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Hello 2012!

I decided to play along and pick my one word for 2012: understanding.  

Understanding ADD and the impact it has on me, my kids, my marriage, and my friendships. What I’ve learned so far makes explains so much about myself and I can’t wait to dig deeper.

Understanding the intricacies of new job responsibilities, responsibilities that I think I want to take on permanently.

Understanding where I’m at my spiritual walk and how my Heavenly Father wants me to move forward.

Understanding social media and savvy blogging and how to make it work for me. Who knows, I might even manage to blog something that isn’t 3in30 related.  😉

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Blogging, Faith, Food & Fitness

 

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My first weekly meal plan

Okay, so I’ve attempted to make my first meal plan for this week based on what we have on stock – which happens to be a lot of ground beef.  Hubby even okay’d it. 🙂

I don’t have anything for lunch because we usually pack sandwiches for school/work.  Andy made up a fresh batch of turkey sausage this morning, and I already have beef thawing in the fridge and rice out to soak  for dinner tomorrow night.

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner Other
Sun 9/11 Tacos Spicy Chicken & Rice Soup, Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins 90 minute soft pretzels, Crispy onions
Mon 9/12 Oatmeal (soaked), Homemade Turkey Sausage Meatloaf, Soaked rice, Veg
Tue 9/13 Applesauce pancakes, Peanut butter topping Potatoes and eggs Texas flour tortillas
Wed 9/14 Breakfast tacos Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, Sliders, Crispy onions & fries
Thu 9/15 Oatmeal (soaked), Homemade Turkey Sausage Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Fri 9/16 Baked Oatmeal Leftovers
Sat 9/17 Vinny’s Neptune Subs (lunch out with our friends) Lasagna, Salad, Bread

I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Blogging, Food & Fitness

 

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Spicy Chicken and Rice Soup

Spicy Chicken and Rice Soup
Saturday found me in the kitchen with a bag of chicken breasts that was supposed to go with the brown rice I’d made a few mornings prior, but nothing was ever done with it. It had reached the point where I had to cook it or toss it, so I boiled it. I figured sooner or later I’d figure out what to do with it.
Last night I decided soup would be a nice change. (I’m really trying to incorporate more soup into our meals but my guys are resistant b/c it’s a “cold weather food” to them.)  I found this lovely chicken & rice soup recipe that sounded very yummy.  But apparently I don’t follow directions very well, because I had neither thyme nor bay leaf, nor did I have celery.  So I started grabbing what I did have on hand and, well, the recipe below is what I ended up.
Note: this recipe is actually modified to be made in a crock pot rather than on the stove top, simply because I’m too impatient to wait an hour for the broth to simmer down and thicken.  In the future, I can start the soup in the morning and let Alex make cornbread muffins before I get home.

Spicy Chicken & Rice Soup and Cornbread Muffins

Can I also say how nice it was to have my table back in my chicken just in time for tonight’s dinner?

Spicy Chicken and Rice Soup
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
16 oz baby carrots, quartered
16 oz green beans, frozen
3 quarts chicken stock/broth
1 1/2 cups soaked brown rice (3 cups cooked)
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 cups cooked and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper until soft and transfer to crock pot with salsa, Italian seasoning, carrots, chicken stock, rice, and chicken breasts.

Cook on medium 4-6 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and rice is tender. Add frozen green beans 15-30 minutes prior to serving. Serve hot, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

Goes great with cornbread and a salad!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Food & Fitness

 

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September goals: week 1 – A 3in30 post

September goals: week 1 – A 3in30 post

Okay, I know it’s just barely the beginning of a true “week 1” but I’ve made a lot of progress so I thought I’d go ahead and share an update.  [This is what happens when I have way to much free time on my hands.]

I thought my first 2 goals of cleaning up my bookmarks and reader would be horrible, time-consuming tasks.  Not so much once I actually got started.  🙂

Goal #1 – Clean up my Google Reader account {blogging}

It only took about an hour {I think} to clean up the reader, and the most tedious part of the task was clicking through different posts and sometimes the website itself to figure out if it was a blog I read. The majority of them were either recognizable by name or were obviously giveaway/product review type blogs and thus easy to save or unsubbed {rather than converting to another reader}.

Pre-clean up, my un-cropped screen shot only showed blogs through “M”, with another 3-4 screen shots to show them all. Now you can just see the top of “W” and a second screen shot would overlap with this one.  Maybe now I won’t miss any of my favorites.  🙂

My goal: (a) to pare the list down to only those blogs I actually enjoy reading posts from, and (b) to find a new reader to use for any blogs that I’m just starting to follow and are uncertain how much I’ll gain from them.  Complete!

Goal #2 – Clean up my favorites/bookmarks {blogging}

It was easy enough to import links from my original Google Bookmarks page and then use Chrome’s bookmark manager to drag and drop links into newly created folders.  Quick and simple clean-up, and it’s sooooo much easier to find things now.  The only downside is that I deleted the G.bookmarks after importing them (so as to avoid duplicates) and only after the fact discovered that for reasons unknown to anyone that does not work for Google, Chrome does not export back into G.bookmarks.  *grumble grumble*

I have a few workarounds already in place but none of them make access quick and easy from another PC. Unfortunately, my options are to either add the links back to Google one at a time, access a Docs file in order to find the link, or sync them to an external site and then remember *that* link whenever I need to find a link. This is a major Google FAIL.  😦

My goal: to streamline and organize my folders and links into a system that is manageable and usable.  Complete.

Goal #3 – Get started on meal planning {meal planning/homemaking}

I completely LOVE how God works!!
I posted my original goals on Wednesday night. Either Thursday or Friday morning, I was reading someone’s blog (sorry, can’t remember who!) that linked to this page where the author was sharing on a link she had found for the meal planning website Say Mmm.  Just what I’m looking for!  I’ve visited many meal planning and/or recipe saving websites but none of them have really called out to me enough to use them on a regular basis.  {Alas, that’s going to be an entire other project just trying to find all those sites and correlate links into one spot. LOL}  I loved Say Mmm though. Recipes are easily saved (even just a link works) but you do have to tell it what you would normally have in your pantry vs. what you’d need to buy  But to me that’s not a big deal b/c it’s a one-time deal as you add each recipe.  Once you have your recipes, you drag and drop into the calendar and voila – you’ve created a meal plan.  You can even enter in your favorite restaurants and drag the restaurant name into your meal planner for days when you know you’re eating out.   🙂
I love that it also has a mobile version of the site too, making shopping a breeze for whatever it is we need.  The one thing I did notice though was the mobile version does not show you full recipes for recipes that are merely linked. In order to view a recipe via mobile, you have to actually c/p it into the website.
During our normal Saturday night coffee chat, I was showing the site to Alicia, who was also suitably impressed.  She already does a minor degree of meal planning, and we made an agreement to spend one of our weekend nights sitting down with our laptops and working on meal plans together.  I know it’s going to take time to get things up to full speed, but it’s so nice to at least have made visible progress already.
My goal: (a) to plan and shop for at least one full week of meals and (b) to try at least 2 new recipes this month. 
  • Saturday I made my own turkey {and beef} sausage and it was good!  After reading several recipes from assorted sources, I decided to just make my own based on what I thought we’d like.  The top picture (just below the header) is turkey crumbles for breakfast tacos or casseroles.  The pictures below are the frozen {uncooked} patties. I cooked 2 for the boys (they were a little dry though b/c I was trying to cook and put up 20# of ground beef at the same time) and made 12 for the freezer.  In fact it was so good, I have 2# of ground turkey thawing in the fridge so I can make more. Then hubby said I needed to make beef sausage so I did.  I have a dozen patties and a pound of cooked crumbles in the freezer. I can honestly say I will NEVER buy pre-made sausage from the store again!  This definitely counts as trying 1 new recipe this month.
  • Update 9/7 – The sausage came out really good. I think the turkey patties need a little something more – additional pepper or maybe the maple syrup will make enough of a difference in the 2nd batch when I make it.  I loved the beef crumbles with the brown rice I had for lunch today, but hubby says the patties were missing something; he thought they tasted too “beefy”. LOL  I did add extra salt and pepper to my lunch, so maybe that made the difference?   Tonight, I made new recipes #2 AND #3. 🙂  Although I’ll admit that I apparently don’t follow directions very well b/c my soup recipe is nothing like what I started with, other than the chicken and rice.  Ha ha!   I’m still working on the whole concept of meal planning but I haven’t really had time to sit down and spend dedicated time on it.  Maybe tomorrow… or Friday…
  • Update 9/9 – We’re on a roll!  We made homemade pretzels last night, which makes new recipe #4.  FOUR new recipes in this household in a week’s time.  That has GOT to be a record of some sort! Ha!   Later tonight, or more likely tomorrow, will be those crispy onions that I’ve just got to have. 🙂
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Blogging, Food & Fitness

 

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Homemade Turkey Sausage

Homemade Turkey Sausage

Processed meat is known to be high in sodium nitrite, a known carcinogen. It’s also thought to be a factor in other serious health problems such as migraines, heart disease, lung problems, and diabetes.  Not exactly something you want in your kids’ food, now is it?

In our effort to transition to more traditional foods, one of the things that we’ve really come to miss is sausage and bacon. I was excited when the food bloggers and homemakers I follow shared information about making your own sausage using fresh ground meat, and even more excited when my first attempt brought raves from all 3 of my guys! {I didn’t like any of the recipes I found online, so I took bits of several of them and just made it my own.}

Homemade Turkey Sausage

1 pound ground turkey (I use 90% lean)
1/2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
1 tsp ground sage
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 cup pure maple syrup

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the turkey and spices and mix until spices are well combined. Drizzle maple syrup on top and mix well.

For patties: Shape into 1/4 cup patties and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Cover with more wax paper, and freeze until firm. Carefully remove from wax paper and store in a freezer bag.  Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes on medium heat or until patty is brown throughout.

For crumbles: Add ground sausage mixture to medium sized skillet and cook until done. Store in freezer bag or container in fridge.

Notes: This is a great recipe to make your own by adjusting the spices to your taste.  I even followed this same recipe using 90% lean grass-fed ground beef and it tasted very good.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Food & Fitness

 

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Reading lists

I’m a huge fan of books.  Maybe you didn’t know that about me, or maybe you did and you’re rolling your eyes at the obvious.  {You know you are.}

My bookshelf overflows with them, my PCs and phone are filled with e-books {some of which get printed b/c I *need* a hard copy too}, and I’ve just discovered why the Kindle is such a huge seller {thanks to the free Kindle app on my new phone}.

If you keep up with the lists in the sidebar, you’ll notice they’re both pretty long and they’re about to get longer.

I’ve decided this weekend I simply must order a copy of Nourishing Traditions and The Body Ecology Diet.  Hard copy of course b/c I need to be able to share them with the hubby, and he’s not getting my phone to read them on.  {Love you, baby!}

I’ve recently read Is Your Flour Wet?, an e-book by Kitchen Stewardship, and I’m really thinking there’s something to the whole concept of soaking and fermenting grains. Now I need to know more. And I really really want to make a sourdough starter this weekend.  Even if I don’t manage to get bread to bake right in this house, I can at least use it for biscuits or pancakes or tortillas.

Know what I really need though?  Enough time to read everything on my lists!

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Food & Fitness

 

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Saturday Stumbles

I saw the idea for Saturday Stumbles (#SatStumbles) posted by @itscome2this who I follow on Twitter. I thought it was a great idea and since I’ve been doing a lot of googling and reading blogging beyond my normal confines these past couple weeks, I decided to share my finds.  🙂

Every day LivingSocial.com sends you an email offering a significant discount to a local business.  A few weeks ago I got a 50% discount to the chocolate bar.  Premium chocolate goodies @ half price = a very happy me.

Trying to save some money?  Check out The Saved Quarter. I spent hours in there reading through her blogs about boxed vs. homemade recipe comparisons, extra money making jobs (mystery shopping anyone?), and lots of other good tips for frugal living.   Another one of my favorite frugal living sites is Frugal Confessions.  I’m not very good at living frugally just yet, but we’re working on it.

Dealing with food allergies are a way of life for me, but I’m forever searching for a good, tastes like white bread, alternative to wheat-based white bread.  I stumbled across this recipe for a Millet Oatmeal bread that sounds like it might actually be something I’d eat on a regular basis.  Now I just need our finances to straighten out a bit so I can make a trip to the health food store to get the supplies.

My favorite find this week is this free audio book website. I’ve already DL’d the entire Little Women series to my iPod and will start listening tomorrow while I dig my way through the mountain of laundry in my room.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2010 in Food & Fitness

 

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