Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years!

Wow, I have so many ideas for things I want to post about, but it always seems to get away from me!

Tonight we are having some friends over (they have 4 kiddos) to celebrate New Years. We weren't sure until today that they were coming over, so I had no idea what I was going to make. I had barely anything in the fridge, and to top it off, their kids are very very picky eaters! So, I decided on this menu and made a run to Whole Foods:

Tortilla Chips w/ Cilantro Salsa
Spinach Dip - w/ crackers, carrot & celery sticks
Popcorn (Not from a bag!)
Mediterranean Pasta (recipe below)
Cheese Pizza (from Whole Foods)
Citrus Brownies (recipe below)
Sparkling Apple Juice
White Wine (Dry Comal Creek)

The pasta is a recipe I made up about a year ago, and my husband LOVES it:

Mediterranean Pasta

1lb Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
6oz feta cheese

1/4 white onion - chopped

3 cloves garlic - minced

1 can artichoke hearts - drained

1 can hearts of palm - drained

1 can baby corn - drained

1 jar roasted red bell peppers - drained

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

pepper as desired

Combine all ingredients, except pasta and feta, in a large bowl. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (can do in morning).

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add to serving bowl.

Heat large wok over medium heat and add marinated vegetables. Sautee for 5-10minutes.

Add vegetables and feta to pasta. Serve!

For the brownies, I use this recipe and add the zest of one orange and 2 teaspoons orange juice.

So, hopefully this evening will go over well. What is everyone else doing for New Years Eve?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


... is a wonderful day filled with hope. It is a hard day for some, and an incredibly joyous day for others. I pray that you will be filled with the hope that the Lord brings. I pray that we may continue to celebrate everyday we are given.

Peace. Love. Blessings.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 17, 2007

Wow, has it really been a week since I last posted? My goodness! Well the theme of this weeks menu is: FRUGAL! The budget is a bit tight the rest of the month, so I am doing my best to keep it as cheap as possible!

Monday: Swiss Chard Soft Tacos w/ black bean & corn salsa, side of sliced oranges
Tuesday: Split Pea Soup w/ homemade bread & side salad topped with vinaigrette
Wednesday: Husband's work Christmas Party - leftover Black Bean Burgers I froze from last week if we are still hungry
Thursday: Honey Baked Lentils w/ side salad topped with Tahini Dressing
Friday: Date Night (We always use the Entertainment Book)
Weekend/Other: Leftovers, Whole Wheat Pasta w/ tomato sauce
Snacks: Zucchini Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Popcorn (the real kind!)

I had an exciting moment at Whole Foods - Organic Valley Butter is on sale for $4.99 a pound, and then there is a coupon for $1.50 off in the new Mambo Sprouts coupon book! YAY! (I wish I could find local butter, but I have yet to find any!)

Well, that is the week - I was able to keep it at about $58 this week... I know, not as good as Crystal who does it for $35 a week, but we buy all organic, and local if possible. We also buy things as least processed as possible - thereby decreasing the amount of coupons available. Most coupons are for processed/packaged foods.

I also shop at Whole Foods which tends to be pricier, but I like supporting a company who has higher standards than most with what they will offer the public. I wish I could shop at farmers markets more, but they are hit or miss here.

Our usual grocery bill is between $75-100 per week including all toiletries, cleaning supplies, and things like probiotics.

My question to y'all (all 2 of you who read this!) is: How much is your weekly grocery bill? And, how do you keep it as frugal as possible?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Week of Dec 11,2007

Ok, so this week has been a little hectic. We spent all day Monday in mediation with a bunch of lawyers for this. I feel so out of whack and off schedule. So, here I am doing Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday...

Monday: I pulled out leftover butternut squash soup from the freezer... so glad I had this on hand!
Tuesday: Orange Glazed Tofu w/ Sesame Bok Choy and Brown Rice
Wednesday: Black Bean Burgers w/ Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday: Calcutta Eggplant (from World Food Cafe book) & Red Lentil Dal w/ Naan & plain yogurt
Weekend/Other: Sauteed Mushroom & Veggie Tacos
Zucchini bread

Monday, December 10, 2007

Please pray....

Please pray for my husband and I right now. We were in a very bad car accident in July of this year (they had to use the jaws of life to get me out, and I had internal bleeding along with a whole list of other injuries). The accident actually happened on our one year wedding anniversary. I am so thankful we are alive today, but sometimes the "real world" issues can weigh down on you.

The whole legal process and paying for medical bills is a bit overwhelming right now... basically we are not sure if there is going to be enough to cover my existing medical bills, and I am still seeing the doctor (my broken ribs haven't healed and I still am having back issues).

I have never been in a situation like this. I had always thought that with an accident like this you would get a big chunk of money - at least that is what the media tells you. But no, that doesn't happen. I don't want a huge sum - all I want is medical bills paid!

Sorry, I needed to vent. It is just frustrating how the whole system (legal and medical) works. So please pray that we will feel comforted that the Lord will take care of this situation and pray that we can turn it over to Him (that is the hardest part)!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven : Day 3 (& 4)

I am taking the challenge to make my home a haven from Crystal, over at Biblical Womanhood. Today I am doing Wednesday's and Thursday's challenges to get caught up.

Today I started with my morning routine... and let me tell you how hard it was not to get on the computer before I finished it! Oh my goodness... it is terrible! I didn't realize what a draw this thing has on me. I know that having my morning routine in place will really help kick the bad habit of rolling out of bed and getting straight on the computer! Anyone else deal with this?

The challenges for today (and yesterday) are:

Refresh Your Spirit: Morning routine and devotions are done! The verse I focused on today was Psalm 42:2 "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

Take Time to Plan:

To Do -
(1) Call mom
(2) Write patient notes
(3) Call patients
(4) E-mail my boss
(5) Complete Ebay stuff (package and ship)
(6) Laundry!! Including fold and put away!
(7) Get oil change
(8) E-mail a friend
(9) Do all things on daily cleaning schedule (I will post this at some later date)

How I am going to bless my family -
This weekend I am going to make my husband breakfast (his favorite - blueberry pancakes!) in bed and allow him to have time to relax!

Do Something:

Ok, today I am doing all laundry, cleaning the laundry room, picking up around the house, and cleaning the bathroom!

So that is the plan for today... we will see how it goes!

Making Your Home a Haven : Day 1 (& 2) Update

Ok, so yesterday I followed Crystal's challenges for day 1 & 2 (Monday and Tuesday). Creating my morning routine is something that I have needed to do!

Our entry way is pretty bare right now. I haven't decorated it at all - just painted the walls. I was thinking "Oh, this should be easy, there is nothing in there, and it is pretty clean." WRONG! I had no idea how disgusting the baseboards were! I swept, mopped, picked up things out of place, cleaned the baseboards, and wiped down the front door inside and out (the rag was black from all the nastiness).

Here are before pictures of our entry way: The first one is as if you are walking in to our house. The second is as if you are looking at the front door to walk out.

So here are the after pictures:

Next, I moved on to the entry way closet.... I didn't realize how out of control and messy it was! All of the vacuum accessories were just thrown in there, there was all types of junk on the top shelf and I don't think I had ever cleaned the floor since we moved in! (Confession: I didn't even realize there was tile in there until yesterday!)

So here is the before and after pictures:

Here is my living room before and after also:

The living room was pretty clean, but it needed a vacuum, put things in the right place, and a quick dust. I also added a nativity set that I found at the thrift store to the coffee table. I am not big on overly Christmas (like Santa...) decorations. I like to keep it simple, but was having a hard time finding something I liked. I saw this at the thrift store and fell in love! It is so simple and reflects the true meaning of Christmas! Here is a picture of my wonderful $5.99 find!

So, that is it for yesterday's challenge... on to today's!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Better late than never!

Ok, so Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood started a challenge on Monday... and now it is Wednesday and I am just starting. Oh well, I NEED this so bad! So, better late than never! I am going to do Monday and Tuesday's challenge today. Yo can read all about the daily challenges over at Crystal's blog to get a better idea of what I am talking about.

The challenge is: Making Your Home a Haven!

Today's (Monday & Tuesday's) Challenge:

1. Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)

Ok, done... I really need to work on this. I have been REALLY bad about spending time with the Lord daily. There always seems like there is something else to do that has to get done. No true. I know deep down that my time with the Lord is top priority. My home feels more welcoming, I'm happier, I feel at peace, I am nicer to my husband, and everything runs so much easier when I take time with the Lord.

2. Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)

Morning Routine:
(1) Wake up... so hard for me! I could sleep till 9:00am everyday!
(2) Make bed... I have to do this, otherwise I will want to crawl back in!
(3) Put on yoga clothes and do 30 minutes of yoga... I feel 800 times better when I actually do this!
(4) Eat breakfast & drink tea while reading the bible and journaling... I think we already talked about how bad I need this!
(5) Shower, get dressed for the day... put on REAL clothes, even if I am cleaning that day!

Ok, so the times I plan on doing all of this is still up in the air... any suggestions?

3. Do Something! (5 -15 minutes)

On Monday, Crystal challenged us to clean up the entry way, and on Tuesday she challenged us to clean up the living room! So here it goes! I will update this post later with pictures...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 3, 2007

Well, I feel weird about not posting for so long... I just sort of forgot! This weekend was very busy, but we got quite a bit done. Here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Spinach and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Tuesday: Green Bean and Sweet Potato Curry over Brown Rice
Wednesday: BLT's w/ crackers & spinach artichoke dip
- Based on this recipe, but I am going to use tempeh instead... I'll let you know how that goes
Thursday: Whole Wheat Pasta tossed w/ Carrot Top & Walnut Pesto topped w/ fresh tomatoes
- Based on this recipe, but using carrot tops instead of arugula
Friday: Date Night!
Weekend/Other: Leftovers, Blueberry Pancakes (BEST recipe! I double the berries & use more wheat flour than white)
Snacks: Zucchini Bread

Does anyone have a good Zucchini Bread recipe? The recipe I tried is REALLY sweet! It tastes good, but I don't think it is my favorite recipe.

Have a beautiful week!