Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hats Off to All Moms, Everywhere

Moms are amazing, and I don’t say that because I am one.

I say that because I see it in the lives of those around me -  my mother, my mother-in-law, my friends, the women at church, the women at my homeschool co-op, the women at the grocery store, the women at the soccer field … the women all around me.

Mothers have a tremendous concern for their children. When a woman becomes a mother, her heart is suddenly attached to another human being FOR LIFE.

Moms stay at home, work from home, and balance career and home life, trying to fulfill the needs of their family members.

Moms juggle schedules, energies, monies, and time.

Moms cook, clean, organize, run errands, shop, chauffeur, nourish, provide, work, play, and pray with and for their children.

Moms wear a badge of honor when their children succeed and a spirit of compassion and encouragement when they don’t, always hoping the best for their children.

Moms invest their resources and time to give their children opportunities throughout their lives.

Moms give and give and give.
And then they give some more.

Moms protect their children from harm and hurt, as much as they possibly can.

Moms discipline, teach, train, mentor, and love, planting seeds of truth and love in hearts that they hope some day will bloom to fullness.

Moms deny careers, interests, and needs for the sake of their children.

Moms carry grief, frustration, and emptiness when their children grow up and leave the values they taught them and explode with joy when their children make good, solid decisions and manifest high caliber character.

Moms lavish their children with generosity. They plan parties, celebrations, shopping sprees, and dates.

Moms sit in the audience and cheer, stand at the end of every performance with an “encore”, and run beside their children every step of the way.

Moms never stop caring. Period.

To every mom out there, I salute you.
Happy Mother’s Day!
You are special!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Whole30 Meal Planning: Our Final Week

Well, we are cruising into the final week of our Whole30, and I admit… We are glad. There have been a lot of pluses to this diet, but we do feel bored, restricted, and ready to get back to some of our old foods.

One more week! And here is what we have on the menu:


Roast with potatoes, and carrots 
White Chicken Chili - with potatoes instead of beans
Chicken Tikka Masala and cauliflower rice
Shepherd’s Pie – the mashed potatoes will be made with almond milk and olive oil
Cabbage Rolls
Paleo Sloppy Joe’s – without honey
Turkey-Bacon Meatballs with tomato sauce

Breakfast Ideas:
Monkey salad – banana, coconut, and almonds, and I add frozen fruit – usually strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries
Fried eggs with fruit
Bacon with fruit
Potato or
Sweet Potato Hash - Saute bacon, onion, and potatoes or sweet potatoes. Serve with fried egg, if desired.
Hash browns with fried egg

Lunch Ideas:

Salad, salad, and more salad - fattoush, tuna nicoise, simply vegetables with homemade dressing. Seek to add some sort of protein or fat - boiled eggs, avocado, bacon, nuts, grilled chicken...
Leftovers or breakfast options

Monday, April 18, 2016

This week’s Whole30 Meal Plan

Well, today is Day 17. I have made it halfway through the diet. I plan to write more about it when I have finished.

Below are some of the things we ate last week and will be eating this week. I hope to post some of these recipes soon!

I serve most of these with a side of vegetable, fruit or cauliflower rice.

Dinner Ideas:
Mexican Chicken Soup
Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Skillet - sauteed chicken with onions, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro
Surf and Turf – Grilled London Broil Steak and Tilapia, sauteed mushrooms, steamed green beans, and Cantaloupe
Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes – one of our savory favorites!
Chicken Fajita Bowls – Grilled chicken with onions and peppers. Serve with salsa and fresh guacamole.
Lettuce Wrap Chicken Tacos – Cooked chicken with taco seasoning, grilled onions and peppers, and fresh guacamole on lettuce leaves
Burgers - pile with sauteed vegs., lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mustard atop shredded lettuce or inside lettuce leaves OR top with bacon, mushroom, and avocado
Asian Wraps – ground chicken, vegetables, and spices inside lettuce leaves

Breakfast Ideas:
Fried eggs with fruit
Bacon with fruit
Potato or Sweet Potato Hash - Saute bacon, onion, and potatoes or sweet potatoes. Serve with fried egg, if desired.

Lunch Ideas:
Salad, salad, and more salad - fattoush, tuna nicoise, simply vegetables. Seek to add some sort of protein or fat - boiled eggs, avocado, bacon, nuts, grilled chicken...
Leftovers or breakfast options

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sweet Potato, Bacon, and Apple Hash

*On Left: with cooked apples. On Right: with raw apples.

As we are trying to do the Whole30, we are also trying some new dishes. It’s amazing that this regimen claims to produce various good results, one of them being to break some of the psychological reasons for eating foods, YET I find myself thinking about food all the time.

On this program, I am continually planning, shopping, cooking, snacking, and creating ideas about food!

The other night I was thinking about sweet potatoes, bacon, and apples. It sounded good. I browsed a bit online, found a recipe, and made this yummy hash for breakfast the next morning. The original recipe that inspired me uses maple syrup, but being on the Whole30, we can not use that right now.

Sweet Potato, Bacon, and Apple Hash
Original Recipe
Printable Version

1.5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced or shredded – see cooking instructions
Olive Oil
Sea salt

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan and start sautéing. Add onion and sweet potato and sauté. After a minute or two, add the diced apple (or you can put the apple on top afterwards raw, diced or shredded – and you can use whichever type of apple you like. I actually prefer it this way). Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt over the ingredients and sauté for about five minutes or so, until bacon and onion are cooked well.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover immediately with a baking tray. Allow the mixture to steam for a few minutes. The hash is done when the vegetables are soft.

You can eat this alone, but a fried egg on top sure does complete the meal.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Whole30: Day 3. My Honest Thoughts and My Meal Plan for the Week

Day #3. It’s been an interesting start to the Whole30. The first day seemed very challenging. The past two days felt like a rollercoaster, sometimes feeling victory and vision for the diet while other times feeling as if I just can’t do this.

My journey into the Whole30 really started with my daughter. Her ballet teacher did the diet with her husband, and they had tremendous results and loved it! My daughter felt inspired, and also wants her parents to be a little more, ahem, trim and healthy, so she thought we should go for it.

I also had recent exposure to the diet from my blogger friend, Lisa Marie, who just finished the diet and appreciated it as well. She is in the midst of writing some posts regarding her experience so make sure you hop over to her blog for some encouragement if you are thinking about the program.

The Basic Rules for the Program

No Grains.
No Legumes.
No Dairy.
No Sugar.

For 30 days!
*See more details on their web site.

I have to be honest… At this point, I don’t know how long we will do this. I am not quite sure we were prepared for such a radical change. My husband and I were teasing tonight that we may just do the Whole7 or something.

However, I am trying to stay positive and take each moment as it comes, choosing healthy options, trying new recipes, adding more vegetables to our repertoire, and gaining more perspective.

My Meal Plan for This Week:

  • Beef Burrito Bowls (Beef with seasonings, Sauteed onions and peppers, Lettuce, Tomato), Cauliflower Rice, Watermelon.
  • Burgers without a bun, piled with sautéed onions and mushrooms, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, and a good dollop of mustard. Steamed green beans.
  • Roasted Chicken, oven-roasted cabbage, mashed potatoes.
  • Chicken Tacos, wrapped in lettuce instead of shells. Baked sweet potato or sautéed veggies.
  • Grilled Chicken Salad.
  • Indian Butter Chicken. Roasted Cauliflower.
  • Beef Stew.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Sautéed Kale, Mushrooms, Onions, and Tomatoes with Baked Egg.
  • Bacon and Mushroom Omelet.
  • Fried Egg with Bacon and fruit.
  • Breakfast Scramble, without cheese.

Lunch Ideas:

  • Fattoush Salad, with or without grilled chicken.
  • Baked Potato, topped with a fried egg and bacon. Veggie or Fruit on the side.
  • Tuna Nicoise Salad.
  • Grilled Vegetable Lettuce Wraps. I am just planning to grill some vegetables and serve them inside lettuce with a vinaigrette dressing.
Have you tried the Whole30?
What was your experience like?

Are you currently making changes to your diet?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Life is Worth Living, Just Because HE LIVES!

The past week or two the circumstances of life were weighing heavily on my heart, and not just my own life’s circumstances but others that I know and the world at large.

Especially with Easter approaching last week, this well-known song started running through my head:

Because He lives I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

I realized that I was placing so much of my focus on circumstances, the tangible messes and frustrations of life, rather than focusing on Jesus in the midst of these situations – what He could do and the goodness that still existed in my life and others’ lives because of Him, regardless of the disappointments and sorrows.

As I started to fix my gaze on the resurrection of Jesus, I reminded myself that it is because of Him that we can live in this world of imperfection and be victorious, having hope, joy, and peace.

Jesus Came. Served. Suffered. Died.
And then rose again – all for us!
His love for us is great, and He lives!
His love is current!

Because He lives, we CAN face tomorrow.

There’s no need for us to worry about what is to come. The present has enough worries of its own, and we can’t add anything to our lives by worrying. (Matthew 6:34)

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Perfect love casts out fear, and God’s love is perfect. We know God and believe in His love for us and abide in Him. There is no need for us to fear. He loves us! (1 John 4:16-19)

Because we know HE holds the future.

No matter what happens here on earth, God holds the future. He has a good plan for us and for our eternities. He knows the end from the beginning and has the story all figured out!

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

Life is worth living for no other reason than this -- God lives! He created us. He loves us and wants relationship with us. He desires good things for us. Simply to know and remember that God is watching over us and longs for us – that should be enough to make us want to live the best lives we can and give Him glory.

Have your eyes been fixed on your circumstances?

Remember, He lives,
and it’s all worth it just because of that.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Our Easter Menu

This past weekend we had our first Easter celebration with my family. My dad is having surgery the
day after Easter, so we scheduled our dinner early.

Our menu consisted of:

Potato Roast
Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots
Broccoli Salad
Brownie Pizza
Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

My daughter did a wonderful job with the decorations and made the sugar cookies and a large pitcher of strawberry lemonade on her own. She makes me proud!

My mom and sister brought the meatballs, mostaccioli, and peanut butter cookies, which were a great addition to the meal.

I still have to make one more Easter menu. Some of the things I am considering this time are: turkey, chicken piccata, mashed potato or hash brown casserole, and green bean amandine.

What are YOU making for Easter?