Posts by laura5y

You Can’t Beat Beets

Fresh Beets

You Can’t Beat Beets

I love beets and really can’t say enough good things about them. If you are one who strives to get your nutritional needs met by the food you eat rather than via supplements know beets pack a powerful punch in every bite:

  • Vitamins A, B & C
  • Folic Acid
  • Beta-carotene
  • Beta-cyanine
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium

They’re also a good energy boost, cleansing for your body, and have other benefits you may not be aware of. Learn more about beets from the folks at Full Circle Organic Produce Delivery:



To keep moisture in the beets while roasting, trim greens from tops just above the bulb, leaving the skin in tact and bottom root tail attached.

Wash beets thoroughly and give them just a few pricks with a fork so they do not burst while roasting.

You can roast beets in anything, but keep in mind some juice will come out, and it can stain if you use something porous. I roast on a baking sheet covered with foil and use cooking spray on foil before placing beets on pan.

Roasting Time

Time will vary based on the size of the beet and oven temperature. You can roast them alongside most anything your are baking at 325 to 425 degrees if you’d like your oven to do double duty.

If roasting by themselves set oven to 375 degrees and begin checking smaller beets at 30 minutes.

Test with fork and roast until tender, cooked through, but not mushy.

Serving Ideas

Remove beets from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle them. Beets peel very easily while still warm. I use a small paring knife and the skin pulls right off with little effort. They’ll stain your hands though, so if you are making

When I have a hankering for beets my favorite way to eat them is sliced while still warm and topped with with a dot of butter and dash of ground sea salt.

Whole, roasted, peeled beets can be stored and reheated or used cold in salads.

Beautiful and delicious beet salads:

Menu Monday is a blog series dedicated to great food and menu planning.

Going for a Walk, Virginia Style

Autumn Blue Ridge Parkway

Autumn Walk
by Marilyn Lott

I took a walk this afternoon
It’s kind of like in spring
The weather starts to change now
But we know what autumn brings

We see every color on the chart
And all the shades between
That’s what I love so much
And what autumn to me means!

 Going for a Walk, Virginia Style is one of my favorite websites to peruse for outdoor activities. They do a fabulous job of presenting all that’s going on in the diverse and beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here’s a sample of to whet your walking appetite:

Before You Hit the Trail

May your autumn be filled with God’s bounty, clear skies, beautiful leaves, and crisp, fresh air.

Fed & Fit Friday is a Friday blog series dedicated to developing healthy lifestyle habits and awareness.

Genius Advice

Boy Genius Diagnosed with Autism Has IQ Higher Than Einstein …and Jacob Barnett has a some insightful, interesting, and VERY encouraging advice for you in this video from his session at TEDxTeen.

Behind every great man there stands a great woman and at this point in young Jacob’s life it’s his mother, Kristine Barnett. She’s written a memoir and it is apparent from the book review below (and article linked above) that the inspiring tale of Jacob’s life was very-nearly a much different story, but for his mother’s great love and heroic fortitude. Not only in Jacob’s regard, but throughout the travails of the Barnett family as a whole.

Book Review: ‘The Spark: A Mother’s Story Nurturing Genius’ by Kristine Barnett

“The Spark” is compulsive reading, and not simply because of Jake’s “savant almost obliterated by the system” story. In the tradition of those domestic-adventure memoirs where the mother (almost always the mother) of a challenged child bucks the system and triumphs, Barnett not only fights heroically on Jake’s behalf, she also beats down every other obstacle that life hurls at her and her family. Even for this hyperbolic genre, those obstacles are extraordinarily severe. The Barnetts’ second child, Wesley, is diagnosed with a reflex disorder soon after he’s born. It causes him to have seizures, up to nine a day, and to choke on simple liquids.

During her third pregnancy — with another son, Ethan — Barnett goes into full-blown organ failure; she subsequently has a stroke, at age 30, and is diagnosed with lupus. With the onset of the Great Recession, Michael Barnett loses his job at Circuit City, the family is overextended financially, and the Barnetts spend part of the frigid Indiana winter in a house without heat.

Gather the Family Around to Watch the Video

Jacob has a simple message, but one packed with much food for thought and good fodder for family discussion (and for personal introspection) on lifelong learning and what to do with it throughout your life. Jacob is not merely a genius, he is an encourager of the limitless imagination in all of us.

Because You Do


Stay noble and know that somewhere out there is a crown with your name on it.

Terrible Tues. is a Tuesday blog series for adults, because two-year-olds aren’t the only ones who have bad days.

Autumn Chicken Chili Verde

Chicken Chili Verde


Chicken Chili Verde is a savory pot of goodness that doesn’t have to simmer or slow-cook all day to reach it’s flavorful perfection making it a good fit for just about any day on your calendar. That being said, you can do a long simmer or slow-cook if you’d like your kitchen to smell good all day and/or need dinner to be ready when you return from a busy day out. Be sure to have a little extra broth on hand if you go that route as the chili may thicken too much due to evaporation.

  • Makes 10-12 hearty-size bowls
  • Freezes well

 This is a personal recipe I recently threw together in our kitchen and you should be aware that I’m not really one to measure ingredients; however, I am quite certain I used more than the amounts noted for the spices. Families with preferences more towards a mild flavor are safe to go with the noted amounts as this is a large batch of chili and the flavors have to stretch pretty far.

Carrots are not traditionally found in chili, but I had some and thought they would add nutritional value. I was out of celery when I made this, but will throw some in for extra fiber in the future.

For an autumn twist, substitute the carrots for a couple cups of peeled and ‘finely’ chopped pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash, parsnips, or rutabaga. Skip the turnips though. As much as I love them, they’re too pungent for this chili.


  • Olive oil, cover bottom of pan
  • 5-6 Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Vidalia onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp cumin, more to taste
  • 2 tsp chili pepper, more to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 TB flour
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans 4 oz. chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 cans (15.8 oz) Great White, Northern, or Canneloni beans, drained and rinsed


  • Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

*Toppings are optional, but I highly recommend them as they enhance the flavor and texture of the chili.

On the Side:

Serve with warm flour tortillas, heating a couple per person.

At our home, we use the stovetop method and place them directly into a tortilla warmer. Tortilla warmers are wonderful to have, but if you do not own one another type of covered dish will be fine.


  1. In large pot, add enough olive oil to cover coat bottom of pan.
  2. Add diced chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, and spices. Cook over medium heat for several minutes until chicken is almost cooked through.
  3. If there is sufficient juice from chicken, add flour a couple tablespoons at a time mixing in with each addition. If there is not much juice from cooking chicken, add some broth.
  4. Keep stirring over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Once fairly thickened, add remaining broth, diced tomatoes with juice, and green chilies mixing with each addition. Once bubbly again, turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes until flavors begin to develop.
  6. Taste to see if additional spices are needed. Add drained/rinsed canned beans and gently mix in and let simmer until heated through, approximately 5-10 minutes.
  7. Place a folded paper towel into your tortilla holder before you add the first one, so they do not stick to the bottom of the warmer.
  8. Warm tortillas one at a time placing them in tortilla warmer with lid as you go.
  9. Scoop into serving bowls and top as desired with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, and/or fresh cilantro leaves.
  10. Tortillas cool quickly, so place filled tortilla warmer on table and pass as people need more.

Food for Thought

“Al hambre de siete días, no hay pan duro.”

To a week’s hunger, there is no such thing as hard bread.

Menu Monday is a blog series dedicated to great food and menu planning.

Walk or Ride?

Autumn Runner

Not sure if you’d rather go for a walk or a ride?

Here’s a bit of insight from the Super-Tramp himself:

“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
W.H. Davies

Water: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Here’s an informative infographic from the folks at CamelBak and

Happy Trails!

Fed & Fit Friday is a Friday blog series dedicated to developing healthy lifestyle habits and awareness.

Autumn Christmas List

Autumn Christmas List

Lessons from Christmas Past

Fall festivities and Thanksgiving require their own preparations and time allotments, so beginning Christmas planning in early autumn is always a wise move.

Wise Christmas elves remember holiday budgeting is most effective when included in their annual budget discussions and is made part of their savings plans for the year.

Learning from Christmas past is one way elves grow in wisdom. As you go through the holiday season, or after the powdered sugar settles, take notes as part of your planning for Christmas future and include them with a ‘master plan’ template for the years ahead.

Makin’ a List

Autumn Christmas List suggestions to start the snowball rolling:

  • Jesus is the Reason for the Season (make Him the centerpiece of your planning)
  • Develop a Master Plan Template (to reuse yearly)
  • Determine specifics for THIS Christmas (total budget, in-town/travel, caveats, etc.)
  • Pencil preliminary plan on printable calendar (Oct-New Year celebration)
  • Breakdown budget (ministry donations, holiday offerings, cards, postage, gifts, wrapping supplies, special meals, extra dishes/paper products, holiday clothing, baking & storage/wrap supplies, travel, holiday décor, unexpected, etc.)
  • Update personal and business contacts
  • Take family photos for Christmas cards
  • Buy or order Christmas cards and begin addressing envelopes
  • Determine dates for mailing Christmas cards and placing special holiday phone calls
  • Determine dates for gifts that need to be mailed
  • Place specialty food orders (turkey/ham, breads, desserts, etc.)
  • Determine dates to deep clean your home
  • Schedule in seasonal yard work and home maintenance
  • Determine and schedule in seasonal activities and special events
  • Ensure time in schedule for routine housekeeping
  • Determine dates you need your teenagers available and make certain they’ve arranged their work/social schedule accordingly
  • Working backwards, determine specific days/times for items that have to be scheduled in last days of preparations (pick up special order and fresh foods/produce, determine who is going to pick up Grandma and when, assemble serving dishes/utensils, set table, etc.)
  • It bears repeating here and be sure to tell others too… Jesus IS the Reason for the Season

Checkin’ It Twice

Go back through everything again with a fine-tooth comb and realistic eye. Ensure your plan is sound, anticipates surprises, and won’t allow the ‘Oh, I’ll remember that’ type item to be forgotten.

If you added new traditions or recipes to your repertoire, be sure you’ve eliminated some of lesser importance -unless you ended up with extra time and money on your wise-elf hands last year.

Be certain to have sufficient margins of open time throughout your days. Your vehicle will need fuel and you’ll need to fill your own tank occasionally too.

Make wise adjustments to lists and schedules now and thank your wise-elf self later.

For a little Christmas frankness and a few more suggestions…

It’s Christmastime, Let’s Get Real