Monthly Archives: June 2011

Resource: Cool Apps for Organic Living from Saagara

Saagara is an online health and wellness company. With doctors, engineers, yoga experts, and design staff on board, their goal is to produce online tools and applications for the general public that will help us all live healthier, more satisfying lives.  I recently got an Android phone and came across two of their apps (also available for iPhone) that I wanted to share with you all.

The first app is the Smart Foods – Organic Diet Buddy App! This one provides a large list of farmers markets with locations all over the country (search by name or city and/or state)! Both the downtown Greenville “Carolina First Saturday Morning Market” and the “Greenville State Farmers Market” on Rutherford Road are listed!

It also provides a list of produce with a quick reference on whether it’s best to buy organic or if it’s safe to choose non-organic options. Though we strive to eat as 100% organic as possible, for those that are still in the transition to full-time organic, this is a great resource on where you might cut corners (and cost). Along with each type of produce, it also gives nutritional benefits and how to clean and prep the produce.

The second app is the Relax – Stress & Anxiety Relief App! This application is basically a breathing exercise. Over time, you increase the length of your breaths and have fewer breaths per minute. This is a proven method of stress reduction and helps us be more conscious of taking deep breaths.

Saagara has several other apps in the works, so if you have a Smart Phone, stay on the look out! What are your favorite healthy living apps? Let me know in the comments section!

First Post from New Atrix Phone

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My iPhone finally came to the end of its useful time on earth. First, it fell out of my purse and shattered the screen. Of course, this was the one day I didn’t use its protective case. I was able to find a replacement part on Amazon and had a techy friend replace it, using a YouTube self help video.

It worked ok for a while, then I dropped it in the dishwater while attempting to multi-task one day. Two hours with a hair drier on cool, and it worked ok, but it was never completely right again.

About two weeks ago, I found another crack. Finally, a small triangle shaped shard fell out of the glass, and I could see the inner workings of the phone. It was time for a replacement.

Fortunately, it was also time for our bi-annual upgrade. I almost got another 3gs iPhone but was told that it was possible by the end of my next two years, its software may not be supported by Apple anymore. Also, my husband pointed out that I didn’t utilize the iPhone as it was intended (I never purchased an app; only used free ones).

I went back and forth and ended up with the Motorola Atrix. It’s definitely different from the iPhone, but I’m starting to get used to it. Some friends told me I’d like it for blogging on the go, so I thought I’d try it out.

Here’s the first picture I took on the phone. It’s a fruit pizza with peaches, pluots and blueberries from my Milk & Honey basket and blackberries and farmer’s cheese from the farmers’ market! Yum! I was definitely pleased with the photo quality.

Exciting News!!

Over the past few weeks, I have been helping with a special project. It’s been hard to keep it quiet. I wanted to tell you all, but I had to wait. And now, drumroll please, here’s the news: I have started blogging for Milk & Honey Organics!

The new blog is being launched today! It’s called The Beehive Buzz: Rumblings from the Crew at Milk and Honey Organics. I had so much fun picking a theme and laying out the site! And, in exchange for weekly postings, I’m getting a weekly “Sweetness basket.”

You may not see my recipe lists and meal plans here as often, but they’ll still be available for you at The Beehive Buzz! Don’t worry – I still plan on keeping up My Journey to Lean as well! A big thank you to all of my followers for being so encouraging and sticking with me on this journey.

The new site will have more than just recipes and meal plans. We plan on talking with Local Farmers, learning about the Health & Beauty benefits of Organic Living, and sharing tips on living a Frugal, Organic Life! Check out the new Milk & Honey Organics Blog and let me know what you think! I am so excited to be part of the growing Organic Community in the Upstate!

This Week’s Meal Plan

For an interactive PDF with links to recipes, click here.

This Week’s Basket and Recipes

I looked forward to this week’s basket from Milk and Honey Organics all week. We had some substitutions in ours, so I decided not to post a picture this week. Meal plan coming soon…

Quick Fixes for This Week’s Basket:

  • Local Parisi Farm’s Yellow Zucchini (thinly slice with chopped tomatoes, onions and feta, and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh basil, salt and pepper)
  • Parisi Farm’s Beets with Greens (roast beets in foil, peel and eat warm with butter and garlic or slice them and store in the fridge for use in salads, etc.; add greens to a smoothie; cook like other greens)
  • Hurricane Creek’s Tomatoes (slice; make a quick salsa with the onion and garlic; chop and add to a pasta dish)
  • Watsonia’s White Peaches (make a cobbler; chop into oatmeal; add to a smoothie)
    • Note from Joy of Baking: To quicken the softening of the fruit, place in a pierced paper bag with an apple orbanana.  The ethylene gas given off by these fruits hastens the softening process.  Once soft, and if not used immediately, store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a few days.  Bring cold peaches to room temperature before using to bring out their full flavor. Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/Peaches.html#ixzz1PRsJN5zA
  • Local Rainbow Chard (sauté with garlic and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg; enjoy raw in a salad)
  • North Carolina Blueberries (top oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles)
  • Vidalia Onions (make onion rings; top a burger)
  • Granny Smith Apples (grill slices and add to a burger; core and add brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts and bake till tender)
  • Romaine Lettuce (you can never go wrong with Romaine in a salad)
  • Pluots (Plum-Apricot hybrid – fold into vanilla ice cream; or use one of these “five ways to enjoy pluots”:http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/fast-fresh/five-ways-to-enjoy-pluots-00400000019178/)
  • White Garlic (fresh garlic toast; roast with root veggies)
  • Purple Potatoes (your kids will have fun eating purple mashed potatoes! Or you can roast them with rosemary:http://www.copywriterskitchen.com/2009/11/04/rosemary-roasted-purple-potatoes-recipe/)

Other Recipes for This Week’s Basket:

Blueberry Cottage French Toast: http://www.blueberryrecipes.org/2008/03/05/blueberry-cottage-french-toast-strata/#more-18

How to Freeze Blueberries: http://www.blueberryrecipes.org/2008/02/27/how-to-freeze-blueberries/

Lemon Blueberry Bread: http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/LemonBlueberryBread.html

The Absolute Best Fried Vidalia Onion Rings from VidaliaOnion.org: http://www.vidaliaonion.org/recipes/the_absolute_best_fried_vidalia_onion_rings

Apple-Vidalia Cake from Vidalia Restaurant: http://www.vidaliaonion.org/recipes/apple-vidalia_cake_vidalia_restaurant (uses Granny Smith Apples too!)

French Onion Soup: http://myjourneytolean.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/recipe-french-onion-soup-by-melissa-mckinnon/

Ginger Jeweled Salad Recipe with Dried Pluots: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/ginger-jeweled-salad-recipe.html

Dapple Dandy Pluot or Plum Jam: http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipes.recipeListing/filter/dianas/recipeID/1779/Recipe.cfm.

Tyler Florence’s Purple Potato Salad: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/purple-potato-salad-recipe/index.html

Creamy Zucchini and Garlic: http://www.garlicrecipes.org/creamy-zucchini-and-garlic.html

Swiss Chard Pesto: http://vegbox-recipes.co.uk/recipes/swiss-chard-recipe-1.php

I Love Summer Produce!

I love packing my lunch for work in the summer time! There are so many fresh produce options that are light and refreshing! Today, I had a black bean and provolone cheese whole wheat wrap loaded with veggies (lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, etc.) along with more carrots and cucumbers on the side, a fresh peach and a jar of watermelon cubes! Yum! The guys at work teased me for photographing my lunch at the office (though they admitted it was a beautiful and healthful lunch).

I didn't have a toothpick to hold the wrap together, so I used a carrot stick.

Then for dinner, I steamed some broccoli and boiled some fresh white corn while Bryan grilled some pepperoni and cheese sandwiches. I added a little bit of thinly sliced Vidalia onion and basil leaves to mine. We are simply in love with Applegate Farms’ Pepperoni right now. It’s hormone and antibiotic free, nitrate free, and the biggest slices of pepperoni you’ve ever seen!

All it's missing is some marinara sauce to dunk the sandwich in!

And I can’t wait to eat everything else in our Milk and Honey Organics basket from this week! Yum!! I assist M&H with some things, and received some apples in addition to the small basket.

The personal watermelon is so adorable! It's the size of a kid's soccer ball! (Confession: yes, I think fruit is cute. There, I've said it.)

This Week’s Meal Plan and Keeping Organic Economical

This week’s meal plan has some great new recipes! We’ve been holding onto our Fuji apples from last week, so we’re looking forward to combining them to make a delicious apple pie or maybe try the Apple-Pear Cobbler! For the full meal plan, click the link below for a PDF with interactive recipe links:

Weekly Meal Planner 6.10-16.11

You may notice that several of our meals do not have meat in them. If you’re a meat and potatoes family, please feel free to add that to any of the meal plans. After all, meal plans are more guidelines than anything. However, it is fun to throw in a “Meatless Monday” occasionally, even if for no other reason than to expand your taste buds.

So, why the lack of meat? Well, last year, my husband was unemployed for about four months. During that time, we really had to watch our budget. At the same time, we came across Milk and Honey Organics online and started ordering our produce from them. Our budget was about $50-60 per week for the two of us, and $35 of that was going to the produce. We had watched several of the popular food documentaries (Food, Inc.; Super Size Me; etc.) and had started down the all-natural and organic path. But could we really do it on one income?!

It was at this time that we chose to limit our meat consumption. This way, when we chose to eat meat, we felt like we could afford the higher quality, hormone and antibiotic free options. And while we would not call ourselves vegetarians, we enjoyed eating more produce and less meats. This helped our budget immensely. I would get my basket on Thursday and go grocery shopping on Friday or Saturday to pick up things like beans, rice, flour, cornmeal, eggs, milk, and yogurt. I also started making more things from scratch, like homemade pizza, pie crusts, bread, hummus, salad dressings, and other household items (like deodorant and washing detergents).

I continued to read blogs (like Frugal Granola, Going Home to Roost, and Simple Organic) and saw that other families were choosing Organic options and still living economically and within their means. We find that the amount of produce in each week’s Milk and Honey Organics basket is the perfect amount for the two of us for a week. This means we’re not wasting money by buying more than we need and throwing out spoiled produce.

And on top of being frugal, we feel spoiled because we’re getting fresh, organic produce delivered right to our door! Who knew that could be cheaper than going to the grocery store!?!

This Week’s Basket and Recipe Ideas

Quick Ideas for This Week’s Basket:

  • Baby Spinach (Spinach Salad; Add to Smoothies)
  • D’Anjou Pears (Pan Fry Pear Slices in butter with a little Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar)
  • Green Beans (Steam and top with Crumbled Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Slivered Almonds and Balsamic Vinagrette)
  • Local Hurricane Creek Farms Beef Steak Tomatoes (Chop into Salads; Slice and serve with Russian or Thousand Island Dressing and a sprinkle of sugar)
  • Local Hurricane Creek Farms Bibb Lettuce (Salad; Lettuce Wraps)
  • Local Parisi Crookneck Squash (Slice and Sauté in butter with zucchini, shallots, salt and pepper; Fried Squash)
  • Local Parisi Zucchini (Grilled Zucchini and Squash; Stir-fry; Diced Fresh in Salads)
  • Seedless Icebox Watermelon (Fruit Basket; Add to Smoothies; Watermelon Soda – puree watermelon, stir in club soda to taste; cube and pre-package in single serving containers for a refreshing on-the-go snack)
  • Shallots (Use as you would use onion)
  • Valencia Oranges (Peel and eat; Top a Salad; Add to Smoothies)
  • White Corn (Corn on the Cob; Add kernels to Salsa or a Taco Salad)

More Recipes for This Week’s Basket:

Apple-Pear Cobbler.

Caramelized Corn with Shallots.

Cheesy Zucchini Omelet.

Giada’s Toasted Poundcake with Citrus Cream – uses Oranges, Lime and Lemon Juice (great if you have some leftover from the last 2 baskets).

Green Bean Haystacks – wrapped in bacon.

Green Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad.

Grilled Chicken and Corn Lettuce Wraps.

Lettuce Boats – uses Zucchini, Tomatoes, and any desired raw veggie.

Paula Dean’s Zucchini Bread.

Pear Tart.

Spinach Bacon Mushroom Quiche.

Vegetable Thai Marinade – uses Crookneck Squash; could substitute Zucchini and Shallots for other vegetables if desired; could use freshly squeezed Valencia Orange instead of the Orange Juice Concentrate for the dressing.

Watermelon Agua Fresca – refreshing beverage.

Watermelon Gazpacho.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Citrus Vinaigrette – use freshly squeezed orange juice; substitute shallot for onion.

Zucchini and Tomato Pasta Salad.

Zucchini Pasta with Pesto – uses Zucchini and Tomatoes.

FYI – Whole Living has a new Smoothie Recipe app for the iPad (iPhone app coming soon).

And, if you’ve put off using your Patty Pan Squash from last week, try this: Pretty in the Pan Stuffed Patty Pan Squash – also uses Zucchini.

Don’t forget to place your basket order by Tuesday at Milk and Honey Organics for next week’s delivery! Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Psalm the First

Reading: Psalm 1, ESV.

Thoughts in quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David (Volume.page):

Verse 1: “Blessed” – “we may well regard it (as Ainsworth does) as a joyful acclamation of the gracious man’s felicity” (I.1).

Verse 2: “To him [the righteous] the ways of piety [devotion, worship] are paths of peace and pleasantness. His footsteps are ordered by the Word of God, and not by the cunning and wicked devices of carnal men” (I.1). I am reminded by this of media around us daily, subtly influencing our thinking when not carefully guarded by the filter of the Word.

‘His delight is in the law of the Lord.’ He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in  it as the rule of life…. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God.” (I.2).

“In David’s day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in a ll our houses! But alas, what ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures…. Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you–Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God’s Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand–your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you” (I.2).

“Hence it is not only a love of the law, but that loving delight in the law which no prosperity, nor adversity, nor the world, nor the prince of it, can either take away or destroy; for it victoriously bursts its way through poverty, evil report, the cross, death, and hell, and in the midst of adversities, shines the brightest. –Martin Luther” (I.5).

“Meditation chews the cud, and gets the sweetness and nutritive value of the Word into the heart and life… –Bartholomew Ashwood’s Heavenly Trade, 1688″ (I.6).

“It [meditation] assists the memory to lock up the jewels of divine truth in her sure treasury. It has a digesting power, and turns special truth into spiritual nourishment; and lastly, it helps the renewed heart to grow upward and increase its power to know the things which are freely given to us of God. –Condensed from Nathaniel Ranew, 1670″ (I.7).

Verse 3: “The man who delights in God’s Word, being taught by it, bringeth forth patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity,” “We must not always estimate the fulfillment of a promise by our own eye-sight,” and “It is not outward prosperity which the Christian most desires and values; it is soul prosperity which he longs for” (I.2). “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”: this is not due to our hard work or will or wit but to the working of the Word.

“‘A tree planted by the rivers of water.’–This is an allusion to the Eastern method of cultivation, by which rivulets of water are made to flow between the rows of trees, and thus…, the trees receive a constant supply of moisture” (I.7).

Verse 4: “‘Driveth away,’ or tosseth away; the Chaldee translateth for ‘wind,’ ‘whirlwind.’ –Henry Ainsworth, 1639. This shows the vehement tempest of death, which sweeps away the soul of the ungodly” (I.8). — This wind is more destructive than a strong breeze; it is more like a tornado.

Verse 6: “His [the ungodly man's] way of pleasure, of pride, of unbelief, of profanity, of persecution, of procrastinating, of self-deception, etc.; all these shall come to an end” (I.9). This too shall pass but God shall not!

Whole Psalm: “Albeit the ungodly make a show in the world of being happy, yet they of all men are most miserable. –Sir Richard Baker, 1640″ (I.4).

Heart Check: “We long to be in the company of those we love” (I.9). Am I as excited about a visit with the Lord and His Word as I am about a visit with a loved one (parent, grandparent, friend) who lives afar? Am I as eager to host the Lord in my heart as I am to entertain or host earthly friends or company in my house?

Renewing a Passion for the Word

I must admit I have been having a difficult time consistently being in the Word. I have been letting busyness and distractions win out and have neglected what’s most important. Sitting on my couch the other day, I turned around and saw Charles Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David: Classic Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms. I remembered loving these writings in college and thought they might be a good place to renew my passion for the Word.

Then yesterday, my friend Jessica (society sister, college prayer partner, and present day missionary) posted a quote from a Pastor States on Facebook: “Did not Job, after his suffering, his questioning, his loss, find that God was enough? Where is the boredom in contemplating Jesus Christ? Where is the weariness of reading His word or of communing with Him? Nevertheless, when we do it only out of duty, our service, worship, and life become a sham, He is not honored nor feared. May God help us!” This quote convicted, rebuked, and inspired me.

So this morning, as I was waiting for Bryan to get home from work, I curled up with a cup of espresso and grabbed the first volume of The Treasury of David. I began with the Preface and was rebuked even in that. Spurgeon wrote these volumes during a time of illness that kept him out of the pulpit. He writes, “I would have preached had I been able, but as my Master denied me the privilege of thus serving him, I gladly availed myself of the other method of bearing testimony for his name. O that he may give me fruit in this field also, and his shall be all the praise.” Even Spurgeon could not always serve God as he desired, and so he creatively served Him as he was able with the opportunities the Lord presented him. This has great application for all of us who struggle with desiring to serve God in one way but being presented with an opportunity to serve God in a way we least expected. It has application for the unemployed and underemployed, for the barren and the widow, for the sick and those waiting for a change in station or location. Wherever you are and with whatever God has given at this time, serve Him with all of it and let Him use it as He will.

This too is my prayer–that God will use me where I am with the opportunities that I have while I have them, that I will live gratefully in the present with the overshadowing hope of the future glory with Christ and not miss opportunities because I am longing for something other than what God has provided, that I will passionately consume myself with the Word as if in a fire, and that that Word will dwell in me richly and exude from me, that the Gospel may be furthered and that the God of Grace may be glorified.