Wednesday, August 15

Works for Me Wednesday: Smoothie Cubes


A couple of months ago, I attended a wellness seminar. I have always considered myself someone who really cares about eating properly, but this seminar was an excellent reminder of the importance of raw fruits and vegetables in our diet. I determined to find ways to integrate those phytonutrient-rich foods into my diet. One of my favorite ways is the smoothie. No matter how you make it, they almost always turn out yummy! (except for the time I decided to throw in some bell pepper that I had lying around. That smoothie went down the drain! Yuck! What was I thinking.)

Smoothies are better than juicing because juicing does not include the fiber from the fruit or vegetable. Therefore, you are missing out on the fiber and having a higher concentration of sugar.

Typically, I just put in the blender whatever fruit I have around at the time. Basically, anything goes. Sometimes, I put in some vegetables, like carrots. (but beware the bell pepper!) Usually I can't taste the vegetables at all. I put the fruit, some milk (soy milk would be great too) sometimes some juice, sometimes some honey if I have put in cranberries or lemon, and sometimes some cinnamon or something like that. Mmm!

However, keeping a ton of fresh fruit around is not always very convenient. So, what works for me is to make Smoothie Cubes. When I have a really good smoothie being made with a lot of different ingredients, I make it as highly-concentrated as possible (just enough liquid to make the blender work) and pour it into the ice cube trays. When it is frozen, I put the new smoothie cubes into a Ziploc bag. Then, when I want a smoothie but do not have a large variety of fruit in the fruit basket, I pop as many of these into the smoothie instead.

When I want to make more smoothie cubes, I put some of the previously-made cubes into the mix again. That way, when I have a smoothie, I am getting a large variety of stuff in there.

There are many other possible uses for these cubes, too. Just now, I had a bowl of yogurt with some thawed smoothie cubes mixed in. I also love putting them in when I am making hot oatmeal. It makes the oatmeal a pretty color and gives it a delicious richness of flavor, not to mention added nutrition and sweetness without sugar. It works for me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, click here.

Monday, June 25

I'll be gone for a while - See you in August!

Tomorrow morning, I will be flying out with a group of people to go on a missions trip. We will be gone a little over a month. I would really appreciate your prayers while we are there. Here are some things you could pray for:

1. Safety flying and while over there
2. Flexibility (without going into detail, this is a major request.)
3. Opportunities for ministry and witnessing. We are going there to do a specific job, but of course we are praying that the Holy Spirit brings us opportunities to really share His Word.
4. That we would do a good job with the task we are there to do
5. Health. We will be eating very different foods and will be exposed to very different health risks than we are in the US. (there were many vaccines to get!)
6. Encouragement. It is always hard to be away from home for so long, especially in a place that is nothing at all like where we live.
7. Unity as a group
8. Discernment

For different reasons, I think it would not be best to go into a lot of detail describing our trip on this blog, but I am both nervous and very excited! Even though I am very excited, I am feeling sad to leave home. I have enjoyed spending my days in the house. When we get back, it will almost be time to go to work again. Oh, well. Such is life. At least I am blessed with a wonderful job!

We might have web access where we are, but I probably will not be posting here until I get back. Please come and visit here again in the beginning of August!

Farewell until August, my blog friends!

Love,
LeanNot

Friday, June 22

Have a beautiful weekend!




A couple of weeks ago, Mom and I went on a short 2-hour cruise for her birthday. It was so much fun, and the views were lovely.

Isn't the area where I live beautiful? This is only about 20 minutes away from my house.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, June 21

My trip

Just to let you know that early next week I will be leaving the country to go on a month-long missions trip. I don't think that I will be able to post while I am there. Please be in prayer for me! Thank you.

I will put up a reminder post right before I leave.

Wednesday, June 20

Wordless Wednesday: From the garden


I picked this squash and zucchini from a friend's garden. I have never seen such a large piece of food! It is like a baseball bat! And the zucchini is enormous. I put the banana in the picture for size reference.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, June 19

Wonderful Blueberries


Recently, we went blueberry picking at a farm nearby. We like to do this at least once every summer. I think that this was the best crop we have seen yet! The blueberries were just enormous, about the size of grapes, and they are absolutely delicious. In just a little over an hour, Mom and I picked over 12 pounds! The neat part is that the people who own the farm only charge fifty cents per pound, and they don't mind if you eat as you pick. (which I do, of course. Who could resist?)

We would have picked more, but it was pouring rain for most of the time we were there. Considering how hot it is outside right now, this is hard to believe, but we were freezing! Finally I found a plastic bag in the trunk to use as an interesting-looking poncho, :) but by that time I was just soaked. But it was worth it!

We already froze the smaller and medium-sized ones, and we have been eating the rest. But we also wanted to give some of our treasure away, which means that we must go and get more! :) So we went out again a couple of days later and picked about 10 1/2 pounds.

I tried making this pie, and it turned out really well. It is a combination of two recipes. It has a really delicious nut crust (you can use a regular pre-made crust if you don't have time, but this crust is really good!), a cream cheese mixture, blueberry filling, and Cool Whip on top.

My favorite part is that there is always extra of the cream cheese mixture, and I could eat just that and be happy!

Note: Next time, I think I would like to cut back a little bit on the amount of sugar in the blueberry portion.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
½ cup nuts, chopped fine
1 cup flour
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 small carton Cool Whip (I never actually use up the whole carton.)
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 cup water


Instructions:

To make the crust, mix butter, nuts, and flour together and press into pie plate. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. (Sometimes, I add a little sugar into the crust mixture, too.)

Blend cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and a little less than ½ carton Cool Whip. Spread on bottom of cool pie shell. (Keep in mind that you still have 2 layers to put on -- don't make this too thick, or you won't have enough room in the crust. However, it is the best part; so don't make it too thin either!) :)

Mix blueberries, 1 1/4 cups sugar, tapioca, and water in saucepan. Cook until thickened. Cool. Spread on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Spread remaining Cool Whip on top, and sprinkle with extra blueberries for garnish. Enjoy!

Here's an idea: I adapted this recipe to use the blueberries, but I usually make it with pudding instead. Instead of the blueberry layer, put a layer of any pudding you like. My favorite is butterscotch. The flavor of the butterscotch goes really well with the creaminess of the cream cheese and Cool Whip. I also like it with chocolate pudding.

Sunday, June 17

This guy is incredible!

I saw Diane Sawyer talking about this on Good Morning America the other day, and I just had to find the link and share it with you.

This man, Paul Potts, is an average, quiet cell phone salesman from England who was a contestant on the British show Britain's Got Talent. He has a gift, but he is humble and lacks confidence. When he got up to sing the opera song "Nessun Dorma," it was amazing! The crowd went crazy, and the judges were shocked.

I have heard the song "Nessun Dorma" countless times by many fabulous singers. But when this man sang it, I was spellbound. He sings with such feeling and musicality: he is singing with his heart. I actually cried a little bit (which I NEVER do!) while watching it for the second time. It is so touching that he is such a normal, sweet, quiet guy who achieved such success by being vulnerable and brave and by doing what he loves. I can only imagine how much it meant to him to receive such affirmation.

Enjoy the video!

Note: I do NOT recommend clicking on the other video options that come up after this one is over. I wish that I could have found this clip somewhere other than YouTube; but if you don't click on the others, it should be fine.

Thursday, June 14

Reality

How do they know about me?
I'll try to do a little better than this!
So far, I have been getting caught up in books
that were NOT on my list.

Wednesday, June 13

Wordless Wednesday: Tea


I cleaned out my pantry the other day, and this is a certain section of it AFTER I did some MAJOR consolidation, stuffing these boxes full! Any guess what my favorite beverage is? :)

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Monday, June 11

Basil mystery solved


Thank you for your help with my basil plant. You were right: now, I can see that it obviously is a flower. As instructed, I cut it off (and cut the whole plant back while I was at it) and threw it away. Much better now! :)

Thursday, June 7

Collecting Satisfactions

Emma has asked on her blog that we list people/things that bring joy and satisfaction to our lives.

1. My mom, who is such a good friend of mine and whom I look up to a great deal

2. My friends, whom the Lord has provided to me at just the right times

3. My church. I just came from the last night of our church's VBS, and as I drove home I was really rejoicing at the way our church pitches in and works together. It really is exciting to serve the Lord with these excellent people! What a joy to see God work.

4. A wonderful cup of tea! I enjoy this at least once every day. I like black tea (usually just drink plain Lipton's, but recently I have also been drinking Twinings Irish Breakfast and English breakfast) with 1 tsp. of sugar and some skim milk. Just last week, I discovered how much better my tea is with distilled water instead of tap!

5. Food. I just love food.

6. Hugging a child

7. I love where I live. There is a pond next to my house, and I could just stand next to my dining room window and watch the ducks all day! :) They are so cute.
(this is a picture of "our" ducks)

8. It is satisfying when I have thoroughly straightened my hair! :) And that straightness lasts . . . a couple of minutes, until I walk outside. :)

9. Is it necessary for me to say that I find a good book satisfying? (well, maybe satisfying isn't the right word, since it leaves me wanting more until I finish the book, and then I'm sad that it is over!)

10. It is really satisfying to see one of my students work hard and then succeed in my class. Sometimes I think I get more excited than the student does!

11. Sitting in a freshly-cleaned room

12. Seeing a child who is well behaved. Someday I hope to have the satisfaction of having one of my own!

13. Sleeping after a day of working hard

14. Having time off (albeit temporarily) to be a keeper at home

15. Learning from godly ladies who encourage me to grow in the Lord

16. It is satisfying to praise and thank the Lord for all of the joys He blesses me with!!! :-D

Does anybody know what this is?



My basil plant has recently developed this thing on the end of one of its "branches." What is it? It's hard to get a good picture of it because it is so small, but it looks like a ton of leaves scrunched together. Is it just a really strange configuration of the leaves, or is it some sort of flower? It has never done this before.