Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed ...

There are sometimes that my job is frustrating.
I want to be a GREAT homemaker.
I want to keep my family healthy.
I want to make not just healthy food, but tasty food.
Sometimes recipes just don't work out as planned.

I have mentioned that we follow a written diet.
Sometimes we follow it to a "T."
Sometimes we use the ingredients and discover great tastes.
One meal we have been struggling with is quinoa for breakfast.
Every time I cooked it, it was just bitter and hard to get down.
The best way was to throw it raw into our smoothies but even that was not the most pleasant.
About once a month, I try a new cooked quinoa breakfast porridge.
This morning was the morning.
I approached it with fear and trepidation...
but ...

Coconut Milk Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 c quinoa
3/4 c canned coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon to taste

Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.

We served ours with banana slices.
We could have added nuts, granola, or another fruit as well. 

Quinoa is a complete protein and is full of nutrients, high in fiber,
high in protein, high in magnesium.
Glad to finally find a way to eat it for breakfast.

Monday, January 25, 2016

We Are Survivors

We have survived the January 2016 storm.
It is amazing that 4 inches of slush could shut things down for 3 days.
The mixed precipitation came in on Thursday night and continued through Saturday morning.
We finally got out of the house on Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 service.
I finally saw a plow (aka a grader posing as a plow) come through at 10:00 this morning.
Aahh - life in the South.

It was nice to have time with my dear one.
We exercised (of course).
We tidied.
We rearranged whole rooms.
We cooked.

We discovered 4 really good recipes - 
3 casseroles and 1 cookie.

BBQ Sweet Potato and Chicken Casserole

1 lb chicken breast cut into cubes
1 large sweet potato cut into cubes
1/2 TBSP paprika (I used Smoked)
3 TBSP BBQ sauce
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c bacon, cooked and cut into pieces (I omitted this)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine seasonings, sauce and oil.
Pour over chicken and sweet potato
Bake 40-50 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes.

I love the easy prep and it was really good.
Simple foods.
The recipe actually called for buffalo sauce or a combo of buffalo and bbq,
but we chose to go with the straight bbq.

We also enjoyed 2 italian casseroles and a new chocolate chip cookie recipe - 
perhaps I will share them next week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Value of Consistency

Still working on this one.
I want to be faithful,
to be consistent,
to have a routine that makes me dependable.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Merry Christmas to Us!

We combined a few Christmas gifts this week.
We were given some gift cards to our favorite restaurant - Asian.
We decided to "take out" and share it with a family in our church in our home.
That was definitely a treat for all of us on Friday night.
We were also given a Costco gift card.
Did you know that with a Costco gift card you do not need a membership?
In any case, we tried to be practical ... TP, avocados, nuts, PB, frozen fruit ...
things we usually buy each week.
We did sneak a bag of shrimp in.
So on tonight, we used the leftover rice from our Asian takeout
and had what hubby deemed as "better than Red Lobster."

Garlic Butter Shrimp and Rice

  • 1 cup dried rice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bag (12-ounces) extra large, cooked, peeled, deveined shrimp
  • ¼-cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • shredded parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

  • Prepare rice according to directions or use 3 c. leftover rice.
    In large skillet, melt butter over medium-heat.
    Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
    Stir in the shrimp and cook for 1 minute.
    Add prepared rice to the skillet and mix until well combined.
    Add cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper; 
    mix and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until creamy and heated through.
    Remove from heat.
    Garnish with parmesan cheese.

    From here.

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    The All-Purpose Room

    This week I am thankful for our new sofa bed.
    I am also thankful that our purchase included free delivery.
    It arrived last Friday.
    I am thankful for the space that has been created.
    I am thankful for another way to provide room to sleep when we have guests.
    I am thankful that the old sofa was a blessing to a family that did not have one.
    I am thankful to be able study beside hubby again (rather than across the room from).

    I moved our keyboard to another room to create more space in the living room.
    The new sofa is more of a love seat size which also creates more space.
    Contemplating changing the burgundy accents to "plum" or "eggplant" - 
    not today or tomorrow ... just in the contemplating stage.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    An Inviting Change

    We finally sold the old dinette and chairs,
    so the new one could be put together and now enjoyed.

    If you haven't figured it out yet ...
    I love the look of mixed media ...
    especially wood and metal ...
    thus, the new set.

    I love the mix of materials,
    we like the low profile of the seats.

    And the table runner ...
    used to be a set of 10 luncheon napkins from an older woman in Albany, NY.
    Finally getting to use them faithfully.
    I will have 2 runners of 5 napkins each.
    They are so delicate and sweet - and a pleasant memory.

    Monday, January 11, 2016

    Smashed Potatoes and Smashburger

    I love all things potatoes.
    Mashed, fried, baked, french fried ... chips ...
    We try to avoid the deep fryer,
    but I keep trying the oven baked fries.
    Sometimes they turn out well,
    other times soggy, or burnt, or ...

    Last week,
    I tried smashed potatoes instead of fries.
    They were described as soft on the inside and crispy on the outside ...
    and the recipe didn't fail.
    They also were easier then making shoestrings or wedges.

    I used Red Potatoes.
    I cooked my chosen, unpeeled, unchopped potatoes.
    Boiled until soft (as if preparing to mash).
    Drained and cooled.
    Placed on foiled pan.
    Smashed with waxed paper and hand.
    Drizzled with oil.
    Sprinkled with salt.
    Baked 40 minutes at 450* turning once.

    They turned out great.

    On Saturday night,
    hubby took me to the big city of Charlotte.
    We had been given some Costco cash and we enjoyed a little shopping date.
    Then we tried Smashburger.
    It was good - of course too pricey - 
    but a special treat and a fun night.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

    Just Try

    Do you ever fail to accomplish anything because you are afraid to fail
    or afraid to make a mistake?
    Do you ever fail to get involved because you fear?
    Life is full of learning - 
    learning through mistakes.
    I tend to want to avoid making mistakes - 
    I want to "appear" smart, competent, even perfect.
    But I learn through mistakes.
    I learn through asking questions.
    I become smarter, more competent by falling down and getting back up.

    Try something new today!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    True Help

    Psalm 5:1 
    Give ear to my words,
    Lord, consider my meditation.

    The only source of true help.

    Monday, January 4, 2016

    Up the Protein

    OK - while we don't lose total control over the holidays,
    it is time to get back to some serious discipline.

    We have made our workout plans.
    We continue with our awesome nutrition plan menu (with a few tweaks).
    And time to reign in the sweets.

    So what to do when the sweet tooth craving kicks in - 
    blast it with a smoothie!

    Cottage Cheese Smoothie

    • 1 ripe banana
    • 2 heaping cups frozen peach slices
    • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons honey (more or less to taste)
    Blend and enjoy!

    Very creamy - probably couldn't guess there was cottage cheese,
    unless you knew it was there - or you happen to be my oldest brother.