Posted in Uncategorized

My Biggest Goal yet…a goal within a goal..

I just posted about committing to paint more and doing a portrait for my friend, and here’s the video of the process below.  It was actually my biggest goal yet since starting my productivity journal.  But it got even bigger when I decided to document the process and make a youtube video about it.

The editing process was a BEAST! I lost four hours of editing on Shutcut due to a corrupt file.  I like to stick with something when I learn how to use it…but man…I think I’m going to switch to something else after Shotcut did a LOT of malfunctioning on me, quitting and kicking me out of the program a lot.  Phew.  May have even been more agonizing to me than labor.  But, I hope people enjoy the video and are inspired to set their own creative goals!

Posted in Uncategorized

Got Creative Goals? Why they’re Worth Pursuing in my life:

Have you thought of yourself as a creative person yet realized that you feel like you have too much to do to take the time to be creative?  That has been me.  I keep my calendar pretty simplistic to keep stress low. (In my opinion, that’s a MUST when you have either a chronic health challenge [for me currently it’s the hormone and digestion/food intolerances issues mainly] or a high-support-needs child or two).  Navigating life’s challenges while trying to stay sane AND keep the house from becoming a complete disaster while also maintaining some semblance of a social life left me feeling like my schedule was pretty crowded.  So I’d say I didn’t have time for anything else.  I believed that, too.

And the truth is, I DON’T have time for things that cause more stress and drain me. I’m in a season where I do not volunteer much unless it doesn’t stress me out, because I can love my family and others better when I’m not a cranky ball of angst. I also recently stopped attending a moms’ group that has been so meaningful to me EVEN THOUGH I love it!  Why? I need to give my “best yes,” and right now there isn’t enough capacity in me to attend that and also build the relationships I’ve been feeling led to grow more in my community.  

Yet I realized something.  You know the crazy thing about productive, resilient, remarkable people?  They don’t have any more hours in the day than you or I yet somehow they MAKE time for exceptional activities.  So I thought, Well, I want to be resilient and not settle for merely surviving!  I need to make time for things that energize me, give me a zest for life, which in turn helps me be a better version of myself for the world!

I value art and consider myself a creative person, yet that was one area I had let go to the wayside.  I’m not sure how to express it, but doing art (or a garden, etc.) awakens something in a person, at least in me, that invigorates the soul.  I wanted more of that along my journey out of survival mode.

In learning about goal-setting and knowing the fact that 40% more of our goals are accomplished when we write them down, I committed to doing more artwork.  My friend was the catalyst for action when she saw one of my smaller pieces of art I did 10 years ago and challenged me to do more.  I’ve done maybe one painting a year to give as a gift the past 10 years, if that.  So when she said, “Will you do one for me?” I felt like that was confirmation and the reason to get to it!

As an aside, realistically, artists cannot do art upon request to give to people for free very often, if at all in some cases (especially if that is their livelihood).  Not to be too woo-woo, but artists put some of their heart into every piece of art.  I personally have to consider the pull on my time taking me away from more focused attention on my family, or say, re-organizing that disaster of a basement, if I’m doing art for someone else.  But her genuine enthusiasm and encouragement for something that was already stirring in my heart before she even spoke it just made me want to say yes, kind of as a thank-you for being the impetus.  

Saying a goal out loud to another person and putting a time frame on it helps light your fire.  Also, doing my Youtube channel with the idea of living creatively and intentionally also was something that motivated me.  If I’m hoping to share my love for intentionality and creativity to encourage others to be creative…well, I kind of have to be actively and intentionally creative.

Doing the painting was not only an exercise in goal-setting, reigniting a passion, and connecting with my friend, it was also just about being.  What do I mean? I had to stop all the commotion of my life and just be in order to do that, to be still with paint and a paintbrush and a blank canvas. I had to be an artist who knew what her subject was.

So I did a portrait of my friend and her two cultures.  I wanted to capture what matters to her and who she is as a person–someone with a big heart. The world is better and more beautiful with her and her perspective, which is the sentiment behind my painting.  The validation of that,  the whole process of goal-setting and creating art, and growing along the way makes it worthwhile to me.

 

 

Posted in Edible Awesome, Featured Inspiration, Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

5-minute DIY Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe! (using TJ’s Umami seasoning)

I LOVE mushrooms.  Chunky or not, they’re right up there with olives for me on my list of top flavor pops.  But I understand that not everybody is a fan of their texture, which is why I am super excited about Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend.  First of all, I can have all their ingredients, which in seasoning blends is becoming more and more rare for me (they usually have MSG or soy mixed in, or tomato, or something like that on my intolerance/list of no-no’s).  It’s just porcini and white button mushroom powder, salt, dried onion powder, ground mustard seed, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and dried thyme.

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I’ve heard umami described as that “something something” that just makes a dish taste more enjoyable.  For my sensational kids  and husband (others might call them picky, but sensory processing disorder is a thing), texture with food is a biggie, and now I can use this mushroom-packed powder in recipes without them detecting squishy little chunks of “yuck” yum. ( Please note it does have the crushed red pepper in it, so if you are sensitive to spiciness, go easy on it.  I’m not a lover of too much spice, but I do like the level in the recipe below. )

We got the flu, and it was not fun.  I made a bunch of chicken broth that week to try to speed the recovery process, and after chicken noodle soup, I wanted to make GF stuffed manicotti.  My mom’s no-bake recipe for manicotti growing up used a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.  As I have to read food labels for gluten, MSG, soy, etc., I find it rather challenging at least and expensive for sure to buy considering those parameters. 

When I went GF and dairy free, I knew there were ways to make your own.  But previously, when I used pre-cut mushrooms, it came out gritty when the ones I got turned out to have dirt in them.  Now that’s disgusting! So this time I wasn’t going to mess with actual mushrooms, plus I was sick and wanted something easy, and considering the aforementioned sensory issues, was delighted that I’d recently bought 3 of the mushroom seasoning mix jars at TJ’s the week before.  (A risky move, since I’d never tried it before.  But as I said–mushrooms=love.  So that was enough for me. )

Below is the Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe I came up with in order to use it in the Instant Pot Manicotti recipe I attempted!  (Son asked for seconds of the manicotti, so since he’s generally the pickiest of them all, I consider that a win!)  I used the organic chicken stock (a little thicker than broth because it uses the bones, too) I’d made, which was already flavorful, but I am sure you could use store-bought as well.  I also used my GF flour blend mix.  This recipe only takes about 5 minutes to make!
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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

6 TBSP gluten-free flour

2 TBSP dairy-free butter (or coconut oil, ghee or regular butter if you can tolerate those.              I used nitrite-free bacon grease since I am not opposed to some fat in the diet for                good hormone synthesis.)

2 Cups organic chicken stock

2 TBSP TJ’s Umami Mushroom seasoning

1 cup dairy-free milk (or regular works too)

Directions:  (You could choose to saute’ some onions prior to step one…but I was tired and didn’t).

1. Melt dairy-free butter (or whatever fat/oil fits your diet) and mix the 6 TBSP GF flour in to make a roux.

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2.  Pour chicken stock and stir with a whisk/fork until the roux has dissolved.

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3. While stirring, mix in the Umami seasoning.

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4.  Keep stirring occasionally until you see bubbles and thickening occurring.
(At this point I kind of wanted to eat it all like that, condensed-soup style, but I needed it for my next recipe.  If you want to freeze this recipe, stop here before adding the dairy-free milk, which you can add after thawing).

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5.  If you want it to be like soup and not condensed cream of mushroom soup, add 1/4 to 1 cup dairy-free or regular milk and stir until incorporated.Easy pleasey!  (Not peasy…there are no peas in this recipe.)