Morgan Monday’s

IMG_0046Our daughter Morgan is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – aka the LDS Church. We are not and I never have been.

They send kids on mission.  2 years for the boys and 18 months for the girls.  The mission purpose, I’ve learned, is to get more members into the church.  They do this by going door to door talking to people and I think they give bibles out too.

(As a side note: if you are ever visited by a Missionary please offer them water, at least.  You don’t have to listen to them – but know they are all really nice kids and it is likely they are thirsty.)

She “signed up” for this task early this year, followed all of the rules and guidelines, had all of her Bishop Interviews and was accepted.  That was in July I think.  We would know where her mission would take her in September and have a few days to spend with her before she took off for 18 straight months.

I’m not LDS.  All I’ve learned about LDS has been from my husband (who served as a Missionary in Guatemala for two years when he was 19), Amanda (Shoemaker) and Morgan.

I was VERY against this idea for Morgan.  More scared than anything else. It all sounded like a part of my life I would hope to avoid and DEFINITELY not put my daughter or son through.

We will not be able to speak to Morgan during this 18 months.  At first I was told there would be a call on Mother’s Day (to her mother, not me I assume) and Christmas.

Being a good Libra, that was immediately and easily noticably UNFAIR to Randy – her father.  Why not Father’s Day?!

But it is not my place to boss the LDS church and I have no idea why that would be the way it is.  Add this non-nonsensical idea to the mountain of them that seems to be a part of every organized group (church, business, team…anything requiring “rules”).

Monday is the day we get an email from Morgan!

We hover around our computers all morning looking forward to the latest installment of her adventure.

I sent her off with a personal note telling her a bit more about what happened to me, just to get her to see what can happen when you allow someone to be the boss of your destiny.

She’s old enough to have some real-world experience and has had the taste of freedom to roam earth.

It’s Monday December 21st, 8:05am.

Vegan Pumkin/Pecan muffins just out of the oven and we’re ready to be dazzled soon.

Dogs Detecting Cancers

Family of Sarita and Adelita - 2_0054My little sister is a Dog Whisperer (read: trainer).  She’s always had a soft spot since before I can remember as a kid.

She told me about this concept at the end of 2014, having been connected through someone in the Los Angeles Area that is specializing in cancer detection through k9 noses.

Pretty special. And so is my sister.

Dogs detecting cancer – amazing video here.

UPDATE:  she will be training dogs on this!

Tuesday Muesli

Tuesday Muesli - YUM!
Tuesday Muesli – YUM!

Made a meal plan and so far I’m sticking to it.  Did my shopping and planning on Sunday.

It’s the ONLY WAY to do it – no matter how much I fight it.

This morning I made Muesli with what I had in my cupboard
(3 servings)

Part 1

1 C Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Oats
1T flaked coconut
Chopped the following lightly:
1T raw pecan
1T raw cashews
2T raw walnuts
1T flax (ground)
2T raw almond

Part 2
1/4c dried cranberries
½ banana – sliced and chopped (to spread the sweetness)
3 large strawberries, chopped
½ apple chopped (skin on)
1/2t flaked coconut (on top of the above you bake)

Almond Milk
Drizzle of REAL maple syrup

THE PROCESS

1) Turn on oven, set to 350.  Set rack to the middle/lower portion of oven.

2) Prep an edged cookie sheet with parchment paper.

3) Place all Part 1 in a big bowl and blend with a fork.  Toss a lot.

4) Spread on cookie sheet.

5) Don’t wait for oven to be ready (preheated).  Bake for 3 minutes and then toss (I take the sheet out and lift the parchment edges and that seems to move it around nicely).  Place back in oven and bake for another 3 minutes.

6) Coconut will brown fast, don’t leave this alone or your’ll ruin it all.

7) Remove and place in a big bowl.

8) Scoop out 1/3c for a “serving” and add Part 2 on top.

9) Once you’ve got both parts in your bowl add milk THEN drizzle maple syrup.

You could put this on top of plain yogurt too.

Approximately 400 k/cals for a serving (depending on your toppings and whether you use nut, rice, dairy milk or yogurt)

Serving size 1/3 cup of Part 1.

Roasted Butternut Squash On Fresh Spinach

Serves 3Roasted Butternut squash pine nuts and quinoa on spinach
Prep/cook time 60 minutes (due to baking…using a la cruset pot would make it half the time!)
Perfect for: Lunch, Dinner
Level: Easy

Ingredients

5 cups of rinsed uncut raw Indian Summer spinach  (or whatever kind you love raw)
3 cups of butternut squash cut into cubes
2c cooked quinoa
⅓ c roasted (I roasted mine) pine nuts
2T evoo
1 ½ t cumin ground
1 t of coriander
1/4t cayenne pepper
to taste:  salt, black ground pepper, red pepper flakes (Randy PILED it on)

Heat oven to 425.
Prep cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put EVOO and spices (cumin, coriander, cayenne) in a large bowl and whisk well.
Add chopped butternut squash (any squash would work).
Mix vigorously!

Place squash flat on cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes.  After halfway turn the squash to change the side that is on the cookie sheet.  I did this by pulling cookie sheet out of oven and taking the edges of the parchment paper and sort of jostling them around.  This really worked great to mix up their positions.  Put back in oven for remaining 15 minutes.

WATCH close after 20 minutes.  You don’t want to burn these!  They should get “crispy” but also soft through.

While it cooks, roast your pine nuts on the lower shelf in oven for 10 minutes.  Also shake these around to evenly distribute their “baked” side.  Mmmmmm…YUM.

Prep your two plates with rinsed and patted dry spinach.  I use my salad spinner.  Spinach can be super dirty (especially the organic type) with actual dirt and that makes gritty bites.  Bleh.  I rinse well.  I left the tips on because I like the stems.  Your choice.

Warm up your quinoa (you should make a big batch to pull from all week). If none made, it takes 15 minutes or whatever your instructions are.  Follow them for perfect quinoa.

Once roasting squash is done mix it LIGHTLY with your quinoa.  Place on top of spinach.  Then divide the pine nuts and toss them on top.

Serve it up!

I put a teaspoon of Neumann’s Own EVOO salad dressing on my spinach to jazz it up.  Randy ate his with a lot of red pepper flakes.

Salt and pepper TO TASTE means you do it right before serving.  Don’t kill the recipe with too much salt.