Monday, March 31, 2014

Who Needs to Go Out?

Our Gluten-free diet has definitely restricted our dining out.
Oh, we enjoy a big burrito bowl at Chipotle
or a Combo Fried Rice at PF Changs,
but most of the time, the gluten free menu is lacking.

Saturday's meal plan provided a meatless meal.
I was a little cautious - would it satisfy "the lion" (read carnivore)?
As we finished the meal,
hubby declared that it was better than any Italian restaurant.
That is success in my book!

Pasta with Squash and Cream

8 oz spaghetti
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
3 carrots
2 T butter
3 cloves garlic
3/4 c heavy cream
3/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package.  Reserve 1/2 c pasta water.
Cut zucchini, squash, and carrots into julienne strips.
Melt butter in skillet; saute vegetables and garlic about 8 min. or until tender.
Stir in cream, cheese, and basil.
Cook, stirring until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Toss with pasta, adding reserved pasta water, if needed.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday - Pork Roast with Cranberry Sauce
Monday - Grilled chicken wtih mashed potatoes and asparagus
Tuesday - Onion Dijon Pork Chops and Asparagus
Wednesday - Pizza Casserole and Italian Salad
Thursday - Creamy Tomato Soup
Friday - Chicken with Feta and Tomatoes
Saturday - Chicken and Rice Soup

Thursday, March 27, 2014



I am thankful today for the Internet.
The internet gives me access to so much information.
Then internet allows me access to a larger selection of gluten free foods to keep me healthy.
The internet keeps me connected to family and friends - near and far.
The internet gives me information that helps me to save money.
The internet broadens my world.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just A Thought

Proverbs 24:9a 
The thought of foolishness is sin...


It is easy to get prideful ...
to think that I have things figured out ...
and then ...
I am reminded ...

Just the thought of foolishness is sin.

There is always something to work on.

I haven't "arrived" in all of my actions,
but my thoughts also convict me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning

The Four Week Challenge is almost over.
In the process, I have discovered some things that are missing
and I am going to turn it into a 5-6 week challenge.

This week's challenge includes:
Clean Vents
Clean out and Reorganize kitchen cupboards and pantry.
Clean closets.
Clean windows, blinds, and window treatments.
Clean windowsills and trim.
Clean out and reorganize medicine cupboard.

I cleaned the vents yesterday during my regular cleaning day.
I also laundered the window treatments.
I do my windows weekly, but did make an effort to wipe down the trims and sills.
I do not have a medicine cupboard, but did go through my "drawer" 2 weeks ago.

So that leaves
cupboards and pantry (Wednesday)
closets (Wednesday)
Blinds (throughout the week)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Avocados Again :)

I don't know how long it will take me to realize it,
but ...
you can't judge a book by its cover
I can't judge a recipe by its ingredients.
(OK - sometimes you can, but sometimes my judgement is not spot on)

Last week's e-meals provided a recipe for Steamed Asparagus Salad.
I loved all the ingredients in it,
I bought all of the ingredients,
and at the last minute, I waffled.

In the end, my curiosity won out and the recipe was Awesome!

Steamed Asparagus Salad

1 lb asparagus
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
1 c sliced basil leaves
1/4 c olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Steam asparagus 5-7 minutes.
Place asparagus, tomatoes, avocado, and basil in a large bowl.
Stir in oil, lemon, and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.

This weeks menu plan:
Sunday: church dinner - chicken pot pie
Monday: Honey Spiced Chicken and Braised Kale
Tuesday: Potato and Sausage Dinner
Wednesday: Cuban Chicken
Thursday: Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup
Friday: Beef Stuffed Peppers
Saturday: Pasta with Squash and Cream

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Busy Saturday

We began our day with a sleep in to 6:30 - Yeah!
Visitation took us to a beautiful golf/lake community
and it was a beautiful day.

When we got home,
hubby set to work building me a pallet bench for the back porch.
He brought home a pallet from work
and was challenged to use scraps that we had from making clothes lines.

 I think it turned out beautiful.
Next time we are going to make the back a little shorter.
I am going to sand it a little and paint it.
It is primarily my bench for putting on my garden boots.

I tidied up my garden,
did a little weed spraying,
and reorganized a daffodil garden.

After the outside work, I set to work on church dinner preparations.
Chicken Pot Pie
Natural Strawberry Fruit Snacks
Peach Plum Pie
Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I don't know what possessed me to make 2 pies - 
Gluten free crust is a real bear to work with,
but I tried 2 new recipes and was relatively pleased with them.

I enjoyed making the cupcakes.
One exploded in the making and ended up looking like the Titanic,

but they were good - really good.

Everything is gluten and cassein free and still edible - Hoo Rah!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Humor in Life

Today I am thankful for humor - 
the simple joy in life - 
the moments of laughter - 
and those that we can enjoy it with.

Some classic Far Side

 Quite a Predicament!

Some snowmen humor for those still "enjoying" winter.

I got tickled by this one yesterday - 
I married a lego lover and I sure am stuck on him!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Build It Right

I am a "homemaker," so I value the instruction of this verse.

Proverbs 24:3 
Through wisdom is an house builded; 
and by understanding it is established:

Do you want a successful home?
Do you want a thriving household?
Do you want a lasting, loving marriage?

Who doesn't?

We know how,
but we often forget - 
either in our mind or in our actions.

The only way to establish a successful, lasting home
is to build on a sure foundation.
Remember the wise and foolish builder in the gospels.

That foundation?

Jesus Christ.
The Word of God.

Have you spent time with God today?
Do you value what He values?
Are you following His guidelines?
Do you seek man's wisdom or God's wisdom?
Have you repented of known sin?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Still Cleaning

 With a rainy start to the week,
it is a good week to continue the cleaning challenge.
I did finish all of the challenges from last week - 
I was pleased that nothing was as nasty as the bunnies under the bed and behind the fridge.
I don't think that I found 35 things to throw out,
but I probably found about 15.
I have a huge stack of magazines to look through,
so that will boost my numbers.
With an emphasis on the kitchen this week,
I am sure that I will find many broken or unused utensils to part with.

This week:
Clean out silverware drawer.
Clean stove top, oven, and toaster oven. (microwave if you have it)
Clean the top of cupboards and outside of cupboard doors.
Clean all other kitchen drawers (and crock of utensils for me).
Clean computer and organize files, delete files, run defragmenter.
Clean all mirrors and glass doors.
35 more things to sell, give away, or pitch!

I cleaned the top of cupboards and outside of cupboards yesterday.
I found plenty of grease and had to dig out the big "guns."
Needed some grease remover and a scraper.
Look at the ball of grease in front - OOOHH, YUCK!
I also cleaned the 3 kitchen drawers and the mirrors throughout.

Today I will tackle the oven and toaster oven
and begin work on the computer.

*update - 
the oven is cleaned and the stovetop is refreshingly clean - 
I really need to do better at keeping up on it.
I started converted files on the computer from an obsolete program to a more available program.
That feels good.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Something for Everyone

I broke out an "old" recipe this morning.
It is not actually that old, but I have not used it in awhile.
I found it when we first went gluten-free and I was tired of fried or plain scrambled eggs.
It is a great recipe, because it can meet the tastes of everyone - 
unless, of course, you do not like eggs.
I am not exactly sure how they got the nickname "egg buddies" but I am sure it was on a "silly" morning.

My plate usually has 2 muffins,
but there was only one leftover to take a picture of :)
Egg Muffins (or Egg Buddies)

12 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
(optional add-on items: anything that you would put in an omelet)
(cheese, bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes, mushrooms ...)

Grease muffin tins.
Put add-ons in cups.  (This is where everyone makes their favorites.)
This morning we had red bell pepper, ham and cheese.
Blend eggs, powder, and seasonings.
Pour egg mix in muffin tins over extra items.
I put about one egg per cup.
I half my recipe to use only 6 eggs, therefore - 6 muffins.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Faster than an egg casserole and easy to customize.

This weeks menu plan:
Sunday: Deer Tenderloin and mashed potatoes
Monday: Leftover Tuscan Beans
Tuesday: Italian Pasta Salad
Wednesday: Beef Stuffed Peppers
Thursday: Taco Soup
Friday: South of the Border Potatoes
Saturday: Thai Cabbage Bowls

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Forum: How Does It All Get Done?

Weekly there is much to get done.
There are appointments.
There is housework.
There may be a job.
There are family responsibilities.
There are ministry opportunities.

How does it all get done?

I am constantly tweaking the ways that help me accomplish all that needs to be done.
Primarily, I am a list person.
I make a list each morning.
If it makes the list,
it typically gets done that day.

How about you?
What keeps you motivated and on task?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

5 Senses

Today I am thankful for my 5 senses.

Sight - 
to see the warm spring sun
to see the Bradford pears in bloom
to see my husband across the room
to see the written music before me
to see the freshly turned earth waiting for seeds

Hearing - 
to hear children laughing
to hear the birds singing in the morning
to hear the tree frogs at night
to hear the classical musical on the CD player
to hear a church congregation singing joyously

Smell - 
to smell dinner cooking
to smell fresh cut grass
to smell a campfire
to smell line-dried laundry
to smell hubby's cologne close

Taste - 
to taste a cup of hot Teecino (or coffee)
to taste a sun-warmed strawberry
to taste a Kraft caramel melting in your mouth
to taste a lovingly prepared meal

Touch - 
to feel the touch of a loved one
to feel the soil between my fingers
to feel a soft blanket around me on a cool morning
to feel the sun on my face while I work outside

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Point of View

Proverbs 23:17 
Let not thine heart envy sinners: 
but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Have you ever noticed how "when it rains, it pours?"
It seems that I need the reminder to fear the Lord this week.
I have experienced not just a "trickle," but I drenching rain :)

Sunday morning, our church study involved a comparison between Job and Solomon.
Both men had a view of life that was affected by their view of God.
Think of the book of Ecclesiastes - the vanity that Solomon wrote of was a life without the fear of God.

Then on Sunday night, the study in Malachi was a reminder to see God's works of love all around us
and to avoid an ungrateful spirit.

And then this verse jumped out in my Proverbs reading.
A couplet that presents two differing views.
Envy or Fear of the Lord

So where is my focus:
Is it on what others have?
Is it on what I wish I had?
Is it on self?
Is it on others?
Is it on the Lord?
Do I view God properly?

How about you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Higher Temps ... Longer Days ... Garden Joys

The past four days have been phenomenal spring days.
It is hard to believe that it was snowing and "slushing" last Thursday evening in the town where I teach piano lessons.
The windows have been open all day.
The air is clean and fresh.
I continue to plug away on the weekly challenges.

This week:
Clean out the cars
Clean switch plates
Clean baseboards
Clean door knobs
Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans
Find 35 more things to sell or throw out

Yesterday, I cleaned switch plates, baseboards, and door knobs during my normal weekly cleaning.
Hubby keeps the cars fairly clean, but the little red car did need a sweep after our last road trip.
So the light fixtures and ceiling fans are on the agenda for Wednesday (it is supposed to rain)

Out into the garden
About a month later than normal,
but it has been an abnormal year.
Peas, carrots, beets, greens, onions ...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Avocado = Delicious

I really cannot express the fun that I am having with my weekly E-meals plans.
It has to be the best $30 that I have EVER spent.
Cooking is fun again and even hubby is enjoying the adventure of new recipes.
I love that the recipes usually take only 25-30 minutes to prepare.

Saturday I was encouraged to try a new salad dressing.
I guess that I would call it Greek Avocado Dressing or Guacamole Dressing.
Hubby said that I was not to let that recipe slip through the cracks.
He really wants to see it again.
We enjoyed it on plain red leaf lettuce with a little Mexican blend cheese.
It mixes up THICK and hubby plans to use the leftovers with some tortilla chips :)

Greek Avocado Dressing

1 large avocado, peeled and cube
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp salt

Blend in blender until smooth.
Serve as desired.

Weekly meal plan:
Sunday - Tuscan Sausage and Peppers
Monday - Greek Sausage Frittata
Tuesday - Citrus Salmon with Capers
Wednesday - Lentil Soup with French Bread
Thursday - Greek Seasoned Pork
Friday - BBQ Stuffed Potatoes
Saturday - Tuscan Beans over Rice

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Forum: Less or More

I told you earlier this week that I was challenged to do some extra cleaning projects this week.
I did find more than 35 things to discard.
I completed 4 of the 5 tasks.
I did not clean the freezers - mostly because both are PACKED right now.

Some of the jobs were easy.
I was not looking forward to cleaning under all of the furniture...
but ...
I was surprised -  
between paring down  for the move
and being more deliberate in keeping the clutter out,
that job was not so hard.
I did find about 2 1/2 bunnies under my bed
and another 3 behind the fridge,
but they were easily swept up.

I have not always wanted to live simply,
but I am becoming more of a believer that 
"Less is More."
We are trying to find more efficient ways to exercise,
more deliberate ways to be healthy,
and after the easy clean this week - still desiring to keep the "stuff" to a minimum.

Are you in the "less is more" camp?
Maybe you have many treasures and 
don't mind the work that comes with them?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Health and Challenge

Today I am thankful for renewed health.
No one is a fan of sickness.
After 4 days of a bad cold,
I am happy to be feeling better ...
still not 100%, but I can breathe again :)

I am also thankful for others who challenge.
One of the blogs that I follow offered a 4 week clean home challenge.
The challenge is broken into 5 projects each week along 
and removal of 35 items from the house each week.

I have begun this week.
So far I have ...
cleaned the fridge,
cleaned my purse,
and vacuumed the furniture in the living room.

I still need to clean under the beds and behind large pieces of furniture
and clean the freezer.

I did find about 40 items to remove from the house - 
some were clothing items,
some were unused jewelry,
some were food items I no longer desired to use,
and some were expired medications.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Proverbs 22:27 
If thou hast nothing to pay, 
why should he take away thy bed from under thee?

The Biblical approach to finances is far different from that of the society around us.
Hubby had to attend a financial management course a few years ago.
We were pleased that debt was discouraged,
but we were amazed that mortgages and car loans were encouraged.
Doesn't make sense, does it?

Of course, it is easy to justify mortgages and car loans.
Everyone should have a house, right?
A car is a necessity in order to keep a job, right?
You would have to save forever to pay cash for a house!

I know that the arguments seem to make sense,
but the instruction of God's Word is clear:
Avoid debt.

It is tough today -
we want what we had growing up ...
we don't want to wait to reach our goals ...

The future is not guaranteed,
where might debt leave you if ...
you lost your job,
you got sick,

The wisdom of the world is so enticing,
but the wisdom of God is ... well, the wisdom of God!

Colossians 2:8 
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, 
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, 
and not after Christ.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Good Shepherd

Still down with the cold ...
Have worked on some cleaning projects ...
and meditating on the Sunday School lesson for Sunday.

The lost sheep and the lost coin.

Psalm 23:1
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Do you ever feel like this little lamb?
So glad for the Shepherd ...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Under the Weather

Doctoring myself today ...
A head cold ...
eating garlic,
drinking tea and water with lemon,
sinus rinse,
essential oil in a steaming bath ...
Praying for a quick recovery.

Weekly meal plan:
Sunday: Hoppin' John
Monday: Skillet Chicken with Rice Noodles and Dill Carrots
Tuesday: Athenian Tilapia and Lemony Potato salad
Wednesday: Red Beans and Rice Frittata with Basil Broccoli
Thursday:  Hearty Minnestrone
Friday:  Honey Dijon Chicken breasts and Asparagus
Saturday: Southwestern Black beans and Quinoa with Avocado Wedge Salad

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Friday Forum: The Saturday Edition: Staycation or Vacation

As I wrote earlier this week,
I love to travel.
I love to get away.
I love to see new things.
I love to learn new things.
I love being out of the kitchen.

To Vacation or to Staycation

Since leaving the Navy,
with many job changes in the intermediary years,
there have not been many opportunities for either.

While I love vacations,
they wreak havoc on discipline and routines.
We lean toward staycations.
The opportunity to sleep in your own bed.
Maintaining the usual study and exercise routine.
The resources to still enjoy a meal out.
Most importantly - undivided time with hubby.

How about you?