Too many tomatoes? Easy “Sun-Dried Tomatoes” to the Rescue!

As I’ve mentioned, I LOVE fresh tomato time.  However, even with enjoying them at EVERY meal I still often have more than I can use and/or give away.  The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to deal with the excess is to dry them!easy tomatoes

In case you haven’t checked lately, a tiny little jar of sun-dried tomatoes costs at least $5 at the store – and I can make them at home for a fraction of the cost – plus I grew them myself, so I know they are organic!  Score.

Here is my easy and pretty much fool-proof method – the only way I’ve messed these up is to forget about them for too long – but luckily they smell delicious so that doesn’t happen often.

Fake “sun-dried” tomatoes

a bunch of tomatoes – if you have several pans you can easily use 20 or 30 tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

any other seasonings you like (Italian mix, fresh chopped garlic, etc.)

Step one:  slice your tomatoes in half if they are small or slices if they are large.  Roma or cherry tomatoes work particularly well, but you can technically use any variety.

tomatoes

Step two:  Place tomatoes in a 9×13 glass pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, etc.

Step three:  Bake in the oven at anywhere from 175 to 225 until they start to shrivel.  I’ll often start these at bedtime, stick them in the oven at 175 and they are perfect by morning – but you’ll need to play around with your oven until you get the temp and time just right.

Step four:  Cool and then enjoy on pizzas, in pasta, in dips, with cheese & crackers, etc.

These freeze VERY well – I typically make up a few bags of them and we enjoy them all year round!

Want to start your day off feeling GREAT?  Get your FREE copy of my e-course “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day” right HERE.

Shared on WFMW, Real Food Wednesday and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 18 – 24

Hmm, although it felt productive, last week wasn’t my best week . . . however, I did take a business trip for half of it which took up most of Tues/Wed/Thurs, so maybe not so bad.Weekly Goals

Last Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day – just a few days – traveling half the week
  • Work on next project for at least an hour – spent about half an hour
  • Listen to two new nutrition lectures – only one

Personal

on a plane

 

  • Go to bed by 10:30  Sunday – Thursday – four out of five again, pretty good – can’t go to bed by 10:30 though when I’m driving home from the airport at 11:00!

Family

  • First week of soccer games – celebrate!so much fun – even if my son’s game was WET (as in we looked like we took showers)
  • Plan a fun family activity for the weekendwe had a fun weekend of soccer, hanging out with friends, and having lunch with family
  • Start a new read aloud bookwe just finished The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet), and need to start on the next one in the series -The Four-Story Mistake (Melendy Quartet)

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule – yeah, didn’t happen
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list – did one, dropped off books at Half-Price Books
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill –  nope . . .
  • Come up with some new dinner ideas – we’ve been in a rut lately! – done – see Monday Menu Planning Post

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Finish course education class

Personal

Family

  • Swim Banquet
  • Plan a fun family activity for the weekend
  • Date night

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill
  • Pick up office

What do you have going on this week?  Anything special?  If not – why not CREATE something special – here is an old post with some ideas to get you started – share yours in the comments.

Menu Plan Monday August 18 – 24

Now that school and sports are back in full swing, my life is so much easier if I’m on top of menu planning!

Monday – homemade pizza, veggies from the gardenTop 5 Reasons to Love tomatoes

Tuesday – grilled chicken, veggies from the garden, quinoa with spinach

Wednesday – Peanut Thai Chicken, brown rice

Thursday – roast

Friday – date night – who knows where we’ll end up!

Saturday –  Indian Red Lentils & Rice, fresh veggies

Sunday – swim banquet – I’ll bring fresh tomatoes from the garden with mozzarella and basil – YUMMY

Feel like you could use a refresher on menu planning?  Check out my menu planning e-course.  For less than $10 and in under an hour you’ll be a pro at planning a weekly menu perfect for YOUR family and YOUR schedule!

Shared on Organizing Junkie!

Exercise Getting Boring? Solutions Found HERE!

How often do you just get TIRED of exercising?  Have you gotten to the point where you are just going through the motions, or maybe finding excuses to avoid it completely?swim meet

If this sounds like you, it’s time to re-assess your exercise schedule.

Maybe you’ve noticed that at various times in your life you’ve been exercising consistently (but doing the same thing every workout) and then for whatever reason you take a week off and BAM, that’s the week you lose a few of those pounds that have been driving you crazy!  What’s up with that?

Often it simply means that your body has gotten bored with your workout routine, and you are starting to operate on auto pilot.  Once this occurs, you’ll stop gaining many of the benefits of consistent exercise.  You need to challenge your body as well as your mind if you want to keep moving towards your fitness goals.

And let’s face it – you KNOW when this is happening – it’s when exercise becomes one more thing to cross off your “to-do” list and you don’t feel as energized as you used to after a workout.

Whenever I feel boredom coming on, I take the following steps to break out of the workout rut:

1.  Re-asses what I’m actually doing.  Sometimes I THINK I’m working out much more often and harder than I actually am.  Obviously I’ve gone on autopilot and it’s time to pick up the pace.  Making it more challenging is often enough to break through the boredom.

2.  Think about what sounds fun.  Is there a new class I keep hearing about that I want to try?  An old workout I used to do that I loved but haven’t done in months (or years).  I schedule one or two of these workouts in my calendar.

3.  Call a friend.  When you are bored with exercise, just getting a friend on board for a nightly walk or even signing up for some sessions with a personal trainer can make it more fun again.

4.  Make it a game.  Come up with a schedule of workouts for the next month and challenge yourself to keep them.  Or even create a competition with your friends to workout 5 days each week, walk 10,000 steps a day or try two new classes in the next month.   Have prizes to help keep you motivated.

All of these solutions have two things in common – they are making you cognizant of your workouts and also switching things up for you.  Incorporating these changes (however you decide to do it) should alleviate the boredom and get you back to loving regular exercise!

What do YOU do when you feel exercise boredom coming on?  Have any tried and true tips?  I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments!

If you feel like you need more support with creating a healthy, happy life you love, it’s the perfect time to work with me one on oneContact me and we’ll schedule a 30 minute planning session where you’ll figure out what areas you want to change and how to get started down the path!

 

Fresh, Flavorful Bruschetta

I love bruschetta – but really only in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe.  This time of the year it’s so tasty you can eat it with a spoon!!!

Bruschetta is simple, healthy and a perfect “go-to” summer appetizer or even side dish.  If you have a small garden, you can grow all the main ingredients easily.appetizer

Fresh Bruschetta

2 medium to large tomatoes (or 1 cup cherry or grape – try a variety of colors to make it even prettier), chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Step one:  Place the tomatoes, garlic and basil in a serving bowl.

Step two:  Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top and mix gently.  Season with salt & pepper.

This dish is actually better made early in the day – it gives the tomatoes time to absorb the flavors.  To bump it up a notch, you could also add small pieces of mozzarella – this turns it into almost a salad.  Or just enjoy as is over lightly toasted sourdough or Italian bread.

Now that school’s back in session are you struggling to get dinner on the table?  If so, get your copy of my menu planning e-course and eliminate the dinnertime stress!

Shared on WFMW, Real Food Wednesday and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 11 – 17

Last Week’s GoalsWeekly Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day – did this 3 days – my 3 most productive days!
  • Work on next project for at least an hourdone
  • Create September blog plan

Personal

Family

  • Plan something fun for first day of schoolwe had a great morning and then ice cream after school to celebrate!
  • Date nighthad a fun night out – dinner and a casino
  • Finish collage for 4-H book – forgot all about it!

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule – didn’t do well here . . .
  • Photo book Michigan Trip AND Spring 2014done!
  • Two items on my master “to-do” listdone!  Finished up all photo books, and made an appointment for the eye doctor

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Listen to two new nutrition lectures

Personal

Family

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill
  • Come up with some new dinner ideas – we’ve been in a rut lately!

What are your goals for the week?  This week we are adding all the fall sports to the schedule so things may get a little crazy!

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, click HERE for your FREE 3 day e-course “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day”

 

Why EVERYONE should try Lavender Oil & A GIVEAWAY!

We have a winner – Rafflecopter selected a random winner and they will receive a bottle of Young Living Lavender Oil.   If you’d like to purchase your own bottle, go to this page – you’ll automatically be enrolled in the Oil of the Month Club (you don’t have to purchase every month if you don’t want to!), so you’ll get some extra goodies like a private facebook page, tips and tricks for using the oil of the month and more!

 

If you have any interest at all in essential oils, or have been toying with the idea of giving them a try, THIS is the month you need to join the Oil of the Month Club.Lavender Oil

Why?  Well because the oil this month is Lavender of course.

Lavender is one of the most versatile oils out there – it’s a terrific “first oil” because it has so many uses.  Personally, I use it everyday with my moisturizer and it keeps my skin from looking red and also helps with my allergies.  Plus it smells lovely.

When I first started investigating essential oils, I tried using lavender in a TON of different ways.  Here are a few examples:

Fun Projects and Gifts Using Lavender Oil

Great Ways to Use Lavender Oil

Now for some fun!  You can win your OWN bottle of Young Living Lavender Essential Oil by entering the contest below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win?  You can still get a bottle of your own, and be a part of the Oil of the Month Club – order your bottle and get more info on the club HERE.  Or, if you want to go ahead and order a bottle, I’ll refund your money if you win!

Shared on Friendship Friday

5 Reasons I LOVE Tomatoes

It’s that wonderful time of year when the tomatoes are bursting from our garden.  I look forward to this season all year-long because nothing tastes as good as a freshly picked, perfectly ripe summer tomato.

(except maybe just picked sweet corn!)Top 5 Reasons to Love tomatoes

It’s pretty rare that I bother with a tomato in the winter – they are truly the perfect example of why you should eat in season as often as possible – those January tomatoes are typically mealy and flavorless – nice as they look, they are always disappointing.  Those tomatoes are artificially ripened by exposure to ethylene gas – so this is one of those rare cases where I’ll pick canned over fresh once the tomato season is over.

But for now, it’s in full swing!

Top 5 Reasons I LOVE Tomatoes:

  1. High in Lycopene.  Lycopene is a flavonoid antioxidant that is terrific for your skin – in fact, it may help protect cells from UV rays!  Interestingly, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene.  Interestingly enough, there is actually more lycopene in cooked versus raw tomatoes, so all the more reason to make some of those delicious summer tomatoes into sauce for the up-coming winter!
  2. Great for your digestive system.  Tomatoes have a high water count as well as a high fiber count.  So adding tomatoes to your diet helps your digestive system run smoothly and efficiently.
  3. They are better with fat.  Healthy fat that is.  Enjoying tomatoes with a little bit of healthy fat (think avocados or extra virgin olive oil) makes it easier for your body to absorb the phytochemicals present.  Of course it also makes them even tastier, right?
  4. Low in calories, high in vitamins.  Tomatoes have around 20 calories per 100 g, they are low in fat, and low in cholesterol. Plus, they are high in Vitamins A and C, and high in potassium.
  5. The MANY varieties.  Aside from all the health benefits, one of the fun things about tomatoes is all the varieties available.  Red, yellow, orange, cherry, grape, Roma, etc.  There are so many different versions that you can enjoy them daily and never get bored – plus tomatoes are incredibly versatile – appetizers, salads, main dishes, sauces, soups, etc. – so many ways to indulge!

Tomato Tip:  storing tomatoes at a temperature below 55 degrees (i.e. your fridge) makes them mealy and destroys the flavor. 

This month I’ll share some of my favorite recipes for consuming tomatoes, but for now, here is a tasty favorite:sun dried dip

 

Ready to create a life you love?  Check out the details HERE.

Shared on WFMW, Real Food Wednesday and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 4th – August 10th

Last Week’s GoalsWeekly Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every daydone, what a great habit
  • Write September newsletterdone
  • Work on next project for at least an hourdone
  • Schedule Social Media for Septemberdone

Personal

Family

  • Prep for school next week - done, we were ready to go today!
  • Enjoy last week of summer breakdone, I rode around in my Jeep a lot, we went out for coffee, went to a concert and enjoyed several evenings on the screened in porch
  • Finish collage for 4-H book - no go, although I do have a good excuse – I’m waiting for a cord I’ve ordered to arrive so I can finish downloading pictures!

Household

  • Daily afternoon task - 5 to 10 minutesdone
  • Photo book Michigan Trip – nope (see comment on camera cord above!), but I DID complete the book from our June FL trip
  • Two items on my master “to-do” listdone, switched internet connection, organized recipes

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Create September blog plan

Personal

Family

  • Plan something fun for first day of school
  • Date night
  • Finish collage for 4-H book

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Photo book Michigan Trip AND Spring 2014
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list

What are your goals for the week?  With school starting this week, but no outside activities yet, it’s the perfect time to get back on a nice, regular schedule!

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, click HERE for your FREE 3 day e-course “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day”

 

 

July 2014 Books – My Favorites!

kindle

This was another big fiction month – think easy poolside reading . . . HERE is a list of everything I’ve read this year (July is the page that should show up), and below are my favorites from July:

Fiction

The Rosie Project: A Novel (English and English Edition) by Graeme Simsion had me laughing out loud!  This is one of those books I’d seen listed as a “must read” over and over and I finally picked it up from the library – and thoroughly enjoyed it!  Don Tillman is a hilarious character, socially awkward yet very likeable.  When he meets up with Rosie, he finds his life turned upside down (in a very good way).  Fun read if you are looking for something funny, fresh and positive.  My rating 5 out of 5.

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King was a long but engrossing story.  This book is BIG – definitely not something you want to take on an airplane – too much weight.  The story follows Jake Epping and his amazing discovery of a time portal that takes him back to 1958.   Once he accepts the reality of this portal, he begins to realize he can change the past – only to later discover that changing even small things in the past can create large changes to the future, and the future doesn’t always turn out how he would envision or desire.  It has probably been twenty years since I read a Stephen King novel, and this was a good introduction back into his writing.  If you are ready for a thought-provoking, interesting book, and don’t get intimidated by the number of pages, give this one a shot.                                        My rating 4 out of 5.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple was  quirky, quick and fun book to read.  The book is a series of e-mails, correspondence and short bits of background.  Thrown together the reader starts to understand why Bernadette is the way she is (afraid of leaving her home) and try to figure out why she disappeared and where she went.  Funny, witty and a nice change of pace from some of the other books I read this month.  My rating 4.5 out of 5.

Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline was another fascinating book.  The author nicely weaves the stories of two orphans together – the first girl – a typical hardened teenager from today alongside a young immigrant girl who was sent west from New York City on the orphan train (which is an interesting bit of little known history itself).  Although it seems as though the women don’t have anything in common except being orphans, they discover a deep and meaningful bond.  My rating 4 out of 5.

How about you?  What’s the best book you’ve read lately?  What should I add to my very long “to be read” list?

Looking for more time to fit in reading each day?   If that’s important to you, that’s one of the areas we’ll work on together to create the healthy, happy life you desire - contact me today for a free thirty minute consultation – we’ll discuss where you are in your life and where you want to go – and you’ll leave the session with at least three areas to being working on!

*please note there are several affiliate links in this post – please feel free to borrow books from the library (as I tend to do!) or buy them however you feel most comfortable

Shared on WFMW and The Mommy Club