Category: Resources

2021: The Year of the Gratitude Journal

What are you thankful for? That 2020 is over!

No, seriously, think about what you’re thankful for! This is my focus for 2021. Living with a spirit of gratitude changes your life, but it’s not something that comes easy for most people. We have to be intentional about it. That’s why I’ve started a gratitude journal.

Gratitude Journal from Step Into Success

My 2021 Planner came with a small gratitude journal, pictured above, but there’s lots of places you can get one of these, or you can just use a spiral notebook. I find it easiest to write in mine every night before going to bed. Just a sentence or two is enough. Here’s some prompts for your daily entries:

  • Today I’m grateful for…
  • A person I’m grateful for is…
  • Something in nature I’m grateful for is…
  • The best thing that happened today is…
  • Something that made me smile today is…
  • I’m looking forward to….
  • A hobby I’m grateful for is…
  • It’s important to practice gratitude because…
  • A complement I’ve received lately is…
  • I’m grateful for this friendship…

You see? It’s not difficult to get started. If you need additional help, simply google “gratitude journal prompts” and you’ll have a huge list to get you started!

As a woman of faith, I also use those sale notification emails as an opportunity to practice gratefulness, and as a prayer prompt. I thank God for the clients he brings my way, that he prompts them to remember me when shopping, and that he would bless them. Gratefulness, therefore, takes our minds off ourselves.

Research at Harvard Medical School found that practicing gratefulness makes you more optimistic, feel better about your life, exercise more, and have fewer visits to the doctor, even! I hear that some doctors are even recommending keeping a gratitude journal to their patients as another method to improve their overall health!

As far as business goes, there are many reasons why being grateful is good for business. People enjoy doing business with grateful people. Being grateful takes your focus off of yourself and onto your clients, which drives you to better customer service. Grateful people attract grateful people, which is a good place to be in life as well as in business. Need more reasons? Just google, “does being grateful increase sales,” then pause for a moment and be thankful for the clients you already have and the information you are learning.

Here are some examples of gratitude journals, but keep in mind you can also use a spiral notebook:

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad.

Psalm 126: 3

Fill your home with beautiful reminders of the Grace you’ve been given and the Gratitude that you have!

Grace & Gratitude Collection

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

So we’re giving this a whirl this year – Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Because so many people are struggling with food sensitivities nowadays, I thought that I’d share our menu and maybe help someone out that’s looking for options at the last minute. I’ve included online links, but you may be able to find many of these alternatives at your local stores. The links are mainly to show the item, because I’m a visual learner.

This is NOT our feast! lol!

Our Menu:

  • Fried Chicken and Gravy (just me and the kids doing this, so I went with something I knew they’d love!)
  • Green Beans (see below)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

How does that strike your fancy? We are super excited!! Now… how to make this gluten free???

Fried Chicken

My Grandmama made the best fried chicken ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. And I watched her do it a few times, but I was little, so I don’t know if this is how she did it, but I’d venture to say it’s pretty close! I’m also attempting her macaroni & cheese recipe for the first time this year. Usually my brother makes it.

I’ll be using chicken tenderloin, since that’s what is easiest to fry and all my kids like them. I set up two bowls. One has about 3 eggs and a splash of milk whisked together. (I have used dairy free, unsweetened, plain almond milk to do this and it works just fine.) The other bowl gets my dry ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, salt & pepper to taste, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Dip in the wet bowl, then into the dry bowl. If you’ve got time to kill and want to make it extra crusty special, repeat the dippings. I fry in refined organic coconut oil until done. Refined is important if you don’t want your chicken to take like coconut! I cook an entire two pound bag of tenderloins and we won’t have any leftovers! If you’re cooking for a smaller family, you’ll use less ingredients.

Green Beans

The green beans are just basic beans from a can. I do prefer DelMonte brand to others. Then I add a couple tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, for dairy free), and some spices. I like to use Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, and if I’m feeling extra saucy, just a touch of cayenne pepper! One of my children appreciates the spice, but the rest won’t eat these anyway, so I make them my way!

Cranberry Sauce

We found an easy Cranberry Sauce recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations cookbook. I couldn’t find the same recipe online, but this one is close: Cranberry Sauce by Ree Drummond on Food Network. The recipe in the cookbook has only 3 ingredients: cranberries, oranges, maple syrup.

Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese has been a challenge, but our diet has re-introduced dairy now, so I’m more comfortable trying this. Honestly, if we were still dairy free, I’d probably just skip the mac & cheese. My Grandmama made a baked mac & cheese and this is what my son has requested. She cooked the macaroni noodles per the package instructions, then in a 9×9 glass baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, she layered slices of cheese (cut from a block, not sliced cheese like for sandwiches) with the noodles. When I was young, it must have been cheddar that she used, but I’m told later in life she used colby jack. The noodles were salted & peppered, a splash of milk added so it doesn’t dry out (almond milk ok), then topped with another layer of cheese. This will be my first attempt at this style of mac & cheese. Fingers crossed… For the noodles, I’m using Skinner Gluten Free Elbows, found at my local HEB grocery store. I haven’t tried these yet, either, but based on the mix used in the ingredients, I think they were a good option.

Mashed Potatoes

This is pretty standard. To make dairy free, use the dairy free butter linked above and almond milk and nobody will know the difference!

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs! I just might have to do a separate post about the eggs sometime! We raise chickens, so fresh eggs are killer to peel. This is the whole reason I got an Instant Pot! And it works! (works great for store bought eggs, too) Put a cup of water in the pot, then the trivet, then layer in the eggs. I’ve loaded my pot with up to two and a half dozen eggs before. It’s a beautiful sight. 6 minutes at high pressure, 6 minutes natural release then open the valve, 6 minutes in an ice bath. Cool completely, then peel.

Slice in half. Any whites that are not pretty go into the mash. There should be at least 3 whole eggs in the mash. Mash the yolks and the whites that didn’t make the cut. Add Kraft Sandwich Spread until moist. Salt & pepper to taste. If you’re not dairy free, drizzle in a little homemade ranch dressing. Skip that if you’re dairy free, no biggie. Spoon the mash into the eggs, then come back and add more. If you have any left over, enjoy your egg salad.

Rolls

Once again, we’re entering new territory. I’m going to be taking my husband’s grandpa’s wife’s roll recipe (haha) and trying it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This is a yeast roll recipe, and I’ve had excellent results with this flour so far, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will do a half recipe, however, since this is a test. If it’s a flying success, I expect to hear lots of complaining from the children that I didn’t make more!

Dessert

Again, I’m just altering standard recipes. And we’re going crustless. That’s a disappointment, I know, but it is what it is. I didn’t have time to perfect a gluten free pie crust this year, nor do I have time to make gluten free graham crackers. If you have a local store with GF graham crackers, you could probably make a graham crust pretty easily.

Using my husband’s uncle’s chocolate pie recipe, will really be more like a thick pudding without the crust. And that’s perfectly ok. It’s chocolate. This recipe is not dairy free. It uses whole milk, sugar, flour, etc. Again, we’re no longer DF, so I’m not altering the dairy in this recipe at this time. If I attempt a DF version in the future, I’ll let you know. For now, I’m switching out the flour and just dealing with the sugar. After all, Thanksgiving is a special occassion, they’re only getting one slice of pie and it’s not going to last long! Possibly whole fat coconut milk would work to make a homemade chocolate pie.

There’s so many recipes for pumpkin desserts on pinterest, and lots of them are gluten and dairy free! Thank you, internet! I’ll be using a Pioneer Woman (can you tell I love her??) recipe that was found on Walmart’s website! Pumpkin Pie by the Pioneer Woman. Alterations I’ll be making: No crust. That’s it! You could use sweetened condensed coconut milk, if you’re dairy free, but keep in mind that these cans are not exactly the same size as a standard can of Eagle Brand! Just be prepared.

Fruit can also be transformed into a delicious gf/df dessert! This fun turkey would be great for the kids!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a recipe blog, and I’ll have to go back at a later date and add pictures. Because I’ve never thought to photograph each item of food. Hopefully this may help someone that’s trying to figure out how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions. This was my son’s biggest concern. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the holiday with your family. Let the kids help in the kitchen, even though it’s messy. Let them help with the meal planning. Nobody ever said it had to be turkey.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

GF DF Buttermilk Pancakes

We’ve completed 4 months at the Brain Balance Center and I’ve learned how to follow the Balance360 plan pretty well – gluten free, dairy free, and minimal added sugar. While this is not a blog that’s focused on recipes, it is focused on how our family and life are growing. These last few months have definitely been a time of growth! I’m going to be sharing a few of our most loved recipes, to help and encourage other families on their special diet journey.

My family loves pancakes, so I had to convert our beloved recipe. Also, I’d like to note that I’m a little lazy in the kitchen and prefer to use as few dishes as possible, so I sometimes mix my ingredients in a different order than traditional. I have included (affiliate links) in this post so that you can see exactly which products are 360 approved. And maybe someday I’ll get better pictures on this post. lol

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Gluten-free, Dairy-free Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, add the lemon juice, then pour in the almond milk up to the 2 cup line. This makes your “buttermilk,” and yes, it will begin to look like it’s going bad.

Crack the eggs into the bowl of your mixer and begin whisking. Continue mixing as you add the remaining wet ingredients, ending with the almond buttermilk you made. Note that the coconut oil may re-harden if your other ingredients are straight from the fridge cold. That’s ok.

While the mixer is still running, add the powder, soda and salt. Finally, mix in the flour.

Heat griddle to 350° and spray with coconut oil spray. Ladle, spoon or pour batter into the desired size and shape. Cook until the top is bubbly and dry. Flip and cook the other side until done.

Top hot pancakes with Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, fresh fruit or berries, a small amount of real maple syrup or honey, or Polander All Fruit Spread… Or enjoy them straight from the griddle because they’re already lightly sweet from the honey.

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Above, this is what a pancake looks like that’s ready to flip!

I hope this recipe is helpful and that your family enjoys it as much as mine does! We eat this at least once a week for breakfast or dinner. Goes well with eggs, sausage or bacon, and fruit.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

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Easy Hair How-To with your new Lilla Rose accessories (Flexi-Clip & U-Pin)

I do quick and easy hairstyle demos when I’m at craft and vendor shows, and when I do parties.  Sometime ladies say, “I hope I can do that when I get home!”  Well, this post is just for you!  🙂  This video shows the easy Flexi-Clip twist I most often show, as well as two styles you can do with U-Pins (which works for hair sticks as well).

Lilla Rose, Inc. has also made some style videos to help you!

For even more video help, check out the Sizing & Styling page on my website!  If you need more help, please reach out!  I don’t want anyone to not use their accessories because they don’t know how.

More helpful blog posts: