Monthly Archives: January 2011

My New Favorite Blog: Going Home to Roost

I came across this blog around Christmas time. They were offering some free downloadable gift tags and printable wrapping paper patterns. Since then, I’ve become a regular visitor. It is amazing! Beautiful pictures, organic gardening tips, simple living, and DIY projects, plus tips on starting and building your own business.

Also, they have a free Winter Magazine, complete with a color-coded gift guide. Check it out here, by clicking the cover art:

Rejoice in the Lord by Ron Hamilton

This used to be one of my favorite songs. I would sing through the lyrics in my head every day on the way to school in high school and often throughout college and the years after. But recently, I had forgotten about it. We sang it at church tonight and it was a good reminder. Download the song (or the album) here.

Rejoice in the Lord Lyrics:

“God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

“I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.

“Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.

“O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried
And purified,
I shall come forth as gold.”

A Few of My Favorite Things…

I thought I’d share a summary list of some of our favorite brands and products:

Laura's Lean Beef - All Natural and Lean

...not to mention, the best steak we've had in ages!

Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness - all natural, no sugar added. Odwalla's Superfood Juice contains a nearly identical ingredient list and tastes almost exactly the same.

Odwalla 100% Carrot Juice - great to add as a liquid to your smoothie. Bolthouse Farms carries a nearly identical product as well.

Trader Joe's Fruit and Vegetable Juice Twist -Pomegranate Blueberry OR Strawberry Banana - I have Bryan drink a glass every morning now. 🙂

Nescafe Classico - I know, I know. You say, "It's Instant!?!" It is, however, it's what we drank when I was in Europe for 2 months and it is actually a decent cup of joe! A new part of my morning routine.

Amish Country Havarti Cheese - Their Baby Swiss is also very good (and a key ingredient in my famous fondue).

Almond Breeze - Unsweetened Original

Immaculate Baking Company Triple Chocolate Cookies - $4.49 on IB's website. I wait till Publix/Ingles puts them 2 for $5 and then use a $1 off coupon. Freezes well.

Republic of Tea's Ginger Peach Tea

Eating Healthy on a Budget

I’ve been shopping at a few different stores recently. Aldi carries several All Natural products, the new Rite Aid Save-a-Lot grocery carries All Natural Eggs ($1.39/dozen) and other all-natural and organic products, and Trader Joe’s is a fairly reasonably priced all-natural and organic mart (though a little out of the way for me on a regular basis). I can normally feed the two of us on $50/week. And I don’t need to worry about couponing…since I don’t have time…though Rite Aid does accept coupons (and has several on their website). I still like shopping at Earth Fare and Whole Foods when I’m in the neighborhood, and if I have coupons, but I don’t get to that side of town often.

I’m also looking into using Milk & Honey Organics, a local organic delivery service. For $35/week, they will deliver a basket of organic fruits and vegetables to my door each week. I already have my produce for this week, but I definitely want to try for next week. Then I can just buy a few other items and be set for the week.

Here’s what a normal day looks like for me:

Wake up around 7, get ready for work, make a cup of coffee or tea, pack a lunch, and rush out the door.

Drink coffee/tea on the way to work.

Breakfast: 1 package oatmeal and 1 c. trail mix – 1/2 c. nuts, 1/2 c. dried fruit, and a little bit of dark chocolate, with another cup of tea.

Snack: Quaker Whole Wheat Caramel Corn Rice Cakes, Carrot Sticks, or Apple.

12:30 or 1: Workout for 45 minutes to an hour, if I can. If not, I work out after work.

Lunch: Salad and a serving of whole grain: sandwich, whole wheat pasta, etc.

Leave work around 5, and workout or fix dinner, depending on if I’ve worked out yet or not.

Dinner: Another salad and some protein – eggs, fish, or beans – plus either rice or wheat toast. And/or a smoothie (with yogurt, frozen fruit and carrot juice).

Blog, read, train clients, hang with friends, etc., watch TV (currently addicted to back episodes of NCIS), make sure the house is straightened up and go to bed, to start all over again in the morning.

I’m thinking of not watching TV on work nights. Growing up, my parents didn’t let us watch TV on school nights, and I didn’t miss it. We watched movies on the weekend, read a lot, played sports and instruments, and had a great family bond. I’ve given up TV before, so I know I can do it.

So, what tips do you have for eating on a budget? What stores do you shop at? And what do you think about no TV during the week? Let me know below. Thanks!

20 Reasons to Go Vegan from Bonnie of Going Home to Roost Blog

I’m not necessarily promoting going vegan as a philosophy or even as a diet, but there are some benefits to enjoying a vegetarian or vegan diet, at least on a regular basis, if not all the time. I found this Vegan Food Pyramid.


Vegan Food Pyramid

I came across an article on a blog I like to frequent. I found it interesting and thought you all might like to check it out. Here’s the article from Bonnie of Going Home to Roost:

“why would one choose to be vegan? one of my dear friends posed this exact question on facebook over the weekend, and it really got me thinking. most of you know that my husband and i have been a vegetarian for a long time, and often end up eating a vegan diet as well. their are many reasons why someone would go vegetarian, vegan or choose to eat only local & organic products, but today i want to specifically discuss the reasons why someone would choose to ‘go vegan’.

1. live longer. studies show that on average vegetarians and vegans live 6 years longer than meat eaters.
2. land consumption. 20 vegans can live off the same amount of land required by one meat eater.
3. water consumption. it takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat & 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat.
4. toxins. meat contains antibiotics, hormones & toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten.
5. food poison. 80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat.
6. heart disease. vegetarians have 24% reduced risk of getting heart disease & vegans a 57% reduction.
7. protein. the average american eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis.
8. hormones. eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
9. antibiotics. antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.
10. weight loss. a healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. 33% percent of americans are obese, while only 2% of vegans are.
11. osteoporosis. bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. with a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.
12. puberty. since 1950, girls are hitting puberty on average 4-7 years earlier and boy’s sperm counts have decreased by 25-50% due to the hormones present in non-organic meat and dairy products.
13. alzheimers. meat eaters have double the rate of alzheimers disease as vegans & vegetarians.
14. ecosystems. nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers and vastly effect the health of micro environments and ecosystems.
15. global warming. the 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas which leads to global warming).
16. animal cruelty. the animals involved in mass industry farming are exposed to the most cruel, unsanitary and horrific conditions. if you can handle watching it, the meet your meat‘ movie will give you a glance into the common practices of present day industry farming.
17. cancer. vegetarians & vegans have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A,C & E.
18. cholesterol. eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet (heart disease is the leading cause of death in america today).
19. rain forests. if they continue to clear american forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left.
20. energy. when following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher.

“so many people get hung up on the idea that eating vegan or vegetarian is just too difficult. or they may find themselves emotionally attached to just how tasty meat can be. what they often don’t know, is that it is ever increasingly easy to eat a vegan/vegetarian diet, and enjoy much of the same things you do now. with meat substitutes, you can enjoy healthy vegan bacon, burgers and even barbecue! it’s a great way to ease into the lifestyle. today, even eating out is no problem. with most american restaurants offering vegan friendly dishes, you can also head to a mexican, thai, chinese, or indian restaurant for a sure bet of vegan/vegetarian options.

“what do you think? is it worth the health of your body and your planet to skip the meat? i think i could have stopped after reason #1 and been convinced, but i would love to know what you think. i’ll meet you in the comments section!”

I’d love to hear what you think of this article. Also, don’t forget to go over to Going Home to Roost and let them know what you think too. Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Yoga Daily Exercises

I bought this book at TJMaxx for $3. It retails for $10 on It’s SO cool! It has tabs, one for each day of the week. And it’s spiral bound, so the pages stay open while you’re working through your routine. Each tab has a handful of exercises to do each day with detailed instructions, pictures, and tips. It’s been good to have a list of things to do. I’ve been doing them each night either at the end of my workout routine or right before bed. It takes about 10 minutes and is very relaxing. I highly recommend this book. Over 60 poses in all.

Published by Parragon


Little Blessings…

We were able to take 2 weeks of vacation this Christmas! It was so much fun to spend time with family and chill a bit in Ohio. We got home just after the New Year and hit the ground running. I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to blog, and quite frankly, I think I’ve been struggling from a tiny bit of writer’s block, but I am back. I can’t promise it will be super frequent, but I will make sure to post as often as I can.

Now, for the little blessings. Last Monday, we woke up to about 8 inches of snow! When I was a kid, that was normal, but I haven’t seen snow like that in SC since I’ve lived here. So it was awesome! AND we got a snow day, which means paid time off at work. It’s only 8 hours inclement weather time, but I’ll take it. Look at our beautiful snow-covered home:

Snow Day!

Another blessing, which I’m not sure I shared about yet, is the vehicle you see parked in our driveway. We were able to sell my car and trade in Bryan’s and get a 2008 Jeep Liberty with only 24K miles on it for a great price! It’s been a great vehicle so far and super comfortable for our road trip this winter.

Our Newest Addition

This past Monday was another little blessing. I woke up, got dressed for work, and as I was putting on my shoes, I thought, “Wait a minute, something’s not right here.” And I realized it was another holiday! Since I was already up and dressed, Bryan got ready and we went to Panera for a breakfast date, since we missed our normal Saturday breakfast date this week. We had such a good time at breakfast, then ran errands and did a little deep cleaning at home. It was a very productive day and relaxing at the same time.

There are so many other little blessings, but I’ll save that for another day. God is so good! And we are thankful for each one.

A Healthy Alternative to Fish ‘n’ Chips: Salmon Patties and Roasted Veggies

Salmon Patties and Roasted Veggies

Salmon Patties: I was so thankful to come across this article and recipe online BEFORE I opened my can of salmon. (Warning: it’s not exactly like canned tuna. It still has some bones and skin in it. They say you can eat the little bones and skin, but I prefer to eat only the fish.)

The recipe was very tasty. I used the oatmeal and egg whites substitution suggestions to make it extra healthy. I only had the Amazing Taste brand of seafood seasoning, so I used 1 Tbsp. of that. The only thing I would say is it was a little heavy on the onion flavor; I’d suggest using half of the green onions and none of the dried onion flakes.

Roasted Veggies: I chopped 1 cups of brussels sprouts in quarters, 6 red potatoes in wedges, and peeled and chopped 3 small beets into cubes. I mixed them on my stoneware rimmed pan, drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled Lawry’s seasoned salt, 4 cloves chopped fresh garlic and fresh cracked black pepper, and roasted at 450F for 25-30 minutes, while I made the salmon patties.

Recipe: Venison Stew

Venison Stew and Mustard Greens with Whole Wheat Sourdough Toast


  • 1 lb. venison cubes, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c. carrots, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 c. ketchup (I used all-natural Hunt’s)
  • 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce (I used Lea & Perrin’s Thick Sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 c. barley


Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium heat. Meanwhile, mix together flour, salt and pepper. Trim off excess fat from venison and coat in flour mixture. Sear meat on all sides in hot olive oil, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and onion, and cook 1 more minute.

Add carrots, water and bouillon. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine ketchup, mustard, Worchestershire and rosemary. Add to stew, along with bay leaf. Simmer for up to one hour. 30 minutes prior to serving, add barley, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer.

Serves 6.

Alternate: Day 2, I added some pre-cooked mixed grains (about 2 c. of the Harvest Grain Blend from Trader Joe’s, which contains orzo, couscous, and quinoa) and 1 c. of the leftover mustard greens. It was a great addition and made it a little heartier.

Guess What I Did?! I Taught My Grandmother to Use the Internet!

Isn't she cute?! She's reading my blog! You should have seen her face when I searched her name in Google and pulled up a satellite image of her house on Google!