Fresh Friday – DIY Edition (Paper Beading)

I am an unapologetic crafter. I have probably a dozen or so projects either in the midst of completion or just floating around my brain…scary. My husband would probably agree. I have a crafting room that is still being put together – the problem is that as I go through my stuff to get more organized, I find new projects and ideas. It’s a sad, vicious cycle.

Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to widen my scope by inviting others to join me, especially from our church. I’m still getting to know the members up here (just started attending when we got married), and crafting is a nice, casual way to hang out and fellowship.  The first attempt was a craft I learned from my sister as a little kid. Seriously, I think I was 8 yrs old when she taught me how to make these, and I still have the thought in the back of my mind that it’s a little kid craft, BUT it is definitely something that can be jazzed up and done very creatively.  It is also a repurposing craft, which is something I LOVE!

Here we go!

The best kind of paper for paper beading is magazine paper. It is thin, flexible, and general has a lot of color on it. If you’ve ever paid attention to a magazine advertisement or just a story with lots of photographs in it, they will generally have colors that go well together. You want to avoid pages that have a white or black border on any part of the page (unless you want that color dominant for your beads) as whatever color is on the edges is what color your beads will most present.  Here’s what you need to get started:

wpid-20140911_190701_1.jpgA magazine page (full page with as clean a tear as you can get), ruler, pencil, eraser, scissors (sharper the better), pencil sharpener (if you’re doing a bunch of pages), round toothpicks, clear-drying craft glue, and quick-dry clear fingernail polish.

Here’s where some forethought is needed. Decide what kind of beads you want. Do you want long rounded ones, or tiny round ones, or tube-like ones, etc. Do you want them small or a little larger? If you want a bunch of small beads, it’s best to make your bead lines along the narrower part of the page. If you want them to be a bit thicker, and not as many, draw your bead lines along the long part of the page. It also matters which colors from the page you dominant. If you want the colors on the sides to be dominant then draw along the narrower part. If you want the colors on the top and bottom, draw on the longer part. Let me show you what I mean:

wpid-20140911_191136_1.jpgBecause the page I chose has the gold coloring throughout the whole sheet, it didn’t really matter which direction I drew the lines. But I decided I wanted a lot of smaller beads, so I started spacing my lines with the paper horizontally in front of me. You might see it better in the next pictures. It’s also a good idea to draw your lines on the back of the page so that you don’t have any pencil/eraser marks on your beads themselves. Magazine paper does not do well with erasers, so if you do erase, you might lose some color, so I recommend drawing the lines on the back.

This is the tedious part, but it’s not terrible. Decide how wide you want your beads to be. I like a standard width of one centimeter. Above, I actually made the spacing a little smaller that one centimeter but the idea is the same. You can determine how much color of the page will show through the bead design by how big or small you make the tip (the small spacing above). I wanted a lot of the gold to show on my bead, and for them to be pretty rounded once they are rolled up, so I made my tip as small as possible (one millimeter).

Continue the measuring ticks down the edge of the page until you run out of paper. Flip the paper over and begin on the opposite edge, but the same side as the first time. (For example, if you started from the left side of the page before, when you flip it, begin from the right side.) Measure in halfway one bead size (if you are measuring your beads to be 1 cm wide, measure in from the edging 5 mm) When you find that point, put the small measurement in its place. (if your small end of the bead is 2 mm, you will now have tick marks from the edge at 4 mm and 6 mm). Then continue your original pattern along that side of the page. You are now staggering your tick marks opposite the ones you already made on the other side. This is so that when you connect the tick marks, you will have really long triangles of even spacing, thus using the most of your paper.  The next image might make it a little clearer for you.

wpid-20140911_194156_1.jpgI sure hope that helps. Now you have very long triangles that can be rolled into paper beads! Can you see it yet? No? Well, hang in there. Begin to cut along the lines you have drawn, discarding the strips on either end of the page because they will not match the rest of your beads.

wpid-20140911_200148_1.jpgYou don’t have to cut on the lines exactly, but do the best you can. The graduated angle of the strips will add depth to your bead, but it is ok for them to be unique. They are YOUR beads, after all.  You will notice that the coloring of the strips will alternate depending on which edge of the paper the wide end was sitting. It’s ok if they are different because the colors should already go together well.

wpid-20140911_202641_1.jpgWhen all the strips are cut, get out your toothpicks. Just a handful is enough to start with. I like to work with about 7 at a time to make a sort of assembly line.

wpid-20140911_202808_1.jpgBegin by taking the fat end of your triangle and wrapping it around the end of one of the toothpicks. Make sure that you are far enough away from the tip of the toothpick, so that you have a good, regular base to act as the hole of your bead. Hold the paper tight and spin the toothpick until it “grabs” the paper and begins rolling up the paper.

I am right-handed, so I twist the toothpick with my right hand while holding the paper with my left. Use your left hand to guide the paper as it wraps around the toothpick. You want to keep it in the center of the “bead” and you will watch it grow the closer you get to the tip of your triangle.

wpid-20140911_202943_1.jpg(Sorry that picture is blurry, I think you can get the idea, though.)

Continue wrapping and holding the paper tight around the bead until you reach the last little bit of the triangle.

wpid-20140911_203038_1.jpgPut a small amount of glue on the inside of the paper and then spin the toothpick under your fingers while the glue sets and holds the tip of the triangle down. Be careful not to get any glue on the toothpick itself. It is a challenge to get the bead off the toothpick if it is glued to it.

When it holds its shape and doesn’t unravel, it’s ok to set the bead down. Since I’ve finished cutting all the strips of paper, I like to use my scissors as a holder for my beads while they finish drying and while I roll up more beads.

wpid-20140911_204201_1.jpgIt keeps the beads off of the table so that they can dry and not get stuck to anything. Leave them set for about 5 minutes (usually enough time to roll up the remaining toothpicks with beads.

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When you have used up your toothpicks, it’s time to start sealing the beads. No matter what kind of sealant you use, the beads will not be waterproof. But at least you can give them a good shine. Grab your fingernail polish and run the brush around the bead a few times until it’s good and even, then rest on the scissors to dry. Again, be careful not to get the polish on the toothpick itself. Also, be careful not to let the bead touch the table because it will leave a blemish in the polish (much like when you paint your nails).

wpid-20140911_204726_1.jpgWhen the beads have dried sufficiently (about 5 minutes), it is safe to remove them from the toothpicks. The easiest way to remove them is to twist them off in the opposite direction that you rolled them onto the toothpick. This is also a good reason to make it close to the end of the toothpick – sometimes the paper in the middle can shift when you pull it off. Twisting while pulling helps keep the shape of the bead.

Continue through the remaining strips of paper until you’ve made all your beads. Now you can decide what kind of jewelry you want to make with them. I am not a big necklace person, but I enjoy bracelets. I paired my paper beads with some small seed beads to make a wrap-around bracelet.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-18-10-53-08_1.jpgI used hemp cording, a matching button, and jewelry floss. I often get comments asking if the paper beads are glass or plastic. They are a great conversation piece.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-18-10-53-24_1.jpgLet me know how it turns out and if you have any questions.

Enjoy!

P.S.

If you like the idea of paper beads, but don’t like the idea of making them yourself, why not check out THIS organization?  31 Bits is an amazing organization that works with women in Uganda, giving them job training and skills to provide for their own families and rise above poverty. The name of the organization stems from Proverbs 31, where it describes a diligent woman providing and caring for her family, and from the “bits” of paper the beads are made out of. Pretty cool, huh? And the beads and jewelry look BEAUTIFUL!

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Fresh Friday – Foodie/Wander Edition (Traverse City Food Stops)

To continue with the Traverse City recap, I’m sharing some of the places we stopped for food in the and around the city.  Of course, being northwest mitt-Michigan, you can expect lots of cherries featured on the menus. Some of my favorite things I tried was special-made cherry chipotle humus and cherry barbecue sauce.

House of Doggs140607 - TC House of Doggs

Website

120 S Union St, Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 922-1348

***UPDATE (1/3/16) The only location for House of Doggs is now in the Mall.  Here’s the address: 3200 S. Airport Rd., Traverse City, Michigan***

Now, if you want to talk about chili dogs, you talk about Cincinnati. That’s a firm statement and fact. I don’t even know why I bothered getting a Cincy-style chili dog outside of Cincinnati, but they did only alright. I’ll share that my companions LOVED their dogs, though. Matt’s mom heard that this place was on one of those foodie TV shows and so, it was our first stop the very day we got there. It was very good, and I enjoyed the theme of the joint – all dogs have their own quirky regional name, like: Be-Bop, Grand Funk, Disco, James Brown, etc. The brother in law got a real strange one, I think it was the HOD Fusion, which included crushed potato chips.

The Underground Cheesecake Factory140608 - TC cheesecakes

Website

1375 Yellow Drive, Traverse City MI 49684
231-929-4418

The Huz and I stopped in here because, hello, it’s cheesecake! We were in the area called The Village, which includes the renovated Old State Hospital grounds (apartments, shops, restaurants) for the annual Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Naturally, they are incredible for their cheesecakes, but they also serve soups and sandwiches. We got our cheesecake to go but ate our lunch outside. So good!

Higher Grounds Trading Co

Website

806 Red Dr, Suite 150, Traverse City, MI 49684
877.825.2262

It was a little chilly on the day of the Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Of course, Michigan is a little further north than southwest Ohio, so we should have been prepared. We welcomed a stop into this coffee shop, which is just around the corner from Underground Cheesecake Factory.  This place has all the earmarks of a great local coffee shop, which I love! One super-cool thing is that they gave us our coffee in real ceramic mugs. The catch? We could bring them back when we were done and they’d be cleaned and reused, or we could take them if we really wanted. We returned ours, but mine had a Santa on it, which was fun. The mugs are donated to them and it would definitely reduce the waste from the shop. I’m pretty sure I saw that they offer the used grinds to small-garden farmers. Here’s the description they post on their website about who they are:

Higher Grounds Trading Co. roasts fair trade and organic coffee from around the world. We stick to high standards not only for ethical and environmental reasons, but also because we’re obsessed with quality: we believe these standards produce the best-quality coffees around. Our close relationships with farmers help us bring delicious coffee from the field to your cup.

Millie’s on Main – Mackinac Island140609 - Millies on Main

Website (couldn’t find a true website, so this is their Yelp page)

7294 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
906.847.9901

If I’ve been walking a lot before eating (which is all you really do on Mackinac Island), I am not usually up for a big meal. So, yes, I did go to a nice restaurant on Mackinac and only got chicken tenders and fries. But they were so good! Also, the special chipotle lime bbq sauce was amazing!! I loved it. I don’t think I would’ve thought to put lime in a bbq sauce, but I’m so glad THEY did because I could have probably drank it and been just fine. I can’t remember much else about the place, though, except that I had to take a pic of the bathroom. There were paintings in them by a guy with the same name as one of my friends, which was funny to me. Anywho, check them out. There isn’t a huge variety of food options on the Island, but this was probably one of the better options minus the Hotel.

North Country Grill and Pub140611 - suttons bay cherry chipotle humus

Website

420 N Saint Joseph St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
231.271.5000

I’m jumping around, but I had to put this place in here. We stopped here for lunch one day on our way up to Fishtown (back from? I can’t remember which came first) and, again, we had been doing a lot of walking, so I went light on my meal. I snagged the Cherry Chipotle Humus. If you know anything about Michigan, it’s that it’s Cherry country. They did not disappoint. It was fruity, spicy – everything they promised. The inside of the place is amazing too; lots of beautiful wood, fireplace, giant bar. It was gorgeous.

The Cherry Hut

140613 - TC cherry hut 03Website

211 N. Michigan Ave. (US 31), Beulah, MI 49617
(231) 882-4431

I was told to stop here by a customer. The Cherry Hut was also featured on a reality foodie show, so we figured we had to check it out. They are, as the name would imply, all things cherry. The Huz had a burger with cherries mixed into the meat. I had a regular burger with cherry barbecue sauce – soooo good. The father-in-law ordered a “Complete Dinner” which came with just about everything on the menu. It was unreal how much food he had, and he loved every bit of it. They have a store of take-home treats that is very comprehensive. I bought some chocolate-covered cherries and gummy cherries to bring back to the office. They were gone within a few days. I would highly recommend a visit here for lunch or for dinner. The decor is real sweet too, like a 50’s dinner with cherries!

Moomer’s Ice Cream

Website

140608 - TC moomers

7263 N. Long Lake Rd., Traverse City, MI 49685
231.941.4122

There are a few different spots where you can find Moomer’s Ice Cream. We stumbled upon it at The Village in the downstairs of the State Hospital (don’t let that scare you) and also at their main store, which sits next to a dairy farm. I love local flavor and you don’t get much more local than ice cream from local dairy farms and other local ingredients. If you like Moose Tracks ice cream, you will love their Cow Tracks blend (pictured to the right).

Union Cantina

Website

UClogo

127 South Union Street · Traverse City, Michigan · 49684
(231) 941-5038

This is a great little Mexican bar in downtown Traverse City. My biggest takeaway was that I could actually order a DR. PEPPER and it came FROM THE TAP! Yeah! it is so hard to go through northern states sometimes. I must live right on the line where Dr Pepper stops being a thing in the north. The food was pretty good, but seriously, I can only remember the Dr Pepper. 😀 Oh, and there’s a crazy massive antique mall on the same block.

Fresh Friday – Wander Edition (Traverse City Iris Farm)

I promised that I was going to post the highlights of the trip to Michigan back in June, buuuuuuut I’ve been a bit of a slacker. I mean, I’ve had stuff on my plate this summer, but not enough to really excuse it. This week, we got a package which reminded me of that promise, so here is a post about one of my favorite finds near Traverse City, MI.

It was not on my list of things to see, but we drove passed it a couple times and I KNEW I had to make a stop at some point during our visit. The irises were in full bloom and absolutely gorgeous!

140612 - iris farms 11140612 - iris farms 04140612 - iris farms 07140612 - iris farms 12

It was very cloudy the morning we decided to stop. I was sad, because the colors were so vibrant in the sunlight. We were not the only ones with the idea to stop, though. A group of ladies were setting up chairs and easels to paint the beautiful colors of the flowers. The sun was trying its best to make an appearance, and did in spots.

140612 - iris farms 15140612 - iris farms 14140612 - iris farms 09140612 - iris farms 10140612 - iris farms 05140612 - iris farms 03140612 - iris farms 02140612 - iris farms 01

There are so many kinds of irises with so many creative names. We put in an order for rhizomes to be mailed out to us once they were ready. We ordered 5 different types: Seakist, Immortality, Forty Pinochle, Wabash, and Neutron Dance. They finally came in the mail after I had almost forgotten about them!

140902 - irises 01 140902 - irises 02

If you are ever in the area, you should definitely stop by! Peak season would be late May-early June. You can pick out which rhizomes you like and they will be delivered to you the end of October/early September. They come bare root (as you can see), so there’s no worry about invasive species making their way into your community. It even includes a Certificate of Quarantine Compliance! If you’re a “native” junky like me, you will love that they take this extra precaution. Irises are beautiful but not worth the spread of Japanese beetle or plant disease. I am very excited to see what they look like next Spring. The goal is to plant them in the garden bed on the side of the house, using old tire halves to make raised beds for other annuals. I’m so pumped!

Iris Farm in Traverse City

 

5385 E Traverse Hwy
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
(231) 947-9040

on Pure Michigan Website

 

Fresh Friday – Last 10 on Pinterest

Some recent Pins that have made me happy, inspired me, or just piqued my interest:

Soft Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies…um, these look amazing and I’m sure I’ll be making these at some point this Fall. Plus, I usually end up with a half can of pumpkin puree, so it’s a perfect use!
31 Bits has their new 2014 Fall and Winter Collection! Paper bead fashion that saves lives – awesome!
John Piper
I am such a nerd….I don’t like to consider myself a grammar nazi, though. 🙂
American Bellflower – wildflower throughout many of the parks in southwest Ohio and across the nation
I have read so much Elisabeth Elliot stuff over the years. She was a fabulous lady!
Honey and Olive Oil Zucchini Muffins – also with maple syrup. Have I told you I made these??!?! And they are amazing?!?!?!?! Yes!! – by Pinch of Yum
another Pinch of Yum recipe – Beef Biryani. I am going to have to try to make my own Indian food at some point. It’s just getting to be too much. Plus, the Huz can’t handle the bones in the stuff we got at the restaurant.
Halloween Mason jar craziness!
Candle Lampshade Craft – Good Housekeeping

You are welcome to find me on Pinterest. There is a quick button to the right of this post, just under the Instagram feed.

See you there!

Fresh Friday – Flower Edition (DIY Seed Packets)

I had a big patch in my new garden bed out back that I didn’t really know what all to do with. I wanted flowers, pretty and EASY flowers, which would take over the space without much effort from me. I bought a pack of Cosmos seeds because I’ve never grown them before. They’re also annuals, so I figured that if things didn’t pan out this season, I could switch it up to something new next year. Unless they become the “morning glories” of The House.

Back story: I don’t think I would ever willingly grow morning glories, unless I had a big swath of fencing that I wanted covered up, FOREVER. They are beautiful and I think they are lovely flowers. The Japanese call them Asa Gao, which translates to “morning face.” So sweet! Mom grew them all along the fencing of our tiny apartment back yard one year. They continued to run amok. When the end of the season came, we cut down the dead foliage and dragged it through the grass outside our apartment and out to the dumpster. The next year, you could see a line of morning glories growing in the grass straight from our back gate to the dumpster. It was so funny, but just a reminder of how pervasive the flowers are.

Anyway, my Cosmos turned out beautiful this year!

20140630_205302_120140630_205334_120140630_205347_120140630_205449_1

They are majorly prolific. By the time I figured out that I could probably harvest the seeds to share with others, mine had probably dropped more than enough seeds to come back next year…with bells on. The seeds are super-easy to tell when to harvest. The petals fall off, the center draws together straight out from the stem and the seeds form. Once they are ready, the center pops out like a ball on top of the stem, almost like a dandelion head, but the seeds are much longer.

I grabbed a baggy and went out to pluck the heads of the ones which were ready to bring inside and sift through the chaff and seeds.

20140806_212038_120140806_221902_1

The seeds look a bit goofy to me, but it makes them easy to identify. When we got married, sunflowers were our primary flower. I bought a bunch of different types of seeds and made packets for them out of wedding magazine pages. I had A LOT of fun putting them together, and designing a cover for them too. I thought I’d go ahead and do the same with these, but use an old nature magazine for the paper.

IMG_20140807_19310720140808_125942_1If you would like to find the template I used for my seed packets, here is the website for you:

http://www.finegardening.com/make-your-own-seed-packets

I’m pretty sure I didn’t print it out, because it was kind of a waste of paper (the packet was too big for the paper I was using). I tore out my page, folded it in half short-wise and cut along the crease. Then I used the remaining pieces as their own seed packet, so I could get two packets for each page. I freehanded cutting the tabs and used a glue stick to seal the folded edges, leaving one end still open. This makes a mostly standardized size which then gives me the dimensions for my labels. You wouldn’t have to print a full cover label like I do, but instead make just a strip label with the necessary info on it. I just like to add pictures and make it fun.

Also, we don’t have a color printer, so don’t feel like you have to print out a black and white and hastily color the picture with marker like me. haha

Here is the finished product:

20140814_100607_1_1

I’m not very good at growing veggies, but people at our church are and each week, at least one member is bringing in some produce from their garden to share with the rest of the congregation. These flowers are such a treat that I am glad to be able to share these with the church and other friends.

Have you ever done a seed share? What’s your favorite thing to grow in a garden?

Fresh Friday – Parks Edition (8/8/14)

I have a goal to visit all the nearby state (Ohio) and county parks by the end of the year. I’ve been to several of the Butler County parks, but I haven’t explored too many north of there, particularly in Warren County, where we live.

I’m also a huge fan of lists. They help me organize my thoughts, and while I may not get to all of these by the end of the year, it’s a goal to get me outside and to learn more about the part of Ohio I moved to when we got married.

So here is the list of the parks for Warren County, Ohio:

Bowman Park

County Park
50 acres – 200 Corwin Ave, Waynesville, OH 45068
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks-list/bowman.htm

Caesar Creek

State Park
3741 acres – 8570 E St Rt 73, Waynesville, OH 45068
http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/caesarcreek

Caesar Creek Gorge

State Nature Preserve
483 acres – 4080 Corwin Rd, Oregonia, OH 45054
http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/caesarcreekgorge

Clint Fultz Park

County park
30 acres – 6102 Corwin Ace, Corwin, OH 45068
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks_list/clint_fultz.htm

Fort Ancient

Ohio Historical Society
764 acres – 6123 St Rt 350, Oregonia, OH 45054
http://fortancient.org

Gulley Park & Trails

County Park
119 acres 0 2168 Middleboro Rd, Clarksville, OH 45113
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks_list/gulley.html

Hall Creek Woods

State Nature Preserve
278 acres 0 3232 Morrow-Mason-Millgrove Rd, Morrow, OH 45152
http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/hallcreekwoods

Hisey Park

County Park
158 acres – 5443 Middletown Rd, Corwin, OH 45068
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks_list/hisey.htm

Landen Deerfield Park

County Park
95 acres – 2258 W St Rt 22/3, Maineville, OH 45039
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks_list/landen_deerfield.htm

Mathers Mill Nature Preserve

County Preserve
42 acres – 5349 Wilmington Rd, Oregonia, OH 45054
http://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/parks_list/mathers.htm

Now, Warren county aside, Matt and I decided to go exploring another nearby park this past week. It had been a long time for him and a first time for me to visit the Germantown MetroPark. We didn’t spend a ton of time there, but we enjoyed what we did see. I am looking forward to going back another time and trying out one of the other paths. We walked only part of the orange trail and then drove up to where the scenic overlook is – um, majorly disappointing, but I was spoiled on all the scenic overlooks up in Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park (I’ll work on getting those posts up soon enough). I think that, even with conservation and such, I would either trim down the trees in that spot, OR build the platform higher. The Five Rivers Metroparks are all about the Greater Dayton area. I’m going to have to go check them out as well at some point. But I am going to focus first on the list above. Yep, I’m going to be good and stick to one plan. 😀

Germantown MetroPark

Five Rivers Metroparks
7101 Conservancy Road, Germantown, Ohio 45327
http://www.metroparks.org/parks/germantown/

140803 Germantown 01

American Bellflower

140803 Germantown 02

We dubbed this the fire tree. It looks like a flame.

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Isn’t he handsome?

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Germantown Dam on Twin Creek

Fresh Friday – Foodie Edition (8/1/14)

I’ve been lax in my blogging of late.  All I’ve been posting lately is the Bible Verse Calendar, which is great, but once a month posting is not a good habit for a blog. So, I thought that with the start of a new month, I would start a new habit. I’m calling it Fresh Friday. I was going to go with Foodie Friday, but then I thought, “What if I want to talk about flowers sometime and I want to have a Flower Friday?!” Well, I guess I could…Maybe I could switcharoo it every few weeks or so. Throw in a Fun Friday too, here and there. Hmm…. (This is a perfect insight to the conversation I’ve been having for the last, oh, 17 hours inside my head. You’re welcome.)

I think Fresh Friday would encapsulate all the things I could want to share on any given Friday. Anything that doesn’t fit in, I can just make up a whole new category and squeeze it in there. Right? Isn’t that what the internet is for? Making up things?! So, here we go. The first edition of Fresh Friday!

Fresh Friday – Foodie Edition

We had some friends over last weekend and the menu was a bit of a challenge because of food allergies and intolerances. But, hey, I have a bunch of those too, and mine are just random, so I “challenge accepted!” it and here’s what we came up with. The food turned out yummy. You know all those fears that really intensely healthy foods will probably be bland and dissatisfying (or maybe I’m still a decade behind)? There are a couple websites that are working to change that opinion and from my experience with them, it is working!

My sister turned me on to this site. She and her husband have been trying to eat Paleo for a while. They succeeded for a bit and then, well, you know, unhealthy eating happens sometimes. But the idea is that you remove all grains from your diet, all processed foods, and just go with meat, fruits, veggies and nuts. The basic concept is that our bodies weren’t designed for processed foods. Our bodies were designed to eat what we could grow and raise in our own yards. I, myself, would have a hard time getting grains out of my diet, but I think the primary issue seems to be that there are too many grains in our diet. We overdo them quite a bit. And the whole GMO grain bit, that can be a bit of a challenge, but there are some great products out there from farmers striving to use pure grains not tainted or “enhanced.” Here’s a great page to look at: Paleo 101. I’ll tell you, though, my sister looked amazing as she was going through this diet lifestyle change. Really amazing! It’s a whole reprogramming on your idea of food.

I have been perusing this blog a lot recently. Added it to my Bloglovin’ app feed too and enjoying the posts therein. Definitely recommend checking it out.

Allrecipes.com might be old news in the internet foodie world, but they still are my go-to place for great recipes! I usually find myself reading the other user comments for tweaks and adjustments that they have made. Also, the reviews bit is wonderful. Nothing like seeing what looks like it could be a great recipe (to this untrained eye) only to find out that 25 other people tried it and lost their pan and stirring spoon because of it. (That’s an inside story with my family…my other sister tried to make something and left out a crucial ingredient, turning the “something” into concrete and completely unsalvageable. It’s a testament to how important even the little ingredients can be, especially in baking!)

So, here are the recipes we came up with:

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice – Pinch of Yum

Have you heard of pureed cauliflower as an alfredo sauce yet? I’ve had some friends try it and they loved it so I was willing to try this recipe out. The garlic went right along with the rest of our meal. I had to tweak the recipe a little for some needs, but I think that it you follow it to a T, it would be 10 times better! Also, we had a bunch left over, makes a great next day lunch.

Fried Okra – AllRecipes

Super yummy! I made this with olive oil and gluten-free cornmeal. Turned out really good. The first time I made it, the meal kept falling off. But it was my second time frying okra myself and I think it’ll be a regular appearance in this house. I think my next cajun attempt will be jambalaya or gumbo…with sausage and chicken. Oh yum!

And the main course!

Coconut-Buttermilk Southwestern Grilled Chicken – PaleoLeap

Ok, so it’s a very easy marinade and takes no time on the grill at all. So, so, sooooo good! So flavorful too! I let the marinade sit for a full day and the meat was so juicy and full of flavor. Very definitely recommend this recipe and the other marinades on this website. Also, if you try to pin this recipe, for some nutter reason, the link was reported for inappropriate content, so Pinterest won’t let it through. Instead save the website to your favorites and come back for regular visits.

Direct Links:

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice – http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-cauliflower-garlic-rice

Fried Okra – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fried-Okra/

Coconut-Buttermilk Southwestern Grilled Chicken – http://paleoleap.com/coconut-buttermilk-southwestern-grilled-chicken/

Enjoy!!