Tuesday, February 23, 2016

For a Rainy Week

New Comfort Food

I don't really know if adding "new" to comfort food is allowed,
but this new dish hit the spot on a cold gray day.
Full of lean protein, veggies, and complex carbs ...
and flavor BBQ, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne.
This was just what we needed to give the menu plan a kick
and provide a comfort food for tonight.
As a bonus, it made enough for tomorrow's lunch (Hooray!)

The recipe is from one of hubby's favorite new recipe sites

Healthy BBQ Shepherd's Pie

3 medium sweet potatoes (~300g each)
1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon*

1.5 lb ground turkey
2/3 cup red onion
2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can (15oz) low sodium black beans (drained)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded carrots

Condiments & seasonings:
1 cup low sodium natural BBQ sauce
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1.5 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne*
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Set oven to 420F.
Cook peeled sweet potatoes until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork.
Add Greek yogurt and cinnamon to potatoes and mash.  Set aside.

Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat, spray with coconut oil and sauté red onions with garlic. 
Toss in lean ground turkey and chop and stir with a wooden spatula.
Add the seasonings (except for the BBQ sauce and Dijon) and continue to stir.
Add diced tomatoes and black beans. Stir quickly to ensure it is all mixed together.
Add frozen vegetables and carrots. Stir.
Reduce heat to medium and pour in the BBQ sauce and Dijon mustard.
Stir thoroughly, ensuring that the sauce is evenly spread throughout the mixture.
Add the mixture to 9 x13 pan. Then, top with the whipped sweet potatoes.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Growing Up

On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for the encouraging interaction with 2 young ladies.
Being a small family unit apart from relatives on either side can often be lonely.
This week, thanks to their sweet spirits and technology,
I was encouraged by some of my growing nieces.

So to those two ... Thank you.
It is a blessing to see you growing up into such sweet young women.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Donut Day

It is hard to believe that it is time for the annual anniversary of our first date.
It is such a pleasant little ritual/remembrance.

I didn't go to the "big city" to get our normal kinnikinnick donuts,
but one of our local stores was carrying plain glazed donuts.
So we will brew some coffee and Teeccino and be thankful for God's blessings in our life.
We will be thankful for the 14 year journey.
We will be thankful for each other.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Special Holidays

Well, it was cleaning day,
and all the V-day decorations came down.
All but the sweet balloon and single rose that hubby brought me on Friday.
I love Valentine's Day.
I love the reminder to make the effort to show in a real sense my love for others.

It was frigid on Saturday,
so there was no visitation at church.
Hubby and I had the whole day together.

Of course the day involved a workout,
we cooked together for the fellowship dinner on Sunday,
and then we had a simple dinner together.

What was the romantic dinner?
3 cheese ravioli and a side salad!
Yep, there it is - dump it in the pot and heat it up.
We did add 2 sweet italian sausage links.
It is better than eating at a O.G. which overcooks there GF noodles.
It is better than eating too many calories because restaurant portions are too big.
It is better than waiting in line with all the other love birds.
AND - we both really love it - it is a special treat!

What did we cook for the fellowship dinner?
Well there was a flourless chocolate cake - 
a strawberry cream pie - 
cucumber salad (with heart shaped cucumber slices)
a melon salad (again with heart shaped fruit)
and a "fit men cook" lasagna.

I guess that was our second Valentines Feast.

Have you ever had a flourless chocolate cake - 
naturally gluten free and rich and delicious.
Hubby raved and raved and is looking forward to some slices that I tucked in the freezer so that he doesn't overdo it.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 oz medjool dates, pitted (I "oopsed" and used 8 dates and it still worked)
1/2 c water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter or dairy free sticks
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (or dairy free chips)
6 large eggs separated
1/4 c coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 325.
Spray 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Line with parchment (just on bottom) and spray again.

Put the dates and 1/2 c water in a small saucepan and simmer.
Cook about 8 min.
Remove, cover, let cool.
Puree in blender of food processor.

Combine butter and chocolate chips and melt on stove (or microwave).
Whisk in pureed dates, egg yolks, and coconut sugar.

Whip egg whites until stiff.
Fold into the chocolate mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until set and just starting to crack.
Let cool in the pan completely.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I am thankful this week for a thoughtful couple in our church.
They have recently gone out of their way to shoulder some of the load at church.
Though they can't always attend each "extra,"
they look for ways to make ministry work where they are right now.
Their sweet spirit and serving ways have been such an encouragement and I AM THANKFUL.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

An Introduction

I can't let the day pass without celebrating the day that hubby and I were first introduced.
I was teaching in NY - the Navy had moved hubby to the area for training.
Hubby came looking for a church.
About a month after he first visited, we were finally introduced.
The rest is history.

From Complicated to Simple

Have you noticed the help that I am getting from Pooh this week.
Sometimes, his simplicity is refreshing.
As my blog title suggests, I really do desire to keep life simple.

The main way I try to do this is by setting priorities.
I can add to my life, IF those things don't interfere with the priorities.

Time with God,
daily exercise,
meeting hubbies needs,
keeping my home peaceful
are the priorities.

That sounds simple enough, right?

After I meet those priorities,
then I minister at church,
I teach,
I do hobbies,

The world clamors for attention.
There is always a "fire" that needs attention.
It is when I forget my priorities that things get complex.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Be the Change

I often want the "Transformation" to be in others,
but sometimes (read most of the times) I need to be the one to change.
This week, I am making an effort to focus on encouraging others.
The Golden Rule.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tie it Together

One of the easiest meals when trying to eat a lot of veggies
is a basic stirfry.
It can be simple with just a little soy sauce and ground ginger,
or it can be enhanced with a sauce.

One of our favorite sauces is Pad Thai.
I usually cheat and buy it already made.

Tonight, I landed on a recipe that stir fried
chicken, sweet potato "noodles", and pepper
and added a yummy Peanut Sauce.
Oh - so delicious.
Hubby was uncertain about sweet potatoes in his Asian Cuisine,
but the sauce won us both over.

And so I blog it so that it will not be lost.
Try it on your next stir fry.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce (I used chili oil because that is what I had)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk from the carton (not the can)

Whisk together in bowl and add after meat and/ or veggies are sauteed.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sun and Warmth and ...

Today I am thankful for open windows,
for sun peeking through the clouds,
for children to teach,
for reliable transportation,
for honest businessmen,
for a season focused on loving others,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


We are coming on 14 years.
We were introduced on February 10, 2002.
It is amazing to me that learning about another person
is such a long process.
As I decorated the house today for Valentine's Day,
I thought of the patience and understanding of my dear one - 
the joys of growth.

14 years of decorations

14 years of valentines and treats for the children in our lives

14 years and still learning.

14 years and more in love than I could have imagined.

14 years of struggles and difficulties that strengthen.

14 years of joys and surprises that encourage and uplift.

14 years of experiments with flows and successes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Another Puzzle Piece

The transformations are not limited to our physical home.
For years, it seems as though we have been "tweaking" things
trying to improve my health without doctors and meds.
The Lord has allowed us to find herbs, diets, and exercise that have done wonders.

Recently, hubby made comment that sometimes during the night, I stop breathing for a time.
He also observed that it was only while I was on my back.
So, I promptly urged him to please push me over when he noticed it
and researched the problem.

With research,
I found that I could probably fix my problem with a tennis ball sewn in my PJs,
with a special "bumper belt,"
or with a special pillow.
I opted for the pillow that keeps me on my side.

I am now waking much more refreshed and less "foggy."
My morning series of about 30 sneezes has ended
and we are waiting to see if there are more positive results.

The moral of the story is that breathing is GOOD!
Not breathing is BAD!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lighten It Up

Disappeared for awhile again.
I found another project.
Hubby and I spent 3 days helping to build some porches on the Parsonage at church.
They were full days and there was no time for anything past Bible reading and prayer, exercise, meal prep, and building.
It was a lot of fun.

Last week, I said that I had tried some new recipes that were a hit around here.
One recipe was a result of trying to replace a meal on our eating plan.
The plan called for a cold pasta salad that included pasta, cottage cheese, and tomatoes.
I tried it once and with cold gluten free pasta, it was YUCK!

So, I visited my friend google and found a hot dish.
I love Italian, so it looked promising.
It is not as cheesy as the Italian that I usually crave,
but is much easier on my dairy sensitivities.

Baked Pasta Cottage Cheese

  • 8 ounces pasta (such as penne or rotini)
  • 1-1/2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Lightly spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions.
    Drain and return to the pasta pot.
    Add the cottage cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, parsley flakes, zucchini, tomatoes and olives.

    Stir until well combined.
  3. Spread the pasta mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan and mozzarella.
    Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
    Remove the foil and bake until the top begins to brown lightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
Bon Appetit!