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Year-End Reflections

As the year draws to a close, and we reflect on our accomplishments to clarify our vision for the year ahead and set new goals, it's tempting to focus on the gap between where we are and where we want to be, especially if the past year didn't go quite as we had planned. 

I had planned to finish another book this year then try to find a good home for it. 

I feel a wave of sadness as I write that sentence. Last February, we came home from a two-week vacation to find our new house flooded with 119,000 gallons of water from a broken pipe under the kitchen sink. We then spent half the year living in a hotel during the restoration. Sure, it was nice to redecorate and get some new stuff, and we met a lot of wonderful people along the way. But, it definitely wasn't the way I had hoped to kick off the New Year. 

I did eventually finish the manuscript I was working on like I had planned, but I didn't close the book deal with that agent I was working with, although I got really close this time. 

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a success coach says, "N
o matter how “bad” you believe this year has been, I guarantee it has been better than you think. And no matter how much (or little) you think you’ve accomplished in the past twelve months, I guarantee you’ve achieved more than you know!" 

Canfield goes on to list several accomplishments to take stock in during your year-end evaluation process that I hadn't considered:

·       Successfully dealt with an unexpected challenge
·       Experienced pure joy
·       Lifted someone else up
·       Cleaned up a “mess” in your life
·       Dared to dream big
·       Felt deep peace and contentment
·       Made the world just a little bit better in some way 
"By taking stock of these moments, you remind yourself that THIS is the kind of person you are -- and that these are the experiences you want MORE of in your life!"  - Jack Canfield

Canfield's words flipped my glass from half empty to half-full. I suddenly realized just how much I have accomplished this past year. And, instead of time wasted, I see growth.


Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, & Happy New Year!

Oyster Mushroom Quinoa

It came in a box. We peeled back the perforated panel and cut slits into the plastic liner, just like they said. We removed the inner block, scraped through the paste, and immersed the particle wood face down in a bowl of water to activate the spores. The package said to let it soak for six hours. But, we accidentally forgot about it until the next morning. We placed the slab back inside its cardboard case and spritzed the cavernous hole with a water mister every time we passed by.

At first, the blooms were grey and scary, like something you'd rather squirt with bleach if you found it in the shower. But then, the tiniest little footstools began to take shape. About ten days passed and new growth began to slow. 

We began to dream of what we would make ...

The flavor of oyster mushrooms is beyond the best! 

(I used to hate mushrooms as a kid so my mom might be surprised to read this.)

Oyster Mushroom Quinoa Recipe

  • 1 Cup Quinoa 
  • 2 Cups Water 
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Stipe Length of Chopped Oyster Mushrooms
  • 1 Cup Chopped Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 5 Sliced Green Onion Shoots
1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 cup quinoa. Add salt and parsley as water comes to a boil. Cover with a lid and turn heat to low, then simmer for 15 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Chop mushrooms and dice garlic, then add to heated pan. Saute on medium for 3 minutes, stirring with a spatula. Cover with a lid and cook for 7 minutes more, stirring occasionally. (If there is still fluid in the pan, cook uncovered for a couple of extra minutes.) Add half the green onions and stir for one minute more. 
3. Place quinoa in a large serving bowl then, add the mushroom mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Salt and pepper to taste.

Bon Appetite!

• Makes 2 entree servings or 4 side dish servings.

The Oyster Mushroom Kit was something we picked up at a local market but, it can also be found here.

.: Vegan
.: Healthy
.: Organic
.: Vegetarian
.: Non-GMO

Pumpkin Spice Muffins


Pumpkin Spice Muffins
{With Simply Baked Baking Cups}


  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cardamon spice
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup egg whites eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Raisins and/or Nuts, if desired


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, egg whites, pumpkin, almond milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, spices, flour, and oats. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir gently. Place 13 Simply Baked baking cups on a cookie sheet. Spoon the batter into each baking cup. Fill to the top. Then sprinkle tops with a dash of additional oats. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

* Add raisins and/or nuts if desired.

Now it smells like Fall!

The tangerine-striped Simply Baked Baking Cups can be found here on Amazon.