Thursday, January 8, 2015

Out with the Old, In With the New

Hi friends and newcomers, welcome!

This verse is a comfort to me today as I move forward in the New Year with all it's possibilities.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

I hope your new year is off to a great start. Mine has started out a bit slowly and in a bit of a funk. I was gentle with myself and didn't push myself to do things I didn't have to.  Since I am never able to do nothing much for very long, I also did a lot of reading and a bit of shopping.  The shopping was done at the end of last year and beginning of the New Year to help me get 2015 off to an organized start. I have some goals this year for my spiritual life, my physical being, my home and my relationships. I also have a theme word or a guiding word for the year "joy". This is to help me look for joy in the world each and every day. Sometimes I might share those moments with you here on the blog.

Those of you who have been reading me for years might recall that I go through frequent times of purging my possessions. When I need to replenish or renew them I try to do it in as frugal a way as possible. These actions relate to my personal goals of keeping things organized and tidy, financial goals to reduce spending and also spiritual goals to help on the mission field (read more at my Work in Africa page at the tab on the top of this page).

Purging at the end and beginning of the year happened again when after Christmas I realized that my pillows are well over 20 years old. I can't imagine all the dust mites in those pillows after all this time as they were not washable. I did keep them covered with washable pillow protectors and aired them out every now and then.

The pillows were still supportive but looking worse for wear. I'd been thinking of replacing them for some time.  This year I finally did it. I ordered them on line which is always a bit dicey but they were a good price.  Basically two for the price of one.  While they are not my best pillow (that is one I'm throwing out), I'm  happy to say they seem to be working out fine. If I think back over the past week or so I think perhaps I am also sleeping better too which is one of the claims made by the pillow's inventor. I will have to keep alert and see if the better sleep (not waking up so often through the night) is a long-term benefit.  I can now throw out my old and well worn pillows.

The new pillows are washable and that is a bonus. I want to buy another two good quality latex pillows.  Of the two pillows I'm throwing out, one was latex and one was buckwheat. I would say they were both worth the price I paid for them way back when. I'll take my time looking for a good pillow replacement.

I've also replaced some cheap towels and a floor mat I had purchased less than 10 years ago. These are white towels that cost me only $1.99 each at the time. They now look rather dingy and gray and are starting to fray. The towels I had before were good quality ones that lasted over 2 decades. I'm afraid I was still using those with a few holes and frayed edges when I bought the inexpensive white ones.

My new towels and bath mat finally match my shower curtain which I've had for a few years already.   I now have white towels (2 bath) with teal trim and several other teal coloured towels in various sizes (2 hand towels, 2 bath towels and 1 bath sheet). I couldn't get any facecloths as they were all sold out but I will probably just look for some packages of inexpensive white and teal facecloths somewhere else. I tend to go through face cloths much more quickly and there is no way I will spend $4 or more on one face cloth.

So what else is in or out in my life?

Well for years I've been saying I want to try meal planning. I think it would help me to know in advance about what I will eat so I can prepare several days ahead with the food buying.  This way I hope to get a better handle on my blood glucose levels which are still not fully under control.

I've never actually tried meal planning for a whole week at a time and for some reason I don't find it easy to do. Instead I go to the store and buy whatever is on sale meat wise.  Then I purchase a lot of things to go with it (rice, pasta, quinoa, all kinds of beans and legumes & all kinds of vegetables).  Each day I think about what is going to be for dinner and sometimes I think several days ahead especially if I am going to be fairly busy and want to eat healthy.  This method works fairly well but lately I feel I could do much better and maybe spend much less if I sat down and had a plan of meals.  Plans always include breakfast, lunch and dinner and it is really Breakfast and lunch that I seem to have the  most trouble with.  Also, I have this idea that meal planning is going to require me to also look up recipes and learn new dishes so I can keep things interesting and thus the time factor puts me off a bit.

My first attempt at meal planning started last night. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it.  I may have to start smaller than planning for a whole week.  It will be good for me to start with planning more for breakfast and lunch since I seem to be pretty good with the dinner menu. Maybe I shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel and just focus on planning ahead for breakfast and lunch and continue to plan dinners after buying whatever is one sale. That might work better for me. I'll have to experiment a bit so it might be awhile before I'm in a groove so to speak.

I've never been a breakfast person except for when I travel.  So I really do need to plan ahead for this meal.  It will  largely consist of one of  the following:  hot cereals with fruit, yogurt and fruit, combinations of egg dishes or yummy muffins. I don't eat bacon anymore largely due to the cost and heart health.  Though I would probably do better on a higher protein breakfast I don't often have meat left over from dinner.

Here is a good heart healthy and healthy weight muffin recipe that came with lots of rave reviews. The recipe is actually for Lemon-Raspberry muffins but I substituted cranberries since that is what I had in my freezer. I've made these muffins to have for breakfast every other day or so this week.

 Lemon-Cranberry Muffins * Rated as heart healthy & Healthy Weight



  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
  3. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in berries.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
  4. Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.


  1. The muffins looks awesome....two of my favorite flavors...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  2. Those muffins have me drooling.

  3. Happy new year Joy! Looking forward to reading more from you in 2015!

  4. When I replaced the towels in my new bathroom I realized the old towels were nearly thirty years old.

  5. Hi Joyful, What a wonderful post. Your organization is impressive. Your blog has definitely given me some ideas to make life better ... you "one word" for the year, and now, the "meal planning". I am just terrible at meal planning ... usually waiting until the last moment. And, yes, that especially applies to breakfast. Those muffins look delicious! Thank you for sharing this update. Hope you have a great weekend ... peace and blessings to you! John

  6. Happy New Year!
    Oh my, those muffins look so good :)

  7. Your muffins sure are pretty!
    Since I am now only cooking for myself, I don't plan a menu for each day. I usually cook one kind of meat and one kind of beans for the week and with some cheese and whatever vegetables are in season (or frozen from my garden), that's what I have for lunches and dinners. Eggs or fruit, nuts, and yogurt for breakfast. Coffee and tea. I use different spices for variety. My grocery budget is $110 per month and I'm able to stick to that most of the time. I'm not fond of cooking and I almost never follow a recipe, but most everything I cook is tasty and satisfying to me. Everyone's tastes are different!


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