Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Obsessive Compulsive?

I was enjoying my snack size bag of Skittles today,
and it prompted this question:

How do you eat your treats?

Do you eat all of them at once?
Do you have to sort them and eat one color at a time?
Do you make pictures?
Do you make a graph and have to even out the colors?

On my skittles - I eat the citrus flavors first.
I save the purple and red for last.
Sometimes I throw all the citrus in my mouth at the same time.
Sometimes I eat the flavors separately.

I think my grandma spurred the behavior.
When she would give us m&m's - 
she made sure that every one had an even number and sometimes even colors as well.
Fun memories!

Care to admit how you eat your treats?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Breakfast Change-up

I mentioned last week that we had enjoyed some free eggs for almost a month.
That was a blessing, because we eat eggs most every morning.
This week, I decided to shake it up a little - 
I think hubby was ready for a break.
We had some yummy Pumpkin Waffles this morning - 
the ingredients included bananas, pumpkin, eggs, almond butter, coconut flour ...
Tomorrow will be breakfast cookies.
Wednesday will be grain free coffee cake.
Then I will be ready for eggs and avocados again.

Protein Breakfast Cookies

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 c almond butter
1/2 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 c almond meal/flour
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c add in (chocolate chips or dried fruits)
1/2 c different add in (chopped nuts)

Mix together all ingredients.
Drop on cookie sheet.
Bake 10-15 minutes at 350*.
Makes 10-12 large cookies.

This Week's Menu:

Tuesday:  Lettuce Wraps
Wednesday: Egg and Sausage Scramble
Thursday:  Spaghetti and Salad
Friday:  Almond-Rice Chicken
Saturday:  Brown Beans and Rice

Friday, March 27, 2015

Without Hypocrisy

You have heard it ...
it is the goal of a Christian.
We want to walk by faith.
We want to live by faith.
When things get tough, we exclaim, "I am living by faith."

But are we really?

As I thought of this,
I thought of a poster that hung in my room as a child.
There was a small kitten hanging from handle of a basket.
The poster said:

Am I really living by faith?
Is God all that I need - all that I cling to?
What is the backup plan?
Is it a government check?
Is it a savings plan?
Is it an insurance policy?

Easy to think on ... harder to live.

Found a picture of the old poster online - aah Google!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Eggs and Coconut Oil

There are so many "little" things to be thankful for each day.

This morning, as I made breakfast, I was thankful for this time of year
when the coconut oil is soft - not hard to scoop and not liquid yet.

I was also thankful for the 3-4 weeks of free eggs that we received.
A local family was looking to donate eggs to a soup kitchen and could not find one that wanted eggs.
They dropped off A LOT of eggs to the church.
What a blessing!
Especially since we go through 2-3 dozen a week in our house.

Small things - but still things that need to be uttered.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Best Friends

I had a best friend as a little girl.
Sleepovers, matching clothes, dreaming and giggling.
Time and distance separated us,
I never had another best friend ... until ...

Early in marriage, he did not care to be called my best friend.
It was a simple issue of semantics.
We were more than friends ...
but he is still my best friend ...
and I think that is the way it should be with married couples.

Why would I tell a girlfriend things that I would not tell my hubby?
Why would I long to be with the "girls" more than with my hubby?

He is my best friend ... and I want him to know it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Put It Away!

I just finished reading the book of Joshua.
What an encouragement!
I love the reminder that God will enable me to do those things which He commands me to do.
I appreciate the reminder that even Old Testament "heroes" had frailties.

As I finished the book, this verse jumped out at me.

Joshua 24:14 
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth:
and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Perhaps it was the fact that I had been contemplating verses to use in decorating at church;
but I was also stunned that after all that the Israelites had been through,
they still had Egyptian gods.

How about you?
Is there something that is more important than God?
Is it your schedule?
Is it ministry?
Is it family?
Is it tv/internet?
Is it food?

Fear the Lord.  Serve Him.  Put Him first.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Still Learning

I guess life is about learning and growing.
I was surprised the other day.
I was planning my meal for a fellowship dinner at church ...
I needed some simple things since the days have been busy.
spanish rice with beef in the crockpot
raspberry jello salad (sub blackberries and blackberry jello)
fresh fruit salad
corn muffins
carrot cake.

The surprise ...
hubby said he just LOVED carrot cake!
I have made carrot cake before
and it translates well to gluten free because of the moisture of the carrots,
but it had not sunk in that it was one of hubby's favorites.
13 years and still learning!

So whether anyone else enjoyed it ...
hubby did and that is what matters.

A little touch of spring in the meal.

I used this recipe made with almond flour
and then went with a basic frosting covered with unsweetened dried coconut.

This week's menu:

Sunday: Spanish Rice
Monday:  Spicy Chicken Dijon
Tuesday:  Spaghetti Squash with beans and tomato sauce
Wednesday:  Crispy Cornmeal Coated Fish
Thursday:  Mustard Coated Pork
Friday:  Chicken Cobb Salad
Saturday:  Vegetable Rice Soup

Thursday, March 19, 2015

All Types ...

I recently watched an online course concerning personality types.
While I do not like to put people in a box,
it does stand to reason that we are all different and we all have different personalities.

The course reminded me to be thankful for my strengths
as well as the different strengths in others.

I am thankful that God did not create "cookie cutter" people.
He created us all as unique individuals.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Boundaries and Balance

We are in the midst of the balancing act again.
It takes about 6 months, and it seems that the over extension creeps in.
So we look at the schedule again ...
What has to go?

I want the best in life.
The best means that the second best has to go.
I cannot do everything ...
and neither can you.

Choose the Best ... and enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I mentioned yesterday that I am working at church.
I am giving 2 full days each week.
We had a flood and while the restoration goes on, we are doing some updating as well.

The plan started as fresh paint to go with new carpet
(a putty color and a khaki color),
but the plan has blossomed.
The pews are getting a makeover.
They were stained with a blue/green wash,
but we are stripping them down and restaining with a dark stain to match the trim of the church.
You can see the green stain on the pews and pulpit furniture.
They will now be closer to the dark on the choir rail.

Today, I am cleaning at home.
Finishing plans on the St. Patrick's Day celebration.
MOWING for the first time of the season!
Hopefully, tidying in the shed.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring! Spring! Spring!

What a beautiful day!
We are enjoying late spring weather today.
On my way home from a church workday, I noticed that the Bradford pears are blossoming.
For those not familiar, they are beautiful spring trees covered with white blossoms.
They bring "southern snow" in April or May as the blossoms are replaced with leaves.
I did spend the day at church, but have been planning a St. Patrick's Day celebration for hubby. 
I was a little torn about dessert, 
but given the warm weather ...
I settled on a homemade shamrock shake adapted from here.

Shamrock Shake

  • 3/4 cup coconut/almond milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut ice cream
  • 1/3 cup sliced avocado
  • 1-2 TBSP honey
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 1 cup crushed ice


Pour the milk, frozen yogurt, avocado, sugar, mint extract and ice into your blender. 
Blend 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and icy.
Pour into two glasses, and serve with a straw. Serve immediately.

This Week's Menu:
Sunday:  Ham, potatoes
Monday:  Leftovers with deviled eggs
Tuesday: Corned Beef
Wednesday:  Chicken Putlaneska
Thursday:  Almond Crusted Tilapia
Friday: Turkey Parsnip Casserole
Saturday:  Black Bean Soup

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Afraid to Dream ... Afraid to Try

Are you disillusioned?
Has society warped your view of love, marriage, home, and family?

I know that no human is perfect.
I understand the sin nature.
Yet - 
I sure long to dream about perfection,
to set my heart and mind to try to reach it.

Does it seem like society often gives up on perfection?
That it is viewed not only as unattainable, but not worth dreaming about?

I try to be perfect (of course I fail).
I dream about a perfect marriage (it's a great one, but not perfect). 
I long for perfect children.

Sure, I know that it is impossible,
but why not try.
We often give up, because it is guaranteed to be hard work.

During rough evaluations as a young teacher,
I was often instructed to envision the perfect lessons, the perfect classroom.
I would then be asked to plan how I would make these dreams a reality.
I had to expect perfection if I was to even get close to it.
It is the old adage that "if you shoot at nothing, you are destined to hit it."

So make a plan.
Plan to strengthen your marriage.
Plan to help your children succeed.
Plan to grow spiritually.
And follow the plan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Signs of Spring

Enjoyed a walk yesterday - 
included the "sheep loop"
and saw the sweet babies.

And the daffodils are blooming.
So cheery - you can't help but smile!

Monday, March 9, 2015

I Can Just Taste It!

I am definitely enjoying the longer evenings.
It is nice to think that spring is just around the corner.
The daffodils are up.
The garden has been turned (though it is still too wet to plant).
The temps are climbing.
AAHH! Spring! I can just taste it!

Tonight we enjoyed some grilled chicken.
It is nice to cook outside without fighting the cold wind.

The recipe that won out last week was an easy one.
I was leery of it because it seemed a little odd -
but the ingredients came together nicely - 
and how can you go wrong with Cilantro and Feta.

Chicken with Cilantro and Feta

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1½ tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1½ cups chopped green bell pepper
¾ cup picante sauce (I used salsa)
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (4-oz) container crumbled feta cheese

Pound chicken to ½-inch-thickness; sprinkle both sides with paprika.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Brown chicken in hot oil 3 minutes. Turn chicken; top with bell pepper and picante sauce.
 Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is done. 
Divide chicken and sauce into 6 servings. 
Top evenly with cilantro and cheese. (I threw the cilantro and cheese into pot before serving).
 Serve with lime wedges.

This week's menu:

Sunday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Chicken Gumbo
Thursday: Black Bean Soup
Friday: Turkey Parsnip Casserole

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Power of Music

On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for the power of music.

Right now, I am listening to "There's Not a Friend Like the Lowly Jesus."
I also just put together a binder of printed music that I bought as a download online.
I look forward to practicing and sharing each piece.
Offertories, preludes, funerals, ...

The power to focus one's thoughts.
The power to soothe and calm.
The power to change attitudes.
The power to cheer.
The power to clear wrong thoughts.

I am thankful for the change that God has brought to my music over the years.
I am thankful for the beauty and power of Godly music.

Many of you enjoyed the arrangement of "Abide With Me" on Tuesday.
Here is the arrangement that I played around Valentine's Day - again by the composer:

"The Love of God"

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Don't Give Up

So thankful for my hubby.
Thankful for his patience with me
and his refusal to give up on me.

Dear wife,
it is not about changing him,
it is about doing right yourself
and refusing to give up on your marriage.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Comfort, Grace, and Guidance

  1. Typically my offertory selections are the hymns that run through my mind throughout the week.
    Since we have been out of the sanctuary,
  2. we haven't been having an offertory
    so I have had more time to dwell on the words of

    You can hear the arrangement here as performed by the composer.
  4. It's themes include God's presence and help,
    God's changeless nature,
  5. God's grace,
  6. God's guidance,
  7. God's comfort in and victory over death,
  8. God's salvation.

Abide with Me

  1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
  2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
  3. I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
    Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
  4. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
  5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Monday, March 2, 2015

No Contest for Recipe of the Week

We typically have company on Saturday night,
so I try to make a nice meal.
Occasionally a frozen pizza slips in,
but not too often.
As we concluded the meal on Saturday night,
my guest said, "This is one for the blog."
I have to admit it was very good
and we all enjoyed it with some Cilantro-Lime Quinoa and Carrot Fries.
The original recipe can be found here.
Blackened Chicken With Avocado Cream Sauce
Ingredients for Blackening Seasoning:
  • 2/3 cup paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
Combine, then put 1/4 to 1/3 of the mixture on a plate.
Take 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts sprinkled with sea salt
and lightly coat in the seasoning mixture. 
Put chicken in a buttered baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Ingredients for Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/3 cup Fage Total Greek Yogurt, full fat, plain
  • 1 "handful" cilantro leaves, fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Put the above ingredients in your food processor.  Whirl until smooth.
The chicken has some "bite" so the sauce is a cool complement.
This Week's Menu:
Sunday: Pizza with the College Kids
Monday:  Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Tuesday: Italian Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Wednesday: Chicken with Cilantro and Feta
Thursday: Fish with Buttery Almond Topping
Friday: Pork Tenderloin AuJus
Saturday: Skillet Chipotle Chicken