Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I made my very first homemade cranberry sauce last year and have since vowed to NEVER go back to the canned stuff again.  Not when it's SO easy to make.  And, Dalton absolutely LOVES it.  He requested a second batch of it this year, after the first batch was gone.  I promised him I'd make some more today, and a good friend requested the recipe; hence, this blog!

I started off with this recipe as a base and made a few modifications to put my own twist on the recipe.  This photo shows all the ingredients and equipment I used ...

12oz bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
pomegranate juice (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugars in the orange juice.  Stir in the cranberries and squeeze the pomegranate juice into the mixture, and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes).  (Optional: I like to use a masher to mash up some of the cranberries, before transferring the sauce to a bowl or container.)  Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. The sauce will thicken as it cools.  

The easiest way I have found to "juice" the pomegranate seeds is to put them into a small or medium sized sieve and press on them with the back of a spoon.

I love eating the sauce by itself, and I've found that it tastes absolutely delicious on pumpkin bread (or, probably any bread or toast, for that matter!), much like a jam or preserve.  Dalton loves it mixed into his oatmeal for a healthy, tasty, filling breakfast.  Usually, it doesn't last long enough in our house to use it for much of anything else, but I'd imagine you could use it in baking, or to make a tasty homemade cranberry vinaigrette.  It may also make a nice additional stir-in to a yummy homemade chicken salad.  Many options!  Let me know if you try it, if you like it and what you end up using it for!

For more tasty recipes and healthy meal ideas, please check out my honey's blog, over at What's For Dinner ... Dad?!  Good day and namaste!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering How Far I've Come

I'd stayed up late last night, playing Magic: The Gathering online with my best friend and life partner. I was enjoying our time together and didn't want it to end. We so cherish the time we get to spend together.

So, this morning, I started out the day in a foul mood.  One, because I was still sleepy.  Two (as a result of One), because I didn't get up in enough time to exercise.  I've still been slacking, in my eyes, on the amount of exercise I've been putting in lately.  The foul mood then extended itself and attracted other foul thoughts to add to the party.  'Tis true that misery loves company, even in thought-form.

Determined not to allow negativity to ruin my day, I began listening to a few Abraham-Hicks videos on YouTube as a way of helping me change my perspective and thoughts.  As I listened to the first video, a thought occurred to me.  Here I was, steeped in, "I should.. I would.. I ought to.. I haven't been.. I'm not doing enough.." type of thoughts. You get the idea, I'm sure.  When all of a sudden, I wake up (again) to the fact that I'm not practicing self-love by thinking these nasty thoughts about myself.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, I'd forgotten, I'd gotten it back into my head that I'm just not good enough, not worthy.  Well you know what, nice try Ego!  I'm on to you again.

I AM good enough.  I AM worthy of love, from myself and from others.  I WILL keep repeating these thoughts until they STICK!  All I have to do is look back on how far I've come, especially in the past several months, and KNOW that I'm worthy, that I have much to contribute to the world, that I don't HAVE to stick with the all-too-familiar self-defeating, self-belittling thoughts of the PAST.

Heck, I was telling my son just this morning (again) how he can at any moment change the way he thinks, feels, behaves and acts.  Not necessarily all at once, but baby steps, a little at a time.  Time to take my own advice, methinks!

Lesson:  When I find myself locked in negative, self-defeating thoughts, one key to reopening my mind and refreshing my perspective is to look back on how much progress I've made so far, how far I've come.  "You've Come a Long Way, Baby".  Good day and namaste!

Friday, November 5, 2010

YOU are the Key to Your Own Success

Within you lies all the self-love, confidence, happiness, joy and LOVE that you'll ever need to accomplish anything you set your heart to, and to see you through ANY situation, "good" or "bad".  It's simply not a matter of searching for these things outside yourself.  Within you is a never-ending well of strength, compassion (for self and others), determination and creativity.  The key to unlocking these characteristics lies within you as well.  Surround yourself with positive people, places, things, think happy, positive, joyful thoughts, and watch your entire world change around you.

One day in mid-February 2010, I came across an app for my iPod Touch (which has since been stolen - my heart holds no bitterness over this fact; I only wish that someone else benefits positively from the iPod), called Couch to 5K (or C25K, for short).  This MP3 download available on Amazon.com is similar: 8 Weeks to 5k Training Program.  I began using C25K shortly thereafter; my only intention at the time was to improve my own health and wellbeing.  In May 2010, I signed myself up for a 4-mile run in September and a 5K race in October.  In July 2010, I joined My Fitness Pal in order to further my goals.

At some point during all of this, I felt I wanted yet another way to keep myself motivated, accountable and determined.  So, I started a group on Facebook, simply called Motivation. to share stories, links, posts, articles, photos, quotes and the like with anyone interested in such things.  The group has since grown to nearly 700 members!  Wow!

Like I said, I didn't start out with the intention of motivating, helping, encouraging or inspiring others.  I was and still am simply following my heart, doing what I feel is best for myself and my family.  I wish to pause here and thank my heart, my rock, and my life partner, Mike, for ALL his encouragement, support and unconditional LOVE throughout this journey -- without him, I wouldn't be where I am today.  He has positively changed my life so that I may positively change the lives of others.  Ever grateful. <3

I often think back to that day in February, that very day I took the reigns to change my life, to take responsibility for my actions, my choices, my issues, and to stop blaming other people, places, things and situations for my dissatisfaction, sadness, loneliness, bitterness and anger.  I often wonder what my world would be like today if I hadn't taken those steps.  With Mike's help and encouragement, I've worked through every one of those issues, faced them, dug deep to find the source of my unpleasant feelings, and now, at this point in my life, I am the absolute happiest I've ever been.  I AM happiness.  I am finally ME.  I have learned to accept myself the way I am right now, as well as striving to be, do and have everything I have ever and will ever long for.  I finally understand the concepts covered in a book I read years ago, which opened up a whole new world to me, even then: Ask and It Is Given.  Talk about full circle!

YOU are the key to changing your life!  Right now, you can take one small step toward a more positive, happier life, just by becoming aware of your thoughts, taking hold and changing them for the better.  One of the quickest, most effective ways of doing this is to jot down a list of the many blessings in your life.  I find that whenever my mind wants to turn toward that which I do not want in my life, that which I dislike, I can halt that train right in its tracks and turn it toward what I DO want in my life, what I LOVE about my life, or WOULD like in my life.  It takes practice, but it IS possible and SO beneficial.

Before I conclude this blog, I ask that you please consider helping me EMPOWER you and others, by taking just one moment to visit this link, vote for my story, and perhaps share the link with your friends.  Through EmpowHer's 1000 Women campaign, they are recruiting 1,000 women who will then each reach out to 1,000 women to create the biggest movement for women’s health and wellness.  I would greatly appreciate your support!  Thank you, good day, and namaste!