Posted by: Lauren | November 14, 2009

baking extravaganza

On Thursday I had the day off and was home-it felt like a long time since that had happened.  So, I was a happy little cook and baker in my kitchen. Here’s what I made:

Protein bars (

Vegan chocolate chip pumpkin bars (

-Wheat Bread Dough (My own artisan bread cookbook-wedding gift!)

-Lentil and Kale Soup ( or click here)

Protein bars:


Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars (err a little under baked):


Wheat Bread Dough:


Lentil and Kale Soup for dinner Thursday:


Shout out time: I had my own little tweaks to each recipe, but pwease go check them all out. Passionate Homemaking was the first blog I ever heard about and started reading this past winter. I love her passion and commitment to God, her family, serving others, simple and sustainable living, and tasty recipes. Mama Pea over at Peas and Thank You is really, really funny, has adorable kids, and I’ve been reading her blog since she started it (a few weeks now?). Last, you’ve heard me talk about The Nourishing Gourmet several times now with the amazing, frugal, and nourishing recipes that she creates. Check ‘em out!

-In case you’re interested (I know you’re sitting at the edge of your seat), I had a green goodness smoothie for breakfast, and a huge salad with black bean dip for lunch on Thursday. Friday I had another green smoothie and salad with hummus for lunch. For the smoothie, just blend a big handful of spinach with some milk, then add a banana, ice, kefir or some plain yogurt, and blend again. You don’t even taste the spinach. I love when I crave lots of veggies and really enjoy them. Doesn’t happen all the time, you know? As in, I usually want to polish off an entire pan of my Coconut Chocolate Chip cookie bars. Oh wait, I have done that. Ok, not in one sitting, but it wasn’t good nonetheless. 


Thursday night, Joe was outside working on putting in our fireplace!!!



I brought him some snacks:


“Whatta man whatta man whatta man whatta mighty good man.” The lyrical genius of En Vogue…anyone? anyone?

Then on Friday I had the day off too, so after bringing my mother and sister-in-law to the airport and working out, I came home and finished working with the dough to make my first ever loaf of artisan bread. Speaking of those Coconut Chocolate Chip bars, I made those for dessert later that night, since we had an impromptu dinner party, in which our house was the place to be if you’re spouse was out of town and hanging out with Joe and me was the next best company: aka my father-in-law, other sister-in-law, Lora, and Katie (my sister, duh). Lora, thank you for pointing this out! We watched Food, Inc. that night. Oh boy, we’ll talk about that more maybe in another post. Go out and rent it tonight.

Back up to Friday afternoon. This is what I came home to:




A fireplace in my wall! This north wall used to look like this:


I know, you may be thinking, “Those crazies took out a window?!” Yes, yes we did. But it really didn’t let any light in and just backed up right to our neighbor’s, so out she went.

Later that night:


Go Joe go! Doesn’t that box for the fireplace remind you of a sauna? 

Dinner was a chicken stir fry:


And….my first ever loaf of homemade bread!!! (Doesn’t really go with the stir fry, but who cares?! We were diggin’ it.)



This bread was so easy, with a crunchy crust and soft, chewy inside. Topped with some butter and pumpkin butter. Thanks God for simple and good gifts like homemade bread!

After dinner there was random samplings of my protein bars, under baked pumpkin bars, vitamins (what? yeah), and finally freshly baked coconut choc. chip bars.


Oh how the Lord has blessed me with these girls: my sister Katie and sister-in-law, Lora, with sweet baby Madelyn.

Can’t forget how much this guy makes my heart melt faster than real butter on my fresh bread (especially as he loves on his little niece):



I am one grateful girl. God’s love is GOOD. Psalm 28:7 “He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

This was one loooong post, so if you stuck with me, thanks!! Now go have an amazing weekend!





  1. Wow, that fireplace looks awesome (yes, the box looks like a sauna). You will be nice and warm this winter. Is it wood burning or gas??? The food looks amazing, esp the coconut choc chip bars and that artisan bread. Mmmm, mmmmm, good! Where did your mom go for the weekend? Love you! Sharon

    • It is gas-which is great because our other heat is electric-so if the electricity goes out, we’ll be ok! Plus, it is supposed to heat our whole house! Gwen and Anna went to Dallas to my other sister-in-law, Emily’s, baby shower. Love you!

      • Wow, that’s awesome that your fireplace will heat your house! Excellente! Oh, I just made that Sweet Potato Poundcake. I used a different glaze (orange juice and sugar). I made it in that sunflower pan like your mom’s. It’s really pretty. I’m waiting for the glaze to harden so I don’t know how it will taste. I’ll let you know. Love ya! Sharon

      • Take a picture and send it to me!

  2. Ahhhhh what a precious baby!!!! And precious baked goods!! haha those look absolutely mouth watering–good job!

    • Thanks! It was so much fun to make that bread! I have a second loaf going today 🙂

  3. mmmm craving all of your yummy treats from friday night!

  4. […] Fireplace progress! (It obviously isn’t finished just yet.) To see more before shots, click here. […]

  5. Lauren! I love how you eat!!! By which I mean, all your recipes and food pics look awesome! 🙂 I used to hardly ever have to buy bread b/c I made so much of it, but lately I’ve been a little short on time for baking. 😉 I think, though, that I am going to have to try your artisan loaf. Happy cooking!

    • Thanks, Ann! I will try and post the recipe soon. I have it slightly modified, so I think I can…not sure about copyright stuff with that…We’ll see!

  6. […] our remodel/fireplace installation from here and here and here? (Side note: just looked back at those posts and boy, the photography has changed a bit.) […]

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