Waiting for a Friend

I’m finally ready to be friends with my body.  We don’t always see eye to eye, but without each other, we aren’t going to get very far.  I have abused my body and refused to listen to its calls for help, but it is still willing to be my friend.  My body, when cherished and nurtured is my best friend, and I look forward to watching this friendship grow.



Painful Self-Care Lesson

A lesson learned most painfully is often the most effective.  I allowed myself to become desperately ill to take care of everyone and everything else.  In the end, I was unable to do anything.  Once I started caring for myself, I was able to care for others again.


The Simplest Things


Eat well, get plenty of rest and regular exercise. How many times have I heard this? Enough that it sounds like the adults speaking in a Charlie Brown movie. I don’t believe I’ve followed that advice in the past. I spent too many years eating chips and soda and not a meal. Exercise was no fun. Who wants to get all sweaty and stinky anyway? Sleep is a fantasy with four children.  As my mind continues to clear I can see how simple the answer. I can eat well, get plenty of rest and regular exercise. These are now my priorities. It may seem selfish to focus on myself. It would be easier for me to give up. Getting better is hard, but my loved ones deserve to have me healthy and productive. I’m there for them. Everything else will fall into place. I will keep trying every day to improve my health. I will get there by doing the simplest things.

Purple Pickled Eggs

purple eggs

Last Summer our chickens were busy laying so many eggs I wondered what to do with all of them.  I gave some away, make tons of hard-boiled eggs and egg salad sandwiches but we still had too many.  I had to find something to do with them.

I enjoy preserving food.  It feels so old-fashioned, something  “old people” did when I was a child.  I remember helping my mom and a neighbor harvest plums to make preserves.  The smell of those plums cooking is still stuck in my mind.  The whole process was fascinating to me. I wish I had plum trees but instead I had too many fresh eggs.

Then it hit me.  I could make pickled eggs.  I love pickles and I love hard-boiled eggs.  I searched many recipes and landed one from AllRecipes.com.   I’m not fond of canned beets, but I wanted the eggs to have that beautiful purple color.

I pickled 3 dozen eggs.  When my oldest daughter saw them in my refrigerator she said that was such an “old person” thing to do.  I reminded her that I am technically an older person, compared to her!  She and her husband both loved them. I think they taste like a cross between a pickle and deviled egg.  Such a treat.

I don’t as many eggs this Summer but I may still make a small batch.

My Daughter Loves to Cook

jade loves to cook

It happened suddenly this Summer.  I showed her how to cook brownies and we took off from there.  She’s made so many brownies, cakes, fruit breads, muffins, biscuits and pizza dough.  She loves to cook and can’t wait to learn more.

It all started with the brownies.  We had a box of brownie mix and she asked me to make some.  I just wasn’t feeling like baking that day.  I offered to show her how to make them. She caught on very quickly and had fun.  After many delicious batches she made on her own, she is the official brownie maker in our home.  Everyone agrees hers are the best!

We experiment with the different boxed mixes but she likes to cook from scratch. Now she is starting to teach her friends to cook when they come over to visit. She searches recipe websites and collects recipes she wants to make.  I enjoy spending time with her in the kitchen and its something valuable for her to learn.  It makes me wish I spent more time cooking with my mom.

This morning I woke up hungry for biscuits and gravy.  I taught her how to make them.  She’s never tried the gravy until today.  She loved it.  Someday I hope to wake up to her cooking biscuits and gravy.  Knowing her, they will be better than mine.  I can’t wait!

Weekly Family Meal Prep

weekly family meal prep

Weekly meal prepping is a daunting task when you are just starting like I am.  To help me out, I’m keeping it simple and starting with just Dinner.  Once I master this I’ll move on to prepping other meals. I’m using my basic, theme-based meal plan.  Monday we have breakfast for dinner. Tuesday is for tacos.  Wednesdays is a pasta but not spaghetti.  Thursday is roast something.  Homemade pizza on Fridays.  Something on the grill Saturday and spaghetti Sunday.  Dinner meals for this week:

Monday – Bacon & Waffles

Tuesday – Beef Tacos

Wednesday – Peanut Butter Noodles

Thursday – Roast Chicken

Friday – Hamburger & Onion Pizza

Saturday – Hot Dogs

Sunday – Spaghetti

I start by frying all the hamburger I’ll need for the week and then portion it out for Tuesdays tacos, Friday’s pizza and Sunday’s spaghetti.  I find I spend more time than I’d like to thawing frozen raw hamburger.  Cooked hamburger thaws faster and can even be added to the pan still frozen.  It thaws and breaks up quickly in the pan.

Next, I prep the roast chicken.  I like to marinade it with some soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil and garlic salt.  I put everything in a large zip lock bag and inside a bowl or pan large enough to catch and leaking.  Makes the chicken juicy and tender. During the heat of Summer I use the crock pot more often than the oven.

Finally, I make sure I have baking mix for the waffles.  I found a great home-made recipe  that I also use for pancakes.  I make enough for 5-6 meals, so I only need to mix a new batch every six weeks or so. Comes in very handy.  I’d love to make the bacon in advance & just warm it up but I don’t think it would make it until dinner.  We love bacon around here!

Everything else I’ll cook at meal time.  I could go ahead and make the taco filling, spaghetti sauce and peanut butter noodle sauce.  If my week is really busy, I will.  Most of the time, I’ll make it fresh.  I enjoy making the house smell good before dinner.  Somehow it makes us all more hungry and the food taste even better.

In the future, I plan to double one or two recipes like spaghetti sauce and a roast chicken then put them in the freezer.  I’d like to have two back up meals ready in the freezer all the time.  I always make sure I have a few quick easy meals at hand.  My preference is these meals be home-made.  For now, they are frozen dinners from the store.  This is a process for me & I’ll get there eventually.  I’m just happy to have dinners planned for the week and some of the prep already finished.

Bacon Spaghetti

I had a great idea for dinner tonight.  We usually have pasta on Wednesday’s so I was thinking along those lines when bacon entered my mind.  I don’t think I’ve ever had bacon I didn’t like.  Someday I’m going to try chocolate covered bacon – but that is another story.  Tonight we try Bacon Spaghetti for the first time.

I searched for Bacon Spaghetti recipes and found most were for Spaghetti Carbonara. Basically, its bacon, spaghetti, parmesan and egg.  I wanted something a little lighter and more kid-proof.  I have an 8-year old who is very picky about what goes on her pasta. I wanted her to enjoy this meal too.

Usually, I need a recipe to feel confident about cooking, but lately I’ve been a little more creative.  I realized the meals we all enjoy, and that I cook consistently are those I learned to make years ago with no recipe. I’ve been making tacos, spaghetti, chili, and krautburgers since I was a teen. My mom taught me how to cook these & I’ve made some changes along the way. I think Bacon Spaghetti could another favorite.

This recipe is very simple.  Chop 6 pieces of bacon and fry in a skillet until crisp. Reserve at least 2 T of bacon grease in the skillet.  Meanwhile, cook 1 package of spaghetti noodles.  Add 1 clove chopped garlic to the bacon and stir for about 1 minute. Drain spaghetti and add to the bacon mixture. Stir. Serve warm.

The kids loved this & I loved how simple it was. We will definitely be trying this again.

bacon spaghetti