Thursday, December 31, 2009

resolutions & many other things

There is a few things I wanted to share with you...

2010 Resolutions (this is my list thus far...)
* these are in no particular order

1. exercise at least 3 days a week
2. be more organized about how/when I clean the house
3. eat more whole foods and less canned, processed, and crappy food. Cook meals by scratch. Experiment more with soaking grains.
4. learn more about photography
5. be more aware of the things that distract me from growing a deeper relationship with Christ and remove them from my life.

I have been reading thru the book 'Suffering and The Sovereignty of God' by John Piper and Justin Taylor. This is a fabulous book that will really challenge anything you have ever been taught about why God lets/permits/ordains/causes bad things to happen. I really encourage you to read it.

I really LOVE love love my chocolate chip cookie recipe. HOWEVER... I hate that it uses vanilla pudding (because it comes in a box), so I decided to try a new recipe today. Now, this new recipe isn't fabulous... it isn't near as good as my recipe. But it doesn't use anything from a box, and it seemed to work quite nicely using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose. So here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick (1/2 cup )butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 c. chocolate chips
1. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg, then vanilla extract.
2. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt and mix. Mix flour and cream of tartar, then add them to the batter and mix it all up. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for an hour, even longer if possible.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add cookies to baking sheets in average sized portions. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Well friends, have a lovely night celebrating together. Thanks for reading my random thoughts. Farewell 2009 and welcome 2010!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "
Jeremiah 29:11

Healthy Refried Beans

OK so I promise: today I'm going to sit down and pray and think about my resolutions for 2010. Hopefully I will post them in the next few days. But today, I wanted to share with you a new recipe I just tried. I love making bean and cheese quesadillas for lunch or an easy quick dinner, but have always felt bad buying canned refried beans. In an effort to make me feel less guilty we've have always gotten the vegetarian refried beans so that they're a little bit healthier. Anyway, I found this recipe on and it turned out really well. So Here it is;

Healthy Refried Beans
yield: 9-10 cups

THE NIGHT BEFORE: cook dry beans in crockpot. Put the following in the crockpot and cook on low all night (or 9 hours)
51/2 cups (2lbs) dry pinto or black beans
about 31/2 quarts water, as needed
1 tsp garlic powder

THE NEXT DAY: place drained cooked beans, reserving the bean liquid, in a mixing bowl; add remaining ingredients:
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt, to taste, optional

Blend beans with electric mixer or by hand with a potato masher, adding amount of reserved bean liquid until beans are the consistency desired.

And VOILA! There you have it folks! Yummy, healthy refried beans that are easy to make!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Time flies...

While spending time praying this morning I was remembering this time last year. We had just moved into our house and were trying to get settled. Life was busy, and we feeling so blessed. Time flies... can I get an amen? I've been thinking about 2010 that is just around the corner, and was wondering if I had made any resolutions for 2009. How sad is it that I couldn't remember?! hehe! Anyway, I was pretty sure that I had made some, and so I decided to search my blog to see if I had posted them. Sure enough I had;

I was reading over what I had resolved to do in 2009 and out of the 9 I have done about 6 of them. Although I'm disappointed in myself for not doing all 9 I would say that even just accomplishing 1 of them would've been a big deal. So wait a minute.. let me rephrase... I haven't mastered those 6 things... I just think I'm better at them then last year. Make sense? Its like, they are still a work in progress.

So I haven't really came up with an official list of resolutions for this 2010 that is coming, but once I do... you will hear about it. 2010 is going to be different. 2010 is going to have me being intentional about physical activity. 2010 is going to have be working on being a better wife... mastering my homemade bread recipe.... learning more about whole foods and how to cook in a nourishing way. 2010 is going to be centered around Christ, and learning more about who He is and what effects that should have on my life.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3

Here I come, 2010!

Friday, December 4, 2009

homemade lotion

hello folks! Two things:

1.) I just made my first order from and they are FABULOUS to work with! Check them out!

2.) With the ingredients I ordered from Mountain Rose I made some homemade lotion, and I want to share the recipe with you! I got the recipe from Lindsay at

photo by Mountain Rose Herbs

Here is the recipe:

Shea Butter Lotion
1/8 cup coconut oil (extra virgin is preferred)
1/4 cup raw shea butter
3-4 Tablespoons talc-free cornstarch or arrowroot power (optional, to thicken)

Combine coconut oil and shea butter in a small bowl with a hand mixer or stick blender. You may have to soften the shea butter just slightly over very low heat in order to incorporate them well together, but it should combine well with a mixer. Add cornstarch or arrowroot a tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired thickness.

Give it a try and let me know what ya think!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cranberry Salad

Ever wonder what to do with fresh cranberries? Well here is a fabulous recipe for you to try! I guarantee you'll love it!

Cranberry Salad

1 bag fresh cranberries
6 fuji apples
1 can crushed pineapple
2 oranges
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Cut cranberries in half, dice the apples with the skin, dice the oranges, drain pineapple. Mix all together and sprinkle with sugar.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Apologies & Potato Soup

I know I have been a VERY bad blogger lately! Its been over a month since my last post, and I'm happy to say that there really isn't anything exciting going on! hehe! Life is good and we are happy.

Last night we had our small group over for a Potato Party. We had a blast! Each person that came brought some sort of dish that had potatoes in it. We had: potato soup, potato chips, yam bake, tatortot casserole, golden potato bake, creamy potatoes, and french fries. Quite a spread!!!!

So today, I wanted to post my famous potato soup recipe. This recipe is what won my husband over.... one bite of this soup, and he was head over heels in love with me :-) So, I'm warning you.. if you make this recipe for a man, then expect to get a proposal.
Here is the problem with my recipe though... I have a basic recipe that I use, but I change it quite a bit, and its sort of became one of those recipes that is "a little of this, and a little of that... a pinch of salt and a couple of pinches of garlic powder". SO, I will give you all the basic recipe that I use, and then try to explain the changes that I make to it, ok? Hopefully you can follow along, and I won't be too confusing :-)

By: Daisy Frantz
Taken from 'Seasoned With Love' : a german baptist cook book

6 slices of bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
5 large potatoes, diced
1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Saute bacon until nearly crisp. Add onion and garlic and saute until clear but not brown. Add potatoes and toss to coat with bacon drippings. Saute just a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add enough water to come well above potatoes. Cook until half done, then add Rivals.* Cook, covered, until done. Add seasonings** and canned soup. Add milk to make desired amount of consistency and simmer a few minutes to heat through and blend flavors. Do not boil. Soup will thicken if left standing very long.

* Rivals:
1 egg well beaten
1 cup flour or enough to make mixture crumbly but not too dry.

In small bowl, mix egg and flour together until crumbly. Should be moist but not sticky or gooey. Add to boiling potato mixture all at once, stirring fast with fork to break it up into small pieces. Do not have large lumps. If this happens, immediately cut them up with a sharp knife before they harden.

** Seasonings:
1 tsp Beau Monde
1.4 tsp each: onion salt, MSG, celery salt salt and pepper
1 small can creamed corn
fresh or dried parsley
green onion tops
grated cheese

Use all or as you wish


OK, so here is how I do this recipe:

1 package of bacon, diced
7-8 large russet potatoes, diced
2 can cream of chicken soup
1 can corn, drained
onion powder
garlic powder

Put diced bacon in a skillet, and lightly season with parsley, onion powder and garlic powder. Place half the bacon drippings in a big soup pot with the diced potatoes. Fill soup pot with water that goes well over the potatoes. Pour in drained can of corn into the soup pot. Bring this mixture to a boil. Pour in Rivals*. Turn down the temp to med. heat. Pour in both cans of cream of chicken. Season with (I really don't have specific measurements for the seasonings, I usually just do it to taste, but if I had to guess the measurements this is what they would be) 2 tbsp parsley, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Add a bit of pepper, and salt to taste. Cook the soup on medium, stirring constantly until the potatoes are soft.

* Rivals:
1 egg well beaten
1 cup flour or enough to make mixture crumbly but not too dry.

In small bowl, mix egg and flour together until crumbly. Should be moist but not sticky or gooey. Add to boiling potato mixture all at once, stirring fast with fork to break it up into small pieces. Do not have large lumps. If this happens, immediately cut them up with a sharp knife before they harden.

Serve soup in big bowls with a handful of bacon and cheese on top. ENJOY!

Monday, September 28, 2009

pips: the best

this is my friend pips.
she is lovely.
together we...
be goofy
drink tea
eat nutella
keep each other accountable
make silly faces
brag to each other 'bout our hubbys
take photos
share scripture
share a love of coconut rum
do life.

Thank you Jesus for my friend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Dough

My friend Jeanette told me about this awesome recipe, and said she had used it for Cinnamon Rolls. So I gave it a try and it is awesome and... EASY! Not healthy (because of the sugar and white flour), but come on man- sometimes you just gotta splurge! Whats really great about the recipe is that you do all the hard work, the night before. I think one thing that has prevented me in the past from making cinnamon rolls is the fact that you have to get up so early so have them ready for breakfast. If you're like me and don't want to get up at 4am to make breakfast than you will love this recipe!

So here is a classic recipe from my German Baptist cookbook ("Joys of Cooking"). Thanks for the recipe recommendation, Jeanette!

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls
Recipe by: Annie Bowman

2pkg. dry yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water
3/4 c. soft shortening or oil (I used coconut oil, and it worked great)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs well beaten (I forgot to beat them, and couldn't tell a difference)
8-8 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt

Soften yeast in warm water. Add shortening, eggs, sugar and 4 cups flour and salt. Stir and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. This will be a soft dough. Cover tightly (w/ plastic wrap) and put in refrigerator (overnight). *Divide in 3 portions and turn onto floured board. This may be used for dinner rolls, coffee cakes, tea rings, cinnamon rolls or raised doughnuts.

*I didn't divide the dough into 3 portions. I just dumped all of it onto the floured board, and rolled it into a rectangle for the cinnamon rolls.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Community Group

I haven't really spoken about our Community Group on here. So I thought I'd share a few pics of just a few of the lovely people in our group. These people are awesome! I'm so thankful for the friendships that are being made, and the encouragement and blessing that are just... blessing my socks off!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Battling Unbelief by John Piper

Take a look at this link. Be inspired and encouraged!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Facing My Goliath...

I was reading my Bible and chatting with God this morning... asking Him to show me who he really is. To be honest, I've felt alot like Thomas these days. I'm really struggling with my faith... I have alot of questions. Makes me feel like a bad christian, ya know? I just keep telling God, "God, I still believe, I'm just struggling with believing." Not sure if that even makes sense to you, but I know God understands exactly what I'm getting at. Anyway... I was just chatting with God, and just really pouring out to Him my desire to just know Him for who he REALLY is, instead of for the made-up god that I have made him to be in my head. So later on, I'm running an errand, and while I'm driving there I turn on sermon radio, and the Pastor that was preaching was David Jeremiah. I don't know anything about this guy, and have never heard Him preach before, but I do know that God had me turn his sermon on for a reason. The sermon topic was "Slaying the giant of fear". Ya ever listen to those sermons where you just feel like the Pastor is preaching the sermon directly to you? That was me today. I got to my destination and parked the car and searched for a piece of paper and pen so I could take notes... then for a tissue so I could wipe the tears away. I know you're probably thinking, "sheesh jess, it was just a sermon.... whats with the tears?" Well, I guess they were tears of thankfulness. God heard me, AND He answered me. He answered me. God is so good. Here is what a learned today while listening the sermon. Hope it helps/encourages you.

19 “So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites, as the LORD our God had commanded us. Then we came to Kadesh Barnea. 20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountains of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. 21 Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’
22 “And every one of you came near to me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come.’
23 “The plan pleased me well; so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe. 24 And they departed and went up into the mountains, and came to the Valley of Eshcol, and spied it out. 25 They also took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us; and they brought back word to us, saying, ‘It is a good land which the LORD our God is giving us.’
26 “Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; 27 and you complained in your tents, and said, ‘Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28 Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”’
29 “Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ 32 Yet, for all that, you did not believe the LORD your God, 33 who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.
Duet. 1:19-33

1. fear disregards God's plan. (vs.22)
2. fear distorts God's purposes (vs.27)
-the Israelites thought that God had brought them there because he hated them.
-fear takes one giant and turns it into a whole population.
-fear makes you think irrationally.
3. fear discourages God's people.(vs.28)
-fear isn't just an isolated thing that only touches you. It touches you and everyone you touch. 10 out of the 12 spies were fearful of the giants in the promised land.
4. fear disbelieves God's promises (vs. 29-33)
-God had been with the Israelites the whole time and helped them, and they had forgotten all of it.
5. fear disobeys God's principles (vs.26)
- the Israelites were fearful of the giants and disobeyed God.
-being fearful is a sin... God tells us to "Fear Not..." many times in His word.

(Points By: Pastor David Jeremiah)

Not-So-Fried Chicken

I dare you to try this recipe. Do it. :-)

Adapted from Devin Alexander

4-7oz chicken breasts
cooking spray
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
creole seasoning
onion powder
garlic powder
1 cup (or more) whole wheat panko bread crumbs
*panko is the key ingredient for these! don't use normal bread crumbs, because they won't turn out as crispy.

Marinate chicken in buttermilk for at least 6 hours or overnight, rotating them once or twice. Preheat oven to 450. Lightly mist a med.nonstick baking sheet with spray. Add panko to a medium shallow bowl. Press each chicken breast into the panko, and place onto baking sheet. Next LIGHTLY season each side of each of the breasts with a little of each seasoning listed. Then lightly mist the top of each breast with cooking spray. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, then gently, being careful not to remove any breading, flip the breasts. Lightly mist them again with spray and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until breading is crispy and chicken is no longer pink inside.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

I will post a picture later, but here is one of my most favorite slow cooker recipes. Its SO easy and SO tasty! Let me know what you think after you try it! :-)

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken
about 12 chicken TENDERS or 6 small chicken breasts
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup unsalted peanut butter

Place all the ingredients except peanut butter in slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of slow cooker and shred it. Stick it back the slow cooker along with the peanut butter. Stir the peanut butter in completely. Let cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve over brown jasmine rice. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a few of my weapons...

Psalm 60:12
With God's help we will do mighty things, for he will trample our foes.

Psalm 18:35
You have given me your shield of Victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.

Romans 8:6
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life.

John 14:27
I am leaving with you a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.

Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you.

Isaiah 32:17
And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Psalm 4:8
I will both lie down in peace and sleep; For you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Romans 8:15
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out 'Abba Father'.

Isaiah 43:1
But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel, "Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.".

Isaiah 41:3
For I am the LORD your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you.

Psalm 34:9
Fear the LORD, you His Saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

Psalm 27:3
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against m, even then will I be confident.

Psalm 3:6-7
I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.. Arise O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 16:8
I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

wintertime vacation and a possible break thru

The word is out! We are going on vacation in December for a few days with some friends, and I'm SO stinkin' excited I can barely contain myself!

On another note, last night (as one of my friends explained it) I erupted (which is what you do when you keep all your emotions in and then all the sudden you just erupt with tears and words...kinda like a volcano). Anyway... it was a good cry indeed. Even after she left my house, the tears were still coming as I chatted to my husband about all that was on my heart. I've come to the conclusion that so many times in my life when it comes to fear/anxiety I "give it to God" and then I sit there watching and waiting for it to change. And then while I'm watching and waiting for it to change, I inevitably pick it back up and throw it back over my shoulder because I don't see God doing anything with it. I've done that for so long now, that now the fear/anxiety just rules my life- every single part of it... even simple tasks that should be no big deal. My husband was sharing with me about how many times in lifes circumstances we give the devil and the demonic too much credit, but more often than not we just ignore it. There are spiritual battles going on all around us. After my eruption last night night, I'm sure that this struggle with fear/anxiety is just that. The demonic like that I feel trapped and chained to my fear/anxiety, they like that I feel paranoid about everything, they like that I feel like an idiot, they like that the fear effects every aspect of my life (including trying to sleep at night), they like that the lack of sleep is effecting my body. I'm so sick of it. So starting today I'm going to be engaging in a battle, trusting that God will provide me with all the appropriate armor. Trusting that when I'm weary and ready to give up, that the LORD will be there to give me the courage to keep going... to keep fighting, through the power of His Holy Spirit. 'God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.' (2Tim1:7)
If God is for me, who then can be against me?!

I'm sick of being shackled to this sin, and I want to be free!

LORD, Let Thy goodness, like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee. Amen.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Killer Vanilla Ice Cream


3C sugar
1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 quart + 1 pint half and half

Blend all ingredients and put in ice cream maker freezer tin. If there is quite a bit of room to the top, then finish filling it with milk. Remember that the mixture will expand as it freezes, so don't fill it too full. Follow your ice cream makers instructions.
**** I didn't have to add any milk because I have a smaller freezer tin.****

Don't let this recipes simple ingredients fool you. This vanilla ice cream is amazing! You will never want to eat store bought ice cream again! My one mistake I made was that I didn't leave the ice cream in the maker long enough so it was a little slushy. I put the ice cream in the freezer over night and tried it this morning and the texture is PERFECTO!!!!

TRY IT! Let me know what you think! :-)

german baptist dinner recipe

Blend Together:
One carefully thought-out ahead menu, one genuinely friendly hostess and one handful of congenial guests.

Stir in:
Several children (trained in good manners)and one husband (trained in helpfulness).

Add: An unhurried, unruffled appearance, flavored with a smile.

Mix in:
A "so-glad-to-have-you" attitude.

Sweeten with:
plenty of pleasant conversation.

Serve in: a relaxed atmosphere.

a warm feeling in the stomach and a warmer glow in the heart.

From: German Baptist Cookbook JOYS OF COOKING

Sunday, August 16, 2009

my thorn

I stayed home from church today, because I wasn't feeling well, so I spent some time thinking and praying. For some years now, a common struggle of mine has been fear. I'm in a constant state of fear it seems. I was thinking today about how I've let my fears just reign in my life... its like I'm in bondage to them, ya know? My fears keep me from living a full and free life in Christ. I am SO tired of it... not just mentally, but physically- my neck is always sore, and I'm always getting headaches. I'm struggling with knowing how to deal with my fears. I know that I need to give my fears to God, and believe me I try to. I'm just at a loss.... is there something that I'm missing? Why is this thorn not going away? Its been years that I've struggled with this, and I don't feel like it ever gets any better. Anyway... this is a real struggle for me, and I just needed you to know that... whoever you are that reads my random thoughts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

a must see, for sure...

On Tuesday night I went with some girls from Community Group to go see Julie and Julia. LOVED IT! If you enjoy cooking, or even if you just enjoy the idea of cooking you will love this movie. **Warning there are two parts where I can remember being shocked by the swearing/vulgarity. So I was disappointed about that, but if they just took out those two parts, it would be fine.** Just thought I'd put that lil disclaimer in there. hehe!

Anyway, so I've been rather absent from the blog lately. I'm truly sorry. Life gets busy, ya know man? I've been busy rehearsing songs to sing at a wedding in the bay area, taking senior photos/editing them as well. Also tried a new recipe... yet another from the amazingly talented Pioneer Woman. The hubs and I had gone to a restaurant in the bay area called "Strizzies" and they had a wonderful pasta primavera dish, so when we returned home I had my heart set on finding a good recipe for it. Anyway, of course PW would have it on her site, so I tried it and WOWZA! It is a lovely creamy vegetable heaven in your mouth! Here is the link;
OH, and P.S. I used whole wheat noodles instead- because that what I always use when making a pasta dish. Not that it really makes cream sauce any healthier. haha! But I mean, COME ON... sometimes you gotta live a little, and have a cream sauce!

OK, well... thanks for reading my rambled thoughts. I'm hoping in the next few days to post some pics from the senior photo shoot. So keep checking back. Hugs to all!


Friday, July 31, 2009

Souper Easy Taco Soup

I usually call this recipe "mom's taco soup", because, well... my mom always made it for our family. Really though, this recipe is from my mom's dear friend Tammy. This taco soup recipe is a favorite and a great quick dinner when we don't have alot of time. It is also great to serve when having company over, because it tastes like you cook it all day, when really it probably took a half our to throw it all together, and 15-30 minutes minimum of simmering. Crazy, right? Okay friends, here it is;

6 small chicken breasts (we use 12 chicken tenders)
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 cup salsa (I like the ARIBA brand, because it gives a really great roasted flavor)
2 cans black beans
1 can white beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn (or half a bag of frozen corn is what we use)
taco seasoning

Season chicken with a bit of taco seasoning. Cook it however you like. I prefer for cook it in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet. After its cooked, cut into bite size pieces. While the chicken is cooking, pour all of the beans into a strainer and rinse them under cool water. Save one of the cans from the beans. Pour beans into soup pot. Add the tomato sauce, salsa, and corn. Next, with the can you saved from the beans, pour two cans of water into the soup pot. Add in cooked chicken. Season with a little more taco seasoning. If you like a little bit of a kick go ahead an add a few dashes of red pepper flakes. Pour into bowls, and top with corn chips and cheese. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Remember this...

"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD'S demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last."
Lamentations 3:21-29

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pip's Potato-Yam Bake

Here is a yummy recipe that my lovely friend Pips made as a side dish with dinner last night. It was SOOO delish, I just had to share it with you and share her blog with you because she is amazing... and I love her to pieces!

Pips Potato-Yam Bake

2 potatoes
2 yams
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 pocket onion soup (powder)

Slice potatoes and layer in greased dish. Miz cream, milk and onion soup powder and pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (more or less). You can also add grated cheddar on top before you bake it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

lasagna perfection

For those of my family members that celebrated July birthdays this evening, here is the lasagna recipe that Pam and I made;



Friday, July 17, 2009

Homemade Natural Body Products

For the past week, or so I have been testing out some recipes given on Lindsay's site:
So, after using the products for about a week now, I thought I'd share them with you. My favorite recipe first:

5-6 TBSP of coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrow root powder (I used cornstarch, b/c that is what we had in the house)

mix all the ingredients together, and store in a small container.

*After about 3 days of using this, I and David's underarms began to sting/burn. We are pretty sure this is because of the baking soda. Some people have sensitive skin towards the stuff. We were SO bummed because quite honestly, this deo worked better than ANY I had ever bought in a store. Granted, it does not keep you from sweating, but BOY it does keep you from stinking! This might sound gross, but I actually stuck my nose right in my husbands pit, and smelled nothing... did I mention it was at the end of the day too? OK, so anyway, this is what we did to prevent the burning.... before applying the deodorant, first apply some of the coconut oil (you should have extra of this, because you didn't need that much for the deo recipe). Then after you've applied the coconut oil, go ahead and apply the deo, and voila! No burning! This is really a great recipe, because the coconut oil is really such a light scent that works for both men and woman. Try it and let me know what you think!

put a pinch of baking soda in your hand, and massage into scalp. Now, this isn't going to lather like regular soaps do, but dang skippy, it sure does clean your hair!

1 cup water
1-2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

I know this sounds so gross to most of you, and honestly it sounded just as gross to me. I hate the smell of ACV, or any vinegar for that matter! But I was really looking for an alternative to buying products in the store, so I bucked up, and tried it. So I whipped some up, and stuck it in an old body spray bottle. After you've washed your hair, spray the ACV/water mixture on your hair, and let sit like regular conditioner. Rinse. I hate that this recipe smells awful, although I am slowly getting used to the smell. I LOVE how it makes my hair look and feel. It doesn't leave that greasy feeling like most store bought conditioners do. The other nice thing is that the yucky ACV smell is in the shower only, and when you dry your hair, there isn't even a hint of smell.

I don't have a recipe for soap, however I do have a natural soap from Trador Joes that I love. Its a vegetable glycerin soap, with oatmeal in it. Its like $1.40 for 2 bars. I highly recommend it! If you have any recipes for shower soap, please share!

Let me know, if you try any of these. Its always encouraging to hear how other people are doing in their quest of a simple life that longs to worship the King!

your buddy,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Frugal, Green Cleaning Supplies made by: YOU!

As of late, I have really been enjoying reading my friend Lindsay's blog:

She is a gem. There is no way that you can read her blog and not be encouraged and inspired. Lindsay loves the Lord, and really has a passion for biblical womanhood, homemaking, and living green. Seriously... go right now and explore her blog. Do it! Go! Now!

...waiting for you to return....

Okay, you're back! SO... what did you think?! I told you she's lovely! Anyway...

So I've been enjoying Lindsay's site, and she has totally been inspiring to me to dive deeper into green living. David and I have really been trying for the past year and a half to find practical ways that we can 'go green' AKA be good stewards of the earth that God has so graciously given us! Lindsay has posted here: all of her recipes. If you scroll down to the very bottom of the page she has a couple links for cleaning products and the like. So I gave them a try and guess what! They work! They're cheap!AND... they're green! So go out and buy some extra spray bottles, or recycle some from your old cleaning supplies, and try these recipes out!

Laundry Soap:
1 cup dr. bronners castile soap, grated
1/2 cup washing soda (I was able to find this at foodmax in the laundry detergent section. Make sure you buy washing soda and not baking soda- they are both made by arm and hammer, but are different products)
1/2 cup borax
mix together in container
*use 1 tbsp for light loads, 2 for medium, and 3 for large to extra large

Fabric Softener:
*I know what you're thinking: "ew, thats gonna make my clothes smell nasty." I got news for ya... you're wrong! Your clothes will not smell like vinegar!

Dishwasher soap:
Mix together equal parts of borax, and baking soda (you may substitute washing soda for baking soda if you'd like). I store mine in a easy to pour container.
* Increase amount of washing soda if you have hard water.

All Purpose Cleaner:

large recipe:
1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda 1/2 gallon water
mix together and store in squirt bottle.
small recipe:
2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsbp baking soda, 16 oz. (2 cups) of water

Window Cleaner:

2 tbsp of vinegar w/ 1 liter warm water OR use
all purpose cleaner

Dusting Oil (only for wood):
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
* if you're using freash squeezed lemon juice, make sure to strain the juice really well, or else you will clog the spray bottle.
*Lindsay gave a great tip to not got out a buy dust clothes, but instead recycle or socks, Tshirts, towels, and use then as dusting/cleaning rags.

Mold and Mildew Cleaner:
vinegar or lemon juice at full strength with small amounts of salt.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I love pesto

I was looking over my meal plan for this next week, and began anticipating Wednesday's dinner: Pesto Spaghetti! It is so unbelievably tasty!! Best part about it is that my hubby is the master when it comes to making pesto, although I am probably just a tad bit biased ;-) Here is Dave's top secret recipe;

Dave's Pesto

2 c. basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. olive oil

Put all ingreds. in food processor or blender, and grind 'em up! Its as easy as that folks! Pour it over some pasta, or chicken... or.....BOTH! It's healthy and delicious! And for you manly readers: cook this for your wife- she'll love you for it!

eagerly awaiting wednesday dinner...
your friend,

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Oki doki.... so today I'm gonna post the recipe of the wheat bread I was telling you about. It is awesome, and I think you will really enjoy it! So here it goes baby:

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

2 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. shortening
1 Tbsp salt
1 3/4 c. warm water
3 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water. Stir in honey, shortening, salt, 1 3/4 c. warm water, and whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth.

In addition to the 3 c. of flour you've already added, add a little more (enough to make the dough easy to handle) if necessary.

Knead for 10 minutes.

First Rise: Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Once the dough is in the bowl, flip it over so that the top of the dough gets greased. Cover bowl with a dishtowel. Place bowl in warm place to raise until double (about 1 hour)
Second Rise: Punch dough down, flip over, cover, and let raise until double again (about 30-45 minutes).
Third Rise:Punch dough down and remove from bowl to a greased countertop. Knead a few times, then cut dough into 2 lumps. Shape loaves and place in buttered bread pans. Cover pans with dishtowels and place them in a warm place to raise one more time – until double (about 30 minutes).

Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

ENJOY! And make sure to at least smother one piece with Nutella!

your friend-

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Italian Salad Dressing

As of late I have really been trying to find homemade alternatives to store bought boxed/packaged foods. This can sometimes be overwhelming. So this week, I experimented with two recipes to get us closer to being a whole/real foods family.

The first thing I did was make a loaf of %100 whole wheat bread and it turned out wonderfully! I plan to post the recipe with photos later on this next week. My plan is to make enough bread in one day to last us a month (maybe around 4 loaves).

The second thing I did was to try a recipe for homemade italian salad dressing.I LOVE italian salad dressing. For me, it is the perfect dressing to always keep around the house- it goes well with any salad, accompanying any meal. I especially like it on a bowl of cucumbers! Yummmyyy!! ANYWAY... the recipe turned out great! Now, if you try this recipe, please don't taste it with the expectation of it tasting like store bought, or like the WishBone dressing spice packets that you add water/oil/vinegar to. All of those dressings have a ton of sodium- its ridiculous! This italian dressing is light in flavor... it gives you just enough spice to still be able to taste the flavours of the salad. I got the recipe from my new favorite blog:

Italian Salad Dressing

1 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp grated parmesan

Pour all ingredients in a mason jar or dressing canister if you have one. Shake well, and splash on salad. Enjoy!
* if you put in the grated parm, then keep the dressing in the fridge. We didn't put the parm in, so I just keep the dressing in our pantry.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank God For Dirty Dishes?


Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell,
While other folks go hungry,
We're eating very well.

With home and health and happiness
We shouldn't want to fuss;
For by the stack of evidence
God's very good to us.

I was looking thru a family cook book of ours and found this poem. The author is unknown.

It has been done...

Well, folks I've gone and done it...
I sat down this morning and made a 2 week meal plan.
I will let you know how it works out for us.
details to come...

side note;
its noon and I still haven't showered. *gross* Can you smell me from there?


Monday, June 29, 2009

Saving Money...

The mentality in the world today is " I want it= I need it= I'm going to buy it, even if I don't have the money". Lets face it: it is hard to save money. Dave and I have for sure not mastered this topic of saving money, but I'd thought I'd share a few tips that help us;

1. Tithe! Give to God- its HIS money anyway!
2. GIVE GIVE GIVE- to charity, to those in need- this is something that the hubs and I are hoping to work on.
3. make a workable budget and STICK to it!- We like to use the envelope system. When you make a budget, make sure that it kinda makes you penny pinch a little bit. If you make a budget and are still spending the same as you did before, then whats the point?
4. Be frugal- buy used when you can, shop for groceries at WINCO, FoodMax, ETC... shop for fruit and veg at your local farmers stand. Here are the benefits of shopping at the stand: fresher fruit/veg, you're supporting local farmers, and its generally for a better price than at the grocer. oh oh oh, and it tastes WAY better!!!!!
5. Try to save at least 5% of your income in a savings account.- Dave took a finance class at our old church before we were married and they suggested that at this day in age a good amount to end up in the bank would be 5%... thats if you have a car payment, mortgage, other bills. We like to have the money directly taken out of the paycheck which is nice because 1)dave and I don't have to worry about depositing the money ourselves with the chance of maybe forgetting and 2) since its directly taken out of the check, we aren't tempted to spend the money.
6. Pay with CASH- for most everything we buy (accept for a few exceptions- gas, car wash...) we use cash. We really prefer to use cash because once the alloted amount of cash is spent from a certain budget genre, then its GONE until next month when we fill it more cash for that month. This helps you to save because once the money is gone, well... its GONE! :-) OH, it also helps us really think about what we're wanting to purchase, and if we really need it.
7. Remember that its God's money. HE is the one who has entrusted HIS money to you. Be wise with it. When you borrow an item from a friend, do you misuse it and bash it about? NO! You take good care of it and make wise decisions about how and when to use it. It should be no different with money. Pray and ask God to help you make wise decision when purchasing things with His money. By the power of the Holy Spirit, He will teach us!
8. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones.- This one is hard for me. While I love my home, and car, etc... I find myself wishing I had more or thinking "if I could just have _____ like so-and-so does". My prayer is this: God, please teach me to be content in You, and all you have chosen so graciously to give me." God is faithful! He WILL answer this prayer!

Here are some resources that may help you on the topic of money;


1 Timothy 6:6
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."

Lotsa love,

Thursday, June 25, 2009


This evening I was reading some old entries from a blog that I just found

The gal shared this verse as a prayer for simple living, and it really encouraged me. I thought I'd pass it along to you.

" O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you
and say, "who is the LORD?"
And if I am too poor, I may steal
and thus insult God's holy name."
Proverbs 30:7-9

Meal Planning

My husband and I have been married for just a tiny bit over 2 years... in fact, June 9 was our 2nd anniversary. Before we were married I knew nothing about cooking. Really, nothing. I mean, I could make box mac n' cheese, and I could bake chocolate chip cookies, but that was basically it. While living at home, when my Mom cooked dinner I was always teaching piano, so never really had the chance to help or learn that much. So when David and I got married, cooking was a learning experience. The poor guy tried so many yucky things, and was such a good sport about it- sometimes even eating seconds. What a man!!!!! In the past 2 years I have learned ALOT about cooking. I have also learned alot of healthy cooking/snacks, thanks to my health-nut husband. Now, I'm not saying that all of my recipes are super healthful, but I am saying that I do try to make the majority of my meals healthy.

So today, what I thought I'd share with you is something that I have found to be quite helpful. Meal planning. I like to meal plan one week at a time. You can do it for however many weeks you like... I have many friends that meal plan for 2 weeks at a time. I think 2 weeks at a time sounds like such a great idea, but am afraid that alot of the food would go bad before we were ready to eat it. I start my meal planning by opening up a document on my computer that has listed all of our favorite meals. Then I start picking meals in such a way that gives us a good variety throughout the week (variety for taste and health). Here is what our meal plan looked like this week;

Monday: BBQed chicken, zucchini, corn, and roasted potatoes
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: chicken fajitas, refried pinto beans, homemade spanish brown rice, fruit salad
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: crockpot thai chicken, plain brown rice, squash & broccoli
Saturday: spaghetti (with either whole wheat or spelt noodles), whole wheat garlic bread, spinach salad (w/ nuts, berries, carrots, seeds, apples, cranberries).
Sunday: breakfast for dinner- usually eggs & toast (sometimes with turkey bacon, and potatoes... most of the time we just keep it simple on the Sabbath.)

You've probably noticed a couple of things: 1. we have a few leftover days and 2. I only plan dinners. The reason that I have leftover days is because usually when you're cooking family size recipes for 2 people, you're bound to have leftovers- unless you're a pig. HA! Leftovers are perfect for us, because of my husbands work schedule, he isn't home for a few dinners during the week. We just stick the leftovers is two containers- one for him while he is at work, and one for me while I'm at home. I love it because most of the time when he is at work, I don't feel like cooking a whole meal just for myself, ya know? Its perfect! Now, to be honest I can't say that I actually have a reason for only planning dinners. I guess for me, planning dinners was just a start to maybe planing breakfast/lunch as well, which I would love to try doing. Maybe next month I will give it a try and then report back to you.

One thing I really love about meal planning is this: there are far less trips to the grocery store during the week, which in return means I'm spending less. I make one big trip to WINCO, and get everything I need for the week of dinners. Once I've planned the dinners I write them out on a little white board and keep it in the kitchen so that way the Hubby can look forward to whats coming :-) It also helps remind me of any prep that needs to be done before dinner.

I hope you've found this helpful! Now, go get planning :-)

lotsa love,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Its grilling time, baby!

OK, so its summertime... time to fire up the grill!!!! Dave and I have this amazing local fruit/veg stand that we go to at least twice a week. The fruit/veg is so tasty that really, there is no excuse to not eat plenty of it during the summer- even if you are a picky eater like me. I would be seriously surprised if a person tasted one of their pluots and thought it was gross... these baby's are straight from heaven- no fooling!

Anyway... so lately our new addiction at Loretelli's is their freash corn on the cob! Its really quite tasty! At first, we started cooking it the usual way, of which I'm sure you are all familiar- BOILING it. Boiling corn on the cob is simple... fill a huge pot with water, let it come to a boil, stick the corn in and take it out once it changes to a bit lighter yellow/white. Put a slab of butter (and salt, if you're into that sort of thing) on it and you're good to go, right? Well, not so fast Sparky! My BRILLIANT husband and this crazy idea... what if we grilled the corn?! I'm sure that most of you have grilled corn like this;

But my husbands crazy idea was to shuck the corn BEFORE grilling it. At the time, I thought he was crazy. I thought the corn would dry out and be way to tough. It turned out the opposite. Its beautiful and tasty. Perfectly moist, crispy and tender. Just the way it is meant to be. The grill gives it a hint... such a perfect hint of smokeyness...its not over kill. I promise.

OK, so the way I like to eat it is like this; straight off the grill with a little butter. My amazingly smokin' hot husband likes to eat it straight off the grill with nothing on it- says the corn already tastes perfect without anything on it. Eat it however you like, but PLEASE, please just make sure to try this out. You won't regret it!