Kindness

Kindness is something that seems to be fleeting in today’s crazy world. With all the recent events across our nation and the rest of the world it makes one want to dig a moat and live off the land as a hermit. And yes that has crossed my mind because on my 11 acres I really could live off it well! We are imploding on ourselves but does anyone even see that we are? From politicians to media to colleagues to neighbors we all see differently and we all have different beliefs but do we all need to be cruel to each other? Do we even realize we are being cruel or is it so easy to be blind to everyone else these days we except the fact we are no longer kind to each other?

I challenge everyone to find kindness in yourself and to overlook the bad. Overlook that your co-worker ate your sandwich, overlook that your neighbor parked on your lawn by a foot again, overlook that your mailman never closes your mailbox and your mail yet again got wet but it only got wet because the meteorologist once again called for sunny skies yet a thunderstorm came through.  You don’t know what that person is going through; they really could be having a worse day, week or year than you.  If they aren’t and they really are just being a jerk well maybe that is because no one has taken the time to be kind to them.  Maybe a simple smile, a simple hey how’s it going or a simple act of bringing 2 sandwiches instead of 1 could change that grumpy jerk to someone better.

Really do take time and smell the roses and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t stoop to someone else’s level because then you have to live with your actions.  Oh also Karma really can be a bitch.  No matter your beliefs, no matter your point of views, no matter what happens, tomorrow starts a new day and a new perspective.

 

Plus being kind really does make you feel better deep down and that translates to a healthier you!

 

Bright Blessings,

Ruby DragonLily

Feeling lazy but need to cook

I must say when one gets a case of the lazies it kind of sucks when you realize you still have to cook something. I have been cleaning out the freezers of my homemade premade meals and didn’t make it to the store on Saturday and figured we’d get out and about on Sunday so no problem.  Well Sunday came around and it was too lazy of a day.  We rarely have a day that we just hang out on the couch and watch shows and movies and don’t really get much done.  Sunday was that day.  I did get a rug finished up but only because I could do it while planted on the couch.  My husband did get some miniature painting done but again only because he could do it while on the couch.  Breakfast was easy because I had some banana bread and I had some left over potato soup so lunch was covered.  Then came time for supper! We still had some potato soup but we ate it on Friday and Saturday for both main meals and again on Sunday for lunch.  What is a girl to do!?!?!  Hahaha – come up with the best potato cakes ever from potato soup!

I fished out all the potatoes and placed them on a plate and started smashing them with a fork. Some of the cream sauce was mixed in but I did try to strain it out between my fingers as I fished out the potatoes.  Then I cut up the half of a jalapeño I had left and grated some parmesan and added both to the plate of smashed potatoes.  I added a hand full of flour and mixed it all well so it was sticky.  I heated up my flat cast iron pan, added a smidge of oil and let it get nice and hot.  I then rolled small balls of potatoes and barely flattened them out and cooked them in the oil.  They had a nice golden brown color on each side.  I also had on hand a little spinach and parmesan cheese.  I cut up some spinach and placed it on the plate grated some fresh parm on top of it and then placed about 4 potato cakes on each plate atop of the spinach.

It was a hit! It was very tasty and although it was still potatoes it was different than just eating potato soup again. It didn’t take long, probably 5 minutes to whip together and another 10 minutes to fully cook.  The spinach added a nice fresh touch, the parm changed the flavor up a little and I saved the last bit of potato soup from going bad and didn’t have to freeze it.  There was a little creamy sauce left and for me that made a nice lunch at work on Monday.

Then on Monday I broke free from the lazies and bought everything I needed for homemade chicken salad so this week we are munching on chicken salad sandwiches. By the end of the week I’ll end up mixing that in to something else though I am sure. Well maybe my husband’s comment last night was my chicken salad was better than anything he has had in a restaurant so he might be good eating it all week.

Bright Blessings

Ruby DragonLily

Be in the present

In today’s crazy world we are busy, lazy, distracted and plain worn out. Or at least a lot of us are.  We work 40 plus hours a week typically at a job we don’t like so that alone causes more stress.  We are glued to our social media, Netflix, you tube and whatever other electronic outlets there are.  We find ways to do things the lazy way.  By this I mean we buy frozen or pre made foods, we order our stuff online and I can’t forget to add we play Pokémon without getting out of our cars.   I wonder if we didn’t follow these patterns if we would be healthier in the end?  This writing isn’t just about food so I encourage you to read it to the end.

In my opinion a lot of what we do in our lives should revolve around ensuring we are eating good food. I know we have discussed this before is early writings but this is about more than food.  Make this the year you change habits.  Make this the year you do something different and try new things.  A good place to start is with your food. Eat what is in season so you can eat cheaper on fresher food. Make a challenge to go a month without buying a canned good, frozen food or stopping for fast food.

Try your local farmers markets or look for community spots that bring in fresh produce. The thing to remember is plan your recipes in advance so you only buy what you need when you need it.  On the other hand though be flexible with that recipe so you can adapt to what is available to you.  If your recipe calls for fresh beets but all you are finding are fresh carrots then go with it.  If you need potatoes but you find rutabaga’s cheaper then swap it out.  One good thing about our smart phones is we can look up that recipe or substitute on the go.  Download an app such as all recipes so you can easily search for recipes that match the vegetables you are looking at.  Eating in season means you may not get corn all year round but when you do get corn you won’t pay much for it and it’ll be fresh.

Invest in yourself with food instead of with medication. By eating fresh foods we have cooked ourselves we not only are cutting out all the chemicals we put in our bodies we also get up off the couch, move around and refocus our minds.  I heard something over the weekend that I want to repeat here.  I was at a juice bar getting a nice refreshing glass of honey ginger root juice when someone said do something so you can be in the present.  That got me to thinking about what that really means, be in the present.

At the time we were learning some cool techniques on how to breathe to beat stress, anxiety and to feel better. One of those techniques made us all feel like we were in the present.

Our minds need a break from recounting the past to figuring out the future. How do we do that?  You hear people telling you to meditate, clear your head, blah, blah, blah….  Here is a different way to look at it for us people whose minds just don’t turn off.  Put yourself in the present!  We did this by breathing differently. So maybe you can just learn new breathing techniques.  Let’s take it a step further and apply it to everyday life.

When I am in the kitchen cooking I am in the present. I have to be up and moving and focusing on what I need to do next.  In a typical meal I have to cut up something, add seasonings, add ingredients at specific times, etc.  If my mind is on something else it makes these tasks harder to do.  By being in the present and focusing on what I am doing then I am forgetting about the past and the future.

Could we use this for other things? Of course we can if we are willing to put in the effort.  Effort is something we have to do to accomplish anything, right?  When you make an effort to do a hobby you have the opportunity to put yourself in the present.  Modeling takes concentration on what pieces to glue where and painting it ‘within the lines’.  In sewing, crocheting and knitting type things we have to concentrate on the stitch and counts, etc.  You can be in the present doing hobbies and that will turn your brain off to the past and future and give it the needed rest it deserves and needs.  Learn new breathing techniques to focus on, take a yoga class, go for a walk, run or bicycle ride and instead of thinking about everything focus on what you are doing.

Add in good food and good company and you will have gone back to the basics. I challenge you for the next month to change some habits.  Focus more on a task that will get you out of the normal and incorporate that with not eating out or not buying frozen or premade foods.  At the end of that month see how you feel and be honest about it.  Remember when it comes to food keep it simple.  Don’t try to do those fancy dishes you see on all the cooking shows because that will set you up for failure.  Last night I cooked what we had which was cutting up 6 potatoes really small and putting them in the frying pan, cooking some pork sausage I had on hand (about ½ pound), then I cut up and added a red pepper, jalapeño, tomato, red onion and thru in some mozzarella and pressed garlic.  I had it on hand and needed to use it up, simple, tasty and cheap. Oh and don’t forget it is much more healthy than anything you get frozen or fast.  Not only was it chemical free it put my mind in the present which in turn helped my body as a whole.

So at least once a day be in the preset, give your mind a break and that will trickle down to the rest of your body and soul.

 

Bright Blessings

Ruby DragonLily

 

Meat, it’s what’s not for dinner!

In today’s world most people are still struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. It doesn’t really matter what your job is or how much you make there is a strong possibility you have to balance your finances each week to ensure you are ‘bringing home the bacon’.  Do you need to literally bring home the bacon?  Meat has become an expensive meal with less quality.  How do we have tasty meals without it?

The key thing to remember is you have to bring an open mind to the table. Don’t judge the food solely by the fact that you see no meat.  Now, let me clarify before I lose you.  I am not taking you in the direction of anything tofu related since I do not eat tofu.  I’m going in the direction of rice, potatoes, noodles and veggies. Although you’ll hear the cooking shows all say ‘we taste first with our eyes’ or something witty like that, it doesn’t mean a meal without meat has to look bad or taste bad.

Protein is a key player here are well. Typically we were raised to get our protein from meat but you can get it from other sources as well.  You can get protein from eggs, dairy, nuts and beans.  Things such as mushrooms will give you some protein so you have to remember eating well rounded gets you everything you need.

Back to our meat dilemma and what kinds of meals you can get from meatless meals. This week we wanted something cooling so I went with my raw corn salad.  Start with raw corn on the cob and with a knife remove the kernels into a bowl.  Chop up a small red onion, yellow pepper and tomato and mix it all together with the corn kernels.  Chop up an avocado and mash it in while mixing it with the rest.  This is a basic raw corn salad that can hit the spot on a hot day and be a good accompanist to other foods.  For supper though you probably want a little more.  Pick up some long grain wild rice.  I pick this one because although yes it is just rice it is colorful and more visually appealing. By all means you can use any rice. I soak my rice in a bowl of water for about an hour, the water is just over the top of the rice.  I cut up an onion and place it in my cast iron skillet and stir them around and let me them get clear and then I added my soaking mixture of rice.  I added a few shakes of thyme, turmeric and cayenne pepper to it but you can use which ever herbs and seasonings your family likes.  On high heat I let the water boil down while occasionally stirring so it doesn’t stick. This doesn’t take too long and when it is done boiling out you should have soft tasty rice.  To make my meal I placed some rice in the bottom of a bowl and then scooped a spoonful or two of the raw corn salad on top.  If you still need more for your meal at this time make some toast.  Me, I don’t have a toaster so bread in the oven is my go to.  Add some butter to the bread and place it in the oven and then get creative with it.  You can press some garlic and spread it on the top and melt it in with the butter or once you remove it if you want something a little sweeter just spread a little honey on top.  If you are feeling really creative make yourself some flavored oils and spread on top.  You can keep the flavored oils on hand so you have them when you need them.  Now you have a meal that is tasty, filling, simple, healthy and best of all pocket book friendly.  You can alter this how you like; got mushrooms cut them up and add them, have other peppers use them.

If you have an eater that wants a huge hunk of meat on their plate this is your opportunity to change their habits.  For now make the meat of your choice and cut it up and add it to the dish.  The trick is to add half the amount you would normally give one person.  They will still get their meat but it will be half the amount you would normally do.  The next times you make the dish slowly add less meat. Be flexible too because you may not ever get to being meatless but you may at least cut that food bill down.  I have been lucky that my husband could take meat or leave it.  That hasn’t always been the case though so be patient and have fun with it!  Happy Cooking!

Bright Blessings,

Ruby DragonLily