My life - from the impact of great loss, to a refreshing new take on life and a place where I now share ............... my favorite Plant Strong recipes....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Simplicity + Chaos = JOY

My how things can change in such a short amount of time...

At the end of last year, I was tired of being sick and tired all of the time.  In many ways, it felt like life was just passing me by as I struggled each day with the continuous head pain and fatigue.  My focus was on simply trying to be the best mom and wife that I could be - and not letting the physical struggles rob my family from the love I so wanted to pour out on them.  It was discouraging to say the least, yet at the same time I think that the Lord had some important lessons to teach me that I never would have grasped had I been feeling good and keeping busy.

Lessons about being still, and resting in Him.... trusting that He uses all things....

Lessons that I don't ever want to forget, especially now as my life is once again taking another turn.  I am delighted to be feeling so much better thanks to the changes we have made in the foods we eat.  I haven't felt this good in years, and though I still often have headaches, they aren't anything compared to the debilitating migraines.

Feeling better and not wanting to waste my days away, we have opened up our home for daycare again.  Not like I did before with many families, but simply one family with 3 very special kiddos that I adore.  My days are full with giggles - and messes, and bickering, and chaos, and ... and.... and.....

.... and I am so thankful!

I have learned that every moment is precious, and that time really does pass by so quickly.

I desire my life to be one of purpose and fruit bearing... not selfishness and trying to find happiness with 'stuff' as our culture so often encourages, the trap that we so easily get ensnared in.

The more simple my life becomes, the more rich I feel, and the more at peace I am.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tortilla Soup at a Glance

Back in February, I posted a recipe for tortilla soup, very similar to this one.  Today while making it, I decided to snap a few pictures since it was so easy.  I really should call it my "UN-Tortilla Soup" since the only tortillas used were simply for the photos....
Have you had your fruits and veggies today?
I add the ingredients that I want totally blended first with 2 cups of hot water. After blending on high for 3 minutes, the soup was hot without over cooking the veggies.  That's right!  I want those macro nutrients!
Once it's hot, I slow down the speed and add the beans, olives and some of the avocado. 
Not only does it taste great, but I FEEL great after eating it. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Turn....

So my daydream of having more time for Pinterest didn't quite work out as planned.  But that's okay, since I really have so much that I'd like to do away from the computer anyway.

"This Little Piggy" photo by me

I thought I would check in on here though to let you know that we are all doing well and are very much anticipating the arrival of spring.  It looks like we may have a  few more kiddo's running around here soon.  Now that I'm feeling so much better, I have decided to open up our home to do daycare again.  It's been a while (since Chelsea was little) since I have done it, but have been so blessed over the years to learn what an impact it has had on those families.  I wish I would have known then what I know now.  Now that I know, and have grown a little wiser in my years, I feel that I can contribute even more.  I have a lot of love to give!

I am still amazed at how much more I appreciate the little things.  I know that comes from loss - not only of loved ones, but of my health as well.  I hated the feeling of not being able to function as I once had.  My friends seemed to be continually running circles around me.  They may still be lapping me, but I have  picked up the pace a little bit.  I want what I do with my days to count for something - so once again, I look forward to this "turn" in my journey...

"You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
      My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
      at best, each of us is but a breath.” 
Psalm 39:5 NLT

Friday, March 2, 2012

Staying on Task - kids

I have a new love.... a place where I can go and browse, feel creative, be inspired and can get great ideas for pretty much anything.... such as ways to bring order to our home.  I have come to the realization lately that I really do not enjoy repeating myself over and over and over and over and over again - day after day after day after day.  Thanks to my new love (aka Pinterest) we now have a way for our goofy, easily distracted girl to stay on task.  She was excited to pick out the colors, I was excited to think about not repeating myself.

So doesn't that mean more time for Pinterest if I really am implementing some of the ideas?  I think so!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple Rice & Beans with a Kick

It has been cold here, and now that I'm eating better, I don't have the hot flashes like I used to.  On days like this, a hot flash just might be nice as I've been shivering in my socks all morning!

A hot cup of coffee is out - which really I don't mind since I have been sleeping so much better since kicking the habit.  I feel rested and have more energy....

But enough about that.  Let's get to the rice and beans.  Today I wanted something warm and filling - yet easy and fast to throw together.  This dish hit the mark.

Don't let the fact that it's so simple fool you.  It's good, and nutritious... and perfect for those chilly days!


  • 2 cans of black or pinto beans (or both!)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (not Italian seasoned)
  • Jalapeno - fresh or canned - to taste
  • Brown rice

That's it!  Simply put the tomatoes and jalapeno in any blender and blend.  Start of with a small amount of jalapeno and adjust to the heat that you like.  It does seem to lose some heat when cooked and mixed with the beans and rice, so you might make it a little hotter than what you would normally like.

Strain and rinse the beans, add them to a pot along with tomato sauce.  Bring to boil and then simmer.  The longer you can let it simmer to let the flavors meld, the better it will be.

Serve over brown rice.
(I like to keep cooked brown rice on hand, so I cook extra when I make it.  I keep individual portions in the freezer for days like this).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tortilla Soup = Satisfying!

These crisp, chilly evenings have made it a perfect time for some Fresh Tortilla Soup.  This recipe is so easy to make, and packed full of nutrition.  It has become my "go to" recipe when I am chilled and craving a cup of coffee… but so much better for me than coffee, and very satisfying!  I even eat it out of a coffee mug...

·         1 can of vegetable broth (or chicken / beef)
·         1 cup water
·         1 Roma Tomato
·         1 Carrot
·         1 Stalk of Celery
·         1 thin slice of Onion
·         1 Garlic Clove
·         ½ of a Yellow Squash
·         ½ of Red Bell Pepper
·         ½ Fresh Jalapeno (optional)
·         2 Mushrooms
·         Salt & Pepper to taste
·         ½ tsp. Cumin
·         1 tsp. Taco Seasoning

Additional Ingredients:
·         1 bunch Cilantro (chopped)
·         ¼ cup Black Olives
·         ½  cup Corn – drained
·         ½ cup Black Beans (drained)
·         2 oz Tortilla Chips
1     ½ Avocado, cut into larger chunks - added after soup dished into bowls

High Power Blender:  This recipe is super easy with a high powered blender.  Just add the top ingredients in the order they are listed, chopping larger vegies in half, and blend 5-7 minutes, until heavy steam comes out.  Then turn to low variable speed and add remaining ingredients, blend for about  10 seconds.

 Stove Top:  Chop  vegetables listed in top ingredients and add to pot of broth and water.  Cover and bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer until carrot chunks are soft.  Add seasonings.  Using an immersion /hand blender, or batches in regular blender (let cool to avoid burns) – blend ingredients until desired consistency.  Return to heat.  Return to simmer and add remaining ingredients.  No blender?  Try using a potato masher once the vegies are soft.

This is one of those recipes that you can adjust to how you like it.  Play with it and find what you like... and then kick back and enjoy the warmth it brings.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Even in the Small Things

This morning as I was walking, I passed by a tree that was totally covered with frost.  It was so stunning that I had to stop and turn around for a second look.  There were buds already, brilliantly covered with beautiful bright, crisp, minute icicles.  I contemplated taking a picture right then, but kept walking since there were neighbors out and about.  I decided that my camera wouldn’t have been able to capture the beauty, and really, I have so many pictures already…. Who would want to see one of frosty tree buds?

My heart is heavy this morning, as I have a few friends going through some really tough things – so tough that I found myself weeping as I prayed for them.

As I opened up a new devotional to restore my soul, the message was meant for me… and meant for me to share.

From Daily Readings for Difficult Days by Jennifer Carter:

“ … as I innocently bustled my way…. I see the light catching the branches of a tree – nothing surprising you may say.  What struck me is that, even now, before the harshest day of winter has come, the buds of next year's leaves are already furled up waiting for that first warm day of spring.

Even in our darkest times there is the promise of something better to come, if we can only believe and stand firm.  As surely as the seasons come and go, so the dark times eventually pass and a brighter time arrives.

Yet just as in the winter it is so hard to remember the feel of the warm sun beating down on your skin, in the dark times we need to remember that God is faithful and He promises to be with us through the darkest of days.”

Of course, after reading such a beautiful analogy, I had to go back and take a picture of the tree branches before all of the frost melted to share with my friend…. And now you.

‘ And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age. ’
~ Matthew 28:20