You Can’t Take Miami Out Of The Girl

When I was a little girl, I went on an RV trip with my parents to the western US. It remains one of the best memories I have, and so, not surprisingly, I told my husband years ago that someday I would love to travel with our children and see the country.

At the time, we were living in Israel and had no plans to return to the US, so I thought it was one of those things that just wouldn’t happen. Little did I know that we would not only come back to this country, but also begin a life of traveling and teaching, living “on the road”….well, let’s just say that our God is an awesome one, and that He does in fact give us the desires of our hearts!

We have been back in the Miami area for about 6 months now and are heading out very soon for our second ministry road trip. (You can watch a video about our first one here). I’m trying to soak up as much of that Miami flavor as I can during these last few weeks, including trips to the beach (did you know how refreshing and energizing it can be to go first thing in the morning?) and lots of Latin American and Cuban food. One new addition is Picadillo.

MYBigFatCubanFamily-ClassicCubanPicadilloRecipe-2

Here’s my version. Adapted from the one on My Big Fat Cuban Family

Papi’s Favorite Picadillo Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (for sautéing)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 Tbsp. olives, chopped. Original recipe called for green; I used Kalamata
  • 1 small box of dark raisins
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Oregano

1) Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until the onion is transluscent.

2) Add the ground beef and brown over medium heat.

3) Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until meat is tender and completely cooked through. About 25 minutes.

4) Serve with rice. And tostones. Or maduros. Or a fried egg for breakfast. Good with anything.

5) Makes 6 servings.

 

How do 8 people live full time on the road? Well, you can be sure there will be more posts about that coming up. I’m really excited about our upcoming travel,  but for now, I’m content to enjoy my Miami.

 

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe

Dont’cha just love having dinner already simmering along waaaay ahead of time? I do. In order to accomplish that, I employ one of my favorite indentured servants, my crockpot. (Ironically, at the time of this posting, my crock pot is out of service. Good thing that this stew can also be made on the stove).
Using a slow cooker is extremely helpful for anyone who just doesn’t want to deal with prepping dinner at the time when that would normally be done. This can be wonderful for those of you who either work outside of the home, or are busy at that time taking children to or from activities. You can throw everything in at breakfast time, turn it on, and walk away. It’s that simple. During the summertime when you want to keep the house cooler, you can even put that cooker outside on your porch, and during the winter it sure helps warm things up. Yummm. I am craving it now.
And at some point when I begin making meal plans ahead of time again like I know is helpful to do, I will definitely plan this one in. Here it is.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 1 cup diced kosher salami or other smoked meat of your choice
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 ribs of celery plus leaves, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp. seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
  • 1 1/2 qts. hot water

Preparation:

Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given; pour in water. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours until peas are very soft and ham falls off bone. Remove bones and bay leaf. Mash peas to thicken more, if desired. Serve garnished with croutons. Skip the croutons and you can consider it gluten free!  Freezes well. Serves 8.

How and Why to Become a Member of Young Living

I am so thankful that I learned about Young Living Essential Oils. I use them literally every single day in our home, for my entire family, for a variety of things including cuts and scrapes, upset tummies and headaches, plus house cleaning and laundry!

Although I have been into a naturally health-focused lifestyle for a number of years, I never incorporated Essential Oils until recently. My first introduction (and then my second, and third, and fourth—by different people) was to the Young Living brand of oils, and although I did experiment slightly with inexpensive health food store labels, it was easy for me to choose Young Living when it was time for me to decide to use them as a regular part of health for my entire family.  Why? Well, I believe in Young Living’s integrity, and in their commitment to provide the best possible 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. I am very thankful that I have chosen this particular essential oil company for my family.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have a respect for the body and an understanding and belief that our bodies were made to be healthy, and that all we must do is give them what they need (and take away what might be interfering). Although I am not actively practicing chiropractic right now, I still have a love for sharing and talking about natural remedies and tips for keeping families healthy. In this way, essential oils fit right in, and I want to share them!

Young Living is different in that it is not sold in a store. You must purchase your oils through a “distributor”, AKA “wholesale member,” or you may become a wholesale member yourself. Why would anyone want to do that? Well….when you  join Young Living, you receive wholesale prices. There are no monthly order requirements or annual fees. Here are some frequently asked questions that may help clarify some things for you…

Young Living Wholesale Member FAQs

Why Should I Become A Wholesale Member/Distributor?

Great question! This is a fabulous option that provides you 24% off retail price! As you use the oils and you share your testimonials with friends and family, you have the OPTION (no pressure) of earning commissions when others join and purchase Young Living oils. Everybody wins. And, through the Essential Rewards program, you have the opportunity to earn FREE oils, pay reduced shipping, and get that optional commission check.

Is there a monthly order minimum?

NO. You can just order what you need when you need it.

What kit do you recommend that I get started with?

I highly recommend the Premium Kit (see the graphic below!) because it gets you the most bang for your buck! You receive the 10 Everyday OilsPLUS a 5ml Stress Away, PLUS a Roller Fitment which allows you to make any essential oil bottle a roll-on, PLUS 10 popular essential oils samples, PLUS 2 packs of Ningxia Red, PLUS a Home Diffuser!! That’s over $300 value for $150! Amazing! It’s the best deal of its kind.

Premium-starter-kit-SMALL1

I just really want to use oils myself. Do I have to sell Young Living products to be a distributor?

NO. There is NO obligation to sell oils when you join as a wholesale member/distributor. However, if you decide you enjoy the products too much to keep them a secret, you can jump right in and receive benefits when you decide to share.

Are there any monthly order requirements?

There are NO monthly minimum orders required. There is one 50 PV minimum order per year, just to keep your account active. If you miss that deadline, it is easy to reactivate your account by calling Young Living Customer care and placing an order with them. Simple.

If someone wants to join Young Living through me, what do I need to do?

When you join, you will be assigned your own member number to give to your friends and family who are interested in joining as well.

Is there a way to save even more money?

Yes! The Essential Rewards program offers reduced shipping, credit for free oils & more! Plus each month there are great promotions for free oils when you place an Essential Rewards order. I love free stuff!

What do I need to do to become a wholesale member of Young Living Essential Oils?

Just follow the directions below.

What happens after I join through you? How will I know what to do next, and what if I have questions?

One of the things I have enjoyed best about being a member of Young Living is that I have an incredible support group. When I have a question about what oil is recommended for (fill in the blank here), or if I just want to see how other people have been using their oils, I simply get onto the private Facebook group and ask around. There are archives to search, and a wealth of information there from caring people who all want to help me. When you join through me, I am there to guide you and to connect you to all of my resources as well. Our community is amazing, and I am sure that you would be glad to be a part of it!

Step by step instructions on how to join Young Living Essential Oils:

1. Click here to begin the enrollment process. It’s super easy!

2. Wholesale member will already be selected, and I strongly encourage you not to switch it over to Retail Customer. Again, this is the wholesale membership. You are NOT AGREEING TO SELL or distribute anything. I promise! If you select “Retail Customer” you will not receive wholesale pricing and will pay retail which is 24% more than wholesale.

3. Make sure my member number (1442019) is in the Sponsor ID and Enroller ID spots.

4. PLEASE be sure to include your email address. If you don’t, I have no way to invite you to the Shepard’s Gate Facebook support group (if you aren’t on Facebook, I strongly urge you to join now) and I can’t support you as you begin your journey with essential oils. This support is vital for empowering you to use the oils to the fullest.

5. Choose the kit you want. (I do recommend the Premium Kit.) Then proceed to check out. You can skip the Essential Rewards part for now unless you would like to join ER right away. I do recommend joining ER within a month or two at the latest, so that you can focus on replenishing and trying new oils regularly, and not needing to start all over again if you completely deplete your cabinet. The Premium Kit starts you off with a good foundation, you want to keep it strong!

6. That’s it! Your oils will be on their way to your doorstep!

If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at DrKimberlyG {at}gmail{dot}com

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Have you ever noticed how EXPENSIVE laundry detergent is? I mean, really. It is. And it’s not like you can just decide to save money by not washing your clothes….I HATE being trapped like that.

Besides the cost, laundry detergent has some toxic stuff in it.

Four of the worst offenders are:

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
1,4-dioxane
NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
Phosphates

A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of making some household cleaning products at home.  I was uncomfortable with the idea of breathing in chemicals used for cleaning the house, and certainly did not want my children doing so. So when I learned that plain old white vinegar could be used as a cleaner, I was excited. And we switched to doing almost all household cleaning with plain old (and inexpensive) vinegar with water.  It works, it does not smell at all like vinegar once it dries, and I can even let the children help spray and wipe because it’s NON-TOXIC!

Speaking of Toxicity, it’s real, and most commercial cleaning products have high levels of toxins.

Here is a non toxic and extremely inexpensive laundry detergent that you can make easily at home.

Did I mention it was easy? And inexpensive? I mean REALLY inexpensive! These ingredients go a LONG way.

2  Cups – hot tap water

1  cup grated Zote bar (a little less than 1/3 of a 14 oz bar) OR 1 full bar of fels naphtha  (grated)

1/2 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*

½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/4 full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to halfway point with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 5 gallons. (total, after adding additional water to bottles. 2 ½ gallons concentrate.)

Here are my thoughts on this recipe:

I found it to be too watery when I diluted it this much, and therefore ended up using more. So I decided to use it full strength and have continued to use it that way  since. At the time of this posting, I have used this as my only detergent for more than a year and recently upped the concentration by using almost 1 full cup of each of the powders, and have been satisfied with the results. I have tried it with both types of soap and both work fine. My only complaint is the chunkiness…it is not smooth but that dissolves in the machine. It would be helpful to use an immersion blend for this; I might use my vitamix to blend it in batches but am not sure it’s worth the effort.

I also put some in an empty stain treatment spray bottle for pretreating stains. Of course, it will only spray out if it is smooth and diluted slightly.

When I have anything extremely stinky in a load to wash, I will add some vinegar and also some Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner and that certainly does the job!

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

As I recently mentioned, I’m Back in the Baking Game.

And since we moved, I have only replaced my baking sheet, and don’t have any cake or muffin pans, and therefore have only baked cookies or brownies in our baking dish.

And for the past several weeks, I’ve been completely off processed sugar, which unfortunately for my tastebuds means NO CHOCOLATE.

And I want dessert! I want cake! I want something YUMMY!

And, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m Back in the Baking Game.

So, I bought some unsulphured molasses since I’m no longer buying brown sugar (did you know that brown sugar is only white table sugar with some molasses added?) and I like that molasses flavor in some things (like oatmeal), and it came with recipes. Yummy looking recipes.

One of them is called: Old-Fashioned Gingerbread. And so I made it, and it HIT THE SPOT.

Here’s the recipe:

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp flour (whole wheat, of course!)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves (I used nutmeg)

pinch of salt

5 tbsp butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar (I used about half of that in granulated stevia and the rest organic evaporated cane juice)

1 large egg

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup cold water

powdered sugar (again, I used granulated stevia)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 cake pan ( I used my cast iron pan, remember: no cake pan).  Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy.  Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until well combined.  Pour the molasses in a slow, steady stream, beating all the while.  Add half of the sifted dry ingredients and mix just until well combined.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Slowly pour in the cold water and stir until well incorporated.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.  Let cool in the pan about one hour before serving.  Cut the cake into squares  and dust with powdered sugar.

I couldn’t wait a full hour.  It’s even better when it’s still a little warm.

Enjoy!

Back to Basics: My First Sewing Project

Do you have a hobby?

It’s so easy to have EVERY.POSSIBLE.MINUTE.FILLED. when you are a busy mom. I totally get that. And, as a result, my stress levels remain higher than they need to be, and my spacey mommy brain remains (unfortunately) in charge most of the time.

Yes, hobbies or relaxing time are GOOD for your health.

For the past two years or so, the only hobby I’ve had is writing this blog.  Which I certainly haven’t done much of for quite a while, what with moving 7 of us across the world and all.

I do have lots of things I like to do, or would like to learn to do,  if I ever “have extra time” (HA HA).

I love to do jigsaw puzzles.  I love to read.  I’d like to take an art class, or just sit down and try to draw what I see. Once I learned to crochet; I don’t remember how any more but I could see learning that again.  And for some reason, I’ve always wanted to make a patchwork quilt. I even decided to start one by hand, without a machine (since I didn’t have one). I was determined.

I didn’t get very far.

Of course, if I had a machine….I could make things. You know, in all my spare time.  When I was little, my mom taught me to use the sewing machine.  She was not very experienced, but she did make me a few costumes and uniforms; I figured if I could make super hero capes for my kiddos, that alone would be worth a ton!

I started thinking about getting a sewing machine.  I looked on Amazon, I browsed at Wal-mart, and then…I got a surprise hand-me-down sewing machine out of the clear blue sky!

Completely clueless, I watched YouTube videos over and over as I muttered under my breath trying SO HARD TO MAKE THE BOBBIN THREAD GET PICKED UP!  I finally figured it out, and then surprisingly never found any of that free time laying around, and so I never did anything with the machine.

It just sat there, lonely on my bedroom desk, asking me to come use it. But on what, exactly? I had next to no skills, and no ideas. Except…..I have all these old marbles my mom’s been holding onto with some of my other toys (some of them were even her marbles-how cool is that?) And the kids would have oh so much fun playing marbles “for keeps” if I could divide them up…..but what to put them in?

Aha!

I did it! My very first sewing project. I watched this:

And I did it. Not much sewing, which is right for me. I did put the wrong sides together (well, one right side and one wrong side), making it have one side look inside out. Kind of cool that way though….I can pretend I meant to do that, right? 😉 NOTE: the picture above is not my bag. I’ll swap this picture out for one I take of mine when I get around to it.

I figured I could make several small ones and I’ll divide all the marbles and distribute, so each child can have his own marble bag.  And for other toys too…..army guys, etc. that don’t have a home.

I feel good about it.  It’s so nice to do something creative and fun and practical. And, I even wrote this blog post about it, so I actually did TWO hobby type things. Go me!

And someday, in that “back to basics” kind of way, I’ll attempt some actual clothes. For the kids, of course. Maybe pajamas….or a cute little girl dress. This could be good.

The Movie That Reminded Me Why I Love To Blog

I watched a movie last night with my hubby.  You may have heard of it; it’s called Julie & Julia and it stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  I’d had it recommended to me several times, and found it offered at the library and…I’m SO glad I watched it.

And here’s why.

The movie is actually two stories in one.  How Julia Child became Julia Child” was really interesting to me; I really didn’t know very much about her and enjoyed seeing that even someone of her expertise wasn’t always an expert.  In fact, she didn’t even know what she wanted to do and went from one hobby to another before she pursued her passion.

The other story is about an average housewife; a regular homemaker who found herself frustrated and unfulfilled in her everyday life and wondering what she might be able to do to help herself find that spark, the passion she was missing.  She was a huge fan of Julia Child and loved to cook; her husband suggested that she start a blog about cooking. (She was also a writer though not working in that capacity).  So, she undertook a challenge-type project: to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in one year, blogging as she went.

The movie intertwines these stories and shows their parallels in a most delightfully entertaining way.

And now that I’ve promoted the movie, I’ll tell you why I really enjoyed it.

Both of these women, like me, “didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up.”  At least, that’s how I feel.  I know what I love to do, I know what I long for, but I don’t know how to put it all together and how it’s supposed to look in the end.  And in the meantime days, weeks, and months go by without my moving forward and working on the things for which I have a passion.

I really like blogging.  Part of that is because I love to teach, and have a passion for helping people learn about health.  I also am just like you; I struggle with changes and enjoy the feeling I get from knowing I’ve got friends out there learning and growing , just like I am.

Another side of it that I think really helps me more than it might help whoever is out there reading this is that I  really love to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  I’d say “I love to write”, but I’m not a writer and never aspired to be one.  However, I do indeed like to type it and send it “out there.”  For me.  Sure, I like to know that there’s someone out there who enjoys reading what I write.  But even if NOBODY reads my blog, I want to write it, because it helps me be a better me.  It’s an outlet for my creativity, a commitment to a project of which I can be proud.

So, what can I do to make the progress I like to make?  I’ve probably mentioned it in another post, but the main thing I need to do is to not be a perfectionist.  Just like Flylady says, perfectionism really does rob your life of joy.   If I have something I want to share, then I should do it even if I don’t have the time to do research and answer the questions I may pose.  And even if  my post doesn’t directly relate to health and wellness, I should not skip it.  I do not have the time to run more than one blog and so I’ve got to put it in this one or I won’t write it at all.

I look forward to doing this more often again.

What’s a passion/desire/hobby/goal of yours that you’ve been putting off/neglecting/shying away from that you can start (or re-start) now (or soon)?