Today’s musings

1. I SO want these made for my birthday!

Flamingos are my absolute FAVORITE bird. In fact, during the warmer months, YES, I have a few plastic pink flamingos decorating my front yard. They are just adorable. They make me smile. 🙂 Wonder if my little 11 year old baker daughter could make these… hmm…

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2. This article: http://life.ca/blog/mindful-learning/

Though I don’t adhere completely to the Unschooling movement, I do agree with many of the ideas they promote. Mindful learning. Life learning. Relax. Enjoy kids where they are developmentally right now. Lots of learning is in fact occurring during play. As a parent, model being a “lover of learning”– kids will follow suit. Learning happens as a by-product of living. Don’t over-commit to activities (either for ourselves or the kids). Look after/make time for ourselves in order to avoid burnout.

Just a really good article.

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3. Silly pranks.

We had friends over for the evening yesterday and our oldest daughter made brownies for dessert. Get it? Brown-E’s? LOL. They seemed to appreciate our humor.

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4. Drawings from a child in the Sunday morning class I teach at church.

The church we attend recently opened. It has been an incredible blessing to our entire family!!! A couple times a month I help teach the elementary grades class. One of the first weeks we were open, this adorable little Kindergarten girl came into my classroom. She was super quiet and reserved. Hardly said a word. She was wearing a pink t-shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it. Being a Francophile, I began telling her how much I loved her shirt. She still didn’t say much. But as the Sunday’s keep rolling by and I keep spending time with her in class, she has truly come out of her shell and has been kinda like my little buddy. This past Sunday, she gave these pictures for me to “take home and hang in your kitchen”. Melt.my.heart. She is just the sweetest thing. And you can bet these two pics are hanging in my kitchen right now! It’s just such an encouragement. I love being able to make an impact for Christ with these precious little kids!

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5. I love chocolate. Yes, yes I do!

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6. On the topic of chocolate…

We didn’t have real brownies for dessert (LOL), but we did have chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Be still my heart. My 11 year old daughter who loves to bake make these for us and our company. It was wonderful.

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7. My homemade chili… aka “Mezzo Farte”.

For anyone with music training, you’ll appreciate the name of my chili. 🙂 Back when I was in High School, our choir had a chili cook-off competition. I won 3rd place for my chili, Mezzo Farte, with many a snicker to boot. It’s a family favorite and super easy to make. We always love our chili poured over rice, basmati is best. Try it and let me know what you think!

Mezza Farte Chili
-saute one onion in a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown
-add 1/2 lb of ground beef, cook well, drain any excess oil
-add the following: 1 large can (46 oz) of tomato juice, 2 (16 oz) cans of kidney beans (drained), 1 T + 2 t chili powder, 1 t salt, & 1/2 t ground black pepper
-stir well, bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for 1-2 hrs or until thick, stir occasionally
-doubles perfectly!

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Savoring the ordinary, enjoying the here and now…

~Momma Duck

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Being Spoiled

We were recently gifted from a family member a free trial of meals from Blue Apron. Up until this past month, I’d never heard of this company. How that happened, I do not know. Because now that I have been made aware of it, I see BA everywhere (as scroll through my Facebook feed, as I navigate through the internet, etc).

Basically, you pick out the meals that interest you (we chose our meals from the vegetarian menu), and they ship them right to your door. Since our trial included 2 meals this week, they packed everything we’d need for those two meals into one (very insulated) box: herbs/spices, cheeses, canned and/or fresh vegetables, noodles, etc. And the recipe cards (which were extremely detailed, but super simple to follow). You still have to wash and cut the vegetables, shred the cheese, and cook everything yourself. But all of the ingredients are pre-measured and pre-packaged for ease and simplicity. One meal is exactly enough for two people.

From start to finish, our meal took 30 minutes to prepare.

Here’s our Bucatini with Tomato Sauce from dinner last night:

 

 

What was truly fun (besides savoring this dish!) was working alongside my hubby in the kitchen and cooking together. We’d both had a looooong day and just needed to do something to refresh our spirits. I love how food can do that.

Our BA shipment had come in just that morning, so we were eager to have a go at that first meal. The kids had already eaten their supper earlier and were quietly enjoying their evening. Perfect time to spend some quality time in the kitchen. In fact, we had a couple of little helpers (and tasters) join us in the kitchen: our 11 and 1 year old daughters.

Here’s what the recipe card (& nutrition facts) looks like:

 

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It was just a meal, but it was also fun and light and happy and simple. Just what was needed to cap off the day.

And, by the way, dinner was delightful.

I truly feel pampered by having these BA meals delivered to us. So very thankful for this yummy gift. Looking forward to preparing our next dish (potato tacos)!

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Low Carb, High Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

For some reason I have a current infatuation with protein balls or energy balls (or bars, I’m totally not partial).

My favorite store-brand thus far are these:

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I found them on a whim while shopping at Sam’s Club with my mother over Easter weekend. For some reason I was having issues getting my daily protein needs met (preggo momma’s need anywhere from 70-100g of protein a day!) and so I was on the search for a good protein bar. The 30 grams shined over the competition. Though I had no idea how they’d taste, I went ahead and purchased them. They actually taste GREAT! Honestly! And recently I got my hands on their new flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip. Oh yum. It’s practically like a candy bar! And 30g of protein? mmmm-yes… I seriously look forward to eating one of these bars for breakfast. It’s so filling!

Loving the kitchen as I do, I’ve been experimenting with making protein balls/bars from scratch.

Today I came across a recipe from Food Fiasco for:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
(vegan, low carb, and high protein)

3/4 C protein powder (I used Body Fortress 100% protein isolate, vanilla)
1/4 C peanut butter OR 1/4 C PB2 w/ 2 T unswt almond milk (I used the latter, tho with Jiff peanut powder)1/4 C unswt almond milk (I used Aldi brand, organic)
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey)
2-4 T sugar, erythritol, or stevia (I used 3 T xylitol)
1/2 t vanilla extract
**tho not on the recipe, I added 1 bar of Aldi’s Moser Roth 85% dark chocolate

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a ball. Either press into an 8×4 loaf pan and cut into (4) bars OR roll into balls (which is what I did– and I got 17 balls out of it). Store in refrigerator.


1 ball= 39 cal, 1g fat, 3g carbs, & 4g protein

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think!!!
And if y’all have yummy protein or energy ball/bar recipes, PLEASE SHARE. I’d love to have a recipe arsenal to pull from when a craving hits! Love these things!