Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Time Randomness, Stewardship, And Quinoa Salad

Summer is winding down quickly and at our house this means it's time to gear up for fall.
 
 
 
Over the past six weeks or so, we have been going through out house room by room, drawer by drawer, closet by closet, and purging, deep cleaning, and reorganizing.
 
Clutter is a time thief
 
When there is clutter a simple job becomes complicated and when life is busy things need to be handy, well organized, and minimalized.
 
Where there is clutter, there is grief
 
Have you ever noticed the extra energy it takes to dig through a closet, cupboard, drawer, or an overfilled room to find a simple necessary object you need right away? When we have too much, peace goes out the window.  The longer I do life, the more I agree with the "less is more" philosophy, and especially as a mom of several kiddos ranging in age from eight years old to sixteen. Each child's life is filled with activity.  Our family calendar is my responsibility and  I need to be free to stay on top of our family schedule without added distractions and time suckers.
 
Being a good steward isn't just about the finances
 
Taking care of our homes, cars, and belongings is part of being a good steward. When we care about the things God has provided, we are showing a grateful heart for all of it. This includes donating or selling things we no longer need and I don't know about you, but I feel so refreshed and peaceful after a good, deep cleaning, and paring down of the household inventory. I love to donate things, but I also love to sell things we don't need and be a part of adding to the household income even if it's in very small ways. It all adds up. Modeling this for our kids teaches them to be good stewards, as well. It teaches them to "let go" of things in life that will weigh them down.  It teaches them ways to make some money when they aren't old enough to have a job yet. It teaches them organization skills. If you don't have room enough in your closets and drawers, it's time to pare down until things are easy to see, easy to grab, and easy to put away. This is our family rule. No more digging through and around things to get to what we need. If we can't immediately see it when we open a drawer, cupboard, or closet, we have too much and it's time to purge.
 
Managing the square footage in our home to the greatest advantage for the family overall, is also part of good stewardship.  Over the years we have changed rooms to best meet the changing needs of a growing family. What works well for one season isn't as beneficial for another season in life. Imagine wearing shorts and a tank top in winter, or a winter coat and snow boots in summer. The wrong clothing for the season doesn't meet the body's physical needs.  It's the same with our homes. There was a season our family benefitted greatly from a room dedicated strictly to school. That season is over now. The dining room table, or personal desk spaces in bedrooms fits our family well in this season.  Two weeks ago we did some major reorganizing of the rooms in our house. It was tantamount to actually moving to a new home. It was hard work, it took time and required the whole family's involvement, but the changes fit our family for this season perfectly. We feel like our home has doubled in size and I'm breathing a sigh of relief knowing that I can now begin the busy, new, season organized with a fresh, clean, house.
 
Stewardship in the kitchen
 
Feeding my family healthy meals is something I am passionate about. Excellent nutrition, excellent flavor, and excellent fun are three areas I strive to meet when I put my apron on.  I enjoy having my kids cooking alongside me, too!
 
The other day my creative kitchen juices were flowing again as my sixteen year old daughter and I prepared one of our summer time family favorites.
 
Salmon, quinoa salad, and stir fry veggies.
 
This is an easy meal, and delicious!  I'm all about saving time and money, so if we have a social engagement coming up, I try to combine the creation of my contribution to that with a meal I am already preparing for my family.  Quinoa salad is one of the easiest and best things to take to a potluck. It's quick and packs a tasty punch in both flavor and nutrition. 
 
Warning: drooling may occur upon sight or thought of it.
 
Tip on  purchasing salmon: Always choose wild salmon for best nutritional benefits.
 
I switch up the ways I prepare salmon all the time.  For this particular meal, I prepared a sauce using plenty of fresh, minced, garlic, Himalayan salt, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a generous amount of dried dill, and a touch of local honey.  I didn't measure any of it. Once I had all of my ingredients together, I whizzed it all up in my Vita Mix, and drizzled it over the salmon.  I then handed it off to the resident barbecue master AKA my hunky hubby, and he grilled it to perfection. His rule: salmon should be cooked, but not overdone. It should be tender, and juicy, not dry. He watches it carefully throughout the process, testing it with a fork frequently until it's flakey and pink, but not red.
 
 
 
 

 
Quinoa Salad
 
I usually make a very large batch of this delicious, filling, protein packed salad, so I used about eight cups of cooked, organic, quinoa. This recipe is very versatile and you can add anything you like to it, pretty much!
 
This time I added chicken tenders that I fried in coconut oil and seasoned with salt, sliced olives, a generous amount of feta cheese, chopped onion, sun dried tomatoes, Himalayan salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
 
The dressing:
1 1/3 cups pure, cold pressed, organic olive oil
1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar with the mother
4 cloves garlic
1 TBSP (preferably local, raw)  honey
1 tsp. salt
1-2 heaping TBSP Italian seasoning (or for Mexican salad.....cilantro, cumin, chili powder to taste)
1/2-1 tsp. of mustard powder or Dijon mustard (optional)
Blend dressing and mix in
 
This is delicious hot or cold
 
Other ingredient options
 
Shredded parmesan
chopped parsley
sliced cabbage
chopped tomatoes
taco meat
artichoke hearts
can of beans
 

 
 

 
 

 
After our delicious salmon and quinoa meal, we settled in to enjoy one of the last summer evenings of the season and our sweet grandma Golden Girl, Tessa joined in on the fun.
One of the privileges I enjoy as a mom, is shooting my kids...with my camera....as sort of a surprise attack. This one was a win for mom!

 
 

 
I leave you with a little puppy spam!
 

4 comments :

  1. I so agree about all the deep cleaning and getting rid of things. It just makes the house feel more peaceful! I get so weary and frustrated when I'm just moving clutter piles from one place to another. I'm still working on our school room/craft room. Then when the weather cools I need to do the attic. Every thing I get rid of makes me feel better and I love knowing it may bless someone else.
    I love your enthusiasm for cooking healthy and colorful! meals. I've learned I do like salmon, thanks to THM. :)
    That picture of Tim really made me laugh. The pumpkin patch scenery is gorgeous. What would we do without our cameras?

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    1. Lisa, it's always so nice to log in here and find comments from you and/or Tabby! <3 And what a blessing to know there are kindred spirits when it comes to decluttering and cleanliness. I am such a geek when it comes to organizing and rearranging things. I love to try new things to make our home run more smoothly. :) Tim did not see that one coming. I had a great time sneaking in that shot. :) The pumpkin patch scenery....you are right. We have some beautiful farm lands surrounding us. I love fall and can't wait to take some pictures of my favorite season. I'm with you....so thankful for my camera! <3

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  2. Oh! Good grief! Tim!!! lol! ^_^

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    1. Haha, I did manage to launch an authentic surprise attack on the poor guy. :)

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