Monthly Archives: March 2010

Eggs: Good for Protein…and a Laugh

My friend Kristin sent these pictures to me today in honor of Easter. I love the facial expressions! I don’t know where she found the pictures, but I had to share them! This would be so cute to do for an egg hunt! Extra points for eggs with smiles??

Trail Mix

Bryan and I were chatting about healthful snacks over dinner tonight. I suggested I make some trail mix and started asking what he’d like in it. So, we ended up with the following:

2 bars of dark chocolate, chopped into bite size pieces

And 1 c. of each of the following:

  • unsalted, pumpkin seeds
  • raisins
  • pecans
  • almonds
  • granola

Put all ingredients in large Ziploc bag or storage container, shake, and enjoy! Yum!!

Book Review: Shopping for Time

Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, et al. 96 pages.

Introduction — “We can accomplish everything God has ordained for us to do in this life. …And we can do it in a peaceful, joyful manner and get sufficient rest besides” (13).

Chapter One — Shopping For Time — You don’t get the best deals at the mall or the grocery store without planning out your attack. Neither can you get through life without shopping for time. Plan your attack, and get the best bang for you buck, metaphorically speaking.

Chapter Two — The First Tip: Rise Early (Joining the 5 AM Club) — Getting up early allows you to plan your day, spend time with the Lord, and serve your family better.

Hints from page 38:

  1. Place your alarm clock in a strategic location, preferably on the other side of the room from your bed.
  2. Set your alarm for the same time every day.
  3. Never, never, never hit the snooze button or lie back down to catch a few more winks. The second your alarm goes off is the most critical moment in getting up early.
  4. Proceed directly to the coffee pot or caffeinated drink of choice.
  5. Be prepared to feel absolutely miserable for about ten to fifteen minutes. But the misery with God and reap the benefits the rest of the day. Fifteen minutes of misery is certainly worth fifteen-plus hours of peace and productivity.
  6. Remember that our bodies eventually respond to a standard wake-up time. In other words, it gets easier.

Chapter Three — The Second Tip: Sit Still (Sitting at Jesus’ Feet) — There are plenty of methods to study the word of God, but all recognize the importance of it. And all focus on getting to know God and becoming more like Him. “Sitting at Jesus’ feet is the essential tip to becoming a true shopper of time. It is not, however, a way to gain or lose God’s approval” (48).

Chapter Four — The Third Tip: Sit and Plan (Taking a Personal Retreat) — The author takes two personal overnight retreats each year. Take time to hit pause! Find a place without distractions and go alone! “It’s really simple. All you need is your Bible and a computer or pen and paper–whichever you’re most comfortable with. Begin by listing your priorities. …Although your list may look slightly different [from the author’s], it’s important that your priorities come from God’s Word and not cultural or personal preferences” (54). “Once you’ve listed your priorities, create a separate page for each one to use as a worksheet. Then evaluate yourself, prayerfully going through the priorities one at a time.

Under each category, assess how you are doing–what is going well and what needs to change” (55). Then pick one to focus on. Don’t try to change everything at once; you’ll get overwhelmed. Just pick one, work on that, and then move on.

Chapter Five — The Fourth Tip: Consider People (Evaluating Relationships Carefully) — Choose “friends who sharpen” (71), “friends who mentor” (72), “friends who need friends” (73), and “friends who need salvation” (73). Then the tough part, see if you have any friends that are bad company and break ties if necessary. Prioritze your relationships: God, family, then friends. Then evaluate each relationship to see how it can glorify God.

Chapter Six — The Fifth Tip: Plan To Depend (Being Productive in Daily Life) — Plan ahead, pick the best time for each task, and take one step at a time. This chapter also gives tips on dealing with interruptions, busy seasons, and inevitable trials. C.J.Mahaney is quoted on page 87, “Only God gets his to-do list done each day. We are not God. We are finite creatures with serious limitations.”

Conclusion — The only cure is Jesus.

This book is on sale at for $9 right now. I would highly recommend this book for anyone feeling overwhelmed with life. It’s a quick, easy read that’s full of value. ~Melissa

An Average Monday

I started today with mixing up some homemade sourdough bread dough. I use a Kitchenaid standing mixer, so it makes my life easy. I just throw everything in and let it mix while I pack breakfast and lunch for the day. It rained last night, so I didn’t need to water the garden this morning.

Breakfast was leftover sweet potato-and-edamame hash and a Pomegranate Greek Yogurt. Lunch was leftover organic pasta noodles with all natural marinara sauce. Breakfast usually happens around 8:30. I ate my lunch around 11. Then around 1, I took my break and went running.  It was a beautiful day – partly cloudy and cool. I ran 3 miles and then came back to the office.

For my afternoon snack, I had one package of cinnamon spice oatmeal with a tablespoon of organic peanut butter mixed in. Perfect after a good run! After work, I have to look in on a friend for a bit. And tonight, I think we’re going to try broiled cod with rice, spinach, carrots and a glass of milk. Then I’ll have 1/2 cup of berries and 1 serving of dark chocolate for dessert.

After dinner, I need to read my Bible and finish one more chapter of the book I’m reading (How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed) and maybe I’ll get in some yoga before Chuck comes on at 8. Then it’s off to bed to start all over again bright and early in the a.m.

Southern Living’s Sweet Potato-and-Edamame Hash

Dinner tonight was a recipe from the April 2010 issue of Southern Living magazine, page 110, article on “3 Delicious Superfoods To Try Now” by Shannon Sliter Satterwhite, M.S., R.D.

No need to alter this recipe. It’s perfect as is! I know the list of ingredients sounds interesting, but it was absolutely delicious. And it was my first time to poach eggs for real. More about that in a minute. Now for the recipe:

“1 (8-oz.) package diced smoked lean ham
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (12-oz.) package uncooked frozen, shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 (12-oz.) package frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Saute ham and onion in hot oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender and ham is lightly browned. Stir in sweet potatoes, and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir in edamame and next 3 ingredients. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in salt and pepper.”

My comments: The article recommended that you serve Sweet Potato-and-Edamame Hash with a poached egg. To poach egg, bring pot of water to almost boiling. Crack egg in a small bowl (do not break yolk). Next, swirl water with a spoon, creating a vortex, and quickly slide egg into center of vortex, quickly removing spoon and bowl so as not to break apart egg. When egg rises to surface, it’s done. Gently lift egg out of water with slotted spoon. (If this is too much for you, they have poaching egg pans that basically steam the eggs in individual little cups. Or a fried egg would work.)

8 servings, about 40 minutes total prep time.

New Study: Vaccinated vs. Un-Vaccinated in relation to Autism

Check this out: Very interesting!

Quick Compare
Posted by: Nick Haas, Media Editor

“A quick comparison of the health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children may pique your further interest on the topic of vaccination. We’ll use autism rates as our measure.”

Song of Ascents

Quote by E. Stanley Jones from p. 182 of MacDonald’s book, Organizing Your Private World:
“I know that there are certain mental and emotional and moral and spiritual attitudes that are anti-health: anger, resentments, fear, worry, desire to dominate, self-preoccupation, guilts, sexual impurity, jealousy, a lack of creative activity, inferiorities, a lack of love. These are the twelve apostles of ill-health. So in prayer I’ve learned to surrender these things to Jesus Christ as they appear. I once asked Dr. Kagawa: ‘What is prayer?’ And he answered: ‘Prayer is self-surrender.’ I agree. It is primarily self-surrender, blanket surrender, day by day. It is all we know and all we don’t know. ‘All we don’t know’ covers the unfolding future and involves problems as they arise. So in prayer if any of these twelve things arise, and they do arise, for no one is free from the suggestion of any one of them, I’ve learned how to deal with them: not to fight them, but to surrender them to Jesus Christ, and say, ‘Now, Lord, you have this.'”
(Song of Ascents, Nashville: Abingdon, 1968, p. 337)

Creating A Calm Environment

I don’t know about you, but I start each and every day by making my bed and making sure my bedroom is tidied up. We don’t have a desk or a TV in our room. The purpose is to make sure that the bedroom is a calm place for me, a place to rest and restore. Part of creating a calm environment for me was organizing and decorating my house. For the most part, it’s been a fun process. Living in a calm environment is just more enjoyable. And paint is one of the simplest, most cost-effective methods of changing the whole look of any room.

Step 1: Lean out my STUFF.
We had yard sales, posted stuff on Craigslist, gave away stuff as gifts or as donations to places like Goodwill and Miracle Hill. If I hadn’t used it in a year, I got rid of it. And we try to do this at least once a season. In fact, it’s about time to start this process again for us.

Step 2: Organize what’s left.
My primary organization method is baskets. I have a craft basket, a toy basket (for the nephews and niece), and a music basket. Since we don’t have a lot of drawer space in our room, I use cloth baskets/bins in my closet to sort out my socks, workout clothes, sweaters, etc. We de-cluttered each room, closet, and desk. It’s a constant choice to buy things out of necessity instead of desire or just because something’s “on sale” or cute. This goes for clothing, decor, and even food. If we don’t need it, we don’t need it! So, ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Go through drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf. And don’t try to do the whole house in one day. Take one room per week or just 15 minutes each night. Know what you have and have what you need…only!

I’m all about couponing, but if you don’t need 15 boxes of Lucky Charms, give them away (or don’t buy them to begin with). I knew one lady who was so into couponing that her entire guest bathroom and guest bedroom were filled with excess food and household items, “deals” that she couldn’t pass up. In my opinion, she’s missing out on having guests in her home. Get rid of it!

Step 3: Decorate
Choose calm colors, clean lines, and simple accessories. Before you buy another trinket, think “do I really want to dust this each week?” To select colors, check out Here’s some tips from their site:

Red: Energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, as well as passion, desire, and love
Brown: stability, masculinity
Orange: energy and happiness, increases oxygen supply to brain, stimulates mental activities (our office is painted orange to increase productivity)
Yellow: sunshine, joy, happiness, warms, increases mental activity, generates muscle energy, may cause babies to cry more
Green: nature, growth, harmony, freshness, healing power, restful, can improve vision (often used in music rooms to relax singers before performances; much of our house is painted in various shades of green)
Olive Green: peace
Blue: sky and sea, depth and stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, decreases metabolism, increases calm (chose this for the kitchen and the guest bedroom and a jade – combo of blue and green – for the master suite)
Purple: stability and energy, power, nobility, luxury, ambition, creativity
White: light, goodness, innocence, cleanliness
Black: power, elegance, formality, death, evil, mystery

Also check out and

Happy Spring Cleaning!

And We’re Live!

I still have some links to fix and categories to mark, but it looks like everything from my food blog is finally updated onto this blog!

I started with the blog in December. MyJourneyToLean was already taken on blogger, but it wasn’t taken here on! So, I’m finally switching over and claiming the name I wanted from the beginning!

Also, I wanted to get away from just doing a kitchen blog and share a little more about my journey. A lot of this blog will have to do with the kitchen, but much of it has to do with other areas of life, growth, and change.

So, we’re going live with!

Bee Balm and Lemon Balm (Mar. 23, 2010)

Last year I noticed that we had some very tall, beautiful looking flowers in our wildflower garden. The previous homeowners had planted them, so I had no idea what they were. So, I did a little research. I found out it’s called bee balm. Here’s a picture of the flower:

I found some more information about bee balm at It’s sometimes listed as Eastern Beebalm, Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, or Monarda.

There’s a similar plant, but in a different family, called Lemon Balm, or Mellissa Officinalis. I had this as a medicinal tea while I was in Europe on a mission trip one summer. When I introduced myself to one of the teens in Latvia, her first comment was, “Oh, like the tea.” At that point, I had to try it! It’s known for calming the stomach. And it works! I love it! And I’m having a hard time finding it in the grocery stores, even natural stores.

But Mellissa and Monarda are two different plants, so I’ll have to find seeds for Mellissa. They have similar calming affects on humans. Most commonly, they are used in teas. You can use the flower and the leaves, fresh or dried, to make your tea. I think I’ll be using my dehydrator when these flowers bloom again. Here’s a link on how to make lemon balm tea at

One more site that you might find interesting is I signed up for their newsletter, and they included a “Wacky Garden Helpers” pdf. Check it out here: