The Bank of Time: Time Is An Investment

Welcome back for Part Two of my series on Time. If you missed Part One (Time is a Treasure) click HERE. Read about how to treasure time as a valuable commodity, cherishing every moment.

Today we move on to discuss how time can be spent and invested, but it cannot be saved.

The I in TIME is for Investment.

In the early 1970’s Jim Croce wrote a song with these lyrics, “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do …… is to save every day ’til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you”

Wouldn’t it be SO cool if we could bottle up time for all the fun things like vacations or important things like family? Unfortunately, no matter how technologically advanced we become, this will never be possible. Each day only has 24 hours. We can’t purchase more hours, but we can spend them. We can’t save them, but we can waste them.

As I was writing Time is a Treasure, I thought about how people say, “I just don’t have enough time.”

Think about it …… There are 168 golden hours in each week. The average person will spend about 56 of those hours sleeping, about 24 of those hours on eating and personal hygiene, about 50 hours working (and commuting), and about 8 hours for chores (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) That’s a total of 138 hours per week, leaving 30 hours of free time!!

That’s an average of 5 hours a day!!

How much of that time is invested into mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and quality time with family?

Quality Time Invested in Family

When my children were younger I was a single mother working two jobs. I was tormented with guilt because I didn’t get to spend enough quality time with my boys. One day I made a decision to prioritize my time a little better. I couldn’t get any extra time in the day, but I could choose how to spend that time.

Instead of spending time “bugging” my boys to clean their rooms, I chose to use the only hour I had with them to enjoy being in their presence. We enjoyed dinners as a family and we cleaned the dishes as a family. We would start a game of Monopoly and play for 30 minutes a day. One game could last 3 weeks!!!

My point is this. If there is only an hour in a day to spend with your loved ones, make sure you invest that time doing what they will remember. My boys don’t remember whether their rooms were clean or dirty, but they remember the Monopoly game which lasted a month (the one Mom lost!!).

*if you’re a mom who thinks having a clean room is a top priority, I’m not saying that is wrong. I’m only saying there needs to be a balance between all the chores and quality time. For me, I didn’t have time for both, so made a choice to let the rooms go until the weekends 🙂

Quality Time Invested in Spiritual and Physical Health

I’m not here to preach and tell you to do bible studies every day or go to church every Sunday. What I do want to tell you is there should be regular time invested for spiritual support.

Let me explain. My bible studies are usually pretty regular, but I am guilty of slacking at times because I get busy. It never fails that when I slack for too long, my husband will notice. I become a little shorter with my temper, I get agitated a little easier and I lose some of the peace that my studies fill my heart with. My husband will say, “I think you need to go to church” or “”maybe you need to do a bible study”. And he isn’t saying it spitefully, he is genuinely telling me that he see’s my heart is out of balance. Inevitably, when I listen to him and invest time with my bible, I begin to feel peace right away.

Balance is the key. If your schedule only allows for 5 minutes a day, or one study a week, that’s ok!!

The same goes for physical health. I have a bad back from a car accident 18 years ago. Sometimes I just want to sit around and do nothing. You know those Saturdays when you stay in your jammies and watch movies all day. The problem is, if I do that too long, my back seizes up and it takes me weeks to recover. So whether I feel like it or not, I need to invest a little time every day walking because it keeps my back loose.

Quality Time Invested in Mental Health

When I think about mental health, I think about taking time for myself to rejuvenate and relax. There was a time in my life when I didn’t know how to do this. My evenings were filled with swirling thoughts that gave me insomnia. When I finally did fall asleep, I dreamt about work. When I was a waitress so I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, “I forgot to take that guy his cup of coffee!!!” When I was a Care Aide serving seniors, I dreamt about how Betty needed help with her pantyhose and Charles needed his glasses fixed. On my days off, I wanted to go visit them to see if they needed anything!! I spent  way to much time thinking about others and not enough thinking about myself.

At some point, I realized that I couldn’t be the best mother (or Care Aide) if I didn’t take care of myself first. I started giving myself permission to do nice things for myself. A 20 minute bubble bath. Walk in the park. Reading a book. Sitting on the deck in the sun, doing nothing at all.

Can I tell you something? As soon as I started doing this, a little voice in my head would tell me that I was being a bad mother, and I began to feel guilty!!!

“well, the kids need …..”

“the bathroom needs to be cleaned…”

“Joe at work needs me to ……”

Do you know that no matter how much you do, there will ALWAYS be something that needs to be done!??

Through time, I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at me or how busy I get, slowing down and investing time in me is at the top of my priority list. When I allot time for self-care, I am more relaxed, thoughtful and kind.

TimeInvestment

In closing, I would like to challenge you to think of how are you investing your time? Does the time you invest bear good fruit? Will your loved ones remember you through the legacy of wonderful memories you shared with them?

John 15:8 (AMP) When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of mine.

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The Bank of Time: Treasure is a Treasure

Years ago, I listened to a bible sermon called The Bank of time. It was a message on how to utilize time as a precious commodity. I took extensive notes and recently stumbled across my book of notes! This message was so inspiring that I wanted to share it with you.

First, let me say that I tried to find the original Minister who gave this message but was unsuccessful. I have also looked online to try and give credit where credit is due. The original idea for this message came from the sermon and the rest of it is my own interpretation. If you have stumbled across this post and I have missed giving credit to the proper people, this was unintentional and I would love for you to send an email.

Now, with that out of the way………The Bank of Time (this is a 4 part series)

The T in TIME is a Treasure!!

There was a poem written (by an unknown writer) titled Realize the Value of Time. I have taken this poem and expanded on it just a bit.

To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade in school and was held back while all his friends moved forward.

To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week, ask the grad student who missed out on grad week while all her friends participated in dances, photos and celebrations.

To realize the value of one hour, ask the business man who’s plane was delayed and he missed out on the deal of a lifetime because he didn’t make the meeting.

To realize the value of one minute, ask the man who just had a heart attack and there happened to be a paramedic nearby who did CPR and saved his life.

To realize the value of a second, ask the mother who missed being in a head on collision with an on-coming car (because of a split second turn of the wheel).

To realize the value of a second, ask the Olympic swimmer who missed qualifying because of one-sixth of a second.

Have you ever thought of time like this before, considering that every moment of time has significant value ……. every year, every day, every second?

A.W. Tozer wrote: “Time is a resource that is nonrenewable and nontransferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide it or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a raiy day – when it’s lost it’s unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

When Farrah Fawcett was in her last stages of terminal cancer, she was asked, if there was anything she could change, what would it be? Her response was that she would just “Live”. With all the money and financial security, with all the fame, with everything that she experienced as a star, she made it to the end of her life and felt as if she had never “lived”.

A while back, I attended a support group with a few other women. I commented that I wasn’t feeling very pretty and having a hard time with body image. One of the women said, “My daughter said the same thing to me before she passed away. I wish she would have seen how beautiful she was. Do you want to get to the end of your life and realize you never liked yourself?”

That really touched me!!

I have moments of insecurity, but I never really thought of it like that. For every day I was feeling insecure or in self-pity, I was wasting away this precious time God has given to me, this precious life I’ve been blessed with.

What are you experiencing today? Are you embracing each moment  as a gift or is time passing you by? Do you struggle to hold onto faith that tomorrow will be a better day?

I will tell you what my angel friend told me. Love yourself. Love your life. Cherish every moment as if its the only one that matters. Don’t let one moment pass you by and disappear into the past. You wont get it back. Treasure every moment you have breath!

Psalm 139 13:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Please share how you make the best of all your “moments” in the comment section below..

Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

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Beef Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini

The other day, I made a slow cooker roast dinner for my husband. Since this isn’t one of my favorite meals, I decided to use the left over roast for something other than just left overs. It’s also pretty warm in Canada right not. We don’t have an air conditioner so I had to come up with something I could cook on the barbeque.

I did a search on the internet for creative ideas “how to use left over roast”. There were hundreds of ideas from shredded beef casseroles to BBQ roast beef sandwiches. None of the suggestions I found tempted my taste buds, so I came up with this as an alternative.

My roots are in California where there are tons of great Mexican restaurants, so I have a special spot in my heart for enchiladas, tacos and burritos. I also have a love for fresh grown vegetables, zucchini being the freshest veggie in the market right now. So the wheels started turning and “beef enchilada stuffed zucchini” was created.

I am not creative enough to make an enchilada sauce without some kind of instruction so I went to the internet again. Chef Emeril Lagasse has a simple yet flavorful recipe on Food Network. It was for a larger recipe than what I needed, so I split the recipe in half and made a few minor adjustments.

Big shout out to Chef Emeril (oh and if you ever make it to Las Vegas, he has a restaurant in MGM Grande where you can get some amazing meals).

If you have left over beef or an over flow of zucchini from your garden, be sure to try this yummy recipe!!

Beef Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour (I used brown rice for GF)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 generous pinches garlic salt

Zucchini Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded left over roast beef
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • foil

Instructions for sauce:

  1. Set skillet on stove top to a medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, blend chicken broth and tomato paste. Set aside.
  3. Add flour and olive oil to skillet and whisk until well blended
  4. Add all the other spices (chili powder, oregano, cumin & garlic salt). Whisk together.
  5. Pour tomato mixture from bowl into skillet. Whisk until blended.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

Instructions for Zucchini:

  1. Turn barbeque on (I set mine on low because it gets pretty hot)
  2. Prepare foil into a square shape – like a mini cookie sheet.
  3. Wash zucchini well. Cut the tips off both ends, then cut in half length wise.
  4. Scoop out the seeds in the center of zucchini halves and place on foil.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of shredded beef to each zucchini.
  6. Add 1/4 cup enchilada sauce to each zucchini.
  7. Sprinkle both mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top of enchilada sauce.
  8. Sprinkle half the green onions on top of cheese.
  9. Bake on the barbeque for approximately 15 minutes, until cheese on top is a little crispy.
  10. Remove from barbeque and drizzle any left over sauce on top.
  11. Garnish with remaining chopped green onion.


Step By Step:

Make the sauce!!

In a bowl, blend the tomato paste and chicken broth. I used some of my Nutritious Chicken Broth from my freezer. The easiest way to blend the paste into the broth is to use a whisk. That will take away all the little tomato clumps.

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In a skillet, temperature set to medium on your stove top, add olive oil and flour. Use your whisk to blend well.

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Add all your spices. Blend again.

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Whisk in the tomato paste and chicken broth mixture.

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Turn the barbeque on to a low temperature so it can heat up while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Prepare the zucchini!!

Wash well. Cut the tips off each end. Slice in half length wise. Scoop out the seeds in the center.

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Add 1/4 cup shredded beef to each zucchini.

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Top each zucchini with 1/4 cup enchilada sauce.

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Sprinkle mozzarella, cheddar cheese and zucchini over the sauce.

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Bake in the barbeque for approximately 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and a little crispy on top.

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Drizzle remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining green onions for a garnish. SERVE!!

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This was filling and delicious. (fairly healthy as well – if you don’t count the cheese!). My husband also enjoyed it, but said it was too much zucchini. For us veggie loving folks this is perfect, but next time I serve it maybe I will add some potatoes to the side for my other half 🙂

If you enjoy this recipe, feel free to share with your friends or on social media. Thank you for stopping by.

 

 

Nutritious Chicken Broth

When I was a little girl we didn’t have a lot of extra money which meant meals were often simple and always budget friendly. One of the meals my mom used to make was “chicken and rice”. A homemade chicken broth with rice cooked in the broth. No frills. Just chicken, rice, salt and pepper. (still one of my favorite meals!!)………..The secret ingredient was the broth.

My mom didn’t spend $3 on a pint of watered down broth from the grocery store. She took the left over carcass from a roasted chicken and made her own. She covered the carcass with water and boiled it until all the left over bits of meat and bones just fell apart.

I would watch her sift through and pull out all the bones and inedible stuff like cartilage and skin. I remember saying, “ewwwwww, I’m NEVER going to touch meat like that. Gross!!”

Guess what?

My finances became tight and I found myself doing things the way my mom used too, in order to feed my own children. Trying to save a few pennies, I learned what my mom had known for years. A bit of invested time and left over bones from a chicken dinner can be turned into a super healthy broth that can be used a zillion different ways.

Think about this. If you’re already buying a chicken or pieces of chicken (anything with bones), making this broth is a net cost of zero!!. It’s like FREE food. How can you argue with that!!!

Nutritious Chicken Broth

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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Things you will need

  • Bones from a whole chicken or parts of a chicken to equal same amount.
  • Large pot with a lid.
  • Second pot or large bowl.
  • Strainer.

Directions

  1. Take left over bones from a chicken dinner.
  2. Put the meat in a pot and cover almost to the top of the bones.
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a low-medium for about 45 minutes. Make sure it’s on a low boil or all the liquid will boil off and you will lose the broth.
  5. Once the bones are broken apart and the cartilage pulls away from the bones easily, remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Put your strainer in a large bowl.
  7. Pour cooled broth and bones into the strainer, making sure the bowl underneath is catching all the broth.
  8. Sift through the bones to keep any extra edible meat.
  9. Use immediately or freeze in baggies or ice cubes for later use

Not only is this broth SUPER friendly on your wallet, but it’s also amazingly healthy.

  • This broth aides in digestion (and leaky gut syndrome).
  • Because of the boiled down cartilage, you get extra glucosamine which helps with joint discomfort.
  • You get to decide how much sodium you want to add.
  • This broth contains a high amount of calcium from the boiled bones.
  • The gelatin in the broth promotes healthy hair and nails.
  • Studies show that homemade chicken soup has soothing immune boosting qualities, not to mention the sheer comfort of sipping on a cup of warm homemade broth when you don’t feel well.

Here are just a few ways this super food broth can be used:

  • Base for any kind of soup or stew.
  • My mom’s chicken and rice.
  • Chicken and dumplings.
  • Cooking vegetables.
  • Instead of water in rice/pasta/grains.
  • As a base for gravy.
  • When making mashed potatoes.
  • As a braising liquid.

This broth can be frozen in large freezer bags for your next pot of stew or frozen into little ice cubes to use as a flavoring agent in sauces. I also like to freeze single size portions for those times when someone in the house isn’t feeling well.

If you don’t have the time to make the broth just freeze the carcass until you do. Remember, throwing a carcass away is like throwing dollars in the trash. In fact, I am SO sold on this idea that my roommates have started giving me their left over chicken bones!! (hahaha, does that make me weird?)

Step by Step

Use any left over chicken bones. It can be a whole chicken or a mix of legs/wings/thighs/bone-in breasts.

Put bones into a pot and add enough water to cover the bones. Yes I know, not a pretty photo – BUT, it’s a carcass!

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Cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes (until the cartilage easily separates from bones).

Remove from heat and let cool.

Put a strainer over another pot or large bowl. Pour broth and bones into the strainer, sifting out the bones and catching the broth in the bowl underneath.

Sift through the bones for any left over edible meat. This is what mine looks like at the end. The left is what I kept for my next pot of soup, the middle is what I will feed my little pup Snap and the right is the only part of the chicken that goes in the garbage!!  Look at that tiny pile of bones and skin – not much waste there!!

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……………… and the final product!  (Delicious, nutritious, hearty, SUPER food).

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TRY this recipe (especially if you hate throwing food away). Feel free to share!!

Come visit again for more wallet friendly kitchen tips.

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx

http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

Turkey Tortilla Soup

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It was three days before Christmas and I had just received a phone call from the church that my holiday food box was ready. Being a single mother on a tight budget, free food for my family was a real treat. The box included a 15 pound turkey, several cans of goodies, pumpkin pie, broth, bread and some fresh vegetables. It was like Christmas, before Christmas!

To my surprise, the church called me the following day to say that one of the food boxes had not been picked up and they had extra. If I wanted it, come and get it!!

Of course, I was thrilled to get the extra food, so went to the church right away. My children, on other hand, were not as excited. As you can imagine, everything we ate for the next 3 weeks was made from turkey. We had turkey sandwiches, turkey omelets, turkey and rice, turkey noodle soup, shredded turkey tacos, and turkey casseroles.

Because I didn’t have much money, I saved every bit of those turkeys, including what I could take from the bones. I broke down each turkey carcass and boiled them until all the meat fell off, discarded the bones and bagged what was left. I had enough broth and shredded turkey to make 6 pots of soup…

I scanned my pantry and refrigerator to see what I had. Then a feeling came over me from when I was a child. My dad and I would stand in the kitchen and make stew with the vegetables he had just harvested from his garden. We would throw in a little of this and a little of that, whatever we had on hand.

As I thought about those times, this amazing recipe was born. It’s creative and versatile, packed with flavor. It can be frozen for a later meal. It’s budget friendly, full of nutrition and its comfort food on a cool wintery day. Practically the perfect meal!

Turkey Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Turkey carcass
  • Can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chunky spicy salsa
  • Can cooked lentils
  • One bunch of cilantro chopped
  • Large onion diced – yellow, white or shallots
  • Two corn cobs – corn cut off the cob
  • 1 cup celery chopped    * use the center of the stalk including the leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • Tablespoon chili powder
  • Teaspoon paprika
  • Teaspoon garlic salt
  • Teaspoon Cajun Spice
  • Bay leaf
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla chips, broken pieces   * this is a perfect way to use up the crumbs in the bottom of a bag instead of throwing them away
  • Sour Cream
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Put the carcass in a large soup pot. Cover meat with water by two inches. Cover pot with a lid and boil until the meat falls off the bone. Pour broth and bones/meat into a strainer with a large bowl underneath to catch the broth. Remove the meat and set aside. Discard bones.
  2. Let the broth cool in the refrigerator until fat layer on top is hard. Scoop off the fat for a healthier soup.
  3. In a large soup pot, sauté the celery, garlic and onion until tender. Add the bay leaf, cilantro, spices, meat chunks, diced tomatoes, salsa and broth to the soup pot. Pour the broth back into the soup pot and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the can of lentils and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste test and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. Ladle soup into a large soup bowl, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle crumbled tortilla chips and shredded cheddar.

Enjoy!!

 

When you make this soup remember a few things:

  • Don’t fret if you’re missing some of the ingredients. The soup is just as tasty with a few of them missing. In fact, no two pots will ever be the same. Each time I make it, I’m missing an ingredient or I add something extra that needs to be used from my refrigerator.
  • If you can make a double batch or you have extra ingredients, add them because the more the better. Remember, you can freeze this soup.

Substitutions

  • Chicken carcass for the turkey (cut the rest of the ingredients in half)
  • Stewed or fresh garden tomatoes for the can of diced tomatoes
  • Any kind of bean for the lentils (navy, garbanzo, kidney, etc.)
  • Box of frozen corn or a can of corn if you don’t have fresh
  • Garlic powder instead of fresh
  • Taco or chili seasoning packet instead of the chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper instead of the Cajun spice
  • Any kind of cheese works!!!
  • Plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

Be creative and make this recipe your own

  • For a creamy soup, add a can of cream of chicken soup.
  • Garnish with diced avocado and lemon wedges.
  • For an extra spicy soup, add a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce.
  • To make this soup go a little farther, add a cup of left over rice when you add the lentils. Or you can add a half cup of uncooked rice at the beginning.
  • Add some chopped collard greens, carrots or broccoli.
  • Add black olives or green onions as a garnish.

“Cooking is like art. No two paintings or sculptures are ever the same, just like no two pots of soup can be identical. Let love be the main ingredient and your soup will be perfect.” Rene’