Friday, August 1, 2014

THE MINIMALIST GAME

A friend posted a link to The Minimalists on Facebook yesterday and I love the Minimalism Game that the site encourages people to play.  Love it, love it!

I believe less is more. I despise clutter and lack of organization. I like to own my things, not have my things own me. I believe you will fill whatever space you have, so I think it's important to let your space dictate how much you own, rather than assuming your ever growing accumulation of things means you need more space. I used to be really good about enforcing a "one thing in, one thing out" policy on toys, games, and so on, but I've slacked off on that the last few years. I share space with five other people. I have kids in various ages and stages. I've been meaning to purge our books, games, and garage for a while, but haven't gotten around to it.

In other words, I'm playing the game!  You can obviously start whenever you want, but I'm starting today. Would anyone like to join me?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MENU: 7/31/14 - 8/6/14

There weren't any new recipes on our last menu, but I did end up trying some new things that are worth sharing.

* fruit salad with honey lime dressing - Thea has talked about this salad in the past and our neighbor had just given us a bunch of blueberries, so we gave it a try. I made it as directed, but you could certainly change the fruits up if you wanted to. We doubled it, then added bananas to the leftovers for smoothies and popsicles.

* dairy-free creamy spinach artichoke dip - A little experiment using ingredients we had on hand and that Teebs could eat during his time of being dairy-free.

* raw cashew cream - This was the dairy substitute I used for the dip.

And here's what we'll be having for breakfast and dinner over the next week.

BREAKFASTS
* doughnuts (we have these at church, though we always have some dry roasted almondsfruit, and/or cottage cheese at home or on the road first)
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/yogurt, fruit, & spinach smoothies x3
* egg, potato (I often bake an oven rack's worth once a week and pop them in the fridge for breakfasts,other times I dice them right before cooking), & spinach or kale scramble x3

DINNERS
* leftovers
* tacos (seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, served in a tortilla, bowl, or over a pile of greens) 
pea cheese salad over spinach and tomatoes/toast (we never ate this last week)
* grilled salmon/rice/roasted broccoli
* pasta with sausage and tomatoes/cuke slices
* lentils & rice/garlic green beans
* zesty chicken (crockpot)/potato wedges/peas & corn

SNACKS & DESSERTS
* produce 
* nuts - pistachios & dry roasted almonds
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department & a West Bend Stir Crazy to pop them in)
* apple bars

(This post contains affiliate links.)

7/31/14 - THANKFUL THURSDAY

I'm thankful that Teebs slept in today.

What's something that you're thankful for?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A DAIRY-FREE COOKING EXPERIMENT

Do you know what's in this jar?


As I mentioned in the menu I posted a few days ago, Teebs is dairy-free for ten days. Maybe longer, depending on how things go. We're not making any changes to how we eat during those ten days and are just eating dairy-free meals or leaving the dairy out of his portion of what we eat.

However, I had to experiment. Why? Because a friend offered up a jar of marinated artichoke hearts on Facebook a few days ago, which I claimed, and another friend said it looked like a good reason to make spinach artichoke dip. I've never made spinach artichoke dip before, but it sounded delicious and I wanted some ASAP. Teebs couldn't eat it, though, so I searched Swagbucks for a dairy-free version and found one on Paleo Spirit that called for cashew cream.

Cashew cream. That's what's in the jar.

I'd never made it before, but I had cashews and water, which are the only two ingredients needed for that particular dairy substitute, so I made a batch of cream and stuck it in the fridge on Friday night. I finally made the dip, which we scooped up with raw veggies, this evening and it's yummy! The Ws who aren't fans of artichoke hearts didn't like it, but that's no surprise, and other Ws are just neutral. I, however, have been shoveling it onto cucumber slices and eating it like candy.Warm creamy dip with crisp, cool cucumbers ... perfect texture combo! Teebs had some on bell pepper slices, but has eaten a bunch right out of the pan with a fork, which means we'll definitely make it again if he has to stay dairy-free. Otherwise we'll have a tasty dip to serve when we have dairy-free guests, attend potlucks where people with allergies often have few foods to choose from, or just want a batch for ourselves. Click the links in the beginning of this paragraph for the recipes if you want to try some yourself!



Friday, July 25, 2014

WHERE IS MY FOCUS?

There's a theme that keeps popping up in my life.

It's in the chorus of Fix My Eyes, by for KING & COUNTRY.

Love like I'm not scared
Give when it's not fair
Take time for a brother
Live life for another
Fight for the weak one
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on you

It's in an old quote from my pastor that I see when I scroll through my old "worth repeating" and "books I finished" (which includes quotes I like from the books) posts a couple times a week.

Faith is the root of our salvation. Works are the fruit of our salvation, which come from being well-rooted. 

~ Brett Meador

It's in the occasional (including recently) times he points out that you never see fruit straining to mature. It just sticks to the vine or tree and growth happens effortlessly.

It's in The Complete Green Letters, written by Miles J. Sanford, which Beep and I have been going through for a few months. It reminds me over and over and over again to just abide, to rest in who I am in Christ and what he's done for me, and spiritual growth will happen naturally.

I could do so many good things. In fact, I should do good things. But ultimately my focus needs to be on Jesus, not on the good things. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, when I view life through the lens of the cross, all those good works, things like helping the needy, focusing on others, and standing up for what's right, will happen anyway.

Does that mean people who don't believe in Jesus or who have different religious beliefs than I do can't do all those good things? Of course not! There are a gazillion people from a myriad of backgrounds and beliefs doing countless noble things with the best of intentions. I'm thankful for that!

I just know that if my focus is on all the good things I could be doing, then I'll be overwhelmed by all the needs that are out there and either stretch myself too thin as I try to do too much or become unable to choose and end up doing nothing. If my focus is on all that I am doing, then I'll be prideful about the difference I'm making and/or critical of those who aren't doing the same things. I'd much rather focus on Jesus, then seize the opportunities to make a difference that he puts in my path. I fail, I get spiritually bored or distracted, I do the right things for the wrong reasons, I do the wrong things for the right reasons ... but that's where my heart is. To to be well-rooted, to rest, to have my eyes fixed on Jesus.

I'll leave you with two videos. The first is an audio version of Fix My Eyes, the second is the band talking about how the song came be and what it means to them.






(This post contains affiliate links.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

MENU: 7/24/14 - 7/30/14

We tried a couple new recipes last week, neither of which were on the menu, but both of which used up some ingredients that needed to be eaten.

* quick creamy zucchini soup - I really liked this and the original recipe said it freezes well, though I haven't tried it yet. Just another way to use up the zukes you have growing in your garden!

* Mexican baked eggs with black beans, tomatoes, and chiles - This was a spontaneous substitute for last week's tacos. My version is double the original recipe, as I wanted enough for everyone and some leftovers, but you could easily scale it back if you wanted to. Making it in ramekins, which is how it was made originally, would be a fun way to serve it.

In other food news, Teebs is at the beginning of a ten day experiment of eating dairy-free. Doctor's orders. We usually have one morning a week that isn't oats or eggs, but I'm not going to strain my brain coming up with a dairy-free muffin, pancake, granola (he doesn't like it dry and can't have it with yogurt either), or casserole this week. We'll just have eggs one morning more than usual. Everything else we'll be eating is already dairy-free or we can easily leave the dairy out of his portion. If this experiment ends in ten days, then no biggie. If eating dairy-free ends up being a long-term thing for him, then I'll start putting more thought into which things I want to find substitutes for and which things we'll just let go.

So, without further ado, here's what's on tap for the upcoming week.

BREAKFASTS
* doughnuts (we have these at church, though we always have some dry roasted almondsfruit, and/or cottage cheese at home or on the road first)
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/yogurt, fruit, & spinach smoothies x3
* egg, potato (I often bake an oven rack's worth once a week and pop them in the fridge for breakfasts,other times I dice them right before cooking), & spinach or kale scramble x3

DINNERS
* leftovers
tacos (seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, served in a tortilla, bowl, or over a pile of greens) 
* pea cheese salad over spinach and tomatoes/toast
* green salad with shredded chicken, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese
* ham/rice/peas and corn
* baked potatoes with various toppings
rice, kale, & eggs 

SNACKS & DESSERTS
* produce 
* nuts - pistachios & dry roasted almonds
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department & a West Bend Stir Crazy to pop them in)
zuke cookies (never got around to making these last week)

(This post contains affiliate links.)

7/24/14 - THANKFUL THURSDAY

I'm thankful for times when my my worlds collide, when friends from one part of my life get to know (or I find out they already know) friends from another part of my life. I love small world moments.

What's something that you're thankful for?