Monday, June 3, 2013

The Perfect Summer Salad

Looking for a wonderful summer salad recipe to take to a potluck or graduation party? This one is packed full of Southwestern flavor boasting fresh cilantro, green onions, couscous, and black beans lathered in a cumin-lime dressing. It will be the hit of your party for sure!

Introducing the stars of the show

1 cup uncooked couscous
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
6-8 chopped green onions
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped and seeded
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ¼ cups chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous, cover the pot, and remove from heat. In a large beautiful bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin.


Add chopped green onions, bell pepper, thawed corn, black beans, and cilantro.

Toss all of this delicious goodness together and sneak a little bite….or two….or three! Fluff the cooled couscous well before adding to the bowl of veggies. Give this delicious goodness a toss, mixing well and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now prepare to be placed on a pedestal by your friends and family because they are going to love you for making this dish!
~The Manna Mama

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Skinny Chocolate

Happy Valentine's Day! My man surprised all of us girls this morning with these wonderful gifts.  He sure knows how to treat the ladies right!  If you look closely you will see one of my faves...JOSH GROBAN...AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  So excited!  Can't wait to listen to his newest CD. 

The girls all got lots of fun stuff including insulated drinking cups, beautiful cards, and chocolate....lots of wonderful, delicious chocolate.  What girl doesn't like chocolate, right?!

Well....this girl's not going to give in this Valentine's Day.  I've been working hard and have lost 15 pounds the past few weeks.  I'm not going to blow it now.  To combat my craving for chocolate and not give into my sweet tooth, I made a big batch of skinny chocolate last night and it's hanging out in the freezer, just waiting for me to indulge. 

What's skinny chocolate?  Let me show you how to make it.  It's super easy and delicious!  I got the recipe from the wonderful book, Trim Healthy Mama.  I'll be posting other recipes from this book as well, because they are just so yummy and are really working to help me lose weight.

Introducing the Stars of the Show:

That's it...only 3 ingredients....

- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3-4 teaspoons (depending how sweet you like it) Truvia or generic brand stevia sweetener, ground in the coffee grinder which makes it the consistency of powdered sugar.

First, I heated up some water on the stove and put the coconut oil in to liquefy it.  Don't get it too hot.  The outer edges will liquefy fast and just pour that off into your measuring cup.

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to a bowl.

Next add 1/2 cup liquefied coconut oil to the cocoa powder.

Add 3-4 tsp. powdered Truvia.  You MUST grind it in a coffee grinder.  If you don't,  your chocolate will become bitter.  Also, I find if I mix the Truvia with the cocoa powder first, it will disperse more evenly.

Mix this yummy goodness all together.  If you'd like, you can add nuts, vanilla, coffee, and/or unsweetened dried coconut for extra flavor.  You can also dip strawberries into the liquid before it hardens for chocolate covered strawberries.  Yum! 

Grab some wax paper and put it on a plate.  Pour this amazing liquid concoction in the middle of the wax paper on the plate.  Now the best part of may proceed to lick the spoon and bowl.  Shhhhhh....I won't tell your kids!

Let it hang out in freezer until it hardens for about 5-10 minutes.

Bring out of the freezer and break into bite size or BIG bite sized pieces.

Now if you'll please excuse me, I must grab my grandma's favorite tea cup and fill it with some Kurdish Mountain Chai tea that I picked up from the Farmers Market this weekend. I may even watch an episode of Downton Abbey. Why? Because I deserve it! Why don't you break out your favorite teacup and enjoy some skinny chocolate as well.  You deserve it too!
So long 15 pounds....may we never meet again!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sproutin' Seeds

I recently wrote an article on the how tos of sprouting on the Today's Woman website.  You can find it here:

I also wanted to post in on the blog because my family and friends have recently been enjoying their hand at sprouting.  My friend Daryn told me today that her daughter even calls these amazing sprouts "candy".  Wow!  You can't beat that...healthy and delicious!

So here ya go.....grab a jar and some seeds and get sprouting!

Well, I did it! After reading about it for years, I finally sprouted seeds/grain for eating. To fulfill my New Year’s Resolution of eating healthier and also to combat those nasty winter blues, I recently tried my hand at sprouting. During the winter months, it’s perfect to add something nutritious, green, fresh, and live to your diet. Why in the world did I put this off so long? It was easy. No, really, I mean it….so EASY. Grab a jar, some seeds, and water and let me teach you how!

Am I crazy? Why in the world would I want to sprout my own seeds?
Nutrients! Lots of great nutrients: antioxidants, protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, just to name a few. Also, when seeds are soaked and sprouted, the phytic acid is neutralized, retaining their natural plant enzymes and making them much more digestible, encouraging growth of good bacteria to help keep the colon clean. As well as retaining the enzymes, seeds also retain the nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking, creating a super food that is high in protective antioxidants, and not to mention the lower glycemic index is much friendlier to your blood sugar.

How to Sprout Seeds. It’s easy as 1 - 2- 3!

Step 1: Choose which seeds you will use for sprouting. There are so many to choose from: wheat berries, mung beans, radish, alfalfa, lentil, and broccoli, just to name a few. I chose wheat berries since it's what I had on hand. (I purchase my seeds in bulk from a wonderful, local business; Simple Traditions Bulk Food and Mercantile

Step 2: Fill a jar @ 1/3 or 1/2 full of seeds. Cover seeds or grain with water and let soak overnight. I used wheat berries for this sprouting project.

In the morning, drain seeds through a fine sieve. If you are like me and don’t have a fine sieve or are completely unaware of what in the world a sieve is, you can use a piece of CLEAN nylon stocking or a NEW nylon footie. The elastic holds it nicely in place on the jar.

Step 3: Place the jar of drained seeds in a warm dark place. The best temperature to sprout most seeds is between 70 and 75 degrees. Place jar on a saucer or plate underneath to catch any drips. Rinse the seeds twice a day in the morning and evening, making sure to drain off all excess water.

Step 4: On the 3rd or 4th day, you can move the jar into the sunlight when sprouts appear to encourage the formation of green sprouts. Continue to rinse and drain them at least twice a day. Remove the finished sprouts from the jar and rinse away hulls and drain in a colander. Store in the refrigerator and use up within 3-4 days.

We have been enjoying them on salads, omelets, and sandwiches. My kids favorite way to eat them is plain, right out of the jar. They just can't seem to get enough of them these days, which makes this mama oh so happy!

Sprouting….a healthy, easy, and delicious way to grow something else besides mold spores in your kitchen!

~The Manna Mama






Monday, January 14, 2013

Miss Priss meets Dolce & Gabbana

"I don't do fashion, I am fashion." - Coco Chanel
Welcome to little Miss Priss's daily fashion show, where a certain three year old takes the runway, sporting "Dolce and Gabbana"-like creations, time....and time....and time....AND TIME.....again! 

Outfit # 1.....

She is sporting a  classic wool beanie hat with a clean-cut design made of 100% wool, which has a shine and slight fuzziness and feels wonderful in your hands.  It is a hand-me-down from her 8 year old sister, or maybe her 12 year old sister, or was it from her 15 year old sister?  It's hard to keep these things straight.  Some days, she's lucky if she's even sporting an outfit at all!  She is also wearing her favorite corduroy horse jumper, given by some very sweet friends.   She's finishing off this little number with three ponytail holder "bracelets" found in the deep, dark crevices of the cushions of our couch.

5 minutes later....Outfit #2........

Next this white, off the shoulder pull-over with "Hello Kitty" on the bodice will be a crowd pleaser for sure.  It comes complete with a pink dance leo, which of course is another hand-me-down from one of those crazy sisters.

15 minutes later....outfit number 3.....

Next we have this elegant, little A-line number, complete with a red sequin headband that will be perfect for that Christmas fan on your list!  Don't blink because she's about to make another outfit change, as she's already holding outfit # 4 in hand.

5 minutes later.....outfit number 4!

Finally, her fourth (but not final) outfit of the day is this pleated-plaid skirt with black pullover sweater vest and wrinkled white oxford underneath.  Shoes are definitely not required!  Always remember...less is best!

And that concludes our "Dolce and Gabbana" fashion show for today!  Stay tuned.....Many more to come, I'm sure!

~The Manna Mama - Fashion MC

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taking my breath away.....

I'm Baaaaccccckk!  Yes, I have been on a sabbatical and no I haven't painted my kitchen cabinets yet.  I think we decided to nix the cabinet painting and move!  Ha...It's about that time, because we have been here for about 3 years now.  (And NO I am not expecting because usually about the time we decide to move, we end up with a new bundle of joy....)  We are looking and praying (about moving that is) so we are putting the cabinet painting project on hold for a while.

We have, however, been harvesting many delicious things from our winter garden.  Here's a picture...........

And I've been sprouting a few things besides mold spores in my kitchen.  I'm going to give you a sneak peek and show you how soon.  Here's your sneak peek:

Aren't you so proud of me.  Sprouting has been an easy way to get a ton of raw nutrition to combat those winter blahs!  Be watching for directions on how you can sprout your own edible seeds soon!

I've also been enjoying many books on my sabbatical.  My favorite so far......

It's simply taking my breath away.......

You can follow Katie's blog at:

Loving y'all to pieces....

~The Manna Mama~

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Feeling a Little Creative Today

I've recently been in the mood to create.  I'm trying to glean some inspiration from some pieces that I've worked on in the past. 

Several years ago, when I was REALLY into ivy,  I found this old cutting board at the goodwill and added my own special touches to it by distressing, painting, and stenciling it.  I've had it hidden in a deep, dark corner above my cabinets.   I brought it out today, and I've come to realize that I still really love it.  Do you all think it looks too outdated? 

I simply adore the way it looks against the green of my country cupboard.

And against the red of my kitchen walls.....

Hmmm....I'm still wondering what I can create today?

I've got my eye on my kitchen cabinets.....

I am thinking black....and distressed!  I wonder if my man would notice??

What do you all think?  Should I go for it??????

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Most Treasured Christmas Decorations

We love Christmas around these parts.  Not only do we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we find joy in embellishing our little house from top to bottom with beautiful, festive decorations, many holding special memories from the past.  It's not unusual for someone to tell the story behind the making of a handmade ornament or craft, as it is pulled out of the box and placed in it's proper spot. 

Some of my most treasured Christmas decorations are these hand-made wooden spoon carolers, made from.....well.... old wooden spoons, of course!

Aren't they simply precious!  The part I love the most about them is that my mama and Aunt Bev hand made them.  Mama made their clothes and hair and Aunt Bev painted their faces.   I cherish them now more than ever, since my Aunt Bev passed away a couple of years ago.  I have a part of her....something that she created with her very own hands.  Oh how I miss that spunky little lady!

I LOVE the expressions on their faces.  Can't you just hear them singing now......

"Oh come all ye faithfullllllll......."
""Joyful, joyful we adore theeeee........""
"I am a poor boy too, 
Pa rum pum pum pummmmm....."
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeee....."
"Everybody all together now....give it all you got....take it up an octave....."
"Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing.....
And heaven and nature sing.....
And hea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ven and na-ture siiiinnnnngggg!"


"Ahem, we must maintain our composure in front of the ladies, son!"

"Places, places everyone!"

Now you understand why I treasure them so!