21 April 2017

Plant Markers for Your Garden

It's planting time and if you are like me, it is difficult to remember what seeds/plants I planted where. So having a plant marker system is really important for me.  Each year I go and look at a simple way to mark my plants in the garden.  This year, using the Dollar Store as my go-to craft supply, I found these infant spoons and these white plastic spoons that made the best plant markers.

plant marker

All you need for these plant markers are packages of white plastic cooking spoons and packages of baby spoons and Sharpie markers.  That's it!

Write a list of all the plants you want to identify and favorite garden sayings.  I used the plainer baby spoons for the actual plant markers and the white spoons for the sayings.  Unpack all the spoons.  I used a black Sharpie for the baby spoons since they were a bit darker in color.  I used the colorful Sharpies for the sayings. Once I had all my materials laid out, I started writing.

I don't have fantastic penmanship when it comes to Sharpies on rounded surfaces.  However, these are just for me and my own fun, so I am happy with how colorful they are!

plant markers
For these plant markers, bury the bowl part of the spoon.

plant markers
For these markers, insert the handle of the spoon into the soil.

The sayings I chose were:

In the garden my soul is sunshine.
Now entering the SEEDY part of town.
Veggies in Training
MOJITO.  um...I mean MINT.
Plantus Unknownus
Once Upon a Thyme
Please. Water Me.
I don't remember planting this.

I have $4 invested in the spoons and about $8 in the Sharpies, but I use the Sharpies for a lot of other projects, too.  So a total of $12, with a lot of Sharpie left over!

Be creative!  Enjoy the process.  Don't be perfect, enjoy the imperfections!  Happy Gardening!

20 April 2017

Daffodils~Color Our World Yellow

Planting daffodils occurs in the fall, but the glory comes in the spring, when daffodils spring up out of the ground, usually at the first sign of warmth.  This year my daffodils came at the end of February. They were lovely and I enjoyed them so much.  For our month Color Our World segment, we are looking at the color yellow.  

Yellow is between orange and green on the color spectrum and is considered a primary color.  In Europe, Canada and the United States, a survey stated that people most often associate this color with amusement, gentleness, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., with cowardice, according to Wikipedia. I think I like the way China sees it, where it is seen as the color of happiness, glory, wisdom, harmony, and culture.  Yellow was one of the first colors used by cavemen, through clay colored with ochre.  Yellow is considered the most visible color and is preferred by birds and insects. Yellow is the most common color of flowers. Yellow is the least often color stated as someone's favorite color.

Back to our daffodils.  

Most daffodils come from the area around the Mediterranean Sea where they have been cultivated for hundreds of years.  The Romans, who thought that daffodils had healing powers, brought the flower to Great Britain where they grew mostly as weeds, until a group of men started planting them purposefully in their gardens.  They require little care, needing about an inch of water a week during the blooming season.  Dividing them every five years rejuvenates the plant.  

Go out and enjoy these beautiful flowers while they last.  They are already gone in Zone 8, but just now appearing in Zone 6, where these pictures were taken.  Daffodils flower language is Friendship.

18 April 2017

Personal Pursuit of Happiness: Personal Life Commandments

The Happiness Project, written by Gretchen Rubin, was a book I read in 2010 when having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.  It was an interesting read, but at the time, I wasn't ready to work on being happy yet. I was still traumatized with my diagnosis and working on getting my life back.  Happiness could wait.

Fast forward seven years and I am back on the Happiness train!  I started by writing my Personal Life Commandments, things I have used throughout my life to guide me in decision-making.  I want to share them here, for future generations of Olivers, Holts and Steffes to better understand me.

1.  Keep Smiling.  This was a saying that my father-in-law, Giles Steffes, said to us when we were going through some tough times.  A sort of "this too shall pass" sort of statement.  It has helped us through tremendous grief and heartache.

2.  Breathe.  Learning how to breathe seems a little ridiculous, but it is an important concept in controlling your happiness and reducing your stress.  Reminding myself to "breathe" has helped me in the most basic of ways.

3.  Do Things Your Future Self Will Thank You For.  This showed up on my Facebook feed and it had to become a part of my personal life commandments.  This notion makes me think of the adventurous girl I was back in the day!

4.  Kindness Matters.  Kindness matters to ALL, not just the strangers (random acts of kindness people) but to your family and friends.  It's easy to forget that those nearest to us need our acts of kindness as well.

5.  Belly laugh daily.  It is important to me to laugh outrageously every day.  It brings oxygen into my system and makes me smile more often throughout the day.

6.  Dance.  I never feel so alive than when I am dancing.  The music, my body feels 100 times lighter and my brain is tickled with the whole notion.

7.  Leave a mark.  Not the hitting kind!  Leave a mark on mankind.  As a teacher, I had the blessing to teach over 300 students and as a principal touch nearly 4,000 students.  My goal was to be sure that each of them knew that I cared. I feel like I accomplished that goal.  Now I am trying to impact public education the best way I know how, and that is to teach pre-service teachers.

8.  Practice gratitude.  I have been so blessed in my life.  So many wonderful opportunities, so many wonderful friends and fabulous family members.  I've known illness, death and heartache, but I have been blessed so much beyond those negatives.

9.  Embrace my creativity.  I need to be creative, to have an outlet, to make and grow and express myself.  When I don't, I feel less than myself.  I have to remind myself of that.

10.  Be Terri.  Be the best me I can be, and right now that means focusing on my health and mental well being.  My word for this year is CONQUER and I believe I am on the right path for doing this.

Do you have a list of personal life commandments?  If so, leave me a link so I can visit you!  This was a wonderful chance to dive in and really ask myself what was important to me.  There are some that didn't make the list, but that are super important, too.  Love with abandon, Schedule Priorities, Quality Counts, Be Mindful.  These are all things that I do use, but the top ten are listed above.

Be well.


16 April 2017

Overnight Sausage and Broccoli Egg Bake #SundaySupper

What I really love about Easter is the brunch!  This easy to make, yummy to serve casserole is so convenient.  You can make it the day before and store in the refrigerator until time to bake or you can make it the morning of and bake it right away.  So if you forget, it is no big deal.

The flexibility goes on and on.  This casserole is made without cheese, but it is so easy to add a cup of cheese to the egg mixture if you want it.  You can exchange the sausage for bacon, too.  If you wanted to add asparagus instead of broccoli, go for it.  This is a dish made for all humankind.

Overnight Sausage and Broccoli Egg Bake

6 eggs
1/2 c almond milk (you can use regular milk)
1 glove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1/4 t red pepper flake
1 c broccoli florets (I like mine small)
1 c sausage, fried and drained (you can use ground or links here)

Butter the bottom of an 8 by 8" dish.  You can use a nonstick cooking spray, too. Beat together eggs, milk, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes.  Spread broccoli and sausage in the dish.  Pour egg mixture over the sausage and broccoli.  This is where you can cover it and place it in the refrig until the next day.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes, checking doneness by making sure the eggs are set.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Sunday Supper Brunch Recipes

Breakfast Pastries


Sides and Veggies


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

15 April 2017

Roasted Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup #SoupSwappers

Our theme this month in Soup Swapper Saturday is Root Vegetables!  Since I have been eating such a restricted diet (sugar free, dairy free and gluten free) I have turned to soups to make a meal interesting!  Root vegetables are delicious roasted, so I decided to try my hand at a roasted soup blended in my Blend-Tec!

The recipe is very easy with easy clean up.  Isn't that how we'd like all meals to be?  Served with a green salad and a vinegar dressing, this is a tasty and healthy meal.  I topped my soup with a little bit of whipped coconut cream!

Roasted Carrots and Coconut Milk Soup

  • Roughly 1 pound carrots, washed, dried and cut into 1/2 inch coins
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 large white onion  cut into quarters and separated (to prevent burning)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • juice of one medium sized lime
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare a cookie sheet with nonstick foil.  Lay carrots and onion in one layer and toss with coconut oil.  Salt and pepper vegetables.  Roast for 30 minutes, turning over at the halfway point.  Remove vegetables.  Pour vegetable broth and lime juice into blender, add vegetables. Blend until smooth.  Pour into a kettle and heat gently.  Stir in coconut milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Roasting carmelizes the sugars in the vegetables, so no extra sugar is necessary.  If you need a little more sweetness, add sugar by the teaspoonful until the desired sweetness!

If you are a fan of root vegetables, check out these other wonderful recipes.  Your taste buds will thank you!

13 April 2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip and Spice Cookies #FoodnFlix

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is our host for our monthly film inspiration at Food n Flix.  The idea behind Food n Flix is to watch a movie and gain culinary inspiration from it.  The Taste of Spice, this month's film, was full of wonderful inspiration.  Camilla's summary of the movie is A Touch of Spice is a story about a young Greek boy growing up in Istanbul. His grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor, teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavor. Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. Upon leaving reuniting with his grandfather, three decades later, he realize that his own life need a touch of spice!

I loved this movie but I did find it difficult to rent. I ended up going to my public library and opening an account so I could have access to a wider variety of movies to rent.  That turned out to be a good thing!  For me this movie had a lot of similarities to My Big Fat Greek Wedding (which I loved) and I loved that I recognized some of the elements of Greek film.  In the movie the older Greek men are constantly talking about the "root" word in Greek means....  

The movie had a lot of lovely quotes that I want to remember...

"Cinnamon makes people want to say yes."
"Our lives need salt occasionally."
"Weddings without music are like relationships without arguments."
and my favorite: "Desserts are the epilogue of the fairy tale."

So, I focused on a simple dessert, one that wouldn't take the focus off the main meal, but that a good amount of spice.  I am eating gluten free, so I kept that in mind for these cookies.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip and Spice Cookies

1 1/2 c almond flour
3 packets stevia
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cream of tartar
2 t Penzey's Cake Spice
1/4 t salt
1/4 c butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 egg
3 T sugar free chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350.  Line cookie sheet with parchment.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, stevia, baking soda, cream of tartar and cake spice.  In a separate bowl mix together butter, maple syrup, vanilla and egg.  Combine and stir together.  Add chocolate chips and stir.  Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Scoop 1" balls of dough on the cookie sheet.  Place 2" apart.  Bake for 8 minutes or until the tops are firm and dry.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  

Makes 1 dz cookies

The texture is definitely different, a little "grainy" but a lot like oatmeal cookies.  They are chewy and very satisfying! A quick nutritional calculation shows these cookies at about 100 calories each and 8 carbs (4 are sugar.)  Not bad for a treat!

See the movie, make some spice cookies and come back here and tell me about it.  Join us next month for our Food n Flix movie!

11 April 2017

Spring Cleaning: Heart and Home

I have been on a journey to be the best version of myself.  I have been working on my health and taking the time to really listen to how my body responds to nutrition, water, exercise and stress.  I have learned so much and am finding myself in one of the best places I have been in for years.  It's not a complete redo, but it is definitely a make over!

While I have been reading about a "spring clean of my soul" I have also been thinking of the spring cleaning of my home.  One of my favorite book series, the Little House books, often talks about taking everything out of the house, cleaning everything and then bringing everything back in.  Thank goodness we don't have to do that any more, but it is a time to change the the batteries on the smoke detector, sort the clothes we no longer wear, and get ready for your neighborhood's annual garage sale.  Getting rid of clutter is the prime focus of many books, my favorite being The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and feels so amazing!  My dear friend also found this process of throwing    Decluttering your home is important, but also declutter your life.  What projects are you involved in that isn't your heart?  What things should you pass on to someone else who might need the chance to shine?  Make a commitment to examine your commitments and pass the one(s) that aren't priority to some one else.

I am also always eager to freshen up my decor.  I often see what I don't like, instead of looking at the good bones.  So when evaluating your decor (whether that is home or heart) remember to look at the good structure and enhance it!  New pillows for a great sofa?  A different color of candle with a spring scent?  Refocusing energy to those activities where you really shine?  Do what gives you energy, not what saps what energy you have!

For me, I cannot have a routine!  I guess my routine is to not have a routine.  I need to mix it up or I get easily bored.  My dad always told my sister and me that we were in charge of our own entertainment.  There was no reason ever to be bored.  If you find that you need a change, look at what you can tweak to create more interest or what you need to totally revamp.  Even the smallest change will help you feel better!

Enjoy your spring!  Watch the flowers bloom, the birds dart around and the showers of April.  The trees start to blossom and baby animals are all around.  While appreciating all the benefits of spring, consider if you are giving that same appreciation to the people in your life.  I like to share my treats with my neighbors, write notes to my husband, and call my mom at unexpected times.  These little pleasures that come from your home also brighten your heart.

I was inspired by an article I saw in the St. Charles StreetScape magazine, written by Nikki Peters.  

09 April 2017

Lemony Salmon and Asparagus Foil Packets #SundaySupper

We are a family who loves our salmon.  You can see that with Panfried Salmon and here.  What we particularly like about this salmon dish is that it can be prepared in advance, thrown on the grill, eaten from the packet and then it's easy clean up!  Lots to like, and it tastes fantastic!

Lemony Salmon and Asparagus Foil Packets

2 salmon filets
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T wine (red or white)
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
1/2 pound asparagus spears
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Preheat grill on high.  Reduce heat to medium.  Using heavy duty, nonstick foil, tear two sheets, each 18 inches long.  Create sides by folding up each side approximately two inches.

 This will keep the liquid ingredients from running out.  In the center, on the nonstick side, lay one salmon filet skin side up. Season filet with salt and pepper and lemon pepper.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the minced garlic onto the filet.  Lay one tablespoon of butter on top of the garlic.  Pour one tablespoon of lemon juice over the filet. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus spears.  Lay on top of the fish.  Bring up 2 sides of foil over salmon so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place on grill and grill 13-16 minutes.  Turn a quarter turn ever 6 minutes.  

To serve, place packet on plate.  Cut an X with kitchen shears, peal back foil carefully, as hot steam will escape. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.  Serve with lemon wedges.

25+ Best Sunday Supper Seafood Recipes


Main Dishes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

05 April 2017

In the Garden~April

Project Beautiful bloggers are her to share In the Garden, April version, to all of you who are working in the yard this month!  You will be able to use this list to get many areas of your garden ready and in order for the 2017 garden season!

You can find out about purple martins here.  If you are planting a salad bowl, you can find a step by step process here.

Many gardening tips can be found with the other Project Beautiful bloggers.

Are you a garden blogger looking for a tribe?  Contact me via email at terri@terristeffes.com to find out how you can join Project Beautiful!

04 April 2017

A Sentence A Day~March

I have been writing this type of journal, the one where you write a sentence a day, for almost a year now.  I love thinking about my day and summarizing in one sentence.  It means that I need to leave out certain things, which typically for me is anything that was negative.  I hope that doesn't show up as my life is all cherries and roses, because it certainly isn't.  It is just that the negative can catch up with you and stay a long long time, if you let it.

So here is March!  The month that came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

March 1.  March surely came in like a lion this year, with wild tornadoes and high winds over much of the state, causing major damage and the loss of life.

March 2.  Ashley and Eric came in for the True/False Film festival, our seventeenth year for this fun, family-oriented, fast-paced event.

March 3.  We saw great films today and managed to run across several long time Columbia friends, which is one of the things that makes it so incredibly wonderful.

March 4.  Great films today, and got to eat twice at Glenn's Cafe, a family favorite restaurant.

March 5.  Our last day at True/False, with a bunch of great films under our belt, great food, and a small visit with Bob and Renee Hasty, too!

March 6.  We are in a book club here in New Town and we met to discuss the two books we've tried to discuss since January!

March 7.  I got to go to a new garden club meeting and hear a great speaker talk about how to get birds to come into your gardens.

March 8.  My work took me to Columbia for the next three days, where I was able to speak to folks who do a split FTE like I do, and learned that others have the same stress as me!

March 9.  More Shared Learning, but afterwards I was able to attend a friend's pearl party, where you buy the setting and then pick the oysters for the pearls to put in the setting, which was fabulous fun!

March 10. I met up with my Jefferson City friends after work and we made wind chimes and I made a decorative glass plate for our living room.

March 11.  Bob and I went to the St. Louis Home and Garden show at the America's Center with a friend of ours from New Town, and saw a lot of wonderful things!

March 12.  Bob and I spent the day rearranging the second story of our house: we moved the study into the loft, and made the study into a second guestroom, so we can have more friends and family stay at "Lakeside Resort!"

March 13.  I used a new technology tool at work today, one that I am going to be using a lot in the summer, and I found it easy and fun to do!

March 14.  Our team of consultants met in Columbia today and I found it to be one of the most inspirational meetings I have been to, I felt fired up and ready to take on the world!

March 15.  It is so difficult to watch teachers struggle with new ideas when the only thing getting in the way of their progress is themselves.

March 16.  Eleven pounds lost in the last five weeks!

March 17.  We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with our dinner club having a wonderful meal at a restaurant called Bishop's Post.

March 18.  Bob and I spent a fun night in Columbia seeing a band called Here Come the Mummies, which was sincerely, THE most fun concert I have been to in a very long while.

March 19.  I was blessed to attend a bridal shower for a friend in Illinois, the bride and her sister were the only ones I knew but the food was lovely and so delicious!

March 20.  First Garden Club meeting of the 2017 season always makes me happy!

March 21. A great day to try out some convertibles!

March 22. I spent the morning with a group of women whom answer the desire of my soul to connect on a deeper level with God.

March 23.  Since the election of Mr. Trump, I have been determined to be more active in my world and one of my first steps was to join the Democratic party and to attend my first Kitchen Table Talk with Senator Clair McCaskill.

March 24. We started car shopping today to find me a much wanted convertible, which ended up at dinner at Cooper's Hawk Winery, a lovely, fitting ending to the day.

March 25.  More car shopping, which is exhausting, but still enjoyable, none-the-less.

March 26.  My mother was taken to the hospital and rushed to Columbia to their cardiac unit yesterday and today the surgeons implanted a pacemaker, a device that will help regulate the beat of her heart.

March 27.  My mom was released from the hospital today and my sister went home to be with her for a couple of days.

March 28.  Thankfully today was a light day at work and I was able to have a "normal" day and got to bed at a reasonable time and slept like a baby!

March 29.  Happy ninth anniversary to my daughter and her husband, a match that could only have been made in heaven, just like her parents and grandparents!

March 30.  A decision has been made on the car, and I am the negotiator, so let's see where this goes!

March 31.  I didn't get the car yesterday, and it was quite the let down but I am still on the hunt so it is not over yet!

Thanks for following along with my one sentence a day journaling.  I love doing it and I feel like my writing is improving, slowly and surely.  If you decide to give it a try, please let me know so I can follow you!