Category Archives: recipes

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getting healthy


Took this photo today during a walk with my mom. There’s no more snow on the courthouse lawn! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to see grass again. The morning temps are still in the 20’s and 30’s, but Mom and I are getting outside. It feels great to move after being stuck inside all winter. I’m not one who loves to go to the gym. I’d much rather walk or run in the great outdoors. Sadly, winter ends up being pretty light on healthy activities for me. But I’m very happy to be out walking around our little town again. Even just a few walks this week have done a world of difference. I can already feel my legs getting stronger again.

Jake had mentioned us doing the River Bank Run 10K this year. But then he had some health issues come up over the past couple months and that idea was kind of pushed to the back burner. I didn’t forget about it. In fact, I have the training run schedule up on the bulletin board. But I think I’ve pretty much decided not to worry about it this year. I’m going to run, but the desire to run a 10K isn’t there right now. I’d love to run it next year, though. I might try our town’s Summerfest 5K this year. I ran that once before, but didn’t actually run the entire time. Had to walk several times. I would love to be able to run the entire thing. I think that will be my goal before considering the 10K.

Now that Spring has arrived, I’m in the mood for some good healthy eating. We’ve been eating out too much in recent weeks. It’s all winter’s fault. ;) My Nutribullet needs to get some more use with lots of green smoothies. And the grill needs to be fired up for some chicken and salmon and veggies. Favorite thing cooked on the grill or over a campfire for that matter … VEGGIE PACKS! We make them all the time. Here’s how:

VEGGIE PACKS

– Slice up potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever kinds of veggies you like. Cut them into small chunks or cubes so they will cook faster.

– Tear off two large pieces of heavy duty tin foil. Enough to fill with 2-3 cups worth of veggies. Don’t make the pack too large. The veggies don’t always cook evenly. Better to do a couple medium size packs than a jumbo one.

– Arrange the veggies in the center of the tin foil and fold the edges up a little, so when you pour the oil on them it doesn’t run off the edge.

– Pour some olive oil over them. We never measure it out. Just enough so it keeps the veggies from sticking to the tin foil.

– Sprinkle with salt, pepper, other seasonings you like.

– Lay the second piece of tin foil over the top and roll the edges together to make a little packet. Make sure all the edges are sealed up so it doesn’t leak out into the grill and so all the steam stays inside to cook the veggies.

– I would say cook them for about 20-30 minutes, but that depends on the heat of the grill and how many veggies you put in. Probably less cook time for less veggies. Common sense. We usually open it up and peek to see if it’s done and just put it back if it needs more time.

– Carefully open the packet when they’re done so you don’t burn yourself on the steam. Pour into a bowl or eat ‘em right out of the tin foil. We do that when camping!

– Voila! A healthy side dish and it’s SO delicious!

Something we tried last summer was sweet potatoes with COCONUT OIL instead of the olive oil. That was SOOOO GOOD!

My mouth is watering now! ;)

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

pretzel hugs


Spent my morning making lots of these little beauties. Salty sweet goodness! Unfortunately, they are all for Chloe’s Christmas party at school and gymnastics. I may or may not have taste-tested one. ;)

These are super easy to make, so I thought I’d share how.

What you need:
Snyders Pretzel Snaps
Hershey’s Hugs – (don’t use plain chocolate kisses, they don’t melt right)
M&M’s – plain milk chocolate
Large cookie sheet
Wax paper or parchment to line your cookie sheet

– Get as many of the above ingredients as you want to make. I had a 1lb. bag of the pretzels, a couple bags of Hugs and a bag of M&Ms and that yielded 135 with lots of pretzels and M&Ms left over. Must go pick up some more Hugs! ;)
– Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
– Place one hug on top of each pretzel.
– Bake for about 4 minutes. This will depend on your oven. Just watch them until they start to look shiny and soft, but don’t let them melt all the way down.
– Remove from oven and press one M&M into each melted hug.
– Let the pan sit for about 5 minutes or so until it’s cool to the touch, then put it in the refrigerator to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
– I didn’t have wax or parchment paper on hand, so some of mine stuck to the pan. I just whacked it on the counter and they popped off. I recommend the wax paper. :D

Taking the wrappers off the hugs and putting them on top of the pretzels takes more time than it actually takes to bake them.

Voila! A very simple (and tasty) treat!

Merry Christmas!

summer eating


After a Girls Days trip of eating out pretty much every meal and drinking too much Coke, I felt very unhealthy and overall icky. So on my next grocery run, I picked up lots of fruits (strawberries, grapes, oranges, pineapples) and veggies (celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, romaine lettuce) and cleaned and cut them all up so they were ready to eat.

Chloe and I have pretty much been eating a turkey or chicken wrap with a little melted cheese as our daily lunch. (Zach is our extremely picky eater and won’t touch the stuff. He doesn’t believe me when I tell him he’s missing out on tasty goodness.) Instead of a handful of chips as my side, I’ve been having a small salad with almonds and cranberries (the other day I even threw some strawberries in there. yum!), a handful of veggies, or some fruit. I am definitely a creature of habit when it comes to my meals, so when I find something that I like, I usually stick with it. Plus, when you’re on a tight grocery budget like we are, it helps that we use up everything between grocery runs instead of stuff going bad and going to waste. I hate wasting food. And money.

It’s usually a little too hot in the Summer for turning the oven on (if we had a working grill, we would use that!), but we’ve had a cool, rainy spell here in Michigan this week, so we enjoyed marinated teriyaki chicken with some baked sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes. I sliced them up round and about 1/4″ thick this time, but sometimes we cut them in strips like french fries or we cut them into thicker chunks. All we do is toss them in some olive oil (I usually spray the pan with olive oil spray as well), sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper, then bake @ 400〫for about 20 minutes or so. They are simple, delicious and so good for you!

It hasn’t been all healthy around here, though. We’ve splurged on a few fast food meals and ice cream treats (like the Drumsticks that Jake picked up the other night). It’s summer! We’ve gotta live a little, right?

i need this


I am in dire need of sunshine on my face and warm breezes and the ocean and palm trees. I’m chilled to the bone today and had to look up some pictures from my ’11 trip to Naples, Florida, where I photographed a wedding. So warm and beautiful.

For some reason, I’ve been craving green smoothies lately, which I don’t normally drink in the colder months. It’s usually hot coffee for me until Spring. My morning was spent getting groceries and that included lots of pineapple, bananas, spinach, kale, and oranges. I am ready for those smoothies. I peeled two bunches of bananas and stuck them in the freezer in freezer bags. Totally easy to grab a couple and throw them in the blender.

Below is a green smoothie recipe I shared a couple years ago, but it’s still my favorite so I thought I’d share it again!

Get out that blender and enjoy! They are SO good for you!

a healthy start to the day


I ate horribly the past couple days at a family reunion and at the zoo yesterday, so I thought a nice green smoothie would be good for me today. Hoping a few more of these will help detox my body from all the processed nastiness I’ve eaten lately. ick!

AJAXed with AWP