Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SEASONS - NOAH AND THE DAYS OF LENT


(Written by Sheila Gail Landgraf)

Lent in 2017 begins on Wednesday, March 1 and continues until Thursday, April 13th.  It is mostly the Catholic Church that faithfully observes Lent, but there are some other devout Christians who also believe it is a good thing to do, and they join in by offering up or giving up something to and for God to show they care and want to change.  

This year, as many faithful people begin to observe the practice of Lent, I am reminded of the story of Noah. 
Every time I stop to think about all that is going on in the world today, I see comparisons to the world that must have existed in the days of Noah.  Ironically, this sad fact gives me great hope because of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:37;  “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.”  (New Living Translation).  This makes me feel it is possible that the Second Coming is near!

Consider what we know of the days of Noah.  We read in Genesis 6:5 that “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”  If you listen to the news, click into the Internet, or just simply walk down the street today you will notice a consistent pattern of wickedness and evil.  

Day in and day out we see greedy government corruption, children murdered while attending school, sex trafficking, the worship of pagan and demonic spirits appearing as half-time entertainment in televised football games, rampant homosexuality and the threat of being punished if you take a stand against it.  All around us there are people wishing to change the definition of marriage and family as God created them, and our government and civilization seems to be in the process of changing everything that has ever given us stability and hope.  

There are machines of special interest groups out there changing the whole essence of the world we live and breathe in; causing families to be wounded and ripped apart.  We see horrible sins committed against children and women.  We see men being martyred and put in prison for their belief in Christ.  There are more martyrs today than ever before in history.  Their deaths never make the front page of the the paper or the main event on your local news station.  The press looks the other way and promotes things of no value.  Most of us feel unsafe just walking down the street alone.   

Perhaps these same things were just what God saw as He looked through the windows of heaven at the world during the days of Noah.  

God probably saw the perfectly good, clean, pure world He had given to mankind being corrupted and used more for evil than for its original intended purposes.  This must have really caused the heart of God to grieve.  Perhaps today He is grieving even more.   

Imagine having grieved over this situation once and caring enough to send Noah a solution to change and correct it, then seeing it happen all over again, and deciding to send your very own Son to straighten it out.  

Imagine allowing your only Son to give His life for the good of the people, and then looking down again to see things only getting worse than before.  

Do you think God’s heart is grieved?  

I know it is.  

This surely helps me to understand the wrath of God when I think of the significance of how many times He has made a way for people to change and they have not done so. 


We really do have a way to change!  

There is a blueprint; it is in the Holy Days, it is in The Scriptures, it is even written in the stars of the sky.  God has provided His Son to save us and He has given us a chance for mercy and forgiveness.  

We only need to turn around and go in a different direction.   God has spelled out his instructions to us in a million different ways.  

If you’re living and breathing you can’t really miss this!  They are in the setting and rising of the sun, the ebb and flow of the tides, the phases of the Moon, the working of all things together.   Noah had the good sense to see them, accept them and follow the Creator that put these things into motion. 


In the days of Noah, there was one godly family; a man and a woman with children; the godly family of Noah.  God looked down and saw that they were good.  

Do you ever wonder what was so good about them?  

I think it was that they totally obeyed every word that God gave them.  That is all it takes to actually please God; just to be obedient.  

God is smart enough for all of us, we don’t have to be smart.  

He is good enough for all of us; we don’t even have to be good.  

We just have to listen and obey, like Noah and his family did. That was their secret for success, and that is all that is required of us in the end.  

The subject of obedience keeps presenting itself as people go through the process called "Lent."  

We can learn a lot about obedience as we ponder the old story of   Noah and his family.  

Many questions arise:  

Who is still obedient to God on this earth that we live in today?  

Who will get to enter that ark that will save us when the wrath of God comes to the earth the next time?  

Who can be like Noah and still keep their eyes on God and be obedient even when troubles come?

God said to Noah, “I will send a great flood of water to wash everything clean and to make all things new again.  Build an ark….”  

Who is listening to God saying “Build an ark?”  

Can anyone else hear that voice saying, “Heal My church, build it up, make it strong, because the rain is coming!”  

How many Noah’s are out there listening to the voice of God today?  

How many of them are warning about the days to come?  

How many of them are proclaiming the hard things instead of feeding unhealthy sugar to the frenzied crowds that flock to a building on Sundays just looking for some little spark of hope that God is still there, that He exists, that He has a plan and He is carrying it out and He will provide a way for them to be a part of it all?  

Where are the modern-day Noahs who say “I hear the voice of God and He is telling us to get ready?”  

Put your ear to the street and listen for their voices, I hope you do not only hear scoffers and unbelievers feeding you the same old lies; that things are fine, that we don’t have to change, that God doesn’t care what we do or how we live, that you shouldn’t worry about the voice of those old prophets.

Yes, we are living in days just like Noah’s.  How long will it be before God removes His people from this state?  

So Noah set about following the blueprint that God spelled out for him. 

As Noah built the ark the animals began to arrive, two by two, male and female, imagine that!  

Was God trying to give us an example here?  I wonder.  

The ark was finished, and the animals came inside.  

Last of all came Noah and his family.  

God shut the door.  Once God shuts a door it cannot be opened again until He decides to open it.  Get inside the ark before God shuts the door.  Time is short and the rain is coming!

And the rain came down, and it rained buckets of water for forty days and forty nights. 

All the 40 days of Lent will come and go so quickly and it is possible that much rain may fall.  

I’m thinking about Noah being all locked up in that boat with all those animals for all those days.  

I look around me, and I can have some sympathy for what that was like.  We live in a world of humans who want to act like animals, and those in the boat with Noah were pretty tame compared to some of the ones we have to deal with day-in and day-out as we go about our business.  

How did Noah feel?  

Well, he dealt with those animals in a loving way.  

He fed them and cleaned up after them, even though they probably smelled pretty bad.  

He tried to keep them safe and secure.  

He fed and watered them.  

They were like his career while he was in the ark.  He looked after them.  Even though they were dirty stinky animals now, Noah knew they carried within them new life for the planet.  

He respected this.  

He overlooked what they could not understand; and he looked after them.  

Every dirty stinky needy person walking on this planet today is carrying around a tiny seed that could grow into new life.  

We just have to care for them.  

We just have to feed and look after them until God brings that change about.  It is our career, while we are stuck in this storm we call life.

It might have been pretty boring living in that ark too; never seeing the sun, never going out for a walk; just staring at that gopher-wood day after day after day.  

Sometimes God wants us right where we are, and He has work for us to do while we are there.  

Just like Noah, we must learn to put away our own feelings and get to the chores at hand.     
So Noah and his family passed the days away on the ark.  The water rose and the ark rocked.  

Ever been in a rocking ark?  

It can get a bit frightening at times.  

Sometimes the ark of the church rises on a flood of water and the people get rocked and move around a lot.  

Some of them get knocked out of their places and they fall and slide and land in other areas.  

It happens when the floods come.  

Things change.  

You can’t see what God is doing and you can feel pretty shaken at times and wonder what on earth is going on.  Often there are rains all around and people are moving and changing all the time.  Sometimes they fall and sometimes they are able to hold on.  

Just know that God is in charge; and we just cannot see exactly what He is doing yet.  

It is the time to  have the faith of Noah and endure for a season.   

We have to wait for the ark to settle down on top of the more peaceful waters.  

We need to ride the waves of life every day for awhile.  Those waves can get pretty high at times, but you will be safe in the ark, all you really have to do is hold on and wait.  Just like Noah.

God spared Noah from seeing those who did not survive the flood.  

He kept him occupied inside the ark tending to the animals, just like you would spare your own child from the violence of hard situations.  All through the flood God kept Noah and his family safe, warm and dry.  They waited with faith.  One day the rains stopped and God sent a mighty wind to dry up the water.

Noah went up to the deck of the ark and released a dove.   The dove flew away but soon returned because it could only find water for miles and miles.  

After a few days Noah sent the dove a second time, and it returned with an olive leaf.

Noah knew the water was subsiding.  Noah sent the dove a third time and it did not return, it had found a new home. 

Soon the ark landed; and Noah let the animals out of the ark.  They too went out and found new homes. 

Then, Noah and his family came out onto dry land.  

The whole world was washed clean and new.  

God had made them a new home, and it was good.

Just like that dove and the animals and Noah's family that found a new home after the flood, the Holy Spirit can increase in the place of our hearts during the time of waiting through Lent or any other season of time, as long as we are trusting God no matter what the circumstances;  as long as we are being obedient to what He is saying to us.  

As the season progresses and the 40 days are passing by, the faithful know that God is going to take His people to a new home, one that is purer, cleaner, and better than this one that we live in today.  

That future home will be one where no evil or wickedness may dwell.  I know all of us who believe in Christ and have the faith to get inside the ark and ride out the storms of life will be shown a better place one day.  

It is just a matter of trusting God to see us through the storm.  

God is continually making things new in preparation for this new home He wants to give to us.  

So; during this season of Lent, won't you let Him make your heart new too?  

It feels cleaner.  

It feels fresher.  

It feels like a page turning, like a new place forming.  

It is good; and it makes you want to give thanks!

That was just what Noah and his family did.  They built an altar and they gave thanks to God.  At that time God must have smiled.  The skies reflected His smile in the form of a rainbow. 

The rainbow was the sign that said God always keeps His promises. 

Those of us who have weathered the storms of life are realizing it more and more.  

He will keep His promise.  

He will return again. 

Let us be found as faithful as Noah.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

THE HOUSE DOCTOR - MAKING A PLACE FOR QUIET MEDITATION IN YOUR HOME

(Written by Sheila Gail Landgraf)

HOW DO WE GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND ?
Why is it that keeping things simple always gets complicated?  Often it is because we do not make room for a place of peace and harmony in which to begin our days.  

As we continue our journey toward making a house a home I want to consider simplicity.  
Simplicity really matters in having a happy place to call home.  

John Burroughs once stated  "To find the universal elements enough; to find the air  and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life!  


It all sounds wonderful, but how does one get there?


Simplicity starts when we make a conscious effort to create the time and space for it.  Just as your spaces get cluttered, so can your mind and your time.  I suggest daily that we must establish an hour of unscheduled time out from the hustle and bustle of the merry-go-round world and come into a quiet space within our own homes to be refreshed and renewed.  This is crucial for peace and harmony in the home.


A very smart woman named Victoria Moran once stated it this way:  "A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with - that's poverty - but how efficiently we can put first things first....When you're clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it's clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar."



With this thought in mind, I want to encourage you to establish a reading and meditating area inside your home.  It could be just a desk area where you keep books, notebook and pen, or a comfortable corner chair with a side table and lamp and a place to lay aside your glasses and set your coffee cup down while you are reading.  It could be as simple as the corner of your sofa, as long as you will not be disturbed while you linger there.  Any little corner will do.  Use your imagination.  Try as much as possible to keep this a place out of the main part of the home and away from the noise and business of everyday life.  When we go to this place, we want to be able to obtain and maintain uninterrupted time.
No matter how large or small your family may be, this is something important to each and every one of us.   I recently read an article that advised everyone to “jump off the merry-go-round.”  In other words – get out of the endless circles of life that lead you nowhere.

It all sounds very good in theory, but how can one really do such a thing?  

Establishing a set place and time inside your home and using it every day might just be the first step to spending a lot less time on this ever-turning, fast-spinning carousel of life.  Keeping this daily time alone is the next step.  Then, simply make a conscious decision to change your pace and priorities by beginning to consider and do one little thing at a time until you find yourself completely turned around and going in another more desirable direction.  Someone once said this a bit differently when they stated; the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

So what would be the first step to take if your goal in life is to live a simpler, less complicated lifestyle, with more focus and less distraction and waste?  

For many of us the first bite of this elephant would be to establish a consistent act of daily prayer and meditation within our home.  We would need to make this a priority and keep it the very first part of each and every day of our lives.  In other words, make a habit to consider each day before it begins.   Determine not to be robbed of this important part of your day!  This could be accomplished simply by getting up one hour earlier.  If you are not a morning person, let it be the last hour of the night before you go to bed.  Just sit quietly and concentrate on the coming day.   You will go to sleep prepared, especially if some of that time is spent being thankful and counting your current blessings as well as making plans for the future.

Just for comfort, indulge in a small treat.  This will inspire you to relax and enjoy this time so that you are always looking forward to and anticipating the next time you will do this all over again.  Persistence is key.  Before you do anything else in your morning or evening routine, simply sit down and have a cup of coffee with God.  After all, what could be more important?  If you're an evening person, pour yourself a glass of wine or fix yourself some hot cocoa and go find your quiet space in which to enjoy it.   I think Jesus set aside time alone and away from the world with God every day that he walked the dusty roads of this earth.  No one could ever go wrong by deciding to imitate Jesus.  God knows all those things that seem to keep us on the merry-go-round.  
 He also knows the direction He has planned and purposed for each of our lives.   If we take the time to listen He reminds us of what we forget.   Talk to Him about those “merry-go-round” things, and ask for His help with them.  

Afterward, simply sit still and let God speak to you about the other things He has in store for your next day and/or the rest of your life.  

Take it one day at a time.  Let yesterday prove tomorrow.  Build on what you are learning as you go.


It might be good to write down the things you feel God is saying to you.  Do not forget them when the first spin of the carousel winds up again and the music of the day begins to play.  Read the scriptures and use your favorite author's devotional books.  (I love Ann Voskamp; we all have our favorites.)  In doing this myself I just recently read a quote by Ann Voskamp that perfectly described our goals here:  "I don't really want more time; I just want enough time.  Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done - yesterday."  


As you sit and listen, pull out the scriptures that apply to your thoughts and write them in a notebook.  As you talk with God, just look up passages that will take you deeper into the subjects that God brings to your mind.  A good concordance is essential.  Keep one handy in the spot where you chose to meet with God each day, as well as your notebook, a pen, your bible and your reading glasses.  If the outdoors make you feel closer to God by all means find a quiet little space in your backyard.  Once you get all comfortable and in-tuned to yourself and God you don't want to be distracted by having to search for what you might need.  There are cute patterns out there for crafting an organizer from cloth to hold your notebook, pen and pencil, glasses, bible and interesting devotional books.  Make one to match your room, or purchase a handy little decorative book bag for holding these things and just pick it up and bring with you when needed.  

Ask God to make the message of His words and/or his messengers clear and plain to you.  Journal as you go, referencing the scriptures and the words that God emphasizes to you from day to day.  Some people like to use illustrations in their journals instead of words, or they cut and paste little pieces of artwork that describe what they are learning.  Make it personal and make it artful.  Listen to meaningful music or sing yourself if you like.  Worship to God in song first thing in the day is awesome!   Write poetry if it helps you to express your feelings.  Pay attention to any patterns that begin to develop.  Review the notes in your journal from week to week and let God begin to  paint the picture of your specific purposes in life that He created just for you.  Make a list of the important things you see in this masterful new painting that He will put before you each day as you pray. 

Make lists of what is most important for your life.  Jot down the priorities as they come to mind and remember them throughout the coming day.  From time to time as you meet to pray in those early morning hours, review your list and ask God to keep you on track.  Make revisions to the list and add notes when He shows them to you.  You will soon feel the clutter of your life begin to break off and leave.  You will find yourself leaving old habits and developing new ways.  A peace and order will come to you even in the midst of troubles and trials, even if you are working through uncontrollable circumstances.  


The truth of the matter is that prayer renews and rejuvenates our spirits just as sleep refreshes our bodies.  You feel the adverse effects whenever your body loses sleep for days at a time.  This is also true with your spirit if you neglect a daily routine of prayer. 
So allow yourself this little luxury first thing each morning (or whatever time works best for your internal clock.)  MAKE THIS SIMPLE LITTLE SPACE IN YOUR HOME.   Receive God’s blessings and direction for each day of your life early.  Start your day Christ centered before you go out into a man-centered world.  Remember the first step in living in a kingdom is recognizing and getting to know the king. You must grasp what is most important to the king and go in that direction with your time and efforts in order to have a kingdom (or a home)  that lives in peace and harmony.  Anything else is just another ride on the merry-go-round. 




Monday, February 20, 2017

MONDAY NIGHT MENUS - THE BEST MEATLOAF IN THE LAND

MAKING COOKING AT HOME EASIER
WITH MONDAY NIGHT MENUS

THE BEST MEATLOAF IN THE LAND WITH THE BEST SIDES TOO
(Written by Sheila Gail Landgraf)

 Here is a little Southern Comfort Food Menu for this Monday:


THE BEST FRUIT SALAD EVER
THE BEST MEATLOAF IN THE LAND
MY FAVORITE MAC AND CHEESE
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

This menu is a standard monthly meal at our house. Everyone cleans their plate when I fix this meal, and it is easy and simple to put together. 

These Southern Comfort foods are not the best for your waist-line; so just to be safe, I left off the dessert this time.  I'll tell you what my Mom used to tell me; the fruit salad COUNTS for desert!  Sorry, all you sugar lovers, but you MUST get some control.  Just call the fruit salad your dessert and enjoy every minute.  After all if you check out the ingredient list; you WILL see VANILLA PUDDING in this fruit salad.  So there!  It is very tasty.

Meatloaf may not be the MOST healthy thing you can eat either; but occasionally there is nothing like a good meatloaf.  I like to serve this one up with lots of fresh salads and fruit, then temper them with a comfort food like a good old fashioned side of mac and cheese.   I'll tell you the secret to the mac and cheese (besides the smoked paprika,)  it is the heavy whipping cream!  Don't leave it out if you want that mac and cheese to taste delicious.

Everyone has their favorite green bean casserole recipe.  I have three different ones that I use according to whatever style of cooking I'm trying to achieve.  This is the one that I like best with meatloaf. It is simple, quick and easy and it always taste good.

Here is the meatloaf recipe I like to use as well as the recipes for some great side dishes that go well with meatloaf.  

THE BEST MEATLOAF IN THE LAND

Ingredients:
2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion – chopped into thin pieces
3 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
¼ cup Moore’s Sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cups ketchup (2 separate cups)
1 cup brown sugar
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a metal loaf pan with cooking spray.  Mix one cup of ketchup with brown sugar and spread in the bottom of the loaf pan.  Combine all the other ingredients and mix well.  Place meat mixture over top of sauce in pan and place in the oven for exactly one hour.  Take from oven, invert meatloaf out of pan onto a plate to serve sauce side up. 

MY FAVORITE MAC AND CHEESE

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni noodles
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (also some for sprinkling on top)
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped bacon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Boil noodles on the stove top in water until tender but not limp, drain and rinse with cool water.  Set aside. Turn the stove top to medium and in another boiler on the stove add butter until melted, then add all-purpose flour, salt, dry mustard, black pepper and paprika.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended then slowly add heavy whipping cream.  Continue to stir until sauce becomes thick (10 -12 minutes.)  Remove from heat and add 2 cups of the grated cheese into mixture while it is still hot.   Place one half of pasta in a prepared casserole dish.  Pour one half of cheese sauce over pasta and mix until all pasta is covered with cheese sauce.  Add one half of the bacon bits as the next layer.  Add half of the grated cheese that is left on top of bacon bits.  Add the other half of the pasta and pour rest of cheese topping into it.  Top pasta with last half of grated cheese as well as  last half of the bacon bits.   Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese on top is slightly brown.  Serve hot.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Ingredients:
1 bag frozen large flat green beans, or even better one bunch of freshly snapped and broken fresh green beans.
1 envelope dried Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 large can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1 can dried onion rings
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.  Lay green beans inside casserole dish.  Mix next four ingredients well in a bowl then pour over the top of the green beans.  Cover the top of the bean mixture with the dried onion rings.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

THE BEST FRUIT SALAD EVER

Ingredients:
1- 8 ounce jar tropical fruit mix
2 apples sliced, cored and chopped
2 bananas sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced into small pieces.
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 small bag frozen mixed fruit (leave frozen, it will thaw quickly and keep the rest cold)
Directions:
Mix all together well.  Keep cold in refrigerator until time to serve. 







  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SEASONS - PRESIDENT'S DAY - HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS AMERICAN HOLIDAY?



(Written by Sheila Gail Landgraf)

Just a few days after we have stuffed ourselves with chocolate and wined and dined and flowered our lovers; we come to President’s Day.  

What is this day all about, and how did we begin to celebrate it?

It all started back in the 1880’s when people began to celebrate the birthday of our first President, George Washington.  His birthday is actually on February 22nd,  and that was the official date of celebration. 
   
In 1996 congress decided that federal workers should move many of their yearly holidays to Mondays no matter how the date fell on the calendar.   

They implemented this with the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill.  This would give federal workers more long weekends with several days in a row off from work.  Most companies who allowed such holidays for their workers also followed suit and used the same calendar days.  

Hence, George Washington’s Birthday Holiday was moved to the third Monday in February, no matter the date on the calendar. 

It was noted during the debate over this bill that many states were
unofficially celebrating the birth date of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th.    Before the new bill passed there was extensive discussion about combining both dates in honor of both great men, and calling it President’s Day.  

This brought up the question asked by many; would we still be honoring just George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on this day, or would we be honoring all of our American Presidents? 

Nothing was ever resolved about this, and the official holiday stayed the same:  George Washington’s Birthday.  It was simply moved to another date and combined with the weekend. 

Some retail merchants wanting to profit from the events being held in and around Washington on this date began to call it President’s Day anyway.  They did commercials and promotions showing both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and even other presidents.  It seems now that the people of the country have unofficially changed the whole holiday to honor all presidents that have served, but the official standing still has it that we are celebrating George Washington’s birthday. 



This is yet another great proof that when the people desire something enough, they usually get their way whether it is officially declared the law of the land or not.   It seems the people desire to be profitable and have sales!

Ask any American walking down the street what day it is and they will say President’s Day.  Ask them what they are celebrating and they will tell you this holiday is in honor of all the great men who have held the office of President of The United States!  They might also give you a look that indicates you might not be from the same planet before they hurry on to the next sales promotion.

 Go figure! 

Should we even care?
 
How will you celebrate this day?

As for myself, I’m stuck in the category of those workers with an employer that does not even recognize this day as an official holiday.  It will be like any other working day for me, perhaps with a newscast or two that is accidentally overheard about the speeches that will be given in Washington, or maybe a child or grandchild coming home from school and asking that obvious question:  “Why do we celebrate President’s Day?”

Should we lie to them or tell the truth?  

Exactly what is the truth anyway?  

It obviously has not been taught in public schools much lately.  Has an untruth become the reality; thus the truth?  Perhaps this is a subject we should let our children ponder.   Just give them the cold hard facts and let them decide what to do with them.  Perhaps the schools just have too much fear of  the voice of the majority?  So is the truth now what the people are doing and thinking today, or is the truth what the law actually says? 

You tell me!  Poor teachers!

This is such a pleasant little problem compared to deciding how to properly teach sex education, religion and political views........Let's just count our blessings for little distractions and the new opportunity for a lesson on thinking for yourself.   Until the children of America decide the proper course and take it for themselves, let's just allow them to ponder this one for a while longer before we move on to the next hurdle of no clarity and unreality that our children must learn to face growing up in our society.  

Perhaps they will even actually learn to think for themselves!  

Is that still allowed?

Friday, February 17, 2017

AN APPLE A DAY - DAY 125 OF 365 DAYS TOWARD A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE - THINKING ABOUT BREAKFAST




STILL GETTING ORGANIZED IN ORDER TO STAY HEALTHY - THIS WEEK: BREAKFAST
(Written by Sheila Gail Landgraf)


As promised last week, in our adventurous quest to organize our lives in the search for healthier life-styles, we have begun the journey together of organizing the food prep in our lives, as well as hoping to make cooking at home easier, faster and healthier for all of us. 

A little work up-front will pay off in the long run.  I've done some organizing of our breakfast menus and recipes for you!

As a first step in this little stroll through the land of healthier eating and working in an organized kitchen; I have created 4 weeks worth of nutritious and delicious  menus that follow the basic eating plans we have discussed in previous articles.   (There are a few minor variations where flour and sugar are used here and there, but for the most part, these recipes follow what we have agreed to use as our eating plan.  

We emphasized that we would leave off any type of refined flours and breads and only use whole wheat breads and flat breads.  

We decided to leave off sugar and butter except for when we desire to use them in our one FEAST DAY a week.  

We agreed only to use extra-virgin olive oils for cooking instead of vegetable oil or any other type of oils. 

The bulk of our eating will consist of whole, organic fruits and vegetables and everything will be made from scratch at home in our own kitchens.  

We will only use lean meats occasionally, and mostly from chicken, turkey and fish; with the exception of some beef and pork in moderation.   


 Most of these recipes are make-ahead recipes that will only involve you setting aside a little bit of cooking time one day a week to prepare ahead.  

Almost all of the items can be frozen, and the bulk of these recipes will keep for up to 3 days safely in your refrigerator and up to 3 months safely in your freezer.  

Feel free to mix and match and repeat or re-arrange as you like.  You know what works best for you and your own lifestyle.  You know your own goals for health and weight loss and nutrition.  

I am setting the menus up for variety so as not to get bored with the eating plan; and I am trying my best to follow the established eating plan of every other day being a fast day, and every other day being a moderate day, except for every seventh day being a feast day when you can eat any way and anything that you please.  Life should have its little rewards so that we never feel defeated; however, the more you eat healthy, the more your appetite will change to conform to what is good for you.  You will find your taste changing and you will notice that you DESIRE healthier foods. 

So flex my plan into your plan and your goals.  If you prefer one recipe over the other, just mix them the way that works well for you.  There is a grocery list after each week that conforms to the items I have chosen for that week’s menu.  This is designed  to make grocery shopping simple and easy.  If you change the order of the menus, just change your grocery list accordingly. 



If you REALLY want to do easy, have the same meal all week and that will cut down on your grocery bill and your prep time tremendously, but I chose to mix it all up because I didn’t want to get bored with the same foods every day. 

Use what works for you.

I will state here again that I am not a medical doctor and do not claim to be a health expert; so if you have medical issues, consult with your doctor before following any eating plan.  This one was formed from my own limited self-education and experimentation in my own life.  You know what works for you, and your doctor can back that up. 

Most everything (with the exception of a few feast days, is something you could easily take with you to wherever you are going and/or eat in the car if you must.  I often eat breakfast at my desk at work just after I arrive.  I have a cup of coffee before I leave the house to tide me over until I can get to a place to sit down and eat without interruption.



Once you do the first few weeks of cooking ahead and freezing, you will have a lot already prepared in your freezer for later; so the work will become less and less as you go along, and the grocery shopping list will get smaller too. 

I will also list all the equipment you will need to prepare these meals.  That should be your first purchase before getting ready to shop and cook.  Check out what you have on-hand and purchase the things you find missing from your kitchen.  I would encourage you to buy the best instead of skimping on this task.  Once you have purchased the right equipment for your kitchen; you should be able to use it for a lifetime.  How many things can you say that about these days?

So good luck with the first month of healthy, simple, easy to prepare and convenient breakfasts!  I hope you enjoy every bite!

Next week we will do this same thing for lunches; so don’t forget to check the AN APPLE A DAY blog next Thursday for those new menus, meal plans and grocery lists. 

Please understand that I’m experimenting with this right along beside you; so when we hit snags or need to make improvements and changes we all will need to comment and share.  I cherish your comments.





KITCHEN EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR ALL MENUS
Food Processor:  buy one that will process food and mix smoothies too according to the setting you use.  If you have a smoothie blender, and want to chop your other food by hand, that will work too.
5 old fashioned Ice trays
1 large roll parchment paper
1 large roll of aluminum foil
3 large cooking trays that will fit inside your freezer, about 1 inch in depth (not flat, but with a short section around the sides.)
Plastic spatula
Wooden spoon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
12 small canning jars with lids that seal
Muffin Tin that makes 24 mini muffins
Muffin Tin that makes 12 regular sized muffins
Pepper grinder
Cheese grater (if your food processor doesn’t do this for you)
Sharp knives in different sizes for cutting, slicing and chopping
2 boxes of gallon sized freezer bags (zip-lock is good)
1 box pint sized zip-lock baggies
1 large biscuit cutter
1 skillet (any type you like)
Muffin/cupcake liners (regular size and mini-sized)
Waffle Iron
1 large mixing bowl
1 medium sized mixing bowl
1 small mixing bowl
Set of Measuring cups
Set of Measuring spoons
1 gallon sized glass measuring cup with a pour spout
Tote bag for carrying food on the go (if you can get one that is insulated that might be nice.)
Black permanent marker
Whisk
Pastry brush
Chopping board
Bakers wire cooling racks



MENUS – FOR WEEK ONE
Day 1 - Fast Day:  Strawberry/Banana Smoothie (Freeze some extras.)
Day 2 - Moderate Day: one apple, one bag of Lemon Blueberry Granola (freeze some extra.)  One pint of skim- milk.  You can either drink the milk, or put in on your granola and eat the granola as cereal.  The granola is very good simply to use as a crunchy snack right out of the bag; eat however you prefer.
Day 3 – Fast Day: Mixed-Berry Smoothie (Freeze some extras.)
Day 4 – Moderate Day : 1 orange cut into bite sized slices.  1 Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito. (Freeze the extras)
Day 5 – Fast Day: Mango-Pineapple Smoothie (Freeze some extras)
Day 6 – Moderate Day:  Fresh Honeydew slices and 1 Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffin (Freeze the extras)
Day 7 – FEAST DAY! -1 bowl fresh strawberries with whip cream on top, Cinnamon Waffles And Honey. (Freeze the extras)

GROCERY LIST FOR WEEK ONE:
2 large containers of fresh strawberries (freeze any you do not use this week)
1 large container of fresh spinach leaves
1large tub of Greek Yogurt
1 gallon skim-milk
1 large bag of organic flaxseed
1 organic apple
2 4-stick boxes unsalted butter
1 jar lemon honey cream
2 dozen bananas (freeze what you do not use this week for the rest of the month)
2 boxes regular rolled oats
1 bag dried pineapple chunks
1 bag chopped walnuts
Local organic honey
Vanilla extract
Sea salt
1 bag dried blueberries
1 fresh lemon
1 fresh orange
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage (if you do not eat pork substitute ground turkey)
3 dozen organic, cage-free eggs
1 block cheddar cheese
Fresh pepper corns
2- 8-pkgs. of 9” flour tortillas
1 bag frozen mangos
1 bag frozen pineapple chunks
1 bag frozen mixed berries
1 honeydew melon (cut up and freeze any leftovers)
1 lb. Whole wheat flour
1 lb. All purpose flour
Baking powder
Baking soda
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Spray whipping cream
Cornstarch
Buttermilk
Granulated sugar
Extra virgin olive oil (quart size)

RECIPES FOR WEEK ONE:

FREEZE AHEAD  STRAWBERRY/BANANA SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
3 Bananas
1 pint cleaned strawberries with the leaves removed
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!  Freeze the pre-measured fruit portions for this drink in plastic bags in order to use the next time.  Keep a gallon of milk ice cubes frozen in order to use with all of the smoothie recipes.  Once frozen you can put 6 cubes inside the individual fruit bags. 

FREEZE AHEAD LEMON BLUEBERRY GRANOLA:
(Makes 2 quarts)
Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup Lemon Honey Cream
½ cup dried pineapple chunks
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 teaspoon salt
½ cup dried blueberries
2 teaspoons lemon zest, optional
Directions:
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Melt butter and honey cream in a small sauce pan.  Mix oats, walnuts and salt together in a large bowl.  Drizzle butter and honey cream mixture on top of oats and walnut mixture and stir to coat well.  Spread into baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with blueberries and lemon zest.  Stir and press down to form large chunks of granola.  Let cool and store in airtight freezer safe glass containers.  (To freeze leftovers pack into freezer safe jars without any air pockets leaving about ¼” headspace at the top of the jar.  Defrost overnight at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate; that will make the fruit tough.  You should have enough of this frozen to keep from re-making the next time.  

FREEZE AHEAD MIXED BERRY SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
1 Banana
1 pint mixed berries (buy the frozen ones at the store)
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Note:  Freeze the pre-measured fruit portions for this drink in plastic bags in order to use the next time.  Keep a gallon of milk ice cubes frozen in order to use with all of the smoothie recipes.  Once frozen you can put 6 cubes inside the individual fruit bags.  Just pull out and add the rest.


FREEZE AHEAD STRAWBERRY/BANANA SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
3 Bananas
1 pint cleaned strawberries with the leaves removed
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Freeze the pre-measured fruit portions for this drink in plastic bags in order to use the next time.  Keep a gallon of milk ice cubes frozen in order to use with all of the smoothie recipes.  Once frozen you can put 6 cubes inside the individual fruit bags.  Just pull out and add the rest.


FREEZE AHEAD SAUSAGE, EGG, SPINACH AND CHEESE BREAKFAST BURRITO:
(This recipe makes 16 burritos which can be wrapped individually and frozen to be eaten one at a time)
Ingredients:
1 lb ground spicy Italian sausage
1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves
16 eggs, beaten
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
16 – 9 inch flour tortillas
Directions:
Brown the sausage in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the spinach and stir until it wilts.  Add the eggs and sprinkle in the salt and pepper.  Stir all together well and set aside for about 20 minutes to cool.  Shed your cheese and set aside.  Arrange 16 squares of waxed paper into lines.  Place one tortilla on each piece.  Top each tortilla with ½ cup sausage-spinach-egg mixture and sprinkle each with the shredded cheese.  Fold over one side of each burrito (length-wise against filling.)  Fold in both small ends.  Then fold over the last side.  Place each burrito seam side down on the wax paper and wrap.  Then wrap each burrito in a piece of foil.  Place the wrapped burritos into the gallon-sized plastic freezer bags.  Zip, removing as much air as possible and place them in the freezer until needed.  (These can be frozen for up to 3 months, just label and date with a marker.)  When you are ready to eat them, just unwrap from foil and waxed paper and microwave on high for 2 minutes. 

FREEZE AHEAD MANGO-PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
1 Banana
½  pint frozen mangos (buy the frozen packages from the store)
½ pint frozen pineapple (buy the frozen packages from the store)
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Freeze the pre-measured fruit portions for this drink in plastic bags in order to use the next time.  Keep a gallon of milk ice cubes frozen in order to use with all of the smoothie recipes.  Once frozen you can put 6 cubes inside the individual fruit bags.   


FREEZE AHEAD WHOLE WHEAT BANANA NUT MUFFINS
Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
5 bananas – very ripe
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.  In a food processor add the bananas, yogurt, honey, vanilla and eggs.  Pulse together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.  Fold in the nuts.  Pour the batter in muffin liners and bake for 25-30 minutes in a muffin pan.  (Makes 18 muffins that can be frozen for up to 3 months.)  Put them into small baggies and put the small baggies into gallon bags, removing air and freeze.  Thaw about 10 minutes before eating.  They are so good, whether you have them hot from the oven or cold from the freezer!

FREEZE-AHEAD CINNAMON WAFFLES
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
½ cup skim milk
¾ cups olive oil
2 eggs separated
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
Heat waffle iron.  In a large bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl combine buttermilk, milk, olive oil and egg yolks.  Set aside.  In a separate medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients, whisking until just mixed.  Fold in egg whites until just combined.  Pour batter onto pre-heated waffle iron, cooking to desired crispness.  Remove waffles, separate sections and allow them to cool.  Place cooled waffles in a gallon sized plastic bag.  Freeze left-overs to reuse another day. When ready to eat, remove desired number of waffles, cook in toaster or overn until desired crispness is reached. 



MENUS -  FOR WEEK TWO
Day 8 – Fast Day: Make-Ahead Apples and Banana Fruity Oatmeal
Day 9 – Moderate Day:  Pieces of cantaloupe cut up inside a jar, 1 Breakfast Sandwich. (These can be frozen and you will only have to cook once a month.)
Day 10 – Fast Day:  Make-Ahead Blueberry and Walnut Oat Meal. (Extras keep in the refrigerator for three days)
Day 11 – Moderate Day:  Egg, Sausage, Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Burrito (already frozen from week one) and a cluster of purple grapes
Day 12 – Fast Day: Make-Ahead Ginger, Apricot, Cherry, Almond Oatmeal (Extras will keep in the refrigerator for three days)
Day 13- Moderate Day: Herbal Egg Whites and Feta on an English Muffins  (Freeze the extras and you will not have to cook the next time) and one fresh sliced orange.
Day 14 – FEAST DAY!: 1 Lemon Poppy Seed Scone (freeze the extras and you will not have to cook the next time.), a cluster of red seedless grapes and 1 Breakfast Sandwich (Frozen from Day 9).

GROCERY LIST FOR WEEK TWO:
5 organic apples (any flavor you like)
1 cantaloupe
1 box steel cut oats
18 cage-free organic eggs
Skim Milk (quart size)
1 pkg. bacon (if eating pork)
1 pkg. sliced cheese (favorite kind)
6 English Muffins (whole wheat)
2 pints fresh blueberries (freeze what isn’t used in plastic bags)
Purple Grapes (seedless) (freeze any unused for other meals)
Red Grapes (seedless) (freeze any unused for other meals)
1 bag slivered almonds
1 fresh orange
1 bag dried cherries
1 bag dried apricots
Ground ginger
1/2 gallon purchased egg whites
1 quart half-&-half
Fresh basil leaves (freeze leftovers chopped in ice cube trays)
Fresh chives (freeze left overs chopped in ice cube trays)
1 jar basil pesto
1 package crumbled feta cheese
Package English Muffins (12 per pack)
Spelt Flour
Bag of sugar
Buttermilk
Unsalted butter
Vanilla
4 fresh lemons
1 bag confectioner’s sugar
Poppy seeds


RECIPES FOR WEEK TWO:

MAKE AHEAD APPLES AND BANANA FRUITY OATMEAL:
Ingredients:
Honey
Apples, chopped very small
Bananas, chopped very small
Steel cut oatmeal.
Directions: 
Cook the steel cut oats as directed on the package.  Add apples, bananas and honey as desired and stir.  (These can be made in a large batch with the oatmeal prepared and stored in small individual sized jars in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just put the chopped fruit desired in a small plastic bag on top and mix other ingredients in on the day you carry to eat.  Seal jar again and drop into your tote bag.)  Carry a plastic spoon and this makes for a good grab-n-go breakfast-take-along.)  Heat for one minute in the microwave to warm.

FREEZE AHEAD BREAKFAST SANDWICH
Ingredients:
10 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 slices bacon (optional)
6 slices cheese (either cheddar, Monterey Jack or Swiss)
6 English Muffins
Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Whisk eggs together with milk and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Spray a 9 x 13 cooking tray with cooking oil.  Pour the eggs into the pan.  Place on the lower rack in the oven.  Bake until the eggs are puffed around the edges with golden spots, and a paring knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (25 – 30 minutes)  Cool completely.
Fry the bacon – this is optional if you do not eat pork.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the bacon down on it in a single layer with no pieces overlapping.  Turn up the edges of the foil to catch the grease.  Place bacon in the upper rack of the oven and bake until bacon is crispy (about 15-20 minutes)  When done, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  When the bacon is completely cooled and drained break each piece in half to make them fit on top of the sandwiches.  Finish the bacon and egg cooking; then toast the English muffins, cut side up on a baking sheet, until the edges are toasted.  Set aside to cool.  Using a spatula to lift the eggs out of the pan and onto a cutting board, take a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass will do) and cut 6 rounds out of the eggs.  (You don’t have to waste these scraps, use them for cooking some of your lunch items later, or freeze for breakfast casseroles.)  Assemble the sandwiches by laying the bottom halves of the English muffins in a row on your counter.  Top each one with an egg round, a slice of cheese, and 2 pieces of bacon.  Finish by adding the muffin tops.  Wrap each sandwich in a square of aluminum foil.  Use a permanent marker to write the contents and date on the sandwich.  Put all the sandwiches in a freezer bag or container.  (These will freeze for up to one month.) 

MAKE AHEAD BLUEBERRY AND WALNUT FRUITY OATMEAL:
Ingredients:
Honey
Walnuts, chopped very small
Blueberries
Steel cut oatmeal.
Directions: 
Cook the steel cut oats as directed on the package.  Add blueberries and walnuts and honey as desired and stir.  (These can be made in a large batch with the oatmeal prepared and stored in small individual sized jars in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just put the chopped fruit desired in a small plastic bag on top and mix other ingredients in on the day you carry to eat.  Seal jar again and drop into your tote bag.)  Carry a plastic spoon and this makes for a good grab-n-go breakfast-take-along.) Heat for one minute in the microwave to warm.
  
MAKE AHEAD GINGER, APRICOT, CHERRY, ALMOND OAT MEAL
Ingredients:
Honey
Slivered Almonds
Dried Apricots, chopped small
Dried Cherries, chopped small
1 Tsp. Ginger
Steel cut oatmeal.
Directions: 
Cook the steel cut oats as directed on the package.  Add ginger, apricots, cherries, almonds and honey as desired and stir.  (These can be made in a large batch with the oatmeal prepared and stored in small individual sized jars in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just put the chopped fruit desired in a small plastic bag on top and mix other ingredients in on the day you carry to eat.  Seal jar again and drop into your tote bag.)  Carry a plastic spoon and this makes for a good grab-n-go breakfast-take-along.)  Heat for one minute in the microwave to warm.

FREEZE- AHEAD HERBED EGG-WHITES AND FETA ON AN ENGLISH MUFFIN
Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1-1/2 quarts purchased egg whites
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
¼ cup basil pesto
¼ cup salted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
12 whole wheat English Muffins, split
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet with baking spray.  Set aside.  Whisk together the egg whites, half-and-half, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in the basil and chives.  Pour the egg white mix into the prepared baking sheet and bake on center rack until the egg whites are set and lightly browned around the edges, 18 – 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Using a large biscuit cutter or drinking glass cut eggs into rounds.  (Use the scraps for something else later, salads, sandwiches, freeze for future egg casseroles, etc.)   To assemble the sandwiches, spread a thin layer of butter over the cut side of the English muffin bottom, spread a thin layer of pesto on the cut side of each English muffin top.   Place one egg round on top of the buttered half of each English muffin.  Top each egg round with 1 tablespoon of feta cheese, close the sandwiches with the top halves of the English muffins.  If not serving immediately, tightly wrap each sandwich with aluminum foil and store in re-sealable bags in the refrigerator or freezer.  When ready to reheat place them uncovered in a 325 degree F regular or toaster oven until they are warmed through (approximately 30 minutes)  These can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months.  Label appropriately and date.  

LEMON POPPY SEED SCONES
Ingredients:
For Scones
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for forming scones
1-1/4 cups spelt flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup poppy seeds, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon zest
For Glaze
½ cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice plus more if needed.
Directions:
Line a baking sheet that will fit inside your freezer with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the cubed butter.  Using your hands or a pastry cutter, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small, course peas.   In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Using a wooden spoon or flat spatula stir until the dough gathers together in an uneven ball.  Let the dough sit for 10 minutes to allow the whole-grain flours to soak up a bit of the moisture.  Take out a large wooden board and sprinkle generously with flour before turning out the dough onto the surface.  With well-floured hands, quickly gather the dough into a ball and pat or push it down so that it’s circular in shape and about 1 inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Place the wedges on a prepared baking sheet and place in freezer.  Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.  Place scones in freezer bag and label.  Store in the freezer until ready to bake later. 

To bake:  preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Arrange the scones to they are lying flat on the sheet, 2 to 3 inches apart.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until tops are lightly brown.  Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.

While cooling, prepare the glaze:  Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice with a fork.  Adjust consistency with a little more sugar or lemon juice as needed, if too thick.  Drizzle the glaze over the slightly warm scones with a fork or spread with a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with the extra poppy seeds.  Allow to cool completely before serving. 

These will keep in the freezer as frozen for baking for two months.  Date your package with a marker and label what is inside.  (This is one of the few recipes that you will have to make from home, so plan this one on a day off.)




MENUS FOR WEEK THREE
Day 15 – Fast Day:  Freeze Ahead Apples And Oranges Smoothie
Day 16 – Moderate Day: 1 Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffin (already frozen from Day 6 Week One)  and 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries.
Day 17 – Fast Day: Freeze Ahead Raspberry and Mango Smoothie
Day 18 – Moderate Day:  Herbed Egg Whites and Feta on An English Muffin (already frozen from Day 13 – Week Two) and 1 cluster of purple grapes.
Day 19 – Fast Day: 1 Apple and 1 bag of Lemon and Blueberry Granola (already made ahead and frozen on Day 2 Week One)
Day 20 – Moderate Day: 1 sliced orange and one Breakfast Sandwich (already made ahead and frozen on Day 9 – Week Two)
Day 21 – FEAST DAY!:  One bowl of fresh blueberries, One banana, 1fried egg and one piece of bacon.

GROCERY LIST  FOR WEEK THREE
Orange Juice
3 Apples
Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 large Plain Greek Yogurt
Skim milk (quart)
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 bag frozen mangos
1 bag frozen raspberries
Purple Grapes
1 fresh apple
1 fresh orange
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 fresh banana
Sliced bacon

RECIPES FOR WEEK THREE

FREEZE AHEAD APPLES AND ORANGES SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
2 Bananas
½  pint chopped apple
1 cup orange juice (juice from a fresh orange
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!
(Remember to freeze extra fruit and ice cubes ahead for next time)

FREEZE AHEAD RASPBERRY AND MANGO-SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
1 Banana
½  pint frozen mangos (buy the frozen packages from the store)
½ pint frozen raspberries (buy the frozen packages from the store)
¼ cup spinach leaves
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
6 cubes frozen milk
1 Tablespoon flax
Directions:
Dump ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!
(Remember to freeze extra fruit and ice cubes ahead for next time)



MENUS FOR WEEK FOUR
Day 22 – Fast Day:  One Apple sliced into thin slices, leave the peal! 
Day 23 – Moderate Day:  Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito (already made and frozen ahead from Day 4 – Week One), 1 Banana
Day 24 – Fast Day  Mixed Berry Smoothie (Frozen Ahead with those made  on Day 3 Week One)
Day 25 – Moderate  Day: One Blueberry Bran Muffin, one orange sliced.
Day 26 – Fast Day: Mango Pineapple Smoothie (Frozen ahead from  Day 5 Week One)
Day 27 – Moderate Day: One Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito, (Made and frozen ahead in Week One) Several slices of honeydew melon.
Day 28 – FEAST DAY!  Mini Frittatas and a Lemon Poppy Seed Scone (made and frozen ahead in Week Three)

GROCERY LIST FOR WEEK FOUR:
1 fresh apple
1 fresh banana
1 fresh orange
1 dozen eggs
Buttermilk
1 fresh lemon
1 box bran cereal
1 bag pecan halves
1 honeydew melon
Deli sliced ham
Grated parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

RECIPES FOR WEEK FOUR:

BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS
(This recipe makes 12 – Freeze the extras!)
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
½ cup olive oil, melted and slightly cooled (although still liquid)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
¾ cup sugar
2 cups bran cereal
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup pecan halves, optional for garnish
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coconut oil, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, lemon zest and sugar.  Stir in the bran cereal and both flours and mix well until thoroughly combined.  The batter should be pretty stiff.  Carefully fold in the blueberries.  Prepare 12 standard sized muffin sleeves in a muffin tin and fill each to the very top with better.  Scatter the tops of the muffins with the pecan pieces.  Bake for 35 minutes; or until the tops are firm and slightly brown.  Let cool for 15 minutes before removing muffins from tins.  Serve warm or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze in gallon bags for up to 3 months.

MINI FRITTATAS
(Makes 8-10 mini frittatas)
Ingredients:
8 eggs
½ cup skim milk
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
4 ounces ham, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 2 mini muffin tins, each with 24 cups each with nonstick spray.  Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper and salt in a large bowl to blend well.  Stir in the ham, cheese and parsley.  Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture.  Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter.  (These can be frozen and reheated for up to 3 months)





MENU FOR LAST THREE DAYS OF A 31 DAY MONTH:
Day 29:  Fast Day:  Raspberry and Mango Smoothie  (Already prepared and frozen ahead from previous weeks)
Day 30:  Moderate  Day  1 Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffin (Already prepared and frozen ahead from previous weeks) with small bowl of fresh pineapple chunks.
Day 31:  Fast  Day:  1 box raisins, 1 orange and 1 banana

GROCERY LIST FOR LAST THREE DAYS OF 31 DAY MONTH:
Fresh pineapple chunks
Small boxes of raisins
1 fresh orange
1 fresh banana

RECIPES FOR LAST THREE DAYS OF 31 DAY MONTH:
No new recipes to worry with; no new meals to cook; all have been frozen ahead and you should have some left over for next month; so make those menus go around what you already have prepared in advance so that you may use it all up before it becomes too old or freezer burned.  Don’t you love how the grocery shopping got less and less with every week?



I am excited about these new breakfasts and how they have been organized. I hope they make our lives much easier, and much healthier.  I would love to hear how things go for you! 

Good luck; and stay turned to AN APPLE A DAY next Thursday for the same type of menu for lunches for a month.



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