Wednesday, September 4, 2013

God's good graces

It seems with each long lapse of time that goes by and I don't blog, I wonder where the time goes. Even just in a conversation this morning with little man, he was commented how fast time flies, AND HE'S ONLY SEVEN!

Shortly after my husband was healed and our ride in life was really seeing blue skies, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me one day, "Hold on. He's not quite finished." It helped me to take a precautionary step back & just enjoy the present because I wasn't for sure when the blue skies would darken again.

Well last spring in April, my husband was working off the coast of West Africa when his company RAN OUT OF BOTTLED WATER. He returned home on his normal rotation in May & revealed this jaw dropping news to me.

Ok side bar, we as Americans truly are spoiled and have no idea how much. I was going off like a spoiled, entitled American about how these guys NEED water to work out there, in those conditions and what seems to be the problem. I had a really hard time wrapping my mind around how this could have happened. Then my husband reminded me, "It's Africa."

He was not feeling well all of May while he was home and we knew then that the water outage that was replaced with SODA- of all things, was part of his fatigue. Well, he returned to W. Africa at the end of May only to have his conditions worsen. By June 2nd, he had been helicopter'd off, to an African hospital, where they found kidney infection & he was trying to pass some stones.......again.

When my love & I met almost 12 years ago, he was ill then. We just hadn't quite pin-pointed with what. We knew kidney stones & infections were diagnosed but they soon became an annual family member (only he was the one giving birth.) Then, annual became bi-annual & then quarterly, then monthly.

No doctors could ever seem to reveal WHY my husband is the champ at producing & delivering these stones, until now, and she's not even a medical doctor. (More on Lula later)  If I was a betting gal, we could have collected three digits of stones by now. So far this summer, he had 16 removed & passed 3.

Which leads me to now, reflecting on our only year, 2012 -which also adds up to our families lucky number five, where we had NO...I repeat NO health concerns. Oh how heavenly it really was. We were able to dream and guide on God's grace. We were tremendously blessed by Him and His favor towards us. He was able to lift us out of a decade of funk!  Everyday was a new gift waiting to be unwrapped. (Maybe that's where my time went!)

We have definitely come a long, long way from where we once were, but as time continues to unravel new concepts & tools to better understanding health, I'm afraid we still have a long way to go.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A new season, but better view.

Fall is here and my heart is smiling. A year ago, my heart was forecasting  the future as a widow,single mother, and dreading a funeral within reach. Now, health in our family has been restored and I have never been so grateful for the daily, small things in my life. My husband and son, below, are able to do father/son things and as I sit back and soak it all in, my heart is praising Jesus for His restoration and renewal. He says He makes ALL things new and this phrase alone brings tears to my eyes...because I believe first hand, 
it's true.  

This was the first year that D played flag football. At first, he was very timid and wasn't quite sure of the concept as it is very different from soccer. As soon as his daddy came in from work and showed up at the game, he was scoring touchdowns that had us all on our feet! So fun!

Today, D is learning a new sport and a new love for football, that these two share deeply. My husband has a new lease on life and able to travel the world through his work.  

I continue to learn more and more about healing naturally and I have never been so happy in my life. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thanks to Marna- Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

So fall is in the air; I can feel it!!! A childhood friend used to adore the fall season. It always reminds me of her but I also appreciate the use of the oven again, cozy pumpkin smells and the fall foliage getting ready with colder days. 

A friend stopped by a couple weeks back and we got to talking about health and nutrition. Surprise, surprise- I KNOW! But alas, I continue to learn and appreciate the different perspectives on food that align for all one purpose; to feel and arrive at optimum health. 

I did a little study of my own after talking with her and consumed some yogurt and air popped butter popcorn one night. The next day, I did NOT feel so hot. I ached and was sore all over. As I reflected back on what I ate the night before, I was SOLD on giving PALEO a shot.  

It's been two weeks and I've not only naturally dropped 4 more pounds (eliminating grains, legumes, cheese, yogurt and BUTTER!) but when I ache in the morning, I know it's my muscles that were worked the day prior and not due to food consumption. With this post, I hereby stand and!  Butter, I am afraid you are on hiatus for now.  

Which all leads me back to this blog that I have been following for awhile but now more than before! 

Living Carroll happens to be a girl who I went to school with growing up and it's her story with her family. One day, she posted these muffins where her kiddos thought they were cupcakes! WHA? 

After eating all natural foods for awhile now, the taste buds really change and are more sensitive to sugar. With our windows open all day today and our A/C finally off, I was ready to give these treats a bake!   

THANK YOU MARNA!!!! Not only does my house smell like fall but my waistline has not suffered from this savored treat. 

This recipe is based on the recipe found here.
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Raw honey or Coconut Nectar
  • 2 tsp almond butter

Preheat oven to 350℉.
Mix all ingredients and pour evenly into tins.

Coat muffin tins with coconut oil (or use paper muffin cups and add 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil to batter).     (I used the bite size muffin tin and put in for 10 minutes)

Bake reg. muffins for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

With my pumpkin patch going crazy, I'm excited to have fresh pumpkins to work with! 
Happy baking people! and Welcome fall! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Natural Imperfections

With my husband working in Africa, my mom and I, along with the lil man decided to take a road trip back to my roots in Washington state. It had been three years since I had been back and I was ready to beat this heat and hit the road. Since my mom is getting older and the lil man is ansey, we decided it would be best to stop halfway and stay the night.

So we pulled off into this little farming community and right next to our motel was a produce stand. When picking out our watermelons, I asked the girl, "How do I know a good melon?" She replied, "There's three things to look for: 
#1. When you knock on it, you want to hear a good solid 'THUD.' (...okay...?)
#2. When you look at the where the stem was, it should be brown when ripe.
#3. When you see these markings (below) it means a bee smelled the sweet fruit. As the bee realized it could NOT get to the sweet nectar, it tried to sting it!"  

HA! Who knew????  A fun tidbit learned this summer! 

She said a lot of times, people overlook these markings as something BAD, imperfect or wrong with the melons. Quite the contrary!

Boy, am I glad I asked how to pick one out because this melon was definitely a winner! Not only was it bright RED inside, SUPER SWEET but it was literally smiling at me when I cut it open. 

Almost as if it had a personality and laughing at the bee who couldn't get what it wanted. 


So with all of this watermelon, I made Watermelon Popsicles from Pinterest
Truly one of my favorites but as you can see below, the boys agree! 

Here's the recipe! 

Watermelon Frosty
serves 2

2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
1/2+ cup water
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
1 large lemon, squeezed (lime juice also works very well! use 2 limes)
1 fresh banana

Blending Tip! The best way to blend up this frosty is in a Vitamix - it really frosts up that thick frozen watermelon!

You can drink after blending for a refreshing cooler or fill up containers & freeze for popsicles later! 

Happy Melon picking! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Morning insprirations

So a few weeks back, I went to the Farmer's Market and saw a booth where this lady had made her own scrubs. They were pretty fabulous because of her ingredients. BUT I got to thinking, that I could probably save the $25 and MAKE MY OWN! 

After speaking with Lexi, the neighbor girl a couple weeks ago, she inspired me with only a few ingredients. 
  • Brown Sugar 
  • doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil (a few drops)
  • and I decided to add coconut oil (of course!) 

No measuring, just gut. Our climate here is extremely dry and being in the sun, I've had chapped lips for awhile now. I woke up this morning, tried this scrub on my lips and was impressed! NO toxic chemicals!! And I know exactly what is in it!  

In the past, I have used "Look Ma New Hands" from Bath & Body Works and although I like the product, I  DON'T appreciate not knowing all what I cannot pronounce. What are the effects on my body after it seeps into my skin? SO thus the doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil. Using this on my hands this morning was awesome!  

Now go and find your inspirations for the day. God Speed- 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Homemade Coconut Butter

A few months back a friend of mine introduced me to coconut butter. My jaw about hit the floor. A little side note: I LOVE BUTTER. We go waaaaay back to my years of single digits and "we'll never divorce." I was never a mayo kid; it was always butter. But coconut butter? Really? There's sucha thing?

 With a lot of buzz lately on how it's made, I decided to try it myself. Afterall, look at the cost difference here: $7 plus for 8 oz compared to $3 plus for 12 oz of Bob's Red Mill shredded unsweetened coconut. I heard the size of shred matters. The smaller, the better. Also, after I had made this, I had learned that researching how the coconut is dried can be important when it comes to nutrients, etc. I'm not sure at what temperature Bob dries his coconut since other brands can be more expensive...I see a possible future inquiry to him. 

 I slowly started out with a small amount of shredded coconut in my Vitamix until the entire package was in there. Yes, it's true. It took about 15 minutes of blending but I would turn it off and stir along with the use of my tamper while blending. Although I could have gone a little bit longer, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was.
I am finding these days, that when I get overwhelmed about trying out new things, it's best to just dive in for the try in order to put another recipe in the books. What about you? Have you tried making coconut butter? I'm curious what kind you have tried and how did it turn out?

Sushi Mama!

A couple years back in our small group, a friend said she made her family sushi & California rolls at home. I remember feeling so overwhelmed at the thought and having no clue on how to even start that process. The lil guy and I in the past have enjoyed the occasional 'sushi' bar at the store but it's always been 'crab', spring rolls or California rolls. Never really raw fish. Well, one day I was at Costco and noticed the nori on the end of an aisle and it was considerably cheaper than the health food store. After searching the ingredients and debating for longer than the normal grab, it ended up in my basket.

After weeks of sitting in the pantry, a creative juice finally flowed and here is our result: dampened nori, quinoa, shrimp, raw bell pepper & carrot and avocado to top it off.

(My photography classes were back in high school so don't judge my skills or lack thereof.) This is the lil guy's plate of seconds! Not only did he love these, but after looking at the ingredients of the store's 'sushi' ingredients, there are so many, too many names to pronounce and the processed ginger even has red dye! Sufferin' suckatash.....sucha downer.

These were by no means...perfect. However, I am no longer overwhelmed by my friend's statement of her making her own at home. On the contrary, I realized that I too, am capable....sorta.

An added bonus here: our lil guy asked to try the nori plain and dry....he LOVES them and eats them like chips!  Who knew?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Granola Girl

Growing up in a small town in Washington, I was a country girl, low maintenance, no make-up and some even called me "Granola Girl."  Then, I'd just smile and considered the comment for being 'earthy' or 'natural.' Today, I reflect back and seem to appreciate it even more.

Enough of history for now...making homemade granola IS SO EASY!!! and it makes the house smell amazing. About a year ago, I discovered some fun granola made through a Co-op here but then when I looked at the price, it was $10 for 2lbs....ummmm whoa! Then I saw on Food Network, the Neeley's were making their own. (Love the rest stops)  So I ventured to make my own. I couldn't keep it stocked as my husband was devouring it as fast as I could make it. Back then he was very ill & he wouldn't eat much so I thought it was a good thing that he had found something he liked. Today I know that the oils used are extremely important and canola oil (what the Neeley's used) is no longer in my pantry. For high temps, I use coconut oil or almond oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil goes rancid after it hits around 170'F so I mainly use that for salads, etc.

Okay so this granola was inspired by Fake Ginger BUT I substituted the infamous coconut oil for the vegetable oil. (I like to think of our hearts getting healthy fats instead of artery clogging fats these days.) I did NOT stick to her recipe completely as I added dried apricots, dried cherries, dried coconut and craisins.  I used pecans, almonds and chia seeds but omitted sunflower and sesame seeds. Sometimes I have personally found that sunflower seeds can overpower a recipe. The added applesauce was a twist that I had never thought of for added sweetness. I also substituted in sucanat for the brown sugar. I apologize for the sticklers on measuring; I didn't really measure much here. It seems more free-spirited that way AND it still turns out amazing!

So returning to my roots, earthy and natural that is, this one's for you. A little salty, a little sweet and a whole 'lotta' natural! Spread those pantry doors open wide, dive in and mix it up! I promise being "granola" is a fun journey.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie!

vegan cookie cake

I decided after finding Chocolate Covered Katie yesterday, it was time to put my sweet tooth to rest. With all of these graduations going on and me passing up cookies and cake, I was excited to dive right into something healthy without any guilt! MAN O MAN does this cookie hit the spot! Thank you CCK!

Here is her recipe for the giant chocolate chip cookie cake

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce (So fun using homemade!)
  • 1 can white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (250g)
  • 1.5 tbsp canola oil  (here is where I substituted in coconut oil) 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar (You can try adding less, (I did a lil less)  if you’re used to healthy desserts. Also, white sugar will work if you don’t have brown, but brown is recommended for the best taste. I can’t personally vouch for the results, but some commenters have reported success with xylitol, if you want it sugar-free.)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a food processor. Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan. Cook at 350 F for around 20 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
My little guy and I truly enjoyed this treat. He even wanted more! It's hard to believe there is NO flour in this recipe. Truly amazing.