Two of My Favorite Must Haves!!

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Around 2005 I was introduced to this amazing company. It is Thrive foods out of Utah. Let me just say it has changed my life. Well it changed my fridge and grocery bill. It also changed my cooking. I guess that does encompass my entire life.  I am not sure what else I do someday besides cook, clean, cook again, clean, and repeat.  Do you see a pattern? I think most wives experience this pattern. It’s awful, but it’s wonderful at the same time. I mean would I rather have my husband in the kitchen all the time? Ummm.  No, probably not. I enjoy cooking too much.

I am not a one of those disaster nuts and I think that some see these foods as disaster planning. However I do have quite the stock of Thrive foods and I keep replacing what I use. Does that make me a stock nut? Maybe? There is quite a bit I have downstairs in storage for emergency use. But others I use on an almost daily basis.

I was skeptical at first. However after the party. (There is a sales rep, and you can do a home party just like Pamered Chef, tupperware, Mary Kay, etc. ) I wanted some things for when the power was out and when I was in desperate need. My Rep. Susan Pillen out of Newcastle, Wyoming, showed us so many recipes and ways to use the items. I was amazed at how good.  Plus here is the BIG WINNER – NO PRESERVATIVES.   If it says carrots, it is just carrots.  DING DING Winner!! I love this. LOVE it!!!! Basically they freeze dry the 

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foods and they are amazing. It is so easy to throw them in recipes to plump back up and cook or you can put them in a little water and they plump back up to use as you wish! What is better than that? I’m not really sure. 

 

Once my shipment arrived I began to use a few more items more than others. However I have used about everything. My kids love the yogurt in their lunches. Little dried yogurt bites.  Why didn’t I know of this stuff when they were little. Ugh. It would have been my best friend. What am I saying, it still is my best friend.

My husband has always been a stickler for using the fresh veggies in our fridge. Let me say I was one that always bought carrots. Constanlty for use in soups and stews, etc. Other than that I didn’t really use them very much and guess what? Yep, they rot. I wish they didn’t, but they would.  That is money thrown away. It was depressing because I like them in things and need occasionally. Now, with the thrive carrots. I use them when I need them. I rarely buy carrots unless I need whole baby carrots, which is maybe 1-2 times a year.  These carrots are perfectly cut little pieces perfect for soups, stews, casseroles, pasta, etc. The list goes on.  I don’t have to chop anything. I just throw them in.

My other is finely diced onions. What a life saver. My son hates onions and these are chopped so finely that you don’t notice them, but the flavor is outstanding.  When he is cooking, he can get a little handful and throw them in. I don’t have to worry about him cutting onions or not putting them in because he doesn’t like them. He just opens the lid and Wham there they are perfect every time.

Check out their website! Host a party, do what you must, but Buy some of their food. You will never be the same. You don’t have to thank me. You will want to, but you don’t have to. Well you can. Just send me an email or better yet send me the recipe that becomes your favorite after you start using these products.

Check it out: http://www.thrivelife.com

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Gift From Mom

Gift From Mom

My mother and I recently went on a fabulous girls trip to Wisconsin. I of course had started crocheting and wanted to stop at different yarn and quilting stores along the way. Well Mom had not knitted in about 50 years, but then I got her to try a pattern and she was hooked. Or should I say needled. Lol. Anyway, she then made me this wool infinity scarf.

Don’t you just think my model is the cutest!

And You Thought You Were Having a Bad Day!!

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Oh! Cake Everywhere. This is a small snapshot of the spill!

Yesterday started out just as any other. I woke up, cooked breakfast for the kids. Then off to the school bus stop we go. I wished my lovely studious little children a good day and headed back to the ranch. Wow, what a grand life.

Once I was back in the house the plans for the day were discussed. My wonderful hubby gave me the details of the rest of my day. He was going to work on a few things, then after lunch we would move cows to another pasture. Burr, I thought. Then, bless his heart, he informed me that I could ride in the truck and call the cows, while he rode the four-wheeler behind.  I tell you I almost screamed with joy.  Yeah,  won’t be cold.

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This is the 5 ton feeding truck. Now you see why I enjoy driving it.

The rest of the morning I worked on cleaning out our old email account and doing a few other odds and ends.  I joined JJ in the kitchen for a quick lunch and out the door we went.

It ended up I was driving the 5 ton army truck. Not a problem. I loaded up the dogs. In this I do mean I literally loaded them up. It is a ways up there. JJ had already loaded the 600 pounds of cake into the cake feeder. I was headed up ahead of him to start gathering the cows.

I love driving this huge truck. I am the king of the road, I am high up and can see everything. The dogs, I am not sure what they think. It’s loud. It’s bumpy. But they enjoy being with me, so down the road we go.

You know that feeling when things are just great. When your flying high on life because, well what can go wrong. It was a beautiful although windy day in the high 30’s.  Moving cows is always fun. I was going to enjoy this time.

Then Wham!!! It all goes down the drain.  

I got too close to the shoulder. Our new road that the oilfield companies recently built has a very steep shoulder. Let me say a 5 ton truck on a steep shoulder. Oh yeah, I was in a panic. I just new I was turning over.  I quickly removed my foot from the gas and let it go down the shoulder and out into the pasture. Well army trucks don’t stop when your foot comes off the gas. They go, and go. I panicked. Then there it is. A large embankment. More like a motocross jump looking hill was coming at me fast. I remembered the brake and both feet hit it at once.

Did I mention I had 600 pds of cake in the cake feeder on the back of the truck. Well I did when I started. OPPS!!

I got it stopped as I crested the first hill.  The cake feeder flew off the truck.  When I looked back the cake was spread from the moment I left the road all the way to that hill. Well I drove it back up on the road.

I faced the facts. I had to call the hubby. I already checked the cake feeder, it was not damaged. Wheww. but it was definitely empty. oh noooo!

Well I called him and mentioned I was in a little accident. He was concerned but when I mentioned the cake was no longer available to feed with, well plans had to change.

He showed up, we moved the truck. The new plans were discussed. I would be riding a four-wheeler along with him on the motorcycle to move cows. Did I mention the fact I was going to be riding in truck, so I did not dress for being outside.  He did take pity and give me his stocking hat. It was out of pure pity, I know.

Well it all worked out. The cows got moved, I survived riding in the cold. We picked up the kids and he didn’t kill me for spilling 600 pds of feed.

Well today we went up and scooped as much as we could and I picked up some more by hand. Everything worked out. I think at the end we managed to gather up around 300 pounds of cake and a lot of dirt!

It’s Not a Krystal’s Burger, but It’ll do!

Where I grew up we have the best little fast food place, it’s called Krystals. I know it is just fast food, but when you move away and can no longer consume grease covered fries and small fist sized burgers, you get a craving. It’s crazy but true. When I go home to Tennessee there are a few musts on my list that I make sure to cross off every time.

1. Eat at Krystals
2. Eat at Chick-fi-la
3. Go to Grandmother’s
4. Eat at the Great Wall
5. Well eat anywhere else

Do you see a theme? Yes, eating is number one. You see in my small little town in Wyoming. We have Arby’s, McDonalds, Taco John’s, and Pizza Hut.  We don’t eat out very much, but then again you see our choices. So when I cross the Mississippi River I get down to business. There used to be Sonic and Cracker Barrel but those have moved west and I can enjoy them when I go to the big towns.

Back to the Krystals burgers. Well I found a recipe that is very similar to the taste of those little burgers. They are so good, that I think they are better. Well they are better because I can have them whenever I want. HAHA

Now there is a weird ingredient in this recipe. I was skeptical at first, but do it, just throw it in there. You won’t even know it exists. Trust me. I make these all the time in large batches. Then I wrap them in foil and throw them in the freezer. They are awesome to heat up in the oven. It is a great little thing to have on hand because you never know when someone will stop by and you need lunch or a snack for them. These work wonders. Plus I can throw them in the freezer at the cabin or wherever I am going for an emergency dinner if needed.

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Little Krystal Knockoff Burgers

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1.5-2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
½ cup milk
1 pkg slider burger buns or small rolls sliced in half
1 pkg American Cheese Slices,thick sliced

1. In a large bowl mix burger, soup mix, peanut butter, and milk. Spread the meat mixture on a cookie sheet with lip. Use a cup or rolling pin to roll over the meat to smooth it out. Put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. The meat will shrink. Take it out of the oven and put the diced onions all around the edges to flavor the meat. Place back into the oven for about 15 minutes.

2. Take it out of the oven. Spread out the onions and add the cheese slices. Put it back in the oven for several minutes or until the cheese is melted. Add the tops of the rolls and place back into the oven. for a few minutes to steam and warm the buns.

3. Take it out of the oven. Slice the meat with a pizza cutter and pick up the sliders and place back on the corresponding bottom or the roll.

4. Let cool and what you do not consume immediately, wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. Serve with pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Yummm.

Enjoy!

Healing

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Recently a dear friend’s mom lost her husband. When this happens I am always so perplexed at how to express my concern and to convey the exact words to help.  I am just not one of those people who has a way with words. I know some who always seem to know the right words or even when to say nothing. They are able to make any situation feel okay, to feel loved, to feel understood. Boy, I am not one of those.  I try, I really do, but I always seem to evoke the stare of “What.”

As I have watched my friend and her mother over the last month, it makes me see the side of grief that is all so real.  We all must at one point or another face grief. We will all experience the loss of a loved one and be left wondering how to move forward in life without this person by our side, next door, or a phone call away.  The life that we face every morning at some point ends for us all. However the grieving process is one that is individual to each of us.

I have often wondered how a process can change for so many things. Grieving is not only just for the passing of a loved one, but also for so many other things in life.  Many people will be faced with the grieving process over losing something very important to them. This loss may be a  job, a pet, a friendship, a relationship, a marriage, or even a special item.  These events can cause us to go through that same grieving process.

One thing that they all entail is tremendous pain and time.  I myself have been through this process and there is not a quick way out. There is not an easy exit, there is no I’m done and I want out.  There is only day by day and time.  For me, time was not only my friend, but my enemy.  Every day seemed to be an eternity. I lived for night when I could put away the “I’m doing okay face” and let my insides rise to the surface.  I turned to what I needed to get me by, wine. When my kids were tucked safe in bed, I opened the wine to ease the pain that I could not face. That whole first 6-8 months were filled with dreading the morning and longing for the night. I only lived for night. That was all I could see. If I could just make it till 8pm. I would be okay. It was a blur. It was almost like I was operating in a dream. It was almost not real.

Many people shared with me and told me that time would make things better. At that moment, I could not see how. But the days did turn to weeks, then months, then years and life became routine and normal.  The pain subsided from moments of not thinking of the pain, to hours, to eventually a whole day might pass. I have not moved to more than a day, but I know I will.  I no longer need wine to get me through the evening hours. I did not let this pain beat me down and it was through God’s word I was able to move forward through that river.

I realize that we are all different, but facing grief is such a hard task. We (especially women) want to be strong and tough for our families. We want to heal quickly. But in reality, we must give ourselves time.  Loosing something is very hard. It is a tremendous burden that we must endure, but we must also learn from it and not let it make us bitter.

During my time of grief I turned whole heartedly to God. I have never felt him more than in that time. He spoke to me so often. I began to journal everything that I witnessed.  One particular day I prayed and prayed for guidance I just didn’t know how I was going to make it through a particular event.  The minute I walked into my house the phone rang, and it was the preacher from church. He was calling to check up, he had been thinking of me. WOW! if that is not God, then I don’t know what is.  He showed me so many times that he was there.

He was there encouraging me to go to Bible studies. Pushing me to church on Sundays. Without his push in the right direction, I am not sure how my healing would have been. I turned to his word. I realized that I needed him to heal. I needed to seek his word so that I would be able to have a whole heart  and soul.  You know many times we meet those people in our lives who have never recovered from grief. They are shells of their former selves.  God does not ask this. He wants us to enjoy the life that he has given. He gives us day after day to seek his word and to spread his love to all those around us.  Each day we wake in the morning is another gift he is granted to us.  Why waste it on a lifetime of grief.

Yes, we must go through the process and we must find our way, but with God’s help he moves us to a better life. Take the pain and move to where he wants us to be.  Many times God takes a tragedy and it enables us to become closer to the path he wants us to be on.  I belief that life is hard, but we must seek God’s guidance to make life joyful with what we are given.

Grief is such a terrible pain to walk through. The path is long and the trail can go in so many different directions. As you make your way through, you begin to see little rays of light on the side of the path. Then the light begins to emerge and you do see a way out. You realize your life is not over, only the chapter or season you were in is over.  There is so much more.  As hard as it is to see, there is so much to come, sometimes even better than before.

I continue to have days that are never easy and events that I would rather stay home.  However God wants us out enjoying the days he gives us. He wants us to be true to his word and bring joy to our hearts. He will if we let him. He will if we just let him in.