16 September 2014

My Little Helper

Yesterday, I made a batch of seasoned croutons using leftover bread, olive oil and seasonings.  It wasn't long before the kids were coming down the stairs to investigate the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.  Bread, olive oil, onion, garlic, thyme...will do that.

Anna, my little kitchen helper.  This is her spot and always has been since she was a puppy.  After she was born, Anna and her 7 siblings were stationed in the kitchen.  Linoleum flooring is so much easier to clean when house training 8 puppies.  While the other pups were wrestling with each other and chewing on the baseboards, sweet Anna would come over and sit patiently at my feet while I was cooking.  Smart girl!  She knew where 'the place' to be was.  With that face, who could resist not dropping a few bits every now and then?  Of course, all by accident dontcha know.  ;)

Oh!  The croutons turned out great.  The next batch will be a tad bit smaller for salads.  I think the size above is better suited for soups.  Anna thinks they are fine just the way they are and make great doggie treats.  ;)

15 September 2014

Everything I Need

Before the day begins...coffee, oatmeal, a purring kitty in my lap, meditation, taking a few moments to be creative, listening to inspiring music, and enjoying the peace of the early morning hour.

Little by little, I am simplifying the different areas of my life by de-cluttering, de-owning, removing empty distractions, unsubscribing to (what seems like) hundreds of email lists, meals, finances/spending, and whatever else I feel needs to be downsized or removed altogether.  I find that the more I remove the distractions of life - the more at peace I feel - it is addicting.

The bakery keeps us pretty busy and the last thing I want to do, when I get home, is feel like I have to clean or make a big meal.  We have kept our spending to a minimum which makes bill paying less stressful.  Letting go of stuff means less cleaning which equals more time.  Simple meals means more time with my loves.  Less spending means more money to do the things we want to do.

I am blessed beyond measure and so very thankful for what I do have.  And, at this very moment, it is all about my coffee cup filled with lovely goodness, a bowl of simple (healthy) oatmeal, and a sleepy kitty on my lap keeping me warm.  What more do I need right now? 

Everything I need right now is here already.  Everything I have right now is an answered prayer.  Everything I will need will be provided.

09 September 2014

52 Week Money Challenge - Start Today

Someone posted this challenge on Facebook today.  I LOVE the idea and the end result.  I will be printing this, placing it where I will see this goal everyday, and then check off the weeks as I save/put away money.  Just think!  In one year, there will be enough money set aside for a beach house rental or weekend getaway to a place you have never been to.

How It Works

Each week, set aside the amount equal to the week.  For example, Week 1, set aside $1.  Week 2 - $2.  Week 3 - $3...and so on.  By the end of the year, if you follow the chart above, you will have $1, 378.00.


08 September 2014

Lentil Soup

 Lunch with toasted sourdough bread (made at the bakery) and lentil soup...

On Sunday, I made a big batch of lentil soup using basic seasonings (garlic, onion, bay leaves, salt, pepper, etc.), carrots, celery, a ham bone* that had a few bits of meat left on it, and enough water to cover.  Throw it all in the crock pot and walk away.

A basic recipe that is easy to remember because you are simply using what you have on hand.  If I can give any advice in regard to making soups, it is always a good idea to have fresh celery or celery seasoning on hand.  It is a key ingredient in most soups and adds that certain flavor needed to make soup/stock flavorful.

*I buy ham with the bone-in so that after baking, I can store the ham bone in the freezer with a few bits of meat left on it.  When I am ready to make soup or soup stock, I can use the ham bone to add a nice flavor.  My mom used to always keep ham hock in the freezer to season green beans, collards and/or soups.  

Today  I portioned out the soup in various glass containers for the freezer...

...labeled and put away.

I like to store some of the soups into single servings for an easy meal that you can grab, throw in your bag and go.  By the time you get ready to eat, the soup has pretty much thawed out.

07 September 2014

Making Way For Things to Come

Decluttering, de-owning, unsubscribing (magazines, emails, services, etc.), simplifying, removing distractions, needs vs. wants, editing, revising, plans to downsize, less spending, freeing, happier, and realizations.

For the past few weeks, there has been a bigger desire to de-own vs. the usual decluttering.  Blaine and I have been floating around the idea of moving into a smaller home.  We are still in the "talking about it" stage but must say I am excited about it all.  There is this feeling - I have had it before.  It is time to clear some space to allow new things to come in.  A house is making its way for us which makes me very happy.

Next Up...

♥ fall/winter wardrobe

02 September 2014


Taking a moment before heading off to bed with a cup of chamomile tea, very light reading, soft lighting, and gentle music.


01 September 2014



Potato Salad with Hidden Meadows Ranch Sausage, Mixed Green Salad and dressed with Staat's Bakery Dill Salad Dressing, Yogurt topped with Staat's Bakery Almond/Raisin Granola


Potatoes can be served on their own or with the suggested sausage or with whatever you have on hand - hard boiled eggs, diced ham, bacon, etc.


potatoes, sausage, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper.


Roughly dice potatoes, place in a sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a boil & simmer for 10 - 12 minutes until tender.  Drain & run cold water through.  Add celery, sliced sausage, mayonnaise (about 3/4 cup - depending on how many potatoes you use), mustard (about 1 Tablespoon ), salt & pepper.

*When cooking, I am not one to use exact measurements.  If it looks, smells, and tastes good - it's good!  ;)


Over the weekend, we had a Sample Saturday at the bakery and one of the items we served was the smoked sausage we sell from a farm here in the county - please see link above.  The leftovers were just enough to add to the half bag of potatoes I had in our pantry at home.  A simple addition that added just enough flavor to change up this basic potato salad recipe and a great way to use up what you have.