Monday, January 27, 2014

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Today was one of those days that I just wanted something different for lunch.  I liked what came out, so here's the recipe.


2/3 cup 2 % cottage cheese
1/3 cup 1 % milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (Thanks Dad for picking with us!  We're still enjoying the tastes of August!)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (The darker the better)

Drop it all in the blender until smooth.  Put in your favorite mug and enjoy.

Here's the approximate nutrition facts. I typed the ingredients into the nutrition calculator over at SparkPeople. It pasted a bit funky... but the info's still there.

Nutrition Facts
Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie
  1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories253.4
  Total Fat5.0 g
     Saturated Fat2.0 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.4 g
     Monounsaturated Fat1.0 g
  Cholesterol19.1 mg
  Sodium530.4 mg
  Potassium328.8 mg
  Total Carbohydrate32.3 g
     Dietary Fiber2.1 g
     Sugars28.1 g
  Protein20.7 g
  Vitamin A6.3 %
  Vitamin B-1223.6 %
  Vitamin B-69.5 %
  Vitamin C3.2 %
  Vitamin D10.5 %
  Vitamin E4.4 %
  Calcium21.8 %
  Copper4.5 %
  Folate7.3 %
  Iron3.6 %
  Magnesium6.1 %
  Manganese39.1 %
  Niacin3.5 %
  Pantothenic Acid    7.5 %
  Phosphorus    31.1 %
  Riboflavin26.8 %
  Selenium25.9 %
  Thiamin5.2 %
  Zinc12.4 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A new quest...

   
      Recently I was putting together a short study on the life of David in the Old Testament.  The statement "short study on the life of David" is in itself a bit of an un-doable task.  David was one of the most influential people in the Old Testament.  Through his life we see into the life of a King - not just any king, but one in the line of Jesus.  David was imperfectly human, yet he connects us to the Divine.  We are left with not just the historical accounts of his life, but many of his very own writings passed on in the Psalms.  These writings portray what was in his heart as he experienced great joys, tragic lows, brutal betrayals, and incredible intimacy.

    I'm at a point of desiring to read the Psalms straight through.  It's been awhile since I've done this, high-school maybe, but I'm always encouraged with the snippets I hear in a popular song or happen across.  I am not an expert, but plan to read with an open heart and let God whisper personal messages to me as I read.  Join me?  And please share what stands out to you...




   

Friday, January 18, 2013

All In Good Time...


     So often as parents we rush things.  We introduce things before our children are ready or interested.  Sometimes it works out great, sometimes not so much.  It's not that we want our children to grow up sooner, but more that we want them to enjoy something that we think is really fun or cool.

     When Elliana turned three we gave her a dollhouse.  Said dollhouse sits in the corner of her room virtually untouched. It's become part of the decor, often not even being seen.  We thought it was super cool... isn't it every little girl's dream to have a pretty dollhouse?  The realization is that the dollhouse was our idea... not hers...  She wasn't ready.  I'm thinking it's time to tuck it away for a rainy day...

     This week we had the totally opposite experience. Elliana discovered one of the dolls that my great grandmother had made me when I was a little girl.  These fabric dolls were my friends and we had a lot of adventures. Elli immediately asked to play with it and has been lugging it up and downstairs with her.  This doll has become an instant playmate regularly hosting tea.  She named her Violet (all of her dolls are named Violet unless they came with a name).  My mom made Elli a dress that is a perfect fit for Violet who is now a wearer of purple.  Nate joined in on the action and they've both enjoyed Violet's company.  Somehow it came up that Violet has a younger sibling.  Nate's eyes lit up and he asked if we could get it out.  So out came Joey.  We made a quick visit to my stash of special baby clothes from Nate and Elli's early years; the kids were delighted at their new playmates and super-cool wardrobes.  On a side-note they can't believe they ever wore clothes that small!

These two are so fun!
    They wanted to know how long I'd had the dolls (somewhere around 33 years) , what their names were (Suzy and Sally I think, because that is what I named most of my dolls when I was their age), and why they could have them now?  I explained that they can have them now because they're old enough to enjoy them, play creatively, and to take care of them.  So Nate and Elliana are now each  the proud owner of a very special doll handcrafted by their great, great grandmother.  Pretty neat to see them so excited about their upcoming adventures with their new/old treasured friends.

     As they grow older I'll share with them more special memories of my Great Grammy and Grampa Butterfield.  How Great Grampa always had a special twinkle in those bright blue eyes and how he taught me to play games like checkers and slapjack.  I was routinely teased about cheating.  He was a retired farmer and took care of all the cemeteries in Brownsville.  How Great Grammy was a hoot!  She kept her binoculars next to the window to check out the neighbors' comings and goings... or maybe she was just watching the birds?  She braided rugs and made dolls.  She always had a joke, "Want to hear a dirty joke?  3 white horses fell into the mud!  Want to hear a really dirty joke?  Seven white horses fell into the mud."  She'd always bring me bags of treasure... empty creamer containers, scoops from ice tea, sugar packets, small spoons, coffee stirrers, and paper placemats from local restaurants. While these things may not seem like treasures today, I knew she cared about me and thought enough to bring me something fun.  I somehow easily found a use for all these things.  They had lived through the Great Depression and everything had value - a new purpose could be found for each item.  I will tell them about the special cupboard that always contained some sort of sweet, or at least some really hard bubble gum.  I'll share about hot cocoa with marshmallows and how there was always ice cream at every visit, even if it had seen better days.  Nate and Elli have already experienced the yard as my grandparents, their great grandparents still live in the same house, but I'll tell them about jarts and the lawn swing.  They were special people who I spent many happy hours visiting.

My Great Grandmother with my Grandfather.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Just a Story" = Valuable Moments

     This morning when I dropped Nate off for school he asked me to stay and read a book.  He selected a silly book about pigeons and a hot dog and we sat down to read. Shortly we were surrounded by a cluster of first graders eagerly listening.  After I finished that book, a new one, Chicka, Chicka, 1,2,3, was waiting (which we'll have read next time...).  As I was leaving, I noticed that one classmate's shoe was untied, and offered to tie it. Nate then walked me to the door, said goodbye with a kiss, and went back to his friends. 

    As I began my trek back up the hill I was thinking about the previous 10 minutes.  It hadn't been much time.  I said goodmorning to a few kids in the halls, checked in with the teacher, read a short story, tied a shoe, gave a goodbye kiss, and said hello to a few parents and children as I left the school.  Not much in reality.  But my brain fast-forwarded ahead ten years.  Is it not in these short moments now that we build the relationships that keep us engaged in the lives of our children and their friends as they get older? 

Nate's morning message to me a few days ago...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chimichanga remake

I've recently been having a lot of fun over on pinterest and found a recipe for bean chimichangas on a friend's wall.  However, upon actually reading the recipe, I found a few things not so healthy so I revamped with good success. Does it compare to the original?  I don't know - I rarely use velveta or refried beans.  Elli enjoyed them as much as she enjoyed the name... I think this recipe could have a bunch of variations depending on what's on hand. 




Jessica's Bean Chimichangas
Serves 4

1 can of black beans
1/4 - 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
4 burrito sized tortilla
4 tablespoons salsa
1 egg white
1-2 tablespoons oil
Sour cream or additional salsa, if desired

Preheat oven to 300.  Mash beans in a food processor or by hand.  Heat tortillas lightly to help soften.  Take 1/4 of the beans and place in a pile in the middle of your first tortilla, top with 1-2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon of salsa.  Brush the area around the beans with egg white.  Fold the top and bottom over the beans and then fold in the sides.  Place seam side down on a plate.  Repeat with the other 3.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and place chimichangas seam sides down.  2-4 minutes each side on medium heat should give them a nice golden brown.  Then remove them and place in a baking pan in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  Serve warm by themselves or with salsa, sour cream, or some guac. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Chosen by Choice

"For many are invited, but few are chosen."  Matthew 22:14 (NIV)

I have often struggled with verses like this.  Why are some chosen?  What about those who are not?  Is it too bad for them?  Ooops sorry... you're not a "cool kid" in God's kingdom... stinks to be you... I've wrestled with this... not in a cavilier way, but in a deeply sorrowful way of feeling a loss for those not "chosen."

Tonight, as I was reading the parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew, I once again stumbled upon this concept of Biblical "choseness" for lack of a better description.  Tonight I did something different and asked God to explain this to me.  Here's what I got.

You are chosen.  What makes the difference you ask?  Why are some chosen?  Isn't this unfair?  NO!  Those that are chosen are those that are willing to listen to and for God's voice.  The chosen are ones who make the choice to follow God's desires rather than their own.  All can be chosen if they set aside their own pursuits and seek God's heart.  It's a heart condition.

Just as one decides their own physical condition, they can just as easily choose the spiritual condition of their lives through the pursuit of a relationship with God. 

We choose if we want God that close in our lives or to keep him as some distant being.  If we choose God there will be sacrifices and uncomfortable moments as well as great rewards.  There is a deep unexplainable joy in knowing God personally. 

So... what does this mean?  How does one know God?  It's quite simple really.

You pray and ask God to reveal himself in your life.  No fancy formula.  No "religious" act.  You tell him your fears and hangups.  You share your frustrations and insecurities and you ask for his help.  God is alive and active and big enough to deal with all your stuff.  And then... the great part is he takes some of the stuff and gives you the strength to work through the rest of it.  As you seek him, you find more of him, and it's beautiful...

In the end, you alone can choose if you are chosen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pi and Pie


     Today was one of those beautifully idyllic summer days.  It's mid-June and the strawberries were rumored to be ready.  Being huge fans of fresh-picked strawberries, I did some research and found several places that were picking. I found and cleaned up our old strawberry flat, Nate and Elli chose picking containers, packed some lemonade and we were ready to scoot.

     Our goal was ten pounds.  This represented a huge undertaking with the kids as in past years complaints typically began after the first quart.  I prepped them on the way sharing our goal of 10 pounds and giving them the picture that it would probably fill Mama's box. "I want to pick 13 pounds Mama, I'm going to pick 10 baskets!" Nate chimed enthusiastically.  Amazingly Nate and Elli set about to filling their containers, and their bellies, chit chatting about what they would make, what recipes they'd create, and the creation of a strawberry carnival.  With their first containers being filled and my box about half full I was feeling optimistic.  That's when I heard it, "Mama, I need to go to the bathroom."  "Mama, I'm tired when will we be done?"  We took care of the first issue and I encouraged them to keep picking.  Their picking pretty much stalled out.

     A few moments later I heard, "Mama, what's 12 plus 12?"  I debated throwing the question back at Nate, but a sudden thought brought me in a different direction.

 "24," I answered then asked, "What's 8 + 5?"

Nate thought it out, "13." Then threw out, "What's 100 trillion plus 100 trillion?" 

I countered, "200 trillion, what's 15 plus 8?"  A bit of a pause... "5 plus what equals 8?" I ask.

 "5 plus 3 is 8." He responds confidently.

"Ok, what's 15 plus 5 plus 3?  Remember you can break numbers apart to make it easier."

Some thinking, "22 no 23."  All while this exchange is going on, I continue picking.  "Mama what's pi plus 3?"

I'm surprised, but answer "6.14.  How do you know pi?"

Nate's eyes twinkle, "Papa taught me."

The next series of questioning relates to pi plus whatever he thinks of.  Every now and then I ask him to fill his basket before we keep going with math problems. I'm happy my box is getting full, and while he's not consistently picking, he's not complaining.    Another picker stops long enough to ask if we're homeschooling.  "Nope, just distracting (but in reality, isn't everything our children do and think a form of schooling?),"  I respond with a smile. Nate revisits his initial line of questioning related to dozens.  "Mama, what's one dozen plus one dozen?  I like dozens."

"24, can you pick two dozen berries?  How full does that make your basket?"

Nate eagerly picks two dozen.  "One, two, three, four..."  He dumps them into the box which is now 3/4 of the way full.  "I want to pick one dozen, then two dozen, then three dozen, then four, then five!" 

"I bet if you do that then we'll have a full box!"  Nate's interest in picking is renewed and in a few short minutes our box is full.  At the counter the kids are fascinated with the scale and the lady is pretty chill allowing the kids to weigh whatever they think of.  Then came our berries. Sure enough Nate's offhand desire to pick 13 pounds is a reality! 

    After picking strawberries we had a nice lunch, discovered a new park with swimming then came home and made strawberry pie for dessert.  The day was amazing, as is my husband who just hulled all the berries.  We all agree that there's nothing quite like the sweetness of strawberry pie made with fresh picked berries.  I was given this recipe 14 years ago at my wedding shower and it's become a seasonal favorite every year. 

Lynn's Strawberry Pie
A gift from Lynn Nugent

Ingredients:
1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
red food coloring (I've always omitted this)
1 baked pie shell of your choosing I've used traditional, Oreo, shortbread, and graham depending on what's available.  All are good.

Directions
1. Crush 1/2 cup of the berries and set the rest aside.
2.  Combine the crushed berries with the sugar and water in a saucepan. 
3.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved and bring to a boil.
4. Make a paste with the cornstarch and a bit of water and then add to the boiling strawberry mixture in a thin stream stirring constantly.
5.  Cook until clear and thick.
6.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, lemon juice, and food coloring if using.  Cool.
7.  While the sauce is cooling, slice remaining strawberries and arrange them in the cooked pie crust.  8.  Pour the cooled sauce over the strawberries in the pie shell and serve or refrigerate. 
9.  Enjoy as is or with some whipped cream.

Note:  This pie is best served the day that it is made as the berries start to give up their juices making the crust soggy. 

Ok - It tastes much better than this pic. looks!