Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Munchies...

Twas the night before school starts...
And all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse my children did not go to sleep until 10:00.
The book bags were are almost packed..

Ok, you get the idea...enter panic mode!
I'm not sure why, but I have a lot of anxiety surrounding going back to school this year.  We're not too much busier than in the years past, but I know as the kids get older, there will be more and more pressure on them, and us as parents.  

The past few years my kids got breakfast at school, so if they were running late, or wanted to sleep in, eating breakfast at home wasn't a deal breaker.  Well this year my kids are going to a new school, and breakfast will not be served.  It hit me a few weeks ago that we should bust out the blender and make tasty breakfast smoothies. Delicious, healthy, helps get in all those fruit and veggies, and can easily be transported.  I haven't had a chance to grocery shop in weeks, but I'm planning my  grocery list now and will be cleaning out the blender in no time!

I don't think my kids would complain too much about having this for breakfast!
 If you have a brown banana, stop what you are doing and make this smoothie!
Another good option are overnight oats that can be prepped the night before and can just be grabbed on the way out.  Again, disposable containers would work great with this too!

 trumoo overnight oatmeal

And who can say no to sprinkles-again, a disposable on the go container would be perfect here too!

The possibilities really are endless...
Follow me on Instagram to see what's cooking...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time Out

So many thoughts are running through my mind, after today's tragedy.  
I was on my way to a friend, while listening to the radio was when I heard of it. 
And I was on the  brink of tears as I listened to the radio hosts describe what had happened, and reading the local stations' tweets remembering the innocent victims. 
The fear that was once irrational, isn't. 
No longer do we live care-free lives.  
We now have to be afraid of malls, movie theaters, schools, neighborhoods-you name it!
Many thoughts went through my head. 

The first thought was: we think we're too good....
 We think we're too good, so we don't need family.
We think we're too good so we don't need "religion".
Too many times, and I unfortunately know firsthand, that too many families are not intact.  Family members just fall by the wayside. Your inbred support system, gone. 
When I say religion, I just mean a higher power.  We all go through hard times, it won't be good all of the times.  But if we don't have the strength to tell ourselves it will get better, wouldn't we all crumble? 
Wouldn't we all fall if we never told ourselves, it will get better?

My second thought was: the standards are too high
This generation is all about technology and social media, and too often all you see are the perfections, not the imperfections.  So often we compare ourselves to the perfect, and think how imperfect we are.  Because of social media we have so much more exposure-we don't live in our immediate environment.  And there is a constant battle going on-always striving for perfection.  
My third thought was: end the stigma
Anyone who is not able to act as a functional adult, has a problem.  If you can't get to work on time, you have a problem.  If you are in trouble for sexual harassment, you have a problem.  Any time that you are unable to complete the job that you are supposedly qualified to do, you have a problem.  
It came out that the gunman was a "disgruntled employee."  We don't know why he was disgruntled, but does that really matter? If he was having a problem in the workplace, it should have been addressed.  If your answer is to shoot people, you need help.  
Mental illness is a disease that cannot be helped, and it is not something to be ashamed of.  Can it be addressed and can techniques be taught?  Of course! But mental illness and asking for help are not things to be ashamed of.  
Sometimes there's a trigger which exposes one's mental illness-maybe the gunman was previously diagnosed with a mental illness, or whatever made him disgruntled triggered his mental illness.  Perhaps on-the job counseling would have made a difference-by preventing his actions, or alerting professionals that an employee was risk to themselves and others?  
Here's an example: one of my friends lost her job causing her to question how she would pay rent and what she would do without health insurance.  She dealt with it in a healthy manner and believed it was meant to be, and it would all work out.  But, that could have been a trigger and caused a dangerous situation for herself and others. A professional should have been on hand to address her anxiety and concerns that way it could be assessed if she was a risk to herself and/or others.

We need to end the stigma that is mental illness, I'll start.
I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and mild anxiety at age 9.  I have been to therapy a couple of different seasons in my life.  I never needed medication, but did my OCD and anxiety affect my life? Of course! 
Do I have any control over it? Not at all.  
I've learned what helps me, I'm a functioning adult, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't sometimes get the better of me.  

Will you help end the stigma?

Ganfhi quote and image shared by Julie Kautz Mills

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Munchies...

Cooking has been a rare occasion recently, which is why it has been so challenging to write these posts! On the other hand, it's a push to meal plan and try something new!

A few weekends ago, we had some company over.  Being the big soup fan that I am, I wanted to make a summer soup.  I'm not really a fan of cold soup, so I leaned towards the fruit variety.  

This is one popular fruit soup

I'm a big fan of this, but not a big fan of how unhealthy it is.  
So I looked for other options.

Summer Fruit Soup
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups chopped pineapple
1 1/2 cups chopped mango
2 pieces lemon peel
2 pieces lime peel
2 pieces orange peel
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup blueberries
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Saute the ginger in a medium pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes (no oil is necessary.) Add 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and the lemon, lime and orange peels; cook for another 2 minutes. Add water, sugar and fruit juices and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then transfer in batches to a blender or food processor. Puree and strain into a large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and blueberries. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with mint sprigs for garnish.

Of course I adapted the recipe in the following ways to make it much quicker, simpler, cheaper, and of course, less sugar.  

For starters I eliminated the following: minced ginger-I substituted ground ginger which can be found in your local spice section.  
I originally was hoping to find canned mango-it's already peeled and cut, making it much quicker and easier.  But, the store I went to did not carry canned mango, so I had to forego it this time. 
I also eliminated the peels-I was in a rush Friday afternoon and knew I would not have the time to do all the necessary cooking.
I also had to forego the blueberries because I thought I had a container in the freezer, but I couldn't find them. 
I substituted mint leaves for mint sprigs, also found in your local spice section.
And last but not least, I cut out half the sugar.

So, all in all I had a strawberry pineapple smoothie.  
Hey, what could be wrong about that?!?
I was rather surprised when most of my guests declined the fruit soup...I however thought it was delicious and I would definitely make it again.  I would be curious the taste difference if I actually followed the recipe...
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