Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Too much to handle

A friend is going through more then I can imagine having to deal with all at once. Another new friend has recently been sharing with me her story and again, it's more then I can imagine one person having to bear.

I too, have been at points where the weight of what is happening seems to overwhelm me.

I have been on my knees today praying for these friends, as one of them waits as her mom gets a double mastectomy knowing that her dad just lost his job of 14 years all the while suffering with chronic pain and other conditions herself. Too. Much. To. Bear.

In times like this, I often hear folks say things like, "God doesn't give you more then you can handle." I don't know about you, but that always hits me so raw when I am at the end of me and absolutely know that I can NOT handle what's happening very well at all for one more minute.

In those times, what I know God wants us to know in the depths of our soul is this:

God does not ever give us more then HE can handle.

Now, that brings peace. Bring it to His cross, lay down our burdens, and Know that HE is the one handling this in my heart. I don' then go back to the cross and take it back so that I can handle it... I leave it there.

We are just one phone call away from news that can drive us to our knees - like my friend hearing that her young mom has breast cancer - 2 1/2 weeks ago they didn't live in that world and suddenly their reality is breast cancer. Again, I go back to his truth:

God does not ever give us more then HE can handle.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yippee! Sprinklers are on!

Spring cleaning this weekend left our yard looking so much better after 5 huge garbage bag loads of yard debris were cleared from the garden beds. We lost a few perennials this winter and spring, but clearing out some of these plants just cleaned up the beds a bit to create room for nearby plants to thrive.

New life. Such a joy after a long winter. Little shoots of life, pushing with all their might through the soil gave me so much joy to see once I cleared the dead plant parts away. This time of year, my fingernail are more likely to have dirt under them then they are not (and so are my toes 'cause I love to garden barefoot!).

And as I type this, it's nearly 8:30 and it's still light outside and the sweet sound of the sprinklers are pattering away life giving water on our newly organically fertilized lawn and garden beds.

The anticipation of summer and the daily change in plants as they come back to life during this time of year makes these days some of my favorite days of the year!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Power of Peas

I am making a split pea rice dish tonight and thought I'd share all the wonder packed into a little split pea with you today!

Found the following info on The World's Healthiest Foods Website.

Dried peas Dried peas

When fresh peas are not available or when you want to enjoy a starchier, hardier flavored legume, dried peas are the perfect choice; they are available any time of the year.

Although they belong to the same family as beans and lentils, they are usually distinguished as a separate group because of the ways in which they are prepared. The different types of peas are all spherical, a feature that also sets them apart from beans and lentils. Dried peas are produced by harvesting the peapods when they are fully mature and then drying them. Once they are dried and the skins removed, they split naturally.

Food Chart
This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Dried peas provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Dried peas can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Dried peas, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Dried peas, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only can dried peas help lower cholesterol, they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

Fiber is far from all that dried peas have to offer. Dried peas also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein--all with virtually no fat. As if this weren't enough, dried peas also feature isoflavones (notably daidzein). Isoflavones are phytonutrients that can act like weak estrogens in the body and whose dietary consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer.

Dried Peas are Packed with Fiber

Check a chart of the fiber content in foods and you'll see legumes leading the pack. Dried peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds bile (which contains cholesterol) and carries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A single cup of cooked dried peas provides 65.1% of the daily value for fiber.

Dried Peas Provide Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like dried peas can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contains 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day. Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein--the most dangerous form of cholesterol) by 12.5%.

Take Dried Peas to Heart

In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with an 82% reduction in risk!

In addition to their stellar fiber content, dried peas also feature other heart healthy nutrients. They are a good source of potassium, which may decrease the growth and development of blood vessel plaques and is also good for lowering high blood pressure. A cup of cooked peas will supply you with 20.3% of your daily need for potassium.

Sensitive to Sulfites? Dried Peas May Help

Dried peas are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them. A cup of cooked dried peas provides 196.0% of the daily value for molybdenum.


When fresh peas are not available or when you want to enjoy a starchier, hardier flavored legume, dried peas are perfect. They are available either whole or split, the latter being appropriately called "split peas." While we generally associate dried peas with a deep green color, they are also available in a yellow color, which offers a more delicate flavor and is the type generally preferred in northern European countries. Dried peas are produced by harvesting the peapods when they are fully mature and then drying them. Peas are known scientifically as Pisum sativum.


The modern-day garden pea, from which dried peas are made, is thought to have originated from the field pea that was native to central Asia and Europe. Dried peas have been consumed since prehistoric times with fossilized remains being found at archeological sites in Swiss lake villages. Peas are mentioned in the Bible and were prized by the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

For millennia, dried peas were the main way that people consumed this legume. It was not until the 16th century when cultivation techniques created more tender varieties of garden peas that people began to consume peas in their fresh state as opposed to just eating dried peas. It seems that the Chinese, a culture that had consumed this legume as far back as 2,000 BC, were the first ones to consume both the seeds and the pods as a vegetable. Peas were introduced into United States soon after the colonists first settled in this country.

In the 19th century during the early developments of the study of genetics, peas played an important role. The monk and botanist, Gregor Mendel used peas in his plant breeding experiments.

Today the largest commercial producers of dried peas are Russia, France, China and Denmark.

How to Select and Store

Dried peas are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. They are available as whole peas or split peas. Regardless of packaging, check the peas as best as possible to ensure that they are not cracked and that they are free of debris. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the dried peas are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness.

Dried peas will keep for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. If you need to store them for longer, you can keep them in the refrigerator.

How to Enjoy

For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Tips for Preparing Dried Peas:

Before preparing dried peas, whether whole or split, inspect and remove any debris or dirt. Whole peas need to be soaked in cold water for at least eight hours before cooking, while split peas do not need this extra preparation. To prepare peas, place the legumes in a saucepan using three cups of fresh water for each cup of peas. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Whole peas generally take about an hour to become tender while split peas only take about 30 minutes. Foam may form during the first 15 minutes of cooking, which can simply be skimmed off.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Use split peas to make dahl, the classic Indian dish.

Split pea soup, whether homemade or from a container, is a delicious way to enjoy this nutritious legume.

Purée cooked peas with your favorite herbs and spices and serve as a side dish.

Add whole peas to vegetable soups.


Dried Peas and Purines

Dried peas contain naturally-occurring substances called purines. Purines are commonly found in plants, animals, and humans. In some individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, excessive intake of these substances can cause health problems. Since purines can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid. The health condition called "gout" and the formation of kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of uric acid-related problems that can be related to excessive intake of purine-containing foods. For this reason, individuals with kidney problems or gout may want to limit or avoid intake of purine-containing foods such as dried peas. Yet, recent research has suggested that purines from meat and fish increase risk of gout, while purines from plant foods fail to change the risk. For more on this subject, please see "What are purines and in which foods are they found?"

Nutritional Profile

Dried peas are an excellent source of molybdenum. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of protein, manganese, folate, vitamin B1, potassium and phosphorus.

For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Dried peas.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Dried peas is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A more fitting name has been found

I have officially renamed my StudHusband. Granted, he still loves to get up at 4 am to scale a nearby mountain so that he can greet the sunrise from 7500 feet above sea level. He still loves to scream down trails on his mountain bike, flying through the air as he hits a good jump. Yes, he still loves to snowboard - but only after he hoofed himself to the top of our nearby ski resort mountain 'cause ski lifts are just not his style.

yes he has windsurfed in the Baltic Sea in Germany and got really good at and he looks like an x-treme sport commercial when he is slalom water skiing behind our boat.

BUT....StudHusband no longer fully defines him. Over Spring Break, he took me out on an all day date. First we went to the Portland Art Museum - because his love for photography has now bled over into love for all art. As he thoughtfully gazed at another French painting from the 1700s, he declared that someday, he too wants to paint.

Mountain man of mine, you never cease to keep surprising me!

Then we went off to my favorite vegan and raw vegan restaurant in downtown P-town. YUM!! he loved it too, and always does. So kind of him to even try it, being the ranch boy that he is.

Then finally, he took me ballroom dancing for 3 hours. WOW! He can dance! No kidding. He knows the fox trot, waltz, rhumba, and more! And I, have never ever learned such fineries. I kept urging him to choose a different gal so he could twirl around and actually do the dance but my man kept choosing me. The tall, suave man with long eyelashes and a cleft chin just kept choosing me.


So, my studHusband wants to chase flowers all spring and summer, become a painter, an artist, and a photographer. He sings and plays guitar, writing the most beautiful music to me and to our God. He is an athlete and an amazing daddy. He loves learning new technology as he develops his web design business - and teaches engineering classes and higher level math. True to the 16th and 17th century scholars who explored science at a new level, art, music, movement and sport, religion, and enlightenment my man seems to be straight from a different era!

My man is now officially -

My Renaissance Man!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chasing Flowers

Ahhh...my Studhusband! This spring he has asked me to plan nothing at all for the spring weekends because we will be chasing wildflowers in bloom around the NW, interspersed with soccer (he is the coach and Wildman Sprout wouldn't be caught dead missing a single chance to whack a soccer ball).

BUT....HUN-EEE!! There's so much going on....

"Clear the schedule!"

....women's retreats that I have been asked to speak at, 5K races, get togethers with friends....

"Wildflowers here we come"

So, I will bow out of speaking at the retreat, gracefully step aside so SOMEONE else can win a 5K without me there to usurp the title (Hee hee!!), and I will help carry the photography equipment on our journeys around the NW this spring as wildflowers begin to blossom.

We are hitting the Painted Hills out east in later April, the apple blossoms in hood River in early May, the Rhodies and other magnificent displays of color in Florence in later May (I will squeeze a 5K in there) and everything else in between. Really, it's quite a romantic spring we have planned. And it won't step there - the wildflowers keep blooming all summer, just higher up in elevation - requires the backpacks and a lot of sweat to get to see fields of color glory in July...and we'll be right there in the mix.

I kinda want to balk at it, but I will submit and somehow my heart knows that after months of hanging out in God's art studio with StudHusband and the sprouts, I won't miss all the business that is being cleared for such an occasion.

I am squeezing in a trip to Florence with some girlfriends for a weekend but giving up speaking at our church's women's retreat (a tradition I started 5 years ago that seems to be going strong - yay!).

All in all, skipping "busy-ness" to go celebrate and admire God's creation is probably the perfect prescription for my heart. And quite romantic too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The trouble with being a girl

My heart is so full as I write this. A weekend has passed that was full of friends, smiles, laughter, and even warm sunshine. Saturday was pretty much perfect. StudHusband got up at 5 am to meet one of his best buddies in Bend to go up to Bachelor together. They, both being teachers, avoid the lift ticket costs by hoofing to the top and boarding down. Lots of exercise, sweat, sunshine and then a thrilling ride down, through awesome powder.

Our wildman sprout had his first soccer game of the spring with his daddy as coach and had a blast. He deserves to be so good - he devotes hours to honing his craft every evening. It's what makes him tick right now. He was scoring so many goals, out maneauvering kids like they weren't there, assisting, and defending so much that he was crushing the other team. Finally, Coach DAD, put him in the goalee box to give the other team a chance. The most awesome thing about this little sprout is that he is such an encourager to his teammates. He is turning into such a leader, right before my eyes. Then off to a b-day party he went with his good buddies from school. So, Sprout's heart was also filled up to overflowing this day.

So StudHusband got some friend time in. Wildman Sprout got some friend and soccer time in. And then I, after the encouragement of my friend Tiffany, decided to go ahead and go to our women's tea at church. I did so, only after I could convince one of my closest friends to go with me. Together we went, and had a ball. Surrounded by so many ladies that I have know for years, without kids, or deadlines, we just enjoyed time together.

But what surprised me was how many gals I met that were hesitant to go. The consistent theme was similar to mine - "Well, I didn't really have a role in the tea so I thought I'd just skip it this year." This was the first year I was not on the planning committee or hosting a table or playing the piano...it was the first time I could just go. But for some reason, that causes such turmoil in us ladies. We somehow think we need to have something to DO, in order to be WANTED.

Even with God, we think we need to DO something and all he calls us to do is to be STILL and KNOW THAT I AM GOD!!

I so loved being with my friends just because of who they are...not because they did a thing but simply because our hearts connect. And I think what filled me up the most is that I could tell that they loved being with me, simply because of me.

An hour after getting home from the tea, our good friends Harry and Sally showed up for the rest of the weekend and took us out to dinner.

All that to say, the trouble with being a girl is we can get caught up in DOING and not just BEING. This weekend I got nothing done, did nothing substantial to make anything happen, but I am filled to overflowing because this whole weekend was full of time with friends, phone calls to other friends in need of encouragement, and tons of laughter with my family.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cornbread - Running Gal Style

Nothing I cook is ever actually what the recipe says - Chocolate chip cookies are the code word for something entirely different. But, if kids like it, then we all win in this War Against American Food.

Cornbread - Running Gal Style
Preheat oven to 400
Mix together
1 C cornmeal (I get fresh ground, organic cornmeal which makes all the difference to the taste from www.azurestandard.com)
1 C flour (I do a random mixture of these flours to equal 1 C: Quinoa, Rice, Barley) Of course, you could just use Whole wheat pastry flour or white too
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T brown sugar (I use agave nectar, raw honey, or Dehydrated Cane juice here)
1/2 c dry milk powder (optional - I didn't use this)
make a well and add:
2 beaten eggs
1 C milk (I use rice milk)
1/4 C oil
Stir just until smooth. Pour into a greased 9x9" pan and bake 25 min.

Reduce cornmeal to 3/4 Cup. Add 3T soy flour, 3T wheat germ and 3T bran (I did not do this that night but have done this, not using Soy flour but quinoa

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's Cookin'? - April Edition

I'd love to hear what's cookin' in your home! If you decide to join me and post a recipe, leave a comment and I will list you with a link to your blog in a post next week. I am not too into recipes that use Cream of something soups as that takes the fresh, homemade, healthy bend out of the recipe. If your recipe idea is fresh, healthy, and yummy - send a comment and I'll list you in my post coming up!

Got this recipe from my cooking expert friend Sacha. Culinary materpieces happen daily at her home.

Here's a yummy way to get the health benefits of squash into your life and kids life:

Roasted Butternut Squash & Thyme Soup

1 large butternut squash (halved, seeds removed, roasted, cooled, peeled and chopped)
1 potato, peeled and cut into small dices
1/2 stick butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped celery
1 T minced garlic
2-3 Cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh thyme, stems removed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 picked and chopped, 1 whole
1 bay leaf
1 T brown sugar (I omitted this)
1/2 - 1 C half and half (I omitted this)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. cook squash
  2. Saute onion and carrots in butter until onion is translucent and carrots begin to soften. Add celery and then garlic, cooking for several minutes more.
  3. Add squash, potato, broth, 1/2 of thyme, chopped and whole rosemary and bay leaf
  4. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 20 min
  5. Remove whole rosemary sprig and bay leaf
  6. Puree soup with hand blender or with a regular blender.
  7. (I did not do step 7): Add half and half, brown sugar, remaining thyme and salt and pepper. Simmer soup for 10 - 15 min more.
YUM!! Family test:

they loved it!

Made cornbread too. Recipe to follow on Friday, April 3rd.