Make it Matter: A Call to Action

make it matter_ call to action

Last week I did a blog post titled “Make it Matter”.  The response to this post was so incredibly encouraging that I felt led to do a follow up post.  Every now and then I will read something that resonates with me.  Something that makes me want to step up and make a difference.  Then I struggle with where to go and what to do.  While I am not bold enough to say that my post last week had this same effect on others, I did want to give you a few suggestions on how YOU can Make it Matter. Continue reading

Make it MATTER.

make it matter

The past few Mondays I have been doing a series called “Make it Monday”.  This series has allowed me to share recipes with you–my favorite clean eating recipes as well as recipes made using Young Living’s essential oils.  Today, I want to switch it up a little bit and instead of talking about Make it Monday, I want to talk to you about Make it MATTER. Continue reading

Make it Monday: Carpet Deodorizer & Goulash

make it monday

We havCarpet Deodorizere the most gorgeous dog ever (says the unbiased owner) and you’ve already heard about our two little blessings.  As a result we need some heavy duty carpet cleaning supplies.  I came across this recipe for a carpet deodorizer and it works like a charm.  Plus its completely safe for our blessings (furry and not) to roll around in.  Using a citrus oil like Citrus Fresh, also serves as a little pick-me-up while I clean.  Pick-me-up and cleaning don’t typically go in the same sentence but they do now!


I love beans.  Coffee beans….jelly beans….but apparently they aren’t the best for you.  These guys are though:

Kidney beansI have the easiest, cleanest, most delicious recipe for you today that uses none other than, red kidney beans.  This recipe is another favorite in our house and it goes from pan to plate in less than 20 minutes.  I hope you enjoy this Goulash recipe as much as we do!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 c red onion
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 c red kidney beans
  • 1 c diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese
  • whole wheat flour to thicken, if needed

DIRECTIONS

Brown the turkey with garlic, onion and onion powder.
Add the remainder of the ingredients, except for the cheese
Simmer, covered, on medium to low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and top with cheese.

Happy Monday, friends!

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    Make It Monday: Pumpkin (Orange) Whole Wheat Muffins

    make it monday

    Today for Make It Monday I am doing double duty with one recipe.  I often find that I’m running out of ideas of things to put in my blessings’ lunches.  My youngest blessing seems to have a one sandwich per week limit so that leaves me scrambling since I can’t pack anything that needs to be heated up.  Enter these amazing muffins from 100 Days of Real Food.  The last time I made them I thought I would jazz them up a bit more by adding a few drops of Young Living’s Orange Essential Oil.  They were delicious!  The first batch disappeared in about 2 days so it’s a good thing that they’re easy to make.  If they last longer than mine did, you can always freeze them as well.

    Orange Muffins- 2

    Ingredients

    • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup honey
    • ⅓ cup melted butter
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 3 drops orange oil (optional and can be varied to taste)

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.
    2. Using a whisk or fork mix together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, honey, and melted butter. Mix together until well combined. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Do not overmix.
    4. Pour the batter into the muffin pan so it’s evenly distributed. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes clean, about 18 – 20 minutes. Store at room temperature or freeze for a rainy day.

    If you guys haven’t gone over to 100 Days of Real Food’s website yet, you really need to.  I really can’t recommend it enough and coming from a busy mom of two, I think that’s a pretty high stamp of approval.

    Happy Monday, friends!

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    Make it Monday: Peppermint Sugar Scrub & Garlic Butter Shrimp and Quinoa

    make it monday

    Hi, friends! Confession: I’ve never in my life tried a sugar scrub.  I know. I know.  You’re shocked.  I came across this recipe using Young Living’s Peppermint oil and I knew I had to try it because 1) it looked fun and 2) it looked like it would take me less than 2 minutes to make.  That’s my kind of recipe.  So, I whipped up this scrub and I’m in love.  My skin get super dry in the winter and this scrub left my skin feeling super soft and moisturized.  Did I mention it’s easy to make?

    Sugar scrub1 c. granulated white sugar
    2 tbsp sweet almond oil (I ended up doubling this)
    4-6 drops of Peppermint essential oil
    Food coloring, optional (despite what you see in the picture above, I opted to NOT add the food coloring because I wanted this to be an all-natural product)

    Put your sugar in a bowl and slowly add your almond oil, stirring as you add it in.  You want this mixture to be slightly wet and clumpy–mine was too dry so I added 2 more tablespoons of almond oil.   Then add in your essential oil, mixing again.  Transfer to an airtight container.  That’s it!


    Our family has always been a meat-loving family but we like to branch out from our “usual” from time to time and try new things.  I came across this recipe for Garlic Butter Shrimp & Quinoa and it became a quick hit for all members of our family.  This recipe comes together quickly which you know I love.

    shrimp-and-quinoa-4

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 c finely chopped onion (I won’t lie, I’ve been known just to use the dried minced onion here)
    • 5 tsp minced garlic, divided
    • 2 c uncooked quinoa
    • 1 tsp chili powder, divided
    • 4 c chicken broth
    • 6 tbsp butter, divided
    • 1 lb raw shrimp (another shortcut here- I typically use cooked shrimp–the recipe calls for you to leave the tail on but I always take it off)
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 tsp of the garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the uncooked quinoa and 1/2 tsp chili powder.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute for another minute to add flavor to the quinoa.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.  When the quinoa is done, it will be soft throughout.  Fluff with a fork.

    While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, add the shrimp and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp chili powder directly in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and saute until golden brown on the outside.  Just at the end of the saute add 1 tsp garlic and swirl around the pan until the garlic is very fragrant.

    Melt the remaining 5 tbsp butter and 2 tsp garlic to make a sauce for drizzling.

    Serve the quinoa and shrimp together in one dish.  Drizzle butter mixture over the shrimp and quinoa. Serve immediately.

    Happy Monday, friends!

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    He always shows up

    For who He isI am a planner.  I like to be in control.  I like to know what the next step is and I like those steps to be neatly outlined on a to do list–please and thank you.

    When God called us to adopt, we had absolutely no idea where to start or what the whole process would entail.  We spent hours upon hours researching different adoption routes–from domestic to international adoption.  I had spreadsheets filled with fees and requirements and other pertinent information.  I had notes all over the place and printouts to be reviewed.  We were overwhelmed.  At one point it became so overwhelming that the simplest option seemed to be just to throw in the towel and say “we tried”.  However, God didn’t call us to just try so we did the only thing we could think of–we prayed.  We prayed and God led us to Africa.  We prayed and God helped us to find the right agency for us.  We prayed and God helped us get the funds we needed to submit all of our paperwork.  We prayed and God gave us peace.  I learned a lot about who was really in control during those first few months of our adoption process and this is a lesson that I continue to learn as we are in this season of waiting.

    These last few weeks, things have gotten a little hectic in my world.  There is a lot of uncertainty, a lot of waiting and those things don’t sit well with someone who needs a plan.  I’ve let that uncertainty turn to worry.  The kind of worry that leaves your stomach feeling uneasy–you know the feeling?   I’ve been turning to scripture to help me in this time of waiting and that certainly has helped to ease my mind but today has been the day where God has decided to show up and remind me that He was here all along.   Within a matter of a few hours, three different things that I was worrying about were resolved.  I could not believe it….but I should have.

    Today I’m grateful.  Not because I have all of the answers but because HE does.  My worry will be replaced with gratitude–not because of my situation and not because of what He has done for me but simply because of who He is.

    Happy Saturday, friends.  Choose gratitude today.  Your day will be a whole lot brighter.

    Make It Monday: Window Cleaner & Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

    My Make It Monday series continues with more of my favorites!  I would love to hear what you guys think of the series so far so feel free to leave a comment!

    Window Cleaner- for FB

    First up- Window Cleaner.

    In our house we have two little blessings and one furry pal (our first “baby”).  As a result, we have no clean windows.  At least no clean windows below the 4′ mark.  I have tried all of the store bought window cleaners and none have really impressed me by leaving my windows streak free (and, come on, if I am going to take the time to actually clean I want to at least have 2 seconds where I can admire my streak-less, dirt-less handy work).   After finishing up my last bottle of the store bought stuff, I found a recipe for a homemade window cleaner with three ingredients: white vinegar, water and lemon essential oil.  How easy is that?!  Here are the instructions:

    Fill a small glass spray bottle halfway with white vinegar, add 5+ drops of lemon oil and then fill the remainder with water.  Shake before each use

    That was it!  The stuff works like a charm and the lemon oil leaves my house smelling amazing.  It’s an added bonus that I’ll also end up saving myself quite a bit of money, too.


    Healthy eating can be hard.  It costs money and, sometimes even worse, it costs time.  That sweet precious time that we never seem to have enough of.  That’s why I am a sucker for a good slow cooker recipe.  Fix it and forget it and it’s healthy? Yes, please.  This particular recipe, Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken, is from SkinnyMS.  She posts a lot of really great recipes although not all of them fit the bill for our clean eating lifestyle.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup low sodium/lite soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 3 green onions, chopped
    • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
    • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

    Directions

    Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours until chicken is tender. Remove from the slow cooker, lay chicken out on a foil lined sheet pan and cover with the liquid from the crockpot. Broil for 4 minutes or until chicken is caramelized. Serve with your favorite vegetables.

    Happy Monday!

    Make It Monday: SLEEPY CREAM and HONEY WHEAT BREAD

    The very first recipe I made after digging into my essential oils was the infamous sleepy cream.  This cream was basically being called the savior of sanity for parents so I knew I had to give it a try.  Before trying the sleepy cream, our bedtime routine would last about an hour (on a good night).  We would tuck our blessings in and then they would pop back out of bed only to repeat the process a few times.  It was tiring.  For everyone.  So, what did I have to lose?

    I made up my first batch and that night I applied it to the feet of both of my blessings.  To my surprise, no one came out of their room after the first “tuck”.  Could this be true?!  Well, I’m happy to report that this wasn’t just a one time occurrence.  After months of using this cream, a “bad” night for us involves one of our two blessings coming out one time.  That’s it.  I’m in love.

    To sweeten the deal even more, this stuff works on adults, too.  My husband often wakes up several times during the night so he decided to try the sleepy cream.  Sure enough, he slept the entire night and woke up well rested.

    Sleepy cream for the win (and for everyone in our house)!

    Sleepy Cream- for FB


    Speaking of recipes that are a “win” in our house, I need to share this one with you: Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from 100 Days of Real Food.  When we decided to clean up our eating, one of the first things this carb loving girl was in search of was a good bread recipe. I can’t tell you how many recipes I tried before I found this gem.  The 100 Days website, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is such a great resource for people wanting to move to a clean eating lifestyle.  Unlike many other websites that I found, this one actually makes clean eating sound manageable.  A huge plus for this busy mom of two.  So, without further delay, my all-time favorite clean eating bread recipe (adapted from 100 Days for those of us without a bread maker).

    BreadINGREDIENTS:
    4 1/4 c whole wheat flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 c warm water
    2 1/2 tbsp yeast
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/4 c honey

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    • Preheat oven to your lowest temperature and turn off as soon as it preheats.
    • Add your yeast, olive oil and honey to your warm water and let sit for approximately 8 minutes to allow the yeast time to rise.
    • Meanwhile, add your flour and salt to your mixing bowl equipped with the dough hook.  (This can also be done in a food processor if you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook)
    • When yeast has risen, add to the flour and salt mixture and mix on the lowest setting for 1 minute.  Then for 2 more minutes on the medium setting.
    • Transfer dough to a large glass bowl that has been greased with olive oil and top with plastic wrap.  Put into the oven (which should be warm- not on) for 45 minutes to allow to rise.
    • Transfer dough to a greased loaf pan, cover in plastic wrap and return to the oven to rise for another 45 minutes. * Remove plastic wrap, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread for approximately 25 minutes (including preheat time).
    • Enjoy!  (You’ll want a slice while its warm.  Trust me.)

    Please note that my bread doesn’t seem to rise just by setting it on the counter, hence why I put it in the oven which has been warmed.  If your bread rises on the counter, you can skip the first step and just let it do its thing on your counter.

    Happy Monday!

    The quest to healthy

    Body is a templeThink about this scripture for a minute.  Your body is a temple. You are not your own.  You were bought with a price. Glorify God.

    I am incredibly guilty of reading this scripture and then tucking it away despite knowing that these words should have me leaping into action.  I was bought with a price–the blood of Jesus–and, in return, I’m asked to glorify God in my body.  My body is a gift from God so shouldn’t I be treating it as such?  Instead, in the past, I found myself doing more damage to the temple than good.  How can I do what God has called me to do if I’m not taking care of one of the tools that He has given me–my body.

    This is what inspires me in 2015.  This scripture.  Our family took the plunge into clean eating in 2014 but, admittedly, we’ve gotten a little lax in our eating towards the end of the year.  I fully intend to go back to that in 2015.  I also want to take it another step further by starting to focus not only on what we put in our bodies but what we put on our bodies as well.  Skin is our largest organ and it makes sense that the things that we’re putting on our skin will have effects on the rest of our body.  I won’t lie.  This is an entirely new concept to me.

    Its no surprise that in 2014 I discovered Young Living Essential Oils and I quickly realized how life changing they can be.  These oils are going to be a game changer for me in 2015 as I start to use them and other natural ingredients to replace products in my house–from cleaning products to beauty products.  We’re going to have a home makeover and I want to share that with you because maybe you want to implement some of these things, too.

    With all of that in mind, I’ve decided to start a series called “Make It Monday”.  Every Monday I am going to feature a new recipe that we are using in our home.  I am really excited to start this series because I love coming across recipes and tidbits that help me get rid of the chemicals and make my home healthier and happier.  I would love if you would join me for this home makeover so follow me (and join me on Facebook) and we will learn together.

    Resolutions

    ResolutionsResolutions.  They’re popping up everywhere now that we are just one day away from closing the book of 2014.  I’m a waffler when it comes to resolutions.  Some years I make them.  Other years my resolution is simply to not make a resolution.  (those were the only years that I actually kept my resolutions)  Last year I sat down with pen and paper and made detailed resolutions and then lost that notebook about two months later.   I think its important to have goals in life and I do agree that it seems fitting to make these goals at the beginning of something–a new year, a new month, a new day even.  Without goals we can sometimes forget the bigger picture and stop striving for something better.  After all, there’s always room for improvement, right?

    I still have 24 hours to decide whether or not I’ll join the resolution movement but either way I know that 2015 will bring a lot of changes to our family.  We are praying, God willing, that in 2015 we will see the face of the child who already holds our hearts in Ethiopia.  Our oldest child will be starting kindergarten and will continue to brighten our days in new ways.  Our youngest child will continue to learn and grow and amaze us.  In 2013, God called us to do something we had never imagined.  In 2014, we pursued that calling with everything we had.  In 2015, we plan to continue to follow His lead and hope that the world is changed for the better simply because we said “yes”.

    Today, as I was browsing social media, I came across a resolution written by a girl whom I do not know.  I should clarify–she had almost 10 resolutions.  It was what she said next that got my attention– “and when I fail at these, my resolution is to rest fully in His goodness and grace”.  YES! I love that!  No matter what I vow to change/lose/gain/eliminate/quit/start tomorrow, God covers us in grace.  That isn’t dependent on me being able to successfully cross something off of my goal list.  That’s a fact.  Doesn’t that just make you feel so….loved?  Even safe?  Its okay to screw up, He loves us anyway (even with those extra 5 pounds).

    While I’m still on the fence about my resolutions for 2015, I do know one goal that have: to be a better version of my 2014 self.  What about you?