Monday, September 26, 2011

Moms- What you do matters!

Folks, this has been a long week and I kept this on hand for a busy week. So today's inspiration is short and sweet but important! My mother gave me this card a while back and I kept it because it really meant a lot to me.

Moms nurture hope,
build dreams, plant seeds of faith
that yield unending blooms,
and leave footprints of love
on her children's heart
that never fade.
                           -Elisa Morgan

Then the inside of the card read:

What you do matters...
today and for eternity.

In the end, I know that as moms we all know that what we do matters. I  also know that there are many days that it may not seem like it and it is easy to forget. So I'll say it again-
What you do matters!
Remember this this week as you are driving to school or playdates, as you do the hundredth load of laundry, as you make a healthy dinner that you have to try to get your kids to eat (even though slapping together PB&J would have been easier), as you sit in church with them when staying home would have been much less stressful, or as you sit to read to your children when tv would buy you more time to get everything else done.
What you do matters...
today and for eternity.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche

There are probably a million different quiche recipes out there with endless combinations and I have made around a hundred of them (OK, it's probably not THAT many but it's been quite a few.) Personally, I could eat quiche everyday. I have been making this recipe for years and love the fact that it packs just shy of a farmer's market in it and is very low in fat. Oh, and it feeds a crowd! For the past two years I have made it for my MOPS group and have been asked to share the recipe and have been promising it to my fellow MOPS mom. Sorry it took so long but here it is!

(This particular one had a few issues due to having to sub ingredients so it had to be
in the oven longer and the top got a little too done but you get the picture!)

Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche
Substitute corn or spinach for some of the vegetables, if you wish.
1-1/2 cups egg substitute- I have NEVER done this personally. I just keep adding eggs until I get to 1-1/2 cups. Then add 3 more eggs (next ingredient)
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour (about 2-1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) carton cottage cheese
cooking spray
4 cups sliced zucchini (about 4)
2 cups diced potato with onion (such as Simply Potatoes) OR, I cut up the potato and onion myself
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1)
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup Jack cheese, milk, flour, baking powder, salt, and cottage cheese.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add zucchini and the next 3 ingredients (through mushrooms); saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the zucchini mixture and parsley to egg mixture. Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining 3/4 cup Jack cheese. Arrange tomato slices over cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove dish from oven), and bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and set.
Yield: 10 servings.

Recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Encouragement" by Don Wharton

"Encouragement" by Don Wharton

I'm often caught in this Grown-ups dilemma;
Torn between two ways to go.
Wishing I could give you all the answers
but knowing you should find them on your own.

Life is beautiful
And life is good,
But life will never, never be easy
Like we sometimes wish it could.

But I believe we were all meant to succeed.
I believe we were all born to win.
 You might stand alone at the top of the vict'ry stand,
But you get there with the love and support
of your friends.

It takes a pat on the back.
It takes a hand to hold.
It takes some words of hope
 That touch your heart and soul.

It takes encouragement.
 That fragile bridge between your dreams and accomplishment.
Surround yourself in this human experiment
With those who proudly wear the badge of encouragement.

I wish I could have posted a video of Don Wharton singing this song so you could have heard the music to go with the words. This song by Don Wharton has meant so much to me ever since I was quite young. Every time I hear it now it reminds me of what my purpose is as a parent, to guide and encourage my children.
Don Wharton is a Christian singer and songwriter who I feel really understands the true meaning of life. His music is very inspiring and uplifting to me. This song came originally from the "Encouragement" CD and was later changed very slightly to be put on his children's CD called "Camp Encouragement." Unfortunately, the Camp Encouragement version is no longer available but his original Encouragement CD still is. If you are interested in finding out more about Don, visit this link: Don Wharton Music.

Have a great week everyone!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Sick" Bed Mats

Recently, my brother and sister-in-law inspired me to come up with this idea when all four of their children had the flu. She was at the hospital with the baby and my brother was at home with three children who were all at one point "getting sick" and he was trying to keep up with washing sheets and keeping sanity. I was thinking about the awful days I've had myself in similar situations and decided to make "sick mats" for the kids' beds. The idea is that if the kids get the flu, I can put this on their bed so that if they "get sick" in the middle of the night I can just remove the mat and swap out the second one. Hopefully, without "bad aim" I can avoid re-making the entire bed and spend more time comforting the sick child.

I purchased 2-1/2 yards of rubber sheeting (to make two) which is cotton fabric with rubber in the middle that makes it waterproof. Then I purchased 2-1/2 yards EACH of two different flannel patterns to cover the rubber sheeting (I chose dark fabric for obvious reasons.)

I will show you more about the assembly soon when I make the second mat. I whipped this one up yesterday and I'm hoping that my being prepared will ward off the flu for a long time so I won't actually have to use it! Here's to hoping!

One last thing- of course, I plan to make a few extra pillowcases as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Lessons from a Zen Mommy"

For my first week of Monday inspirations I chose an article from Parents magazine called "Lessons from a Zen Mommy." I know that zen comes from Buddhism and some of you might find it strange that I chose this article since I am a Christian but this article basically leaves religion aside and has many great thoughts on how to simplify life. I found the article inspiring because it really made me think about ways that I can change to ease some of the burdens of "Mommy life."

My Take on "Lessons from a Zen Mommy" by Bethany Saltman

Zen Wisdom: Do what you're doing while you're doing it.
Mom Translation: Stop Multitasking!
"An important teaching in Zen is that our entire life is happening right now. The past is over and the future hasn't happened yet. Therefore, all we have is the present." -Beth
I need to read this daily! Can we really do two things at once? Can you put your whole heart into the story that you're reading you children while keeping one eye on The Bachelor? For me, can I really give full concentration to delivering my children to their destination safely while talking on the phone? I want to really try to give my all to the current task at hand.

Zen Wisdom: Leave no trace.
Mom Translation: Take responsibility for yourself and your mess. And teach your children to do the same.
"In Zen we're taught that the state of our mind is reflected in the way we create our home." -Beth
Yikes! Folks, I am in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!! I have been trying to teach this to my children but I need it the most! For my kids it's simple- "you get it out, you put it away" or "If you put your toys away, you can keep them. If Mommy picks them up, I keep them." (That's from Love & Logic.) For me, I have anxiety just thinking about this- "take responsibility for yourself and you're mess." I'm good at excuses for why things haven't gotten done- no more! Time to put the "big girl panties on" and take more responsibility!

Zen Wisdom: Take just the right amount.
Mom Translation: Limit acquiring too much stuff.
"The question I've been taught to ask myself is: Do I really require as much (food, money, things) as I may think I do in the moment? -Beth
Finally! I'm starting to get something right (although my husband may disagree!) I have been really bad about this in the past and have been trying to fix it. Toys? We have many less now than we used to. The children not only still seem satisfied with the selection but I think they actually play with each toy better without having a hundred others thrown around to choose from. For me, I like to go to garage sales to scour for deals but it's really only a deal if I need it! This summer I have been much more selective with what's a need versus a want. Acquiring less has equalled less stress. Less stress over money spent and less stress over where to put it (remember my struggle with the "take responsibility for your mess".)

Zen Wisdom: Practice Patience.
Mom Translation: Don't beat yourself up over things.
I'm mostly going to let her take this one. "Being a Zen student is a good way to be reminded that the journey is the goal. And it's the same with being a parent. Of course we all want to be perfect. And we want our kids to be perfect too- responsible, generous, polite, nice. However, it's a life's work to become a decent human being. Because our kids are constantly changing, we're always total beginners. We all need time to learn, make mistakes, and start over. But we live in an impatient world, and many of us- women especially- tend to beat ourselves up when we feel like we've fallen short. So it's important to model patience." -Beth
Her next thought I really like and have been using. When one of the children (or myself or spouse) does or says something inappropriate or hurtful, instead of getting upset, they get a do-over. Whether it's re-saying something that came out harsh or re-picking up the toy that was thrown and gently delivering it- it works!
"Occasionally I'm really impatient and blow it. Then I get to model how to apologize. Being a good kid or a good parent doesn't happen overnight. We all need to be gentle with each other and ourselves, practicing patience. Again and again." -Beth

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I have saved this article for a while in hopes of sharing it on my blog. I promise that the Monday inspirations will not regularly be this long. Please check back to read more articles, songs, or phrases which I have found inspiring. Have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

White Chicken Chili

One day in the fall of 2009, my mom and I were watching one of her favorite local shows called "Living with Amy" which we have gotten many great recipes and ideas from. Amy that day was making this White Chicken Chili and later when we were trying to come up with an idea for dinner we remembered this looking pretty good and decided to give it a try. Boy, are we glad we did! This has been a favorite ever since. I hope you like it as much as we do!

White Chicken Chili

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped- I like a lot of onion so I use 2 small or 1 large onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers (optional if you like it spicy, if not, use another 4 ounce can of green chilies)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper- skip this if you are feeding it to the kiddos
2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 cups chopped chicken breast- OK, to tell you the truth, I've never used chicken breast. I roast a whole chicken when they're on a good sale OR you can buy a rotisserie chicken and pull the meat off
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans
shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook onion, celery and green pepper until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chili peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and white beans. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash beans up a bit to thicken (personally, I've never done this and it's fine.) Serve hot with cheese, sour cream, cilantro and chips. Enjoy!

Recipe comes from Living With Amy, originally from Festival Foods 10/5/2009

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tequila Lime Chicken

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 small onion- finely diced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)- we cheated on this and used a small can of diced jalapenos and minced them ourselves
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
crushed tortilla chips- for this recipe, spring for the good ones- it's worth it
monteray jack cheese

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, onion, brown sugar, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside. Pound/tenderize the chicken to make it slightly thinner. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and pan sear on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side. Cover the chicken breast with cheese and finish under the broiler until the cheese begins to brown slightly. Serve over crushed tortilla chips. Garnish with minced jalapenos. Serve with an ice cold Corona and lime and enjoy!