Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring In Missouri - Morel Mushrooms

Morel and Violets (photo credit)
It's springtime in Missouri. And I have this one, special cousin who faithfully brings me a bag of freshly picked morel mushrooms to fry up for my dad every spring.

My dad and my cousin's dad were brothers-in-law. They used to hunt mushroom together in the spring. I can remember years when they brought home trash bags full of them! What a treat to be feasted on!

My uncle has been gone for many years now and, as long as my dad was able, he would carry on the tradition by hunting mushrooms with my cousin. My dad's health will no longer permit him to get out and hunt them now, but every spring he says the same thing. "The mushrooms ought to be popping up about now. I sure wish I had me some!"

And every year, almost without fail, within a day or two of my dad saying that, my cousin shows up with his annual offering. It's come to mean an awful lot over the years...especially this year.
Morel Mushrooms Picked By My Cousin A Couple Of Years Or So Ago
I've had people ask, "What do you do with them?" and "How do you fix them?" So, I thought I'd share a short piece on how I prepare morel mushrooms.

The first thing you have to do is make sure that they really are morels and not false morels. This can easily be done by simply cutting the mushroom in half. Morel mushrooms are hollow all the way through the center; false morels are not. If it's the right time of the year (the first warm days of early spring usually following a warm rain), they look like a morel mushroom, and they're hollow in the middle, then you're good to go!

To prepare, start by sorting the mushrooms out, making sure there are no slimy ones. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise, and put them in a bowl of salt water. I use quite a bit of salt in mine and stir until it's dissolved. Soaking the mushrooms in salt water ensures that any little critters that might be living in them come out of them. I usually soak the mushrooms for several hours or overnight. Then, drain the salt water and rinse in fresh water.

Drain the rinsed mushrooms in a colander and allow the water to drain well before going on to the next step.

To cook, I heat about 1/8" to 1/4" oil in a skillet, or frying pan, on medium to medium-high heat. (I've found that coconut oil works exceptionally well for this, but you can use whatever oil you have on hand.) I put enough flour in a plastic bag to coat the mushroom halves by placing them in it and shaking. After mushrooms are well-coated with flour, I place the mushroom halves in the skillet, salt and pepper to taste, and fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and the mushrooms are crispy.

When I take them out of the oil I lay them on a plate that has been covered with several layers of paper towels and allow them to drain for a few minutes before serving.

Depending on how many mushrooms you have you can make a whole meal out of them, or you can serve them as a side dish to whatever else you might wish to serve them with. The main thing is...enjoy them! Because morel mushrooms are, generally, only enjoyed for a very short time in the early spring.

For more information on morel mushrooms, feel free to visit this link from the Missouri Department Of Conservation. There's even a video where you can tag along on a mushroom hunt. Fun!!! :)

Are there any other morel mushroom lovers out there? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Have a blessed day! And Happy Mushrooming! :)

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama - Where We're At At The Moment

Trim Healthy Mama
We've been on the Trim Healthy Mama for several weeks now. Well...sort of anyway. We still haven't finished reading the book (have I mentioned that the book is HUGE? 619 pages), but we've been reading along as we get a chance, trying new recipes, and learning new ways of doing things. Some of it we've put into practice; a lot of it we have not. As we do more research, we do have questions, but, thus far, we have gained a wealth of valuable information.

In addition to adding some really great recipes in our menu planning, we've been pretty much sugar-free for about a month and a half now (not perfectly, but for the most part), have given up white potatoes and discovered some really awesome alternatives, have learned the difference between starchy and non-starchy vegetables, and have learned a much better way of pairing foods for maximum fuel burning within the body. 

BUT...we have also made some very unwise decisions in the process, like trying to get set up in everything all at once, which there is absolutely no need to do, especially when your budget won't allow it. I feel really bad about this and feel that I have wasted money that could have been better spent elsewhere, but, my husband, who always offers grace when I goof up, tells me not to worry about it. He says we'll just chalk it up as a learning experience and move on. 

All in all I think things have gone well. At this point I think we're going to keep what we've learned that has worked for us, throw out what hasn't, and continue to move toward a simpler, more basic diet in the right combinations, but am not going to try to write about the Trim Healthy Mama on a weekly basis. I will continue to share THM recipes as I try them out and write, occasionally, about anything of interest that comes up in relation to it. We're not throwing the Trim Healthy Mama out by any means. We've just got to get a better handle on how to proceed using simpler, more basic foods. I will continue to update as we move along. And, when we get the book finished, I will be writing a review, so, watch for it! :)

You might be wondering if I've lost any weight since being on the Trim Healthy Mama. The answer is yes, some, but my objective right now is not the weight-loss as much as it is to get down to food as close to the way God made it as possible...and get off the sugar, the soda, and the starches. While I still have a long way to go, I have made progress in these areas, and I am thankful for all that we've learned and for all we have yet to learn.  

I will keep you posted in the days ahead and am still greatly interested in others who have embarked on the Trim Healthy Mama journey. 

Until Next Time...

All My Love,
~Rebecca <3


Monday, April 28, 2014

Amazing Grace

The words to this hymn have been a steadying force in my life since I was very young and have proven to be true in my testimony of hope.
Photo Credit
Amazing Grace has been one of my favorite hymns since I was a little girl, but, in life, grace has always been one of those elusive things that I've sought after, but could never seem to find in full. I didn't receive a lot of grace growing up, so, as an adult, I really didn't even know what grace was. I didn't know how to receive it, and I, certainly, didn't know how to give it. And I'm still not very good at either, but I'm learning.

This is what I've learned about grace so far...

Grace is free. It can't be earned, bought, or sold. It must be given, and given freely with no strings attached. Our salvation comes as a gift of God's grace and is appropriated by the response of faith.
Faith in Jesus Christ is God's requirement for receiving His free gift of salvation.

I think for most of my fifty-two years, I've not understood the definition of words like faith, grace, justice, and mercy. Even now I find myself struggling, having to go back, look them up, and study them out as I slip back into old habits and patterns that I detest. It's very frustrating, but, little by little, day-by-day, here's what is slowly sinking down below surface level...

Faith is what we believe about Jesus and our heart's response to Him. Faith means believing and trusting in Jesus, yielding our wills to Him, and totally committing ourselves to Him. It requires repentance, and obedience, to Jesus and His Word as a way of life. It involves a heartfelt personal devotion and an attachment to Jesus. It is being loyal to Him.

Justice is getting what we deserve.

Mercy is being spared what we deserve

Grace is being given what we do not deserve.

Grace is God giving His only begotten Son on behalf of undeserving sinners...imperfect, very flawed me. Grace is multiplied to believers by the Holy Spirit, imparting forgiveness, acceptance, and the power to do God's will.

While given freely to those who will accept it, God's grace must be diligently desired and sought after. It is received when we humble ourselves before the Lord, hear, study, and obey His Word, and pray. On the other hand, God's grace can be resisted, set aside, or even abandoned, by a believer.

No one can be saved by works or good deeds. Nor can anyone be saved through strenuous self-effort to keep God's commandments. One can only be saved by the grace of God. And oh! What an amazing grace it truly is!

May all who call upon Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior learn to accept God's grace for themselves, and may they (we...I) learn to pass it along, and give it freely, to others.  

"For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus] shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:19-21). 


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The following stanza was written by an an anonymous author, often replacing the sixth stanza, or inserted as the fourth.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

(If you'd like to know more about the amazing history behind the song Amazing Grace, then I recommend that you acquire a copy of Amazing Grace the movie and watch it. It is very good!) 

Until Next Time...

All My Love,

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Friend

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is a special time set aside each week where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, "We write for five minutes flat. All on the same extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." 

Today's prompt is friend.


A friend. A friend will laugh with you over silly things, cry with you over just about anything, share a cup of tea with you at every opportunity, watch that same ol' movie with you one more time, and, if you really need matter how near, or far, they may be to (or from) you, they are never more than a phone call or night it matters not. A friend will come along side...sit with you...pray with you (and for you)...and they'll be honest with you...even if it hurts. A friend hears your heart when it's too broken for words. One friend may come for a season; another for a lifetime. But either way...

"A friend loveth at all times..." (Proverbs 17:17)


Until Next Time...


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Movie Review: God's Not Dead

God's Not Dead has finally made its way to our small town, local theater, and over the weekend we went to see it. It was a very good movie!

God's Not Dead is the story of college freshman, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), who finds his faith challenged on his very first day in class by his philosophy professor who is a staunch atheist. The professor's first act is to inform the students that belief in God is nothing more than myth and superstition and, unless they want to fail his class, they must declare, in writing, that "God Is Dead." As a devout Christian, Josh is the only one in the class that cannot bring himself to deny the existence of God, and he refuses to do so. As a result the professor challenges him to a series of debates in front of the entire class over the course of the semester. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God's existence, he will fail the course. As a result of taking on the professor's challenge, Josh loses the support of, pretty much, everyone, including his long-time girlfriend. She thinks it would be better for Josh to just do what the professor wants him to do and move on. At the same time, Josh's stand makes other students question their own spiritual condition, and encourages them to make stands of their own. God's Not Dead weaves multiple story-lines of faith, doubt, and disbelief together, culminating in a dramatic call to action. This movie will educate and inspire those that see it, and encourage them to explore just what it is that they, themselves, believe about God's existence, and find where they fit into His plan for their lives.

God's Not Dead stars Kevin Sorbo, David White, and Dean Cain, and features special appearances by the Newsboys and Willie and Korie Robertson.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cheesy Egg White Scramble With Spinach Served In A Half Joseph's Pita (E)

Cheesy Egg Whites And Spinach In A Joseph's Pita
I had some egg whites left over the other day that needed used up, and just a small amount of spinach, so I threw this together for breakfast. It was very tasty, and John and I quite enjoyed it.

All I did was scramble some egg whites in a small skillet that had been sprayed with pan spray. I sprinkled them with sea salt and black pepper. Then, just before the eggs were done I added a couple of handfuls of fresh, raw spinach and sauteed all together. Right at the end I sprinkled the whole thing with just a tiny amount of shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese, allowing it to melt into the egg and spinach mixture. Then, I divided the mixture equally into two parts, and stuffed each portion into one-half of a Joseph's pita.

Short, sweet, and to the point...breakfast! <3

Until Next Time...

All My Love,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama - 'Sip The Shrinker' Laura's Way

'Sip The Shrinker' Laura's Way
With way too much going on, this past week has not been the best week for staying on plan with the Trim Healthy Mama...BUT...despite all that I've discovered the most wonderful and amazing concoction and I've got to share it with you! It's the great-tasting, fat-burning Sip The Shrinker drink from THM...sort of.

I tried Serene's original recipe, but, must admit, I really didn't know what I was doing and didn't care for what I came up with. (I think I added way too much cayenne pepper for one thing!) Then, I received an e-post from my dear friend, Laura Lane, over at Harvest Lane Cottage. Laura has lost, and kept off, 50 pounds thus far with the THM. (Good job, Mama!!! Rebecca gives Laura a high-five) Laura stated in her post that this drink was a big help to her during this time of weight-loss. She also stated that she, too, had started out with Serene's original recipe, played around with it a bit, and came up with her own version of the Sip The Shrinker drink. It is Laura's version that I use and share with you here today. I've had my two-quart quota almost every day since discovering it and it is wonderful!!!

And, while I, personally, have never been to one of those high dollar specialty drink stores, I do imagine that this drink is similar to something that one might find on the menu there. A frappe, or an iced latte, maybe? I don't know. I've never had either, but I can imagine, and I'm guessing that this is something along that line. Either way, it is absolutely delicious! It keeps me from snacking all day and it has totally taken away my desire for any kind of soda.

'SIP THE SHRINKER' (Laura's Way)

(Makes 2 quarts.)

3 to 4 Oolong tea bags steeped in a large mug (steep until tea reaches room temperature)

Remove tea bags and put cooled tea in blender. (I save my bags and use them a second time.)

To cooled tea in blender add:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
a pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon caramel flavoring (I use Watkins)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Truvia to taste (I use 8 packages)

Blend on high for just a few seconds. This makes your Shrinker concentrate. Divide contents equally between two quart jars and store in fridge until ready to drink.

When ready to drink, fill jar with ice and enough water to fill to top Then, sip on it until it's gone. You can add extra water and/or sweetener as needed. Stir or shake each time you take a drink, because the cinnamon and cayenne tends to settle to the bottom.

This drink is called a Shrinker because it actually burns calories by raising your thermogenic temperature.

Until next time...

All My Love,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Do You Find His Sayings To Be Hard?

"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard [difficult to understand] saying; who can hear [understand] it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured [grumbled] at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (John 6:60-66)

I find this passage of scripture to be very interesting. Here Jesus was. He had been teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of the people who were following Him heard what He was saying, they could not understand it. The Bible tells us that it was too hard for them.

Jesus knew within Himself that they were grumbling about it and He asked them, "Does this offend you?" (He knew that it did!)

He went on to explain what the problem was. They were trying to understand what He was saying in the flesh, but what He was saying could only be understood in the spirit. He acknowledged that some of them did not believe, and further explained that no man can come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ except that the Father Himself had placed that down in them. As a result, many of His disciples turned away from Him and made a conscious decision not to follow Him anymore. Can you imagine?

This passage makes me wonder. How many of Jesus' teachings do we find hard, or uncomfortable, to deal with today? How many of us gripe and grumble about the sermon that the preacher preached on Sunday because we didn't like what he had to say? (And, keep in mind, if you're in a Bible-believing church where scripture is the foundation upon which the sermon was based, then, the preacher was only repeating what God has already said in His Word. And God's Word is His will.)

Don't you think that if Jesus knew what was going on in the hearts of those present with Him back then, that He most certainly knows what's going on in our hearts today? Don't you think that He knows who truly believes and who doesn't? And when we are offended by His words?

How many of us, like the people who walked with Him then, continue to make the choice to try to understand what God's Word is saying in the flesh, or with our intellect?

How many of us truly welcome God's Word, and accept it's truths and challenges, even when it hurts? Even when it convicts us down in our spirit?

And how many of us, when Jesus' words become too hard for us, choose to walk away from Him?

How many of us, due to stubbornness and rebellion, will eventually make the choice to walk away from Him permanently? For eternity?

In light of the fact that yesterday was Resurrection Sunday, which is the perfect time to celebrate new beginnings, I'd like to encourage you today, to, if you've had any doubts at all about where you stand in your relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit yourself afresh to Him and His ways.

If you've found His sayings too hard in the past, or if you've recently (or not so recently) found yourself drifting away from Him, there's no time like the present to ask Him for forgiveness and move on. Ask Jesus to help you to put aside your flesh, and to learn His words and His ways in the realm of the spirit.

Pray for a rock solid faith. A faith so strong that, when His sayings become hard, instead of walking, or drifting away, you dig your heels in, press in  hard, and cling to Christ's sayings all the tighter, by faith, if necessary, so as not be counted among those that deliberately chose to walk away.

Have a blessed day!

In Christ Jesus and With All My Love,

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Glue

Ceramic Split Rock Lighthouse Nightlight 
Five Minute Friday is a special time set aside each week where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, "We write for five minutes flat. All on the same extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." 

Today's prompt is glue.


Shattered! The lighthouse lay in pieces...shards scattered all over the floor. 

"I'm sorry", my husband said. "I'll fix it. Do we have any glue?"

"Fix it? How can you fix it?", I thought.

Inside I was heartsick. I had worked hard on those. I had made four of them that year. Three for Christmas gifts, and one for us. And they weren't just any ol' lighthouse, either. They were the lighthouse! The one that I had grown up touring and enjoying year after year on Lake Superior's North Shore. That's why, when I discovered them at our local ceramic shop, I just had to make them and give them away to others that I knew would really appreciate them. And the ceramic shop was closed now...permanently. I couldn't make another one now if I wanted to!

On the other was just a thing. A hunk of glass. In the big scope of everything it didn't mean anything. Why was I so upset?

"I'll fix it," my husband was saying again. "Where's the glue?"

I knew it was accident. I had watched it happen. He was helping me clean house and he didn't see the edge of the table cloth when it sucked up inside the vacuum causing the whole thing to come crashing down. Shattered. Scattered. How could glue fix that?

Isn't that how it is with relationships? Someone says or does something...not on purpose, but accidentally...and it stings. It hurts. Emotions flair and the whole thing comes crashing down. Hearts shatter. Feelings scatter. Can glue fix that?

No. But forgiveness can. Forgiveness is the glue that can solidify broken relationships and mend broken hearts. Sometimes the simple act of forgiveness can make that relationship even stronger than it was before. Perfect? No. But stronger? Yes.
Ceramic Split Rock Lighthouse Nightlight 
Was the glue able to fix the lighthouse? Not But we were able to salvage it and enjoy it anyway. After I found the gluemy husband was able to meticulously reconstruct my beloved lighthouse. To this day it sets atop the special place designated for it and, unless you look very, very closely, you would never know that, at one time, the whole thing lay broken...shattered and scattered...broken in pieces.


Until Next Time...


#FiveMinuteFriday #LakeSuperior #SplitRockLighthouse

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review - The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

I hate to admit it, but I have a, seemingly, never-ending pile of partially read, and 'want-to-read', books. Some of them have never even been opened yet, others have been laying open to where I last read, waiting patiently for me to pick them up again, and still others have a bookmark inside, marking the place I was the last time I picked the book up to snatch another paragraph or two or, maybe even a whole page or chapter. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! was in the latter of these categories.

I purchased the book on May 12, 2012. I remember it vividly because that's the night that we attended Joplin, Missouri's A Celebration of Hope. It was a special event commemorating the upcoming, one-year anniversary of the F5 tornado that had ripped through and devastated the city the year before. There was a special 'Dinner With The Duggars' prior to the main event that evening and daughter, Amber, granddaughter, Audrey, and I went to that, then we joined our menfolk, and our son and his family, for the main event, which featured encouragement from the Duggar family through music, personal testimonials, and more. Following the event was a special time of book signing and photo taking. It was then I purchased two books, both written by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
Jim Bob and Michelle Signing Our Books
I started reading the first book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! immediately and, over the course of the past two years, I have read a snippet here and a snippet there until, finally, late Monday night/early Tuesday morning of this week, I finished those last two chapters!

The second book, A Love That Multiplies, lays, unopened, in a basket of books by our bed. Other than the front cover that was opened that night, when most of the Duggar family members signed it, the book has not been touched. I will start it soon. :)
Some Of The Duggar Children Signing Our Books
Believe it or not, after all this time of dilly-dallying, I can remember most of what I've read in The Duggars: 20 and Counting! From cover to cover, I truly enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look into the hearts and lives of Jim Bob and Michelle and their big, beautiful family! The book (their first book) tells the story of Jim Bob and Michelle's early years, their meeting and marrying, about the births of their children, and other memorable family happenings. The book also features lots of photos, recipes, tips, traditions, and practical ideas, as well as, answers a whole lot of questions that are commonly asked about the big, awe-inspiring family.

While I enjoyed all of the stories greatly, the thing that most stands out to me, is God's marvelous protection and provision for this amazing family that truly has a heart for Him, and seeks Him, and His will for their lives, first and foremost, in all that they do. Two things, specifically, come to mind.

The first one, is the story of God's miraculous protection over Jim Bob and Michelle, who was pregnant with John-David and Jana at the time, and baby Josh, when, late one night, while working in the office of the car lot that they owned, Jim Bob came face-to-face with a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

The armed couple approached Jim Bob and asked to use the phone. Jim Bob led them into the house where Michelle and Josh were sleeping. The couple then pulled a gun, held Jim Bob at gunpoint, robbed him, left him bound and gagged in the garage, and stole one of the cars from their car lot.

While the guy was tying Jim Bob up, Jim Bob was witnessing to him. He told him that he really believed that God has a plan and a purpose for each life and, that, while he didn't know where the guy was going, he hoped that when he got there, that he'd think about that. The guy stood over him, gun cocked and pointed at Jim Bob's head...finger on the trigger. For whatever reason, he turned around, found some newspaper, wadded it up, and shoved it in Jim Bob's mouth, then retied the gag. Then the couple was gone.

Later, somehow, Jim Bob was able to free his hands from his feet. He hopped into the house and back to the bedroom. There he flipped on the light with his shoulder and made enough noise to wake Michelle up. She was dumbfounded at the scene before her and, at first, thought it was some sort of prank. When it sunk in and she realized that it was no joke, she ran for the scissors and cut Jim Bob free. They contacted the police and the police put out an all-points bulletin for the fleeing couple.

Shortly thereafter the bandits were spotted in the stolen car. They gave the Arkansas police quite a chase and blew right through a police barricade crossing into Oklahoma. Oklahoma state police chased the car and were, eventually, able to run it off the road. The woman surrendered, but the man got away. The first thing the woman wanted to know was if 'the man' (Jim Bob) was okay. She thought her partner might have killed him.

Dogs, helicopters, and more police officers conducted an overnight manhunt, but at one o'clock the next day, the search team gave up. The last officers were packing up their equipment and getting ready to leave when they saw the thief crawl out of a drainage ditch and start running for the woods. He thought everyone had left, and if he had waited just a few minutes more he would have been right.

After coming face-to-face with death, Jim Bob said that he felt like he was living on overtime and he knew that God had protected him for a reason. He knew that God had a plan for him, and dying in that garage wasn't part of it.

There are testimonies like this throughout the book, but, to me, this was the most memorable of all.

The second thing that really stood out to me is the absolutely amazing provision that God supplied in the building of the Duggar family's 7,000 sq. ft., Kodiak Steel home...totally and completely debt free! It is nothing short of miraculous! And you'd have to read it for yourself to understand the full scope of all that took place.

I also enjoyed reading about Michelle's packing and labeling method when preparing to move ,and the Duggar family's many tips for making, spending, and saving money. "Buy used and save the difference" is becoming a standard saying in our own home as a result.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is fascinated by the Duggars, or anyone, in general, who is interested in organizational skills and/or becoming, or living, debt free. There is much wisdom to be gained through the pages of The Duggars: 20 and Counting! And, in the end, everything in the book comes back to the importance of maintaining a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking His will in everything you do.

All My Love,

If you enjoyed this post you might also be interested in:

An Evening With The Duggar Family

Michelle Duggar's Tater Tot Casserole 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hearty Green Soup (E) and Joseph's Crackers/Chips (S, E or Fuel Pull)

THM's Hearty Green Soup and Joseph's Crackers/Chips
The Trim Healthy Mama's, Hearty Green Soup, is a large-scale soup intended for big families and company meals. According to the book, the recipe makes two meals worth of food, but, for just John and I, I made a half a recipe and it ran us for one meal a day for days, plus we had company join us on one of those days. The recipe may be found on page 334 of the Trim Healthy Mama, and you can use your own judgment as to whether to make a whole recipe or a half. That is totally up to you.  The recipe is absolutely delicious and very economical. This is definitely a soup that I will make again and again. (In fact...I've got a pot of split peas cooking right now!)

On several of the days that we ate this soup for lunch or supper, I served it with Joseph's Crackers/Chips (page 394 in the book). These crackers/chips are very good and have totally taken the place of tortilla chips in our home. They're also very quick and easy to make, and you can have a batch made up from start to finish in just a couple of minutes.

(Note: I have made the chips both ways...using pita bread and lavash...and, both are equally good. When using the pita bread, I cut them in half, then separate the two halves, so, when I cut them, I get 8 good-sized triangles out of each original half instead of just four. When using the lavash bread, I use a half a piece, then cut that half in half again and cut diagonally creating the desired, triangle, tortilla chip-shaped pieces. Very yummy! And, since I didn't have any paper plates on hand, I made mine on a regular plate linesd with parchment paper.)

I hope you enjoy trying these recipes out. They're both very good and totally nutritious!

Until Next Time,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama - My Favorite Evening Meal

Broiled Salmon With Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Creamless Cream Sauce, and Asparagus
Of all the evening meals that we've tried thus far, this is, by far, my favorite...broiled salmon (S), Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (S) served with Creamless Creamy Veggies (S, E or Fuel Pull - sauce served as a gravy), and a dark green vegetable (usually broccoli, but, tonight, fresh asparagus), and we have this meal, at least, a couple of nights per week. It's absolutely delicious!

The way I make the salmon is, I start with frozen per person. Before placing the frozen fish in the baking dish, I put about a half tablespoon of butter and a half tablespoon of coconut oil under the area where I intend to lay each fillet. Then, after placing each fillet over the butter and oil, I pour one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of red wine vinegar over each one. I sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, then, cover and bake in a 400 degree oven. I allow the salmon to bake until I have the other dishes near to completion, then I remove the foil, kick the oven up on broil, and broil, flipping once, until fish is done.

The original recipe for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (S) is found on page 361 of the Trim Healthy Mama, and as Serene and Pearl say, "If you do these the right way, you can barely tell the difference between this dish and real mashed potatoes. The secret is the food processor." And this is true!

The way I make mine is, I start by steaming a fresh head of cauliflower. After it's done, I place the florets in my food processor and add a couple of tablespoons of butter (or light butter), sea salt, and black pepper. Occasionally, I add a tablespoon of cream or half and half, but, usually, not. I process on high until creamy and viola! Mashed potatoes! (NOT!) :)

To make the gravy I either follow the instructions in the book to make Creamless Creamy Veggies (S, E or Fuel Pull - page 352 of the Trim Healthy Mama) and make extra sauce to be served as gravy, or I make the sauce by itself, and serve the vegetables on the side. Generally, if I'm making broccoli, I make it per the book instructions, cooking the veggies in the sauce, but if, like tonight, I'm making asparagus, I cook the sauce by itself, and cook the asparagus separately, so that it doesn't overcook. (I like it to be crisp, not squishy and stringy.) Whether I cook the vegetables in the sauce, or not, makes no difference. I always use it as a gravy for the mashed cauliflower. It is so yummy! :)

To make the sauce alone as a gravy, I start with 1/2 cup of fat free chicken broth. To that I add one wedge of Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese per person, sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. I whisk all this together and cook until boiling. Then I shut the burner off and whisk in one heaping tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. This sauce is a great accompaniment to any non-starchy vegetable, and even the grandlittles happily eat their vegetables when cooked in it...broccoli, Brussels sprouts, doesn't make any difference. They love them all!

And, by the way, I did end up spooning a couple of tablespoons of sauce over my asparagus this evening after the picture above was taken. I just couldn't help myself! :)

So, that's my favorite evening meal. What's yours?

Until Next Time...

All My Love,
~ Rebecca


Monday, April 14, 2014

Onward Christian Soldiers

This past weekend has been a blitz of dealing with people in trouble and my. heart. aches. for. them. Some are dealing with serious issues that, in the natural, have no easy answers (if any answers at all); others are facing marital problems, financial woes, or problems within the family, or with friends, or neighbors. The list goes on and on. Every single one of us has our own, unique set of trials and troubles, I suppose, and some are facing tougher times than others.

Ladies, we need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder here. There's no doubt about it...we're at war! All of these things that we are experiencing are battles that have been waged against us by the enemy of our souls. We have an enemy (Satan) that hates us and he's pulling out all stops in an attempt to wear us down. As followers of Christ, we need to put on the whole amour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), be in constant prayer one for another (Ephesians 6:18), and stand. our. ground!

I encourage you today to dig deeper into the Word. Seek God's face, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Give God permission to purify your heart, and make you more like Him through the trials and tribulations that you face on a daily basis. Praise Him. Honor Him. Help Him, to help you, make your life a living example of Christ's love. Be of good cheer, and be not weary in well doing. Know that God has equipped you with every good thing that you need to fight the war that has been waged against you and that, even now, He is working all things together for your good and His glory.

Straighten up that armor, Woman of God! Lift your chin, O Daughter of the King! And sing with me...

(Rebecca picks up the Christian flag and her Sword as she begins to lead the march singing...)

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
 Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
 Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

(Rebecca continues singing...her voice trailing as she marches right on over the horizon and out of sight...)

Let's defeat the enemy by taking back one small area of our sphere of influence at a time! 

Have a great day! And God bless!

All My Love,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Paint

Five Minute Friday is a special time set aside each week where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, "We write for five minutes flat. All on the same extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." 

Today's prompt is paint.


Artists paint with watercolors, acrylics, or oils. People who paint houses paint with latex...flat or gloss. But writers! Writers paint with words! At least good writers do. 

A writer's words, when coupled with just the right amount of color, can, literally, take us to another place and time, painting a picture in our head, and helping us to visualize every detail of what's happening in their story. As I type this, I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She had just such a word-painting ability.

I remember when I was a young girl, my mother and I would read the 'Little House' books over and over again. We loved them all, but our favorite was The Long Winter. We'd always wait til the hottest part of summer to read that one...and with good reason!

The pictures that Laura painted were so vivid! Through her written words, Laura Ingalls Wilder could transport my mother and I from our hot, non-air-conditioned living room in Missouri in the 1970's, into her and her family's home, lives, and world, there in De Smet, South Dakota in the late 1800's. My mother and I would become so engrossed in what we were reading about the prairie blizzards that would suddenly come upon the little town with a vengeance and last for days...the darkening skies, then the pitch black as the sun would be blotted out by swirling, icy, snow...the wind howling for days...the deafening silence that would occur when it all suddenly stopped...the dazzling sunlight, the clear, blue skies, and the biting cold. It was crazy! Even though it was 100 degrees outside, my mother and I would 'come to' after reading about such an episode, and we would, literally, have goose-pimples from being so cold! It's a good thing we didn't read The Long Winter in the wintertime! We probably would have froze to death! :)

Yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder definitely had the ability to paint with words, and I value the special times that my mother and I shared through the reading of her books and being entertained by her in our very own home. 


Until Next Time...


#FiveMinuteFriday, #LauraIngallsWilder

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review : Mother's Book of Home Economics by Mrs. Sharon White

Mother's Book of Home Economics by Mrs. Sharon White
I just finished reading Mother's Book of Home Economics - Remembrances, Letters and Essays From A New England Housewife  by Mrs. Sharon White and, oh! What a blessing!

Mother's Book of Home Economics is not the usual, run-of-the-mill home economics book full of 'how to' facts and tips. Rather, it is a beautiful, 121 short chapters, 312-page collection of Mrs. White's own, personal experiences in the making of a home on her family's lovely 'estate' in Vermont.

Mrs. White is a devout Christian wife, who has been married for more than 25 years. She is a mother of five, grandmother of two, and a homemaker without apology. I was filled with emotion and wonder as she shared her struggles, her hopes, her dreams, and her ability to see the work that she does in the home, not as mundane drudgery, but as a purposeful, joyful act of service to her family, and as a humble act of reverence and worship before God.

I love Mrs. White's determination to be sweet and cheerful no matter how hard times might be, and am delighted by her ability to see beauty in simplicity.

Throughout the book, Mrs. White shares godly wisdom in the areas of child care, cleaning, etiquette, finances, homemaking, hospitality, cooking, holiness, and more, and she greatly encouraged me, personally, in the areas of contentment, thrift, and living life purposefully and productively, no matter what the circumstance.

What I appreciated most, was Mrs. White's honesty concerning finances. She has, as did the Apostle Paul, learned to be abased and to abound, and to be content in whatsoever state she has found herself in. I gleaned a wealth of thought-provoking ideas from Mrs. White throughout the book, and am truly challenged to re-think and evaluate our current financial circumstances, and the stewardship of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us...AND I am challenged to use them more wisely in future.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from Mrs. White's book, Mother's Book of Home Economics ...

"If we truly realized the greatness of an eternal perspective, and cared for the home out of a sense of devotion for The Master, our will would be so strong that nothing could distract us from so great a task as tending the home." (page 152)

"The Homemaker...will find happiness in her daily tasks - make the home pleasant, because she has found a way to make the most of her circumstances. She will not get caught up in the crankiness of family members. She will not get caught up in the neighbor's gossip. She can be a bright light and a joy to those around her because she is dedicated to the ART of creating a comfortable, pretty home - with what she has. This becomes her hobby, her vocation, her calling." (page 165)

"...I will spend on that which is eternal. I will find a way to serve despite my health issues. I will not care what others say or think of me, but only care of the view from God's eyes." (page 205)

"Wherever we go, wherever we live, regardless of our circumstances, we can manage beautifully in a tent, a cabin, shack or house. We can do this with our talents and skills...It is certainly not the ideal, but we can cope and cope beautifully in most situations." (page 253)

"Now, if you came to my house and looked at the grounds, you would see something far different than I do. You would see a 3 story house that is in serious need of painting. You would see old porches and tired steps. You would see little attempts at gardening throughout the land. but the world, as I see it, is a great Estate for us to explore..." (page 270)

In a time when the Titus 2 woman is mysteriously missing, or is, at best, difficult to come by, I find that Mrs. White helps to comfortably fill that gap. I highly recommend her book to anyone who is seeking Biblical womanhood as a keeper of the home, or to anyone who just wishes to learn how to slow down and live a simpler lifestyle in our out-of-control, modern age.

To find out more visit Mrs. White @ The Legacy of Home.

Until next time...

All My Love,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Simplified Strawberry Smoothie (S, E, or Fuel Pull)

Simplified Strawberry Smoothie
Since my daughter, Amber, created this wonderfully delicious, 'Simplified Strawberry Smoothie', and shared the recipe with me, I've not missed a day of making and enjoying one. The recipe is based on the Trim Healthy Mama's 'Big Boy Smoothie' (page 242) and is super easy to make. With just the right amount of sweetness, and thickness, I can hardly tell the difference between it and a calorie-laden strawberry shake from a fast-food joint. It's beyond delectable!


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 to 3 packages of Truvia (based on desired sweetness)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
a couple of nice, big handfuls of unsweetened frozen strawberries
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)

Pour unsweetened almond milk into your blender up to the 1-cup line. Add Truvia, vanilla, and whey protein, if desired. (Note: The whey protein powder takes the smoothie from being a snack, to making it a meal, as it is very filling.) Then, add strawberries and blend on high.You might have to scrape the mixture down a time or two as it is very thick. Serve in a large glass and enjoy. Sometimes I use a straw and sometimes I just eat it with a spoon! It is so yummy! :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama - The Journey Continues

It's been a busy week and weekend, and we still haven't finished reading the Trim Healthy Mama in its entirety, but everyday we seem to be learning something new. And, while this week has been far from perfect, we are pretty much set up in on-plan foods, and have made several new recipes, most of which we enjoyed, but, we are also coming to some conclusions.

#1 - We are definitely going to have to take finances into consideration and settle into a more economical system of menu planning. I have yet to set anything down on paper, but am thinking that we probably need to alternate egg white dishes, with, or without turkey sausage, or turkey bacon on occasion, with oatmeal for breakfasts, and the hearty soups (Red or Green) for lunches. I made a half recipe of the Hearty Green Soup on page 334 this past week and it is very good and it's very economical! A half recipe has fed my husband and I for days (a bowl each for either lunch or supper) and one day we even shared some of it with company! By alternating these breakfast and lunch ideas on a regular basis, we will just have to plan nice suppers and can put most of the allotted grocery money into those meals.

#2 - I still haven't figure out if we started off wrong, if we're missing something, or what, but where on-plan foods according to the book, in places anyway, include things like full-fat butter, full-fat cheese, full-fat cream cheese, ground beef, etc., we have decided to stick with foods that we traded those items in for long ago. Light butter instead of full-fat butter or margarine, 2% cheese in place of full-fat cheese, Neufchatel or fat-free cream cheese instead of full-fat cream cheese, ground turkey instead of ground beef, etc. Why add the extra fat and calories when there is no need to?

The thing that we feel that we've learned the most about thus far is the effect that sugar has on the body and how most of the foods that we were eating before, and the combinations in which we were eating them, created a never-ending process of glucose clean-up, which, in turn, made it impossible for the body to ever get to stored fat and use it as a fuel source. We feel so much better getting off the sugar and, did I mention? I love Truvia! And thanks to a new found love affair with cauliflower, I don't miss white potatoes at all, either. That is something that I never thought would happen! Wow!

I do wish I would have measured before starting this journey though because my clothes are definitely feeling looser. I need to buckle down and get more serious with everything, and I need to start walking again!

Well, I guess that's it for this week. To all you other ladies who are endeavoring to go the Trim Healthy Mama way, I wish you well. Feel free to drop in, comment, and let us know how things are progressing on your end. In the meantime, love to all and God bless!

All My Love,