Monthly Archives: November 2011

Great Eats from the Farm

I always love cooking with my mother, so getting to spend two full days creating delicious meals for dad and Bryan was a real treat! We arrived at the family farm for a late lunch on Monday that consisted of Homemade Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Diced Celery, Chips and Dip, and a Fruit Salad.

Dinner that first night was Salad with Pears, Apples, Pomegranate, Cashews, Pecans, Swiss Cheese, Green Peppers, Celery, and Shallots with a Warm Black Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing along with a delicious Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Celery and Mushrooms.

Tuesday's Breakfast was Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter, Bacon, Eggs Cooked to Order, Grapefruit, OJ and, of course, Coffee! Yum!

We went on a short walk before the flurries began! Yes, I saw my first snowflakes of the season! We came in for lunch, which was full of various and sundry leftovers along with deli sandwiches. And we munched on crackers with cream cheese and Mom’s homemade Raspberry Habanero Jelly! Caution: this jelly is not for the faint of heart! But it is SO good!

Tuesday's Dinner was London Broil, Green Beans with Feta, Slivered Almonds, Crumbled Bacon and a splash of vinegar, Wild Autumn Rice with Onions, Celery, Mushrooms, Apricots and Dried Cranberries, and a Warm Apple-Cranberry Chutney. Delicious and so colorful!

Wednesday morning, we ended up eating at a little local place for a hearty breakfast before heading back to town on our last day off work for Thanksgiving break! I am so thankful for a chance to use up so much of our produce from our weekly Milk and Honey Organics basket and to try out some new recipes! I always hate leaving the farm. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world – a retreat from the normal hustle and bustle of life (especially life around the holidays).

I hope you all had a great holiday full of family and great food! So, what was your favorite dish you prepared or tasted this Thanksgiving season?!

DIY Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Scoop seeds and strings out of fresh pumpkin using a sturdy ice cream scoop.

Place what you just scooped out of the pumpkin into a strainer. Use running water to help rinse and separate seeds from stringy portion of pumpkin. (I used my right hand to pull the seeds and my left hand to discard the flesh. This was actually very easy with the running water! I used to think roasting pumpkin seeds wasn't worth it, but this took hardly any time at all. I will do this again!)

Rinse pumpkin seeds and discard or compost stringy portion of pumpkin. Let seeds drain in strainer or pat dry with paper towel.

Place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce, and a generous sprinkling of garlic salt. Roast at 275F, stirring every 10 minutes or so. May take 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how well your seeds were dried. (You could also dry roast with just sea salt using the same method - no oil or sauce necessary. Or try it sweet with some brown sugar and cinnamon.)

Cool seeds on parchment or wax paper. Store in sealed container in a dry place. Enjoy!

Sunday Lunch and a Flower Arrangement

This morning after church, I stopped by Publix to grab some fresh flowers to add to the pumpkin that’s been on my front porch for the fall. I cut the top off the pumpkin and scooped out the seeds before adding water and the fresh blooms. Something about fresh flowers in my house makes me smile!

Lunch consisted of Potato and Leek Soup, a hearty slice of Five Grain Bread, and a Salad with Granny Smith Apple Slices, Dried Cranberries, Walnuts, Feta and a Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was delicious!

After lunch, I went over to my friend Jan’s house for a walk. Six miles later, we had pretty much caught up on the last month of life! Yes, I said six miles! I am definitely going to feel that in the morning! I came home, showered, and woke Bryan up in time for us to make it to church for a wonderful message from Ephesians 6.

Coming up this week: Homemade Pumpkin Puree, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Pumpkin Pie from Scratch!

Day After Thanksgiving Workout

100 Jumping Jacks
90 Crunches
80 Squats
70 Leg Lifts
60 Jumping Jacks
50 Crunches
40 Squats
30 Leg Lifts
20 Jumping Jacks
10 Sit Ups

Whew! I needed that!

Thanksgiving Medley

The Hasty Sisters sing the Doxology:

The Huron Sisters sing I Sing the Mighty Power of God:

CRCWorship presents a Thanksgiving Medley which includes “We Gather Together,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”:

“The Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter:

Psalm 100:1-5 ~ “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Happy Thanksgiving from My Journey To Lean! 

A Special Thanksgiving Week Basket and Recipe Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving! This week’s basket from Milk and Honey Organics was amazing and so festive for the holidays! They delivered on Tuesday instead of the normal Thursday schedule, due to the holiday. Instead of a meal plan this week, I’m sharing extra recipe ideas along with table-scape and fall decor tips for Thanksgiving Day…and what to do with the Leftovers!

This Week’s Basket includes: 

  • Microgreens from Chef’s Greenhouse
  • Green Beans
  • Cranberries
  • Sweet Yellow Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Macintosh Apples
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Acorn Squash
  • Salad Mix (or Lettuce)
The first thing I did (after taking today’s picture using my Instagram app) was wash the salad mix and microgreens and toss them together with thinly sliced pears, apples, shallots, avocado, and carrots and topped with chopped nuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar. If you’re not sure what to do with microgreens, mixing them with your salad greens is delicious!

Recipes Ideas for the Thanksgiving Week Basket:

For more LOTS of ideas on decorations and recipes, check out my “Thanksgiving” Pinterest Board.

And for Post-Turkey-Day, check out these great ideas:

by Mary Kate McDevitt

 Happy Thanksgiving! Bon Appetit! And Enjoy the Journey!

Biggest Loser 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner

Tuesday night’s Biggest Loser featured a Thanksgiving meal for the participants. It looked really yummy! For these recipes go to The Biggest Loser page on

Other Recipes on not shown on last night’s episode:

Thanksgiving Tips:

Remember, just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you need to make TONS of food! Just make a delicious, healthful spread and focus on the meaning behind the holiday: Giving Thanks!

I would recommend eating a healthful breakfast – something like steel cut oats with chopped apples and walnuts and a glass of milk. This will get your metabolism going for the day.

If your celebration dinner is at lunch time, try to limit your calories to 650-800 calories. If possible, space it out into two 300-400 calorie mini-meals. If you’re not in charge of the menu, offer to bring a couple of side dishes that will help you avoid the fat-laden foods. Don’t feel like you have to taste everything on the buffet! Eat a balanced, nutritious meal and really enjoy it!

If you’re waiting till late afternoon or evening to eat your main meal for the day, enjoy a light snack (like the Spinach Salad with Pears and Pomegranate with the Roasted Carrots and Parsnips or Beet Chips listed above), then keep your main meal restricted to 650-700 calories.

Also, you will boost your metabolism significantly if you go for a 20-40 minute brisk walk after dinner. So, grab the family and walk around the neighborhood or go outside and start a game of tag football or soccer. Nothing like family competition to keep the energy up!

Don’t forget to watch The Biggest Loser’s Thanksgiving Special Episode on Wednesday night at 9PM EST (8PM CST) on NBC.

For the 2010 menu, check out last year’s blog post.

Sweet Paul’s Thanksgiving…And His New Winter Magazine!

If you love beautiful photographs of delicious food, fun crafts and home decorating ideas that will make you smile, then check out Sweet Paul! They also have recipes to go along with the beautiful food pics and some DIY gift wrap inspiration! Enjoy!

Recently he’s been putting out digital magazines of his collections. Last year, he put out a Holiday edition that featured ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas! So, if it’s your turn to host this year’s Thanksgiving feast for your family, and you still don’t know what you’ll be serving, check out some of Sweet Paul’s ideas here. Here’s a glimpse:

And for the latest Winter edition of Sweet Paul's Magazine, check this out!

Doesn't French Toast Stars sound like a fabulous Christmas Morning breakfast?!

Check out the adorable tartan Scottie ornaments!

Don't forget to check out back issues of the magazine on the left nav bar when you're viewing any of the editions.

My favorite edition to date is the Special Kids edition from this past spring! This article is full of recipes for homemade organic baby food! So great! And the rest of the magazine has adorable crafts and kid-friendly recipes and party ideas!

I always look forward to the next edition of Sweet Paul Magazine! I hope you will too! Enjoy!

Chef Jeff wants your feedback on his new cookbook: “DinneRevolution”

Chef Jeff of DinneRevolution wants your feedback on his new cookbook. In exchange, he’s offering you a free download of the current version of the cookbook ($27 retail value)! All you have to do is click the link below, enter in your email address, download the cookbook and supply some feedback to the Chef!

I think you’ll find this cookbook to be full of simple, fast, nutritious meals that makes it easy to gather your family for a nice dinner at home (instead of rushing through another take-out order). Let him know what you think, and I’d love to hear what you think too!

To download your free copy, click here:

And here’s a word from Chef Jeff: 

“I know this give-away is a little different than what you are used to,
but I really want to get this in as many hands as possible for
feedback before I roll it out. Thanks to the great feedback I have been getting I am sending you the 2.0 version, and hope to have the 3.0 version once I get more

“Hopefully it’s a good fit for you. The recipes are super
family-friendly, healthy, have less than 10 ingredients, and take less
than 30 minutes to prepare. Let’s get the family back to the dinner table and out of the fast food joints! Thanks.”  ~Chef Jeff

Weekly Recipe Ideas and Meal Plan – using!

I love my organic delivery service! Look at this beautiful produce!

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics included Local MacIntosh Apples, Hurricane Creek Bibb Lettuce, Broccoli, Parisi Farms Butternut Squash, Parisi Farms Greens (Varied – Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, and/or Kale), Bosc Pears, Parisi Farms Bell Peppers, Hurricane Creek Cucumber, Jumbo Red Onions, Carrots with Tops, Pomegranate and Bananas.

This Week’s Recipe Ideas:

This Week’s Meal Plan:

Created using

This week’s menu plan was made using This is an absolutely great resource for home meal plans. You can upload recipes from multiple recipe sites or manually add recipes, then adjust for number of servings with a single click and add them to your Planner. Unfortunately, I have not figured out a way to share the links within the meal plan format. Meanwhile, all recipes in this weeks’ meal plan can be found in the list above or on the Recipes Archive page on the Milk and Honey Organics’ blog that I manage.

Happy Weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to sleeping in  and reading a good book on Saturday! And I can’t wait to make the Frozen Bananas and Show-off Salad! Yum!