After Bulk Food Shopping?

Every Sunday after attending Sunday church services, the next question from the children on Sunday’s drive home is “What is for lunch today?” I have been doing a childcare job on Fridays that has left me sapped of energy. Often I have craft/vendor shows on Saturday, and when we get home from those, Lady L and I review our inventory and consider together our restocking order. Sunday lunch and dinner is an after thought more often than not, and I’m dead dog tired.

But, after bulk food shopping, walking the Amish community, canoeing a few miles down the St. Joseph River, making a decision that brings peace, and getting true days of rest, when they asked what was for lunch, I had answers. I had a plan and a menu ready to be prepared.

Bulk cooking and freezer meals are often my solution for busy weeks of homeschooling, networking, craft/vendor events, and for dealing with a husband and two sons whose work schedules are inconsistent and often inconvenient. We still manage to eat dinner mostly together almost every night, even if dinner is at 8 pm. Meal planning allows us maximum flexibility with our schedule, we can cook together, and doesn’t leave us stressed and scrambling for meals.

Because we had purchased our favorite Amish cheddar cheese, everyone was excited for homemade macaroni and cheese with steamed broccoli on Sunday afternoon.  While it was baking, I whipped up Monday and Wednesday’s nights dinners in a 16 quart pot with the following family favorite soup recipe.  There was even some left over for lunches or the freezer for a night when there are fewer of us home for dinner.

Sausage, Bean, Sweet Potato, Kale Soup

10 cups homemade chicken broth

1 large diced onion

 Fresh minced garlic to taste

2 lbs of Amish sweet Italian sausage diced

3 large peeled, diced sweet potatoes

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. chopped, dried rosemary

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. thyme leaves

2 cups dried cannellini beans, cooked

32 oz fresh or frozen chopped kale (I prefer frozen)

Place all in a 16 qt pot, add water to about an inch from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until all vegetables are soft.  Add white wine to taste–I used 2 cups. Cook for about 20 minutes more. Serve with homemade whole grain bread.

On Monday afternoon, I baked fresh ground whole wheat bread, which we ate fresh from the oven with our soup and with Amish butter. Delicious!


Ten loaves of fresh ground whole wheat bread fresh out of the oven…well…nine of loaves of bread because one is almost all eaten.

I prepared two meals worth of the topping for Stuffed Sweet Potatoes using a recipe from Against All Grain. This is another family favorite. (I baked the sweet potatoes on the nights we ate those, and just reheated the topping mixture.)

And, I prepared two meals of Spaghetti Squash lasagna, inspired during a Mattawan Business Association and community farmer’s market end of season dinner. The squash was from a local farmer.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

3 large spaghetti squash halved, seeded, and baked til soft. Scrape the meat of the squash into spaghetti strings and add to a large bowl. Add 15 oz skim ricotta cheese, 12 oz small curd low fat cottage cheese, two eggs, and parsley. Stir til well mixed. Divide into two 15×12 pans. Spoon homemade spaghetti sauce with turkey burger over squash and cheese mixture. Top with Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses. Bake at 350° for about an hour or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Each pan serves 6-8.

While all that was simmering, baking, or we were eating, I had 4 cups of black beans simmering in the crock pot for another family favorite of Black Beans and Lime Cilantro Rice. This reheats and freezes well. It’s also a great leftover for the nights hubby or sons are working late and need to take a meal with them.

Crock Pot Black Beans and Cilantro Lime Rice

My own adaptations from recipe found on Our Everyday Dinners.

32 oz dry black beans

8 cups homemade/concentrated chicken broth

8 cups water

1 whole large onion diced

1 large scoop of jarred garlic (we use a serving spoon heaping)

Salt and pepper—large pinch of each

Put all in 7 qt crockpot on high for 4-6 hours or low 8+ hours. Stir often and add water as needed til tender. Then add

1 7 oz can green chilies

1 28-32 oz can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons white vinegar

4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

Stir and heat til hot and bubbly. Serve over cilantro lime brown rice, and top as desired with avocado, sour cream (we actually used Greek yogurt), or salsa.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Prepare 6 cups of brown rice in a rice cooker according to rice cooker instructions. Mix with dried cilantro to taste (I used about 2-3 palm fulls) and ~8 TBL lime juice. YUM!

This week, having not prepared as well on Sunday, I’ve found myself scrambling just a little bit. I do have a meal plan, but it’s not all prepared in advance. This has caused just a wee bit of stress or later night eating. I plan to remedy this as part of my weekly goal setting routine, as I prefer last week’s meal planning plan far better!

Tonight, though, having made some more homemade chicken broth on Monday night, we get to eat leftover homemade potato chowder topped with some of that amazing Amish cheddar cheese, and whatever bread is left!




The Lilla Rose October customer special ends in just 11 days!

Just 10 days until 2016 MACC begins, and we try to raise $1000 by December 31, 2016 for Hannahlee! 



Taking Time Out For Perspective

This past weekend, Dr. P and I took a date weekend. On Friday, we went to a favorite destination spot in Shipshewana, Indiana. We soaked in Amish farm land, Amish horses and buggies, Amish furniture stores, and the peacefulness of the Amish community. We had lunch at an Amish deli, and dinner at a tourist-y restaurant where we had been given a gift certificate. It serves Amish like buffet style food.


Bulk food shopping-favorite shopping trip of the year is here!

We logged many steps on our Garmin Vivofits (affiliate link) and got lots of good conversation in as we are trying to gain perspective on some decisions we need to make. Sometimes uninterrupted by children conversations are just less distracting, more productive, and less frustrating.

On Saturday, we went canoeing on the St. Joseph River for about 4.5 miles. It was a cool, windy, but sunny Michigan day, and it was peaceful and quiet. We didn’t get to talk much, but enjoyed doing a project that required us to work together for two uninterrupted hours–paddling until we got to the end of our route.


Liquid Therapy in Three Rivers, MI is where we rented a canoe.


“Your hair glistens in the sun. It’s all sparkly.” Hubby stated.


Dr. P at the helm.

It was enough time for quiet thinking and praying through the decisions about which we’d been talking the day before.


Prayer time

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. –Psalm 37:23-24

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…–2 Chronicles 16:9

And hearing God speak.


The Lord speaks.

I made a big, final decision. It affects our finances, but it affects my physical and mental health more. It affects our home and family life most.

It’s the best decision.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:1-8

There is peace at the finish line.


4.5 miles in one hour 50 minutes. Go us! This was a true day of rest.


Lilla Rose October Customer Special

Falling Off the Exercise Wagon-Almost Literally

On May 11, 2016 I wrote a note on Facebook with these words about not feeling well, being sedentary, and making intentional changes:

I could blame this on genetics, slowing metabolism, being over 45, that I birthed six kids, am a busy mom, or any number of other legitimate sounding things. But the fact is, I’m too sedentary. I am owning this little fact. I am responsible. Only I can make myself create better health habits, and to get moving. So I am. Spring and summer are here which are a great new seasons to make additional changes and reach new goals. I am doing this and taking ownership of my problems with intentional solutions and new habits.

 Admittedly, I’ve fallen off the “Intentional Steps” wagon. I didn’t form new habits. I had a garden to plant, a house to paint, homeschooling to prepare, a business to work….Excuses. They are legitimate ones, but they lack intentional priority for health.

I have good friends who are lovingly encouraging me to continue to get moving. These are good friends, these ones that encourage and don’t accept my excuses.

And, I have new motivation with Equine J engaged to be married in July, 2017.

The other day I had our youngest son move a spin bike into the guest room, and today I hauled myself in there with an optimistic “Fat Burning Spin Workout in Just 20 Minutes” video set up, because who doesn’t want a short cut?

“Who can’t ride a bike for 20 minutes?” I thought.

Fifteen seconds in, the lady on the video says “Ok! Now, push it for all you’ve got! Turn the knob a quarter of a turn and go!” So I did.

Seven minutes into this, I knew I was in over my head, and twenty minutes no longer seemed doable. When she had us stand to pedal, I could no longer both stand AND pedal. I nearly fell off the bike all together. I hauled myself back on the seat with my arms, determined that I would not give up just yet.

Moments later, I opted to turn off the video, and just pedaled for the remaining 12 minutes.

When I got off the bike, I couldn’t stand, nearly fell again when my wet noodle legs wouldn’t support me, and had to pivot myself into a chair. I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. Loving daughters ran to get more water and juice and peanut butter to stabilize blood sugar and any hydration needs.

I wrote to one of my encouraging friends who happens to also be a health trainer.

Me: Well this proved to be too much for me. I am now trying not to throw up and shaking like crazy. Drinking water and juice at the same time. I can’t walk 3 steps. I nearly fell. I feel belly muscles I forgot I had.  I strapped my Garmin Vivofit to my shoe and have only 2000 steps for the sweat I worked up. Perhaps I need a more beginner video?

My friend’s reply: Then you worked out too hard silly. But YAY you! Perhaps? You should write a blog. You are funny.

Me: Right after I get off the floor. I’m a closet funny person.


I could call this a big, fat fail, folks. But I won’t, because really it wasn’t.

I moved today. I kept a sense of humor.

May I intentionally move again tomorrow.

Blessings as you move intentionally too,


See a small selection of Lilla Rose October New Limited Releases and the Flexis of the Month Day Fox and Night Fox!


Day Fox


Night Fox

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