Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alternative Medicine





Well, I’ll be out of pocket over the next few weeks…

I’m scheduled for some intensive physical therapy and acupuncture.

Hopefully, this will bring some measure of relief and I’ll be able to fully use my left arm again.

I would appreciate your prayers.


See you soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In the Kitchen

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Throughout my ordeal with various health issues, there has been one thing I was unwilling to give up. Cooking for my family.

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It’s a non-negotiable for me right now. It’s therapy. Yes, even if I must have a stool and can only use one arm at times.

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I wouldn’t feel good about feeding my family convenient processed foods. Especially in light of my own health issues.

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So, I cook for us. Everyday. It’s a good thing we like simple food. We know food doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good.

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We’re true southerners. We like our fried fish (I only fry occasionally). We like our biscuits. We like our grits and scrambled eggs.

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Comfort food. I’ve learned to cook in a healthier way. I use organic coconut oil for frying and for shortening. I use real cream.

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Fresh, organic, local (for the most part) produce and meat. No pesticides. No preservatives. No unnatural ingredients.

It just tastes better. And it makes me feel better. Seriously. I feel healthier when I eat this way. All of those additives we consumed for years wreaked havoc on my digestive system. They’re poison, I tell you. Eating this way, I’m virtually cured of my Crohn’s disease. (Do not click if you are faint of heart. Graphic pictures are included in the description.)

And I feel really good about nourishing my family.

Here’s a simple, easy recipe that’s versatile, and it’s sure to get even the most finicky of eaters to eat their veggies.


Cheeseburger and Veggie Bake

3 medium potatoes

1 head of cauliflower or broccoli

1 medium onion

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, add coarsely chopped onion, ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. (You can use a couple cloves of finely chopped garlic, or a couple tsp. of powdered garlic. In this recipe I like to use powdered because the fresh garlic burns easily. I use about 2 tsp. of  sea salt and 1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper.) Cook over medium-high heat, crumbling the ground beef as it cooks, until the onions are translucent and the meat is no longer pink. Set aside. In a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish, layer thinly sliced potatoes (scrub ‘em good and don’t worry about peeling them. The peel is good for you!), coarsely chopped cauliflower on top of the potatoes, and the ground beef mixture over the top of everything else. (Between the layers of vegetables, I also like to add a little salt and pepper.) Now, pour heavy cream evenly over the top of everything. I usually don’t measure, just eye-ball it. Can you ever have too much cream? I think not. And top with parmesan cheese (sometimes I use regular cheddar cheese, it just depends on what I have on hand.) Cover with foil (or a LARGE lidded casserole dish works here) and cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Delish! Even my picky eaters (my husband and Sara Lynn) eat this meal up with delight.

You can see pictures of the layering process and finished dish in the third row of pictures above. I served it with freshly snapped green beans on the side. (Do you recognize my newly found soup bowl? Perfect for serving this meal! We southerners love our food served up in a bowl. Yum!)

And to prove the versatility of this dish, I served it later in the week with potatoes, yellow squash, and chicken breast. You don’t even have to cook the chicken first. Just layer the raw breasts (I used 3) on top, cover, and cook the same way. (Pictures above as well.) I also substituted mozzarella cheese for a change. There are no rules here. You can’t go wrong with garlic, onions, cream, and cheese. And for those rare times that I have no cream in the fridge, I just substitute about a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  It still turns out fabulously.

Is there anything easier than a one dish meal? Gotta love it.

One more thing, I simply must share a recipe I found from GNOWFGLINS for Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits. They are nothing short of amazing. And because all southerners know that biscuits are supposed to be round, that’s how I made mine. Pictures in the 6th row above. (All pictures can be clicked to view a larger image.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Feeling pretty special…


That sweet man of mine brought me roses today…


One dozen red ones, and a single yellow rose…

Because this is my absolute favorite song.


And as if that wasn’t thoughtful enough, he gave me these. Pretty scissors…

Because he said I used them so often he wanted me to have a pretty pair. My heart is so full.

My sweet husband noticed that I’ve been a bit discouraged lately with where I find myself physically. I’m a 31-year-old wife and mother who struggles to maintain good health. And who also struggles with daily pain. Don’t get me wrong - I know I am a blessed woman. God has lavishly blessed me beyond anything I could have ever asked for. And I trust him in the midst of this place I find myself. But, I am human. And some days I find it harder to put one foot in front of the other. That’s when He carries me. When He sends someone to be Jesus’ hands and feet to me. To minister to me, and wrap His arms around me. And He lets me know that He truly cares about me, and He knows just how fragile I am.

Yes, I trust Him. He is faithful. He is the Great Physician. He is able.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thrifty Treasures


I’m a frugal girl. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I absolutely love shopping at estate sales and thrift stores.

We use cloth napkins around here, and I adore silver… so these gorgeous napkin rings made it home with me from the last estate sale I visited.

Also purchased was a vintage silver and glass coaster (in which my glass of water is now resting!) and beautiful handmade doily.

It really breaks my heart to see once treasured items going so cheaply. Really. Someone spent countless hours crocheting that intricate doily which I purchased for $1.00. So sad to me. But, I will treasure it.


I also picked up a cute little picnic basket that someone lovingly lined with fabric. We’ve already used it once for it’s intended purpose, and I’m sure we’ll use it many more times to come.


Have I told you how much I love vintage sheets? I like to sew Sara Lynn and I pajamas out of them. Recently, Daniel even requested his own pajama pants made from a sheet he picked out of my stash. I can’t imagine anything more soft and cozy to sleep in. Not to mention, you can get amazing yardage for very little money with sheets.


My heart leapt with joy when I saw this piece! I can hardly wait to make pancake balls.


Last, but not least, are these fabulous soup bowls and saucers. I love the poppies! And the two little handles. I can imagine soup (of course), oatmeal, or even grits (I’m thinking of you, Maura!) served up in these.


For under $25, I’m feeling really good about my treasures.

I wonder, do you enjoy thrifting or purchase items secondhand?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easy Blueberry Muffins


I love to bake. Most of what we eat, I cook from scratch…

So when I find an easy and delicious recipe that everybody loves, it fast becomes a staple on our table.

I use whole wheat flour almost exclusively. These blueberry muffins and my pie crusts are the exceptions.

For these, my family prefers the lightness of unbleached naturally white flour. You can certainly substitute regular whole wheat flour, and I’ve done so many times, just be sure to use 3/4 cup whole wheat flour for every 1 cup white flour.



Easy Blueberry Muffins

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 c. milk

2 c. unbleached naturally white flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend together butter, sugar, egg, and milk. In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Then blend together the two mixtures, being careful not to over mix, or your muffins will not be light. Fold in blueberries. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top.

These are so very easy. Sometimes I make them with strawberries or blackberries instead of blueberries. It just depends on what I have on hand. And all of the ingredients I use are organic. Give these a try! You won’t be sorry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Today’s Catch


We spent another gorgeous evening on the pond.


It makes me happy to see these two together. Their activity of choice these days is fishing.


Looks like a big one!


Poor Cocoa desperately wanted to help.


Daniel really got in there and checked this guy out.


3 lbs. 13 oz.


Sara Lynn wanted touch it, too. Fearless little girl.


Catch and release. Yep. That’s how we do it most days.


Sweet Sammy. She really irritated me by laying in my newly planted flowerbed yesterday.

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I planted roses (on the far side, hard to see them here), marigolds, and purple pincushions (above).

Thankfully, Sammy didn’t squish many of them. And I’m happy to report my tomato and rosemary seedlings are doing good.

I still haven’t started any more peppers or ground cherries since these were lost. That task is at the top of my to-do list.


All in all, we’re doing pretty good around here. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Planting Day


We spent another productive day in the garden yesterday.

The ground was broken and corn, beans, peas, and okra were planted.

As we planted our last row, we watched the sun go down together. And it felt so good.

As I type this morning, a nice soft, soaking rain is falling, nourishing our seeds. Good timing, indeed.


In all, 40 rows total were planted. I believe my sweet hubs was trying to make amends for those lost seedlings!

Fortunately for us, my Papa lives a short distance from us, and we were able to borrow his tiller and planter.

Those items are on our wish list… with so many other things we need and want around here.


It warmed my heart to see Daniel so eager to help his daddy.

They took turns with the planter, and the garden was prayed over by all…

You can see Daniel with his sweet hands pressed together in the photo above. My heart is so full!

For this event, I was relegated to a supervisory position (my neck is still mending).

I took notes and made decisions concerning what to plant in each row.

There are 20 rows of Trucker’s Favorite corn, and the other 20 rows contain 1 row each of 18 different varieties of peas/beans, plus 1 row of okra. Corn is easily cross-pollinated, so we stuck with one variety. (Trucker’s favorite is heat and drought tolerant and disease/pest resistant. It seemed like a good variety to me!) Cross-pollination doesn’t happen with peas or beans, so we’re trialing them this year. We’ll see which ones grow best in our soil and which ones we find tastiest, and those will be planted in abundance next year. There are an equal number of bush varieties and pole varieties. Cross pollination occurs in okra, so again we planted one variety: Clemson Spineless.


Earlier in the day, Sara Lynn and I repotted some tomato seedlings. These are all Homestead tomatoes which were my favorite tomatoes we grew last year. They really hold up well under our extreme heat and humidity better than other varieties I’ve grown. We’re also trying some new tomato varieties this year, but they are newly emerged seedlings and not yet ready for transplant.


I think it’s important to encourage homesteading/life skills early on in children. So, I gave Sara Lynn a few recycled pots, some potting soil, and seedlings of her own to plant. She happily potted her ‘peppers’ (she insisted hers were peppers even though I told her they were tomatoes!) while I took care of my own. We had a great time getting our hands dirty together, and I dare say a love for gardening was born in her little heart.


We worked up quite an appetite after our work was done. Cinnamon applesauce for me…


And ice cream for the little one.


I could tell she was all tuckered out after the planting fun.

When she asked me if she could take her nap outside, I thought, why not?


We rested on the back porch together. She with her teddy bear, and I with a good book. Bliss.