Our Souls

Our Souls

I was going to write today more about cooking. I feel the need to spread my knowledge with others about cooking and how it really isn’t this huge monster pain in the booty to do. But instead I am going to take today to share some thoughts on helping your soul.

When we are kids we can’t wait to grow up. I remember playing outside until the street lights came on, riding our bikes all over the neighborhood and then flipping them upside down and running grass through the tire! Oh those were the days! Our souls were pure, happy, and we had few to no stresses in life. We also spent time saying ‘When I grow up…’.  Then as we get older we start school activities, prepare for being an adult, get jobs, get a career and you know the rest. Adulthood brings in a new level of stress to our souls and our bodies.  We worry about bills, jobs, family and whatever else today’s society has brought. When do we get to enjoy life again? How do we cleanse the stresses of our day to day lives?  In essence spill the negative from our soul?

As I was sitting at work today I had a complaint from an employee that she felt another employee wasn’t pulling their weight.  She felt she needed to come talk to me about it but not because she was tattling, not because of the normal reasons you would think.  She said to me she needed to cleanse her soul of the negativity this other employee has caused her so it doesn’t build up inside because when that happens she gets sick.  Now it might be good to note she is not from America, her grasp of the English language is sometimes choppy.  What she said though is something we all need to practice.  Get the negativity out of our souls!

Meditations, yoga, a walk in the woods are just a small sample of ways to de-stress but what about pouring out the negative into writing or in words and then you’re done, you walk away cleansed?!?!  What if we went back to the age old ritual of a journal?  We open the journal pour out our souls into it and then shut it up until another time.  We never go back and read it due to fear of it coming all back into our soul again.  I’m not saying write down every day that for me would make more stress.  I don’t have time for more ‘task’ in my life.  What if we only used the practice for those special days where we feel sick?  When we feel the stress is making us grouchy and that day that we aren’t feeling like our soul is positive.

I leave you with this thought…If peoples souls were less negative to the world then maybe we’d have healthier happier people in this world.  Take the day and step back and release your negativity, privately, then lock it away for good.

 

Bright Blessings

Ruby DragonLily

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Cooking, health and the budget

Cooking; saving money and being healthier

In an effort to be happier more money and great health go a long way. There is a lot of information on the pros and cons of chemicals in our diets, used on our crops and administered to our animals. If you look on the internet you can find information to support both sides of the coin.  This makes it difficult to make informed decisions on what could have big effects on our lives.  This turns the issue into a personal one.  A decision you need to make for you and your family.

For me and my family we choose as a family to stay away from processed foods and as many chemicals as we can. Yes this changes how we buy food, eat out and live our daily lives but in the end we save money and feel better.  I know there is hype out there that it is too expensive to eat healthy.  My main pro is since we have spent the extra money on better food and the time to cook we have had almost zero doctor bills and in our mid 40’s have zero health issues.  I say almost zero on doctor bills because I did have a bout with arthritis that lead to 4 surgeries, which is outside the norm.  We don’t typically get the flu or colds and if we do it is short lived and mild compared to everyone around us and no we do not get a flu shot.

For better food we eat with the season. Eating with the season keeps the cost down and the quality higher.  If you can grow your own then you are better off because you then know exactly what you are getting and when but not everyone has that ability or time in today’s world.  Famers Markets are great but can get pricey in larger city areas, because unfortunately as great as they are they are the current trend so therefore trend equals more expensive.  For my family if we can’t grow it I look for alternatives that fit my budget.  That means I might buy at Natural Grocers because the in season items are usually priced lower than other grocery stores and I know I am getting organic. I might hit a farmers market that is outside the big city; skip the large one that draws in so many people it is shoulder to shoulder.  I check out all the local co-ops to see what they are offering.  In short, I shop around for my produce, meat, and anything else.  The key is to remember following the trend is not typically the most economical way to buy.  Take the time to know what is in season in your area and where to get good prices on it.  It does take time to get down a routine so don’t get frustrated, keep pushing forward for a better food future.

Portion size is important and something to remember is when you eat better quality food you naturally eat less and are fuller longer. Large portions are associated with getting more bang for your buck.  Think about this though, are you really getting more bang for your buck if eating that larger portion is causing you to be heavier or have health issues? Taking daily pills, being out of breath, not being able to maneuver with ease is not the norm but in today’s society we make it okay by making excuses.  If you are eating better quality food without all the fillers and chemicals then your body will receive more nutrition and need less help from pills to stay healthy.  Portion size is important when you switch to a better quality food because it keeps the cost down and really is all your body needs.

I know by now you are probably thinking this is all good but who has time to cook?!? It is all about priorities.  I decided a long time ago that it was more important to take time to cook than to be on social media or keeping up with the Jones’s.  Yes, I work 45 plus hours a week in a high demand job, I get creative.  On Sunday I usually make a large ‘staple’ type item such as rice and chicken, just a whole chicken cooked in the crock pot, a lot of pasta, etc.  That sets me up for an entire week of meals made easy.  With something like rice and chicken cooked on Sunday I can have rice, chicken and a veggy on Monday, then on Tuesday I can add a homemade alfredo type sauce (milk, parmesan cheese, another cheese all melted together = alferdo sauce) with some different spices like maybe turmeric and pepper.  Wednesday rolls around and I can throw that mix in the oven covered with tomato paste and cheese with thyme and rosemary.  Wednesday night I pour some broth into it all and make a hearty soup for Thursday and Friday cut up some more veggies and boil it down a bit and maybe add some Worchester sauce and we have ended the work week with a stir fry.  Each night only needing up to 30 minutes to prepare and cook and you have homemade food all week.  You can use this premise for almost any meat and staple type items.  Also remember you have to know when the crock pot is going to be handy or just a waste of time.  Sometimes, what sits in the crock pot for 4 to 8 hours you can cook on your stove on simmer for an hour.

Another way to have quick homemade meals is to make your own freezer meals. Spend a weekend or a day and make as many different meals as you can fit in to that day and then vacuum seal them in your portion sizes.  In one day I have done stuffed cabbage, enchiladas, tortilla soup, broccoli chicken and cheese casserole all in bulk quantities and then sealed them with my Ziploc vacuum sealer in sizes for my family.  When I don’t have time to cook I can take out a pouch, boil water in a pot on the stove, stick the pouch in and in a matter of minutes we have a home cooked meal – just open the pouch and put it on plates. I cook and freeze this way about 2 to 4 times a year.  I spend a few days gathering all the recipes and ingredients and then clear my day and get to cooking.  It is all about time management, when one thing is cooking you are cooling another and sealing another.  It is easier if you have the help of another person or two.  Make it a girl’s day and everyone brings a recipe and the ingredients and then at the end of the day you split everything that was made.  That is how I ended up with the best stuffed cabbage recipe I have ever had!

 

In upcoming blogs I’ll get more in depth in each area along with recipes.

 

Bright Blessings,

Ruby DragonLily

A short life

     Managing life can be tough in today’s society. We have the demands to do as our families expect, keep up with our friends, neighbors and co-workers and still function as ourselves.  It’s no wonder so many more people today are on drugs, legal or not, or showing signs of depression or stress.  What does it take to really be happy?  What is happy?  Happy by definition from Oxford Dictionaries  is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. But I think to get to a deeper definition of what that actually means for ourselves we need to step back and take a look at what makes us have that warm fuzzy inner smile?  So my definition for happy is feeling a warm fuzzy inner smile, a smile that is hard to make go away.

     Although only you can decide what that is for you but here is what it is for me in a nutshell. I lived my life as my family expected and kept up with the promotions and expectations but then one day it hit me, I’m not truly happy! I was in a routine that worked and I wasn’t depressed but I wasn’t happy. I have a wonderful husband, animals, land, nice car and all the norms plus what most would consider a good job. That just didn’t do the trick so I started going back to things I loved to do before I got a busy life.  I slowed down going out and doing the normal.  My friends thought I was depressed and my family thought I was hiding because I was jealous (although I still am not sure what I am supposed to be jealous of!). Too funny, because what they weren’t getting is I was finding happy! So when I decided to start hiking, which is something I use to do in my younger years, they didn’t understand.  I invited several to come with me because being in nature is ultimately what I love and thought I could share that feeling with my stressed out friends but they laughed at me.  Their idea of a good night was drinking at the bars, spending money they don’t really have to spend and griping about what their issues are, which a lot of times came back to being broke or miserable in the job.  When I decided to drop all that and find my own way, I found happiness.  Hiking isn’t the only thing I started doing, I went back to sewing and making crafts.  I did most of this alone because my friends were not interested in being a part of it.  At first I thought that was crazy because I have done tons of stuff for them and with them that I didn’t want to do but now that I look back all those things are what society now expects out of us.  If you think about it what society expects is not happiness.  We don’t have to own the biggest and best house or most expensive car or pay for everyone’s bill when we all go out because that is a sense of falseness that society has told us we should have or do.

     I have embarked on this journey to find my happiness and so what if it defies societies norms because in today’s world of depressed, stressed people we need to fight our way out! On my journey I hope to find new friends and a sense of new happiness.

     As I blog about what my life journey is, I hope you’ll follow me and find your own happiness too. I will take you to subjects such as from scratch cooking, hobbies and life in general.

Bright Blessings

RDL