Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Sunny Egg with Veggies

Eggs with veggies
Note: this blog post was written before I decided to go vegan.
Many of my blog readers are hesitant to leave comments at the end of my posts, but I do hear what they are thinking in private emails and in face-to-face conversations. 

If you read this blog regularly, then you know I am big on nutrition, raw fresh produce and green smoothies, in particular. Mary has kindly written to say that she enjoys my blog with the exception of the green juice.  She went on to say that she just can't bring herself "to drink anything green -- not even a green mint milkshake on St. Patrick's Day!"

Hmm. Well, I'm sure she is not alone.  My own Beloved would never drink my green concoctions except that I give him just a small juice glass-size of it, and he must believe at least part of the indoctrinations I've pressed on him.  

Today's post is a suggestion of another way to get a good dose of vegetables into the diet, although these are cooked.  This is a favorite breakfast for me because it is bright, cheerful, healthy, and quick.

A Sunny Egg with Veggies 
(makes 1 serving; increase ingredient amounts according to the number of servings you need)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, thickly sliced and rings separated
4 red grape tomatoes, halved
4 yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1-2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 egg (per person)

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute' the onions until limp, then add the tomatoes, stirring to cook.  

Add the spinach and garlic, continuing to stir until the spinach is limp.  Use a rubber spatula to push them to one side of the pan.  Carefully crack the egg in the remaining half of the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook to desired doneness.  

Serve with the egg on the plate first and then nestle the colorful vegetables beside the egg.  

I enjoy it just like that but for Beloved I add a slice of buttered toast with jam.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

History Colorado Center

Beloved and I had talked about visiting the History Colorado Center while it's still cold outside (before warmth and sunshine become dependable).  With this past weekend's snow and cold, it was the perfect time to make that trip..

Located between 12th and 13th at 1200 Broadway in Denver, this is a wonderful family attraction (perhaps best avoided on weekdays due to the crowding of school field trips!).  

When you enter Colorado via the interstate highways, you will see a sign like this.  As we explored this museum, we found that Colorado is known for not only it's natural beauty, but the people who make up the personality of the state are colorful as well. 

The atrium, located behind the ticket desk, is a huge map of the state and has several gold seals embedded in the floor.  

There are two "time machines" that can be rolled around and positioned on top of those seals.

The machine then asks what year interests you and proceeds to tell you something historical that took place in that time frame in that part of the state. (it's very cool!)

As we moved on to another room, we saw the usual artifacts from different eras…

…and videos on the walls with citizens explaining details from their lifestyle.

Since my husband loves all things finance and math, it was not surprising to find him with a cash register and the play money.

"You've got mail!"

A beautiful handmade Arts and Crafts style handbag caught my eye.

I discovered that milking a cow is not hard at all!  On the subject of women's work, this was said, 

     "You cook from scratch: make, alter, mend, wash and iron everyone's clothes, cook, clean up, and cook again.  You gather eggs, milk the cow and tend the garden. If anyone in your family gets injured or sick, you're the doctor and the nurse. And when a neighbor drops by for some coffee and small talk, she brings her mending, you get out your sewing kit, and you both keep on working."

There was also a real outhouse on display, although I saw no need to photograph that!  But this observation was certainly true:

     "Outhouses were a fact of life for homesteaders -- even town folk. An outhouse is a little house behind a big house, about 100 yards away.  In wintertime, it's 100 yards too far.In the summertime, it's 100 yards too close."

Beloved tried (for the first time!) skiing. When he came down from his Rocky Mountain High, we visited a school and found a yearbook.

We were encouraged to play around with a fun photo tool and soon added ourselves to that very yearbook:

Beloved says my face isn't on straight, and he's got HAIR for the first time in decades. The museum emailed our pictures to us.

Further ventures into more rooms of this museum took us to a scale model of the cliff dwellings located in the Four Corners part of Colorado.

We sat in a house on the plains to experience a terrible storm in the days of the Dust Bowl.

On the heels of the Dust Bowl days was World War II.  There was a striking walk-through display of a room in the Amache camp in southern Colorado, where innocent Japanese Americans were imprisoned. 

In a room dedicated to history specific to Denver, Beloved tried to put on a barrel for his picture with our well-known Bronco "Barrel Man" but with his coat on, the barrel was too snug to drop down over his shoulders. (we later realized he was using the child's size)

We learned that when a policeman puts a "boot" on a tire for a parking violation, that boot was invented here in Denver!

Eventually our feet got tired and we realized we had missed lunchtime.  We found the cafe on the main floor of the where Beloved ordered this delicious bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

I ordered the wonderful spinach salad with fresh strawberries, red onion, glazed walnuts, soft goat cheese and a vinaigrette dressing.

It had begun to snow (as forecasted) while we were busy with the museum.  We watched busy construction workers across the street while enjoying our lunch.

Then we took the snowfall as our cue to head home.  The hours we spent at the History Colorado Center was a wonderful excursion and I highly recommend it to all of my readers!

Last month my blogging friend, Pat, wrote a wonderful post about this same place.  You can see it if you click here: 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Three Gifts Blue

The Best Things in Life Aren't Things, by Mary Englebreit 

Today I am featuring "Three Gifts in Blue" from Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare.  For today we are challenged to think of three things that are blue for which we are thankful.  

This was a bit of a challenge for me, not because I'm not thankful, but because several years ago I changed the main colors in my home from blue to browns, reds, gold, and greens.  I used to have a blue couch and love seat, blue dishes, and more.  Gradually over the years I've traded much of that out for the new color palette.  However, I did find a couple of things to share that have a lot of blue in them.

This pillow was given to me as a departure gift from my last place of employment, well over ten years ago. (I am grateful to be a stay-at-home wife) 

The message on the pillow is true, and more so the older I get. Things can be replaced but people and the time spent with them cannot!

Quilt with blue
Although I don't decorate with a lot of blue, there is still some.  This is one of my favorite quilts that I designed for our last house. It's on a church pew that sits in our entry hall.

the view from our breakfast table
The third blessing of blue that I am featuring today is the blue Colorado sky we enjoy, on average, over 325 days a year.  Years ago we moved from Seattle to Denver, leaving the clouds, rain, and lush green forests for cloudless skies, very low humidity, and a high desert landscape.  There are benefits in both extremes, but the abundant sunshine suits me very well.

my blue jeans
Have you ever tried to take a picture of your legs?!  Crazy!  This photo will not win any awards, but while focusing on blue blessings, I could not possibly leave out my love for blue jeans, a staple in my wardrobe most weekdays.  The majority of my casual wardrobe choices hinges on how well the clothing looks with blue jeans. 
Oh my!!  I have just discovered that I made a mistake.  "Three Things Blue" is supposed to be for January 24th! I misread the list.  March 24th is supposed to be "Three Gifts Spoken."

Well, let me see…

1) "I love you" from my husband, family, and close friends

2) "Our Father Who art in heaven"

3) "Where shall we go to eat?"

refrigerator magnet from Beloved for my recent birthday
… and one more "blue blessing" (both blue and spoken!).

What blue things make you happy?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Crocus Pictures

Yellow and Purple Crocus in my front yard on March 20th

For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.

Song of Solomon 2:11

When the picture (above) was taken this past Thursday, we had sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather. Then on Saturday a weather front moved in…

Yellow and Purple Crocus in my front yard on March 22nd

For he saith to the snow,
Be thou on the earth

Job 37:6

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finding Lucy and Ethel

a favorite shopping destination in Castle Rock, Colorado

One of the fun things about my new hometown is that my friends love to come here for lunch and shopping. 

But sometimes I take just myself to the fun places, when I want a special treat.  Since I was given money for my birthday last week, it was a delight to drive to The Barn, in particular, knowing there was cash in my purse!

Inside the barn, looking down to the main floor

The Barn is a relic from Castle Rock history, with the cows relocated and the inside cleaned up and divided into many rooms where vendors sell antiques, vintage and re-styled clothing, jewelry, packaged gourmet foods, quilt fabrics and patterns, lamps, dishes, old books, furniture -- you name it.

one of the many rooms in The Barn

One reason why I don't tire of visiting this place is because the merchandise changes often due to seasonal emphasis and vendors moving in and out.

would you buy one of these?

On this particular day, the most unusual items I saw were the doors from old pick-up trucks.  You could use them for whatever your imagination can dream up. They were displayed outside the green house area with the yard art.  

I can promise you that Beloved would not want me to lean one of these doors against our back fence and call it "decor."  But, to each his own!


While wandering through gift places with my friends is a fun way to spend an afternoon, I do my best shopping when I am all by myself because I give my selections a lot of forethought, wanting to make purchases I won't regret later.

Lucy and Ethel, photo from Google Search

Two different vendors were selling what I call "I love Lucy headbands." Vintage and 50s-style clothes are popular now, which includes headbands that remind me of the scarves Lucy and Ethel wore in their hair on the old TV series.  

Ethel and Lucy, photo from Google Search

I've been growing my hair out for months and right now some cute scarfy-headbands are an asset, something to perhaps distract from my unruly locks. 

With purchases in hand, I returned to my car and called it a good day.

Bok Choy Green Smoothie

Tuesday's Bok Choy Green Smoothie

For close to a year, I have been a huge fan of green smoothies. A green smoothie is made with a variety of ingredients and always includes some fresh leafy greens -- you know, that vegetable category that is the cure for just about anything that ails ya! 

I like smoothies that are made with fresh and/or frozen ingredients, (no pre-made mixes) and therefore packed with nutrition.  

The delightful discovery I've made along the way is that when you combine a fruit with the greens, the flavor of the greens recedes into the background and the fruity taste dominates.  

a recent book purchase at Sam's Club

Green smoothies can be filling enough for a breakfast, and often they make enough volume that I save the leftovers in a large canning jar and refrigerate it for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack.  Or you can share the smoothie with your family and spread the nutritious blessings around!  The smoothies taste the best when consumed within 24 hours of making them, and if you do save the leftovers for later in the day, be sure to cover the glass or jar and keep it in the refrigerator.  The contents may separate over time so you  might want to stir it well before drinking the rest. I like to drink them with a straw. You can buy the really fat straws at Bed Bath and Beyond.

The book pictured above is one I happened across a few weeks ago while browsing at Sam's Club.  The author suggests that we vary the greens used in our smoothies.  She most commonly uses the following:

Bok Choy
Swiss Chard

Less often she uses these:

Beet Greens
Borage Leaves and flowers
Carrot tops
Celery leaves
Fennel tops
Radish tops

She also suggests using regular salad mixes if your supply of other greens is running low, but advises us to avoid the red salad leaves because they are usually bitter-tasting.

Tuesday's Bok Choy Green Smoothie (again)

The recipe I used for this green smoothie was as follows:

Tuesday's Bok Choy Green Smoothie (makes 1-2 servings)

2 cups almond  milk 
1/2 head of Bok Choy (a type of lettuce)
1 frozen banana (hint: peel and slice before you freeze it)
1 fresh pear, coarsely chopped, seeds removed
1 Tablespoon honey, raw unfiltered and local (optional)
2 Tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all ingredients in the carafe of a blender in the order listed. Process until completely smooth. Drink as soon as possible, or cover and refrigerate.

Admittedly, some of the ingredients I use are for those who enjoy haunting the health food stores, but more main-line grocers are carrying these things.  

Almond milk comes in a cardboard carton and where I shop, it's in the non-refrigerated cereal aisle, next to the boxed soy milk.  By the way, you can use soy or rice milk if that is your preference.

Chia seeds are teeny tiny black seeds that carry more than their weight in huge nutrition.  

The only reason I include the honey is because some people (I'm not mentioning any names here) won't drink my green concoctions without the assistance of the honey bees.  If you need to sweeten your smoothies, by all means, go with honey instead of granulated sugar. Other options for sweetening could be dried fruit, such as prunes or dates.

My basic formula for a green smoothie is this:

2 cups liquid
a sweetener (if desired)
2 tablespoons ground nuts or nut butter
1 large handful of greens
1 banana or avocado (peeled and pitted)
1 fruit or 1 vegetable

You can actually put anything into your smoothie that you want, but usually the mixture will combine better and with less effort on your part if you use 1  1/2  - 2 cups of liquid (water, nut milk, orange juice, etc).  

The more powerful your blender the better.  The more powerful blenders are able to better chop up and extract from the greens the vitamins and minerals that make these smoothies so nutritious.

I recently was given a new Vitamix and I like it so much that the next time I fly anywhere, I may have to buy an airline seat for this buddy of mine.  (or buy one for my hosts so I can use it when visiting them)

Do you make smoothies?  Would you like to share your favorite recipe in the comments section?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gideon by Priscilla Shirer

This week my Bible study group completed our study of Old Testament Gideon, the fellow who felt so insecure about God's calling on his life that he put out fleeces two nights in a row, looking for confirmation. (see Judges 6:36-40)  

The odd thing is that the LORD had already confirmed his voice to Gideon by giving him success in tearing down an altar to a false god…. for some people, it just takes a lot of convincing.

In the circles I run with, gals talk about what Bible study books they've done, looking for recommendations.  They all have their merits. Often the determining factor may come down to the student's particular learning style, or the day and time the group meets, how much homework is expected -- those kinds of things.

This study worked well for me because of the reputation of the book author, the subject matter, the amount of expected homework, and the day and time the class took place.

The study of Gideon in the Old Testament book of Judges (chapters 6-8) deals with fear, insecurity, faith in God, winning battles against terrible odds, and learning how to relate to difficult personalities. 

The homework is divided into five segments each week, and takes maybe thirty minutes to complete each day.  In class there is a review and discussion of  highlights from the home study, followed by a video that lasts about 20 minutes. The entire class session takes about 2 hours (depending on how responsive people are during the discussion times).

Mrs. Pricilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer is the daughter of well-known Christian speaker,  author, and widely-syndicated radio and television broadcaster, Tony Evans.  She is attractive, engaging, and knows her Bible material. I love it that she is adept in correlating scripture to our everyday experiences. (One of the primary reasons I study the Bible is to learn how to cope with life and people in ways that please the LORD.)

The study was made up of seven sessions, which takes seven weeks.  It's a good experience for those new to God's Word as well as those who are seasoned in scripture. 

There was a lot in the pages of this study that spoke to my heart, but I close with one statement we all need to ponder: 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; 
we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gifts Turned, Folded, Hung

a yellow bell pepper* in my kitchen

Do you read Ann Voskamp's daily blog?  You can find her at: 

She has written a book, One Thousand Gifts, and she encourages us to find three things for which to be thankful each day. She has put together what she calls the "Joy Dare Collection," which is a printable pdf of 3 pages giving suggestions of what to be grateful for on each day all through the year.

Today it's "a gift turned, folded, hung."  Hmm. That's like a riddle! Here are my answers, with pictures:

"a gift turned"
I am very thankful for my car with 4 tires that turn and serve me well as I toodle around town.

"a gift folded"

Yesterday was my birthday. Among the many delightful gifts sent to me was this beautiful set of fabric napkins from my sister, along with 4 silver napkin rings.  Napkins can be folded, or even better, easily brought through napkin rings for a softer look.  Thank you, Judy!

"a gift hung"

Can  you guess what this is?  Hint: we are back in my garage.

It's the track holding one side of my garage door.  I went on an errand after lunch today and when I got back, I discovered that the nut and bolt that hold together the curved track and the hanging support had fallen off onto the floor. We found the bolt right away, but the nut has rolled off somewhere yet to be discovered.

Beloved got out his ladder and tools, along with a spare nut in his collection of manly things, and quickly fixed the problem.  So not only am I thankful for a [repaired] garage door track, but also for a husband who is handy with projects like that.

If you would like to leave a comment today, share with us what you are thankful for that is (1) turned, (2) folded, and (3) hung.

I have that feature turned off that makes you read the scrambled letters and numbers.  Locate the gray rectangular box below where it says "no comments" (or "1 comment", etc), click on the word "comments" and leave your answer.  You can even reply as "anonymous" if you want. I'd enjoy seeing how you answer this "riddle." 

By the way, there are no wrong answers!


*The yellow bell pepper didn't really have anything to do with today's subject, but I like to have an esthetically pleasing photo at the beginning of my blog posts, as opposed to a picture of my muddy garage floor and dusty tires!  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Birthday Reflections

purple crocus in my previous yard, 2011

Today is my birthday.  I won't tell you how many years on the off chance you've been thinking I'm younger than I really am. 

One of the joys of a March birthday is seeing spring birth itself  while I celebrate my own life. We moved into our new house 11 months ago, so this year is the first to see crocus coming up in the flower bed by the front steps. Yesterday I went in search of Gladiola bulbs for the side flower bed.  We live on a corner, so we have more areas to embellish with natural beauty.  I hope to share pictures of these big showy blossoms this summer.

While spring is trying to push its way into our days, in Colorado  it's like three steps forward and two steps back. We often have late winter or early spring storms that bring clouds and wet, heavy snow.  March is our snowiest month of the year -- and not just in the mountains. One could say it's seldom dull around here.  We keep our boots and sandals handy at all times! 

But back to birthday talk.  If you were to ask me what I have planned for this new year, I would have to say that in large part I am still settling into what the previous year brought and making my peace with it.

Change is change -- even when it's good.  It took me months to instinctively turn in the correct direction to find my silverware drawer in this new kitchen! Old habits die hard, as they say.

Everything was unpacked and put in place months ago, and would you believe that I am still making frequent trips to the donation places to get rid of stuff?! It's not that we are crowded here but more that I have become fond of de-cluttering! 

I have come to the conclusion that we spend much of our life hunting and gathering, then there's a time to enjoy the accumulation, followed by the realization that we don't need so much.  Plus, what we have tends to "own" us with it's upkeep, even if that means only finding a place to put it and keep it dusted.

Well, these are my thoughts and pearls of wisdom at my ripe old age of ?? and I will leave you with that.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Mount Evans, west of Denver, Colorado in mid-March 2014

The world is so empty, if one thinks only 
of mountains, rivers and cities;
but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, 
and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit,
this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Mary and Sue during lunch this week

The Lord has given me friends for all stages and locations of my life.  (some friends have even been there for me in more than one state!) 

A girl who has friends is very blessed because we all need people to listen to us, laugh with us, cry with us, give encouragement, offer loving counsel, and pray with us.

These two gals are among those special people in my life without whom I would be at a loss.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 KJV