Category Archives: Prepare Ahead

Time to Journal

I like to share. That is why I am writing this post. I believe life is about helping each other and growing in this journey together. I have learned so many things and have felt inspired from so many people I’ve known or even- not known. Plus, when I share I always seem to be blessed with some new inspiration in return. Some call it good carma but I believe it is God sending a little beam of “inspiration sunshine” down from Heaven as a thank you and a push to keep doing it. 🙂

Someone told me once she didn’t like letting others know her ideas because then they would just be common knowledge and they might copy her. I would love people to copy me. Not because I take pride in it per say but because I would feel great knowing I was able to provide them with something useful and helpful. I don’t worry if people copy all my ideas because in reality no one can copy all my ideas. No one has my mind. No one is exactly me. I probably got my inspiration from someone else anyway so go figure! We are all in this together as I said- this life journey thing. So let’s all start helping each other without reserve and forget pitting ourselves against each other. You never know what difficulties someone else is going through so just love them.

Anyway, this is my special book that I write out all my tasks, goals, and ideas. It is a continual work in progress. The brain and heart are still in-tact and are pumping out new things all the time.

Here are the TABS up close.  Go ahead read them. 😉

Here is what the inside looks like.

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Or this with a little art work from my kids.

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Some weeks I don’t write as much because I forget or just find myself wanting to take chill out a little.  But when I am really hyped up and in my zone it gets really fun and sometimes really marked up.

This is my favorite tab.

If you can’t read it, it says, “Possibilities.”  What a beautiful thing… possibilities.  These are inspirations and thoughts that I suddenly get and think now that would be really cool.  The tab is not entitled Dreams/Inspirations because there is a chance it won’t pan out.  If it was a dream than that would be quite disappointing if it didn’t work out and I would hesitate writing out in the first place.  But, if I see it for what I believe it is right up front, a possibility, I have no reserve in writing it because I understand it may or may not pan out. It then becomes a wonderful inventory of ideas I’d like to act upon without guilt or pressure attached.  It helps me be more flexible and adaptable to change -still keeping in line my priorities- my family, my beliefs, and my personal life goals. I understand I may be a rare species in my way of thinking in this but I thought I would just share.

And don’t forget to SMILE ON!

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“All grain is ordained for the use of man…”

In my church we believe in a decree of wisdom in health or a “The Word of Wisdom,” was revealed by the Lord to his prophet back in 1822. It is still every much correct and up-to-date for God has all wisdom and knowledge beyond the present beliefs of mankind. It was actually very ahead of its time.

Within it, it reads that “all grain is ordained for the use of man.” Why as a society have we stuck to one variety of grain for the past several decades? I don’t think we realized what great varieties were even available nor always had the means to get them. Amazingly we have come a long ways in the past ten years and the shelves at the grocery store are brimming with unique varieties of grains… all of which can be found in the gluten-free section.

I personally do not have to worry about a gluten intolerance nor do any of my kids or spouse but I have sought out this opportunity to sustain these scriptures which I believe to be true.

This past week I decided to really buckle down on this goal and experiment with some recipes. Although I haven’t made a ton of recipes, one that I made and loved were these incredible Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gluten-Free Goddess. They were amazing. I made them for the girls I teach at church for our bi-monthly activity and they loved them too! I even used only 1/2 the butter called for and substituted white bean puree to cut out fat and add protein. If you are interested in this, please comment and I will write a post about it. It is absolutely amazing!!! I love substituting pureed beans into baking recipes. The cookies were delicious and I plan on making more wholesome breads now and other things I typically use normal flour for.

The trick to beginning your journey in this is to know where to find the flours in your community at a reasonable rate and to buy them all up front.  Most of the recipes I’ve found online require several different flours and of course the solidifying agent the Xanthum Gum or Guam Gum.  My friend who is gluten-intolerant buys them online for less in bulk.  I didn’t want to do that because I wanted to make sure I could use them comfortably first.  Another friend of mine told me the best place she’d found them for less is at our nearby Asian market.  Look around and don’t be afraid to ask friends.  Good luck!

No-knead Artisian Bread

I did it! I have had this on my list of “to learns” for a while now. I had read several sources online that said it was super easy and it really was. I am no pro when it comes to bread making but I have slowly been trying different recipes out this past year. My sister Lori inspired me on this one because she said it was the bread everyone was making right now in NYC where she lives because it was in the New York Times and sooooo easy apparently. Here is where I got my info. Try it out for yourself. You can’t go wrong!

Seasonal Recipe Binder

I came upon a great idea and I wanted to share it with you! Seasonal Recipe Binders, separated into two seasons for now, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.  Then, I want to research what fruits and vegetables are in season and make a laminated chart to put at the front, before the tabs as a reference.  This will keep my recipes exciting, fresh, and true to season.  Instead of arranging them in the traditional way, by type of food, they will be divided into tabs according to preparation time and method for example “grilling.” These are the factors that determine if I choose to make a meal or not, thus streamlining the whole picking a meal process.  I try to plan it out for the month which helps but still I find myself having to be creative at the last second for a meal, which is not all that easy. This system will simply those last minute moments or busier days. More to come on this!

Here are the different Spring/Summer categories I am doing.

Less than 30 min.

Almost No Prep (15 min or less)

Start early/Slow Cooker Meals

Fancier Meals (Over 30 min.)

Salads

Grilled

Sides

Special Occasion/Treats

Then the trick is to make the binder cute and personalized.  Use an extra wide binder and extra wide tabs to cover the sheet covers that you print your recipes off from the internet.  There are tons of sites online that have great recipes and great photos.  I like to use a colored printer and make sure the recipe has an appetizing picture.  Sometimes it is the picture makes or breaks the meal for me.  If it is a gross picture and makes me gag, I am sorry the meal doesn’t persuade me as strongly to try it out.

I hope these are some helpful tips that will get you started on your own Seasonal Recipe Binders.  Eatingwell.com is a great recipe site and often has recipes for the current season.

Pumpkin Explosion

Yes… this precisely describes what happened in my kitchen tonight. For some odd reason I’ve been thinking it would be really neat to cook the pumpkin that has been sitting at my back entry since Halloween and through Thanksgiving. (Do those things ever go bad?) You know to make all the delicious delicacies everyone is always talking about this time of year; pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin butter, etc.

Well, this afternoon I guess I felt was the day. The explosion I am refering to was not only all over my kitchen but also in my stomach! I feel so sick. Man, that stuff fills you up, wow. It was not hard to cook the pumpkin or should not have been. I just read on the internet that you can cook it in a stock pot with a little water for steam.

So I burned the first half because I got sidetracked and started on something in another room. Then the second batch, containing the second half of the pumpkin, it was a large pumpkin, was fine so I set out to make pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, baked pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin spice oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. That fourth item has quite a long name and might I add these ingredients should never, never all be put together in a recipe. I made it up and there is probably a reason you don’t see it in your Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Book.

Basically, what I am trying to get to is that, it was a disaster- cooking wise and literally. Not only was the food only so-so if not horrible, but I had to use my blender to puree the soup, my kitchen aid for the cookies, several pots and pans for cooking everything and additional dishes to hold the pumpkin chunks I was in the process of pulling off from the peel. I just finally finished cleaning it all up. It was not fun, nope. I am not going to try and say it was. nope. nope. nope.

Okay, so there were a couple good things I guess I could pull from experience.

-Aurora helped me in the kitchen. We have matching aprons we wear together and she just barely started enjoying helping me “cook” (hence some of the mess…)

-I now used my kitchenaid once for the year. I am not really a baker and I just prefer to use my hand held electric mixer, don’t ask me why.

-I put all the three trays of pumpkin spice oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the freezer “for later”. Maybe if I am really lucky my kids will eat them as treats when we are out and about. The problem with the cookies is that I am always trying to alter the recipe to cut out the fat. This could be an entire blog entry of its own so let’s just say they are more like muffins than cookies. Why did I add peanut butter and chocolate chips then if I was trying to go healthy? Again, I don’t know, don’t ask these types of questions.

-Now I can say I tried it and maybe I will think twice when I hear people saying how much healthier and tastier it is to cook a real pumpkin rather than buy the beautifully packaged cans from the store. Well, we’ll see but at least I am over my baking crave. And please let it be for a LONG time.

Homemade Baby Food

Tired of buying a million baby food jars and paying a fortune? I was. Try making your own by pureeing vegetables and fruits or even dinner leftovers and adding a little water. It is not only better for the environment, its healthier, saves money, and very easy!