July 20, 2013

Sour Cherry Crisp

Okay, so house reno posts are in the works, but in the meantime: Sour Cherry Crisp!

Step 1: Wonder what kind of berries are showing up on the tree right outside the kitchen window

Step 2: Have someone tell you they're sour cherries - yay!

Step 3: Pick Cherries

 Step 4: Pick more cherries

Step 5: Sort out bad cherries and wash

Step 6: Pit cherries - chopsticks worked really well to push the pits through and we already owned them so we didn't have to pay for a cherry-pitter.

Step 7 (optional): Put pits in vodka for homemade flavored vodka in a few months. We're told its great for sangria. Clean up pitting station so that it only kind of looks like you were playing Dexter.

Step 8: Get cookin'! I used this recipe:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine about 4 cups sour cherries, 1.5 cups sugar {next time I'll do 1 cup so it keeps more of the sour flavor} and 4 tablespoons of flour. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the 1.5 cups flour, 1 cup rolled oats and 1 cup brown sugar. Cut in 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over cherries

Step 9: Cook at 375 for about 45 minutes until the crumble is browned.

Step 10: Eat warm over ice cream or from the fridge plain. Noms.

April 3, 2013

We Bought a House!

It's done! As of March 28th this house is ours! 
It's 3 bed, 2 bath; 1440 sq foot not including the semi-finished basement. It was built in 1918 and has beautiful woodwork inside and real wood floors. 
We don't move in until the beginning of May, because we still have our apartment until after finals when our sub-leaser moves in. In the meantime, we're working on our reno projects, so I'll post walk-through's of the projects as we finish them. 

January 21, 2013

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Highly recommended from the kitchen of my Momma

Sweet and Sour Chicken:

1/2 - 1 lb. chicken, chopped to bite size pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. chicken stock
1/4 - 1/2 cup peanut oil
1 bell pepper, large chopped (any color, we used red)
1 small to medium onion chopped
A few carrots, coined (about 1/4 inch thick)
1 can chunked pineapple (save the juice!)
1/2 cup diced tomato (drained if canned)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T cornstarch

Breading: wisk 1 egg, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 t. salt and 2T chicken stock. Let sit 10 minutes.

Sauce: mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1T cornstarch, 1T water and 1 t. salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and let simmer for at least 5 minutes.

Instructions: Prep breading, chop veggies and the start the sauce. (This just helps the timing work out). Coat chicken bites in breading mix and fry in hot peanut oil in a large saucepan or wok. Do this in batches so that the chicken doesn't stick to each other. Let sit on paper towels after they're cooked. When finished, add pepper, onion, pineapple and carrot. You can add any other veggies you like too - I may add snap peas in the spring when I can get them cheaper :) Cook about 3 minutes and then mix in the sauce.  Let this sit about 5 minutes (if you use instant rice like us, now is the time to start it) and then add in the diced tomatoes. Mix together and let sit 3 minutes or so. Serve with rice. Feeds about 6 people. 

January 17, 2013

Catching up and big plans for 2013!

So after finishing up 2012 with multiple family Christmas', New Years with good friends and lots of knitting...

Family Group Christmas with our international student "family"

Halupnik Christmas in the Twin Cities

Some of the knitting was Amanda's Christmas gift - an 11 foot long scarf like the one the Doctor from Doctor Who wore in the 1970s. I think she liked it :D

Mike and Tyler making their appetizers for Dewaard Christmas

Playing with Ben at Christmas - he IS a "gift to all the ladies"!

...we are working on some big plans for 2013... the Traxels are house hunting! After just a few showings (literally, it was the second we looked at) we found a house here in Ames that both we love AND passed the Dad inspection with flying colors. I just got back from a meeting with the loan agent and sometime this weekend we're planning on putting in an offer! Can't wait for this new step in our lives together and to see what God has to do with it.

Also on the Calendar for 2013 -

  • Mike started CST (Cornerstone School of Theology) a partnership our church has with a seminary where he can take all the classes to get his Masters either online or at the church here in Ames. I'm auditing his classes and so far they're a lot of work for him, but really interesting. Please pray for his endurance while he is working full time and taking classes.
  • I get to graduate in May!! YAY!! I'm both excited to be done and sad that it means lots of great friends also graduating and leaving the area. Bittersweet. 
  • Four weddings (so far) including officially welcoming two new cousins into the Grunder family - but let's be honest, they already count ;)
  • Our two year anniversary - time really flies! It doesn't feel like it could possibly be that long!
  • Continuing working with the 2 and a half to 3 year olds in the church nursery and meeting with our family group (international ministry) and community group through Cornerstone. 
So here's to welcoming 2013 and God's plans for furthering His kingdom through all our lives this year!

January 7, 2013

Catching Up: Honeymooning in Cozumel

Yay, we're to November now! Here's our belated honeymoon!

Day one: AKA look at the super pale Midwestern winter people!
The view from our room. This is facing West, towards Playa del Carmen

This is what we did most of the trip. Also, notice that book? My man's reading about string theory on vacation. This is one of the times I called him Sheldon. My nerd. :)
The yellow building is our resort, Playa Azul.
Sunset day one
Our best weather day was spent in hammocks hanging from palm trees, listening to Toes by  Zac Brown Band
I got picked out of the crowd at the sea lion show. This is him serenading me to profess his undying love for me. 
But here's my true love (that's right Hun, you beat the sea lion!)
We mostly just sat on the beach or in our room (it rained a few days) and read.
or slept.
This one's for you Courtney. It's the biggest drink I got, sorry. It did have enough rum for a giant drink though!
On our last full day we rented bikes and rode into town to get souvenirs. 
Click if 18+ to see Mike's gift for Shane, which I forgot to pack in our liquids and so had to pull out at security to repack (using my body to shield the young family behind us of course). These were everywhere and were quite... creative. 
We didn't end up getting this, but found it pretty fitting
Friday morning right before our bike ride into town. 

Catching up: Ben in October!

Yes, I'm that behind (Ben's 4 days old here and will be three months on the 9th). Oops. Lots of pictures in this one. Well, pretty much just pictures. Jenny, I'll get the disk to you next time we see you, don't let me forget!

Meeting Aunt Jennifer via Skype

I love this picture. Why? Because it reminds me of this one...
That's right, practice that camel lip Ben!

With Uncle Mike
One Proud Momma :D

Catching up: Halloween 2012

Here comes some rapid fire blog posts! Finally catching up from 2012. 
First of all: Halloween

We dressed up twice for Halloween this year since it fell on a Wednesday (and because I wanted to and Mike's nice to me). The first night we dressed as our host - our friend Shane (he's the really tall one in the middle). 

The second night we went as the milkman and a naughty housewife. It was a hit and the only thing we paid for in either costume was the "milk" bottles that I made out of Frapacchino bottles.