Sunday, February 26, 2012

Healthy chocolate? Hmmmm.....

I am on a quest. In my endeavors to eat healthy, I have been searching for good food. Not boxes of processed foodstuff that has been labeled healthy because it is supposed to have less sodium or less fat ( they probably added more sugar to make it taste better or some artificial flavor that was concocted in a lab). Not recipes for food that promise to be healthy and help you lose weight but it tastes terrible and has low fat ingredients that have added "stuff" to make it creamy or thick or whatever. Have you ever read the ingredients in some of that stuff? It scares me to death. I want to eat food that is healthy and I know what every ingredient is. You know, things like milk, whole wheat flour, olive oil, salt, tomatoes etc. I signed up for a weekly email at Vintage Remedies that is entitled "8 weeks to real food" which I highly recommend for anyone interested in eating good healthy food. You can find them at and can sign up under the events tab. There have been some great recipes and ideas in these emails. I have also been using Pinterest for some new recipes and that is where this little goodie came from. I love a little something sweet in the afternoon with a good cup of tea, or a little something for dessert. This is a problem because sugar is not healthy and certainly doesn't help you lose weight. This recipe is from Chocolate covered Katie's blog found here:

German Chocolate Fudge Bites

It has lots of good healthy stuff and I know what everyone of them is. Dates, cocoa, coconut ( I used unsweetened),salt, vanilla, pecans. Pretty darn tasty too. Just the thing for an afternoon cup of tea. Something else I am finding is that real food fills me up with less and for longer periods of time. That has to be good for weight loss. I did add a little bit of coconut oil to the mixture because mine was too dry to mold into the little balls. Not the prettiest little goodie, but yummy.

When I think of eating healthy, I think of Daniel in the old testament who chose to eat healthy food (fruits and vegetables) instead of the rich unhealthy food.

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. Daniel 1: 11-16.

I think God blesses us when we choose to make healthy food choices and live a healthy lifestyle. It is not easy, and I am certainly not a great example of this. I just keep hanging in there and praying about these issues in my life. I hope that if you too are on a quest for a healthier lifestyle, whatever changes you want to make, you will join me in prayer and we will get this!

Wishing you much love and many blessings, and good health!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Second Chance Mac N' Cheese

Ok. So this dish is not going to win any awards or make you go WOW! But today is the day after Christmas, I am exhausted and ended up with a crazy amount of left over macaroni and cheese. Now one thing you must understand is I have inherited this gene from my memaw that won't allow me to waste things. I can be a real pack rat too. "Ooh! That would be a good (insert item here) to use some day to (insert use here)." I fight this constantly lest TV cameras show up at my door one day with a smiling TV host saying," Your family sent us, they are concerned about you and think you need help". So thus the second chance mac and cheese was born. Now the thing about left overs is you just use what you have so my dish may be a lot different than another person. My goal was to make a creamy cheesy one skillet dish. So here goes nothing.

First I sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil. I had some left over mushrooms that needed to be cooked so I dumped those in the skillet too. I cooked this until it was soft, then added salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Then in with a can of diced tomatoes, the mac and cheese, dry mustard and a little Worcestershire sauce. I then added some sharp cheddar and some Parmesan. You could leave out the tomatoes, or add chicken or beef, or what ever sounds good. Like I said, the thing is to use whatever you like and you have on hand.

So not 5 star, but a quick yummy supper that didn't waste the mac and cheese. Memaw would be proud.

I started thinking about second chances when I gave the mac and cheese a new "life" tonight. I am thankful for second chances. Our God is the God of second chances. Sometimes we screw things up, basically because we are human and these things happen. No matter how hard we try, we will always make mistakes. Sometimes I know there are things that God would like for me to do, but I don't listen and don't do them. He forgives my faults and helps me to forgive myself. He certainly gives me many second chances. I hope that you too can find your second chances.

"Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22, 23

Wishing you much love and many blessings,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Simple Things

This afternoon I am reminded of how much I love the simple things in life. It is good to have dreams, goal and ambitions, but it is the day to day little things that I think are the most important somehow. Simple things like hugging our children and family, smiles and laughter, sitting on the porch and enjoying God's creation. Even a Saturday morning trip to the market is a wonderful time. It is not the things we buy, although I enjoy the fresh veggies, milk and eggs, but it is more the relationships that we have started with the people there. It is a simple thing to say hello and share a smile and a thanks. Another simple thing that I love is making a pot of soup. Not a fancy soup with a name that is difficult to pronounce and unusual ingredients, but a simple pot of wholesome hearty soup. Today's was Lentil Soup. Nothing fancy here, just wonderfully simple goodness. I am also glad that our God is simple. We don't have to do anything fancy to impress Him. I think all he wants really is our love and devotion, to put Him first in our lives and serve and worship Him. Of course when we do this, he blesses us and wonderful things come of it, like opportunities to serve and share our blessings and His love with others. So in keeping with the simple things in life. I give you my Lentil Soup recipe.

Lentil Soup

1 Lg onion chopped
4 cloves garlic slivered
4 small carrots or 2 larger ones chopped

Saute these in the bottom of a dutch oven in olive oil til tender.
Add in salt to taste, approx. 1 tsp Cumin, a sprinkle of Coriander and Turmeric. ( I add to taste)
1 -28oz can of diced tomatoes and about 4 cups of vegetable stock, and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of lentils. (red or brown are my favorites) Let cook til lentils are tender, about 30 minutes; then add in fresh chopped cilantro and about 1 tbsp of lemon juice. You may need to add in some water if your soup gets thick while the lentils cook.

I like to serve this with nice crusty bread and add a little feta cheese to my bowl of soup. It is simple, but oh so good. Not too expensive either which is a plus as well.

My hope is that as this week progresses, I can enjoy the simple things and focus on the things that God would have me to. It is simple really. Believe in Him, love Him and fix my eyes on Him. Everything else will all fall into place with these. I hope you too have a blessed week full of simple things.

John 3 : 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Much Love and Many Blessings,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts!

There are some veggies out there that just simply get a bad reputation and it seems it never changes. Most of the people I have discussed brussels sprouts with do not like them. Some are very open minded vegetarians when it comes to food. I personally love a good brussels sprout. I fear these individuals have horrible memories of steamed bland brussels sprouts from a freezer bag, perhaps drowned in processed cheese, that have no flavor and are no fun whatsoever. When prepared with imagination, these healthy little tidbits are fabulous. I found this recipe in January's edition of Vegetarian Times and it is really quite tasty. I used frozen veg instead of fresh simply for price and convenience, and it worked out quite well. I also had some hamburger I needed to use, so I made hamburger patties with onion, garlic and feta cheese. Turned out to be a pretty great supper for one since my favorite vegetarian was visiting his parents. (He is one of those open minded vegetarians who doesn't really care for brussels sprouts. I figured what better time? )

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries
adapted from Vegetarian Times magazine.

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp olive oil
1lb bag frozen brussels sprouts thawed and halved
2 shallots chopped (sweet or yellow onions would work, aprox 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic slivered
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries ( I accidentally bought cherries, worked out pretty well.)
1 Tbs Honey

In a dry skillet toast the walnuts over med high heat, about 3-4 minutes. You don't want them too brown, only lightly toasted to give them some great flavor. Set these aside til later. Take the shallots and garlic and saute them in the olive oil over med heat til they are beginning to soften and become translucent. Add in the brussels sprouts and cranberries and saute until tender, add a bit of water (aprox 1/4 to 1/2 cup) to keep them from sticking. When they are soft and most of the liquid is gone, let this cook until the onions and garlic and brussels sprouts begin to caramelize, (you will see browning on the edges, use a lower heat if needed to prevent burning) which gives it a sweeter flavor. I like my veg a little more firm than some, so cook til you are satisfied. Remove from heat. Add in the honey and walnuts, toss together and serve.

During this past week, Chris has been to visit his parents and things were very lonely around here. I have really enjoyed having him back home. I truly have a blessed life, in so many ways, but it is not complete when we are apart. I am thankful for my friend and husband that God has given me. He is the peanut butter and I am the jelly in this world we live in. Both of those apart are good, but put them together and it is fabulous!

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thank you Lord, for your undying love, and the love you have given to me.

Many Blessings and Much Love!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New You?

It's that time again. New Year resolutions have been made, and now we have to try and follow through. The beginning of a new year provides an opportunity to try and make things "new", make a change, become a better person. Funny how the change of date can motivate so many. There are few ideas about where New Year resolutions originated, some from Roman and Babylonian cultures. The new year has not always begun on January 1st, so these traditions have changed over the years as cultures and ideas changed. We start out with good intentions and by the second or third month many of us have become less motivated to keep our resolutions.

I usually don't make a New Year Resolution, just try to make the best things as they come. Today I was looking at a cookbook a friend had given me and realized that I have a huge collection of recipes and I have gotten into a rut and cook most of the same things over and over. I resolved to cook at least one new recipe each week to take advantage of all these recipes. Why have them if I am not going to use them, right? So, for my friends who have asked to know what I am cooking, here you go. Tonight's meal was not new, but not something we have everyday. I used a black bean recipe from a Vegetarian Times cookbook (Thanks Patty!) and tweaked things to my liking.

Black Bean Burritos:

In a tiny bit of olive oil saute' 1 large onion diced, 2-4 cloves of garlic slivered. When this is nice and tender add in: 1 can black beans drained and rinsed, about 1/2 t. cumin, 1 t. cilantro, 1/2 t. turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. (adjust these to your taste, I don't really measure, just toss it in.) You could also add in some chilies if you wanted some heat. Cook til tender, add in a bit of stock or water if needed to keep from sticking.

Use whatever tortillas float your boat, we had large flour tortillas, I layered the bean mixture with some 2% cheddar cheese, salsa, lettuce and fat free Greek yogurt (good alternative to sour cream) and sliced avocado that had been sprinkled with lemon to prevent browning. Roll all this up and Voila'! Quick, easy, pretty healthy supper. Good protein and plenty of veg. You can adjust the portions of things to suit your needs, I am using weight watchers so I use the point system. Very filling and not too pricey. You can also add in whatever yummy veggies you prefer. That is the beauty of this kind of supper. Use what you have! We finished ours up with a sweet delicious orange for dessert.

As for me, all those resolutions that are tempting to make, I am giving to God this year. He is really the only one who can make me a better person. You see, I know the REAL me. The one not many people get to see because of social etiquette and pride. He knows the real me too, and even though I can be a really nasty person inside sometimes, He loves me still the same and makes all things new. Thank you Lord.

And he that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new".Revelation 21:5

Many Blessings and Much Love,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time for Tomatoes!

It's that time. For those of you who really love tomatoes, you will understand how I feel. If I could only plant one thing in my garden, it would be tomatoes. Chris and I share the love of these wonderful fruits and will happily eat more than our share of tomato sandwiches until they are all gone this fall. Even then I hope to have some wonderful salsa and sauce canned to enjoy this winter. I even love the smell of the vines when you pick the sun warmed tomatoes, so warm and earthy and wonderful. In the past few years I have discovered the joy of heirloom tomatoes. They definitely have the taste of "real tomatoes" that I remember as a young person. My Grandfather would drink homemade tomato juice and it was so good. I have memories of my Grandmother canning all the garden veggies and freezing, breaking beans, picking corn. Oh, but those tomatoes, they were the best.

Chris and I enjoy homemade salsa this time of year. It's really easy to make and you can make it as you need it or you could can some for later. I don't really have a recipe I follow, just a sort of guide to how I like it. Goes something like this:

Green onions and sweet onions diced small.
Tomatoes diced small with juice
Garlic chopped fine
Hot peppers of your choice chopped fine (remove the seeds)
Lemon or lime juice
Cilantro roughly chopped

I mix all these things together until it we like the way it tastes. I would say I probably use 1/2 the amount of onions to tomatoes and garlic and peppers to taste. A good bowl of homemade guacamole is always good with this as well. We use mashed avocado with a bit of sour cream, lemon juice and salt.

All the tomatoes and canning plans really make me think of growing up, my old hometown and where this journey of life has taken me. I know that there are plans for all our lives, and that God has led me along this journey to help me acquire the skills I need for the rest of it. I believe that it is that way for all of us. Sometimes He asks things of us that are difficult, uncomfortable and that truly we don't want to do. So having faith that His way is best and that he knows the big picture and what needs to be done we follow His lead. Along the way, He provides reassurance that we are His and He will care for us. God is really very cool that way. In the end, maybe we will see the whys and whats and it will make sense, or maybe not. Whatever the outcome, we know we are where we need to be. There is a peace like no other that comes from the act of faith and knowing God is there. A young lady at church today shared this verse that helped her through a week of missions. Thanks Lyndsey, I needed this today too.

Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Much Love and Many Blessings,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our dreams............

It's been awhile since my last post. Wow, a long while. Life has gotten so busy. Work is long, days are short and there is too much to do. I recently found myself making several cakes and preparing food for a church function. During all the busyness, I have been reminded while making those cakes how much I enjoy creating food that I enjoy and sharing that with others. I get so much pleasure out of seeing a dish come together, and watching others enjoy it. It doesn't have to be a pretty cake, or something fancy. The simplest bowl of soup shared with others who can also enjoy it is a wonderful experience. So, all this of course has me thinking about Tea and Dreams, and how cool it could be. I think our dreams are what get us through the tough times. We must have hope, we must have goals, or dreams. In our country we are blessed to have opportunities to make those dreams happen. I keep praying and dreaming. Maybe one day you will come visit me at my shop and I will welcome you with open arms and a great cup of tea. Until then,

Much Love and Many Blessings,

( I will include another recipe with my next post!)

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself also in the LORD,And He shall give you the desires of your heart.