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Bean Taco Salad

Growing up in Phoenix I was used to my mom trying out easy cool dinners for our family. I carry on this tradition by using part of her bean taco salad she would make then added a few things.

This recipe is served as a taco salad bar making it a great way to serve people of various appetites who like to help them selves and socialize.

1 bag of corn chips (low salt)

1 can of black beans

1 can of kidney beans

1 can of pinto beans

Grated cheese

1 small onion ( any will do but I like green or purple onions best in this)

Lettuce chopped (any type works, I enjoy a mix of greens in this)

Tomatoes chopped

Black olives

Cilantro diced

Avocado chopped into bite sized pieces

Light Catalina dressing

To assemble salad:

Place desired amount of corn chips in your bowl, place rest of ingredients on corn chips including Catalina dressing, mix together and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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Apple Juice a Vacuum and a Four year old

 

I have always been in awe of children and how they think. As my own children grew I was in constant wonderment. I now get to see this with my four-year old grandson Milo.

He loves to take charge giving a helping hand, no job is to big, no job is to small. In his mind he can do anything a grown up can do and in fact because of this attitude he flourishes when he has challenges.

It was this kind of thinking last week that brought me to blog about Milo today.

My daughter was taking a quick shower because as any mom with little ones knows when they are sleeping you are lucky to have a few minutes to yourself. She is about done when she hears the sound of a vacuum coming from down stairs throwing on her robe and running down the stairs she sees her four-year old vacuuming the tile floor in the kitchen and so much yellow sticky liquid she was surprised she did not fall or that he didn’t get electrocuted.

He smiles up at her as she enters. He turns it off standing so proud begins to tell her that he got up, wanted apple juice and decided to pour it for himself but the juice was to full he spilled it on the floor but not to worry because he cleaned it up. To him he had taken care of it. It wasn’t until he went to walk and got sticky did he realize it. My daughter finished cleaning it up, took apart the vacuum so it would dry out  and was thankful he didn’t short out the vacuum or get shocked.

So many times we are like Milo, we think no problem is to big for us to handle it on our own or we don’t need to bother God with it because we can do it ourselves. Instead of taken care of it we are left with a sticky dripping mess and a miracle that we didn’t harm our self. If only when things come up if we just stop and ask for help.

As funny and precious as this is and I do laugh at it. I can take away with this thought of so much heart ache and extra work could have been avoided in my life if only I would have stopped and asked for help.  I can be stubborn and have a take on anything attitude perhaps Milo has a touch of me after all.

I am learning that so much of the heart ache and problems could have been avoided if I would have stopped and prayed and how God sees us wishes we would have waited or asked for help but the best part is He doesn’t condemn but helps us move forward taking care of the mess as only He can.

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Hebrews 4:15-16

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

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Classic Basil Pesto

I love pesto it can enhance any recipe or stand alone with so many variations but this is a classic pesto  that only takes about 10 minutes and I use it in my zucchini lasagna from Mondays recipe.

To have a more intense green color of pesto just blanch the herbs. To do this is simple just add herbs to boiling water for five seconds then shock them in ice water squeeze them then pat dry.

4 cups of basil leaves

1 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 to 3/4 pine nuts

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

salt to taste

3/4 cup virgin olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)

Combine Basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic in food processor mix until finely chopped. Pour oil in finish mixing.

I like to use this fresh but it can be frozen for a month for those nights that you need a quick go to dinner.

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Zucchini Lasagna

What a great weekend. The weather was nice and sunny the storm I thought might make it so I would need to bring the egg hunt indoors didn’t show until late Sunday evening.

With the clouds and rain still hanging around I thought a nice casserole sounded good for todays meatless Monday.

You can find a zucchini lasagna recipe all over the internet but I thought I would add to the assortment of them.

This is an easy dinner plus if you are wanting lasagna but don’t want to use noodles or to change it up this is one way to do it.

Depending on your size of meal you can make changes as needed.

3-4 medium-sized zucchini

3 cups baby spinach

1-2 cups mozzarella cheese grated ( I find I use a little more cheese but this is a good amount)

1 cup feta cheese crumbled

pesto sauce ( I make my own but you can buy a jar and that will work)

marinara sauce ( I also make this but if you like to buy yours any flavor will be good)

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes

Clean the zucchini and baby spinach pat dry. Set aside the spinach, cut zucchini in long thin strips. In a 13×9 pan pour a small amount of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Put zucchini strips on top of the sauce spread pesto on the zucchini strips add baby spinach then sprinkle on the two different cheese, top with zucchini strip. Continue this one or two more times. Finally adding the  rest of your marinara sauce and cheese for on top. Cover for about the first 15 minutes, remove cover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked and the lasagna is nice and bubbly. Let cool then enjoy.

I have done this in the crock pot as well if you are looking for a nice dish to come home to after a long day,this works beautifully, just layer as above in your crock pot then put on low.

 

 

 

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Looking both ways on a one way street

I must admit that when crossing a one way street I look both ways.

I know this seems so funny but it’s true, I had never realized I did this until the other day and thought I must have so little faith in humanity. Now it’s good to be careful, to make decisions that will keep you safe but when does this behaviour become disruptive to our life? How is it that being safe when left unchecked chains us into becoming fearful people second guessing and doubting everything. If we alow this kind of attitude to get out of hand we then don’t even see our selves in a goodod light. We become fearful of our own shadows living an empty life.

Fear can be crippling or it can be what Rachel Huber says “Fear is the brains way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome.”

With balance we can be safe but fearless living a full life that we are meant to live.

 

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Happiness

I have not blogged in almost a month. Chalk it up to busy holidays and a lot on my mind but when I sat down to write, nothing would come to mind. With the wonderful season on the downward slope it got me thinking on how great my holidays went a nd how happy I feel.

I like this definition of happiness from Wikipedia…”Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”

The word happiness report that they do every year shows the counties that have less than a 32 hour work week, vacations, family as priorities instead of money are the happiest in the world and amazing still is they have small housing and cold temperatures to boot.

We could take a lesson from them. They are free to enjoy life, that time is how you live your life. That acceptance and contentment equals happiness.

So to me learning and being content no matter what is going on in my life I have happiness. To be content with and in all circumstances leads to such happiness that it is contagious. It’s just that simple but we make it so much harder.

I won’t put on a fake smile but it’s genuine because I have my mind set. I reflect on St Paul for he said it best.

Philippians 4:11 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,  whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want”

 

 

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What’s in that container?

Every Tuesday I clean  my refrigerator. It’s a job I don’t like but well who really does? The trash goes on Wednesday so it seems like a good time to get all that’s stinky or old out and gone.

As I am cleaning away I see one container that I can’t remember what was in there. I decided to open it and find out. Yes I can be brave but I question my bravery as soon as I open the lid. Wow what could possibly have been in that? Ooh the stench! It looks like some kind of science experiment and the smell is that of some old fish, almost tuna like.

I don’t eat meat but I do have my son living with me that dose and apparently he made up some tuna and forgot to eat it up. I was so close to  putting the whole container in the trash thinking what’s one more to the landfill besides it’s worth not smelling or touching it but of course I cleaned it out and  container is as good as new.

This got me thinking, how we are like that container. You don’t know what is in side a person until they open their mouth. I at times can be just as terrible as that old tuna, how horrible for the other person who has to put up with the stench.

This time of year when we get so busy trying to have the perfect holiday do we give of such a stench because we get over worked, spend to much money and stress our selves out to try  pull off what we have in our minds as the perfect holiday.

If we only have hurt, fear, anger or inpatients in us that’s what’s going to come out and when it does oooh the poor people around us. So if I  encounter a major stenchy attitude from people I will try and remember that you can’t give away what you don’t have in you and I am a clean container  filled with sweet goodness because I have cleaned out the stench and ready to give joy.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I still have my storms, with the weather and personally today and I am thankful for both!

I look out on the beautiful fall foliage with the backdrop of different shades of gray. The earths last colorful celebration before winter. I don’t have to work or have much to do at home,I am so grateful to have a rainy day of relaxation. So for me nothing would better fit my dinner menu than a wonderful bowl of butternut squash soup and croissants.

I’m sure most of you who make this soup have this recipe but in case you don’t have it on hand here is a easy way to make butternut squash soup.

Preheat the oven at 400, you will need to do this so you can roast your squash.

1 onion

1 spring of thyme and rosemary

Salt and pepper

3 1/2 Cup veggie broth

1/2 Cup half and half   ( I use almond or coconut milk)

8 Cups cubed butternut squash,  a great time and money saving tip use precut but frozen squash.

Olive oil

When using frozen all you have to do is put  frozen cubs on a cookie sheet drizzle olive oil on  squash then rosemary, thyme, onion, salt and pepper then bake for about 40 minutes.

When the squash is done roasting put in food processor with remainder of ingredients. Then sit down and enjoy your soup.

 

 

 

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Memories

” I thank God every time I think of you” Philippians 4:3

As I read that I thought no truer verse for me. A few people in my life that that holds so true. Some I still think of but am not able to see but my memories are all I have left.

Memories of a person that holds a spot in your heart and puts a smile on your face or even a tear in your eye, what a blessing to remember someone in such a way. Even if it hurts because you can’t see them it’s a wonderful feeling to have a memory of a person that has graced you’re life with such a presents it has forever changed you and left you with memories that can not be forgotten.

Yes a disease or injury too the brain can alter a person’s ability to remember but even in the most severe cases there are brief seconds of a memory that have come back to a person.

A memory is such a gift. Not to be taken for granted but it is given so to remind us of the people that have blessed our life’s. A person may not be with you but the memory of them is,what a comfort.