Thoughtful Thursday Best-ever Beefless Stew

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With the cooler temps finally here in the South, I wanted to try a new vegan soup recipe. But I wanted something really hearty that would be filling and I found it. This is a recipe for “Best-ever Beefless Stew” with portobello mushrooms taking the place of beef. If you’re not a fan of portobellos, I’m sure you could use another type of mushroom that would taste just as good.

I gotta say this was one of the most delicious and satisfying stews I’ve ever had! A few things I would change to the recipe is to add a little salt and pepper to taste and it also calls for fresh parsley as a topping. But I wasn’t too crazy with flavor of the parsley with the stew. I would recommend giving it a try anyways and see for yourself, you may end up liking it.

This recipe was published in the latest Forks Over Knives, β€œ100 Best Plant-Based Recipes,” 2021 and it can also be found on their websiteΒ β€œBest-ever Beefless Stew.” It was really easy to make with everyday ingredients.

Forks Over Knives  100 Best Plant-Based Recipes  2021 image 0

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of this issue, it’s available on the Forks Over Knives Website.

Hope you’ll give this tasty recipe a try 😊

Thanks for stopping by!

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β€œHealth is the first form of Wealth. Invest in yours by eating whole, unprocessed foods.” ~ Dr. Axe

Custom Keepsake Ornament

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With the loss of my little Cocoa this past summer and being stuck in bed this entire holiday season, my thoughts were on her a lot. She was quite a character and loved to rip our presents open. You can see her ears flying madly as she shredded the paper on this gift. This was serious business for Cocoa, she made us all laugh πŸ˜‚

So to keep a reminder of Cocoa at Christmas, I made this ornament. It’s a beautiful way to remember those we’ve lost whether our furry kids or family and friends. It’s also a great way to create a custom keepsake for special moments. This started as a simple paper mache circle ornament, but wood would work just as well.

Round Paper Mache Ornament - Christmas Ornaments ...
Paper Mache Ornament

Supplies

  • 3.75″ Paper Mache Circle Ornament or Wood Ornament
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paint in coordinating color to match photos
  • 3.5″ circle photograph of your loved one
  • 3.25″ x 2.5″ rectangular/freeform photograph of your love one
  • Golden Matte Medium
  • Posca Paint Marker .7mm
  • Sakura Pen .005 or other Waterproof Fine Tip Marker
  • 14″ Trim of your choice
  • Stickles – Star Dust
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Instructions

  1. Paint your paper mache ornament with gesso and let dry.
  2. Paint your entire ornament, including the edges with the acrylic paint using a 3/4″ flat brush. Let dry. Give it a second coat if needed.
  3. Print and cut your photographs to fit the ornament. The approximate sizes are listed above.
  4. Using the matte medium, adhere your photograph to one side of the ornament. Apply a coat of matte medium over your photograph to seal and protect it. Let dry. {Note: depending on the ink you use to print your photo, you may want to test the matte medium on a sample photo to make sure the ink doesn’t bleed.}
  5. Follow step 4 with the 2nd photo on the other side. Let dry.
  6. Add any names, dates or sentiments with your Sakura pen.
  7. Using the your Posca pen, add little stars and doodles. Let dry.
  8. Accent one side of your ornament with Stickles and let dry. Then repeat on the other side if desired. Let dry.
  9. Last, using Aleene’s Tacky Glue, adhere your trim to the edge of the ornament and cut off any excess. Now you have a beautiful keepsake of your loved one or that special moment.

I hope you enjoy creating your custom keepsake. Keep in mind, these would also make great gifts too 😊

Thanks for stopping by!!

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Valentine’s Day Canvases

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I’m having a lot of fun creating these smaller canvases for Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of layers and work that goes into each one. They’re literally labors of love and I accent each one with glitter for a little bit of Cupid’s magic. Each painting is sealed and protected with a matte finish and comes ready to hang and are available in my Etsy Shop.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Share the HappyΒ πŸ’–

Change Watercolor Portrait

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I finished this portrait last night and named her “Change.” Just as caterpillars change to stunning butterflies, sometimes we also have to change to stay on our life’s path. Change isn’t always fun but can lead us to great things.

Have a fabulous day!

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“Change is the law of life, and those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” ~John F Kennedy

Thoughtful Thursday When life throws you a curve ball

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You may or may not have noticed I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks. I ended up getting pretty sick just before the holidays. So Christmas and New Year’s celebrations skipped my house this year. It felt strange but was necessary.

I’ve had people say to me, wow that’s a terrible way to end the year. But I don’t see it that way. Life threw me one heck of a curve ball. Instead of going crazy during the holidays trying to get everything done, I was forced to take it easy. It was the most chill holiday season I’ve ever had. And when someone says it was a terrible way to end the year, I say no it was great because I made it through it all and I’m still here ready to make this a better world, one day at time!

It’s taking a little more time than I expected to get my mojo back. My creative muse has also taken a hiatus. But I’m slowly getting myself rolling again with short workouts and super healthy eating habits. I’m grateful that I can continue to share my happiness with all of you πŸ’–

Today I start a new course called Interactive Abstracts with Jodi Ohl. I’m really looking forward to this class and getting my creative muse back on track. With all of the rest I got I feel blessed to be more focused on what I want to accomplish this year. So you can expect great things from me in 2022!

When life throws you a curve ball, and believe me it will, don’t fight it. Go with the flow. Life is perfectly imperfect. Sometimes these curve balls give you a lot to think about. So find that silver lining in the cloud. Pick up the pieces and move forward with gratitude which is the best attitude!

I hope your holidays were awesome! I wish you the greatest success in 2022!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Share the HappyπŸ’–

“Gratitude: It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” ~Unknown

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Thoughtful Thursday – Mirror Neurons

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What are mirror neurons? Mirror neurons are the part of the brain that cause us to mimic or reflect back what we are seeing in another person. For example when you see some one hurt themselves, you may winch and feel their pain. Or when some one yawns, you’ll have to yawn yourself even though you’re not tired. The same also holds true for when some one is in a bad or good mood. Their mood may rub off on us. This is because of the mirror neurons in our brains.

When I first started my morning walks I’d smile at strangers and most often I didn’t get much of a response, much less a positive one. But I didn’t let this stop me because I was determined to share my happiness.

As I continued my walks day after day, I’d smile bigger and longer. If that didn’t work I’d follow that with a twinkling wave and a cheerful “Good Morning!” I completely understand that not everyone wants to be happy and that’s ok.

But smiles are contagious and are universally understood. If you smile at some one long enough, you’ll most likely get a smile back due to the mirror neurons. Whether you’re in a good mood or not, the fact that you’re smiling instantly raises your energy and you can’t help but feel uplifted.

After a couple of weeks something magical started happening. These strangers who were not the happiest little campers suddenly became friendlier. I began to get big smiles, twinkling waves and morning shout outs of “Good Morning!” So much so that some would go out of their way to greet me. It made me feel even happier that I was able to share my positive energy with others. I may not have changed the world, but I changed my corner of it, just a bit.

Imagine if everyone tried to “Share the Happy” with those around them. Life isn’t always perfectly happy but when we put more of that positive energy out there, it will surely come back to us ten fold. So what are you waiting for, get out and share a great big smile with some one today 😊

Thanks for stopping by!!

Share the Happy πŸ’–

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday: Attitude

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I’ve been listening and reading a lot of inspirational works. There’s one thing I’m noticing that keeps coming up and that’s “Attitude.” Attitude is defined as: A manner of thinking, feeling, or behaving that reflects a state of mind or disposition.

Attitude seems to be the foundation of our lives and is a reflection of what is going on in our minds and where we our in life. Our success or lack of, is based on our attitude, and it is tightly woven in with our thoughts. The two are pretty much intertwined.

It stands to reason then that a Good Attitude gives you good results. But if you have a poor attitude towards learning something new that could move you forward in your life, you’ll just get stuck in the mud and won’t go anywhere. If your attitude is one that all the cards are always stacked against you, then you’re powerless to change anything.

All of these negative attitudes make you a magnet for attracting more negative situations into your life. Have you ever had a day that starts with one thing going wrong and then there seems to be a domino effect of one thing after another that keeps going wrong? By allowing yourself to dwell on the negativity in your day, you allowed your attitude to become negative and thus made yourself into a human magnet for attracting more negative situations into your life.

So how can we change? Start each day with gratitude and the intention of how you want the day to go. Don’t jump out of bed, rushing through your morning and responding to the day as you go. Instead, take a minute to set a clear intention on how you want your day to play out. I mean really think about it and allow yourself to feel how wonderful it is to have such an awesome day!

Do this every day and you’ll be surprised at how your life improves when you set a daily intention to maintain a positive attitude.

I hope this inspires you in some way today. Thanks for stopping by!!

Share the Happy πŸ’–

“A great attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of a great attitude.” ~Earl Nightingale

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Thoughtful Thursday – Reap What you Sow

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The mind is very powerful. It can create a happy life for us or an unhappy one. But it all comes down to what thoughts are you planting in your mind.

Mindfulness was and still is a big movement. But how often do you mind your thoughts? There is a constant chatter going on in your mind every minute of every day. Experts guesstimate that the brain has an average of 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day, which translates to 2,500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. This in itself is mind boggling, so how can you be mindful with so many thoughts all the time?

Sadly, the majority of our thoughts are negative. It’s how we’re programmed as human beings. So how do you keep your thoughts in check? Because it’s very easy to have your negative thoughts take control of your daily life, which if left unattended day after day, will create an unhappy life.

Here are a few ideas ideas to help you plant seeds of happiness:

  • Before getting out of bed, visualize what a great day you will have.
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier and have some quiet time to relax your body and mind.
  • Everyday write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for.
  • Write down positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself throughout the day.
  • While exercising repeat positive mantras in your mind.
  • Read inspiring quotes and start a collection of them to have on hand.
  • Take time off from social media.
  • Take a break from your phone and set times to check in.
  • Go for a walk or hike outside, enjoy the sunshine and reconnect with nature.
  • Listen to a good Life Coach or Motivational Speaker.
  • Spend a few minutes every morning visualizing where you want to go in life and the person you want to be.
  • Meditate daily. If you’re not sure what to do, then start with a guided meditation.
  • Create art like painting, sculpting or drawing Zentangles.

It’s normal to try something new and go right back to your old habits. But pay attention when this happens and make the decision to get back on track. The choice is yours, sow some positivity.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Share the Happy πŸ’–

β€œWhatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” ~Earl Nightingale

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Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it πŸ˜…

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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Share the Happy πŸ’–

“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Angel Daniela – Watercolor

Meet Angel Daniela, my newest angel in my Strathmore 5.5β€³ x 8.5β€³ watercolor journal. I really like the bright green and doodles at the bottom in this one. Hope you do too πŸ’–

Have a wonderful week!

Thanks for stopping by!

Share the Happy!!