread machine tackles the toughest mixing job I can think of)
  • Hammocks for camping trips (we have camp chairs that work just fine, we could bike/hike instead of hanging from trees all day, I can be lazy on my own couch)
  • A 50mm lens for my camera (um, can't think of any reason except the price - so I guess you could say it's the thing I really do want!)
  • Some new hair clips/barrettes (but the ones I have still work, so what if they are a little scratched, who is paying that much attention to my hair clips?)  Well, scratch that.  Another side effect of working the envelope system - there's actually money to accommodate some of the 'wants' even when it's not a holiday or birthday.  So I bought them.
  • iTunes gift card - I love getting new apps for my phone, and maybe a little music, too.  (But I would really be just fine with what I already have.  I usually get education apps for the kids anyway.)
  • Gift cards for Chick-Fil-A, Jimmy John's, or a couple of our local coffee shops.  (This is totally a luxury - I love to eat out!  In fact, a part of my blow money goes towards an almost-every-week lunch with a friend.)
Also, when I think about what I really want, it's most often things for our family or just more time spent together.  We have a tent so we can go camping.  We have bicycles so we can go for rides together.  We go to local events not because we are required to be there, but because it can be a fun way to spend time together.  We hang out with friends - other families - when we can.  And we eat out with friends on Sunday after church - because they are our "local" family.

So what's on my real wish list?  Well, I'm an Acts of Service person, so I value time over stuff.  For example, I love it when the trash gets emptied - and gets a new liner - without having to ask someone to do it.  Laundry folded and put away?  Woo-ee!  My least-favorite task, emptying the dishwasher, done for me?  Oh, my, that is a treat like no other!  (For real!)

For many people, "time" doesn't really count as a gift.  I know this.  But imagine sound of me laughing heartily, if you can - because I'm surprised by the realization that we are, truly, weird.  But that's ok, because we are happier than ever.

And Dave, if you are reading this, you didn't really ruin Christmas for me.  It's better.  I'm much more thoughtful about the gifts we give, and we are also doing more giving to those that need it (Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army Stockings, and we even look for other ways that we can bless those around us).  So thank you - for making our family happy, our marriage stronger, and helping me step away from the madness that can surround the holidays.  I'm looking forward to a calm and peaceful holiday.

Merry Christmas!

ETA:  I thought of a few more things... (yes, I'm finding it a little funny...)
REI Kingdom 6 Garage (it's on clearance!)
And to use it to its full potential, you need a set of adjustable tent/trekking poles... (I have no idea how to choose one set of these over another, but these seem about mid-priced with a great review, and on clearance!)
Camp towels! And maybe some smaller cloths to use as washcloths?  Probably need something that dries quickly for our camping vacation next year.
The camping version of this game looks like fun!
I love Words With Friends on the iPhone, so a non-electric travel version of Scrabble would be fun!

And, yes - these are all things that our family would share.  And some folks would say towels are "too practical" - but if it's Christmas, don't you get to choose what you want?  I know that doesn't always mean you get it, though, as Miss M has asked for a zebra.