Monday, December 31, 2012

White Bean and Tomato Enchiladas

Meatless Monday comes again! This recipe is a nice blend of beans, cheese, and tomatoes! I made my own enchilada sauce and the husband and son loved it.




Ingredients

Enchiladas:
10 Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells
4 oz dry White (Navy) Beans (or 1 can drained)*
4 oz dry Chickpeas (or 1 can drained)*
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes (or Roma)
1/4 cup chopped Onion
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 ground Black Pepper

*If using dry beans, soak overnight before using
Sauce:
1 cup Milk (2% or whole)
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Salsa of your choice

Optional Toppings:
Sour Cream
Avocado
Lettuce

Instructions

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized
2. Add beans, tomatoes and spices - cook over medium heat for 10 minutes
3. Spoon bean mixture into tortilla shells
4. Roll and place in glass baking dish
5. Top with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese
6. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes
7. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Earache Home Remedies

Here at my house we've all been struggling to get over a nasty cold. Yesterday, my son was especially miserable. He seemed to be getting an ear infection (he kept crying and rubbing his ears all day). I made some garlic oil and put a few drops in his ears a few times yesterday and this morning he is like a whole new person! Hopefully, his ears stay healthy. I will continue putting garlic and mullien oil drops in them for a few more days to make sure all the bacteria is killed.

Here's a good article for some more tips: Native Remedies - Ear infections

One good thing about his discomfort was that I got to spend almost the entire day holding him. He even napped in my arms! He hasn't done that since he was a tiny baby. It was a nice change to the
"up, down, up, down" of our normal days.

Have a wonderful day!







Monday, December 17, 2012

I love "free" stuff!

Today I used my Zulily referral credit and bought THREE items for 92 cents. Did you read that correctly? $0.92 as in less than ONE dollar.

I bought a 24 mini-muffin pan (I've been wanting one forever:), a new shower curtain, and a fun book for my 19 mo old.

I don't know if you've ever seen or heard about Zulily before, but sometimes you can get some great deals (I've ordered from them several times and have always been pleased with their products and customer service - one time they shipped the wrong size item and sent me the correct one and refunded my shipping AND let me keep the incorrect item too!). Check it out!


Beans, Beans, they're good for your heart...

You know the rest:)
So, I mentioned in an earlier post that we are going meatless more often to save on our grocery budget. It's actually been pretty fun! I've come to love BEANS! And although most people think of them as a "gassious" food, they are chock full of healthiness and heartiness! 

Read here for more information on the benefits of beans!

Needless to say, what started as "Meatless Mondays" has now become "Meatless Most Days!" Surprisingly, my hubby doesn't mind a bit! 

Here's a recent recipe I threw together...literally. It turned out quite delicious!

Jacki's Taco Soup

I know it doesn't look that great, but it's so healthy it's ridiculous:)
8 oz Dry Lentils*
8 oz Dry Kidney Beans* (or black beans - can used canned as well)
2 Carrots diced
2 Celery Stalks diced
2 Garlic Cloves minced
15 oz can Diced Tomatoes
3 cups Vegetable Stock
3 cups Water
(or two packets of the store bought kind)

*Make sure you rinse, inspect, and clean your dry beans before putting them in the crockpot.
For kicks, when serving add:
Tortilla Chips
Cheddar Cheese
Plain Yogurt (or sour cream)

1. In crockpot, add all ingredients and stir. Cook on low for 4-6 hrs.
2. Dish into bowls and top with cheddar cheese, a dollop of plain yogurt, and tortilla chips. 
3. EAT and enjoy! You'll have enough leftovers for tomorrow - woohoo!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great deal for kids clothes!

TODAY ONLY
ThredUP is doing $15 off your FIRST order of $15 or more!!! Use code HOLIDAY15...wish I hadn't ordered stuff yet! ha. i love it! Shipping is only 6.95 no matter how much you order! nice!
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

He must increase, I must decrease

John 3:30 says 
30 He must increase, but I must decrease. (ESV)
Today is my 4th anniversary. I know that's not very long in the grand scheme of things, but so much has happened in these 4 short years. We got married (in Pennsylvania) and moved 11 hours away (to Kentucky) 2 weeks later. We moved into a 500 sq ft apartment for a year and David got a job working 3rd shift at UPS. Then we moved into another 500 sq ft apartment for another 2 1/2 years. We got pregnant and had a son. We named him Tyndale (after William Tyndale). The husband graduated seminary and got a new job as a pastor. When he was just over a year old we moved 8 hours away from our Kentucky home back up north to Maryland into a house. We've been here for 5 months. Four months ago we got pregnant again. Two months ago our baby was called home to heaven before we got a chance to meet him. We've laughed. We've cried. We've had some hard times and we've had some wonderful times. 

All in all, I am so thankful that God has blessed me with the most wonderful husband and a beautiful son.

I started this post off with John 3:30 because this must be my mindset everyday. I am not simply a wife or simply a mom. I am a representative of Jesus Christ. My desire is that when people look at me they see Christ alone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cold and Cough Home Remedies...

Yesterday I started coughing. It's that time of year!  I ate an entire clove of garlic (covered in honey to make it easier to go down:) and sipped on some lemon water all day. Today I made a tea with nettles, yarrow, and slippery elm. I had Tyndale drink some of this tea too - he likes it! I'm already feeling a little better.

Later today I will be making a "garlic lemonade" to help fight off whatever virus I'm coming down with in my chest/throat.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic that is best eaten raw (for the purpose of fighting illness). Garlic can also be used as a great prevention for colds (I should have done this before I got this cold:)!


Garlic Lemonade

2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups boiling water
1 lemon (to squeeze)
honey, to taste

1. Mince garlic cloves until very fine
2. Pour 4 cups of boiling water over the cloves (I use a tea pot to steep them) and let stand for 30 min
3. Strain garlic
4. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into garlic liquid
5. Add honey to taste (honey is good for coughs too!)
Enjoy! You can also add a peppermint leaf to steep with the garlic if you'd like!

Do you have any home remedies for cold/cough season that you can share? Please do!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Room...

As I was reading Luke today, I read through the passage where Luke tells us that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the Inn.

Luke2:7(NIV)
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
As I meditated on Luke 2, I couldn't help but relate this to how often I too don't leave room for Jesus. I fill my days with stuff. Some of it is important (i.e. changing poopy diapers), but most of it is trivial. I put so many things before Christ, that by the end of the day I haven't spoken a word to Him. I never thanked Him for anything. I never asked Him for His help. I never asked forgiveness for my disobedience of ignoring Him. I never let Him "speak" to me through His written word. And yet, I still manage to fall asleep without correcting that. Oy.

As a relatively new mom, this has become very heavy on my heart. I know that I need to give God the priority He deserves - both for my spiritual well-being, but also for my son, Tyndale. As parents, we are God's primary representatives to our children. The very first things they learn about God come from you and I. This is extremely humbling if you think about it. I don't want my son's first knowledge about God to be that He's not that important. Or that He doesn't require much attention. Or that He's only interesting on Sundays. I want him to know that God gives me life and breath and that He is my Lord. I want Him to know that I serve Him first above all others - even above daddy. I want him to know that I love God so much that I am willing to make sacrifices for him - even if that means no blog posts, or no leisure reading, or no warm bath - to make time to spend with Him. After all, He made the ultimate sacrifice for me.

I want Tyndale to know that God made that sacrifice for him too.












Homemade Adventures....

Split ends? Clearly...


Did you know that you can replace your shampoo and conditioner with baking soda and apple cider vinegar? It's true!

My soon-to-be sister-in-law does this and her hair is gorgeous! I just ran out of shampoo, so I decided to do another homemade adventure!:)

Here are my "before" photos. I will take another set of photos in a few weeks to show you if it really did improve my hair or not.
Frizzy? I think so...
Disregard the toilet paper behind me :) 

To use this method of hair cleansing:

 Place 1-2 teaspoons (depending on length of hair - I used 2 as I have long and thick hair) of baking soda in a glass and add 1 cup of water. Pour onto hair and massage it into scalp and hair. Rinse. 

Then place 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into the same glass and add a cup of water. Pour onto hair, focusing on the shaft and ends. Massage into hair and let sit for 1-2 minutes while you shave your legs or whatever else you do in the shower:) Rinse and viola! 

We shall see if this homemade hair cleanser is worth ditching the store bought stuff for good (I hope it is:)!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Great deal!

I recently got a subscription to Natural Health Magazine and I love it. It has some great ideas, recipes, and articles! I just stumbled across a great deal for you if you're interested!

I you go through Ebates and search for "discountmags.com" you'll get 26% cash back.  On the discountmags.com page, search for Natural Health. PLUS if you use the code MONEYSAVING at checkout, you can get up to two years for $4.29/year! It's worth it!

Let me know if you do it:)

Thanks MoneySavingMom!

What Child is This?

I've been reading through Luke this past week in preparation for Christmas day. As most of you know, the birth of Christ doesn't actually fall on December 25, but it is still an important celebration (though many get caught up in the materialism and secularism that has come to characterize Christmas) in Christian living.

Set aside Santa Claus and Christmas trees, the root of the celebration is the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. Luke 1:67-80 records the birth of John the Baptist (the prophet born to tell of the Messiah's coming - what a task!). His father, Zechariah, sings this song (please take time to read this!):

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Wow! His son is called the prophet of the Most High - Jesus Christ the Savior of the world! What boldness and joy John must have experienced in sharing this news! He never backed down despite being scoffed at and disregarded by many.

Oh that I may have such boldness to speak the truth - even if people call me crazy. Why? Because I know, with full assurance, the TRUTH - that Christ was born in a lowly manger to save me (and you!) from eternal punishment. He lived to die. He died on a cross as the payment for my disobedience against the One and Most Holy God. A payment I could never pay myself. I, an imperfect creature who messes up every day and cannot follow all the commands God has given 100%, have been given the most wonderful gift of all - eternal life. Oh how He loves you and me!

This Christmas, PLEASE take time to think about what God has done for you on the actual Christmas day. In sending His son Jesus Christ, He brought salvation to the world. You're not alone. You don't have to try to be perfect and get it all right on your own. You have HOPE. Hope in Jesus Christ.

For more information please read:
 two ways to live
 HOPE

The Elusive Three

Natural flavors. Caramel coloring. Fragrance.

What are these ingredients....really?

Natural Flavoring

The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). (see here)

According to an article I read, "natural flavors" are no safer to ingest than some artificial flavors because they are also chemically derived (they can be called natural because they are derived from a natural source). Interesting.

Caramel Color

What is this "color" if not actual caramel? Well, it's complicated. Apparently, there are four types of this so-called "caramel color." Each made with a different chemical reaction. Keep in mind, that these reactions produce by products that are not required to be listed as an ingredient, because, after all, they are just by products.  


Reacting sugars with ammonia results in the formation of numerous chemical byproducts. Two of them, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been shown in government studies to promote lung, liver, and thyroid tumors in laboratory rats and mice.
California public health officials recently placed 4-methylimidazole on the state's list of known carcinogens. Scientists at the University of California at Davis recently found significant levels of 4 methylimidazole in colas that far exceeds what the state considers to be safe. This sets the stage for warning labels on diet and regular Coke and Pepsi and many other soft drinks unless the companies shift to safer colorings. Going one step further, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is today asking the Food and Drug Administration to bar the use of ammonia- and ammonia-sulfite process caramel colorings. (see here)
 Needless to say, read your labels!:)

Fragrance

You see this word listed on tons of beauty products, candles, room sprays, etc. But what is it? What makes up this "fragrance?" Let me enlighten you. 

The word "fragrance" or "parfum" on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. (see here)
I got this information from the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (if you've never visited this site, you should - great to know what ingredients you're actually putting on your body or in your air!). Turns out, it's not as pretty as it sounds (or smells for that matter:). 

Hope this information is useful to you.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Healthier brownies? Sort of....

Did you know that you can substitute yogurt or applesauce for oil in most baking recipes? I do this all the time, and it usually works well! I say "healthier brownies? sort of..." because I used a box mix which is still loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients...but....I'll eat more carrots tomorrow;)



 Please and thank you:)

*Note: I have found it's best to use whole milk yogurt when substituting for oil. If you choose to use applesauce, I like to cut back on some of the sugar (in a "from scratch" recipe). I have also found that it's best to refrigerate the baked goods as the ones I've substituted in seem to mold faster. Ew.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I just scored a great deal on  Zulily! I used my $20 credit from referring a friend and got a bamboo utensil and crock set for free....I love good deals! Also, don't forget when you shop to go through Ebates for cash back (I got 3.5% cash back on this purchase!:)! Love it!

Work it out!

So, recently I've once again upped the anti when it comes to exercise. I'm still not where I'd like to be, but it's good enough for now. Lately, I've been using this dvd called Fabulously Fit Moms. I love it! It has both cardio and light weight lifting. It's easy to do, but DEFINITELY quite the little work out! Give it a try if you're looking for something new to try!

 

I know my posts are so random! Even if no one reads these, it's still fun to share things with the world:) 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mary did you know?

Luke 1:38 says "And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant[a] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her."

Wow. That's Mary's response to the angel Gabriel after he tells her that she is going to give birth to a son despite being a virgin! Not to mention the fact that this son is the Son of God! I'm just amazed at her faith and maturity - she was most likely a teenager when this happened!

She didn't ask questions. She didn't try to get out of it. She accepted it. She accepted that God's way was best. Why can't I do that more often!?

Oh how I pray for faith like Mary's. I have seen time and time again in my own life that God knows what He's doing and that His ways are good (even when they don't "feel" good), yet I still struggle with completely trusting Him in every area of my life. 

I know one reason is that I do not always pray as I should. Prayer is not about quantity, but quality. It is not about eloquence, but humility and honesty. He cares for you and me.

Money, Money, Money

As the holidays approach, I'm noticing the world getting "wrapped" up in christmas gifts. It's like the cost of a christmas gift somehow equals how much the recipient means to you. I'm SO thankful that's not the case! I'm all about giving a gift to someone to show how you appreciate them. However, the GREATEST gift that can be given is the truth. So, if you find yourself a little tight budget-wise this year, remember that love is the best gift of all and the love of God is free! So give away!!!!! :)

John 1

Monday, December 3, 2012

ThredUP

In case you still need to get a gift or holiday outfit for your little ones, ThredUP is having a special! If you sign up through a referral link (here's mine: thred up ) you will receive $10 and you can use HOLIDAY20 at checkout for an additional 20% off!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fail

So, as you can tell by my blog, I love to try healthy recipes and making healthier substitutions. Well, I tried this again today...and it was a total fail. I mean ew! I made this recipe, but I substituted plain yogurt for the oil, and they turned out just like a sponge! Tyndale (my 18 mo old) even spit it out! Sigh. Oh well, you win some, you lose some:) I hate to throw them away, but I promise you...I won't be eating them.

Also in light of my post's title, I've been thinking about all the ways I fail lately. I'm not the best mom I could be. I'm not the best wife I could be. I'm not the best friend I could be. I'm not the best pastor's wife I could be. I'm not the best me I could be.

And then I remembered.

It's not about me.

It's about letting Jesus work in me to be the best picture of HIM I can be!

I suppose I've been feeling a little down lately. To be honest I think it's because every time I get a new hospital bill I'm reminded all over again about our miscarriage and almost bleeding to death (thank you Lord for blood donors!). I'm trying to remind myself that I shouldn't be viewing that experience negatively, but I should be viewing it through God's eyes. He has greater plans than I can imagine and I must trust Him. When I am trusting Him, I'm not failing, I'm thriving. His Word is the light to my path, but lately I've not been letting it sink in. So, I'm sorry for letting obstacles cloud my vision and I promise to continue this journey to be a faithful female in this world of faithless people. Are you with me???

Phil 1:3-11

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Deals and Steals!

Here are some deals that I have personally used and LOVED! Just thought I'd share! Hope some of you can find some great deals for yourselves (Christmas gifts!?) through these links! Feel free to ask questions if you'd like! Enjoy!
 

thredUP

If you use this link, and then use the code SHIPNOV12 you will get free shipping (plus 10 dollar credit to sign up!) Great deals! Just thought I'd share!:)
 

Zulily

Here's another great deal for those of you needing to buy for babies/kids/maternity. I've ordered several items from here. They have great customer service and great prices (usually:) When you sign up using this link you get a $10 credit!!!

http://www.zulily.com/invite/laughxiaosmile488


Ebates

I know I've been posting a lot of money saving tips, but I can't help myself! Last year I bought christmas gifts through Ebates!

cash back! NIce;)
http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=ZLRaLh3L9oJSB1Kew5Ei2Q%3D%3D 
Ebates.com is the leading cash back shopping site with over 1,500 stores and 5,000 coupons. Ebates members have earned $100 million in cash back just for shopping at their favorite stores. Join free now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meatless Mondays...and Thursdays?

Hey ya'll!

So, I've been trying to cut back our grocery budget lately so I have instituted Meatless Mondays (much to my husband's dismay:). However, this week I went really crazy and had a Meatless Thursday too!

I have a recent obsession with black beans. They are cheap, delicious, and healthy! What's not to like!? On Monday I made a black bean and sweet potato delight! Here's the original recipe. I switched out a regular potato for a sweet potato and it tasted fantastic! At first the hubs was a little sad when he did not see ground beef, but once he dug in he was not disappointed:)

I used a sweet and spicy salsa which I added to my sauteed onions and garlic.
 Viola! It was delicious!

On Thursday I made Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas! These were more work but SO GOOD! I used multi-grain tortillas which boosted the healthy level a bit. Even if you're not a fan of spinach you should try these! The spinach works well with all the other ingredients. I did change a few things. I added greek yogurt to the spinach/bean mixture and added white beans instead of corn (I'm not a corn fan:).




I like to post good recipes once in a while. I'm always looking for something new and healthy (and mostly CHEAP:).

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Faithfulness....

As the presidential election has come to a close, I can't help but think that Christians are already losing focus. It's ok to be disappointed and it's ok to be sad that President Obama has been re-elected. However, we live for much greater purposes than to slander and disrespect Democrats and Obama supporters. The deed is done, so now let us focus on lifting President Obama in prayer. Let us also lift up all the women and girls who are pressured into abortions. Let us lift up those who amend laws which go against Biblical teaching. Please do not waste time despairing what has been done. Stand firm! Trust in the Lord. His ways are good all the time.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 

 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Through many trials, toils, and snares....

....I have already come, but GRACE has brought me safe thus far, and GRACE will lead me home.

This hymn "Amazing Grace" has been playing in my mind so often lately. I know it's been a YEAR since I've last posted, but so much has happened in this year. I will give you a little run down and you can read if you're interested:)

First, we have moved from Louisville where David was in seminary (he graduated!) to Maryland where he was called to pastor a church. We are loving it here! God has been very faithful to us and continues to bless us. We are feeling more at home every day. We love getting to now our church family members better every week!

Secondly, we went through a traumatic miscarriage just over a month ago. It was hard. However, I can't help but feel at peace. God has always taken care of us, and I do not doubt that he will continue to do so. I'm reminded that our outlook/perspective has a lot to do with our contentment. When our perspective is "me" focused it's easy to feel lonely and that life is unfair because we only look at how it affects "me." However, when our focus in on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, we look at trials as ways to grow closer to our Heavenly Father. He always provides, but we do not always notice. We tend to think that if our bank account is running low, God is being unfair. Or if we get bad news we are being punished. The truth is that God loves us. Bad things happen because sin entered the world. Sin negatively impacts every person on this world. But God has given us a way to leave the world behind by providing salvation and eternal life in heaven. God has saved me from being held bondage to the evil of this world and it's evil mindset.

This passage of Scripture has been encouraging to me...

James 4:13-17
New International Version (NIV)
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

My life is not about my life. It is about serving the One who has saved me. The One who has given me His amazing grace.

Hoped this encourages you.

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