Wednesday, December 28, 2011

kale chips

Recently, my friend Gina and I tried out a new restaurant: Baagan. It's completely vegan. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, I love my chicken and cheese. I was a bit skeptical. But after hearing so many people talk about it, I had to try it. OH. MY. So good! If you go, try the spinach veggie wrap with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. I've also tried one of their dairy free smoothies . . . also incredible. But what I discovered that I was most excited about was KALE CHIPS. I had never had kale in my life . . . and never had the desire to try it. After trying one of their samples, I bought a 1.4 oz bag for $4. Yes, expensive. I decided to try and figure out the recipe on my own. After a couple of tries, I am enjoying them at home for a fraction of the cost. And I thought I would share with you!

Kale Chips Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1/2 medium red bell pepper
1 cup raw cashews (soak in filtered water for 8+ hours, drain)
4 Tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. nutritional yeast (I had to ask for this--found it at Sprouts)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbls. agave nectar (or you could try honey)

Blend everything in your food processor until it is the consistency of hummus. Next comes the messy part. Tear your kale into big bite size pieces (they will get smaller) and put the kale and blended ingredients in a large bowl. Mix really well with your fingers. Below is a picture of what the kale and mixture looks like before it is dehydrated:

I took this picture at night, so it's not the best, but you get the idea.

I have tried making these with my dehydrator and with my oven. Not everyone has a dehydrator on hand, but never fear, as your oven will work! Ideally, I like the consistency and crunch better with the dehydrator. The oven makes them a tiny bit more crunchy. 

With a dehydrator: I make these at dinner time the night before and let my dehydrator run overnight, so it's about 12 hours. Just check them and you'll know when they are done.

With an oven: Set your oven to it's lowest possible temperature. Mine only goes down to 170 degrees. I baked them for approximately 10 hours.

Kale is one of the best vegetables you can eat if you are trying to get more protein in your diet! And it has a ton of other benefits as well. If you are local, be sure and try out Baagan restaurant. The owner is really nice and remembered my name on my second visit! A huge, delicious sandwich wrap is only $6 . . . and I would pay more . . . they are that good! Have a great day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas!

This time last year . . . 

This line by Echo Park is one of my all time favorite Christmas lines! I hope you have a blessed Christmas with family and friends!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

season's greetings

I thought I would share one last Christmas card before Christmas. This was from a class I taught last month. I love the simplicity and "quickness" of this card!

We are having so much fun at the beach visiting family! Once in a great while I miss the snow of Minnesota (where I grew up). But most of the time--especially times like this--I don't miss it a bit! 

Anybody know where this is? Just curious who knows their coastline. : ) Have a great day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

snowman card

I taught a card class back in July, "Christmas in July," and this is one of the cards that I showed the gals how to make. I love the way he looks like he is dancing. This was one of my favorites!

I hope you are able to enjoy this last week before Christmas. Have a blessed day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

confronting grief

Over the weekend I attended the memorial service of a little boy whose life was cut short at just 9 weeks. The service was beautiful. No platitudes were spoken. Honest and real emotions were present. Both the father and pastor spoke of asking God, "Why?" And yet peace was present.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
Psalm 34:18

Regardless of my faith and the fact that I know God is in complete control, it is still hard not to question God. I don't think it's wrong to question God. I believe it is important to seek those "Why God" questions in His Word. It has been hard for me to not think of my own children this past week and what I would do. My friend has two girls, the same ages as my girls . . . and her third was a boy . . . my third is a boy. My head knows that God can bring blessings out of any situation, but my heart still asks "Why?"

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:8-9

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
1 Corinthians 13:12

I've known my friend, Heather, for 10 years. She lived with my husband and I for a year. I was in her wedding. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be attending the memorial service of her little boy.

While discussing the upcoming memorial service with a friend who has also lost a child, she said something that stopped me in my tracks . . .

"Grieving slows us down to the point that we truly slow down . . . literally to a crawl . . . and our souls become still and we assess life and what it is all about. What is important becomes crystal clear.  All the chaos, busyness and distractions of life become absent. It is then that you can truly see eternity and the value of life in a way that you cannot see when grief is absent."

Her comment made me think. In what areas of my life do I need to slow down and reassess? As moms and managers of our homes, we have the job of constantly reassessing our family schedule--what things are important and must do's and what things are good things, but not necessary things. There are so many things I would like to do with my time, my life, etc--so many good and worthwhile things. But God continually tells me, "Not yet. Not this season in your life." When I stop to think about it, my kids will be out of the house by the time I am 51 years old. I will have plenty of good years left in me to serve the Lord and follow some of those dreams and ideas. For now, I want to enjoy my children for the gifts that they are . . . and for children, that is usually through quality and quantity time.

If you have a friend who has lost a child or a loved one, I want to recommend a book that has been extremely helpful to me:

The book confronts many other topics besides death--everything from the grief of divorce to the grief of a disability. The book shares insight for the person experiencing the grief and insights for the friends and caregivers. You can checkout the full Table of Contents on Amazon.

I want to share one more thing . . . it's a song that I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to. It's about life's trials, our doubts in God's wisdom . . . and the blessings that come from the rain.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

more christmas cards and a winner!

And the random winner of the Ella eBook is . . .

Congrats Kelly! You are going to love this eBook! Email me at johnstonhouse at gmail dot com and I will get you your eBook info. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! And if you didn't win, you can still get $2 off for a few more days (see previous post for the code). Have a great night!

Monday, December 5, 2011

ella christmas card blog hop + giveaway!

My Ella Friends and I are holding a Christmas card blog hop today! And we all made a card that was inspired by this fabulous eBook:

31 Thank You Cards has been one of my favorite Ella eBooks. Of course they are all great, but if I had to play favorites . . . this would rank in my top three.

My card was inspired by Kimber McGray. I have been following Kimber for a little over two years. She puts out consistent layouts and cards that are simple, yet artistic. I always love her style! If you pick up the eBook, the card I was inspired by can be found on page 5.

For those of you that can't wait to get your hands on this eBook, you can use the code CARDHOP and save $2 off the 31 Thank You Cards eBook. The code expires on Saturday, the 10th. (and it cannot be combined with any other coupon or gift certificate.) For those of you that are feeling "lucky," you can leave me a comment and I will choose a random winner to win this eBook for FREE! Just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner sometime Wednesday evening, say 7pm-ish PST. Good luck!

I hope you'll take a minute to visit my other Ella Friends that are participating in our Christmas card blog hop--you might be inspired to make a few Christmas cards today! (And you'll have 8 other chance to win!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

christmas cards

Just popping in real quick to share a couple of Christmas cards. These are a couple of cards from the recent card class I taught at Green Tangerines. I LOVED working with this line from My Mind's Eye! The colors were so fun!

Although I love to make cards, I haven't made handmade Christmas cards in 3 years! That's what 3 kids and homeschooling has done for me. Good ol' Costco is what I have been falling back on. It works for this stage of my life. I have them printed . . . but not addressed. Hope to get to that this weekend! 

I hope you have a great weekend! I have date night with the husband tonight and am excited for that! Come back for a visit next week and I'll have more Christmas cards to share. : )