Saturday, March 12, 2011

Off to Louisiana...

Well, I'm off to Louisiana tomorrow morning.  My oldest daughter has been admitted to the hospital with the family curse - gallbladder problems. So, I will be going to help her and love on my grandson.  I'll be gone at least three weeks and she doesn't have internet at her house.  If I get to my son-in-law's office, I'll post an update.

That bathroom redo will just have to wait...unless my honey gets the painting bug.  Ha ha!

Hope to post soon!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another earthquake...

Do you know about the overnight  8.9 earthquake that caused a tsunami that has wreaked havoc in Japan?  As I'm writing, a tsunami is hitting the Hawaiian islands and tsunami warning sirens are going off on our west coast.  Fortunately, those waves are not large enough to cause much damage.  Hmm...could it be birth pangs?

We look forward to Jesus coming back for lots of reasons. I look forward to seeing Him with my physical eyes and hugging Him. But today I would like to draw our attention to something He did before celebrating that last Passover with His disciples.  Unlike many human leaders, Jesus didn't demand that others meet His needs.  In fact, some of the disciples were arguing about which one was greater when Jesus took off His outer robe, tied a towel around His waist and washed the disciples' feet.  I'm pretty sure there were some faces red with shame in the room.  This is one of many examples of true servanthood He set; the greatest being giving His life to pay for our sins. 

It's so tempting to "toot our horn" and assume that things we do, people we know, positions we have make us important.  Jesus taught and set the example that serving others is what gives us greatness.  Who can we serve today?

Lord, you know that, like the disciples, I yearn to be considered great by others.  Grant me a servant's heart so that I may discover that true greatness is found in humility and service.  Amen
Adam Hamilton

Bathroom Redo Update

I normally try to achieve more than is humanly possible in one day.  So...I didn't even finish priming the walls yesterday.  I ran out of Kilz 2.  Augh!!  I didn't have time to run get some more because my honey and I had an appointment to keep.  After grabbing some tacos, we went to Lowe's and picked up the supplies needed to finish the bathroom.  So, today, the goal is to finish priming - which should take an hour - then texturing the walls and painting the ceiling.  I should be able to prime again and paint tomorrow.  Hopefully...

The current view of the vanity -

Patching holes -

I am REALLY looking forward to this bathroom being finished! 

Today's Recipe - Easter Sunshine Muffins
Taste of Home
Note:  Many of the Easter recipes are part of the Easter traditions in our family.  They are not necessarily "healthy", so use them sparingly.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
(or substitute 2 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour)
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp orange marmalade (or apricot preserves)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add remaining ingredients; stir just until moistened (batter may be lumpy).  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until top of muffin springs back when lightly touched.  Yield:  15-18 muffins.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An extra place at the supper table...

There's an old custom where families would set an extra place at the supper table as a visual reminder to be thankful to Jesus for providing food and to invite Him to be a part of the dinner conversation.  I really like that idea and think it is especially appropriate during Lent.  What a great way to spark a conversation with your children about spiritual things!

Lord, help me to remember you every time I break bread.  Be present at my table, Lord.  Help me never to forget that you are the bread of life who alone satisfies the deepest longings of my soul. Amen.
Adam Hamilton

Easter Decorations

I found this cute little set of salt and pepper shakers on clearance a couple of years ago.  They are part of the Easter decorations at our house and serve a useful purpose during Easter dinner.

Bathroom Redo Update:
In between Bible study and volunteering, I took my list of items needed for the bathroom along with my project notebook and went shopping.  I need to tell you that I always ask God to help me find items that are discounted or on sale.  He is always faithful!  The only things I didn't purchase were fabric for the valance - I haven't decided what I'm doing yet - and a faucet - I needed to talk to my honey about which faucet to buy.

Today is patching and texturing day.  The goal is to have the room painted tomorrow so we can start putting it back together on Saturday. 

This is what the page looks like in my project notebook.  It really comes in handy because I can never tell if colors are right when I'm at the store to purchase items.  And I do not like returning items to the store.  I want to go buy what I need and be done.

I chose the fabric first - it is the top left floral pattern - then picked out the paint color to coordinate with the fabric. (Note:  I've discovered that it is easier to find paint to go with fabric.  It can be very frustrating to pick a paint color, then search in vain for fabric to go with the color.)  The leopard print is the accent print for the room and the burgundy is the accent color.  I'm ready for it to be done!

Today's Recipe - Mexican Quiche
Colorado Cache Cookbook

I got this recipe from my mom and it is a favorite for holiday breakfasts.
1/2 cup butter
10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt 
3 - 7 oz cans of diced green chiles
16 oz cottage cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Melt butter in 9x13 baking dish.  Whisk eggs in large measuring cup.  Add next three ingredients.  Add melted butter, chiles and cheese.  Pour into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted in center.  Cut while hot, but let cool slightly before removing from pan.  Makes 15 servings or 24 appetizers.
Reheat at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes if refrigerated overnight. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The beginning of Lent...

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent Lent has been observed for centuries by the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutherans, and Eastern Orthodox and Anglican churches.  It lasts for 40 days; most likely because Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days.  The purpose of Lent is to prepare oneself for celebrating Easter, which comes at the end of Lent.

We do not attend any one of the above churches, but go to a Saturday night service at a Baptist church.  Three years ago, our pastor taught about Lent and encouraged us as to observe Lent as a way to prepare our hearts for Easter.  He suggested that we fast from something we enjoy, a food or activity, for the 40 days, then be ready to give a testimony about what God did in our hearts through our small sacrifice, if we chose to share it with the congregation.

Last year, we were encouraged to do the same but add some form of service to God or others that we don't normally do.  Easter has definitely become more special to us because of observing Lent.

This year, our pastor has provided us with the 40 day devotional, 24 Hours That Changed the World, by Adam Hamilton.  I will pass observations from this book on to you during the weeks leading up to Easter.
Should be good!!

Our Easter decorations are centered around the new life we have in Christ, most often portrayed through the Easter eggs and bunnies scattered around the house.  This year, I also want to add some crosses to the decorations.

 I changed out the brown candle on top of the champagne glass to a blue candle.  And put some pink "grass" in the bottom of the large glass piece on the buffet and topped it with some faux Easter eggs I purchased at Real Deals.  (I really like this store.  They have wonderful decorative items that really are great deals.)

 I made these three "eggs" about 20 years ago.  I cut three egg shapes out of wood with my scroll saw, sanded the edges, painted them Easter colors, sanded the edges again, and painted the background designs then the words. 

Today's Recipe - Egg Sausage Casserole
My mom serves this casserole for many holiday breakfasts and I have served it for Easter morning for years.

6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
6 slices bread, crumbled
1 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
7 oz can diced green chiles (opt)

Combine all ingredients and pour into a sprayed 9x13 baking dish.  Soak overnight. (Since the dish is cold, place the casserole in the oven while it is preheating to prevent the dish from breaking.)  Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees F until edges pull away.  Serves 15

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fog comes on little cat's feet...

I love fog, always have.  I didn't even get tired of fog when I lived in England for a summer.  There was fog every morning that usually burned off around 9:30. It was wonderful!  There's something about fog that quiets my heart and my thoughts. Everything seems so peaceful...which was nice since this is what I dreamed about last night:

Eek!! Wallpaper!!

Well, I won't be dreaming about wallpaper tonight because I finished taking it off this morning.  I am SO thankful it's done!  The next step is to fill in nail and screw holes after I get my honey to take some plugs out of the walls for things that aren't going back up.  Then, I will apply Kilz to the walls before I texture and paint.  Right now, this is what the bathroom looks like:

Now to do the research so I can decide what kind of texture I want to put on the walls...

Today's Recipe - Spicy Sweet Slaw
My original recipe

16 oz bag shredded slaw mix
2 T diced pimentos
1/4 cup tomatillo salsa
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup spinach leaves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 packets stevia

Mix all ingredients together, adding cabbage last, until everything is coated  Refrigerate until ready to eat. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Celery and peanut butter...

Yum!  I just enjoyed a morning snack of good old-fashioned celery and peanut butter.  The only way I would eat celery as a kid was with peanut butter or cheese spread.  The other day I was craving something sweet so I spread peanut butter on some celery and added a drizzle of raw honey.  Delicious!  Celery is supposed to be good for inflammation.  So, if you have an autoimmune disease that involves inflammation in your body, buy some celery.  Keep a baggie of celery sticks in the frig to snack on to help lessen the pain.  I have an arthritis nodule on one of my fingers that was very painful until I started eating celery.  The nodule is still there, but I can rub it or accidentally bump it without pain.

By the way, I'm sorry I didn't post on Friday.  My honey took the day off and was home all day.  I really try to have all my "stuff" done during the week so when he is home I am available to hang out with him.

Today's information on preparedness comes from  Some of you have asked, "So, if you have all that dried food stored in case of an emergency and you have to make sure you use it before it goes bad, how do you use it in recipes?"  Good question!  According to this website:

You will need to soak or cook your dried foods before using them in recipes.  Some foods require soaking and cooking.

Vegetables are usually soaked between 1/2 - 1 1/2 hours and then simmered.  Some vegetables can be re-hydrated while they are cooking.

You must remember that after a food is re-hydrated, it may spoil quickly, so use it promptly.

Apples:  Add 1 1/2 cups warm water to 1 cup apples and soak for 1/2 hour
Green Beans:  Add 2 1/4 cup boiling water to 1 cup beans and soak for 1 1/2 hours
Beets:  Add 2 3/4 cups boiling water to 1 cup beets and soak for 1 1/2 hours
Carrots:  Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water to 1 cup carrots and soak for 1 hour
Corn:  Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water to 1 cup corn and soak for 1/2 hour
Onions:  Add 2 cups boiling water to 1 cup onions and soak for 1 hour
Peaches:  Add 2 cups warm water to 1 cup peaches and soak for 1 1/4 hour
Pears:  Add 1 3/4 cup warm water to 1 cup pears and soak for 1 hour
Peas:  Add 2 1/2 cups boiling water to 1 cup potatoes and soak for 1/2 hour


Our guest bathroom has green wallpaper (not chosen by me, but ok) that has become more and more unsightly.  The seams were rolling and parts of it were coming off the wall.  It was time.  Oh, how I hate taking down wallpaper!!  This is the third bathroom from which I have removed the wallpaper.  I ruin my fingernails and the drywall dust makes me sick, but, it is way cheaper to do the work myself.  So, I just do it!  It is always worth it in the end when the project is done.  I was watching HGTV the other day and saw some beautiful wallpaper.  I almost fell for the idea of putting up wallpaper in the bathroom.  Two hours of peeling later, the idea was a bust.  I'm doing myself a favor ten years down the road by texturing and painting.  I will just have to find some fabric with a pretty pattern to make a valance and some patterned and textured towels.

I totally forgot to take a picture before I took down the old valance and started peeling wallpaper.  But here are a few before pictures:

The light fixture is the original inexpensive shiny gold fixture that was there when we bought the house.  A couple of years ago, when I redid our master bath, we took the bathroom light fixtures down and spray painted them a textured brown.  So, I won't spend any money on a new light fixture.  I really wanted to put sconces on either side of a new framed mirror, but didn't want to spend that much and didn't want my honey to have to crawl across the attic into a tight space to rewire the bathroom.  Not necessary!  So, I might eventually buy new globes.  We'll see - if I find a really good deal.  Maybe I need to go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and see what they have.  Hmm...

Today's Recipe - Salmon Salad
Serves 2

1 bag Veggie Lover's salad
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup bite size tomatoes
2 salmon fillets, thawed
2 tsp coconut oil
black pepper
cayenne pepper
Tony's Creole seasoning

Mix salad and spinach leaves.  Separate onto two dinner plates.  Sprinkle tomatoes over salad.

Melt coconut oil in a small skillet.  Place salmon in the skillet and sprinkle seasonings on both sides of the salmon fillets.  Cook approximately 4-5 minutes on each side over medium heat until center is no longer pink. Place one salmon fillet on top of the salad on each plate.  Enjoy with your favorite salad dressing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hamburger rocks...

Crazy, I know!  I found this recipe for dehydrated hamburger rocks on The Survival Mom's website. She has a friend that makes these and dehydrated spaghetti sauce to take camping.

1.  Using a large skillet, brown and fry 5 pounds of ground beef.  When thoroughly cooked, transfer the meat to a colander.  Rinse under hot running water to remove the fat.  Then clean the skillet with paper towels to remove excess fat from the first cooking.

2.  Place the washed meat back into the wiped skillet and fry it again over medium/low heat, stirring often until you see no more steam.  Keep the heat/flame low once the rocks are browning up nicely.

3.  Place the "twice cooked" rocks into an oven roasting pan.  Turn the oven to 200 degrees F, stirring and turning occasionally as the meat continues to dry.  One to two hours should finish the job.  Remove from the oven and check for dryness.  When cool, pack into zip lock bags or mason jars.  Pack tightly, expelling as much air as possible.  Store in pantry drawers or shelves.

4.  To "can" the hamburger rocks for long term storage, preheat canning jars in the oven at 250 F, simmer the lids as usual, put the "rocks" into the jars while still hot, then seal the jars.  After 15 minutes or so the jars will cool and you will hear the jar lids "pop" as they seal in place.

They will store effectively for two or more years.  Once re-hydrated by soaking one cup of rocks in two cups of boiled water, the precooked meat can be used in any recipe.  It is delicious for tacos, spaghetti sauce, hamburger helper, tamale pie, lasagna, or your favorite recipe.  It is very difficult to distinguish from fresh hamburger in a meal!

Now that is an interesting idea!  Hmm... I might have to try that recipe. 

When planning for your emergency stash, it's important to only buy the kinds of food that your family already eats.  Generally, we eat the same 10 meals over and over.  Figure out how to dehydrate what you can in each recipe or make sure you have the ingredients in your pantry so you have what you need to make your family's favorite meals in case of an emergency.


I have three daughters and they all live between 7-10 hours away.  It seems like I'm always collecting things that need to be taken to them and ended up with piles on the kitchen table.  Clutter in my house drives me crazy, so, when I came across these bags, I bought them.  They now have a home under the table in my craft room and provide a neat and tidy way to get items to the girls and my grandbabies. They are sturdy with wide nylon handles that fold down into the bags. When we are packing the car to go to one of their homes, I simply grab that daughter's bag and put it in the car.  Then, I make sure to bring it back home with me to fill it up for the next trip.

Today's Recipe - Smoky Artichoke-Sardine Salad
Eating Well

Start with 3 cups mixed greens.  Then add:
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
2 ounces sardines
1/4 cup sliced onion
2 T Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Makes 1 serving.

Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette 

Puree in a blender or shake in a jar until combined:  1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3 T sherry vinegar, 1 minced large shallot, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 3/4 tsp smoke paprika and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Makes about 3/4 cup.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feelin' dry...

Do you ever get tired of thinking about yourself and your life all the time?  I mean, really!  I'm kinda bored with myself...

There is still so much to discover in my walk with the Lord and in His Word.  There are so many people that I have not met and I still don't know the stories of many of the people I have met.  Just sayin'...

Today's post on preparedness is about dehydrated fruits and veggies.  You can buy them at any health food store like Wild Oats, Natural Grocers or Whole Foods.  Some grocery stores carry them as well.  You just need to read the label and make sure there is no added sugar or salt. 

These make great snacks, but are a little pricey, so check out the website below and learn how to make your own.  You don't have to buy a food dehydrator.  You can use your oven to dehydrate food.  I have also picked up some soup mixes that were around $5 that just need water added and heated.  (These soup mixes would be great to put in a basket with other goodies for a family with a new baby or for a family that lost a loved one.) These foods are in plastic bags or containers so they will need to go into a large container with a lid that seals to keep mice and other critters from helping themselves to your family's food.  More on that later.

It's also very important to date your packages and containers when you get home, before you put away your groceries.  Dehydrated fruit lasts for a year and dehydrated veggies last for six months.  I use a sharpie and put the expiration date on a visible corner.  When you bring home more dehydrated foods, put them in the back of the container after dating them so you won't end up with expired food you have to throw out because it's gone bad.

The key is to buy veggies or fruit that are on sale and dehydrate them. Also, if you have fruit or vegetables that are going bad, dehydrate them instead of throwing them away.  Friday, we will talk about how to use dehydrated foods in recipes.  Yum!


Today's Recipe - Southwestern Salad with Black Beans
Eating Well

Start with 3 cups mixed greens.  Then add:
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup organic corn
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
2 T Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing

Makes 1 serving/ 235 calories

Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing 
Puree in a blender until smooth:  1/2 ripe avocado, 3/4 cup packed cilantro, 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 2 chopped scallions, 1 quartered garlic clove, 1 T lime juice and 1/2 tsp each sugar (I would substitute stevia) and salt.  Makes about 1 cup.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Be ready...

Wow! Storms, earthquakes, floods and wild fires are in today's news across our country - all the more reason to make sure you and your family are prepared for an emergency.  Today, we will put together an Emergency Bug Out Notebook.  It would be a good idea that a notebook be made to put in each car's Bug Out Bag.

Supplies Needed:
1 1/2" 3-ring binder
3 dividers - Financial Documents, Personal Documents, Medical Documents
box of page protectors (you need at least 28)
needed copies

The following lists are suggestions.  You will need to make it appropriate for your family.  For instance, my honey and I will not need any military documents as neither of us have been in the military or immunization records because our children are all grown.

Financial Documents (put a copy of this list after the divider)
1.  copies of the fronts and back of debit/credit cards
2.  copies of house and car titles
3.  copy of your will or living trust
4.  names, addresses and phone numbers of all banks
5.  other important documents related to employment and/or a family business
6.  copies of your insurance policies (life, health, auto, homeowners, etc.)

Personal Documents (put a copy of this list after the divider)
1.  names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of relatives and close friends
2.  copies of:
               marriage license
               birth certificates
               drivers licenses
               CCW permits
               pet vaccine records
               Social Security cards
3.  a list of firearm serial numbers
4.  legal documents pertaining to child custody or adoption
5.  recent photos of each family member and each pet
6.  color photos of your house and each room in the house
7.  photos of anything of particular value
8.  military documents
9.  diplomas and transcripts
10.  appraisals

Medical Documents (put a copy of this list after the divider)
1.  copy of health insurance cards
2.  a list of blood types for each family member
3.  names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors
4.  medical histories of each family member
5.  immunization records
6.  a list of current prescriptions, dosage, and pharmacy contact information

This is a great notebook to have.  You never know when you will need any of this information.  It is very convenient to have it all this information in one notebook so it will be very easy to find.  It is also suggested that you make a copy and put it in a safety deposit box.  


My aunt recently gave me this paint-by-number painting that I had painted at her house when I was elementary school age.  It goes with the kitten artwork on the opposite wall in my craft room.  The painting is a cute reminder that my skills have indeed improved with age and practice!

Today's Recipe - Rice and Beans with a Bam!
Lisa - The Survival Mom

1 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups cooked, hot long-grain rice
1 oz or more cheddar cheese

Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper, and cook five minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook one minute more.  Add water and remaining ingredients, except for the rice and cheese.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer ten minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Put rice on plates and top with bean mixture and cheese.