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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Gluten-free Menu for Aug. 26-31

Here is what's on the menu at our house this week. Items in BLUE are recipe links. We leave for vacation on Sunday, so these meals are for Monday-Saturday.
*Meal Planning Tip*:  Make your family's menu with your calendar in hand. For example, this week I have a meeting on Tuesday night. Therefore, I needed a meal my hubby and kids could serve themselves. I also know this weekend we'll be busy getting ready for vacation, so I chose meals for Friday and Saturday that used up leftovers or were super quick to put together.
Take a look at your schedule for the week and decide if there are nights that a crockpot meal would work best (i.e. you'll be gone most of the day and you'll have no time to make a meal). Maybe you have lots of afterschool activities and something quick/portable like walking tacos or sub sandwiches would save your sanity. Sit down with your calendar and think about the week's schedule ahead of time for a less stressful, less take-out dependent (healthier!) menu.
Farmers' Market Butternut Squash
Steamed Broccoli
Crockpot Black Bean Chili Soup

Teriyaki Lime Chicken Kabobs (Chicken, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms & Pineapple)
Brown Rice
Farmers' Market Green Beans
Taco Salad*
Tropical Smoothies
*Drain leftover chili, reheat and serve over lettuce & tortilla chips. Top with cheese, salsa and sour cream. 
Quinoa Pizza Bake ~ RECIPE COMING WED!
Raw Veggies w/Homemade Ranch


UM. phenomenal. I would mix in vanilla protein in the greek yogurt first, it’d be like vanilla frosting!!… OR CHOCOLATE PROTEIN for a chocolate covered strawberry.. omy
I want to leave work & go home right now to try this!!!!! :D



Dip strawberries into Greek yogurt, freeze, and enjoy!

Things like this is why I love Tumblr. Haha

looks super yummy!


I'm using a lot of farmers' market produce this week. What is your favorite fall fruit or veggie recipe? Leave a comment or link to your recipe in the section below. Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Better Off Broken

Notice the broken mug. And that is chai
tea with cream and honey--not coffee.

"Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow me to bless you richly through it."  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

read this quote yesterday during my morning devotion time. It has been quite awhile since I've read anything that spoke to me quite as clearly as this passage. You see...I struggle. I have struggled from the time my parents divorced at the age of 4. I can't remember a time when life wasn't hard. Sometimes excruciatingly hard. Those people who "skip along their life-paths with ease" and the ones blessed with "abundant energy"--I have a difficult time with those folks. 

I can be honest with you, right? I have dealt with insecurity and jealousy long before I knew what those words even meant. I try (really I do!) to be happy for people who have been handed an easier lot than me. But the truth is...I am incredibly envious of the ones who were raised by godly and encouraging parents. I often resent the ones who have had smooth, happy and loving marriages. I feel the sting of injustice about the ones who've never lost a baby through miscarriage. There are times when I am bitter about the ones who have a dad who simply shows up and who wants nothing more than to be a grandpa to their kiddos.  I am jealous of the ones who haven't had to endure putting a spouse's parent, a precious surrogate father, in the grave. I envy the ones who have lifelong friends--the kind who didn't move away or just plain move on. 

And how could I forget the ones with "abundant energy"? Oh, some days it is those people with whom I have the hardest time not comparing myself. Because let me tell you...when you are running a race with huge boulders in your path, you are going to fall down. A lot. And you get tired. Depressed, in fact. Life leaves you flat out worn out. Unlike those who are running on that smooth, easy path. They can run faster--get farther. Plus, they have fewer bruises. No visible chips, cracks or scars. 

But this passage--it caused me to consider something for the very first time. Maybe, just maybe, this fragility I have always deemed a curse is actually a gift. Perhaps being easily broken is what brings me the "opportunities for my spirit to blossom" that the others, the ones who are too busy skipping along, don't always get. Since I gave my life over to Jesus my sophomore year of high school, I have done my very best to obey His leading and call. I let the Lord choose my college and major. I even let Him choose my husband. I allowed Him to move me from one job to another, providing lessons and growth along the way. I listen when He asks me to give up something I love (like Facebook or coffee) in exchange for something better. When I break, I give God the chance to put the pieces back together in such a way that I am better off for having been broken. 

"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts."  The Cultivation of Humility by G. B. F. Hallock, 1919

Why am I lying on the ground munching gravel, as everyone around me seems to be skipping past me? Why am I always broken and shattered and just plain beat up by this life? Why do I find myself flat on my face every single time I turn around? 

Seriously, God...Why?!

Because the lower I get, the higher He lifts me up. And maybe this gift of fragility really is a sacred treasure after all. Indeed, I am richly blessed.


P.S. I am completely in love with this song from We Are Human, called We Fall Apart. Go listen to it!
"Isn't it beautiful? The way we fall apart. It's magical and tragic all the ways we break our hearts. It's so unpredicatable. We're comfortably miserable. We think we're invincable, completely unbreakable, and maybe we are. But isn't it beautiful the way we fall apart?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BLT Quinoa Salad (GF)

A couple weeks ago I decided to make BLATs (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) for the family for dinner, only to be disappointed that I couldn't actually eat them because I am intolerant to both the yeast and the gluten in bread. That left me with two alternatives--either wrap up the bacon, tomato and avocado in a romaine lettuce leaf or come up with some kind of cold salad mixture using the sandwich ingredients as a springboard. Utilizing some leftover quinoa I had in the fridge, this was the delicious end result. Enjoy!

BLT Quinoa Salad
Serves 2-4

2 c. Cooked and cooled quinoa*
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Avocado, diced (optional)
6-8 slices Nitrate-free bacon  (I use Applegate Farms brand.)
1/4 c. Real mayonnaise (Spectrum or Trader Joe's Organic are my favorites.)
2 t. Vinegar
2 t. Sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped

*Rince 1 c. quinoa under water until it runs clear. Add quinoa to a medium saucepan with 2 c. water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed and germ ring appears around quinoa seeds. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

1. Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels until cool and then crumble.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine mayo, vinegar and sugar. Mix well. Add quinoa, bacon, avocado and tomato. Toss to evenly coat the dry ingredients with the dressing. Add salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve cold over chopped lettuce. Refrigerate any leftovers right away.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Gluten-free meals for Aug. 5-11

Here is what's on the menu at our house this week. Items in BLUE are recipe links. One night we will go out to eat and another will be a leftovers night.

As much as I like summer, I love fall even more! And with temperatures hovering in the low 80s in mid-August, it's hard not to think about delicious fall meals. Our grill is acting up and it's finally cool enough to use my oven. This week I'm going to be cooking up some fall-ish sort of meals that I wouldn't normally be making until at least late September. Enjoy!

Muffin Tin Meatloaf Minis (Use GF oats for breadcrumbs)
Fresh Sauteed Green Beans
Cauliflower Cheesy Bread
Tossed Salad w/Homemade Ranch

Blueberry Banana Smoothies (with spinach...shhhh!)
 Chili Cheese Lentils
Chili Cheese Lentils over Brown Rice (Meatless meal)
Fresh Fruit

Tomato Cucumber Salad (My goodness are we swimming in these! The garden has exploded with tomatoes and cucumbers.)

*This is SO good! I cut back on the lime juice, make extra seasoning for the chicken and use way less cayenne pepper.


Do you have a favorite fall recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment or link to your recipe in the section below. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Breaking my Facebook Addiction & August Goals

If you know me even a little bit, then you know how terrible I am at self-discipline. It doesn't matter whether we are talking about housework, exercise, diet...you name it. I have NO willpower whatsoever and if you looked up "weakling" in the dictionary, there would surely be a huge picture of me.  I am excellent at starting things, but have virtually ZERO follow through. If I had a dollar for every book or household project I'd ever started and not finished...I'd be a wealthy woman!

For quite some time, I have felt God pressing on my heart the need to give up all or nearly all of my time on Facebook. It has become a source of insecurity, pride, judgement and even idolatry--taking time away from my family and my relationship with the Lord. I am embarrassed at how much time I have wasted on my outer circle (surface level friendships) instead of investing that time cultivating my inner circle--the one that truly matters.

I have tried to "cut back" or even "fast" from Facebook in the past, with very little success. This time, I felt the best option was to allow my husband to change my password and not tell me the new one. That way, I wouldn't have to deactivate my account, but I also can't use my account without him signing me in. This may seem extreme to those who can just manage their own behavior (sigh...why can't I be one of those people??). However, anyone who has dealt with an addiction knows first-hand that accountability and support are crucial to rehabilitation.

My hubby and I have agreed that 30 minutes in the evening is enough time for me to return messages, post new blog links and catch up on any event invites, birthdays, etc. Today was day #1 and I kinda felt like I was missing my left arm. I am pretty sure I started twitching from withdrawal a few times. I'll let you know how it goes! I am so hopeful that my productivity will increase by leaps and bounds that I decided to do a list of August goals, something I quit doing back in April.


My 2013 theme is: DISCIPLINE
August Goals

Personal Goals
  • Watch Joyce Meyer 3 days a week or more
  • Exercise at least 30 min, 4 days a week
  • Read Unglued and Made to Crave ($2.99 on Kindle) by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Finish Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle (This book has had me laughing until I cried! It is SO good!)
  • Spend a maximum of 30 minutes per day on Facebook

Marriage Goals
  • Have one date night out and one day-long date in August
  • Couples devotion & conversation (no gadgets) from 10:30-11 PM, nightly

Mothering/Homemaking Goals
  • Sign Charlotte up for PEEPs at Brukner (Preschool Environmental Education Program) & YMCA ballet class
  • Sign Jackson up for art classes at Hayner Cultural Center
  • Order all of Jackson's first grade curriculum
  • Take the kids to see the movie Turbo
  • Take the kids to the Miami County Fair
  • Purge and reorganize all of the kids' toys
  • Purchase school supplies and organize school room for the upcoming school year

Family/Friends/Ministry Goals
  • Visit Bill's grandma at the rehab center, twice
  • Help the kids make Grandparents' Day gifts
  • Plan and host Charlotte's 3rd birthday party
  • Have coffee or a playdate with another mom friend

Financial Goals
  • Continue tithing 10% of our income
  • Get 3 estimates for new windows
  • Make Save, Spend, Share banks with the kids to teach personal finance

Blogging Goals
  • Write at least 8 new blog posts in August (4 recipe posts, plus 4 misc. posts)
  • Stick to strict blogging hours (naptime only) that do not interfere with homemaking responsibilities or quality time with family

When it comes to willpower and self-discipline, in which area do you struggle the most?