Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweet Potato Chili



I made Sweet Potato Chili last night, and it was really good!  It's a good way to sneak some healthy veggies in, but it still tastes like chili.

Ingredients:
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin

Optional: 1 pound of cooked ground turkey or beef

Toppings: Cheese, sour cream

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours.  When ready to serve, take a potato masher and lightly mash the sweet potatoes so they are not quite so chunky.

You could also cook this on the stove top if you were in a hurry.

Recipe adapted from here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crockpot Vegetable Soup


It is so nice to come home to a fully cooked meal.  Last night, I put some food in the crock pot before bed, and we came home to a fresh pot of vegetable soup after church today.

Put some cornbread in the oven, and everyone is happy!

Enjoy!

Crockpot Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth (chicken broth would work as well)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Cup Chopped Carrots (frozen would work too)
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 3 Red Potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Optional:
  • Add 1 lb of cooked ground turkey or beef
Toppings:
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
Directions:
Place vegetable broth, water, tomato sauce, veggies, beans, and potatoes in crock pot. Cook on low 8-12 hours or high 4-6 hours. The ground beef or turkey can be added at this time too, but I like to add it in during the last hour of cook time if possible.  Scoop into bowls and top with sour cream and cheese.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homeschool in a Small Space

My family and I sold our house a few months ago and are currently living in an apartment while we look for a house.  Although it's only temporary, it can be challenging to live in an apartment with three small children.  Combine that with homeschooling, and it can definitely get a little tight.  So, I am trying to make the best use of my small space.  For me, that means easy accessibility: I want easy access to my homeschooling supplies and easy access for it to be put away since we are using our homeschool space for other things as well.

Our homeschool room is also our eating area.  Here is what I have done to try and make it as practical as possible.

Here is a view of the homeschool wall.  When we work together, we usually sit at the dinner table.  But the small table is great for independent work or if younger siblings want to color while we are doing our lesson. 


We have a white, 6 cube book shelf.  I use this for storing supplies such as construction paper, learning station activities, paint, bins with art supplies, etc. On top of the bookshelf is my storage desktop carousel.  It holds pencils, scissors, markers, dry-erase markers, paper clips, tape, etc. It's amazing how much stuff it holds! Look for a coupon to buy one at Michael's.  On top of the book shelf I also display important things relevant to the week's lesson.  This week we are studying the letter S, so that is displayed.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies



It's a rainy day around here…a nice day to have a warm, soft cookie.  Determined to make them healthy, I experimented today and ended up with exactly what I was hoping for: a soft, chewy cookie, without all the bad stuff.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine:

  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1/3 Cup Flour (any flour will work: whole wheat, white whole wheat, all purpose flour, or grind up oats so it is the consistency of flour; I used Pamela's gluten-free flour)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (any oil or melted butter should work)
  • 1/3-1/2 Cup Toppings (I used raisins, chocolate and white chocolate chips)


Drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased baking sheet or use parchment paper.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Mud Run Experience





Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the athletic type.  I so wish I was, but truth be told, I’m just not very good at athletic things.  I’m content to sit on the side lines and cheer for people, but I don’t like to be the one playing, mostly because I don’t particularly enjoy being laughed at.  I do enjoy being outside and going hiking and I’ll even camp out for a few nights, but that’s about as athletic and outdoorsy as I get.  Now, my husband knew this about me when he married me. So, last year when he decided to participate in a mud run, he knew not to even ask if I’d like to run in it with him. I mean, it’s exactly like it sounds: a run in the nasty, dirty mud.  Yes, I went to watch him and laugh at how nasty he looked and make jokes about how crazy it is that people pay to get muddy. He had a great time participating, and I enjoyed making fun of him on the sidelines.  It was fun for everyone.  So, when he decided to sign up again this year, I wasn’t surprised.  I wasn’t entirely thrilled about the fact that a chunk of our money was wasted, but at least it was going towards a good cause and he was having fun.  But, here was the catch: he decided to sign both of us up this year.  Haha….yeah, right; there was no way I was participating.  Why would I want to participate in an event where you have to run and get muddy and dirty?  And, I’m not getting paid to do it? I pictured falling on my face and mud getting all in my mouth (both of which happened). 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oven-baked Granola



Here's a healthy, yummy, and easy recipe...just in time for the holidays!  I love making granola because you can always change up the recipe to make it just the way you like it. Enjoy!

3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 Cups Rice Cereal (I used Rice Krispy Cereal)
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Almonds or Other Nut (I crushed ours)
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds or Other Nut or Seed
2 TBSP Chia Seeds (optional)
1 TBSP Vanilla
2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Dried Fruit to be added after baking (I used cranberries and raisins)
1/4-1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips to be added after baking

Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large mixing bowl, combine all above ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit and chocolate
Spread on parchment paper and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes
When finished baking, add dried fruit and chocolate





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Cheerful Heart


I am taking on a new challenge as I spend time with God each week.  Each week, I am asking Him to show me something specific in my life that I need to work on and I am looking up Bible verses to help me overcome these areas with His strength.  As Christians, we should all be doing this, but sometimes it’s easier to work on broad areas such as: I hope to be a better friend, or to have a better quiet time, etc.  I am finding it a bit challenging to really pin point certain areas that need work and even more challenging to try and give God complete reign over these areas. It has also been shocking and humbling to discover how much I truly struggle in certain areas.  This reminds me more and more how much I need to rely on Christ’s strength and not my own. 

This week, I am working on replacing a complaining spirit with a cheerful heart. 

Why does it seem to be so much easier to complain than to have a cheerful heart?  Have you ever taken the time to count how many complaints come out of your mouth in a day?  As I have been working on this, I have made myself more aware of the words that are coming out of my mouth.  I have to admit: I’m a little ashamed at the number of negative comments that come flying from my mouth, especially since I’m consciously trying to work on it! 

I think it’s easier to complain because we are always unsatisfied.  We have a sinful nature that always wants more.  If we do not take this wrong attitude to Christ and ask Him to help us change, this sinful attitude can lead us down a road of misery.  The misery not only affects us, however, but it affects those who are around us as well. 

What are some of the bad habits that you display when you have a complaining heart?  One of my bad habits is to sigh.  I never really thought of it being a “bad thing” necessarily until I started seeing my four year old son emulate this same behavior.  Just hearing him sigh shows me that he is having a complaining spirit instead of a cheerful, joyful spirit.  But, from whom did he learn this?  From his mother! 

Now, let’s contrast this with a person who is always cheerful, not just because life is going perfectly but because their joy is in the Lord and His Spirit is flowing from them.  What a difference!  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a person who is cheerful simply because my trust is in the Lord and because He wants us to find our joy in Him alone. 

Having a complaining spirit is one of those “sins” that we seem to disregard.  It doesn’t seem as “high on the list” as other sins, so we tend to skip right past it.  If we look into Scripture, however, we see that it is a sin and that all sin separates us from God.  We don’t need to fool ourselves into thinking that “little sins” will not affect our relationship with God and others.  It may not be fun to look at our faults and ask God to search our hearts, but when we do this, God truly transforms us by opening up our eyes to our need for Him and by helping us replace our sinful habits with His Spirit. 

It is also very easy to make excuses for why it's "okay" for us to complain.  I am 36 weeks pregnant right now, so there have been times where I have used the "pregnancy card" to make an excuse as to why I am complaining.  But, this is wrong.  Just because we may not be comfortable or our circumstances may not be favorable does not give us the right to disregard this sinful practice.  We all have a choice to make: will we choose to cave and let words flow from our mouth that neither give life or peace, or will we choose to look beyond our circumstances and choose words display a cheerful heart?  What kind of impact will it make on others and what kind of person will you become because of the attitude you chose?  

May we all take the time to see where a complaining spirit has crept into our lives and may we let the truth of Scripture keep us in check.

Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”

Colossians 3 16-17 “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Proverbs 17:22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Garlic Orange Chicken Stir Fry


Ingredients
For the Chicken:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. orange juice

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and place chicken in pan. In a small skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for a minute.  Then, add the brown sugar and the orange juice.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Bake, uncovered, in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Set chicken aside.

For the Stir Fry:

  • 2 cups of vegetables (we used fresh asparagus, broccoli, and a frozen veggie blend with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans.  You could use any vegetables you have on hand).  
  • 2 cups of prepared rice of choice ( I used jasmine rice)
  • Soy Sauce (to taste)
  • Garlic and Onion Powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of Orange Juice

Saute veggies in pan with a little water and soy sauce.  Cover the skillet loosely with foil and let it cook on medium heat until vegetables are tender (about 8 minutes)
Add cooked rice and cooked chicken to skillet.
Add orange juice and any extra soy sauce, garlic and onion powder, etc.
Loosely cover and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes on medium.