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Monday, November 21, 2016

Insomnia

I get in these cycles where my eyes open around 2am and there is no going back to sleep!

I am in one of those cycles right now.

I love it and I hate it!

I hate it because it makes for an extremely long day...I am really tired by 8pm...right now it is ABSOLUTELY FREEZING at that time of the morning.

I love it because the house is really quiet...I can get personal studying done...I can write...I can catch up on some cleaning...I can cook.

Cooking is what I did yesterday after waking at 2am.

Playing with my new kitchen toy...a Triple Slow Cooker

I made several things, prepping for quick meal prep for the week.

I made Mexican shredded chicken, Apple Crisp and Pinto beans

MultiDishing | ThriveDespiteChange.com

Along with a huge spaghetti squash.

Slow Cooker spaghetti Squash | ThriveDespiteChange.com

All the elements of multiple meals for the week.

I am looking forward to Wednesday. I am off for 5 days!

I get to focus on just being Mom and I so look forward to it.

Spending quality time with my kids, there is o better time spent than that to me.

I will also be in the kitchen a bit too, with them, teaching some cooking lessons and enjoying that bonding time. Oh how I miss those days being a daily routine.

They really grow up so quickly.

Life in itself changes at a moment.

Want to make the apple crisp?

It was really easy and extremely tasty!

T’s Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

4 small crisp tart apples cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 T ground nutmeg
1/3 c quick-cooking oats
1/4 c packed brown sugar(I use Truvia brand to reduce sugar)
2 T all-purpose flour (I use GF)
5 T cold butter
1/3 c chopped pecans
Extra Ground Cinnamon

Spray 1.5 -quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bag,  mix apples, nutmeg and cinnamon to coat. Place in slow cooker.
In medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour and butter with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Stir in pecans and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pour crumb mixture over apples and evenly spread.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours.

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

SlowCooker Apple Crisp | ThriveDespiteChange.com

Do you suffer from insomnia?

What do you do during the hours you can't sleep?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Things I See!

With the work I do I am on the road A LOT! So you just never know what you might come across.

Everyday certainly has the potential to be an adventure.

This week has been no different!

I am heading home and off in the distance I see billowing black smoke.

Ugh, what is happening!?

As I get closer...

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Traffic is coming to an almost stop on I95...

About 2 miles back a state trooper when FLYING past me, so I figured the smoke was going to be an issue.

Here is the issue...

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An older couples truck was just completely a loss. I felt so bad for them. As I passed I saw her just crying and my heart broke even more. They had the area pretty well closed off, I wanted to stop and began to and the other Trooper motioned me to not and to continue moving, so I did. I have been trying to find out the couples name, not even sure if they are from here as you could not make out the license plate. I am still on the search though.

Those were the adventures from the beginning of the week. Yesterday as I was heading to my first stop I again see smoke ahead on the highway! Not black, just A LOT of it. No car fire, just the entire section of woods next to the highway on fire! Total craziness. Firefighters were out there trying to contain it. I guess we need rain! Which by the way we are getting. It has been pouring all night long and I still hear it raining. Hoping it will stop before I need to head out into it. Better rain I guess then snow.

Now we are at my Daily Eats....

Breakfast was a bit different for me...

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I left really early so I ate on the road. Pumpkin Pie Greek yogurt with a bit of granola on top.

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Lunch was a ham and cheese wrap on Low Carb wrap with veggies. SOOO good!

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I am in and out of convenience stores with my job and let me tell you some of these make the best bad things for you! SO to curb the urge I bought a cheese wedge instead. It helped ward off the cravings from the glorious smells I was enduring.

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After picking my daughter up from work we went and got a fave of ours while they were B1G1F.

Skinny Peppermint Mochas! MMMMMMMM

Sometimes it is good to mix things up.

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Like breakfast for dinner!

I had the opportunity to make homemade gluten free biscuits this weekend and had some left from the Sausage and Biscuits I made for my daughter along with sausage so a quick breakfast, er um dinner was made.

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And I leave you today with one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in quite a while~

http://thrivedespitechange.com/2016/11/14/1172/

How has your week been so far?

Any excitement for you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Steal Away Time For the Important Things

Priorities. They seem to change from time to time so it is always good to reassess them.

When you have kids, they are priority in my book. That is why I try very hard to have one on one time with each of my kiddos.

So the day for me began with a nice hot cup of Protein coffee.

Protein Coffee at ThriveDespiteChange.com

I have to say this is probably my favorite time of the day. It is typically just me alone with my thoughts, or me and one of my cats sitting next to me, reflecting on the day ahead, the things that went on the previous day and my time to converse with our creator. The house is quiet, I can think, I can contemplate, I can make plans. It is my "built in" me time. I am very grateful for this, it keeps me semi-sane.

Snacktime...

Apple @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

A nice crisp juicy apple. LOVE them. Especially since I know that it was picked with love by one of my kiddos, or me.

Lunch was a spur of the moment date with my kiddo Kat.

Daughter date at ThriveDespiteChange.com

I am so very proud of this girl here. She is a hard worker and such a good person all around. Always thinking about others and happy most of the time. She is blogging too, about her passion of the Marvel Universe. She is such a good writer and has a gift of capturing beautiful images. Go check out her work HERE.

She also has a great job at a local consignment shop where she is doing fabulous AND she runs their blog! It had been abandoned for about a year and the owner asked her to take and run with it and that is exactly what she is doing. You can see what she is doing HERE.

I am not always able to do this but I aim for at least 1 date, planned or not with each little love a month.

It is our time to check in without distraction. With the everyday hustle of working and caring for the needs of the kids as well as my own, sometimes I loose touch a bit and that is why I refocus with each of them individually alone a minimum of once a month. It is my time to get to know them as they are changing so quickly. They grow up way too quick for sure.

My lunch was so good!

Lunch date at ThriveDespiteChange.com

A Reuben flatbread. Wow, I could only eat half but the flavors were amazing! I was very surprised.

Dinner was a fall favorite of mine.

Ham dinner at ThriveDespiteChange.com

Ham and sweet potatoes. There is also spinach with a bit if seasoning on it. Warm and filling. Just what was needed on the cold blustery day.

My kids LOVE eggnog. Me, not so much. I have not ever tried it that I recall it is just the idea of raw eggs, I know the stuff you buy in the store is not, but just have not ever been able to get it past my lips.

Until now...

Holiday Silk Nog at ThriveDespiteChange.com

But that is because this was Silk Nog, so I know for a fact there is no raw eggs as it is soy based.

So I decided to give it a try, the adult way. Mmmm. It was good! Made the traditional non adult versions with added whip cream and sprinkle of nutmeg for the kiddos. Great bonding moment for us. LOL

Next time I think I will warm it though, I just cannot do a whole lot of cold drinks with the cold temps outside.

Do you like eggnog?

Do you drink the "Adult" version?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hearty Comfort Goodness

Casseroles....Mmmm

I love them.

They are quick and easy and just fabulous all around.

I had the opportunity to play with food the other day and my results were pretty yummy if I do say so myself. Which I do as did my kiddos.

I tried to get the taste of the south.

My daughter loves Biscuits and Gravy...as do I and my son, but my daughter REALLY loves them. Being gluten sensitive though we do try to find alternatives so she can have the food she loves yet lessening her gluten intake.

img_0971

Oh I can smell it just looking at these pics!

It really is a pretty simple recipe too.

Country Hash Casserole at ThrivedDespiteChange.com

Which is a double plus for me.

T’s Country Hash Casserole

16 oz bag Hash Browns, thawed
6 Eggs, beaten
1c Shredded Cheese, flavor of choice
15oz can sausage gravy

Heat oven to 375.
Spray 8x8 baking dish and place hash browns in bottom.
Spread cheese over top.
Pour eggs over potatoes and cheese.
Place in oven and bake 20 minutes.
Pour sausage gravy over top and return to oven to bake for another 15 minutes.
Take out and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Cut and enjoy.

Country Hash Casserole at ThrivedDespiteChange.com

A great cool weather breakfast. It just hits the spot.

Country Hash Casserole at ThrivedDespiteChange.com

Do you love southern inspired dishes?

What is your fave go to casserole?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Shortcuts in My Kitchen

I find myself busier and busier every day. Being a single Mom I absolutely can feel overwhelmed and I absolutely miss being able to make the things from scratch that I used to have time for. I was never a "box meal" type Mom as my older 2 kiddos were growing up and that made me really happy. Unfortunately with the turn of life events I can no longer take the time I use to have so I do rely on boxed brands from time to time. One of the areas I cut corners is baked goods.

It has become one of my secret weapons of choice.

Why? Great question!

First and probably the best reason why for me is it affords me to save time. It actually helps me to save money too because I often find coupons to get boxed cake mix for under $1!!  Time and money saver...win win for me.

I know some of you think of box cake mix recipes are “cheating”, I ABSOLUTELY used to feel this way. Not anymore. I mean I still add- in other ingredients, mix the stuff together, and doing the actual baking so really it is just a short cut in my book. My final product is made in my home, so still home made!  Right? Right!

Today I made a great bread...Banana Bread.

Banana Bread @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Quick

Easy

Delish!

Banana Bread @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

I love the Betty Crocker website to find quick easy meal ideas....this includes baking shortcuts as well. So that is where today's recipe is from...Easy Cake-Mix Banana Bread. My kids LOVED it too. I had half a slice, I am really cutting back on refined carbs and sugar.Protein Apple Muffins @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

10 more great recipes to give a try using cake mix are:

  1. Waffles (Betty Crocker)
  2. Lemon Cake Mix Cookies (The Frugal Girls)
  3. Pecan Pie Cake (Spicy Southern Kitchen)
  4. Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Cake Whiz)
  5. Lazy Cookie Bars (Cookies & Cups)
  6. 3 Ingredient Peach Cobbler (The Little Things)
  7. Eggnog Pudding Poke Cake (Recipe Lion)
  8. Pumpkin Pie Cake (Your Home Based Mom)
  9. Crockpot Cherry Dump Cake (Tammilee Tips)
  10. Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Cake (Taste of Home)

Do you take short cuts when short on time?

What are some of your favorite time saving tips for the kitchen?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Warm Hug In A Mug

Hello lovlies!

It is COLD this morning!

Perfect time for warm HUGS! Would you agree?

And THAT is exactly how I began my day...

Warm HUG in a Mug @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

with a warm hug in a mug of coffee with added protein.

I am actually trying this one, never have had Muscle Milk to my recollection.

So it was a Cafe Mocha Protein Coffee to begin my day. Mmmmm

Protein Apple Muffins @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Then I enjoyed some apple protein muffins. Oh yummo, these are good, need to make some more soon,

Lunch was a treat fro us.

ThriveDespiteChange.com

Panera Bread!

Love this place. I had the Avocado Cobb and turkey avocado panini. So good. I wish there was one a bit closer to us, or maybe it is good it is not. =)

Dinner....

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Dinner, dinner was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

Another hug in a mug!

Steak Chili!

So so good! Finally hit the right flavor combo.

Un"wine"ding for the night...

Wine @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hello November

Hello beautiful faces!

Quite chilly this first of November here in the north.

But no snow...yet

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A beautiful morning though. Cold but beautiful.

It is getting pretty clear I will not be able to do a move south until the Spring. Moving in the winter is just not going to happen for me. But maybe that is the answer to my prayer. No, do not move. So with that I am looking for ways to enjoy the cold and the white 4 letter word that will be happening soon. It is all a mind set right?

It is also important for this...

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AND

To rely on God to find peace and joy.

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Do you enjoy the colder months? What do you enjoy about them?

I do not ski and financially it is really not something I could do even if I wanted to. Ice skating, maybe, but with weak ankles not certain that is a good thing for me to do. Are there exercises I can do to strengthen them? Tubing, I actually do enjoy tubing. That we will be checking out deals to do. I am hoping to take a trip south for at least a vacation in the coldest time, but we will see. Always a work in progress.

Charcoal change to diamonds under pressure, thrivedespitechange.com

Love that quote, and is so true. Change happens, if we grow from it, that is what is so important.

Being a parent I find keeping positive despite any change that we do not like is really important. It shows my kids we cannot control everything around us but we can control how we react. That is not to say they have always seen a smile positive Mom standing in front of them. They have seen me cry, get angry, be disappointed and upset, but they also see me regroup and reevaluate my situation to make the most of even the worst situations.

Facing another cold winter is just another one of those things, they definitely have heard me complain about it, they know I am not happy at all about it but they also hear me asking for what we can do this winter to help keep things so we can all enjoy the time as much as possible. They absolutely know and see I am not perfect, but they also see I do my best to make the most of situations, even those I do not like.

On another note my cat has found the dryer...

Cat in a dryer, ThriveDespiteChange.com

Silly kitty!

All input and suggestions are greatly appreciated regarding keeping happy in the winter in the north.

Tasty Fall Warmth...It's Just so Juicy

Hello beautiful! Such a great day.

You never know what the day will bring, good...bad...indifferent.

Today most unexpected occurred.

I have been seeing a spot of fluid under my van for about a month now. I have taken it to 3 different places, all said everything looks good. Monday  took it in for my regular oil change and they said I needed 3 liters of coolant. Hmm, that does not sound right.

SO back to a mechanic I go.

AAHH I am NOT crazy as I was starting to feel! My radiator was shot. SERIOUSLY!?

OK, I feel better only in the sense I knew there was something not right. With all the driving I do with my job I seriously could have been stranded, so I am glad to be getting it taken care of.

Being homebound lends me to be able to do what I love...get in the test kitchen.

So that is what I did.

I bring you my final for a heart chili that in my opinion by far is my best yet.

We love chili here, especially when the weather turns cold.

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

I use a GF flour as my darling daughter is gluten intolerant and things just go better for her the less gluten she has.

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

I find this really is key helping it to stay together after hours of soaking and bathing in all the chili goodness.

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.comHearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Chop chop chop

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

The spice of life...and chili!

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

The final product of hearty yummy goodness!

Hearty Steak Chili @ ThriveDespiteChange.com

T’s Hearty Steak Chili

2 pounds steak, cubed
2T flour, I use GF
1T Canola Oil
14 oz can diced tomatoes
16 oz tomato sauce
1 can of water
15 oz black black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Green pepper, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2T minced garlic
1T Onion Powder
1T Gralic Powder
1T Cumin
1T Chili Powder
1T Cinnamon
1T Paprika
1/4 Ground Nutmeg

Cut up steak and place in plastic bag with flour and give a good shake.
Pour the tomatoes, sauce, water and beans in crock-pot.
Heat oil in frying pan and brown steak pieces.
Place in crock-pot when done.
Dice peppers and onions.
Add to crock-pot along with garlic.
Add spices.
Mix well.
Set crock-pot on low for 8 hours.

I love feedback, so please be sure to let me know if you try this.

Looking forward to being back on the road again.

Until next time...

Trish