Oct 14, 2019

Trim Healthy Mama Magic Salted Caramel Cupcake Review

If The Salesman likes something, you really should try it.  I'm regularly trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, and he is usually willing to be a taste tester.  When I served him a Trim Healthy Mama Magic Salted Caramel Cupcake and he took a bite, he asked me if he could really eat that cupcake - like I had given him something really good and he wasn't sure he should be eating it.  Then he asked if he could have another one!

This cupcake is a winner.

True to Trim Healthy Mama form, it has a vegetable hidden in it.  It was all I could do to not blurt out to him that he was eating vegetables.  After he had eaten several, I did finally blurt out: "You are eating beans!" It did not phase his eating of the cupcakes.

The Trim Healthy Mama Salted Caramel Cupcakes are magically delicious.

There is no flour in this recipe, and while normally that might mean these cupcakes would taste a little different than what one would expect from a traditional cupcake, the taste and texture of these cupcakes are perfect.  I was a bit skeptical about making them because, well... beans.  My skepticism continued after processing the great northern beans in the blender. The batter was runny, even after adding all the ingredients.  I used two 15 ounce cans of beans and was not certain that these were going to be good to eat as a dessert,  or if I'd need to serve them with salsa and chips.  When they came out of the oven, they looked like normal cupcakes and smelled good as they cooled on the counter.  The icing was easy to make, as was the optional caramel sauce topping.  In my opinion, the caramel sauce is not optional.  Make the caramel sauce.  My icing was not as fluffy or firm looking like the picture in the cookbook, but it was delicious.  Be sure to refrigerate your cupcakes for at least four hours before serving to get rid of any bean taste.  I made the cupcakes one afternoon and we had them the following evening.  Good things come to those who wait!

I really think you could satisfy a critic with these Magic Salted Caramel Cupcakes.  They satisfied The Salesman.  Two thumbs up, Mamas.  No, three thumbs up, one of my Lisa friends tried two of them.  It is hard to eat just one - and then you'll want a fork to be sure to get every last morsel off the cupcake liners.  Seriously good cupcakes. Here is where you can find all the details so that your picky eater can enjoy them with you:

Cookbook: Trim Healthy Table
Chapter:  Cakes
Page: 379
Recipe:  Magic Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Serving:  Makes 16 cupcakes
Fuel: S - Satisfying

I may have put the caramel sauce topping on while it was too warm... no complaints on eating the mistakes.


Oct 11, 2019

For The Love of Lamp Lights - Dandridge Lake House

This beautiful lamp light is an absolute architectural treasure that my friend found in triplet at a store out-of-state and replaced her outdoor lighting.  The glass in each one is old and wavy and worn, as is the patina on the three fixtures.  I think they are unique and lovely.  The details of the little round ball feet are interesting and the shape of the lantern reminds me of stained glass you would find in a church.  Can you just imagine these greeting you as you pull in your drive each night?  They are absolutely gorgeous. 

For the love of lamp lights...

Look up, my friends.  There is beauty all around us.

Happy weekend.

Oct 9, 2019

I have a propensity to tears

A little mid-week poetry based upon a thought I had about my gift of tears. Well, that is the perspective I am taking because I believe that emotions are truly a blessing, even tears. 

I have a propensity to tears.

You may ask:

Are not those tears my sorrow?
Or just the marinating of my years?

I have a propensity to tears.

Or maybe in sadness, you think I am mired?
Or maybe you think I'm an old lady that is just plain tired?

No, I have a propensity to tears.

A sensitive spirit when your story, 
Your heartache, 
Your sadness connects to my ears.
Oh yes, I have a propensity to tears.


Oct 7, 2019

Trim Healthy Mama Save Your Waistline Crockpot Lasagna Review

Italian food has been on my mind this last week.  I have two friends that are currently in Italy and sharing the most beautiful pictures, and then another friend asked me to go with her to eat at Johnny Carino's to celebrate her birthday. I had never been to this Italian restaurant before this week, and just saying, if you are celebrating a birthday when you visit, let them bring you cake.  And eat it.  Oh my goodness, it was amazing. The Salesman has also been talking about Italian food this last week.  So what is a mama to do?  Grab a Trim Healthy Mama cookbook and search the index, grab an apron, and get busy!

Mark this one in your cookbooks, Mamas, because it is so good, and it is a crockpot recipe:

Cookbook: Trim Healthy Table
Chapter:  Sanity Saving Crockpot & Electric Pressure Cooker Meals
Page: 86
Recipe:  Save Your Waistline Crockpot Lasagna
Serving:  Family Serve - Feeds 6-8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half)
Fuel: S - Satisfying

I have always thought that making lasagna was a labor-intensive dish, but always worth the effort.  I feel the same about the Trim Healthy Mama Save Your Waistline Crockpot Lasagna.  It is worth the time and all the dishes to make this one.  If you brown your meat ahead of time, like the Trim Healthy Mamas suggest, you will save some time on your prepping.

The first step only intensified my Italian food thoughts.  As I added the pizza sauce and Italian spices to the meat, my kitchen smelled as delicious as any kitchen in Tuscany!

How does the recipe save your waistline? By using either zucchini or yellow squash versus noodle layers.  Goodbye starchy noodles, hello tender and flavorful vegetables.  

I alternated layers of meat sauce, a cottage cheese mixture, zucchini and squash, and then shredded cheese, and then repeated all layers and added parmesan cheese to the top.

My house smelled amazing all day long...

Taking the lid off at dinner time was the best.

The instructions state that you should let the lasagna settle for an hour before cutting it to serve.

But *someone* could not wait an hour... This side showcases the zucchini and yellow squash layers.

And this picture shows the tender seeds mixed in with the flavorful sauce.  If you let the lasagna sit as instructed, you will not have the liquid on your plate.

This recipe is a four thumbs up! Me, The Salesman, and two of my friends tried this one, and thought it was Mmm Good.  And I found a video clip of Serene and Pearl making this recipe for a news station promoting their Trim Healthy Table cookbook here.


Oct 4, 2019

For the Love of Lamp Lights - G & G Interiors

 Happy weekend, friends!

Looking up at lovely floral detail on this lamp light.  I hope every detail of your weekend is wonderful.

Look up, my friends!  There is beauty all around us.

Oct 2, 2019

Do I ever really want to go to the gym?

I've been thinking lately about what matters to me the most.  I've been having all these conversations in my head about what is really important to me. What people, activities, and dreams are truly important to me?  Then I thought of the *Big Rocks* illustration, the one showing a vase, or container, of your day being filled with the big rocks (the things that matter to you) first before all the little pebbles (the things that come your way) fill up the time of your day.  Then you know, the days have their way of becoming a week, then a month, then a year, and we look back and think, "Where has the time gone, and what have I accomplished that truly matters to me?"

My days here are busy and filled with responsibilities, work, duties, meetings, outings, errands, grocery shopping, planning, organizing, and travel.  Just like you, we all have *stuff* that we have to do.  Then there are things we want to do: lunch with friends, sit with our toes in dappled sunshine reading a book, visit with a neighbor, call a relative that lives far away and talk till we are done, serve one in need by sharing our talents and time, drive along a country road and enjoy the views and changing leaves... 

The lists of our lives can be never-ending.

Isn't that true?  I know I can get caught up in my to-do list of daily, trivial, mundane tasks and never accomplish my goals and dreams.  Anyone else?  I believe we were made for more than just existing. More than just the mundane.  I believe that there is much beauty to be found in the mundane. That we can see, and seek, and find joy, in the truly trivial tasks of our daily lives. 

I think that in the doing of the duties, we can find real beauty.

But I also believe that GOD has put goals and dreams inside of each of us.  Which, before I wax poetic, I want to get back to the post title:

Do I ever really want to go to the gym?

Only if my friends are going. Seriously. I can honestly say, that I don't ever really want to go to the gym. There, the truth is out.  Why then do I go, you may ask.  I go because I've decided that going to the gym is one of the Big Rocks in my life. It is important for me to exercise. Exercise is of value to me. Why? 

Sometimes it is easiest to gauge importance by the reality of what we no longer have.

(((Insert tears.)))

And here is my list of what I don't have:
My dear dad
My beloved mother

You get the idea. I am impacted by what I don't have.  My list doesn't stop there; but for the sake of staying on topic and getting on with the point, I will proceed. What is on your list? 

What do you no longer have that impacts your action of today?

I don't finish my day and think, "Wow, Lora, you've had a full day, why don't you go to the gym and exercise for your own health?"

I usually finish the thought at the end of the day with: "It would be good to just organize that stack of papers, or clean up the kitchen, or tidy up the living room..." You get the idea, right?  All those things are on my list, or according to me, need to be done.  

But, I don't want to be good at that.

At the end of my days, I don't want to look back and say, my papers were organized, my kitchen counters were clean, there was not a thing out of place in my living room. I am realizing the difference in the Big Rocks of my life and the little pebbles that come my way. 

I am going to go to the gym because I value my health. I value exercise. I value the way I feel after I have gone and exercised.  I have the energy to quickly do all the *things* after I exercise.  And, I do it joyfully, and I find beauty in doing the routine tasks.  I get the Big Rock of exercise in, and am allowed to also get some pebbles in; but please notice, the pebbles come after the Big Rock.

Sunday night, six of my dearest friends came over.  

I had no makeup on.
I was in my tennis clothes.
The sink was piled with dishes.
I had paperwork all over my desk.

"That list, Lora, is a little pebble list."

The six of us sat in my Jesus Room and talked and prayed and sang and laughed and cried. Well, some of us cried.  Okay, I cried. We had a really good time.  

"The time shared with them was a Big Rock." 

I am in the midst of defining the Big Rocks versus little pebbles in my life.  I know the friends that came here on Sunday night was a Big Rock in my life.  I also know that going to the gym is a Big Rock for me. 

What about you?  Why do you do what you do?  I am asking myself this same question.  I am at a time in my life where there is some time that is open for me.

What am I going to fill that time with?  Big Rocks or little pebbles.  How about you? I am asking myself some more questions:

What am I doing toward my intended purpose? 

What is simply urgent, and what is truly important?

What do I say is important; but never do?

What am I purposing to do?

What am I allowing to fall away
So that I may accomplish what is truly important today?

Big Rocks or Little Pebbles?
The true work can convene when the surroundings are disheveled.

The LORD is teaching me,
He is allowing me to see

The value of what I do
Is not always seen to others or you.

Let Eternity be the Why
And the epitaph when I die:

What was eternally valuable was done,
And she lived to her fullest and left no Big Stone undone.


Sep 30, 2019

Trim Healthy Mama Mint Chocolate Truffle Cake Review

Have you heard the saying, "If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all?"  Well, I think that is really good advice, and I honestly try to live by that.  I want to be the person that sees the best, hopes the best, and believes the best.  


If you are doing a recipe review, you want the honest truth, and here it is from me:

This is the first Trim Healthy Mama recipe that I did not like.  


Since I want to say something good about the recipe, and I believe that I truly can:
The cake part was delicious; but, it was the worst tasting filling ever.  I would not, or could not, in good conscious, tell you to make this Trim Healthy Mama Mint Chocolate Truffle cake. I ended up scraping the mint layer off and throwing it away and eating only the cake.  It was disappointing not only in taste; but the mint truffle layer was solid gelatin and not spreadable at all like the directions indicate.  Please look at the picture on this post - the filling is solid - not spreadable. And it does not taste good. It was like a creamy mint jello.  The filling has okra and spinach in it.  And you know from reading here before, I like okra.  I am a fan of okra and spinach.  I like the Chocolate Secret Big Boy that uses okra to make a delicious shake. The Chocolate Moisties cookies are delicious with the okra in them.  This filling is not delicious.  And there was something about the texture that made me think of a fried egg, except it was cold.

And if I don't like it, you know The Salesman is a thumbs down, too.

This Mint Chocolate Truffle Cake is also labor intensive.  And in the directions they state that you should make the filling first; but then you have to wait for the cake to cool. Why not make the cake first and let it cool while you are jumping through all these hoops to make this mint filling? That would be my first suggestion:

Make the cake first.

My second suggestion would be to make a whipped cream icing or another tried and true icing, like the one for the Chocolate Trimtastic Cake instead of the mint truffle layer.

After doing some research, I have found that other Mama's have had similar experiences with this Mint Chocolate Truffle layer.  Robin Morgan Farmer, The official admin from the group, stated on a post:

"I can imagine your disappointment and I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I know many women who have made this cake and LOVED it, but I've also heard of some "not so nice" stories like yours. 
This has even happened to Serene a couple of
 times recently and it's her belief that it has to do with varieties in the okra crops (much like different batches of carrots will be sweeter than others, etc.)
I have always used frozen okra from the freezer section of the grocery store and so far have not had a bad experience. I hope you're able to try this one again and maybe have more success with it."

If you want to try this one, here are the details:

Cookbook: Trim Healthy Mama
Chapter:  Family Cakes
Page: 303
Recipe:  Mint Chocolate Truffle Cake
Serving:  Family Serve
Fuel: S - Satisfying

If you make it, please let me know if you have good success with the cake.

Happy Monday Mama's!