Thursday, February 24, 2011

Come, Read, Win?!?!

Come visit me! I am blogging today over at Daily Bread Living, telling my story of how Commonsensical Spa was born and giving some of it away in celebration!

I hope you win!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A letter to my readers

Dearest Readers,

I missed talking with you last Thursday. I hope you had a delightful week. How are you and yours? I had a wonderful start to my week. It all began with me spilling my freshly poured class of ice cold water directly onto the keyboard of my MacBook. Sheer horror pulsed through my body as I rapidly blotted with one hand and searched on my iPhone with the other "what to do if you spill water on your MacBook." That would have been enough to spoil my whole week. I should have known there was more to come. 

Then on the national day of love, my dearest husband came home looking like death. In almost seven years of marriage, I've never seen him so sick. I think he was ready to curl up and die in some hole just to end his misery. By Wednesday, the whole household was down with the flu despite all my probiotic efforts. Fevers, aches, incessant hacking. Today is the first day I feel like I have my head on straight, sort of. (I mean, what momma EVER has their head on straight...wink).

So, I hope you'll accept my deepest apologies for missing our regular visit last week. To make up for it, I am posting twice in one week! Today AND Thursday. I know, I know. I am too magnanimous.

On Thursday, I will be introducing you to another interesting spot in the blogosphere, I will be there on Thursday for my second guest post in my blogging history! I will be telling the story of Commonsensical Spa, my business and ending well with a little giveaway--so you won't want to miss! Come support me! You just might win some practical pampering products!

And, finally, because I love you all so much, here's a little somethin'-somethin' for our collective sweet tooth and incidentally, the group of lovely people who came over to my house tonight.

Mostaccioli (cookies!)


2 cups flour (1 cup white, 1 cup white whole wheat)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferally fair trade
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk

Chocolate Glaze (or as in my case, leftover chocolate fondue! Nothing goes to waste at my house!)
3 TBSP  unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 400F. In medium bowl, combine flours, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
2. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low; beat in egg. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until just combined.
3. With cocoa dusted hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until puffed (dry looking and cracked), 7-9 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. When cookies are cool, prepare Chocolate Glaze: In a medium bowl, with wire whisk or fork, stir cocoa into water until smooth. Gradually stir in confectioner's sugar until blended. Dip top of each cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper to catch drips. Sprinkle with decor--like shredded coconut.

Makes about 50 cookies. If you're lucky, there will be some left over after company comes. We were left with four.

See you on Thursday over at Daily Bread Living,


PS--The MacBook miraculously survived the water incident. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief! That felt good!

PSS--Please comment! It feeds my inner-blogger....

Friday, February 11, 2011

A good reminder

"Luther taught that every time you insist that I am a sinner, just so often do you call me to remember the benefits of Christ my Redeemer, upon whose shoulders, and not upon mine, lies all my sins. So, when you say that I am a sinner, you do not terrify, but comfort me immeasurably."

--Thomas Olden, The Justification Reader (Grand Rapids: Eeerdmans, 2002), 5

It is much easier to pity ourselves to death and hold unnecessary guilt over ourselves when we are faced with the depth of our depravity. Is Christ glorified when we remain in such a state? Of course not.  There is need to feel the weight of our sin but then we should rejoice that the story finishes with Christ and our shoulders remain burden-free. Hallelujah!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wallet, meet healthy food//healthy food, meet taste buds, part 2

This post is part 2 of a 2 part series on eating healthfully while on a budget. You can read part 1 here. For really cool valentines for all your sweeties, visit here. Spread the love and give some freedom.

Now, back to eating that's tasty, good for you and your bank account!

5. Don't throw away leftovers, eat them up. Have a leftover night. Every night doesn't have to be a culinary explosion and I really, really, really love food. Have a few recipes that you can use up those bits and pieces of leftovers. Leftover rice is great for stir-fry or to supplement soups. I throw lots of leftover bits into scrambled eggs and then wrap them in a tortilla with some grated cheese. All kinds of things taste good with the delectable egg. :) Leftover roasted meats are a great, fancier topping for homemade pizza.

6. Read your ingredients. The longer the list, the greater the likelihood that it is more expensive and less healthy. Besides, if you are trying to save money, the things you are buying probably don't have ingredient lists. Remember item #3.

7. Don't be fooled by packaging. 5 Kiwis packaged cutely in a clear snap container advertised for $2.99 seems like a good deal. Until you go and see that sold individually they are 3 for $1. Even a bag of baby carrots is more expensive than buying whole carrots in a package. If you like the convenience of their size, then take five minutes when you get home to chop them up and store them in water so they don't dry out or just grow up and learn to eat them like a farmer. Wink. Along the same lines, compare price per ounce when buying packaged anything. Sometimes a cheaper price means less for your money.

8. Coupons, proceed with caution. Most often, coupons are for brand name packaged goods. See list item #3. If you are going to use them, make sure that it is something you would normally buy (often it's not) and the off brand is usually cheaper, even with the brand name coupon. I can't even remember the last time I used a coupon and I spend about $85 a week on groceries for a family of five.

9. Make as much from scratch as you can. It's cheaper, healthier, more filling and way tastier. I currently make my own whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat sandwich bread, and whole wheat biscuits. If you think you don't have time, try to find it. I am running my own natural body care business, helping start a private school, and have a husband in law school (read gone long hours) on top of my household responsibilities as a wife and mother. We are all busy. Eating healthier for less might require some rearranging of your schedule but it's worth it. You can bake on a weekend for two weeks or even the whole month and freeze what you won't eat in a week to keep the items fresh.

Alright, time to get checking! Happy shopping, saving, and most of all, eating!