Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Slow Down Life Without Slowing Life Down

Slow Down the Pace of Life - The Cozy Nook

The days are long, but the years are short.

This saying rings a bell for most of us. Sometimes the days feel so long and hard, but we look at our age, the past, where we are now, and our children growing up, and we can’t believe where time has gone.

Nowadays, life is definitely packed. There are books about creating margin, simplifying, and decluttering. One of our society’s ills is that we have too many choices, too many decisions, and too much stuff on our plates.

I agree… we ought to work hard at slowing life down.

However, when life is still crammed full of busy, and there’s more than plenty to do,
we still can slow down the pace of life.

  1. Live the present moment. God has been working on me for a while with this one. With full schedules, it is easy to look at the big picture and feel overwhelmed. Instead, try to focus on what you are doing RIGHT NOW. Live the present and focus your energies there.
  2. Appreciate the little things. I believe this really is key to us feeling more peace in our lives. When we are thankful and content, we can feel better about life. Our gratitude helps us remain in the present moment as we fix our minds and hearts on the beauty of our current lives, letting go of past regrets and future anxieties. Appreciating the small things helps us to savor life and not allow it to slip through our grip without notice. Be thankful for your hot shower, warm cup of coffee, fuzzy blanket, the bright sunshine, time with your loved ones and friends, and all of the extravagances we have in life.
  3. Be calm. It’s very important that we try to stay calm. When we are rushing, harried, and stressed, we only intensify our perception that life is just way too busy and full. Our demeanors will greatly affect how we feel about our days and what we will do with our days. A calm disposition helps us feel like life is more doable and enjoyable.

No matter how busy your week is, try to slow it down a bit.

Focus on the present,
take time to smell the roses,
and stay calm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hash Browns and Home Fries: Two Fine Options for Humble Potatoes

Hash Browns and Home Fries

Until recently, I have always made hash browns by shredding my potatoes when they are raw and then cooking them in a skillet.

A while ago I came across the secret to great, homemade hash browns.

Cook the potatoes first.

Actually, that is the secret to good hash browns and good home fries!

In my mind, when I pictured cooked potatoes, I pictured baking them for an hour first. Nope. All you have to do is scrub the potatoes well, put them (whole) in a pot of salted water, and boil them for 10 minutes.

After the potatoes cool a bit, you can shred them for hash browns or peel them and cut them into chunks for home fries.

Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet and cook your potatoes on medium high heat until they are golden crisp. Keep extra butter on hand, in case you need more during the cooking process. You may need to cook your hash browns in batches, depending on how many you are cooking.

For hash browns, put the shredded potatoes in the skillet, flatten them, and then cook them on one side until they are golden crisp. Then flip them and cook the other side.

For home fries, be sure you are stirring them occasionally.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Be Encouraged by Your Best Friend’s Perspective

Be Encouraged by Your Best Friend's Perspective - The Cozy Nook

It’s been one of those weeks… one of those weeks where I have felt pretty discouraged and overwhelmed… one of those weeks where I have been scratching my head, wondering, doubting, and feeling very defeated at times.

As I woke up the other morning, a bright ray of encouragement was waiting for me. It was an email from one of my dearest friends. In her email, she elaborated about something she admires about me and emphasized that I am doing a good job.

Those words were precious, life-giving words that I absorbed quickly.

My friend’s words taught me something.

Sometimes you need to pause and
see yourself as your best friend sees you.

Your best friend admires you.
Your best friend sees great things in you.
Your best friend appreciates the person you are.
Your best friend WANTS to spend time with you, because of who you are.

When we are feeling discouraged by our own lives, we need to realize that there are people in this world who care about us, value our existence, cheer for us, and believe in what we are doing.

How are you feeling today? Are you feeling defeated?

I’m going to be your best friend.

Let me tell you that you ARE doing a good job.
You are of great value.
You are needed in this world.
You are succeeding, even when you feel like you are failing.
You are an integral part of your family and society.

What you do matters… greatly!

Stop the circling of negativity in your mind and believe goodness about your life, even when it is hard and gloomy.

Press on! Persevere! You can do all things through Christ, our Lord!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are You Sharpening the Saw? Are You Investing in Yourself?

Sharpen the Saw - The Cozy Nook

A new day begins, and the pressure is on. Life’s demands stare us in the face, and it is easy to hop into the flurry of activity and events of the day. In the midst of the shuffle, valuable habits are left undone and neglected.

We delay our Bible reading.
We omit exercise from our daily routine.
We don’t allow ourselves adequate rest.
We don’t plan and prepare enough for healthy eating and snacking.
We forget to take our vitamins.
We use our free time unwisely.

We push forward, thinking we are doing great things, as we skip over some of the greater things in life – time with God, time with people, time for ourselves to rejuvenate and grow.

Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encourages a very important habit – Sharpen the Saw.

Here’s an excerpt from his web site:
Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have--you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

It is easy to push forward and take care of everybody and everything else and to forget to sharpen the saw, to forget to INVEST in ourselves so that we may be better people and live better lives for the glory of God.

Yes, that’s right.
Taking care of yourself is an INVESTMENT.

When you care for your body, soul, and spirit, you are not only investing in yourself, you are investing in your family, your friends, your co-workers, and everyone else around you.

When you take care of yourself, you are investing in your projects, responsibilities, and events of the day.

As we purpose to make time in our days for learning, growing, building, and resting, we create a reserve in ourselves that helps us meet the challenges and joys of the day with strength and ultimately live more abundant lives.

Are you sharpening the saw?

Are you adequately taking care of yourself?

I encourage you to reflect upon your life and work on areas of life where you see neglect.

Taking care of yourself is never a waste of time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fluffy Diner-Style Omelet

Fluffy Diner-Style Omelet - The Cozy Nook

I thought I found the ultimate omelet recipe when my friend shared her method with me a few years ago. I still use that omelet technique.

However, the other day, we watched an episode of Cooks Country where they made a fluffy diner-style omelet. My kids really wanted me to try to make it for breakfast the next morning, so (twist my arm) I did.

This omelet is fluffy, has a pancake-like texture, and really is just plain delicious! If you like omelets or want a creative breakfast, try this recipe.

Fluffy Diner-Style Omelet
Original Recipe from Cooks Country
Printable Version

3 Tablespoons heavy cream
5 eggs
1/4 t salt
2 T butter
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
filling: meat and vegetables of your choice, cooked ahead of time

First make your filling. Cook and saute the meat and/or vegetables of your choice. I followed the example from the Cooks Country show and made a sausage, onion, and red pepper filling.

Preheat oven to 400 with oven rack in middle position.

Beat cream with an electric mixer on high until whipped, with soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Beat eggs and salt on high in a clean bowl until frothy and tripled in size, about 2 minutes.

Gently fold whipped cream into eggs.

Melt butter in a 10 to 12 inch ovensafe skillet over medium-low/medium heat, making sure the bottom and sides are coated. Add egg mixture and half of the filling and cook until the bottom and edges are set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Check the underside by lifting the omelet edge with a spatula.

Transfer pan to the oven and bake until the omelet is set and the edges are beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with remaining half of filling and the cheese. Let sit for a minute. Then fold omelet in half (either in the pan or slide the omelet out first onto a cutting board).

Cut into desired amount of servings and enjoy!