Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beautiful berries

 I did tell you I had a couple of pints of gorgeous summer berries - this week, I put them to good use! I had seen a couple of homemade turnover recipes online, and decided to sort of compile them all and make my own.

I decided to cook my cherries down in my itsy bitsy crockpot. I added enough water to cover them, and some sugar.

Once cooked (for about 6 hours...could have gone a bit longer) I ladled them into egg role wrappers.

Folded my wrappers up...the cherry mixture was moist enough that I didn't need any water to seal them.

I used the nasoya wrappers...which baked up beautifully!

400 degrees for about 12 minutes.

These made lovely little breakfast treats - always looking for something a little sweet first thing in the morning. But these are full of good fruit, not overly processed sugar. So they're like poptarts, but better. And they're actually filling!

The only thing I might change next time is the way I prepare the filling. Peaches are on sale this week, so I'd love to try to make peach filling. I will probably look up a legit pie filling recipe, and just cut back on the sugar. The cherries weren't quite as sweet as I hoped once cooked, and while I like tart, I'm not such a fan first thing in the morning! I did put a few chocolate chips in one of the pockets, and that really hit the spot! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adapting part 2...

...or how Barbie got it wrong.

Did anyone else ever notice that Barbie never drives a junker car, or wears blue jeans with holes in them? Or works at McDonalds?

Paul and I were talking last night about the great need for Americans to "arrive" at something. Whatever our idea of the good life is, we feel that enough persistance and hard work will get us to that place, at which time, we will feel content and whole.

And persistence and hard work will get you a lot of places. You want to build your own house? Work at it. Want to be a doctor? Hard work. But hard work never gets us to contentment. And we've trained our kids this way! Barbie starts in a state of arrival, video games level up to some point of completion. T

his idea is ingrained in the fabric of being American. But it just doesn't measure up to that Higher Reality. I feel discontent because my house isn't done, my career isn't at it's final happy point. I haven't learned to make bread, or sauder jewelry wires. I obviously am missing something. (Yes, my version of the American dream is a little...hippie-fied? I want financial security, but I want to create, and have babies, and love my dogs....oh, and world peace. Yes.)

And my very clever husband pulled a very overused, but true, cliche on me last night. The journey is the destination. Because what I really want is shalom. That utter state of contentment when your whole world is put right...only to be found in Christ. And while we get glimpses of that now, we will only fully know that on the other side of glory. I do have a destination to arrive at....I just can't get to it from here.

So I might as well enjoy my journey, and stop seeking "arrival." I think God is present in our journeys, in our learning and growing. And if He is in it, it is good. Regardless of the state of completion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Adapting to the American Dream....

...or the benefits of being broke.

I'm having a bit of a mental freak out. I bought an Ipad yesterday. Actually, I charged an Ipad yesterday. And I'm a good Dave Ramsey graduate...we don't buy things if we can't pay cash!

Not to mention that our income has increased...which puts us from broke-college-students to really-low-middle-class. Having been raised by good missionary parents, I can do a lot with broke. And there is a certain freedom in learning to be comfortable with what you have and making it work. Knowing that big expenditures are outside your reality, and learning to make do.

But now with two college degrees and two full time incomes between us (and benefits!) I feel the need to be responsible. The Camry needs new tires. The roof needs the next three years. Christmas needs saved for, the dogs need their shots. We're getting close to that ellusive "American Dream" ... bought a house, and a dog (x2), have two cars (that generally run), and we can afford vacations. I suppose I need kids and a college fund now, huh?

Can you see how after a while this all gets really heavy? And now I've added a (gasp!) credit card bill to all this (18 months same as cash, 10% down, used my rewards points, blah blah blah).

And isn't it crazy that my sinful self can totally find ways to discount, regret, and add misery to God's blessings? We've worked so hard, prayed for determination, guidance, provision, and in His time, God has blessed us. And I feel the need to worry about it. Because I forget...that this truly is "my Father's world...and though the wrong (even in me) seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet."

So on this Sunday morning, I'm holding fast to old words...

"And the cares of this world grow blissfully dim in the light of His glory and grace."

 "I hear the Savior say, thy faith indeed is small....find in Me thine All in All."

"Jesus, be the Center..."

Because the real reality of this situation is that these are all just details, and I'm simply called to be thankful. And thankfulness doesn't require a bank balance of any size.

Friday, July 6, 2012

An ode to blue

Whole foods are important. Recognizing, and being able to pronounce the ingredients in the foods we buy at the store is important. 
But sometimes, indulgence is important.
So today, I am eating left over, reduced-for-quick-sale, Walmart bakery cupcakes with blue frosting. Blue dye-42 is an ingredient that I can pronounce, and more or less recognize. (Don't tell my mom.)
Did I mention that it is 150 degrees here? Someone set a thick, wet blanket over the cornfields of Indiana, and we're all swealtering. From the time I put my cupcakes in the car, and drove the less than ten minutes home from Walmart, my frosting had melted. It's that hot. It's frosting-melting-hot.
On a happier note: I re-entered Aldis today. Pre-surgery, I only had energy for one activity per day. If that activity was grocery shopping, I only went to one store, when I knew it would be at its emptiest, and I took a buddy. There was no shopping around, no store hopping. So I got to know Owens really well - and I made that work for our budget. But now that I'm feeling better, and happened to be at the mercy of Maribeth (who was driving me around today while I ignored the flat on my car), I went to Aldis. 
How did I forget how cheap their groceries were? Now not all groceries are created equal, but they had very happy looking blueberries and bing cherries today - for next to nothing! I got a quart of blueberries and a half pound of cherries for $3.80. (In case you wondered, they are very happily washed, and sitting in a nice, fruit tupperware in my fridge, still looking happy and cheerful.)
I have been beating this heat with fruit (and cupcakes). I seriously don't ever remember enjoying blueberries this much. Maybe you have to be sweating to death to enjoy them. So, I have the dry ingredients for muffins all mixed up, and tomorrow morning, after enjoying my lazy Saturday sleep-in, all I have to do is add my blueberries and egg, and voila! Breakfast! I seriously cannot wait. 
What are you doing to beat the heat this week?  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Project time...

My brain has been spinning. And I've been making other people's brains spin too for a few days now.

Why? I'm in project mode. I have a big, fun, slightly secret project that will be launching in September. Which means I only have TWO more months to get my act together! And this project involves so many things: food, and money, and nutrition, and time....basically all the things I'm always rambling about on here. So you won't mind if I sort out some of this info here, would you?

Oh, good. I wasn't in the mood to disappoint anyone today.

And not that it makes much difference, but we're gonna work backwards.

So - today's topic: Healthy Substitutions. We've all encountered the whole food movement, trying to eat  only foods that contain ingredients that you can name, in their simplest form. And off all the eco-friendly, green, hippie movements out there, this one might be the most legit.

And it has a bonus feature - cost! Organic food tends to cost more, but when it comes to making your own "convenience food" you can actually save a lot of money! For instance, a while back, I made my own taco seasoning out of spices I already had (which means I spent no money to make it) and I have used that seasoning for four separate meals, and probably have enough left for eight more.

So, no MSG, not much salt, and virtually free for 12 meals VS. $1.00 per packet of seasoning, and lots of chemicals I can't name.

This is a win-win.

Here's the thing though: for my September project, I need more of these ideas!! Are there things you have found that can be made easily at home that are either healthy or inexpensive, or maybe both? And these ideas need to be simple - or, if they are complicated, I need to know why you feel they are worth the time and energy.

So talk to me - what ways do you keep whole foods in your diet simply?