Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Homemade Hummus

 This is about the easiest and one of the healthiest things to make on the planet. Whenever I see the commercials for store bought hummus, I think about how much money I save by making my own. AND! I know what's in it!
 There are a TON of blog posts about this out there and lots of beautiful pictures and lots of stories as to how they came about to making their own hummus.
This post will be short and to the point so you can get to making it yourself-and save a few bucks by not buying the stuff at the store.




You DO need a food processor for this if you want it super creamy. 
You'll need:
Food Processor
1 can of organic (or not) garbanzo beans/ chickpeas. Drained.
Olive oil
Toasted sesame oil
a squeeze of lemon juice (or about a splash from the bottle of lemon juice in the door of the fridge)
salt and pepper to taste
Sometimes I add a bit of garlic and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Today I was feeling a bit spicy, so I added some minced garlic from a jar. Yup. I use minced garlic. In a jar. 

Here we go...
Throw your chickpeas in your processor. Not literally throw them, but you know...toss them in. Put in a half a spoonful of garlic ( about 1/2 a teaspoon), a splash of lemon juice and start your processor to start blending your beans.  Slowly drizzle olive oil in until you see the beans start to come together and get a creamy texture. I usually use about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, but you can eyeball it and blend until it looks nice and soft and creamy and yummy. I then add about a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Be careful with the sesame oil..that stuff can be potent.  I don't use the tahini paste stuff that most recipes call for. I just think it's a waste of money and since I use toasted sesame oil for a ton of things, this is the most economical for me. Take your blender for a spin to blend it all up. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper to your preference. I love mine a bit salty, but I eat a lot of it, so I try to keep the salt to a minimum. Kind of. 
Chop up some veggies and dig in!
This should keep for a couple days in an airtight container in the fridge. Mine never lasts that long as I love the stuff.
Try getting creative! You can buy some roasted red peppers,chop those up and add it to the top. I like to use sun dried tomatoes and I like to pour a tiny bit of the oil from the jar on top. Don't forget to add some hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne if you like it hot and spicy.
 There are so many ways to doctor this up and eat healthy. It really fills you up too! AND! it's fast. I like fast, especially if I'm wanting to make rice crispy treats and decide to make this instead. Yay for healthy food choices! 

      

Monday, April 13, 2015

Trusting God


In the last year, I've been going through some pretty challenging times, as far as my faith and the role God plays in my life. I wonder...a lot... if God even cares or if I'm just a huge whiner and He would rather engage in my life when I'm not such a huge downer. I know He's always there and I know I can talk to Him anytime I want, but I often wonder if He really gives a rip what I think or care about.
Does He care about the little things? I mean, I know in my head that He does but does my heart think so?
I have a lot of anxiety and worry. I worry about so many things and I'm noticing that the worry is starting to take a toll on my body in the form of gritting my teeth at night and my stomach being a source of discomfort, pretty much all the time. I don't sleep well either. Not sleeping stinks.
So. I've started to turn to God. Not just in those.."oh God oh God oh God" moments but deliberately going to Him the minute something worrisome pops into my head. Or I feel my anxiety kicking in.
 But I think...
Can I trust Him to take care of me which includes all the little things I worry about? Can I believe He has my best interest in mind and believe that whatever happens, will be for my good? Can I trust Him that I DID turn off the stove and I won't come home to my house burned down? ( Having my house burn down is such a huge fear of mine) What if it does? Will I be OK? Will God take care of me?  Will my son be OK? Will he be successful and chase after God all his life? What if he decides not to...what then?
So many things.
So many things that wreck my teeth and make my tummy ache.
So many things that keeps me up at night.

Time for a change.
Time to take God at His word and believe what He says--

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[h] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-30

These are two verses that always come to my mind when I begin to worry.
I need to know that God is in control. He's got the plan and I just need to trust Him that the God that made the universe, who knows every sparrow that falls and every human beings hair that's  numbered on their heads- that He knows me and has a plan and purpose for my life. Nothing is too small for Him to care about. I have to believe that. I want to believe that. Lord, help my unbelief. 


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring

Spring is here.

 I love Spring and not just because of the newness of life beginning again after a winter sleep, but for the relief of winter being over. I love fall, when the leaves start changing and there's a crispness to the air, but knowing the dark days that are ahead of me makes me shiver and not in the cold way. I suffer from terrible depression in the winter months. When Spring comes and the days start getting lighter earlier, the long winter days are coming to an end and my dark days of depression are too.  Spring is always filled with hope for me.

 When I see new growth in my garden and wake up to the birds singing through my open window. ( I love sleeping with my window open) my whole body seems to take a deep breath and as I exhale my whole being seems to untangle itself and I feel the real me starting to come to the surface. I don't like the person I become when I'm depressed. I don't like her at all. When those first clues of Spring come round, I feel it's almost like an awakening for the real me. I just wish I could hold onto her during those dark times. Which reminds me of the saying "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride"

Anyhoo, I love to take walks every day with my dog and with my handy dandy camera phone, I can take pictures along the way.
Chelsea and Tucker. Tuck Tuck leading the way.



New growth on my japanese maple. I love this picture.


These tulips I planted around 7 years ago. I think the originals had babies. 
A photo of my flowering plum.
found these out on my walk
cute little things





Hope you enjoyed a tagging along on my walk with me.






Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hello again!

Oh my goodness. I've got to blow the dust off my blog and start connecting. AmIright?

So much has been going on in my life, time to do some catch up. Shall we?

My Mom.
Last I was here, my Mom was going through a pretty major health crisis and I was going through some painful family issues that was concerning the care of my mother. Although, the family issues are still the same( I have created some strong boundaries around myself) my mother has gotten better! She seems to have recovered from the blow she took to the head in a fall and she's home and getting around pretty well. I still have some pretty major concerns with her care, but she's happy and to me? That's all that matters.
Things have been pretty crazy with my new, not so new, additions.
Pippin the wonderful!


Lucy the little dragon.

These two, along with my two cockatiels and my two dogs, keep me really busy. I would love to go on a vacation! I don't see that happening anytime soon. Sad. I really need one.

I started volunteering at a Parrot Sanctuary.

Ended up getting my hand bit and needing stitches. Good times.

But I love it. I get to spend time with around 300 parrots that includes Macaws, African Greys and Timnehs, Amazons and the smaller Macaws. I have such a passion for these creatures. My son has developed a love for them and has come along with me to volunteer.We get to spend some awesome time together.
 One thing I did learn, the hard way, they can repeat what you say from hearing it....ONE TIME. Yeah...remember that parrot lovers.

Let's see.
My husband, the week before Christmas was in a pretty nasty car accident. Totaled his 2014 Camaro with a drive to the hospital in an ambulance. To which he called me from. I freaked out.
He only suffered minor bumps and bruises..THANK YOU GOD!  The car was a loss but it wasn't his fault.  An 18 year old kid trying to avoid hitting a car in front of him, turned into the oncoming traffic. My husband hit him head on. It was a scary day indeed but all walked away with only minor injuries, due to the fact that the kid was driving a Volvo ( a very safe car) and vehicles are made so much safer now. All air bags deployed.
My husband is now waiting on his new car to arrive. A 2015 GT Mustang. Cars aren't my thing, but I sure like this one.

Lets see...

My son is doing really well in school! He has some learning difficulties so seeing him thrive warms this mama's heart!
Unfortunately, he'll have to switch to a new high school in a different district next year. That means he'll be going to a new school knowing no one. I'm praying and praying hoping this will be a good transition. I know God has it all under control and I'm more than hopeful this will be a really good move for him. It wasn't a decision we wanted but we have to trust God. Trust that He has my son and his interest and life in His hands. He loves Jesus so I know, it may be a hard transition and he may go through some tough days, but I keep telling him to have hope. God has his good in mind and He works all things out for good for those who love Him. Trust the process and don't lose vision.

Anyhoo, I plan on trying to be more consistent with my posting. I have a few things that I've been working on, craftwise and I'll be brewing my own beer and making some wine! Strawberry season is almost upon us and I've been so excited to make a strawberry wine. Yum! I'm also excited to start on this new hobby. To be honest, I'm not a big beer drinker or wine drinker for that matter but the process of making it sounds so fun!

Do something you love today.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Catch up

It's been a while since I've stopped to say "Hello!". Life has been busy and a bit stressful and sitting down to try and organize my thoughts always seems like such a daunting task. It would probably be good for me to do just that, since I tend to bounce from here to there with no direction at times.

Anyhoo! Here's what's new at the zoo. When I say zoo, I mean just that. We have some new additions to the Lewis zoo.
 Here's Pippin a yellow sided green cheek conure.

And Lucy. A Quaker.

These two are added to my current "flock" that would be two cockatiels Buddy and Tully.
And last but not least...these two.

This last week has been pretty hectic. Lucy had finished weaning last Saturday and was able to come home. It's been a slow process for her adjusting with all the action around here. She had been living in a little cubby for the last few months. She adjusting nicely though!
My son picked up a bug at school (yay. for back to school viruses!) and has been home sick over the weekend and missed school Monday and today.
My mother is in ICU at the hospital with C-Diff infection that she's been fighting for months. It was a horrific and a hellish event/experience that landed her there (I was there and involved) and I'm frustrated and angry with my Father. 
My dog has been ill. 
And this morning, I did this.

Sliced the side tip of my finger off and I'm quite sure I saw bone. Ow.

These circumstances, whether good or bad, have been great opportunities to practice patience, mindfulness and peace. Letting the negative flow out and the positive pour in. I like to look at the positive as being God's love pouring into me and building my faith, despite seemingly impossible circumstances in one current situation. It brings me patience as it seems to slow down time when things seem out of control so I can take a step back, breathe deep and rest in His Presence.  Let His peace be in the front of my mind always.

Philippians 4:7 

 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hello!
How's everyone?
It's been busy around here with my son, who just turned 14, home for the summer. Trying to keep a boy entertained and off the internet can be a challenge and that's been keeping me pretty busy. We don't live in a neighborhood with boys his age, they're all under 9 it seems, so friends have to be driven here or picked up or he's driven there. It's really no problem, but he's a spur of the moment kind of kid and I am soooo not spur of the moment, so adjusting to his life takes some major adjusting in mine. It's all good though.
It seems the internet and video games is how kids socialize these days. My son gets on and plays with his friends with the whole set up; laptop and headphones and they all communicate with each other. It's like they're together but in a virtual world. It bothers me at times since my childhood, back to the "good ol days", was riding bikes until the sun goes down and just being outside all day. That's my main thing with my son---get outside! Times ARE different and that's just the way it is. So we walk the dogs, go geocaching,  take him swimming, ride bikes and kayak at the river. Since he's not into sports and doesn't play in them, he needs some other physical activity and real life experiences. Times are just different.

Summer has been really great so far and my garden has been so beautiful. I harvested a few Zucchini from a pot I planted them in.

I made vegetarian stuffed zucchini last night that was pretty good. My husband really liked it but I didn't care for the texture, so I'll be using a different method next time for the stuffing. The flavors were great!


I've been so excited that my zucchini has been doing so well since I had so much trouble with them last year with blossom rot. I lost all of the vegetables on my two plants I had potted. My father in law told me it was inconsistent watering that caused it, so this year I've been watching it like a hawk. I've been thrilled with all the blossoms and new growth with the tiny little zucchinis.

Until yesterday.

They're rotting. *sigh*

I tried.
Not sure what I'll do with the plant. Hopefully, it'll only be the few that I found but it looks like it's affecting everything.

This summer has been really nice outside. Usually, June can be pretty rainy and cold only warming up after the 4th of July, but this year we've had a really nice and warm spring and summer. Today it's been pouring but the plants needed it so badly. The neighborhood trees are starting to lose their leaves for lack of water.

I do have some sad news. I'm an animal lover and have quite a few. One of those is a little guinea pig, my son's little guinea pig. Bugsy is her name. Well, Bugsy started acting a little off a few weeks ago and since guinea pigs go down real fast when they get sick, I immediately took her to the vet. He found she had some swollen lymph nodes and wanted to check her for cancer. Two days later the results were in--she had an aggressive form of lymphoma and she only had a very short period of time. I had decided to put her down the following day so she wouldn't suffer. I was given plenty of pain killers for her and we were able to give her lots of cuddles and love but it was so hard and my heart breaks everytime I lose a pet. I know that I give my pets the most excellent care so she had a wonderful life. I miss her. She was a great pig.

In more pet news, I've been looking into getting another bird here for the last several months and have finally chosen which one I'm going to add to the flock. A Green-cheeked Conure.  I'll be setting up it's cage this week. Saturday, I'll be going to take a look at the one the gal has. She's been gone all week and the husband doesn't allow people out to his home when he's alone. (Totally get that) and he said she'll be home Saturday. They're people who hand raise baby parrots and bird of all kinds and have lots of seals of approval. They don't breed but get their babies from reputable breeders. They have a 4 month of Conure that I would like to see. They live about and hour and half away, but I have no problem going there and if the bird will not work for me--going home without one. I'm pretty picky about what I want and the health. They only make appointments for people to come out and see their babies and how they run the place and that's a great sign of a good bird people. But, if the bird doesn't like me..yeah...no. These can live for up to 20 years. I've got to get the one that will work for me and that likes me. I'm excited to get to training but the first month the poor little thing has to be quarantined away from my other birds. Just for a month to make sure he won't make my birds sick. Birds, when under stress, can get sick especially if they're carrying diseases that lay dormant until the bird gets stressed. This can affect my other birds and make them sick, so it's best to play by the rules and quarantine the little one for 30 days.
 
I'm pretty excited and I'll keep ya'll posted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blueberry Lemonade Oat muffins




Today is my son's 14th birthday and I'm amazed at how time will fly by without a care in the world. One day you wake up and that little itty bitty baby now has a man voice (kinda) and is almost as tall as me, and I'm tall! 
He had a friend over to play video games most of the night, but I was pretty surprised when they conked out at around midnight. 
My son loves to have people over night and the more the merrier. But, that means I get to cook breakfast for a bunch of teenage boys. 
I wanted to try something other than my go to pancakes and I had a bunch of blueberries in the freezer, so I thought I would wow them with my muffin skills. (not).
It's a super easy recipe with the muffins being light and tasty. I had some lemonade (the fresh stuff) in the fridge I needed to use up so I thought I would try it in this recipe. I love lemon and blueberry together and adding the lemonade gave a nice amount of flavor and kick of lemon at the end of the bite. The oatmeal gave  the right amount of texture. 

Blueberry Lemonade Oat muffins
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup lemonade
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries.
For the topping
1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan by lightly spraying with non-stick spray.
In a small bowl, combine the oats and the lemonade and set aside.
In a medium bowl combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk those together and set aside.
In another medium bowl mix the oil  and egg together.
Add the combined egg and oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will be dry looking but keep mixing until it's mixed together.
Once the egg, oil and the dry ingredients are mixed well, add the combined lemonade and cooking oats and mix together. 
Gently fold in your blueberries.
Fill the muffin pan cups 2/3 full. There should be enough batter for 12 muffins. In a small bowl, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon. (or regular sugar but turbinado gives more of a crunch) Sprinkle onto the muffins. 
Bake muffins for 18- 20 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Let cool for a few minutes.
Dig in!

My son said they were "delicious"! (no prodding from me, he said it all on his own) and he and his friend gobbled them all down.
A success and better than pancakes!
Although, I can make a mean pancake.


(Recipe slightly adapted from Allrecipes)