Ones health is very important. Having goals and keeping them is crucial but there are days when ones need to just let go and splurge a bit. Have that slice of cake (or pizza). Really, truly, enjoy it. And if you truly for your health cannot have a slice of cake, then redefine what cake is to you. The point is take a day off now and then, just enjoy. Even if it is not good for your health because it will be good for your soul and that is still a good thing l!
Every Thanksgiving I make a small gift for each of my guess, as a reminder of that year. This years gift is wood spoons. I have painted them red and stamped them with the saying "stir up thankfulness". In the past I have made acorn cross, bronzed pine cones, paper feather, book apple and cups. I think I will add a tag so each person can write what they are thankful for this year.
You will need wooden or bamboo spoons with a flat handle. Acrylic paint, painter tape, alphabet stamps and a stamp pad. You could paint over the stamped side of the spoon with some kind of sealer, I did not.
Start by taping off the spoon, so you can paint the back and sides of the spoon. I found I only needed one coat of paint and then just a touch up in spots. Also I filled the hole with a little ball of painters tape. Tip, if you get paint on areas of the spoon you do not want, I found it easy to sand off with fine grit sandpaper.
Finally stamp out your saying. I suggest you practice a few times on paper first but do not go for perfection. This is a heartfelt token to remind one of their blessings and that is what counts.
ps. even though I checked the spelling, you can see I misspelled thankfulness. Sighhhh but yet perfect because that is me. Dyslexic, misspelling me!
LOL, well can you tell I am loving my roasted winter squash? I have been putting it in everything, even soup. Even though I am not suppose to be eating bread, we do have pizza night once (or twice) a month. I have tried some alternative pizza crust but really did not like them. So how I handle pizza crust is first to not have it a lot, duh ;-) Second to make myself a small pizza, like the size of a dessert plate. Lastly, I eat all the topping and about half of the crust. My family is thrilled to finish off my homemade crust for me. This seems to be the best solution for me. Luckly I can have small bits of bread and it does not send me into a bread craze. Actually I think small bits now and then keeps me from feeling deprived. There are foods that if I get a taste of (like TJ mango gummys) I cannot stop. I crave them so bad, so I just do not eat them but bread is different for me. This low carb thing, is such a day to day walk.
When we do pizza night, it is make-your-own because we all want something different (I usually make some weird pizza for myself) This pizza is my fall fav right now. The combo of salty proscuitto, creamy mushroom brie and sweet roasted squash is heavenly. I have added spinach, which is good but usually have a spinach salad on the side instead. Pizza's are such blank slates, so play with your flavors combos!
Roasted Delicata, Mushroom Brie, Proscuitto Pizza
(I am not giving amounts because it is based off what size pizza you are making and what you like).
roasted delicata squash, cut into small cubes w/ skin on (or any winter squash but if you are using other squash, then remove skin before roasting)
mushroom brie (if you cannot get mushroom brie, then plain brie will do)
thinly sliced mushrooms
grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese, combined
Pre-heat oven to 450˚F
Roasted some delicata squash, cubed in 1/2" squares (skin on) earlier in the day or about an hour before you will bake the pizza.
If I have the time I make the piazza dough that rests 48 hours and uses 00 flour. Letting the dough sit a day or two really makes a difference. If you know you will be having a pizza night ahead of time, I encourage you to try this recipe.
Cover rolled out pizza dough with olive oil (no red sauce w/ this pizza). Lay pieces of proscuitto on crust, then sprinkle the roasted squash over proscuitto. Arrange large chunks of brie and sliced mushrooms. Then top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 20 minutes or so. Enjoy!
I love this quote because I think it speaks to the kind of beauty that is not obvious. You know how you look at something and then keep thinking about it? it slowly reveals itself to you. The longer you look at it the more beautiful it becomes, until you think how did I not see that in the first place? That is because true beauty lies within our hearts and it takes time to see that kind of beauty!
This salad was born out of me trying to like cauliflower. It is such a healthy and cheap veggie. I really wanted to embrace it. I LOVE roasted veggies, so I started there. I roasted both cauliflower and delicata squash (which I love because you do not have to peel it). I really like how the sweetness from the squash rounds out the salad. Then I made a yummy vinaigrette with kalamata olives. My thinking was their strong flavor would basically cover up the cauliflower flavor I was trying to get use to. I served the veggies on a bed of fresh spinach. This is now my favorite fall salad. A dinner all on it's own or a great side dish to a grilled steak. I have to say after enjoying this salad I now love roasted cauliflower and eat it plain as a side dish or snack. Next is to get used to mashed cauliflower with cheese ;-)
2 cups delicata squash, cut into cleaned ½“cubes (I do not peel it becuase the peel is edible)
3 TBL (or so as needed) of oil, (I like avocado oil)
1 TBL sea salt
Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
You can garnish the salad with feta or parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, etc.
Pre-heat oven to 400◦F. Line a pan with parchment paper. You want a pan like a jelly roll with sides and roomy enough for for cauliflower and squash. You do not want them squished together on the pan. Coat the cauliflower and squash with enough oil to cover the veggies. Arrange them on the parchment and sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top. Roast 40-50 minutes. I like them very crispy, so I roast them longer. Let the veggies cool about 10 minutes before putting your salad together.
Toss either just the spinach or all the veggies in the vinaigrette (see my notes about this). Start with half the batch of vinaigrette and then add more as needed. If you do not have enough vinagrette, just toss in a bit more oil. Garnish as you like and enjoy!
½ cup olive oil
3 TBL (or more depending on what you like) of balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
8 whole but pitted kalamata olives
Salt and pepper to taste
With a blender stick or in a blender, blend all ingredients together. Taste and adjust as needed.
1. I found braking the cauliflower into very small pieces helps and really roasting them. They taste deep-fried then. A little dried garlic is good too.
2. Dressing the salad. I prefer to dress just the spinach but you can taste the cauliflower more that way. So if you are trying to cover up the flavor, dress all the veggies.
3. Roasted green beans, asparagus or tomatoes would be good in this salad too.
4. I like to eat my roasted veggies soon after I roast them, so they stay crispy.
I have not written much lately about my pre-diabetes. I am doing good. It has been 7 months or so. No symptoms, I am working out and doing pretty good on my diet. Which to reiterate is a low carb diet, lots of veggies and some protein. I am not eating quite as low carb as I was. I am adding small amount of beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa , etc. You cannot not eat super low carb long term. If I eat a really bad, carby meal I try to eat real low carb the next day to balance myself out. I find now if I eat too much of something like bread I get a terrible stomach ache, so I satisfy myself with a small slice now and then.
It if funny the some of the carbs I thought I would miss I do not like pasta and other surprises me like I really crave corn tortillas. It is a constant balancing act. Plus I have my family (if it was only me to feed, it would so much easier ;-) This dessert came out of trying to make something for my family but also for me. They have been in pie mood lately. Which fine, I just eat the filling and leave the crust but I was sick of the lovely crust calling my name. So I decided to make a pumpkin custard. Which honestly is just pumpkin pie filling but it is all in how you cook it. Very simply you cook the filling at a low temp in a bain-marie. This will give a softer, silkier custard. I used mason jars but did NOT have the lids on while baking. After they cooled I added the lids. This is simple. You can even keep bags of filling in the freezer, waiting to defrost and bake off!
makes 4-6 servings
1 pumpkin pie filling, most fillings that have eggs in them will work. I like to use my simply rich filling.
Pre-heat oven to 300˚F (if you know your oven runs hot, then 275˚F)
Fill clean mason jars 1/2 or 1/3 way depending on how big you want each serving. Make a bain-marie (water bath). What I do is take a baking pan big enough to to hold your jars or custard cups and set the pan in my pre-heated oven and pour hot water in pan filling about a third of the way. Then I add the jars. I do not like to add the water after the jars are in the pan because you risk getting water in your custard. Bake anywhere from 40 minutes until 60 minutes. You want the center to be cooked. It may be jiggly but nothing liquidy when you insert a knife in the center. Pull out jars and let them sit on your counter until cool. Then add your lids and store in fridge. All that is needed is a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I barely sweeten mine and add a splash of dark rum!
This is a recipe from lasts fall issue of Gatherings, Rustic Romance (the digatal version is free by the way). It is a simple soup recipe I wanted to share!
Carrots are an ubiquitous vegetable and one that I always keep on hand. This soup is straight forward. Carrots are cooked in broth and pureed with a touch of cream. What gives the soup its depth of flavor is the hazelnuts and the parmesan rind. I got the idea from light summer minestrone I make, full of vegetables and herbs. I try to keep the leftover rinds from my wedges of parmesan cheese and throw them in soups. After the soup is cooked, I toss the rind away. It is like getting one last squeeze of flavor from the cheese. Simply garnish your soup with some toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. You have a clean but richly flavored soup!
Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts 6 small servings
2 shallots, peeled and minced 2 TBL olive oil 5 cups carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼ “slices 4 cups of chicken broth or water Heal of parmesan cheese (the thick end of a wedge that is inedible) ¼ cup cream Salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, with skins rolled off and very coarsely shopped Toasted hazelnut oil or good flavored olive oil
In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté shallots in oil for five minutes or so, until they are soft but do not burnt. Add carrots, broth and cheese rind. Cover pan and simmer ½ hour, until carrots are soft but not mushy. Remove rind and throw away. Add cream and blend with a blender stick or regular blender until smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking. If the soup is too thick, blend in some water. When you are ready to serve garnish the bowls of soup with hazelnuts and a of drizzle hazelnut oil.
Notes Since this is such a simple soup the better tasting the carrots are, the better tasting the soup will be. Another garnish that would be good with this soup is chiffonade fresh basil.
I wrote this post 3 years ago but I have to say these words mean more to me now than when I wrote them. David and I are working on getting rid of all debt. We are cash only now. Which is great but leaves very little after bills. We have been frugal over the years but still found ourselves falling back on credit for extras. We did not have best communication in this area. We never fight about money (we do not fight about much) but to be on the same page now is much better. Sticking ones head in the sand is not a good idea. Having written this though I have to say it is hard being on such a tight budget. It is hard to be in our 50’s and not be able to travel, our bills seem bigger and we just feel more insecure. I have had to say no to several wonderful invitations and opportunities. Not that I am complaining!! We are blessed beyond!! It is just that I needed a reminder of the beauty in frugality and thought maybe you do too. So I am reposting, Frugality Is Not A Killjoy xox
“By sowing frugality, we reap liberty, a golden harvest” ~Agesilaus
I love this saying! I have it written on my chalkboard, which came from the old school house down the road. When I was young though, I hated the word frugality. To me it meant NO fun, no adventures, no joy! I thought frugality was just about the things you lose. It was all about self-denial and I will be the first one to say, I am not good at self-denial.
I was pretty pampered as a girl. Life was about more and I liked it that way. Instant gratification worked for me ;- ) Well, until it did not but I am getting ahead of myself. Life was always one expensive adventure after another. I will be honest and say it was fun. I loved seeing new places (like Paris and Venice), trying new restaurants, buying new outfits but the thing is I had all this fun because I have a father who worked hard to buy those things and I did not appreciate that fact. My father was a workaholic and I took it for granted how hard he worked. Plus my father likes to shop, dine and travel even more than I do! The interesting detail is when I wanted to get married I did not want to marry a man like my father, who lived for making money. I love my father but I could see how lacking the other areas of his life were.
“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” C S Lewis
Well one day my knight in shining armor came galloping in (who scrubbed my coffee pots at work, so I did not have to, without even being asked. Now if there is ever a way to win a girls heart, especially a pampered girl like me, that was it!). He did not live for making money. He is hard worker but is much more interested in his family, his life, his wife and children. This means he was never going to make the kind of income my father made
I was torn in half; I wanted to be a fulltime homemaker. I loved the challenge of making the most around me. Like our first Christmas, when I decorated the house with the pine boughs from outside with gold painted stars. BUT I also love Paris and the thick hot chocolate I had that could barely be poured. Sadly I could not have both. I was going to have to choose, I was going to have to be frugal. Well if I was going to have to be something, I would have to find the fun in it. I had to embrace frugality and as I did, I started see what it added to my life. I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator. Now it can be a killjoy but anything can be. It is all how you use it. Before embracing frugality I struggled with:
Depression (Depression, from all the things I wanted and could not afford.)
Worry (Worry, from the money I spent on things, I should not have.)
An unhappy marriage (Unhappy, because of the fights with hubby over the money I used.)
Disregard (Because when you just buy something and never make anything with your own two hands, you do not understand and appreciate all the work that goes into it. I will never take a loaf of bread for granted after trying to hand grind wheat!)
Un-creativity (Well actually I was pretty creative when I had money BUT I was way more creative when I did/do not.)
“Joy is not in things, it is in us.” Richard Wagner
This opened up a whole new world to me. Not having money forces you to think out of the box. Make the most of what you have. See things in a new light and you know what? It is fun! I have made candles, picked grass for salad (well dandelions), shoveled goat manure for a raspberry patch so I could make yummy, homemade ice cream, cut up an old flannel nightgown to make a pretty rose covered petticoat, scented baking soda for homemade cleaners and a zillion more things. I am so much better for it. I do things with more thought and care now. I see the world around me in more detail and appreciate it. I admire and have a bond with others who create. I think the big thing is I am not so me, me anymore. I will not say I am not that way at all because we all know that’s not true ;- ) But I have learned that more things do not equal more happiness. Actually less things, means I love the things I have more. I am not looking for the world to fill me up; I am busy filling myself up.
Also being frugal does not mean we have to think small. Making frugal choices, does not mean the choice has to be frugal. I am all for making your dreams come true. It just means you do not run off with every whim. Especially if you are like me and have expensive whims. No, it means thinking long and hard before deciding what is really important to you. It might be some over-the-top thing like hundreds of paper butterflies tacked to a hall (which I was considering). But by being frugal it will also mean saying no to a lot of other, less important things. Frugally is not about loss, it is about making choices, owning those choices and being better for them. And that my dears, adds to one’s life, not takes away!
“I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator.” Me