Posted in Recipes

Easy Fall Dinner

I know I sound like a broken record, but I just love cooking in the Fall (Autumn). I find so many of my favorite vegetables are being harvested now. Not only is cheaper to eat seasonally but I find my body seems to appreciate when I do. I tend to feel healthier eating this way and my previous post explained a little why I feel so much better.

I do of course cheat now and then but in the fall, I don’t see the point. It’s usually in the winter when I reach my breaking point and I go in search for some fresh spring veggies. It is at that point I tell myself to just enjoy the moment of eating out of season.

With that said todays recipe is for anyone that is at a loss to what they should eat or think eating needs to be this big recipe to follow and go around town looking for all the ingredients. It is for those that maybe need reminded cooking can be fast and just as delish.

I am hoping to win some over that think fast food has be picked up or dropped off. I love the thought that fast not only can be good tasting but not a lot of effort and you can eat in season too.

The most you have to do with todays recipe is cutting/dicing but if you live with someone who loves to do it grab them and let them have fun while you sit back and talking to them. Make it a fun joint cooking time.

I know that my son loved to help me and I loved the fact I didn’t need to do all the cutting. So go ahead and teach so you can sit back and enjoy an easy dinner that just got easier.

You don’t have to have every veggie or maybe you would like more. This is just a blueprint to show those who forgot or maybe don’t know how to through things together in a way that works.

Easy Fall Dinner:

1 Butternut Squash

1-3 Zucchini Squash (depends on size and your love of this squash)

1-3 Yellow Crookneck Squash ( I know its is more a summer squash but I find it still really plentiful in the fall)

16 Oz Baby Bella Mushrooms (you can use any I used them because I had them on hand)

2-5 Cloves of Garlic peeled and diced

1 handful of Green Onions diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Cup of cooked wild rice or cooked quinoa

For the Butternut slice length ways clean out the center that has the “guts”/seeds then place face down in a baking pan(13×9) filling with just enough water to cover bottom of the pan. Cover bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hour. Great do ahead is bake this ahead of time so you can just warm it up or use a crockpot using the same method but on low all day.

Cook wild rice or if using quinoa cook per package directions

If you have the time to bake the Butternut then wait until the squash is almost done to start chopping up the veggies.

Add olive oil to a sauté pan then on med/high heat add squash. When squash is half way done add rest of veggies sauté until veggies have a nice brown and are tender but still a slight crisp to them.

When Squash is done spoon out of shell.

Serve the grains, squash and veggie on a plate then enjoy.

Posted in Recipes

Almond Butter

Almond Butter

A little while ago I was given a new food processor/juicer, this new kitchen gadget can do it all even dough but as great as this new appliance seemed it also seemed like it had to many bells and whistles for me, so I decided to keep using my old blender. That is until it decided to start smoking one day and I had to finally give it up. I decided that since the new appliance has so much it can do, I better read the manual first. I’m glad I did because it showed all sorts of great ideas that my new scary appliance can do, and this is how todays post came to be.

I made peanut butter before but decided to do a different kind of nut butter for a change. You can use different nuts, but you may need to change up the amount of oil for it. I had a lot of almonds so almond butter it was. Almonds have vitamin E, calcium, iron, omegas 3 and L-arginine so they are great for our brain, heart, skin, bones, appetite control, have been found to help with blood sugar control and your gut.

Plus, if you are looking for ways to lower your cholesterol almonds are high in monosaturated fats, these fats lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise you HDL (good cholesterol) and of course if you have a peanut butter allergy, they are a great subsite for peanuts.

(I made sure to soke the almonds overnight, then I had to drain them. Other than that, this butter can be done in a short amount of time.)

Almond Butter:

1 1/2 cup of soaked almonds

2 tablespoons of oil (I used avocado, but you may use vegetable or coconut)

Flavorings cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla extract per taste

You may add a sweetener, I used honey, but you may use maple syrup or agave

Additional things to add to your butter are chia, pumpkin, sunflower or flax seeds

Add all the above ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth or desired consistency. Store in container with lid in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Posted in Uplifting

Our Shadows

I really like this picture I took over a year ago. Not only did I take it during my favorite time of year, but you can also see the beauty of the tree and how changing and letting go can be so excitingly lovely.

I was looking at this picture the other day because it came up in my memoires on Facebook and as I looked at this picture, I noticed so much more about it. Yes, the leaves are gorgeous and giving a lesson but as I looked more, I noticed my shadow. The shadow of who I was only a year ago, the shadow of a person that hadn’t been told she had cancer, the shadow of feeling like she was getting back to living a different life than she ever thought, one that was a challenge but one she was so proud of and so doable.

Are you maybe in that part of life where when looking back to difficult times that aren’t that far in the past? You are thinking the difficult time wasn’t so hard and would give anything to have that time again?

Or maybe you are in that place of only being a shadow of who you were or who you want to be?

O, friend I so understand that and am with you, I get that longing and heart ache, but I also know that just like in the picture letting go and surrender can be freeing and so beautiful. You don’t have to stay stuck in the shadow of your former self thinking that it was the best it’s ever going to get. That looking back is the only way you see beauty or simplicity. We don’t have to live in our own shadow, were its safe to feel hidden. We can step out and into His light where He sees you, and still loves all of you, He is able to help you see the beautiful you. He is willing and able to give peace you never knew possible. To help you with the hard days so you are not all alone in your shadow.

The beauty is all you need to do is be honest and say Jesus you are my savior Gods only son who rose from the dead please come into my heart; I surrender it all, you are my Lord.

I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is, and you won’t know unless you quit over thinking and just surrender.

And, if you have already asked Jesus into your heart but are still having a hard time with where you are in your life. Just ask for Him to let you feel Him more near you than your problem, it’s amazing what a hug from God feels like.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Romans 10:9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Posted in Recipes

Upside Down Applesauce Cake

To say I enjoy apples is putting it lightly. I really appreciate their savory flavor, variety and the versatility is amazing. Not only are they a quick snack that is nutritious but you can use them in cooking, baking and lets not forget the warm comfort of drinking them.

So as I am fully enjoying my favorite time of year and all that Autumn brings I find it fun to also find ways to use one of my favorite fruit, and in this season when apples are so plentiful the opportunities to enjoy them are endless. Not only was I looking for a way to use some of my apples up but I also wanted something sweet but not to bad for you.

My mom had given me a good recipe “Applesauce Citrus Cake” from a great cookbook “The Daniel Plan” but I wanted to change it up. This is a good recipe on its own but I wanted a nice topping for my cake but not icing.

Todays recipe is a union of a recipe from my mom and what I enjoy from a upside down cake. I am not a big fan of icing but I can’t help but like the melted butter brown sugar on top of a pineapple upside down cake. I use this in a lot of my cakes but my favorite is defiantly apple.

Yes, there are the best apples for baking but I had Fuji because they are a nice apple to eat fresh but they do bake well and plus they hold their shape nicely when baked. In the recipe below feel free to use whatever apple you have on hand or feel is best for you and I am sure the cake will still be very good.

Upside Down Applesauce Cake:

2 1/2 cups of Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg (or Mace)

A pinch of salt

2 cups of Applesauce

2/3 cups of Organic raw Honey (or Agave works in a pinch)

1/2 cup of melted Coconut Oil

1 Egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla

2/3 cup chopped Walnuts

For the Topping

1/2 -2/3 cup of Butter melted

1 -1 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar

1 medium Apple pealed and sliced

Mix all the dry ingredients

After all ingredient’s are mixed well pour on top of apples.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven when cake is done then flip the cake upside down onto a plate removing the baking dish, let cool. Cake is best the first day but does keep for up to 2 if you can keep it around that long.

Posted in Recipes

No Bake Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

I enjoy cinnamon sugar donuts all year but there’s just something about this time of year I enjoy them even more, so when I found this recipe, I knew I had to make them and share how it went. As much as I thrive on coming up with new healthy recipes I can’t help and share when I find one already for me to try and being a Beachbody coach I have a lot of healthy reacipes at my disposale. (not a bad perk)

I also use their shake because I have found it is the only one that works for me but we all are different and what may work for me, well may not for you. In this recipe it does call for 2 scoops of shakeology which is a protien powder but also encoporates vitamins, minerals and supper foods but you may substatue a protein powder of your choice, I’m not sure how they may taste but please let me know if you swap it and how it goes.

These decadent little snakes have all the seasoning and flavor of fall without all the stuff that is not good for us. Instead, not only do they have protein powder but coconut and dates. Dates are great for energy and brain function as well as fiber, antioxidants, helps with anemia and a lot more. I think you get the point that these little donut hole snacks pack a punch of healthy but tasty goodness.

No-Bake Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

 Course Snack

 Prep Time 20 mins

 Cook Time 0 mins

 Total Time 20 mins

 Servings 14 servings, 1 ball each

 Calories 130 kcal

 Author Beachbody

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup whole almonds
  • water
  • ½ cup + 1½ tsp. unsweetened shredded coconut, divided use
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp. coconut (or palm) sugar
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Whey (or Plant-Based Vegan) Shakeology
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • 7 whole Medjool dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1½ tsp. honey

Instructions

  1. Place 1½ tsp. coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in food processor; process for 20 seconds. Set aside.
  2. Place remaining ½ cup coconut in food processor; process for 1 minute to release oils.
  3. Add almonds, Shakeology, extract, and salt; pulse until well blended.
  4. Add dates; process until well blended.
  5. Add honey; process until well blended.
  6. Roll into 14 balls, about 1-inch in diameter each. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture.
  7. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days
Posted in Uplifting

“It is Well”

Padme and I on our walk

I remember when the pandemic first hit, and the lock downs began honestly, I didn’t feel much different. I found that I missed some things but for the most part since I was already working at home it wasn’t that much of a change. Then time passed and as things began opening back up, I was realizing how much I was glad to get back to “normal”.

I am finding that “normal” is always changing. Just like it was during the pandemic and now afterwards it’s not the same as before covid, nothing in life is the same. Not when something major happens, nothing goes back to “normal”. Maybe what does happen is we either get so used to the dysfunction or problem that perhaps it becomes our new normal.

We accept the new normal and move forward, or at least that is what we should do. Lately I am finding it easier said than done. Some days I am angry I can’t just have my old “normal” of daily walks, yoga, work and even pots (postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) yes, pots. My health journey with pots can be a challenge but somehow manageable. Now my new normal post-surgery and cancer diagnoses is much different than anything I had experienced before. To be on what is called active cancer surveillance is living with constant checkups, scans, screening appointments, calls and lets just keep watching. I know I am not alone, this constant feeling of being thrown overboard in rapids and having to succumb to the rapids to make it out alive can be hard.

The anger I have of wanting life to not be so up in the air can be so challenging that on my worst days all I can do is just pray for strength to just make it through the day. Strength to see just one good thing in my world, sometimes all I can do is just say help me, and He does. It is in these moments I feel God more near me than all my anger, hurt, frustration and pain. I find that the one or two worded prayer in desperation is all that is needed, no eloquence just honesty. God is not put off by honesty, what a comfort that is in itself. To know I have a soft place to fall, and all is well even when not all is well in my world.

It will be years of active cancer surveillance for me, and I know I’ll have my hard days when I get tired of watching and waiting but I also know I can’t wait for my “normal” to ever be what it was instead this is my life now, my learning curve and the only thing I can do is leave it to the one who knows all and know that all is well with my soul.

The song “It Is Well With My Soul” was written by Heratio Spafford who had his own tragic life events almost like the life of Job in the Bible. He wrote from a broken but inspiring place. I have found this song so comforting to me.

“It Is Well With My Soul” written by Heratio Spafford

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Psalm 62:5 NIV Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Or

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

Posted in Health and beauty, Recipes, Uncategorized

Eating in this Autum season

squash lot
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but this time of year is defiantly my favorite and if I wasn’t on bed rest, I could finally enjoy the beautiful weather outside and go on my long walks and hikes but since I am inside (at least for now) I thought why not share about the benefits of eating with the seasons and what this season has to offer us.

Did you know that eating seasonally helps with our immunity and microbiome in our gut. They have done studies of people that eat with the season and found that they have a healthier microbiome in their gut because of the way our bodies change with the seasons making our nutritional needs to change.

Like in the summer we tend to go for things that hydrate or cool us down but as the temperature drop (even in places like Phoenix) we tend to go more for things that warm or comfort us or are a little heartier.

I find it so interesting that the dark leafy greens, onions, parsnips, pumpkin and squash that we harvest this time of year are perfect for warming us and giving us a little heartier meal.

Here is a list of some of the wonderful foods we can eat during this season of fall.

close up of apples in wooden bowl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Apples, as a snack by itself or add things like cheese, PeanutButter. You may want to bake with them, like muffins, pancakes or even try them baked if you want a little warm easy desert. Just remove the core then filling with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and oatmeal making a crumble. Place cored apples in baking pan, fill with crumble pour boiling water in baking pan cover and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

photo of pumpkins
Photo by lil artsy on Pexels.com

“Winter” Squash, can be roasted, steamed, used in soups, breads, pasta, casseroles and even of course deserts, plus their seeds can be roasted for a healthy snack.

sliced vegetables on brown wooden plate
Photo by Eva Bronzini on Pexels.com

To finish off the list,

Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Collard Greens, Cranberries,
Dates, Figs, Garlic, Kale, Mushrooms, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons,
Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnips and last but not least Pumpkins.

You can see that there is such a wide variety of wonderful things we can eat in this season.

Posted in Recipes

Polenta Meatball Lasagna

I know I am on a polenta kick, but I figure if it’s something as good as polenta then why not, plus I bought a few rolls to make the polenta chips (see previous blog post). So, when I had spaghetti and veggie meatballs for dinner with enough sauce and meatballs to feed a small army and I picked my last little bell pepper from my garden, so I wanted to use all my ingredients up without zucchini for once. I’m sure if I did use zucchini this would be even better, but I knew my family would thank me for leaving it out.

I also was glad we started having cooler weather, so I could enjoy eating a warm meal in the evening instead of drinking my dinner like I have to do in the summer. In the summer I cook and eat a larger lunch because with my pots the heat makes it too hard on my heart to eat a warm large meal in the evening.

This is a fast dish because I had everything already done but if you need to make the sauce, meatballs and polenta it will add a lot more time.

Polenta Meatball Lasagna:

1 roll of polenta

1 jar of marinara or the equivalent to one jar homemade

10 small meatless meatballs (or meat if you prefer)

1 small green bell pepper chopped

1/2 white onion chopped

3-4 garlic cloves diced

1-2 Cups of grated mozzarella cheese

Sauté onion, pepper and garlic then add meatballs and a little sauce to simmer together for a few minutes.

Spread sauce onto bottom of a 11×9 pan lay cut polenta on top of sauce then place meatball mixture on top of polenta, add cheese then layer like a lasagna
After you layer polenta and filling top with remaining sauce and cheese then bake 350 uncovered for about 30 minutes
Serve, top with parmesan and enjoy
Posted in Uplifting

When some of us don’t ever get to the mountain top

This picture is of the hike I took on my last birthday. The trail starts at 6,223 feet elevation and ends at a little over 10,000 feet so the views are amazing all along this beautiful trail. I didn’t make it to the very top of the mountain, but I didn’t mind, I think the climb leading up to the look out where we stopped was more fun than getting to the final peak. For some on the trail it was all about the end, the goal, the destination the 10,000 feet top. Infact as I was coming down a few hikers asked how the peak was, when I said I didn’t go all the way they acted like my hike was a waist but to me just to get out and hike some was all I wanted to do.

Isn’t it like us though, to think life is all about the mountain tops and the final goal instead of the peace of just being where we are. The simple joy in just purely living. We tend to miss so much when we put the goal ahead of our day-to-day life.

I think that one of the reasons we can get so anxious and unhappy with our life is that we expect to have one big life on the mountain top. One goal after another, almost as if we would like to take a helicopter ride from mountain top to mountain top so we never have to deal with the hard climb, the sweat or dirt that gets us up to that beautiful top. What if life happens and we end up just only making it to a lookout point but not the final peak? Would that still be, okay? Would you still find the beauty at the lookout point, or would you feel like your life isn’t as good as the other people who “made” it to the mountain top.

When I find myself looking at the other people who have that kind of life. The people that seem to make it to the final top and stay there, I can be happy for them or start to get envious and not be happy with just my lookout spot but for me I choose to be happy, not trade in my peace for envy. Maybe my life is just a lookout point and not the glorious mountaintop but that’s okay too because it’s my life and my lookout point. The great expression, “In acceptance lieth peace” is so true.

(Foot note the expression is from a poem by Amy Carmichael but my mom would say this to me all the time growing up)

Posted in Recipes

Polenta Chips

I wish I was the genius that came up with this great side dish/snack, but I am not. I was watching PBS, (yes, I am one of those) I believe it was the Jazzy Vegetarian who gave me the idea for this great recipe. She made these chips for a side to her veggie burgers, and I thought that I would share how it went when I made this recipe.

Polenta is low in fat and when you bake these chips instead of frying them you get even more of a health benefit. Plus, polenta is rich in complex carbohydrates so higher in nutrition slower to digest so you stay full, and because of the slow digestion rate your blood sugar doesn’t have that big swing of a simple carb. A few other benefits you may not know is polenta is a soluble fiber so you gut will be happy while the zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin A really give this nice different side a lot of great health benefits.

If you don’t make your own polenta and you buy it in the roll this makes a very quick side or great snack in a short amount of time, but you still get the health benefits

Polenta Chips:

(Depending on how many you would like you may use more than one already made roll)

1 Roll of already made polenta, plain or any flavor you would like

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Sea salt per taste

parchment paper, sheet pan (cookie sheet)

Remove packaging from the polenta roll, then with polenta on its side slice the roll in thin round slices. Place the thin slices on the sheet pan that is lined with parchment paper. Brush polenta with olive oil, sprinkle with salt on both sides. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes flipping the chips halfway through. Remove chips and serve

You may want to serve the chips with a dipping sauce or eat them alone

Dipping sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise (vegan is awesome)

1/4 cup of tobacco sauce (more or less per your taste)

Mix together