Tuesday, June 30, 2015


So last week I was experimenting with squash bug killer.
I have sprayed 3 times and am satisfied with the results - 
less eggs and no huge infestations (yet).

I am harvesting pumpkins and am excited to put some in the freezer this weekend.
I also have a lot of spaghetti squash ripening.

Now we are working on another pest - bunnies.

I removed one early in the season ...
hubby got another one shortly thereafter ...
but it appears that a litter was left in the garden before the big bunnies were taken care of...
because this week we have removed 3 young rabbits.
I saw another bouncing around this afternoon,
but didn't get to it fast enough.

Supposedly my bug spray should deter them, 
buy I am not convinced ...
I sure hope it was a small litter that was left in the garden.

I am going to try to clean out a little tomorrow - dead leaves, weeds, etc.
 in hopes of removing some hiding places...
this gardening is hard work!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sweet Treat

Last week, I made a simple recipe for peanut butter fudge.
It was not sticky sweet and was "different" but we were both satisfied by it.
Note: we both like banana and pb - so we didn't mind the combo.
It was creamy like fudge and though we could have eaten the whole batch,
we were content with just a small piece each night.
I made it in a plastic dish the first time and then cracked it trying to cut my fudge - DUH!
Probably a bread pan or something smaller than an 8x8 Pyrex would work well.
The recipe could also use palm shortening for the the coconut oil which I may try next which may keep OK in the fridge and be easier to eat at room temp.

Peanut Butter Fudge
1/2 cup peanut butter
 1 large banana 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/16 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixer until completely smooth.
Scoop into a parchment-lined glass container OR candy molds OR mini cupcake liners.
Freeze until firm.
Due to the melty nature of coconut, this fudge is best stored in the freezer.

This Week's Menu

Sunday: Chicken Fajita
Monday: Spanish Fried Rice
Tuesday: Tilapia
Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers or Spanish Rice
Thursday: Flat Bread Pizza with Grilled Veggies
Friday: Picnic - Avocado Egg Salad and Flat Bread
Saturday: Turkey

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amazing Frame

It is thankful Thursday.
This week, I am thankful for the amazing human body that God created.

I am reminded this week as I nurse some low back pain
that the human body is amazing.
My strain or tweak will get better.
I will nurse it with rest, healthy food, and mild exercise.
I look forward to free movement again soon.

I am thankful that God created the body to heal itself many times.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Change of Title

I frequently take online surveys to earn extra spending money.
I typically use the funds for Amazon orders - household paper goods, health foods ...
Right now I am saving for a high power blender - 
one that can make nut butters, ice cream out of frozen bananas, 
smoothies out of whole fruits and veggies.

On the surveys,
I am typically asked my employment status.
Typically my closest choice is "stay-at-home parent."
Recently I have seen a change.
This week I have seen "manager of the home."
I like that.
I know it is mind games,
but it seems to give my work an element of seriousness,
it makes me want to manage more,
it makes me want to act appropriately in my field.

It is similar to the word in the Bible - "keeper of the home."
Stick with it - be the best you can be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Killing Bugs or Seasoning Their Food

I was tickled this morning as hubby left for work.
As I inspected my garden for squash bug eggs and baby squash bugs,
I told him that I thought that my natural bug spray had diminished the number of babies and eggs.
I told him that I planned to spray again on Wednesday.

He commented, "Well, either your killing them, or you are seasoning their food!"

The bug spray is a mix of onion juice, garlic juice, cayenne, soap, oil, and baking soda.

It is a little smelly to make, but I like that it is natural and I hope to save my many pumpkins and squash this year.  It also seemed to work on the bugs on my green beans.

Only time will tell if it is a true success, but the first attempt looked promising.

Curious about the recipe?

I found it here.


4 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp vegetable oil 
1 Tsp soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
1 to 2 tbs garlic juice 
 To make juice: 1 medium bulb (not clove) of garlic blended with 1 to 2 cups of water. Let sit a minimum of 15 minutes and strain.
1 medium onion, made into a juice concentrate as above.
1 Tbs dried cayenne pepper.

Add all ingredients together in a bottle with a screw top and shake well to mix.
Add concentrate to a gallon of water and spray liberally. 
Repeat as often as needed to drive off or kill the squash bugs.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Missing the Blogosphere

If you are a regular and are actually curious about my day to day life,
I apologize for the lack of newsy posts - or posts at all.
I have had some continued work at church, some entertaining, and some draining heat.
The less processed meals are getting easier, but they still take more time in each day.

We did break from the plan no Sunday.
I made (or rather hubby grilled) some awesome burgers.
I stick some plain greek yogurt (sour cream would work too) and dried parsley
in the raw beef and they turn out great.
I also tried a knock off of the slaw at Zoe's Kitchen.
It is a basic vinegar slaw ... but it has Feta in it.  
We LOVE Feta!
I also made some Zoe's Braised white beans.
They were good too.

This week I have planned to make some peanut butter fudge (with maple syrup)
and either banana or apple cinnamon macaroons (no sugar) for treats.
Maybe one of the recipes will be the subject for next Monday.
This Week's Menu Plan:
Sunday:  Hamburgers
Monday: Chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, peas
Tuesday: Black bean soup, sweet potato hash browns with eggs
Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Pork Chop, squash and broccoli
Thursday:  Grilled Chicken, broccoli, sweet potato
Friday:  Veggie Fried Rice
Saturday: Chicken Fajita

Monday, June 15, 2015

Almost Habit

If it only takes 21 days to make a habit,
then I should be well on my way.
Hubby and I are finishing our 27th day
of a more clean eating style.
Tomorrow we finish the plan and start again at day 1 with just a few tweaks to help some of the meals.

We did have 3 cheat meals.
We enjoyed a Gluten free pizza at Pizza Hut,
we enjoyed a birthday dinner from PF Changs,
we enjoyed a date at Zoe's Kitchen (not really a cheat - very healthy and on plan).

What have we learned ...
We definitely did not eat enough veggies before.
Something in our former diet prevented hubby from eating most raw fruit ...
he is eating apples, bananas, and oranges (the worst offenders before) almost every day.
Cutting sugar helps limit general aches and pains.
Clean eating takes a lot more prep.
Discipline is hard.
It is good to "eat ... for strength and not for drunkenness."

This week's menu:
Sunday:  Leftover Fried Rice
Monday: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Saute
Tuesday: Penne with Veggie Stir fry
Wednesday:  Salmon and Rice
Thursday: Penne and Broccoli
Friday: Spaghetti Squash and Beans
Saturday: Flat Bread Pizza

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

True Strength

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

The strength does not come from the diet,
from the exercise,
from mental acumen ...
but from God.

I must trust and give it all to Him.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Just A Little Spice

It is easy to give up.
It is easy to get discouraged.
It is easy to know what to do, but to deny it for something easier.

As has been mentioned,
we have left the boxes and cans for awhile.
The meals started a little rough.
I was following a plan,
but the meals weren't what we were used to.

My dearest was not ready to quit ...
just"please spice things up."
And so we tweak.

The pot of plain black beans is now a knock off of Chipotle's beans
and the rice is a copycat of Zoe's Kitchen Rice Pilaf or of Chipotle's cilantro-lime rice.
Much better.

And I am reminded that there is always something that you can do
to make your schedule work better,
to make your workout fit you,
to improve your diet,

Chipotle's Black Beans

Cook one pound of black beans per instructions (soak 8 hours, cook 1 1/2 -2 hours)
Take some of cooking water and blend with one green pepper, 
one onion, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper).
Return mixture to pot and cook for another 1/2 - 1 1/2 hours.

This Week's Menu:

Sunday:  Vegetable Stir-fry over Beans
Monday:  Fish Tacos
Tuesday:  Grilled Chicken
Thursday:  Salmon
Friday:  Veggie Fried Rice
Saturday:  Out for Dinner

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Thankful Thursday ...

Today I am thankful that there is always a challenge in life,
something to strive for,
a test of the will and strength.

I am an imperfect person
and there is always something to improve.

I like a challenge in life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unrealistic Comparisons

Do you struggle with comparisons?
I do to some extent.
It is not usually the material possessions ...
it may be family ...
it may be vacations ...
it may be experiences ...
it may be ministries ...

Comparisons are dangerous.

Earlier in the year, I was struggling because it did not seem like 
I was accomplishing as much as other women around me.
But I wasn't seeing things clearly ...
I finally realized that many people my age are at a different point in their lives.
They may have children that limit some activities and they may have added help for their work.
I may take on some extra tasks because I don't have little ones at home.
I also don't have extra hands to sort or fold laundry, 
to prep dinner, to unload the car, or to do yard work.
My comparison to those around me was ridiculous.

In the last two weeks, I have been realizing that the Internet and social media
also make unrealistic comparisons a regular threat.
I blog ... and so do millions of others.
The problem is that it is more typical to twitter, facebook, or blog the fun times
than the struggles and more difficult times.
I see all the highlights ... all the times when a boyfriend/spouse did just the right thing ...
all the cute children antics ... and on and on and on,
but I may not see the bills, the arguments, the rebellion ... etc.

So I remind myself ... and maybe you as well ...
I only have to live my life and follow the plan God has for me.
There are different seasons in life.
Perhaps you are going through a tough time now,
hold on ... you are only seeing a small piece of your life right now.
As you read this blog, remember that every life has ups and downs ...
I try to share more ups than downs ... but the downs do exist for everyone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Casual Date

Hubby worked on Memorial Day and was given a floating holiday.
He decided to take a day off yesterday,
and we made it a date day.

We started with a workout together,
enjoyed our favorite workout smoothie,
cleaned up,
made a nice french toast brunch,
enjoyed an unrushed Quiet time,
then headed to Charlotte.

We found a beautiful walking trail.
We walked, talked, challenged each other,
and then found a new favorite restaurant - Zoe's Kitchen.
We shared some chicken kabobs, a greek cole slaw, rice pilaf, and greek green salad.
It was so good and I am sure that I will be looking up some copycat recipes.

We continued walking and did a little window shopping.

I enjoyed the exclusive time with hubby.
He enjoyed a date in his workout clothes.
We both enjoyed a slower pace for a day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Throw It On the Grill

So, I told you last week that I am trying to clean up my diet.
I am trying to learn portion control.
I am trying to eat more veggies.
I am trying to limit boxes and cans (yes, I will use some cans in the recipe below)

It is going well - 
the first week was rough ...
last week, better.
There is always a learning curve.

Last week we discovered a new favorite.
A flatbread pizza with grilled veggies.

You could use premade flatbread and sauce - 
the great part is the grilled veggies.

Flat Bread (found here)
I doubled the recipe for 2 of us - one recipe makes 3 small flatbreads
  • ½ cup Blanched Almond Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Starch
  • ½ cup Water, preferably filtered
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon White Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
In a jar (with lid) combine all ingredients and shake well to make a thin batter
Heat your seasoned cast iron skillet over medium
Add a little healthy cooking fat to your hot pan
Pour your batter into your skillet (approximately ¼ cup) -
 move your skillet around to spread the batter out thinner if desired
Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, just until it's getting a few brown spots.. 
your breads will be firm on the outside but uncooked in the center
Transfer your bread to your parchment lined cookie sheet
Repeat until your batter is all used up and all breads are on your cookie sheet
Bake your flat breads at 350 for up to 20 minutes
Remove from the oven and cool slightly

Pizza Sauce
see my favorite recipe here

Grilled Veggies
hubby took green peppers, onions, and mushrooms
and "sauteed" on a piece of aluminum foil using olive oil and a garlic and salt blend

I removed the flatbread about 5 minutes before they finished,
and added sauce, mozzarella, and a large pile of veggies.
Return to oven for 5 minutes.

This week's menu:
Sunday: Quinoa and Bean Stuffed Peppers
Monday:  Chicken Kabobs at Zoes Kitchen
Tuesday:  Burritos
Wednesday: Turkey
Thursday:  Chicken, Brocolli, and Penne
Friday:  Grilled Vegetable Flat Bread Pizza
Saturday: Acorn Squash, Rice, and mushrooms