Friday, May 22, 2009

Vegetarian Meal of the Week!

Since summer is quickly upon us, maybe its time to think of your crock pot as your new BBQ? It doesn't put off nearly as much heat, and you could also try what The Happy Housewife does.... Anyway, I just got a vegetarian slow cooker cookbook out from the library... So, I thought I would give you a recipe out of there....perhaps with a few tweaks of my own :
Slow-Fashioned Potpie with Biscuit Crust
3T. Olive Oil
1 Med- Onion chopped

1 Carrot Chopped

1 c. plus 2 T. flour

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1/2 c. frozen peas

3/4 c. veggie stock
1 T. Tamari, or soy sauce- ( I would use Bragg's Amino Acids- for your complete protein)

1/2 t. dried Thyme 1/2 t. dried Savory- see below
S&P to taste
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 cup milk or soy milk

1. Heat 1T. of oil in medium skillet over med heat. Add onion, carrot- cook until soft approx 5 min.

2. Transfer onion and carrot to oiled slow cooker, stirl in 2 T. flour. Add potato, chickpeas, peas, stir in stock, tamari, thyme and savory. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 5 hours.

3. 1 hr before ready to serve, make crust. In large bowl combine 1 c. flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 t. salt. Quickly stir in milk and remaining 2 T. of oil until blended.
4. Spoon biscuit topping over the surface of the simmering vegetables. Turn heat to HIGH, cover and cook until crust is cooked through, about 1 hour. Serve potpie within 10 minutes after crust is finished for best taste results.

Sorry about no menu plan for this week...Life has been a little crazy, and we are going away. I made:
Homemade Pizza w/ Chicken, Zucchini and Mushrooms
Organic Hot Dogs w/ Spanish Rice and Broccoli
Homemade Chinese Stir Fry w/ Bok Choy, Chicken, Zucchini and Mushrooms and brown rice ( made with extra chick, zucchini and mushrooms from Monday's meal)
Tonight, I am going to make burgers so there will be no leftovers while we are gone.
I received our first pick up from our CSA!!! We love all of the produce and veggies!! That's why I made a stir fry w/ the Bok Choy. Someone suggested that I take pictures of the produce. I'll do that next time, this time its already in my fridge, sorry :)

I had no clue what was in savory seasoning, so I looked it up:

Here's a savory seasoning recipe. I would just add whatever of those spices I had in my cabinet!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thursday Thoughts.... Shape Your Children

I thought I would start a new trend here at my blog and let people know what is going on in my head....maybe nobody really cares, but at least I can have it out of my head and somewhere on the internet right? So every Thursday, I will post some thoughts I have been having over the course of the week. They could be deep, or just simple things I thought I should share. Its a way to get more personal with 6 devoted bloggers....Thanks by the way.

Ok, here's the first go at Thursday's Thoughts.....

Today at MOPS, we had a great speaker. She is a mom of three children who are all in their 20s and 30s. She has had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer, and has a real vulnerability and rawness about her. Needless to say, she said a few things that really hit me....

1. Don't try to change your children, shape them. Get to know your children, what they succeed at, what they struggle with and encourage them on their own journey, not the journey you want for them.
She quoted the verse:
Psalm 139:13-
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
She explained that God already created who your child is, you can't create your child, you can help to shape them into who God wants them to be and what special gifts he wants them to use. Point Taken...

2. Moms have guilt about our children...endless guilt. She told the story of how she felt guilt before her first child was even born because she couldn't swallow those horse pill vitamins.... Most of the guilt we feel is what she called False Guilt which is feeling guilty about something that has already happened that we can never change, or things that truly are going to be inconsequential to the future success of our children, yet we worry about them endlessly. She says....Get Rid of the Guilt...I agree...but its hard..really hard. Guess I have to learn that I'm not perfect

3. Have grace...NOT just for your children, but for YOU, the mom. Accept the Grace that God pours out for is AMAZING.

Well, that's it in short.... some words to chew on for the next week, but I encourage you to accept grace and get rid of the guilt!!

I am also going to include some recent pictures. in these posts...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Was It? Wednesday

Last Tuesday, I tried Kefir... In fact, I liked it so much, I tried it again for breakfast the next morning! I made Kefir pancakes! Another website that I read said that Kefir can replace buttermilk without much difference, so I thought I would try it! On Tuesday afternoon, we made Kefir Smoothies. Lily really liked them! All I did was add a banana, a bunch of strawberries that were about to go bad, some Maple Syrup, some ice cubes, and some Kefir....about 3/4 of a cup.

I would definitely recommend using Kefir in place of Buttermilk for pancakes. I also made these in the blender which made them a little more fluffy I think.

Here is the recipe I used:

2 c. White Flour
2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
4 T. Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 c. Milk
1 c. Kefir
1/2 T. Salt
2 Eggs beaten
2 T. Sugar

I combined the ingredients, blended and used made the pancakes right away. You wouldn't want to let this mix sit in the fridge overnight because the Kefir can get a real bitter taste to it. Use the entire batter right away, and then you can freeze or refrigerate the actual pancakes for later use. That's how Kefir was for us!

Do you have something new that you tried this week? Let me know in a comment, or provide a link to that post from your blog!!

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Try It! Tuesday... Curry Chicken Salad

It was only a little while ago that the word "curry" didn't even exist in my vocabulary, but now it is a must in our house. It can liven up so many dull meals. Today, I decided to try to concoct a chicken curry salad. It turned out great!

Here is what I used:

One 12.5 oz can of Chicken from Costco
10 grapes, cut up into
3/4 c. Mayonaisse

1 green onion sliced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp curry

I drained the chicken, and mixed all of these ingredients together and voila', there's my chicken curry salad! It was great! I have had it at restaurants with raisins, and decided to try grapes to make it a little more fresh. Even my 2 year old ate it! So it can't be that bad!

I prepared it for myself on a piece of toast w/ melted cheese ....mmmmm

Try It!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here is this weeks menu:

Breakfast: Eggs & Toast
Lunch: Curry Chicken salad w/ grapes
Dinner: Turkey Chili w/ Homemade Corn bread

Breakfast: Smoothies & Muffins
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Healthified Mexican Pasta Skillet

Breakfast: Muesli
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

Breakfast: Eggs & Toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Homemade Pizza w/ pineapple , green pepper and onions (vegetarian)

Breakfast: Kefir Pancakes (yup, their good) Recipe to come on Wednesday
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Vegetable Masala...but I'm adding chicken this time.

Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Dinner: Burgers, Corn on the Cob & pasta salad

Breakfast: Egg & Ham Sandwiches
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Spaghetti w/ Garlic Bread & Broccoli

Snacks: Smoothies, Fruit, Nuts, Raisins, Carrots, Yogurt, Granola, Cheese

That's it for this week! My produce buying club doesn't start till next month, so I'm just going to buy regular veggies this week.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 beneficial!

I love cinnamon, well I take that back, I love things with cinnamon in it like French Toast....I don't recommend eating cinammon plain, it can do some damage to your salivary glands!! My husband had mentioned something about it helping our bodies to process sugar better. So I thought I would do a little investigating and see how good cinnamon really is for us. I think you will all be pretty satisfied and feel good about eating French Toast, Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Pie, Apple Crisp....well, at least the cinnamon is good for you :)

Here are the top benefits I have found about cinnamon...

  • It can lower your LDL cholesterol
  • It can help regulate your sugar levels in your bloodstream, which helps to decrease your risk for diabetes. ( So, I guess if you HAVE to have sugar, have it with a sprinkle of cinnamon!)
  • It is kind of like a blood thinner to have an anti-clotting effect...good for after giving birth since women are prone to blood clots then.
  • Some studies have shown it to reduce the proliferation of Leukemia and Lymphoma cancer cells. (Also, keep your kids away from an all hotdog diet....the nitrates have been linked to childhood Leukemia)
  • 1/2 t. of cinnamon, and 1/2 t. of honey every morning has been found to decrease symptoms of arthritis.
  • It acts as a natural food preservative.
  • It fights E.Coli in juices
  • It naturally has manganese, iron, calcium and fiber....go cinnamon!
  • Smelling cinnamon helps brain function...I could use a little sniff today :)
  • Improves colon health and helps against heart disease
Here is a recipes for Picadillo which we have once a week! Its my easy go-to meal. This recipes is off the top of my head, so amounts are to taste:

1 lrg. Onion chopped
2 cloves garlic

1lb of ground beef

1 1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 t
sp. ground oregano
2 T. tomato paste
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes w/ juices

1 c. raisins
4-5 large olives sliced (optional)

In a skillet, add some oil and cook onions till translucent over medium high heat. Add garlic, cook for about 30 seconds more. Add cinammon, cumin, oregano and mix into onions and garlic. Add ground beef and brown. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, raisins and olives and simmer on med-low for about 30 min. Serve with Naan Bread or over rice. That's it!! My Picadillo recipe that my family is obsessed with ...give it a try!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Try It! Tuesday....Kefir....or just try Greek Yogurt

Today is Tuesday, and I am pushing myself to try new things, whether it be recipes, new foods, or just lifestyle changes. My sister recently left us a bottle of kefir, and I am going to try it. I have to admit it kind of scares me a little bit, but the benefits of this little known dairy product are huge:

Note: All of this information comes from

Easily digested, it c
leanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The regular use of kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

Kefir can also help eliminate unhealthy food cravings by making the body more nourished and balanced. Its excellent nutritional content offers healing and health-maintenance benefits to people in every type of condition.If Kefir sounds like a little too much to handle right now, why not take a baby step and introduce plain Greek Yogurt into your diet. You can sweeten it on your own, or add any type of fruit you like. Did you know, that the average "already sweetened" yogurt you buy in a grocery store contains ..... 12 tsp of sugar?

I don't know about you, but my tea mug is bigger than my yogurt cup, and I sure don't put near that much in my tea ( I don't use sugar at all, I use Ag
ave..but that's a different post :)

If you can get in the habit of buying plain yogurt, with no added sugar, that has not been pasteurized, and contains live bacteria
, the health benefits for you are much more.

ow is a comparison of yogurt to kefir, which also gives you the benefits of yogurt....Enjoy!
Both kefir and yogurt are
ured milk products...
...but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy.

Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, invalids and the elderly, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders.

I'm going to try it...are you? Try It Tuesday!!!

Recipes with Kefir

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- Week of May 11, 2009 w/ Recipes

This week I am getting back on schedule after having family in town for the last 8 days. This means bedtime, bathtime, mealtimes, naptimes...everything is getting back on track! Yippee. Here are my meals for this week:

Breakfasts: Eggs & Toast, Smoothies, Pancakes and MAYBE----Waffles, we'll see
Lunch: All the dinners leftovers, yeah baby!

Monday: (Dinner at Nana's) But I am making ahead a Chicken Noodle Soup Secret Ingredient! (RECIPE BELOW)

Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Soup (Recipe Below)

Wednesday: Picadillo w/ Naan & Broccoli

Thursday: Snobby Joes w/ Whole Foods Buns mmmm.... and veggies

Friday: Pizza- going to attempt making my own dough. We put whatever we've got in the fridge...spinach, whatever. I have a lot of frozen ham, so I might thaw some out and put that on there with some pineapple.

Saturday: Burgers, corn and potato salad

Sunday: Crock Pot Short Ribs

Chicken Noodle Soup w/ SECRET INGREDIENT!!!


  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup canned whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter )SECRET INGREDIENT!!! Delicious
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup egg noodles


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the broth, chicken, potatoes, and carrots. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, till vegetables are tender.
  2. Add zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, and garlic. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
  3. Add peanut butter, parsley, salt, and pepper; stir until peanut butter is fully blended. Simmer for 3 minutes longer.
  4. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, add egg noodles.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well, This week is another crazy week in that we have family in town, and for some reason, when family is in brain freaks out and I can't get my act together. Its also difficult to menu plan because there are different dietary needs in my family. One is diabetic, the other is on a candida diet. So here is rough outline of our meals for this week:

Monday: BBQ Pork Chops w/ an amazing Cranberry Glaze, string beans & Homemade Homefries

Tuesday: Out to dinner at a great local restaurant called Leftovers

Wednesday: Beef Spaghetti w/ Yellow Squash in the sauce and Costco's Garlic Infused Bread!!

Thurdsay: Vegetable Masala w/ Brown Rice- (Time for a vegetarian meal!)

Friday: Pizza- Yup, out again!

Saturday: Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Sunday: Turkey Chili w/ Homemade Corn Bread

Tomorrow I'll post my recipe for the Chicken Noodle Soup! I'm finding if I do the recipe in a different post, its easier to find.

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Try It! Tuesday

I just came from my MOPS group today, and we had an amazing speaker on Nutrition. She spoke about things that are very near and dear to my heart, keeping families healthy through nutrition. I just wanted to tell you about something that I have just signed up for, and you can do it in your area as well.

I have joined a local co-op for produce. This was one of my goals I had set for myself for the year, and it looks like I am finally going to be able to accomplish it. The Co-op I am joining is called the Organic Produce Buying Club of South Florida and they offer bi-monthly pick-ups of produce for $49 a pick-up. I have spoken with a few women who are extremely happy with the quality and freshness of the produce, so I am going to give it a try. I have to pay $98+$20 on the first pick-up because you have to pay ahead for the next delivery, as well as the $20 for the produce bags that you swap back and forth to fill up each time.

So for $118, I can have my very own plethera of local, organic, healthy fruits and vegetables that I know come from a reputable source and I am supporting locally....TRY IT!

Below are some websites that you can use to navigate and find a local co-op or farm in your area to use:

Local Harvest

Co-op Directory Service

Farm Fresh

I would love to know if some of you are already doing this and what your local experience is, or if you are ready to take this opportunity and Try It!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Amazing Give-A-Way

Just wanted to let you all in on something I am taking a part of. It is a give-a-way of this $3800 Mountain Range Swingset!

Finished product features 5’ x 5’ x 6’ deck, two 7’ swing beams, rock climbing wall, climbing net, ladder, slide, and numerous other features! This kit will be shipped to the winning customer’s residence within the continental U.S. Assembly is required; full-color assembly manual provided.

All you have to do is go to this blog to enter : Skip to My Lou

I subscribe to this blog already and highly recommend you to look at some of her other postings, she is very creative!

If you want to see more about the swingset, click here.
This company, Mountain Range offers amazing outdoor playsets for kids, including small play home structures which are so cute.

HomePlace Structures

Experience outdoor living at its finest with HomePlace Structures custom Amish crafted outdoor products. Enhance your property with a stylish yet functional garden building, garage, or gazebo. For the kids, HomePlace Structures also offers exciting playhouses and playsets. Its line of play structures from Pinnacle Play Systems include the best, most innovative ways to have fun: towers and lofts, playhouse lofts, ships/castles, and combination units.

HomePlace Structures exists to provide a variety of structures that add comfort, enjoyment and function to properties nationwide — accenting homes, parks, businesses, and gardens. We customize playhouses, garden buildings, gazebos, garages and Pinnacle Play Systems for discriminating buyers across the United States, shipping from our base among the Amish of Lancaster County, PA.

When we began initial talking to HomePlace Structures it was because we fell in LOVE with the little backyard houses they have for children. These playhouses embody everything a child LOVES and DREAMS about. Can you imagine having this escape to get away to?



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Monday, May 4, 2009

Got Ants? Natural Ways to Get Rid of Them

With the rain season coming here in Florida, ants are a huge problem in almost every home here unless they have someone come and spray poison everywhere. We try to keep things as natural as possible here, so getting rid of the ants was high on my priority list. My friend in Pennsylvania is having an ant problem too and also didn't want to spray poison, so I thought I would share some insight on getting rid of ants in an environmentally friendly way: First, you need to find the source of where they are coming in. For us, there are about four or five locations. Second, you need to see how they travel. We have tile floors in our kitchen and often times they are following a straight line either along the wall, or along one of the grout lines in the kitchen. Ants often come in when its raining because they are drowning outside. When that happens, our ant situation goes from manageable to, "Oh my gosh, I just realized that ants make me crazy!"mode.

Chalk Line

One suggestion that I have heard that people swear by is to use a chalk line. Just pull the chalk line wherever you don't want the ants to crossover and put the line down. I haven't tried this one, but many people I have talked to say it truly works, so I thought I would put it down.

Cinnamon or Cayenne Pepper

Just place some of either spice at the source of the ant entrance, and it should deter them. This is a temporary fix and is going to have to be done consistently....

Mix some vinegar & water in a spray bottle, aim and shoot. This is an on-contact way to remove them. I would also think that anything acidic, like lemon juice would work too.

When in doubt, try any of these remedies on this website...its incredible the amount of things you can try!

Getting Rid of Ants

Ants are welcome outside and in an ant farm, just not my house!

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Friday, May 1, 2009


Almost every household runs their income and bills differently. As I mentioned in a previous post, our family has quit using credit cards, started a budget, and cut costs in almost every area of spending.

One way that we have accomplished this is to use a free online program to track our earnings, spendings, debt and assets. is a great tool, easy to use and you can link most every online account you have to them to help track your money.

After reading the Dave Ramsey book...Total Money Makeover, my life, then my husbands was transformed into one of wanting to be debt free. We have a lot of debt, probably more than average, so it will take us a little while to get out of it. We are committed and I look forward to sharing with you when we hit certain goals. Thanks!

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