20 April 2015

Good For You Chocolate Pudding with Gallberry Honey

I had the weekend off! [She pauses, for effect.] It's such a rare occurrence, as I average only 6 of them a year. So you understand why I must savor the moment.

The word for my rare weekend off was...Rain. I know. Lucky me. I didn't let it stop me from going to the local farmers' market, though.  I was on a mission, searching for some real honey. Not the pasteurized, take-all-the-good-stuff-out kind you often find in the store. I wanted Raw. Unprocessed. Honey. And, praise the Lord, a beekeeper braved the rain and brought his sweet wares to town.

I decided to purchase a pound of Gallberry honey. My other choices were Wildflower and Cotton Blossom. The flavor of the Gallberry (a member of the Holly family) is unique, and oh. so. smooth. I drizzled and slathered and slobbered over some on a piece of french bread as soon as I got it home.

In a way, the rain helped prompt my experimentation with the recipe I'm about to share by ensuring an indoor activity. I saw this good-for-you chocolate pudding some time ago on MarthaStewart.com, and it's been on the to-do list hanging out in the back of my mind for a while.


The base of the pudding is... Avocado! This high protein fruit is super easy to work with, and in this instance especially, provides a quick creaminess for the pudding.

Let me interrupt with a quick note: you can see in the photo I used my NutriBullet to mix this pudding. We are short on space, and chose this small appliance to do double duty in addition to it's original purpose of annihilating fruits and vegetables into wonderful, healthy, drinkable treats. However! I do not recommend you using it for this like I did. There's just not enough liquid to make it easy. I would stick with a food processor, instead.


The recipe also calls for vanilla extract. Are you making yours, yet?

I love that all you have to do for this recipe is throw all the ingredients into your food processor and, well, process! I thought the amount of cocoa powder made a rich pudding, but wouldn't change it in the future. I will admit I added more honey than what the directions called for. Please don't judge. ;-) I have a long way to go in my goal of breaking my addiction to sugar.


One final note before the recipe: this good-for-you dessert is best served chilled.

Ingredients:

- 3 avocados, pitted and scooped out of skins
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup real honey (I probably added another 1/8 cup)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (make your own!)

1. Put all ingredients in food processor and let it whirl until nice and creamy. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 4.



Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

19 April 2015

Life is Good! -- So What am I Afraid Of?

Ever been going along in your day-to-day life and think, "Wow. Life is pretty good right now!"

I'll bet, if you're like me and so many others, your very next thought is, "I wonder what's going to come along and ruin it?"

Or maybe you don't necessarily have those specific thoughts course through your mind. You just have a sense of something's coming. Life is too good right now.

I think you know what I mean. We rarely feel pure, unadulterated joy. Once we realize we're happy, we follow said realization up with wondering when the happiness is going to end.

It seems I've lately been doing that a lot. I know I'm on the right path in God's will for my life. Is everything perfect? Um. No. But I walk outside, look up at the trees, and smile. I'm happy...Then a "Why Me?" thought pops in my head.

I've struggled for so long to find this space, this peace, this wisdom. I feel it -- almost tangibly -- in my hands. Who am I to deserve this?

I'm a child of the most high God. That's who.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. - James 1:17

God is good. His gifts are good. And He's not gonna change. Nor are His gifts.

Charles Stanley mentions this notion of unworthiness in his book Handle with Prayer:
...the basis of all God's answered prayer is His love for us...According to His love, we are worthy of the greatest gift He had to give -- His Son. After that, anything else we ask for is secondary.

Why do we have so much trouble believing God for the minor things in life? It is [the enemy] who says, "Who do you think you are,...?

To this question there is only one answer: "I am a child of the King. I am so worthy in the eyes of God, He sent His only begotten Son to die for me...
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. - Psalms 126:6

There's a time for sowing, and there's a time for reaping. When it's reapin' time, rejoice!


Shared at April 2015 Chain "Linky" Climb, Freedom Fridays, Friday Favorites, Front Porch Friday, Faith Filled Friday, and Simple Life Sunday.


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

07 April 2015

Make Your Own Bug Repellent with Essential Oils

I'm not a fan of summer. Well, that might be a little harsh. Breaking it down a bit, I'm really not a fan of weather above 80°, and I'm not a fan of bugs. Wasps scare the bejeezus out of me. Gnats and mosquitoes annoy me to seemingly no end. Even if I try to enjoy the milder warmth of early morning or late evening, they are there to ruin it for me.

My solution to this? Stay inside. Right by the air conditioner. Ever heard of cabin fever? For me it's more applicable in the summer!

Yet this summer is a bit different. Since space is limited, being perfectly fine with staying inside ALL the time is just a silly pipe dream.

Which leads me to insect repellent. Can't stand the chemical-laden stuff "off the shelf". Not only are the chemicals harsh for us and our skin (to put it mildly), but the stuff stinks to high heaven and is often incredibly sticky. I always feel as though I need a shower after using it.

Enter essential oils. Though not my first time using them, this is my first time using them in this manner. Would the right combination really repel insects?

In a word, YES!

I based the recipe I used on one found at GreenBootLiving. There are a ton of recipes out there! If you already have an arsenal of essential oils, check around to see if there is a recipe using the ones you have on hand. I'm always up for minimizing cost.

I purchased my essential oils for this purpose from Edens Garden via Amazon. The prices are great and there are no additives or fillers added to the oils. And free shipping at the $35 threshold is nice, as well.

I did make one addition to the original recipe I went with by mixing in Rose Geranium. I've read it's a great tick repellent.

Since this was my first (trial) recipe, I made a fairly small amount -- less than 4 oz. To replicate that amount, here's what you'll need:

[Disclosure: Links are of the affiliate variety.]

· 4 oz. spray bottle
· 5 tbsp water (I used filtered)
· 1 tbsp witch hazel (I used a generic comparable to this from my local grocery store.)
· 1 drop 100% pure thyme oil
· 2 drops 100% pure lemongrass oil
· 1 drop 100% pure lavender oil
· 1 drop 100% pure peppermint oil
· 1 drop 100% pure rose geranium oil

Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle. Apply to exposed skin when going to the bug-infested outdoors!

Shared at Thrifty Thursday at the Thrifty Couple, Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, Coffee and Conversation, Fluster's Creative Muster, The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, Wake Up Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, and Simple Life Sunday.

Standard medical disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and statements here have not been evaluated -- nor approved -- by the FDA. This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Please conduct your own research and make your own decisions regarding the use of essential oils.


04 April 2015

Happy Easter, Y'all


Yep, that's me. It's one of those pictures with no information, though. I cannot remember my age or the place. Were we in Germany? Oh well. It appears I was quite the colorist! :-)

24 March 2015

Speaking Spiritually: I Finally Found My Life Verse

If you've been following this blog, you know there have been a lot of changes in my life of late. We have been in the camper "full-time" for a month, and I think I'm finally settling in to somewhat of a routine. Our kitchen facilities have greatly diminished with this move, and one of my goals is to ramp those types of posts back up in the near future -- laying out alternatives and new ideas when faced with such a small space and few appliances.

The goal of lowering television viewing has been surprisingly simple to achieve, and I find I don't miss it much at all. I'm a sucker for sports, though. So I must admit March Madness has been in my recent purview. (Go Duke!) -- I'm proud to say I've increased my reading in lieu of tv.

Slowing down and taking in my surroundings has been a top priority, as well, and I'm happy with the progress there. (I'm sure to expound on that with other posts.)

That still lives priority numero uno: strengthening my walk with God. While I consider that to be a constant, ongoing goal, I wanted to take this specific time to put in some work. I have been more consistently reading my Bible and teachings in book form.

Are you familiar with the term "life verse"? Until fairly recently, I had never even heard this term. According to What Christians Want to Know, "a life verse is a verse from the Bible (or a small passage) that you choose to be your most favorite verse; it is the one that you commit to memory to share with others."

Well, I have a lot of favorite verses! Yet somehow I felt like I was lacking a life verse. "How can that be?" I briefly wondered. Then I put it out of my mind.

About a week ago, I downloaded Charles Stanley's Handle with Prayer: Unwrap the Source of God's Strength for Living. I'm on chapter 3, and was blown away from the start. (Partly, I'm sure, because my prayer life needs a huge makeover.)

I talk to God every day. All day. That part I have down. I'm confident God hears and answers my prayers. The area I feel in my soul needs improvement is listening. I know I receive guidance from the Holy Spirit, but it's highly doubtful I "get it" the first time around. Know what I mean?

The part of the journey I'm on now, for example. The idea of making a change and taking my life in a different direction has been on my heart for years. Yep, I said years. But I was likely listening to my own understanding so hard, I failed to hear God's perfect plan. The one that would have gotten me on the right, bright path sooner.

The title of the first chapter of Handle with Prayer is "Unveiling the Hidden". I want to know everything God has in store for me. Don't you want that for yourself? Well, that would require listening. Some patience and waiting. And listening.

To apply this more directly to my everyday life: I want to know how to use everything God put on this earth for good. What does that insect do to improve my life? How can that weed improve my health? How can I spread the word and widen the movement? How can I save the resources He provided for future generations?

Yes, there are resources (many! and good ones!) that I can use online and off to facilitate answers to a few of those questions. But the passionate, all-encompassing answers? I believe they come from Him. The one who knows all. The one who knows His plan better than any. The one who put those resources there in the first place!

And that's where I found my life verse. It's not just a new favorite verse. It's a verse that I will recite to myself constantly. Write it on the walls of my heart. I know where to go to get my questions answered.

So sayeth Jeremiah 33:3 --


Do you have a life verse? Share it in the comments below! Do you remember how it came to be the one?

Tuesdays with a Twist Featured

Shared at Making a Home - Homemaking Linky and Tuesdays with a Twist.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

18 March 2015

Light Your Entryway with Solar Power (Pimp Your Pop-Up #3)

OK. This one is short, sweet, simple -- and cheap! As in, less than $2 cheap.

Some campers have a "porch light" by the entryway, but mine does not. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought two solar lights at 97¢ a piece. Once we got home, I placed one on each side of our step into the camper and let the sun go to work. Each light comes attached to a stake, so putting them in the ground was a cinch.

Here they are.


An added bonus is you don't have to remember to flip a switch!


That's all for this series, at the moment. If we do any more improvements, I'll be sure to share. Feel free to comment with any camper upgrades you'd like to offer. I'd love some inspiration! :-)

15 March 2015

Sweeten the Sleep Space in Your Camper with Thermal Blackout Curtains (How to Pimp Your Pop-Up #2)

Too much light when trying to sleep. That's a conundrum. And it applies in my current situation of living full-time (albeit temporarily) in a RV. I cannot complain about our lot in the park. When the sun goes down, it's pretty difficult to see your hand in front of your face. But! My work schedule requires me to sleep some during the daylight hours. And the number of those hours increases with the coming of long summer days.

Just today, I took a nap from 2 - 3:30 p.m. in full 80° sun. No worries, though. I was in comfortably cool semi-darkness. (We were having highs in the fifties just a couple of days ago. Is this not the weirdest transition into spring ever?)

My solution? Thermal blackout curtains. To be more specific, a set of these solid thermal insulated blackout curtains in navy. Each panel is 84 inches long and 52 inches wide -- a perfect fit for each side of the queen-size bunk end of the camper.

Here's a before pic of one side:


And here are a couple with the thermal blackout curtains up. (Taken before the back was covered to compare and show how no light is getting through the curtain.)


Please forgive the mismatched pillows and such in this one! I won't be winning any prizes for interior decorating anytime soon.


The best thing about this idea is it's not permanent. We tucked one end of each panel behind the bunk end braces, and the other ends were simply clipped in place with 2 in. spring clamps like these, described as having "strong gripping, spring-action jaws".


I got the curtains at more than 50% off retail, and the clips I already had. Minimal expense for a sweeter sleep space!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

Shared at The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, the Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, and some of these fine hops.

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