Thursday, February 23, 2012


I have finally slowed down enough to get some paintings going.  When I get busy it is so easy for me to lose that creative drive.  But taking time off from teaching has helped a ton, and a change in my calling at church has made even more time and less stress.  So, the result is I have started new paintings, and will hopefully finish up some others that have been patiently waiting.  So, here are my updates in the art world.

 I wanted to paint, but wasn't totally ready to sit down and do detailed sketches.  I knew the kids would be home too soon, and I hate having to stop when I am totally in the middle of a piece.  The forced stop drives me nuts!  So, this painting was my alternative.  I played with some texture and decided to do an abstract piece.  While it isn't my norm, it is nice to just play with paint and worry about color and texture, design and balance.  I will probably list this one on Etsy soon.

 I also did this abstract modernish piece.  It is listed on Etsy, and would make great home or office decor.  This one was fun in that it was ala prima, which means I pretty much never let the paint dry while I worked on it.  That is kind of tricky, but I decided to play with it and loved doing so!

This one is still one of my faves.  I decided to list it on Etsy today, but I am having this weird back an forth with it.  If it sells I can pay off a huge chunk of my student loan.  But I will totally miss it. hahaha

And here is the detailed one I am in the process of.
 Sketch is done.

 The under painting is started.
 And a little more progress on the under painting.  I was hoping to be done with it today, but had a few things pop up.  Such is life!

More food recipes!

I wanted to add a couple more recipes we've loved.

So, in the crockpot right now is a cleaner take on this recipe Taco Chili Soup.

My recipe is below, and this is a HUGE batch.  I am making dinner for us and the neighbors who just became grandparents.  So, either freeze a bunch of this for later, or cut your ingredients down.  My 6.5 qt crockpot is full.

Clean Taco Chili Soup
Click for Printable Version
1 pound meat (bison, beef)
4 onions chopped
3 jalapenos seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
7 large ripe tomatoes (chopped or pureed depending on your preference)
2 cans low sodium black beans (rinse well!)
1 large can kidney beans (rinse well)
taco seasoning to taste
4 green onions chopped
5 beef bouillon cubes
water to fill the crock pot (I think I used about 2-3 cups)

*frozen corn can be added when there is around 1 hour left to cook.  That way it won't be overcooked.

Brown meat (I used bison, we aren't eating beef) and put it in the crockpot.  Brown onions and jalapenos (I used the leftover meat drippings for my grease) until onions are translucent.  Add those to the crockpot.  Add the rest of the ingredients, stir.  Cook on low (you've already cooked the meat and onions, so you just need to keep it warm and let the flavors do their thing.)  High temps cook out a ton of the nutrients, so keep it on low.  I have mine set for 4 hours, but it can go for however long you need.  About one hour before I plan to eat I will add some frozen corn.

I will serve this with tortilla chips, greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), cilantro, and possibly green onion.

And I am pairing with a favorite salad

Spinach Berry Salad
Click here for printable version
spinach leaves
strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or a combination of berries
caramelized nuts
poppy seed dressing

For the salad- toss the spinach with the berries.  You can totally adjust the amounts to your taste.

To caramelize the nuts:
2 cups whatever nut(s) you prefer.  I will be using almonds, pecans and cashews.
1/4 c water
1/4 c turbinado (unrefined sugar)
1 1/2 T honey

Prep a cookie sheet with foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Heat oven to 350°

In saucepan bring turbinado, honey and water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.

Add nuts and stir to coat.

Transfer nuts to the foil lined pan with a slotted spoon. Discard the rest of the syrup.

Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  (About 10-12 minutes)  Watch them so they don't burn!

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely.

Poppy seed Dressing (This is Green Smoothie Girl's recipe)
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C white wine vinegar
1/4 C honey
1/4 tsp paprika
1 T poppy seeds
2-3 T pureed strawberries or raspberries (or about 3-4 big strawberries)

I throw all of it except the poppy seeds in a blender and puree it.  Then just quickly pulse the poppy seeds in.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Free Digi Download!

Well, I have been on a hiatus from designing for a little while.  But I thought I would offer you a free Valentine's download!

You can grab this kit FREE through the month of Feb.   
Just click here, and where it shows the price with an empty box- just type "0" and it will be yours free!

Please feel free to share the link with others- but this is copyrighted, so sharing the actual file is stealing.  Your friends and family are welcome to get their own using the link!
Thank you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Walking, Jogging, Running

Well, I will never be in a marathon, and I will never win a 5k, but I still like to run.  It isn't easy for me, which is good.  A lot of sports came really easy for me- basketball, volleyball, basball, softball.  But running, never.  Asthma ruined it for me as a kid and clear up until I had kids.  Then I had kids.... I have been running off and on for a few years, but for the first time in 3 years I've been pretty consistent.  I still suck, but I love it.  I like that it is a challenge every day.  I hate that it is a challenge every day.  But it is good for me, great for the dogs, and there is just something about the freedom.

I thought I'd post my route today.  I did not end up with it as planned, Bear decided to take off (after a rabbit possibly) and because i was crunching along  in the snow I didn't notice his jingle was not behind me until he was pretty far off the trail.  Grrrrr.  I know he could hear me calling, he has such good hearing he can hear thunder when it is 15  miles from us.  Sam stayed with me and helped me sniff out his trail until we caught up to him.  He is so grounded.  He will be staying home the next time I go, and he will have to be on leash for a couple of weeks until he remembers his manners.

The point of that was, there is a bit of the map that goes goofy, and that would be the off-trail hunting bear down part.  It also completely screwed up my time.  Trying to make your way through sagebrush covered terrain will slow you down, and then there was the mud.....

Oh well.  I got a little more in than I bargained for, and it still felt good.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(Mostly) Clean Veggie Shepherd's Pie

I made a new recipe tonight for dinner- new take on a food we love actually.  I swapped a few ingredients to suit our clean diet better.  I did use a form of dairy, and I did use up some gravy packets I had in the cabinet, which are not healthy, but I am not chucking them out.

Sorry for the cell phone photo, I was trying to get a pic before it was eaten!  Carrots were more orange, less red, and gravy more yellow.  Just use your imagination.

So here is the recipe...

April's Cleaner Shepherd's Pie
 7 yukon gold potatoes (cut into smaller pieces)
5 carrots (peeled and diced)
1 C cut green beans
1 sweet onion chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 T chopped chives
1 small head garlic
salt & pepper
1/4 C buttermilk powder
1/4-1/2 C unsweetened original almond milk
1 T olive oil
4 C water (reserved from cooking the veggies)
3 packets chicken gravy mix

Prep large cake pan (I use a lasagna pan) with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 375°.

Boil the potatoes and peeled garlic cloves for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are bring a saucepan with 1 inch of water to a boil.  Add carrots, cook 5 minutes on medium heat.  Spoon the carrots into the prepared cake pan.  Keep the water!  Add the beans to the water, boil for 2 minutes.  Spoon beans into cake pan.

Add potato water to the other veggie water until you have 4 cups (I don't actually measure, just guesstimate unless math is so not your thing).  Then drain the rest of the water off of the potatoes.  Mash the potatoes and garlic cloves, chives, buttermilk powder, almond milk and salt & pepper until they are mashed potatoes with your preferred consistency.

In the pan you had the potatoes in, add the olive oil, heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and rosemary, stir and cook until the onion is transparent, about 5-7 minutes.  Spoon this over the carrots and beans.

Add the gravy packets to the reserved water, heat to boiling.  Pour into cake pan over the veggies.

Spread the potatoes on top.  Heat in oven about 30 minutes, until the liquid is thicker and bubbly.

Yummy Clean Breakfasts

Alrighty, as I wait forever on BYU's EFY sign up page, I may as well get some blogging done.  I am seriously questioning whether my "queued position" is going to work.  I've had that page up, it refreshes every minute but it's been over an hour now.  Seriously, people, did you know what you were registering for before you got on?  Are there really one million people registering right now?  Or maybe only one person ca register at a time.  It is making me really wonder if I should have all four computers on that page just to find out if this really works like they say.

Now, on to the food.  Food is my favorite.  :)  I have a few more recipes for you, no pics really.  Use your imaginations to create beautiful images of healthy food in your mind....

And, that's all it took to get to the registration. bwahaha, BYU didn't want me griping I guess.

So, here's the rundown on what we had this morning for breakfast and how it went over with the kids:

Today was a variation of Tosca's "Power Oatmeal Pancakes" from the original Eat Clean Diet cookbook.  I changed it up because I haven't been buying dairy so I didn't have cottage cheese.  And because my son's asthma has been so well under control since changing the diet to exclude dairy and sugar I didn't want to mess with it.

April's Power Oatmeal Pancakes and berry syrup (Which were a big hit)
6 eggs
2/3 C applesauce
1/4 C whey protein powder (just plain from the bulk food section)
1 C uncooked oatmeal
1/2 C power flour (see recipe below)
1/3 C wheat germ
1/3 C flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1 T Grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C or so, of fresh blueberries

In medium size bowl beat the eggs until fluffy.  Add the other ingredients, stir until just blended.

Spray electric griddle (or heat a pan to medium) and heat to 325°. Ladle out the pancake mix into whatever size pancake you want.  Cook until both sides are browned.

I used about 1/2 C per cake and this recipe made about a dozen.

Berry Syrup
In saucepan heat 1/4 C water, 1/4 C turbinado (or other unrefined sugar), and 1 C berries until boiling.  Stir pretty often.  Turn heat down to medium. When berries are soft mash them with a fork.  Ladle over the pancakes.

April's Power Flour
In a large container mix:
6 C whole wheat flour
1 C oat flour
1 C brown rice flour
1 C spelt flour
1 C buckwheat flour
1 C barley flour
1 C whatever other flour you want (I don't always make it the same, I just use whatever I have or can get)