Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

thursday's going green ~ with placstic bottles

Milk, laundry detergent, bleach bottles are a basic in almost every home. But what can you do with them beyond the laundry room or kitchen? More than you've ever imagined! Before you throw that empty bottle into the recycling bin, stop to consider what other lives it may have. You can reuse bottles in craft projects. Some of the items you can create from an ordinary bottle are useful around the house while others are just for fun. Here are some idea, and some photos people have sent that they have made. 

1. Scoop it Up The heavy plastic in most detergent and bleach bottles is ideal for making an inexpensive scoop. Cut diagonally across the middle of an empty, clean bottle and use the half with the handle to scoop up fertilizer, potting soil, rock salt, pet waste or to use as a dust pan.

2. Use Bottles to Store Bird Seed I rinse out my detergent bottles really well and let them dry for several days. Then pour in birdseed. The pouring spout is great for filling feeders. No more birdseed weeds on the ground.

3. Weight it Down Bottles filled with sand or water can be used to hold down a tarp, portable sports equipment like a pitching net or basketball hoop. Keep a couple of bottles filled with sand or rock salt in the trunk of your car during winter months for the weight and deicing.

4. Fill It Up Cut off the tops of bottles to create a funnel for all those messy jobs like transferring paint, filling the lawn mower or changing the car's oil.

5. In the Garage  For large bottles, cut a hole in the side leaving on the handle and use it as a tool caddy. Smaller bottles, cut the same way, are great for separating and holding nails, screws and other small pieces. You can even label the outside for quick access.

6. Clear the Way  Store rock salt in a clean and thoroughly dried bottle, tightly capped. When the storm hits, you can hold it by the handle and sprinkle away without taking off your gloves.

7. Create Sturdy Templates  If you enjoy crafting, you know that each time you use a paper template it changes size just a bit. You can make plastic templates from laundry bottles that can be used many times. Simply cut of the top and bottom of the bottle and slit the remaining circle of plastic so it can lie flat. Mark template with permanent marker and cut it out to use over and over again.

8. Water sprinkler  most any size bottle can be made into a gentle sprinkler for watering plants. Rinse the bottle thoroughly and dry well. Use an ice pick or awl to punch holes in the lid. Fill the bottle with water, tighten on the cap and sprinkle away.

9. Drip Irrigation  If you want to apply a slow, steady supply of water to a plant, use a detergent bottle to create drip irrigation. Wash out the bottle thoroughly, use a pin or very small nail to punch several holes in the bottom. Fill the bottle and set next to the plant. This is particularly helpful for tender plants if you are going to be away for a day or so.

10. Crafts for the Kids From piggy banks to Halloween and Christmas decorations, the laundry room offers plenty of creative materials. Make a ball catcher. Cut the bottom off the bottle, then cut a U shape under the handle. Make two ball catchers so that children can play catch.

11. See your garden grow  Slice the bottom off an empty, clean jug to make a miniature greenhouse for seedlings. (Place the bottle open-side down over the plants.)

12. Keep them afloat: Tie empty bottles together to use as buoys or to mark the deep part of a swimming area.

 here are some images of cool ideas that have been sent to me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

meal ideas ~ valentine's day treats

last year I posted my Valentine's Day dessert idea almost too late for everyone to make these- so this year I'll be ahead of schedule and everyone can have time - one friend plans her special meals aaound her desserts- LOL ~ I like that! 

Need a tasty treat for that Valentine's Meal? Even if you go out, I suggest that you come home to one of these delights; they really are scrumptious and in my opinion...desserts always taste better in the quiet of my home with the one I love. This year I am planning on making the second idea- so yummie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cupcakes

Your loved ones will rave about these scrumptious cupcakes that ooze chocolate and peanut butter. They're easier than you might think to make, plus you can use a sugar substitute.

2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (not reduced-fat or natural)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
 Fresh strawberries (optional)
 Powdered sugar (optional)

 For filling: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine milk chocolate and peanut butter.

Microwave on 30 percent power (medium-low) for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through cooking. Cover and chill until mixture is the consistency of thick frosting, stirring and checking mixture every 5 to 10 minutes until consistency is reached (this may take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes). Mixture will set up quickly at the end so watch carefully. Use two spoons to drop mixture into six mounds on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, using about 2 teaspoons mixture per mound; return to the refrigerator until ready to use.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease six 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, water, oil, baking powder, and vanilla. Add flour and cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into each muffin cup. Set a chilled peanut butter mound in center of chocolate batter in each muffin cup. Spoon remaining batter over peanut butter mounds.

 Bake 12* to 14 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin sharp knife around the edge of each cupcake. Invert cupcakes onto serving plates. If desired, top with strawberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: PER SERVING: 193 cal., 9 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 2 mg chol., 51 mg sodium, 24 g carb. (1 g fiber, 14 g sugars), 4 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 1.5; Fat (d.e): 1.5

Cherry Chocolate Bread Puddings

This chocolate bread pudding boasts only 148 calories and 25 grams of carb per serving. Tart cherries and fresh orange peel add undeniable flavor to this rich chocolate dessert. Make it ahead for a fuss-free night.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups firm-textured whole-grain bread cubes (about 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons snipped dried tart red cherries
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ 
2/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

 Coat four 6-ounce individual souffle dishes or custard cups with cooking spray. Divide bread cubes, cherries, and wheat germ among the dishes.

 In a small saucepan combine milk and chocolate. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate melts; remove from heat. If necessary, beat smooth with a wire whisk.

 In a small bowl gradually stir chocolate mixture into egg product. Stir in orange peel and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread cubes in the dishes. Press lightly with back of spoon to thoroughly moisten bread.

 Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops appear firm and a knife inserted near the centers comes out clean. Serve warm. If desired, serve with whipped topping and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Make Ahead Tip:
 Prepare as directed through step 3. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours. Continue as directed in step 4 and 5.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  148 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 152 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (3 g fiber), 7 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 0.5

Chocolate Meringues with Chocolate Topper and Raspberries

The winning flavor combination with the light texture of meringue will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving and win over that special someone's heart. Makes: 2 servings Serving Size: 1 meringue shell, 1/4 cup raspberries, and about 3 tablespoons chocolate topper each

1 egg white
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar (optional)
Chocolate curls (optional)

 For meringues, allow egg white to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Draw two 3-inch circles on the paper or foil; set aside.

 Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine egg white, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Sift together the 1/3 cup powdered sugar and the 2 teaspoons cocoa powder; set aside.

Beat egg white mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add powdered sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

 Spoon or pipe meringue over circles on paper. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed 2 hours. Lift meringues off paper. Transfer to a wire rack.

 For chocolate topper, place whipped topping in a small bowl. Fold in the 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 To serve, spread the chocolate topper evenly onto meringues. Top with raspberries. If desired, dust lightly with additional powdered sugar and garnish with chocolate curls.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 142 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 28 mg sodium, 30 g carb. (3 g fiber, 22 g sugars), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 2

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

healthy living ~ my rescue remaey for stressors

Aroma-remedy for stress, anxiety, and depression

got some "stressors" going on in your mind and life? well, there is a simple mix of essential oils that is my “aroma-remedy” rescue. After not using this for a while and needing to mix up a batch last week, I wondered why I ever stopped making this wonderful blend.

  dab this luscious blend onto pulse points after bathing. It has a wonderful aroma of flowers, citrus, and summertime sweetness that is especially useful during times of stress, anxiety, irritability, or depression.

and yes, I have placed some in a diffuser at my desk with wonderful results.

  • 20 drops citrus essential oil of choice or a blend of Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, and/or Tangerine
  • 8 drops organic Lavender Essential Oil
  • 5 drops organic Cinnamon leaf Essential Oil
  • 4 drops organic Cedarwood Essential Oil
  • 3 drops organic Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
  • 1 tsp organic Jojoba Oil
Drip all essential oils into a glass bottle and roll between palms to evenly mix the oils. Add Jojoba oil and roll again. Add additional essential oils if you desire a stronger perfume.

Essential oils are fairly easy to find, although they can be expensive- but consider it a medication of sorts- you could just purchase a prescription, such as Xanax, that most likely will be more costly, and I assume not nearly as enjoyable. 

If you want to learn more about essential oils, aromatherapy, here is a very imformative site, and where I sometimes purchase supplies if I want to be guareented the best quality product.

Monday, January 25, 2016

mental vacation from frustration

My soul is frustrated…

It’s a kind of world weariness that is fed up with the violence, suffering, political games, and wastefulness all around. There is a lack of simply being considerate to others; selfishness is the main practice of the majority of the human race, those who cannot see beyond their personal space.  I see the changes in humanity, the mistakes of our government, the upcoming choices of a new one, people dying without cause, true causes of death running amuck, people disfiguring themselves just looks cool, spirituality or religion off in a never-never-land of twisted perceptions, our environment, and most of all the harm we do to others- child abuse, torturing animals, billion dollar industry of sex-slave trades. People just don’t get it… you would think after all this time we would finally move beyond the “I” and material wants to the “We” and inner spiritual growth.

I sit and think, “Wow, just a few more months and I can run away from it all and hide in the mountains. Or worse yet, this one comes far too often as I hear and see the news! “Death about now wouldn’t be so bad.”  Whoa...okay time for a mental vacation.

When I get tired of life… I take a mental vacation to my own world full of serene peace. Sadly, the reality of life is still there when I return; however, my special place within my soul can never be taken away or invaded by humans. That in itself is encouraging.

Nevertheless, deep in my heart... I desperately want to see my serene life become a reality for the 'entire' world. And, I don't know how to make it become real, therein lies my frustrations. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

thursday's crafting ~ record time with stickers

     this is a project that I have do every year. It is not only fun but very productive too, especially if you wonder where the time went....

Have you ever wonder where the time went, what did you do with that time you didn’t notice pass you by?

     Well, I do, a lot, actually I use to wonder. Several years ago, I got an idea from my childhood days of my parents putting stickers or marks on a calendar of all my accomplishments and goals. 

      Thus, the birth of my "sticker book."

      In a calendar, either a small wall, mini wall, or pocket planner,  I have a series of daily, weekly, monthly, projects and goals in mind and have a sticker for each one. I keep a legend of what each sticker stands for; every time I complete or accomplish one of these tasks I get a sticker on my calendar.  At the end of the week, month, or year you can look back and see what you have done with your time.  I even have stickers for “pajama” days, special days and events. I think this is a great idea for everyone. If stickers are unavailable, you can use series of miniature ink stamps. They are just as good, and last longer than a packet of stickers.

     There have been many times I have done something that I would have procrastinated…except for wanting to see that sticker on the page.

    You can even have a secret prize for yourself for keeping the calendar going all year.

     If you hang your sticker calendar on the wall at your computer, desk, dresser, anywhere you will see it daily,  you’ll be more likely to keep it going… plus, it also shows everyone just how busy you really are.  :)

Don't forget, this is also a great way to interest children, I loved it as a kid seeing my accomplishments and "chores done!!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

meal ideas ~ a different pasta meal

Want pasta but tired of the same-o same-o spaghetti and meat-whatever’s.  Here are two that will tantalize your taste buds and warm a winter’s chill. The first one has a couple of ingredients that I love- kale & fennel bulb, if you haven’t tried either of these ingredients... now is your chance in this awesome dish. 

Scallop, Mushroom, and Fennel Campanelle
If you’re looking for the right recipe to try kale, here you go! This seafood pasta recipe is restaurant-worthy and gourmet-inspired. Scallops, fennel bulb, and oyster mushrooms add richness to the pasta, while kale gives it a boost of color and nutrients.

8 ounces fresh or frozen sea scallops
6 ounces dried campanelle pasta
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups fresh oyster mushrooms, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup light butter with canola oil
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Thaw scallops if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels. In a large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

Sprinkle scallops with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add scallops; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning once. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Add another 1 teaspoon of the oil, the mushrooms, and garlic. Cook about 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, the kale, and fennel. Cook about 7 minutes more or just until kale and fennel are tender.
 Remove skillet from heat and add wine. Return to heat. Add butter, parsley, lemon juice, and the 1/8 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and the mushroom mixture to the butter mixture; toss to combine. Heat through. Divide pasta-mushroom mixture among four serving bowls. Place scallops on top of pasta-mushroom mixture.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 331 cal., 10 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 19 mg chol., 567 mg sodium, 42 g carb. (4 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 16 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 2; Lean Meat (d.e): 1.5; Vegetables (d.e): 2; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0; Fat (d.e): 1.5;

Chicken and Broccolini Cavatelli
Opting for skinless chicken breast is an easy way to reduce fat and calories in this protein-packed dish. Add pasta and Broccolini, a softer and sweeter-tasting cousin to broccoli with longer stems and shorter florets, for a nutrient-rich Italian meal bursting with authentic flavor.

1 whole bulb garlic
3 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces dried cavatelli
3 cups Broccolini spears (about 8 ounces)
2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut 
     into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons light butter with canola oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Snipped fresh chives

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the top 1/2 inch of the garlic bulb to expose ends of individual cloves. Leaving bulb whole, remove any loose papery outer layers. Place bulb, cut end up, on a double thickness of foil. Drizzle bulb with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Bring foil up around bulb and fold edges together to loosely enclose. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until garlic feels soft when squeezed. Let cool. Squeeze garlic from skins into a small bowl; mash with a fork. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding Broccolini for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Set pasta, Broccolini, and reserved cooking liquid aside.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove pancetta from Dutch oven; set aside. Add chicken pieces to Dutch oven. Cook 7 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). Remove from Dutch oven; set aside.

In the same Dutch oven melt light butter over medium heat. Whisk in the mashed garlic, the flour, the 2 tablespoons chives, the salt, and pepper until combined. Add milk and evaporated milk, whisking until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add Parmesan cheese, cooked chicken, cooked pasta, and cooked Broccolini. Toss to combine. Add enough of the reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed to reach desired consistency. Top with crispy pancetta and additional chives.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 343 cal., 10 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 57 mg chol., 464 mg sodium, 33 g carb. (2 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 27 g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0; Starch (d.e): 2; Lean Meat (d.e): 3; Fat (d.e): 1.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

healtht living ~ simple winter skin saver masks

And yet again, winter this year is really taking a toll on my facial skin. Here are some simple homemade masks that I use every year, I am sure I have posted these in the past, but to make things simpler for you and not have to dig into the past posts, I decided to post them again. ☺ 

Application of masks is one of the most ancient forms of beauty treatment all around the world. In old times, women of nobility used to apply many exotic substances on their face skin in order to keep it smooth, silky and beautiful and protect from aging and elements. In the North, traditional societies used animal and fish fats to shield their skin from cold and dry winter air. 

Here are 5 that I make and use~
 all wonderfully simple and gets the job done.

1. An avocado mask is perfect for dry skin that may become very irritated in the winter. It is easy to make: mash the flesh of avocado with a fork, add a touch of extra-virgin olive oil, and apply this smooth, fragrant mixture onto your face.
This nourishing mask will supply your skin with a whole range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and softening agents to fight winter dryness.

2. A cultured milk mask is a simple and effective cure for tired skin. Just apply a bit of natural yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream on your face avoiding areas around the eyes. Relax for 10-15 minutes and rinse your face with cool water.  This mask softens, rejuvenates, and restores a natural pH balance of your skin, thus, protecting it from negative influences of winter air.

3. An oatmeal mask is a great remedy for skin beaten by a cold wind. To make it, mix together in equal proportions raw oatmeal flakes, egg yolk, and honey. Keep the mask on your face for about 20 minutes, wash with lukewarm water, and pat dry. After the application, your facial skin should feel very soft, refreshed, and healed.

4. An egg white mask is good for oily skin with large pores. Smooth a beaten egg white all over your face, let rest for half-an-hour, and rinse with water. This mask will refresh and tighten your oily skin and will make it look much healthier than before. In the winter, it will create a natural barrier to protect your skin from harsh winds and frost. 

 5. If you have combination skin suffering from winter elements, try a softening banana mask. Mix mashed banana with fresh sweet cream and apply this wonderful mask all over your face for 30 minutes. It will smooth, soften, moisturize and nourish your skin whenever necessary and will make you forget about the cold, harsh, and nasty winter outside!

Also: here is a link to another post you might enjoy about protecting your skin in winter.
healthy living~ protect your skin in winter 

Why don't you just buy something? you ask.....
I have in the past tried to purchase some OTC products, even one year did some extensive research on what was available on the market. Well, needless to say that 98% were quickly crossed off because of all the chemicals they contained. Two were left: One by L’Oreal, it looked to be just the ticket- a little pricey at $15.00, but if it worked it would be worth it--- OMG as soon as I opened went into the trash! It was as if I had opened a bottle of cheap perfume- egads, why would I want that on my face. The next one I tried was by Oil of Olay, “Complete for sensitive skin”, it is great…almost. No scent, no gueyness—however, it did cause a redness to my skin. Not sure the reason and I did like the product, but decided not to take chances, my skin has the last say- My mother used Oil of Olay and it has been around for a long time, so I do trust the product, and would recommend it- But for me right now, I will continue to take the time to make my own products to avoid using toxic commercial products and nourish, cleanse, heal, and protect.

Monday, January 18, 2016

finding my "Guardian"

One of my goals this year is to try and get better control of my reactions to events that pop up suddenly.  I act cool and collected most of the time, but do get frustrated easily and do not always handle these moments with the most finesse that I know I could.

In any given situation, you have two energies that guide your reactions. The primitive part of your mind reacts to threats to your safety while your Guardian is a casual observer of all that's going on. Here are some ideas I have found to make better use of my “Guardian” so I have more control over my emotional reactions to life.

Firstly, we need to understand ~


The primitive part of the brain began as a way to keep you from harm. In the early days of human existence, threats to your safety came from being eaten by a predator or falling off of a cliff. Your brain responded to such threats quickly, because if you stopped to think about it first, you might become some wild animal's lunch. This part of your brain was in control long before the emotional part of the brain developed.

Now, threats come in many different forms. They may seem minor when compared to being eaten, but your brain sees them as threats nonetheless. Some of these "threats" you may have experienced:

Your supervisor yells at you for not getting a project done.
Your partner criticizes you for being disorganized.
Another driver cuts you off in traffic.

All of these situations trigger the safety response causing you to storm out of your office, raise your voice at your partner or raise your finger at the other driver. These responses happen so quickly that you may not even know what you're doing until afterwards.

Luckily, you have another part of you available to take control of your responses. The Guardian is the part that actually gives you a choice of how you react. When you master working with your Guardian, you'll be more in control of how you respond to the world.

Your Guardian is there all of the time, just like the part of your brain that has the responses to perceived threats. But the Guardian is a passive energy that you must actively engage. Until the mind had developed sufficiently to let the Guardian take charge, you must consciously use it.

  • Find a quiet place in which to sit for a few moments.
  • Take a few deep breaths as you relax your mind.
  • Imagine yourself at the base of your spine at the root chakra.
  • Slowly begin to rise up through your spine and all of the chakras.
  • When you get to your crown chakra, look down at yourself.
  • Allow yourself to slip through your crown chakra and float up above yourself.
  • Continue looking down at yourself as you float upward a foot or two.
  • This is the place where your Guardian resides and you are now viewing yourself as your Guardian does.
  • While in this space, recall one of the events from above, such as being cut off in traffic. As the Guardian, observe the event as it unfolded. The Guardian has no judgment and will look at the event in a way your primitive mind can't. 
  • As the Guardian, you'll ask yourself:  What is the real threat here?   What is the intention of the other person to do me harm?   What is the best response to the situation that's for the highest good of all involved?

You will need to practice the exercise until you can quickly enable the Guardian. Imagine yourself popping up above you into that Guardian state instantaneously. Develop the habit of asking "What would my Guardian do?" when you face a difficult situation. When you've mastered this, you'll be able to slip into that Guardian state before your primitive mind has a chance to respond.

With the Guardian in control, you'll have more options as to how to respond, and you'll be in charge of the response. Your responses will have a more positive effect and you'll no longer face the uncomfortable situation of the consequences of an unwanted response.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

thursday's garden ~ what birds want

Birds always seek food, and in winter it is more important to help them through this cold weather. Their high body temperatures (around 105 degrees) create a demand for steady, quality fuel, especially in winter when they have to eat more to stay warm. Small birds face the biggest challenges. To stave off deadly cold, kinglets huddle together to sleep. Hummingbirds lower their body temperatures and enter a torpor to conserve energy and heat. You don’t have to live in the forest to be close to such activity. I live in urban Southern California and my feeders are swamped with winged life.

Many birds adapt to humans; some evolve to exploit us. However, for “every” kind of bird there are a few things that winter birds want from us:

Set out trays of seeds and hang seed baskets and suet to trees. The chickadee that breaks winter’s silence with its call meets up to 20 percent of its dietary needs with such offerings. In many places, larger hummingbirds stay through winter and benefit from sugarwater dispensers. A shop like Wild Birds Unlimited can suggest foods for birds in your area.  If you are lucky enough as I am and have one in your area, it is highly recommended you visit the store.

Natural seeds
Leave seed heads in place after frost and "resist" the urge to cut back on everything in fall. Let snow lie; it’s insulation. Juncos and towhees find refuge in recesses under snow-covered vegetation. Keep field edges scruffy with hedgerows. Allow leaf fall to stay and compost on the ground, it is healthy for plant roots and for our garden friends.

If you have the opportunity to live in an area that snows, birds eat and bathe in the snow, but they lose precious energy converting it to life-sustaining fluid. A birdbath gently heated or kept circulating so that it doesn’t freeze, will attract a crowd. I place mine so the sun warms it in the afternoon, that is when I get to most activity.

Hummer Nesting Material

Nest boxes, standing dead trees, and brush piles give birds roosting places out of the cold.  I also hang a basket with some “pure” cotton in it so they can gathered some extra insulation to pack into their nests. Wild Birds Unlimited also has the correct material and even the holders. Make sure not to use just any material, it could contain harmful ingredients. more info on Nesting Material-see below

you can see where the
birds are using the cotton
to line the nest.
a hidden nest, ☺

Native Plants
Your state’s department of natural resources has information on the vegetation that birds have long relied on. Their seeds and berries and the insects they support are birds’ main food in winter. And many will build nests within the branches, make sure to check before trimming. 

Composed of all natural fiber that has not been treated with chemicals, Hummer Helper Nesting Material takes the place of spider webs and lichen in lining the nests of everyone's favorite tiny marvels: hummingbirds. This isn't just a great opportunity for hummingbirds; goldfinches, titmice and other birds also use it. When used with this particular tray you don't have to worry when it rains, it is designed to let the material dry without fearing mildew and other problems. Mine hangs until it is all gone, then refilled. Winter when I know it will be wetter, I only fill it a third, and keep an eye on it and refill more often.

 and... don’t forget some fruit, during winter birds need the vitamins that fruit offer. I hang an orange slice in this hanger and flip it over after a day or two for them to nibble on the other side. they love it! I have bowls of seeds that get filled every day. And the jays have their special Peanut Bowl too.

 I love using basket hangers with seed blocks and suet, and my little winged friends love it too. I have a special treat for them during winter to add a little protein into their diets. Meal worms, this really is the best way to offer these.  Our resident woodpecker...goes “wild” when this gets put out. 

remember, just because it is winter, it does not mean your birds will disappear. especially not if you offer them a wonderful place to live.

one of my favorites~ white capped sparrow

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

meal ideas ~ easy and elegant

Need an elegant but easy meal idea? Try these two which are favorites on my table.... and in our tummies. They are easy, quick to prepare, and healthy for all diet lifestyles. 

Root Beer-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes

Make an impression with an easy dinner that's as healthy as it is delicious. With only 21 grams of carb and 6 grams of fat per serving, you can enjoy this fantastic meal totally guilt-free.
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 cup diet root beer
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1 pound peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray
1/8 teaspoon salt

 In a medium bowl combine root beer, vinegar, soy sauce, and crushed pepper, if desired. Place the pork in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour half of the root beer mixture over the pork. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Refrigerate remaining root beer mixture until needed.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat well. Arrange potatoes in a single layer, pushing potatoes to the sides slightly to make room for the pork tenderloin.

Remove the pork from the marinade, discarding marinade. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Lightly coat a very large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook pork over medium-high heat 3 minutes, turn and cook 3 minutes or until browned. Place pork in center of potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and pork is slightly pink in center (155 degrees F), stirring sweet potatoes once halfway through roasting time.

 Meanwhile, add the remaining root beer mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to release any browned bits. Boil 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced to 2 tablespoons liquid, stirring frequently. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

 Place the pork on a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the potatoes and toss to combine. Cover with foil to keep warm while pork stands. Drizzle the sauce evenly over the pork slices. Makes 4 (3-ounces pork and 1/2 cup sweet potatoes)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 249 cal., 6 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 74 mg chol., 589 mg sodium, 21 g carb. (2 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 26 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 3

Tarragon Scallops on Asparagus Spears

The next time you're in the mood for seafood, don't break your back or the bank making a complicated meal. Try this easy recipe that comes together in just 30 minutes. Plus, most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry! I have also made this with shrimp, and once with a swordfish steak which I cut up into scallop sized cubes before cooking; it was delicious! So, use your imagination with this simple and elegant meal treat.
1 1/4 pounds fresh or frozen sea scallops
1 cup water
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
2 medium lemons
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil spread
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

 Thaw scallops, if frozen; set aside. Bring water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the asparagus, return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain well, place on a serving platter, cover lightly to keep warm.

 Cut one of the lemons in wedges. Finely shred 1 teaspoon peel from the remaining lemon. Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from the lemon.

 Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops with black pepper and salt.

 Wipe the skillet dry. Heat oil over medium heat. Working in two batches, cook the scallops 3 minutes, turn and cook 2 minutes more or until golden brown and just opaque in center. Place the cooked scallops atop the asparagus and keep warm.
 Add the vegetable oil spread, lemon peel, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and the tarragon to the skillet. Cook 1 minute to thicken slightly. Add remaining lemon juice, if desired. Drizzle over scallops. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 (about 5 scallops and 7 asparagus spears each).

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 253 cal., 12 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 47 mg chol., 436 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (5 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 27 g pro. Diabetic Exchang: Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 3.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 1.5