Category Archives: Food Ideas

An Idea from the Veggie Challeged

salsa peanutsYup. Been on the health journey since October 24th. Nope. Still don’t love vegetables. I have improved slightly. I now eat cucumber. I had a slice of zucchini (but I’m not sure it counts because it was baked with cheese on top.) And I eat actually like cantaloupe. (Yes, I know it isn’t a veggie, but it’s healthy, okay?)

So here’s my latest tip for getting a salad down when you don’t like veggies. It wasn’t quite as good as last week’s green grape and cashews, but it’ll do in a pinch. It’s also a tip for digging around your house when you don’t want to go to the grocery store and just trying something a little different based on what you find. (Consider that a money saving tip, too. It’s amazing what you can come up with by saving your $$ and shopping your cupboards.)

This fabulous salad is spinach, honey roasted peanuts, and raisins. (The other serving on the plate is  lasagna. And that’s a praise report ’cause I was super stressed the day we had this, and a friend “happened” to hand me a lasagna so I wouldn’t have to cook that night. I got so much done with the “what to make for dinner” issue solved with no effort!)

I’m enjoying the simple pleasures–like not cooking or a salad with honey roasted peanuts–one day at a time. How about you? What is your simple pleasure today?

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A salad idea from the veggie challenged

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Another Hydration Tip

How are you doing with drinking that water? Even after all these months I find it difficult to keep up my water intake.

Just a minute.

(“Much better,” she says, sipping the cool, clear, slightly flavored water she’s about to discuss.)

Today’s tip comes from my friend Monique. She snipped a few stems of lemon balm from her backyard, lemon grass waterwhich is one of my very favorites. Though not especially large, it boasts little paths through trees, flowers, herbs, and veggies, somehow looking beautiful and organic, cared about and free, all at the same time.

Monique suggested I put the lemon balm in a pitcher of water and enjoy.

I discovered two things about this treat.

1) It needs to sit longer than lavender or mint to infuse the water with its properties. I recommend overnight.

2) It doesn’t last as long as lavender or mint and fresh stems/leaves need to be added more often to enjoy optimal flavor.

My next goal is to get a cutting from my friend and grow my own lemon balm plant to harvest.

Another idea for gently flavored water comes from my friend Kristin, who slices a few strawberries into a pitcher and leaves it overnight. And I added cucumber slices to my water glass at dinner recently.

Do you have a hydration tip to share?

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Gently flavored water makes hydration more fun

A Little Bit Wiser

Things I learned since I last blogged:

1) Kind bars exist. My best friend from way back in elementary school, Caryl, has to eat gluten-free. While we hung out in Breckenridge together last week she introduced all of us to the wonder of dark chocolate cherry cashew Kind bars. 180 calories. Full of antioxidants and vitamins. Taste fabulous with a glass of almond milk (30 calories). Just sayin’ . . .

kind bar

2) Traveling has a whole new dimension when you get out of the car and WALK. More on that in future posts, but the trees and people of Montrose, the wildflowers of Breckenridge, and the passes of the Rocky Mountains are experienced in a whole new way when on foot.

breck flowers 2

3) Powerpoint is a fabulous speaking aid. You can do all kinds of cute graphics that make you look more clever than you really are.

light bulb

4) BENew‘s BEfull shakes are even better when you follow the advice of your friend Kristin and occasionally mix one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of chocolate into your almond milk instead of thinking it has to be an either/or decision. (And it’s really fun to be on the same team, cheering each other on, when you’re with your girlfriends.)

befull

5) Sometimes (often?) we’re harder on ourselves than God is. We can think we get it that His grace is abundant and overflowing, then we realize while sitting on the side of a mountain that He actually wants more joy for us than we allow ourselves. On the side of the mountain with the world before us and beauty overwhelming every sense we realize we can still be blind-sided by the whole trying to be good enough and do enough syndrome even when we think we’ve overcome it.

hike

How About You? Would love to hear your tidbits of wisdom!

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Tidbits of learning

Grandma’s Pudding and the Red, White, and Blue

banana pudding 5I  pause only a brief moment to pull up the memory.

In my mind’s eye I see a hand built bar extending in front of the stove. On it is a black rotary phone, glasses, sweet tea, and pop bottles awaiting the evening meal, and there, covered in plastic wrap in a clear glass bowl is my grandma’s banana pudding.

A few years ago I happened upon notes in one of my cookbooks. I was thrilled. Grandma had been with her God for years, and I thought her famous banana pudding left with her. But there, in my own handwriting, were adaptations to the pudding recipe with the note, “Grandma’s way” next to them.

A new 4th of July tradition was born that day, and I held my own bowl of banana pudding high when I arrived at my brother’s house whispering, “Grandma’s recipe.”

It was first on my to-do list this morning (well right after the 3.77 mile walk with hubby and the two eggs and 1 chicken sausage I ravenously consumed after that.)

The pudding was made the old-fashioned, southern way–layered vanilla waffers and perfectly ripened bananas.

banana pudding 1a

Whole milk, sugar, eggs and flour on the stove, don’t stop stirring.

banana pudding 2

Finally, just when you think your arm is going to fall off, it thickens.

banana pudding 3

Then you add the real butter and real vanilla. (Grandma used margarine, but even the best banana pudding ever sometimes needs tweaks.)

banana pudding 4

Once mixed, it flows over the bananas and wafers, then is decorated with a few crumbles, just like Grandma did.

banana pudding 1

Then it is off to the refrigerator where the cookies become mushy, the bananas softer, and the flavors invade each other to make a new one, slightly altered by their unity.

Today is a celebration day. Not a day to count calories or worry about the waist line. It’s a day to embrace my little family and rejoice that my son asked for Grandma’s pudding, pulling my past into this cycling of life to the future.

Celebration isn’t about money or bells and whistles. It’s the simple things, like Grandma’s pudding and cuddling under a blanket together to watch fireworks. It’s also the deep things. Gratitude for loved ones. A humble embrace of freedoms earned by another’s sacrifice. A moment’s reflection on the value of the human soul, the meaning of liberty. (Thanks, Jerry for the link.)

Now to bake pies and fry chicken. I wanted to grill in the backyard, but the kids wanted a picnic at the fireworks site. Call me old-fashioned but sandwiches and chips just don’t cut it today, so I’m off to the kitchen.

It’s a good thing Jerry and I walked before breakfast.

Happy Fourth!

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Grandma’s Pudding and the Red, White, and Blue!

Sage Advice

sage - CopyStill looking for a way to hydrate without being bored? When I posted my Lavender and Mint blog about a lovely, no calorie simple pleasure, my friend Monique mentioned she flavors her water with sage.

When I was grumpy on Monday morning, even after my walk, I fought back by getting my hands in the dirt, replanting my sage bush from the old garden area to a new home. (Okay, it was actually my burly son Stephen who got the shovel and dug it out, long, strong roots and all. This is probably why a few minutes working in the backyard helped my mood; he did the heavy lifting. That sage is hearty stuff. My husband had mowed down the old garden, sage and all, and it came right back!)

After the transplant,  I picked a few springs of sage, washed them, and plopped them into a pitcher of water. The jury is still out about whether or not this new water flavor will become a staple in our home. I loved the mint and lavender water from day one. The fragrance alone made me happy. But I’m still trying to decide whether sage belongs in water or should stay relegated to homemade chicken soup and beef breakfast sausage.

It could be I’m prejudiced against sage from my childhood. My grandmother was convinced it cured the common cold. Sweet little thing she was she rarely asked me to do anything unpleasant, but oh how she cajoled me to get a cup of hot sage tea down when I was sick!

It was very strong.

And gross.

I’ve chosen not to foist sage tea on my children, but am not above making them chicken soup hiding an extra portion of sage when they don’t feel well.

But back to the point. How do you get your water down? I also love lemon or lime squeezed into my water, as well as water flavored with cucumber slices or berries.water with sage

Remember, drinking two large glasses of water first thing in the morning helps you feel more full the rest of the day! Another fact: sometimes when we feel hungry, it’s actually our thirst censor going off! Next time you’re hungry and it’s not mealtime, consider drinking a big glass of water. Are you still feel hungry in five minutes?

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Sage advice for hydration

Are you truly hungry, or is it thirst?