I'm not much of a shopper on-line or otherwise. In fact, I don't get excited by Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. I'm one of the last people you'll see running out and standing in long lines to get $20 off that new fangled coffee pot, grill, or make-up kit. Nope, not me.
Today was different though. Today, I hopped on-line to look at something on my YouTube channel, and of course something, intended to grab my attention, jumped out at me. After spending time researching products and determining the best deals, I had several items in my Amazon cart and I was DONE!
Shopping energizes some, but tires me. Also, I'm very deliberate and methodical whenever I make a purchase. I share this because I've spent time today looking at some pretty good deals, some of which I've taken advantage of and want to share with you!
76% Off Top-Rated Stainless Steel Chef Kitchen Knife
63% Off Instant PotDUO80 8 Qt 7-in 1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
56% Off Design Car Phone Holder for Safe Driving with iPhones, Samsung Galaxy and other Smart phone
$26 Off FOUR Pack Mini LED Rocket Keychains
$50 Off Amazon Echo Tap (Alexa Portable)
$45 Off Amazon Echo Plus w/ Built in Hub
$20 Off All New Amazon Echo Alexa
$130 Off Hoverboard Self-Balancing Scooter
$50 Off 500A Heavy Duty Emergency Car/Truck/Gas/Diesel Jump Starter and Power Bank
Allison is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a
means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
This recipe has been a Thanksgiving staple for us the past 5 years.
In November of 2012 I discovered an amazing recipe in the November issue of Rachael Ray's magazine, EveryDay with Rachael Ray! March 2012 was when I was officially diagnosed with discoid lupus, so by November I was already eating a plant-based diet and staying away from salt, oil, and sugar. That was the same month I found this recipe and converted it into a lupus friendly one!
Before I continue, I do realize that I'm sharing this in the Nth hour; the eve before Thanksgiving. But you know what? I want to encourage you to grab that can of cranberry sauce out of you sister's hand, turn around, and quietly walk that thing out of the kitchen. Next, pray that there are still fresh cranberries at the grocery store, then head to the store to grab the few ingredients this sauce calls for. You'll be glad you did. . . and so will everyone else!
The original Cranberry Mango Chutney recipe calls for a cup of sugar. While sugar isn't really good for anyone, it is especially not good for those of us with autoimmune disorders! Like I tell my girls - they are 4 1/2 years old -, 'sugar bugs' kill all the good guys in our stomachs. In adult speak, diets free of, or at least limited in, sugar equals good gut health!
When our guts are healthy we don't risk the 'bad guys' causing inflammation in our intestinal tracks/gut linings. When the gut lining is inflamed, we actually allow all sorts of undigested proteins from bacteria and foods to leak into our bloodstreams! Yep! That's right! We let the 'bad guys' right in!! These sorts of invaders don't belong in our bloodstreams, so our bodies fight against it and voila! We've got an autoimmune flare!
So, what do I replace the refined white sugar with? I used to replace it with agave nectar, but some would argue that isn't the best substitute and I've actually come to agree with that. I'll go with honey again this year.
Here's the recipe:
Makes 3 Cups
Prep 25 minutes (or less depending on how fast you can peel a mango!)
Cook 15 minutes
1 pkg (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1 cup chopped fresh mango
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1. In a large saucepan, bring the cranberries, orange juice, honey or date paste, mango, and ginger to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
2. Transfer the chutney to a bowl. Refrigerate to cool and thicken. Serve shilled or at room temperature
Vince and the girls love this recipe by the way!
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!
OK, before you ask "What the heck are those?!?", let me explain. You know how you go to the store and you see something that you don't need, but you buy it anyway because you just might need it…one day?
Well, that happened to me this week. I went to the commissary and spotted some really neat orange and black Halloween straws and thought to myself: "Wow, maybe orange and black straws will be on the 'volunteer to bring' list for at least one of my daughters' first grade Halloween parties!"- I have two first graders and they are in two different classes.
Reflecting on why I bought them in the first place, I can't figure out why it made any sense at all. Seriously? My reasoning was flawed from the start. Who the heck asks someone to bring 200 straws to any elementary school party?!? First of all, there aren't 200 kids in first grade and second of all I'm sure if there are drinks they're juice boxes that come with their own straws. But the orange and black straws are so neat I had to get them!
Yesterday I had a thought. I am not super crafty. You won't find me posting anything craft related with 20 million hits on Pinterest, but I knew I had to come up with some way to use these cool looking straws.
Well...these are what I came up with! Aren't they amazing?!? Now you can ask me what the heck are they? They are anything you want them to be; thanks for asking! They can be ghouls, they can be mouthless goblins, they can even be ghosts with straw arms if you want! Whatever you want, they can be. The important thing is they are crafted out of the Halloween primary colors: white, black, and orange!
So I bet you want to know how I made these bad boys don't you? Well I am not a big fan of food dyes, especially the red and blue variety so I went for the Pillsberry Moist Supreme Yellowcake. It claims to make 24 cupcakes; I eked out 17, but that's only because I over filled the first twelve cupcake wrappers. I used a couple of large free-range brown eggs and was about to use coconut oil instead of the half a cup of vegetable oil the instructions called for then it dawned on me!! Even though it's not a nut free school there might be a kid allergic to coconut. So, I put the brakes on that idea and whipped out the Great Value (Walmart brand) vegetable oil I had on hand. I seldom use vegetable oil and I'm not a fan of the Great Value variety, but I figured it would probably taste better than using olive oil in the cupcakes and be better than being the cause of an allergic reaction.
Now for the eyes. I had milk-chocolate chips on hand, but I also had raisins. I figured if there was going to be any inkling of "healthly for you" in this snack I better opt for the Sun Maid raisins. The raisins worked perfectly as eyes. Look at them closely. See, some of them are mean and glaring, some of them are sad looking, and some of them just are.
Finally, I cut down the straws to craft some arms with moveable joints for each of the mouthless goblins and voilà!! I'd created the perfect snack edition to any spooky party!
They might not look like a Pinterest hit, but I can assure you that they were tasty. I should know since I ate the runt of the batch and took the remaining 16 to school. You know what?? I don't recall seeing ANYONE actually eat one...humm...that's a bit suspect because I got both of my baking pans back from both classrooms...empty. Strange. I'm sure someone enjoyed my cupcakes.
Can't say what went through their heads when they reached for one to eat, but I know once it hit their lips (I used pre-made cream cheese icing ) it was delish, and left them begging for more!! Those raisins on that icing was the bomb!!
Nailed it? Yes. Yes, I did!
I'd love to hear about a time your creation was beyond the standard for creativity. Drop me a note below and tell me all about it!
🕶Have you decided what you'll do? 🕶
Here, in our corner of Kansas, we live in the path of totality 🌗🌘🌑. When the ☀️solar ☀️ eclipse happens this Monday, our town will be in total darkness for roughly 2 minutes and 19 seconds. The town has been hyping it up and planning all year. In fact, War-Mart is selling custom t-shirts 👕👚for our town and the local private college stadium will be fully packed with locals and out-of-towners! It's a HUGE deal!
A couple of weeks ago we began telling the girls about it and the importance of following exactly what their teachers say to do if their school is in session. We also explained why it's very important 😎☠️😣👁 they FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS especially during the eclipse.
Needless to say, Piper is freaked out and has expressed multiple times that she is not interested in participating at school which is fine with me; I have my concerns too. Who knows what a group of little kids will do. Many will do what they're told, but there could be that one child who wants to take a little peek; heaven forbid. I filled out the permission slips for the girls to participate and turned them in on the first day of school (this past Wednesday). Vince told Piper he'd go to school and participate with them. But that didn't change Piper's mind.
Brynn on the other hand, said she just didn't want to stand next to anyone for fear that someone would pull her glasses off. The good thing is that their school has provision for parents to pick their kids up before the eclipse begins! 🙏🏾
Vince is a proponent of them participating at school, but I'm in favor of honoring Piper's request to stay home. Shoot! If her intuition is telling her to stay at home, I'm keeping her at home. Don't get me wrong, I want to experience this once, maybe twice, in a lifetime event too, but I'm a bit leary myself. On a normal day, we have no interest in staring at the sun, but now that there will be something to look at I want to take every precaution. Perhaps we should all go hide in our tornado-shelter of an old stone basement for several hours and come out when it's over! I jest, of course.
I did pick up 2 pairs of glasses for Vince and me from a place in town, which brings up another point of concern - legit or illegit?? How the heck do people know if their glasses are eclipse proof? So many places have had their glasses recalled and there are even trolls selling knock-offs. It's not like the glasses makers have tested them on a real eclipse. Here's the American Astronomical Association's site that I believe offers the truth when it comes to which glasses (by ISBN) are the real deal: https://eclipse.aas.org/
Some questions that have come to mind, because you can never be too careful, are:
- Is the ambient light safe to look at during the eclipse?
- Are the glasses at the school legit?
- Why would did I get glasses if I don't plan on looking at the sun?
- If we make a pin hole eclipse viewing box how will I know where the sun is WITHOUT LOOKING to know where to place the box?
Vince and I have agreed to pick the girls up from school and have them at home with us. I'll have to give you an update on our experience. I'm going to try my hand at the pin-hole viewing boxes tonight.
Hey, what do you think people who are out driving and have NO idea that there will be an eclipse will think when the sky goes black in the middle of the day! Ha, ha, ha!!!! The end of the world!! The sad part will be if they are looking up when the sun and the moon separate and they fry their retina!! I'm sure there will be some car accidents unfortunately. Reminds me of the movie Apocalypto.
Whats on your mind about tomorrow? How did you choose to view it? Do you know anyone who damaged their eyes? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
For an AMAZING laugh about preparing for tomorrow's historic event check out this lady's post about the eclipse from 17 August 2017! She had me rollin'!!
Here are a few other resources you can check out in preparation for tomorrow's Great American Eclipse.
How to make an eclipse viewer
How to make an eclipse viewer 2
The eclipse explained
The boy who looked at the last solar eclipse
In an effort to start the school year off strong (and maintain all year long) I've decided that meal planning might actually be a time saver! I've heard that it is, but in the past meal planning seemed like such a chore! A chore that I maybe stuck with a week (probably less) at most. Well, will a 3 month old and two first graders, my time at home while the older two are in school is no longer my own. I must be efficient while the baby is sleeping and I refuse to run around scrambling for something to prepare for dinner multiple times a week! Super stressful and it can make for a dull meal.
A couple of days ago, just before the new school year started, I told my husband that I think meal planning is the way to go (He never thought otherwise. In fact, he encouraged me to use a meal plan and has even helped me come up with some plans in the past). You know how sometimes good ideas aren't really the best ideas until you come to that conclusion on your own? Well, that's how I've been with meal planning! And you know what else?!? It doesn't have to be as painful as I was making it out to be. Shoot! We could have the exact same meal plan for an entire month!!! Mind you, I didn't say have the same MEAL everyday for a month! Ha! Just the same weekly plan. When I look at it this way it's so much simpler and a less daunting task.
I've done pretty well for the past several days and want to share one of the recipes I made last night with you. It was a hit!!! Three out of the 5 of us really enjoyed it and one of the other two doesn't have teeth yet ;-).
Oh, and the kids were able to help with the prep. They enjoyed popping the edamame out of their pods. We don't do much with soy in our household because of all of the plant estrogen it contains, but once in a while I'll buy tofu and once in a blue moon I pick up edamame. It has a great protein content though. 17 grams of protein per cup of cooked edamame. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Combine all ingredients and drizzle individual salads with Asian Vinaigrette (pg. 75 in the book). I actually used way more cabbage and avocado than suggested! But only because we all enjoy avocado and I wanted a fuller salad.
Another meal planning success was on the girls' first day of school. I whipped up a quick protein filled meal - usually I just give them oatmeal and a side of fruit or cereal and a side of fruit or eggs during the school week. This time I made egg muffins. After the girls went to school my husband, Vince, said Brynn said she didn't like the breakfast...she LOVED it!!!! Made my day!!! This meal planning thing is paying off!!
Oh, I can't forget, one of the ways I feel like we save money as a family is by investing in Blue Apron. Every week we receive two meals in the mail. They do take time to prep. But they're delicious AND they save me time and money because all of the ingredients are included and I'm not wasting produce. Try a free Blue Apron meal!
What's been your experience with meal planning? Success? A bust? What are some of your go to meals? What meals have you found are best in a crunch? What's your favorite no processed foods included meal to prepare? I'd love to hear from you!
A couple of days ago, I revisited my goals for 2017. I was reminded that I must complete 8 5Ks this year. It doesn't matter if I walk, run, or crawl, just as long as I complete 8 as planned!
For obvious reasons (check out my May blog post), I haven't tackled any of the 8...yet, but I am beginning to feel up the the challenge now that I'm almost fully healed from three major surgeries I had exactly 2 months ago today! I guess I'd better start looking for some 5Ks to participate in. Got any suggestions for events in the Kansas City or Washington D.C. area?
I have several other goals for this year. Some of which I've done a pretty good job of keeping up with and others I have not. One thing I do know is that each time I revisit my list of goals, it reinvigorates my desire to accomplish them.
I don't know about you, but I often have what seems like 1 million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head. So much so that if I don't capture them on paper I find that I'm paralyzed by all that needs to be done. It can be pretty overwhelming!! I've learned that making lists is important first step to me getting anything done. Having a To Do list for my every day tasks is imperative and so is having one for my annual goals. What I did this year is categorize them. I broke my goals up into these categories:
Health and Fitness
The only thing I should do that I haven't is print them off and post them where I can see them every day. Instead, I have them trapped in my phone on my Evernote app (it's a great app by the way!). I put them there so that I can access them from any device any time I'd like. How about you? What's your way of capturing your goals? Do you have any BHAGs for the year? Oh, that stands for BIG Hairy Audacious Goal!
This morning I heard someone say that there are 120 business days left in 2017....not very many! So, what will you accomplish before we ring in 2018?
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!