It's so easy to get caught up in the little things in life, letting stress build up over meaningless things that we can't control and take over our minds and actions. It's far too easy to think and act out of greed, selfishness, fear, or anxiety. It's too easy to get caught up in ourselves and take many precious, precious things for granted. Today I am changing that. I have been blessed beyond measure and I am thankful for today and every day that God has chosen to give me. I am here to love, to give thanks, to spread joy, to help and be a blessing to others.
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”
― Thomas Merton
I'm taking the day and rest of this week off from the internet and totally unplugging to spend time with my family. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and blessed holidays and praying for the continued spirit of Thanksgiving amongst everyone throughout the year.
If you are one of those people who have always been intimidated by making your own cranberry sauce & have always just used store bought or canned, this post is for you :) This homemade cranberry sauce is seriously so, so easy to make that you will never want to use canned again. And not only is it easy peasy but it tastes amazing. Be prepared for your friends and family to "oooh" and "ahhhh" over this and they will call you "Martha" and hate you for it but that's okay, they don't need to know how ridiculously simple this was to make. What You'll Need: (I doubled this for our Thanksgiving since I'll be serving 8-10 people)
- One 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
- 1 Cup orange juice
- 1 Cup white sugar (optional split with brown sugar (2/3 white and 1/3 cup brown)
- Peeled orange rinds from 1-2 oranges
- Orange preserve or raspberry preserve
- Optional 2 oz gold rum
1. Dissolve sugar in OJ over medium heat.
2. Stir in cranberries and orange rinds and cook for about 15 minutes or until you hear cranberries start to "pop."
3. Add in several dollops of orange or raspberry preserve for a "thicker" sauce.
2. Remove from heat, transfer to dish, & serve at room temperature. It looks runny at first but the sauce will thicken upon standing. It can be made days ahead of time and brought to room temp or slightly heated before serving - so go ahead and try it out today!
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else---the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
Just came home from the gym and was super duper starving and didn't have much time to make anything until my stomach caved in --- Enter my new favorite, easy peasy 10 minute homemade brushetta. I ate this for my lunch but think it would be great to have as a lil app before an italian dish or as a quick pick dish when entertaining.
What You'll Need:
- pesto sauce. (Homemade if you want, I just used jarred). I also used a basil pesto (delicious) but regular pesto works just fine.
- fresh tomatoes (roma would probably be preferred, I just used whatever kinds I had left in my fridge).
- fresh grated parmesan cheese.
- french bread or crostini (I used the Whole Foods brand seasoned crostini, but any kind will do).
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Place bread/crustini on baking dish. If you're using french bread loaf, just cut about 1 inch between slices.
3. Spread on the pesto & chopped tomatoes.
4. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and throw in the oven.
5. Watch these little puppies! They take only a few minutes to cook. When the edges look toasted and the cheese slightly melted, they are finito!
thanksgiving crafts for little hands
Ready for a dog
L eating (&loving!) his collard greens! *recipe: break up into bite sized pieces (leaving out stem that runs down leaf, just tear around) and throw into baking dish. drizzle with olive oil & a dash of salt & pepper. cook at 350 for 10/15 minutes. take out and stir around, you may want to cook longer or add more evoo &/or salt &/or pepper. so delicious! and stocked with tons of healthy nutrients - double win :)
Yes I realize it's early November but we get a lil ready for Christmas around here. I was actually pulling my hair out working on some federal foreclosure cases and Landon was crying at my feet when I decided to shut down my computer and do something fun with him. & these lil ornaments were a really fun craft and very easy to make. This batch yields a ton of ornaments (about 25-30, depending on the size of your cookie cutters) so I'm planning on hanging a few on our tree and then gifting out to L's friends & relatives. Cause we're all about home-made with love gifts :)
Here's What You'll Need:
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup water
- Rolling pin
- Cookie sheet
- Miniature cookie cutters: stars, Christmas tree, hearts, whatever your heart desires. We also made baby elephants
- Acrylic paints: Whatever colors you want your ornaments to be
- Glitter glue or glitter paint (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until dough is formed.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.
4. Roll out the dough to about ¼'' thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour.
5. Use cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments.
6. Use a toothpick to make a hole toward the top of the shape. Poke the toothpick into the shape, then holding toothpick straight up and down, make a circular motion as if you were stirring something.
7. Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven.
8. Bake for 2 hours.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
*Tip: Use the handle end of the paint brush to paint dot ornaments on your trees.
*Optional: When paint is dry, use glitter glue or glitter paint to put a sparkling cover coat on your ornaments.
11. When dry, thread ribbon through hole and tie in a knot in the back.
Having now lived in the midwest for 5 years, Chicago style pizza has still not grown on me, and I miss thin crust pizza more than ever, specifically new york style pizza & Burtucci's pizza, very, very much, if not on most weekend nights. Even Chicago thin crust just isn't the same. So in an effort to satisfy my (frequent) pizza cravings I decided to give homemade pizza crust a go. I've failed miserably at making bread so I wasn't quite sure how this would come out but I was pretty happy with the results. Not overly happy because I still don't think I got my dough to rise correctly (recommendations welcome) but otherwise it tasted awesome. & it's healthier than store bought pizza - made with 100% whole wheat flour. It's pretty simple but it takes about 2 hours for the dough to rise, so take that into consideration before making if you're hungry.
Makes enough for one large pizza or two smaller ones I make smaller ones and they end up being about the size of a baking sheet. Enough to feed two people and very filling.
What You'll Need:
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1.25 teaspoons of active dry yeast (1 packet) Directions:
1. Lightly mix together water, sugar, and 1/2 cup of flour in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let sit for twenty minutes until it gets bubbly.
3. Add olive oil, salt, and two cups of flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it sticks together well enough.
4. Put dough on a clean, floured surface and knead for ten minutes, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
5. Make the dough in to a ball and place it in a large, well oiled ball. Place somewhere warm and allow to rise for two hours or until it doubles in size.
6. Make into pizza immediately or throw in the fridge for later!
To Make Margarita Pizza (pictured above):
- drizzle olive oil over crust
- thinly spread tomato paste over crust
- Top with:
- thinly cut onion (red or white)
- minced garlic or crushed garlic paste (Trader Joe’s has a good one)
- chopped roma tomato
- fresh mozzarella cut in to cubes
- fresh basil (or dried, but as always, fresh is best)
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and bake at 350 (for softer crust) or 400 (for crispier crust) until cheese/crust starts to brown.
This was our first year taking L trick-or-treating and it was honestly the best Halloween of my life. He got the hang of it right away and had a blast ringing all the doorbells and collecting candy in his little pumpkin bucket. Our costumes were random with no family theme -- I was a ninja turtle, Chris a football player, and probably the last time I got to decide on Landon's costume as Slim Shady. But I have to say he pulled off a mini Marshall Mathers pretty damn well :)
Hope everyone else had a happy, spooky, scary & safe Halloween!!