Monday, March 13, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - March 13


It is difficult these days to make a menu plan that is affordable yet doesn't contain unhealthy ingredients. I have found that shopping at discount stores like Aldi (which carries some organic products at a reasonable price) helps, but the choices are still limited.

It is with great interest - and trepidation - that I have been reading the book Modified, by Caitlin Shetterly. This book rips the GMO industry wide open. To be honest, I am really frightened for our children and future grandchildren. Our country has allowed our food supply to be completely altered into some sort of Frankenstein experiment that, quite "frankly", is killing us.

What originally drew me to this book is that Shetterly suffered much the same symptoms of physical distress as I have in the past several years. For me, it is only getting worse in spite of medication. Shetterly's own journey toward finding answers came in the form of an allergist who decided that her problem was a reaction to genetically modified (GMO) corn. Once she weeded out corn completely, and put herself, her husband, and son on an organic, non-GMO diet, her health returned. In fact, her husband and son were healthier too.

If you are squeamish and hate to hear anything that can be construed as a threat to your health and well being, don't read this book or others like it. Of course, you would be burying your head in the sand and accomplishing nothing. If you are afraid of the giant GMO companies and others who are pro-GMO, again, bury your head in the sand and pray that you don't get sick. However, if you want to know more and then take action, a simple search on the internet can help you link up with groups who are trying their hardest to fight this stuff and restore health to the American people.

Okay, so what is my plan for the week?

Monday

Enchiladas (home-made filling and sauce)
Re-fried Beans
Salads
Fruit Bowl

Tuesday

Roast Beef & Root Vegetables
Steamed Asparagus
Cupcakes

Wednesday

Leftover BBQ Beef Ribs Wrapped in Flatbreads
Cauliflower
Baked Potatoes

Thursday

Grilled Chicken Thighs
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Veggie Burgers
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own


Monday, February 27, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - February 27



So far, my family HAS noticed the WFPB (whole foods plant based) meals I have tried to slip in from time to time. I am trying to cut animal products from our menus as much as I can, but to no avail - yet. I truly feel that the animal proteins are very hard on the body and can cause disease.

Since eliminating much of it from my own diet, I can say that I am feeling better every day. Last year at this time, I was rapidly losing weight and feeling dizzy most of the time. I went to the doctor to be diagnosed with a bad virus. Well, I just kept getting worse and the doctor decided it was not a virus. I underwent some tests and had no tumors but LOTS of acid reflux. I balked at taking medication but decided to go with it because, after having my belly pressed with the ultrasound, I found that the burning and nausea was unbearable. Before that, I had experienced no burning but did have some pain under my left arm that I thought, at the time, was either stress or even mild heart attacks.

So.....it is a year later and I am still on medication. The burning is there at times, but the dizzy spells are pretty much gone. I do have a "lump" in my belly that the doctor says is the duoendum (the part of the stomach going to the small intestines) filling with bubbly gas. I believe that to be so, because at those times it feels hard, I burp a lot and feel the burning. And it is always an hour or two after eating. Once four or five hours have passed, I feel great.

So, how did I get to this point even though I felt I was eating healthy? After all, I was thin, followed all of the diets that now claim we need lots of fat in our diets (which I now believe to be false), and even did some exercise? I think it was the fat I was consuming in the form of "healthy fats". I ate lots of avocados, coconut oil, and even fat from animal products, all deemed to be necessary by the latest "experts". I had even considered, before I got sick, putting our family on a Paleo diet. They would have loved it, but I don't think their bodies would have.

By this time next year, I hope to be off of the GERD medication and controlling my condition via a WFPB diet. If the rest of the family won't come with me now, they might in the future when they see how far I've come (from a sickly 85 pounds to a healthy and glowing 100 pounds - I'm only 5 feet and small boned).

My plan for the week includes plant based dishes, but my husband insists I put meat on the table as well.

Monday

Pot Roast with Vegetables
*Vegetable Stew over Spaghetti Squash
Homemade Biscuits
Cake & Ice-cream

Tuesday

Baked Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Beets, Carrots, & Onion

Wednesday

Left-over Ham
Scalloped Potatoes
Baked Beans

Thursday

BBQ Ribs
Steamed Potatoes
Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop 
(I make my pizza without cheese and it's good)

Saturday

Hamburgers
Bean Burgers
Baked Potatoes
Applesauce

Sunday

On Your Own


To make Veggie Stew, I put a quart of pureed pumpkin or squash, a little crushed dehydrated kale, chopped onion, and some black eyed peas in a slow cooker with whatever vegetables I have on hand. This week it is snap peas, green beans, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper (and garlic if you don't have acid reflux). You could add additional herbs and seasonings to your preference. Cook on low until the vegetables are tender. Only add water or vegetable broth if it is too thick and you're worried about scorching. This is wonderful as a thick "sauce" over cooked spaghetti squash.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review: God Bless our Baby by Hannah C. Hall


God Bless our Baby is written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Steve Whitlow. It is published by Tommy Nelson.

God Bless our Baby is a beautiful board book with a super soft cover. The premise of the "storyline" is that different animal families have new babies. The first one, a squirrel family, is expecting a baby. The child squirrel feels the mother squirrel's belly, lovingly awaiting the birth of a new brother or sister.

The story is set to rhyme and is wonderfully done. All of gives God credit for bringing another baby into the world, as well as reminds the readers to ask God to bless the new babies in their homes.

Throughout the book, the families are diverse. I love how the bear family claims that they do not look the same but they all share love. For those children who have a diverse family (such as in the cases of some adopted children), that can be a very pertinent point.

The illustrations in the book are gorgeous and sure to keep a very young child turning the pages.

I love God Bless our Baby. It carries with it a strong message of love and family that we, as Christians, never want to lose.

*I received a copy of God Bless our Family in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.*

Monday, February 20, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - February 20



These last few days have been so beautiful out (we still have lots of snow but it shown in the sun!) that I am more motivated to do things around the house. Don't ask me why, but when the weather warms up to spring-like temperatures, I receive a burst of energy.

This morning it was donut making. I had made some many years ago, but had forgotten about them. Then, last night, my husband watched a YouTube video of a woman frying donuts in an electric skillet on top of a wood burning stove. I didn't have any of my original recipes, so I googled some. I decided to try this one from Ree Drummond.

I have to tell you, they look and smell amazing. I can't have them, as they are not gluten-free. They are in no way healthy for you. Just fun. The recipe made fifteen and a handful of donut holes. I had a tad bit of dough left over but didn't think it was enough worth rolling again and again, thus becoming tough. If you decide to try them, keep in mind that you really need to start them the night before and let them raise in the refrigerator overnight.

Here's my menu plan for the week:

Monday

Spaghetti with Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Cottage Cheese
Tossed Salads

Tuesday

Stir-fried Steak
Basmati/Wild Rice 
Peas

Wednesday

Taco Salads
Applesauce

Thursday

Oven-baked Chicken Thighs
Roasted Root Vegetables
Mashed Potatoes

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Veggie Burgers
Tossed Salads
Oven Fries

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, February 06, 2017

Book Review - The Daniel Code by O. S. Hawkins


The Daniel Code is written by O. S. Hawkins and is published by Thomas Nelson.

This a beautiful book - on the outside and within the pages. Hawkins identifies the elements of our culture that is "losing its way" very well. We'd have to be blind not to notice that something is amiss in our society.

That something is what Daniel and his friends DID have. They had convictions from which they did not waver for anything, including the threat of death.

What Hawkins does in The Daniel Code is tie the strength Daniel had in uncertain and difficult times to the strength current believers MUST have in order to turn the cultural tide around.

And they can't do that without the Holy Spirit.

I love how well Hawkins delivers the message. Everyone should read this.

*I received a copy of The Daniel Code in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Menu Plan Monday - February 6


I am trying to get my family to eat fewer animal products and focus more on whole, plant based foods.

I have not made much headway. They are balking at the idea of cutting out meat and dairy. My husband thinks that since he is a diabetic, he HAS to have animal protein.

I have been sneaking in vegan dishes with mild success (the family can't know it is vegan or I'm sunk). I have not given up.

The plan this week has meat on the menu. We had a lengthy discussion about this last night. I have faith that we'll get there - no matter how long it takes.

Monday

Roast Beef and Potatoes
Carrots
Blueberry Muffins

Tuesday

Grilled Chicken Thighs
Steamed Potatoes
Salads
Zucchini Carrot Cake (vegan if made minus frosting)

Wednesday

Wild Rice Pilaf
Grilled Ham and Cheese

Thursday

Homemade Vegetable Soup
Pork Chops
Gluten-free Brownies

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Round Steak & Gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Sunday

On Your Own

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Book Review: The Dog who was There by Ron Marasco


The Dog who was There is written by Ron Marasco and published by Thomas Nelson.

I was originally drawn to this novel when I saw who wrote it. Ron Marasco is an accomplished writer and actor (Lost, West Wing, etc.). He is also very well educated, holding degrees from Fordham at Lincoln Center and UCLA. Even better than his long list of accomplishments is that he has written a great Christian book with The Dog who was There.

This is a book about an event in Christian history that is like none other - the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The story is told through a dog's viewpoint - Barley, the ragtag orphan who was fortunate to even be alive. It is a book about redemption, of course, but it is also an entertaining story with a different perspective of an event that truly happened and that means everything to every believer.

I absolutely devoured every page of this masterfully written novel. Every page read kept me moving ahead to "see what happens next". I have passed my copy down to my teenage daughter. She loves animals and she loves Jesus. There is nothing in the book to which I object but everything to which I think she needs to read.

It doesn't replace the Biblical account. It simply adds a dimension to it that helps it to become more personal. We all need the reminder of what Jesus did for us.

*I received a copy of The Dog who was There in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*


Saturday Scripture Speaks February 4


If you haven't begun reading the Bible every day, let me encourage you to do so now. God speaks to us in His Word, and that Word is Jesus Christ (John 1:1). For me, reading the Bible daily has become a habit. I read the Bible through in one year, every year since 2001. For you, perhaps it doesn't mean getting it all in within the span of a year, but maybe a chapter a day over the course of two years. No matter which route you choose, reading Scripture and letting it infuse your life is vital to your spiritual well-being. If you aren't sure about that, try reading a verse or two every day for a month and see what happens.

"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people's faces. You won't go in yourselves, and you don't let others enter either." Matthew 23:13- 14 (NLT)

That's Jesus speaking. For those of you who have the notion that Jesus Christ was always a soft spoken, laid back sort of guy, guess again! This passage, as well as others (Jesus toppling over the money changers' tables, for example), show us that the "Lamb who takes away the sins of the world" didn't always give people the impression that He was all that gentle.

But the Bible also calls Jesus "the Lion of Judah". Yeah, a roaring Lion, in fact.

Back to the passage in Matthew. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they were effectively turning others from salvation because of their religious laws - which were not God's laws, but rather those which the Pharisees had accumulated over time, essentially making it impossible to live and breathe without breaking one.

I think that, in the beginning, their intentions were good. They wanted to honor God and not break any of the Ten Commandments (God's original Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai).  Over time, however, they began to add more and more "laws". Keep the Sabbath holy? Don't even carry a needle and thread in your pocket because that means you might sew, and sewing was doing work on the Sabbath.

By imposing these impossible rules, the Pharisees were shutting the door in people's faces. They wanted no part of the Kingdom because it was made up of rigid rules and nothing more. And remember that the Bible says not to add to or take away from it. (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19)

Jesus also said that the Pharisees didn't go through the "door" either. Hmm. No wonder we use the word hypocrite to mean those who preach something but don't live it themselves. As an aside, the original meaning of "hypocrite" means "actor". Hypocrites "act" one way but live another.

And God sees that. He sees the heart. And He says that hypocrisy turns others away from God. From the salvation that is freely offered but seldom received.

This hypocrisy is rampant in the world today and rapidly growing worse by the day here in the United States. Our politics have caused division in our country, but sin underlies those politics. Both sides of the fence are calling each other hypocrites. And the people are hurting.

Furthering the Kingdom of God, however, doesn't begin at the presidential level. It starts at home, with you and me. Maybe if we live as we preach, showing love to people who aren't of our political persuasion, praying that God blesses our efforts and heals our land, then just maybe we will see people saved and living lives full of hope for an eternity with Christ - the Lamb sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins - the Lion of Judah, the mighty Savior before whom "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". (Romans 14:12)

Go to YouTube and listen to this song. It will bless you.

The Lion and the Lamb by Big Daddy Weave.



Monday, January 30, 2017

Meatballs - An Easy Way to Make Them

Meatballs aren't all that hard to make, but they can be messy. The meatballs in the picture below are cooked but do not have any sauce on them yet. They are sitting in the slow cooker.

Mix together an egg with a pound of ground beef (or venison, or whatever ground meat you want to use). Some people add a "filler", such as bread crumbs or oatmeal. I did add a little oatmeal in order to stretch out the little bit of meat I had on hand. The less filler you use, the firmer your meatballs in the end. Season with salt and pepper, as well as any other spices or herbs you like. Garlic and onion are always nice additions.

*You can make vegan meatballs by using cooked, smashed beans and a flax egg. Add a little nondairy milk to keep from drying out.*



Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 or 375 F for about 15 minutes or until they are done inside. I cover my baking sheet with foil to keep them from spattering inside the oven. If you use beans to make vegan "bean"balls, you might still want to cover them to keep them from drying out.


 When the balls are done, place in the slow cooker and cover with whatever sauce you like. I usually use some bottled barbecue sauce with a couple of spoonfuls of grape jelly. Set cooker to low and heat until bubbly. Then use or put on warm setting.



Menu Plan Monday - January 30



I have been reading up and studying the different "diets" of the world and what the scientific evidence says concerning them. The China Study has some really compelling conclusions regarding a very long and well reviewed study involving lab rats, stemming from the question as to why the Chinese, who ate very little to no animal protein while consuming vast amounts of starchy vegetables, thrived. In fact, they not only thrived, but they had little to no cancers reported over a long period of time. So far, I can't get any of my family on board for a vegan diet, However, I can get myself on board. I plan to decrease the animal based foods from our meals slowly, without anyone really noticing. For instance, the rice pudding I am making for dessert tonight will be made with cashew milk. I did this before and my meat loving husband, not realizing it was vegan, ranted and raved about how good it was. In fact, he has been requesting I make it again.

So, here's what I have planned.

Monday

Roast Beef (slow cooker)
Carrots
Potatoes
Tossed Salads (no cheese)
Rice Pudding

Tuesday

Beef and Noodles
Mashed Potatoes
Cauliflower

Wednesday

Pork Chops
Wild Rice/Basmati Pilaf
Green Beans
Cottage Cheese

Thursday

Enchiladas (vegetable based)
Salads
Refried Beans (no animal fat)
Applesauce

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Meatballs
Sweet Potatoes
Corn
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own