Homemade Graham Cracker Test No. 3,967

2K1A0619Homemade graham cookies anyone? Homemade graham bread? Homemade graham burnt to crisps?!?!? Is anyone interested in something besides homemade graham crackers?…because that is what I have. It started, innocently enough, as I was reading a graham cracker box in the grocery store wondering, how so many ingredients made it into a simple graham cracker.

I put the crackers back on the shelf and my neurological fuses were put together in a fashion that made me conclude: “Oh…I know…I’ll make my own!” I somewhat wish I could go back to that good intentioned little mama, grab her by the shoulders, look her in the eye and very seriously ask: “whhhyyyy? don’t you know the struggle (the harship!) you’ve got ahead of you?”

But I didn’t have that opportunity, and even if I did, I doubt that little mama would have listened to me. Instead we both have been in the kitchen testing recipe after recipe to find the perfect graham cracker. I don’t know how long and how far this will go but it’s become personal. “It’s just you and me graham….crust-dough-cookie-biscuit-hopefully-someday-going-to-be-a-cracker!”

Just kidding.

Not really.

Anyways… I will get it done, and when I do. I will let you in on the victory by posting the recipe.  Hopefully soon and if not, please pray for my sanity.

Love, Brianna

Yellow Hair, Yellow Horse, Yellow Auntie Kate.

2K1A0284It’s all about yellow in our house. When one particular two-year old boy looks in the mirror in the morning. He reaches up to the top of his head, grabs his hair and says “yellow afro.”2K1A0283 I feel for May, our “brown horse” because this same sweet little two-year old boy favors Flower, the “yellow horse.” 2K1A0251She’s who he wants to give food to–because she’s yellow….sorry May. 2K1A0261It took me a few minutes to figure out why Greyson was calling my sister, who is visiting, yellow Auntie Kate.


Girls got some blond highlights that just about match our yellow-haired boy.2K1A0285Always dream in bright cheery yellow, Mr. Man.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:162K1A0286

Happy Sunday.

Love, Grey & Brianna

The Grocery Store Meltdown.

SONY DSCOn Monday I went grocery shopping with the kids. It was around noon, Greyson’s naptime, which was my first mistake. My method for maintaining some sense of normalcy, going from one kid to two kids has been baby wearing. I set Greyson facing me in the cart where he normally sits, and put Jada in her Boba wrap. We go in. We get our groceries. We get outta there.

I decided to spend the morning catching up on housework instead of going to the grocery store first thing, so like I said, we went right before Greyson’s nap, which made him tired. Tired toddlers are tired toddlers, that’s all I have to say.

Without getting into specifics, our sweet (tired) little man woke his sleeping sister up from her marsupial cozy snooze. She had been sleeping for over an hour, so she woke up hungry really hungry…and as a result really noisy. I took her out of the Boba, to try to calm her. I was holding/bouncing/rocking her while pushing a now loaded down cart.

I didn’t have anything with me to cover her up to nurse, so I just kept going through the store with a screaming infant (because I wasn’t going to start over on a very time/energy consuming grocery trip another day.) I went directly to and through the checkout instead of finishing my list. As I was setting my groceries on the conveyor belt to be checked with one hand and holding a screaming almost two month old in the other, Greyson started yelling, “yellow snack!” “yellow snack!”

I kept my eyes on the task of loading my groceries even though I felt a million eyes looking my direction. When the checker asked: “how are you doing today?” I literally just looked at him because I would have had to yell over my kids for him to hear me say “fine.” As he was looking at me, I heard him get on his telephone announcing system: “can I get help at checkstand 4.”


Help is exactly what I needed, and I guess it was quite apparent. As the young gentleman that came over to bag my groceries was working away, I was shhhhing Jada, who was still screaming and beet red while explaining to Greyson that “we are not going to get a yellow snack today” to which he just kept saying louder, now while crying as well: “yellllooolow snaaaaack!” A woman nudged  her teenage son and said something that sent him my direction. He nervously asked: “ummm…can I help you take these groceries out.”

I replied “oh that’s so sweet, thank you for asking. I think he (the courtesy clerk) will be able to walk me out.”

As I was waiting to finish bagging my groceries, I thought back to when Greyson was about nine months old and he started crying a little while I was checking out. I looked at the checker and said, “oh my goodness I might cry from embarrassment.” she just waved her hand signaling: “don’t worry about it.” I now know why. She was a mama, and probably thought. “girl…this is nothin’….”

Back to my present day meltdown, everything was loaded and ready to go and the gentleman that bagged my groceries asked, “can I help you out.” “Yes.” Without hesitation I said yes.

Of course, my kids both completely stopped crying the minute we stepped out of the store.

I’m glad I faced the most embarrassing grocery store meltdown ever, one of my parenting fears, this week. At least that’s out of the way.

Real Mama Life,



SONY DSCI have a lot of pictures of the food we make. SONY DSCIn recent months, I also have started to acquire these pictures with a guest appearance.SONY DSC A sweet little brown arm, belonging to a sweet little blond-haired boy, that is now tall enough to reach table and counter tops.SONY DSC Oh the snacking possibilities.SONY DSC Happy Friday friends!

Love, Grey & Brianna


Fast & Easy Peach Crisp

I love summer fruit. Melons, plums, cherries, grapes, nectarines, berries, and peaches. It is an abundant season with plenty of fruit to choose from. I have run into a few problems with summer fruit though. 1) A lot of varieties are not easily packed (plums and peaches just get squished, in a bag!) 2) They often ripen quickly, and if there is an abundance of…say peaches, on your countertop they’ve got to be eaten or used quickly.

Which is how this peach crisp was born.

Grey and I did a huge grocery shopping trip last weekend, and must have overestimated how many peaches we actually could eat! So I made this superfast peach crisp. It has minimal sugar added so in-season, good quality I peaches are a must!

I only added ¼ cup of brown sugar to the filling, and the top is simply our favorite granola recipe with a few dabs of butter. If it’s served with ice cream, it’s a dessert. Served with coffee, it’s a breakfast. SONY DSCEither way, I think we have a thing for crisps. This one get’s added onto the list right alongside our autumn apple bake and classic cherry crisp.SONY DSC

If you have the granola already on hand this goes super fast…like less than ½ an hour fast. If you have to whip up a batch, like I did, this takes about 1 hour to make. I hope you enjoy this simple dessert…or breakfast ;).

Fast n’ Easy Peach Crisp

Prep Time: 15 min-1 hour | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 8

Peach Filling:

3 lbs fresh peaches, cored and diced into wedges 3/4-inch thick

juice from one small lemon

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

butter, for greasing

Crumb Top:

2 ½ cups granola

2 tbsp cold butter, cut into pea size pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine all ingredients for the peach filling. Pour peaches into a greased pie dish. Tip peaches with granola. Evenly distribute the cut butter over the top of granola. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and serve with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Roasted Vegetable Manicotti

Our cupboards are officially stocked after spending all day Sunday hunting and gathering. Hunting and gathering at Costco, of course. It does seem like quite the trek with a two-year old and newborn. Oh my. It took Grey and I five hours just to go to two stores. Between nursing breaks, diaper changes, getting everybody in and out of the car, and loading up all the food, it became our Sunday project.

…and then we got home… and we opened car and it looked like we were stocking up to leave civilization. We do a lot of freezer and bulk food shopping at the beginning of the month so trips to the store with the littles is minimal throughout the rest of the month. …so I guess we really do stock up to leave civilization. Once we got all. our. food. inside…

…it all needed to be put away….

I don’t know if anyone can relate, but this is my least favorite part about grocery shopping. I’m not really sure why. It’s probably the same reason unloading the dishwasher is my least favorite part of doing dishes.

Anyways, we finally managed to get the food home, put away, and were able to make dinner. Thank goodness.2015 JUNE RECIPES

This recipe is a perfect summer recipe because it utilizes a lot of veggies that are in the garden right now. Zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, basil–all the summer goodness in one dish! Roasted vegetables are so delicious on their own, but these are then slathered with marinara sauce and cheese. It pretty much doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve got little helping hands in the kitchen that agree ;) (He’s letting me know that this dish is “hot!”)

We used fresh garlic from our winter garden in the cheesy filling which just topped everything off. This recipe generically says to use parmesan, but I insist you use parmigiano reggiano for this one, it’s the best!

We prefer to use cottage cheese in our stuffed pastas and lasagna dishes, but if you prefer ricotta, just swap it out. I hope you give this recipe a try, and let us know what you think!

Roasted Vegetable Manicotti


8 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

1 small (or baby) eggplant, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt + pepper to taste

1 package manicotti shells (14 shells)

2 cups cottage cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 cup jarred marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, or until vegetables are softened and just starting to brown. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cook manicotti shells al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water until shells are cool enough to handle.

While shells are boiling, in another large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, egg, garlic,salt and pepper. Fold in roasted vegetables, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and ½ cup mozzarella cheese.

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Using a small spoon, carefully fill each manicotti shell with cheese and vegetable mixture. Place finished manicotti in baking dish.

Once all manicotti are filled, top with remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover casserole dish with foil. Bake manicotti at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Cucumber and Pita Chip Salad with Feta

We usually have a plethora of lemon cucumbers in the garden, (they’re our favorite!) this year we opted to grow a different variety, which were also wonderful.. They seemed to have a much shorter productive time than our lemon cucumbers usually do.

We enjoyed snacking on fresh cucumbers and making recipes like our Mediterranean salad, and this one while they lasted.

I prefer to make recipes that limit the stove use in the summer just to keep the house cool. Dinners that require no cooking at all are ideal! This recipe is cool, fresh, and perfect for a light summer dinner for two.

Cucumber and Pita Chip Salad with Feta


2 medium cucumbers, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¼ cup fresh chives, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup pita chips, broken into bite size pieces

Garlic Lemon Dressing

Salt and black pepper, to taste


In a medium salad bowl add, cucumber, chickpeas, chives, feta cheese, and pita chips. Drizzle dressing over salad and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.

Love, Grey & Brianna

July Things.

1. We got the kids all dressed up in their red, white, and blue for a Fourth of July parade. We were stopped by about every third person because Jada was only ten days old. Babies are magnetizing I tell you–you wouldn’t believe how many strangers we met that day.

2. Which brings me to my second point. People, including myself, love to tell stories about the babies in their lives. Who wouldn’t? They are entertaining, hilarious, charming, stinkin’ adorable, innocent, and a breath of fresh air.

3. We got all our yellow (Greyson’s favorite color) gear rounded up, a real cake, and family all together for Greyson’s second birthday. I’m so proud of our yellow-haired boy!

4. Greyson got lots of workin’ tools for his birthday, and has spent the first part of every morning, digging, pouring, raking, and getting covered with the dirt out in the garden. During this time, Jada and I get our chores done or just have a cup of coffee and watch him (refer to #2).

5. By the way, who can get anything done without baby wearing? I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Boba wrap!

6. I’ve been reading Enjoying the Small Things for a few years now, and am such a fan of Kelle Hampton’s photography, writing, and outlook. I read the birth story of her second daughter while at work, and cried right there in the middle of customers walking in.

7. I can totally relate to this post about a summer kitchen. That’s what makes summer cooking so fun!

8. Our June and July garden have given us plenty of squash to work with this year; one of my favorites are these round zucchini.

9. Jada met lots family members all throughout July–and turned one month old!

10. You can find us over on instagram now. Come be friends with us! :) …you know, if you want to ;)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Garlic Lemon Dressing

We’ve been really into making our own salad dressings lately. Once I found a few simple “go to” dressings that work, and are delicious, I was hooked. Homemade salad dressings 1) have only simple ingredients 2) are fresher than store bought bottles 3) are more cost effective 4) are tastier!

I love the combination of lemon and garlic. This dressing was inspired by our Lemony Garlic-Parmesan Broccoli recipe, created last January and seems to be pretty suitable for almost every salad…well the ones we’ve been eating lately ;)

I like to make our dressings in jars with lids because they can be made ahead of time or packed in lunches. I send some with Grey to work along some fresh veggies or salad instead of a sandwich. Not to mention it’s just easier to throw everything into a jar, shake, and done!

Garlic-Lemon Dressing

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 0 minutes | Serves: 2


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Put all ingredients into a quarter or half pint jar*. Screw on lid and shake vigorously. You can also add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.

*The jar method is great for making the dressing ahead of time.

Love, Grey & Brianna

July: What’s Going on in the Garden

We have pretty intense heat in our area, with little shade around our garden; so our summer veggies are on their way out. We’ve pulled half our tomatoes, most of our summer squash is done producing, and our marigolds are ready to be tilled into the soil. We have started making plans for the winter garden, and the process of transitioning over.We still are eating tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, trombone squash, plenty of herbs, and melons.

These French cantaloupes are seriously our favorite cantaloupe we’ve ever eaten(Charentais). They are definitely on the “grow again” list.

The delicata and trombone have literally taken over. …well I have to say with all the excitement of a new baby, the weeds have taken over too. :( Good thing we’ve got excellent help out here. ;) How’s your garden growing?

Happy Tuesday, friends!

What’s in the ground: Eggplant, basil, chives, sage, lavender, raspberries, cayenne pepper, charentais melons, tomatoes, delicate squash, trombone squash.

Love, Grey & Brianna