11/29/13

Fresh Foods & Meatless Mondays

It's the holiday season, no matter where you live or what you believe. If you're in the US, you're probably stuffed from Thanksgiving gorging.
I urge you to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes of the seasons, without busting the button off your pants. As a Southern girl, born & raised in NC, big eating is required, but doesn't have to be bad for you.

On any given day, I might break out of the ho-hum boring tone of the week with a spectacular, scratch made. My intent is to make the meal using up as many leftovers in the fridge & pantry as possible. With Thanksgiving upon us, refrigerator space is valuable.

I love Meatless Mondays because I'm not a big meat eater. I despise most poultry, the result of having lived too close to a chicken processing plant. The smell...well, it makes it hard to eat chicken ever again.

So Meatless Monday

usually becomes Lucky Leftovers Night.

 "I LOVE leftover night!" my husband says. "You are the Rachel Ray of Leftovers, Hon!" True, some of our best meals are throw-together meals, which makes it impossible to replicate them on purpose. Talk about living in the moment!

Anyway, with the planned anchors of baked potatoes and fresh spinach, I knew I wanted something with a huge flavor profile. I scrounged around for leftovers and any Sam's Club-sized bags of vegetables. (BTW Sam's Club has amazing deals on fresh fruits and vegetables, many of them organic. I prefer their membership to other clubs like Costco because of the quality of their produce.)

I grabbed the big bags of broccoli and carrots, the portabella mushrooms, the dried tomatoes, leftover black beans and corn from Mexican night, & Alouette Garlic & Herbs spread my son promised me he would eat (and usually does).


I roasted the broccoli and carrots in a new favorite garlicky, non-dairy buttery spread pictured below.
Seasoned the portabellas with spices and stuffed them with a mix of rehydrated onions & dried tomatoes with the black beans, corn and garlic cheese spread.

I added 
  • the Autumn Salad from Land O' Lakes (I left out the bacon, cheese & onion, and substituted orange & grapefruit slices for them) 
  • to the broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potatoes 
  • and the southwestern stuffed portabella mushrooms for the most amazing meal in a very long time. (I nailed the egg drop soup this weekend, and couldn't recreate it the next night with the stir-fried leftovers.)

I'll add the pics of the finished meal once my husband gets home. He and our youngest thought the plate was so pretty and yummy that it deserved a picture. 

Until then, I urge you to eat fresh, eat homemade and spend time with your loved ones over a good meal. And consider making your Mondays meatless.

Bon apetit!

(Pictures above belong to the respective brands' sites listed in the post. I'm not paid for mentioning them or affiliated in any way other than being a huge fan of all.)

Did you enjoy my meal post? Would you like to see more occasionally? Please comment below. 

Since I am Southern and I am a health-conscious foodie whose family lived gluten-free for 7 years under a gluten-free diagnosis ( diagnosis dismissed after gene testing at the Celiac Center in Baltimore with Dr. Fasano), I don't feel that you'd really know me if you didn't know those things about me.

Learn more about Meatless Monday here:


11/28/13

Happy Thanksgiving!



You're willingness to be here, reading my thoughts and inspirations, means more to me than you could ever know. My prayers for you and your loved ones on this Thanksgiving Day.

Sincerely,
Donna, aka GodGirlGoth

11/25/13

Y2R Adventure 7: B&B









What I did:  Stay in a bed and breakfast for the first time


When I did it: October 5, 2013, after snorkeling

Notes:   We stayed at Cypress House in Key West after reading all the great reviews on Trip Advisor

The Takeaway/What I learned: I was always scared to stay at a B&B because

  1. I like my privacy.
  2. I was afraid we'd be stuck with nosy, noisy people that we wouldn't be able to avoid. 
  3. It would be less clean than a good hotel.
  4. That I would encounter ghosts or bad energy. (I am GGG, after all. These things do happen to me.)
  5. That I would miss the modern amenities. 

Do Again?:   If other B&Bs are anything like Cypress House, absolutely!

Rant:  The LOUD couple sharing the wall behind our headboard that came in arguing after the bars closed at 2am. Since this was a B&B, we endured the circular, repetitive argument. Seriously, when you're drunk, don't go have a shouting match in your room at the B&B and annoy your neighbors. Go to bed! It might save your marriage.

Rave:  Turns out we needn't have suffered. We had a number we could have called to report it to get it stopped. They were fabulous and offered us a room higher up, away from the noisy couple and the street noise. That room was perfect!

Also, B&Bs have special touches, like a hot breakfast, afternoon tea and the evening happy hour. Seriously good food.

And the rumored ghost in the room across the hall never materialized, even though I was sick and vulnerable. So I'm thinking the ghost in Room 8 was a rumor stirred up to feed the tourists who go on the mobile ghost tour.



Words of Wisdom:  Not all B&Bs are alike. Read reviews to find the best fit for you.

11/22/13

Y2R Adventure 6: Snorkel in the Florida Keys







What I did:  Snorkel in the Florida Keys

When I did it: October 5, 2013

Notes:  In spite of my better judgement, two ear infections, sinus infections and a broken toe, I snorkeled. I couldn't help myself. A bad day snorkeling is better than...most other activities on earth! 


The Takeaway/What I learned: 

  • Snorkeling is a small piece of heaven on earth.
  • Snorkeling is an adventure into another world.
  • I should have gotten my degree in oceanography so I'd have an excuse to do it more often and be able to write off all expenses as business expenses.
  • In NO way is snorkeling inferior to scuba diving. 
  • Snorkeling is a good way to overcome your fear of water IF you practice your breathing in a pool before you go.

Do Again?:  Absolutely. Every chance I get. 

Rant:  If everyone could experience life underwater, we would do what it takes to protect the oceans. 
            http://ecosalon.com/10-ocean-conservation-groups-making-a-difference/

Rave:  The colors, textures, wildlife & diversity underwater is stunningly beautiful.
             We saw:

  • fish
  • crab
  • sharks
  • barracuda
  • sea turtles
  • sea turtles eating jellyfish an arm's length away!! (I had a Finding Nemo moment.)
  • rays
  • stingrays (gliding <10 feet from us)

Words of Wisdom: 

  • Buy or rent an underwater video camera.
  • If you're sick, reconsider or reschedule. It's best not to torture yourself. The water pressure is beyond painful when you've got sinus and ear stuff going on. Snorkeling will likely prolong or worsen the agony. I kept having to surface to yell curse words at the pain and pressure threatening to rupture my eardrums.
  • Always stay with your buddy.
  • Look just below water level to keep an eye out for jellyfish and barracuda.
  • If you don't have facemask face when you're done, you probably inhaled some water along the way.
  • You owe it to yourself to try it if you haven't. Plan to go snorkeling soon for a new perspective on life above water. 

11/21/13

40 Book Challenge Progress



1 The Way of Discernment Spiritual Practices for Decision Making
         by Elizabeth Liebert for FOCSCS class 4
2 The Rule of Benedict by Joan Chittister for FOCSCS class 4
3 Good Influence Teaching the Wisdom of Adulthood by Daniel R. Heischman for parenting group at             UCCH
4 Joyce Meyer Devotional
5 There's More To Life Than This by Theresa Caputo FABULOUS!! Read Again, study & blog
6 House of Scorpion C's book club book award winner
7 The Underneath J's book pick from classroom library award winner
8 The Peach Keeper
9      The Book Thief

To connect with me over books, I hope you'll join me on Good Reads at www.goodreads.com/Donna_Reeve

What are you reading? Please post in the comment section below.
Have a great day.


11/20/13

Fail 2: Enter something into the State Fair

from last year's NC State Fair


For the last few years, my youngest and I have poured over the contests at the state fair, looking for the events that we could join. We plan, and test, and taste. Alas, we've still not entered anything into the competition.

Of course I had a really good excuse. (I always do.) All of my plans for October got screwed up by my massive sinus &ear infections. I ended up on 3 different antibiotics for 30 days. #1 wasn't strong enough; I had a massive reaction to either #2 or #2+the Miami sun and heat; #3 lasted for 2 weeks.

It's fall. I'm still congested and phlegmy...

The NC State Fair is was in October. Hence, I didn't have time to hone my skills or get an item into the fair. For the first time in a few years, we didn't even go.

I can't say I miss the noise, the smells, the lights or the people. Together, they're overwhelming for a HSP (highly sensitive person), aka an empath/intuitive.

Maybe next year. Or maybe not. I found out that I don't really care all that much for all things "Fair," except for those funnel cakes ;)

Have you ever entered a fair competition? The category? Did you have fun?

Extras from the NC State Fair can be found here:
http://www.ncstatefair.org/2013/

11/18/13

Readers' Suggestions



Okay, I'm still short on my 100, especially now that I'm encountering some FAILS. I really need your help.

Here's my "To Consider" list suggested by my readers. Please add to it by leaving your thoughts in the comments section.

As always, THANK YOU for your input.

TO CONSIDER:

  1. Do something with your sister, that requires you to stretch the relationship.
  2. Do something unexpected for a stranger.
  3. Volunteer at a soup kitchen/homeless shelter.
  4. Volunteer at a Women's Shelter.

11/15/13

Fail 1: Scuba Diving







Although I'm a little bit claustrophobic and afraid of water, I intended to go scuba diving for the first time during our trip to the Florida Keys. 

There was this one place with the underwater Christ statue I wanted to see at Pennekamp State Park. You can view it here at the Florida Keys Official Tourism Site.


Sadly, my research was clear--scuba diving, because of the pressure of the water and the compacted tank air, is a potentially fatal idea, especially with my unstable asthma symptoms. 

As one person put it, scuba diving with asthma is like trying to snort molasses through a straw. 

No thank you. I'll stick to snorkeling.

11/13/13

Y2R Adventure 5 - The Keys

The View from Islamadora in The Florida Keys
Evening, the first night

First Light

Mid-Morning


What I did:   Visit the Florida Keys

When I did it: October 4 - 6, 2013

Notes:  We added days to the beginining of a business trip so that we could visit & snorkel The Keys. We rented a car in Miami and drove down to Islamadora where we spent the night. The pictures are the view from the hotel.

The Takeaway/What I learned: 

  • Sometimes you have to push yourself past your physical limits, but the older you get, the more you'll pay for it.
  • I'd had an "off" feeling about the trip even as I was making travel arrangements. I trust my intuition, so I wasn't surprised at my sickness, only how sick I'd become from ear and sinus infections, in spite of an antibiotic & other OTC and herbal supplements. 
  • Do the best you can in any situation.
  • Know your limits. I refused to drive. I knew I wasn't cognizant enough to be safe behind the wheel.
  • Admit defeat when necessary.
  • Sleep every chance you can when you're sick.
  • In spite of the pain, I wouldn't have missed my time alone with my hubby or these views in the Florida Keys. 
  • Is there any place better to recuperate than on a tropical island?

Do Again?:  Yes. Next time we'll stay in the Middle Keys, plan our trips around the state park regions, and take the kids. 

Rant:  Ow, ow, ow!  I hadn't felt this sick AND in pain in years. I thought my eyes, head and ears would explode. Why did I have to get sick on our one, long-planned, solo trip?!
Don't expect people to move too fast. They're on island time. But that's okay, it teaches you how to slow down.

Rave: 

  • Beautiful views. 
  • Warm/hot weather in October. 
  • Great food. 
  • Great seafood. 
  • Key lime pie--only the place in Islamadora did it the right way. 
  • Who knew that the snorkeling in the Florida Keys rivaled beat snorkeling in the Hawaiian Islands?!

Words of Wisdom:  I'd suggest going with outfitters if you're visiting for the first time. On later trips, you should be able to do some activities cheaper on your own.


11/11/13

Y2R Adventure #4: New 'Do




What I did:   New Haircut From New Stylist  

When I did it: On the way home from my plane lesson, the day after my birthday (Sept. 25)

Notes:  I was so psyched from flying, I pulled off interstate and into a popular shopping center to decide what to do next. Lunch, shopping, home. When I looked up, there was the salon I'd been researching on the internet. Before I lost my nerve, I looked up the phone number, called to ask about walk-ins, made an appointment for 1 hour later and got my hair cut from whomever was available. I was lucky. She did a great job and understood my thick mass of hair. Even though I gave her carte blanche, she chose to keep my hair shoulder length and work with my waves instead of trying to straighten and shorten it. 

The Takeaway/What I learned:  Use your pumped up adrenaline to fuel other pursuits that you're nervous about

Do Again?:  Absolutely

Rant:  None

Rave:  Very accommodating, knowledgeable and relaxing salon

Words of Wisdom:   Trust your instincts, and when you can't trust those, trust Divine guidance and intervention.

11/9/13

Updated Bucket List

The Official List
The Adventures Began September 24, 2013

By September 24, 2014, I hope to have completed at least 100 items from my Year To Remember (Y2R) list.

My progress so far...

Crossed out items were completed or excluded. Look for a post on either the adventure (Y2R) or the fail.

  1. New haircut from new stylist  #4 http://godgirlgoth.blogspot.com/2013/11/y2r-adventure-4-new-do.html?m=1
  2. Facial             #2    http://godgirlgoth.blogspot.com/2013/10/y2r-adventure-2-facial.html
  3. Massage         #1    http://godgirlgoth.blogspot.com/2013/09/y2r-adventure-1-massage.html
  4. Flight instruction lesson       #3     http://godgirlgoth.blogspot.com/2013/10/y2r-adventure-3-flying-lessons.html   
  5. New hair color      Bought. Waiting until after a business meeting function :)
  6. Permanent tattoo? no. Any alternatives other than henna?
  7. Host Attend an Adults-Only Halloween Party
  8. Miami trip               
  9. Hang out in the Venus Williams' Royal Palm Presidential sans kids for a few days          
  10. Snorkel in the Florida Keys                 
  11. Salsa dance in Miami
  12. Go to a reunion.       I've never been to a high school or college reunion. Read my upcoming memoir, then you'll understand.
  13. Get my first psychic reading.
  14. Take improv or standup comedy class.
  15. Go on a ghost hunting tour.
  16. My 1st professional bikini wax            (ouch!http://hairremoval.about.com/od/waxing/a/bikini-styles.htm)
  17. Be an extra in a local movie or series
  18. Finish my memoir
  19. Sell memoir in an auction :)
  20. Go scuba diving  **Sadly, initial research is making this look like a bad/potentially fatal idea with my unstable asthma symptoms.**
  21. Go skydiving with my husband.  **IF my memoir proposal goes to auction, I'll skydive for sure. :)
  22. Enter something into the State Fair
  23. Sell my first piece of art
  24. Create Zentangle gifts
  25. Enter scarecrow into local competition.
  26. Singing Lessons (my family will thank me :) )  (Thnx to @7SacredPools 4 suggestion.)
  27. Try out for a part in a play. (Thnx to @7SacredPools 4 suggestion.)
  28. Take a cooking class.
  29. Make a video short.
  30. Go swimming with the dolphins. (suggested by my sis-in-law. I'm torn btw the experience and the potential harm to the dolphins.)
  31. Collect $ for Trick or Treat for UNICEF or other charity. 
  32. Let youngest son try out for Cub Scouts (I had said "NO!" after his brother's stint.) If he joins, I'll be the one doing the activities with him as a "scout mom".)
  33. Sign up for running training program.
  34. Finish a 5k.
  35. Meditate for 15 minutes a day most days. (Reinstate practice.)
  36. Do 10 perfect pushups.
  37. Camp out under the starry skies. (@7SacredPools suggestion, modified.)
  38. Visit one of the great national parks.
  39. Join Toastmasters.
  40. Visit Georgia's Aquarium.
  41. Pitch/Interview with a TV producer.
  42. Read 40 books. (Reading is a luxury in my busy life.)
  43. See The Story-A Christmas Celebration.http://www.premierproductions.com/tour/story-tour-christmas-celebration
  44. Take up an instrument & get decent at playing it.
  45. Girls' weekend away.
  46. Take a pottery/ceramics class.
  47. Carve pumpkins with kids.
  48. Zip line.
  49. Be part of a flash mob.
  50. Draw funny faces on the eggs in my refrigerator.
  51. Tithe 10% of my advance to some of my favorite causes. :)
  52. Wear a bikini out in public.
  53. Girls weekend. (Thanks to @lettygarced )
  54. Read 50 Shades of Grey to see what all the hoopla's about, or something racy from Ellora's Cave.
  55. Tour a winery
  56. Go to one of the big parades: Mardi Gras, Macy's Thanksgiving, NY Eve in Times Square etc. (@7SacredPools suggestion) Does the CH/Carr City parade count ;) 
  57. Visit Biltmore House at Christmas.
  58. Drive a race car (Thanks to @lettygarced).
  59. Sit on a sandy beach reading a book and drinking a "big giant head" drink. (Us not having an adventure vacation is a BIG deal.)
  60. Couples massage.
  61. Try out for a game show (like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, etc.).
  62. Go camping with family.
  63. Ride/drive jet skis.
  64. Be in the audience of one of my favorite tv shows.
  65. Hire a stylist/wardrobe consultant.
  66. Throw an Unexpected 20th anniversary party (that hubby doesn't want) OR my parents a 50th wedding anniversary party next year.
  67. Las Vegas trip with shows.
  68. Watch a Broadway show.
  69. Watch a Burlesque show. 
  70. Swim with sea turtles, shark and sting ray.
  71. Visit the Florida Keys.  #5 http://godgirlgoth.blogspot.com/2013/11/y2r-adventure-5-keys.html?m=1
  72. Stay in a bed and breakfast for the first time.
  73. Go kayaking at night on an illuminated kayak.
  74. Support a child on an angel tree. (It's been on my to-do list for soooo long.)
  75. Make a Vegetarian Turducken! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/veggieducken-vegetarian-turducken_n_2133160.html  (On the whole, I don't like poultry, but poor piggies! I love me some NC BBQ --eastern or western--and bacon.
  76. Enter a cooking contest.


11/8/13

10 Things I've Learned From Joyce Meyer

Picture from joycemeyer.org


1.   No matter how bad your background/history, you can overcome.
2.   God/Spirit is with you, always.
3.   Evil happens because [wo]mankind has the free will to choose & because we have a real enemy who is out to destroy us.
4.   It's never too late to start again.
5.   "God is Not Mad at You"  (also the title of her new book)
6.   Love is the answer.
7.   Make your passion your life's work.
8.   Don't be afraid to fail.
9.   Speak and act for those without a voice.
10. Have faith. - You never know how many beings are working on your behalf or how close you are to your deepest dreams.


11/4/13

Candle Magic

Whether you're Catholic, Protestant, Pagan, Wiccan, agnostic or atheist, I bet you feel drawn to candles and fires. It's in our ancestral shared memories, fashioned since caveman/woman days.




Fire in any way draws us in.

At its most basic, fire symbolizes warmth, protection, community.  Its power is subject to the whims of user. If tended and respected, its powers can be harnessed; if not, it can cause great harm. It is one of the four basic elements:  Earth, water, air & fire.

Through the flame in candles, everyone can harness the energy in fire. I never pass up an opportunity to say a wish or prayer. If you're of the nature-based and Wiccan religions, you probably say a simple spell. Either way, those flames, warmth and smoke create "magic" for everyone who takes time to shine a light in a dark place.

Why not go further and align your intent with the correct color to double the effects?
Intrigued? Find out more, start at What's Your Sign. They do a beautiful job of explaining, so I won't go into details here. Check out all the meanings and the fire symbols as depicted at
http://www.whats-your-sign.com/fire-symbols-and-meanings.html . They represent people, religions and cultures from all over the world. Quite interesting. Then pursue and experiment on your own.

For Christians, you might want to repeat my religious education's teachers invocation:  "With the lighting of this candle, we invite the Holy Spirit in."

Blessings to you and yours!

11/1/13

All Saints' Day



Today is All Saints' Day, a feast day to celebrate saints who may not have their own feast day.

Yesterday was Halloween, or

So Hallow's Eve = Halloween=Hallow+eve is the day before All Hallows, or the All Holies Day.

That makes today All Hallows' Day.  To Hallow means to make holy; to set aside for holy use. Specifically saints are those honored by the Catholic church, but more generally, saints are all Christians.

So All Saints' Day is part of Hallowmas= Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day = [October 31 - November 2]. It is a 3-day period to celebrate the dead, especially " martyrssaints, and all faithful departed Christians," according to Wikipedia.

If you are Catholic, you know about the liturgical calendar, the saints and the feast days way more than I do. I have acquired only a working knowledge through my Christian spirituality. To delve deeper into these categories, start here

Whatever you do, you may want to think fondly of those loved ones who have gone on before.







Top Scary Movies, According to Scientists




According to a report by ABC News here, scientists set out to find the scariest movies of all time using heart rate and breathing monitors.

According to scientists, the top the movies, in order, are:


  1. The Shining
  2. The Exorcist
  3. Nightmare on Elm Street


They make my top 5, too. I'd add Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, Scream and Amityville Horror to my scary collection.

Your thoughts now that the scientists are involved? Please comment below.