September 23, 2016

White Beans and Ham Recipe

Disclosure: Some of the links in this white beans and ham recipe post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

If you're looking for a recipe that screams yummy Fall goodness and yet is super economical and easy to prepare then look no further. This recipe for white beans and ham is one of my family's all-time favorites and it was passed down from my husband's grandmother, Meme. In true Meme style this is delicious and easy on the pocketbook, but best of all, it is homey and heartwarming just like her Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice Recipe. My kids have eaten this almost since they were old enough to have solid food and since it's jam-packed with veggies it's my go-to meal when I want to feed them something hearty and healthy.

White Beans and Ham Recipe - Easy and Economical

This recipe requires you to soak the white beans overnight, so be sure you factor that into your preparations. Also, for the best outcome, I highly recommend using a cast-iron pot like this one, but it isn't essential, it should taste great regardless.

Ingredients:
1 lb of White Beans - rinsed and sorted
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb of ham steak, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients:
Ham hock
Cornbread (with butter)

Preparation Instructions:
Soak the beans overnight according to the package instructions. Most packages have a quick soak option, while that option works, I find that soaking the beans overnight produces the best results. Approximately an1.5-2 hours before you want to serve your meal, drain the beans. Put them in a pot and add the onions, ham, and salt and pepper. The ham is cured so it will impart saltiness into the dish so be mindful of that when adding your salt. I typically use about a teaspoon of salt and the same amount of black pepper. If you have a ham hock it will add more flavor but it's not necessary. Cover everything with water. The water should go about one inch over the top of the beans, approximately 6 cups.

White beans and ham simmering on the stove

Most packages of beans also come with a flavor packet. I do not use that packet because the ham does more than enough to flavor the beans without adding the extra sodium from the packet.

Note: You'll need to watch the water level throughout the cooking process. If the water gets too low the beans will not cook evenly. Just add more water as needed throughout to ensure that everything cooks evenly.

Cook on medium to high heat until your white beans and ham have come to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer. Cover the pot but leave a small opening so that the beans can breathe.

white-beans-and-ham-simmering

Cook for 1.5-2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Remember to continually stir and check the water level throughout the cooking process.

I like to serve this with cornbread because the sweetness of the bread pairs perfectly with the homey, saltiness of the white beans and ham. I just crumble my cornbread right on top so that I get a little in each bite. Another great bonus is that this dish reheats well for leftovers too.

white-beans-and-ham

All in all, a fully prepared white beans and ham recipe typically costs less than $10 to make and should easily feed a family of four with leftovers. So, if you're looking for an easy recipe that is light on your wallet then you need to give this a try.

I'm always on the lookout for cheap and delicious ways to feed the family and I'd love to know what you have cooking in your kitchen. Please share your favorite, economical recipe in the comments below.

If you're looking for some other meal ideas check out all my other recipes here.

As always, be blessed,
Brittany
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September 16, 2016

Free Ways to Spread Kindness

It doesn't cost you a thing to be kind. And kindness doesn't mandate that you need to make some extraordinary gesture. In fact, Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Formerly Mother Teresa) once said, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." And isn't that really the key to kindness - doing something for someone else with love?

kindness is always in season

As a mother, I think it's incredibly important to teach my children about the necessity for kindness, especially when we're faced with hatred and intolerance every time we turn on a television.

I was recently reflecting on how I could share kindness - random or otherwise - with those around me. I started compiling a list of free ways to share kindness with others, things that I could try to implement daily. It was my intention to add a little sunshine to someone's day. More importantly, I wanted to think of ways to spread kindness that I could do quietly or anonymously.

It all started when the car in front of me pulled out of the very first, non-handicap parking spot at the grocery store during peak shopping hours. I was immediately elated, and who wouldn't be? And I could have pulled into the spot and lugged my two little helpers inside with me to do our weekly shopping trip. It would have been much easier, but instead, I decided to leave the spot for the car pulling up behind me. I intentionally went to the next available spot, about 75 yards away. My kids didn't know the difference and I'm not even sure that the recipient of the awesome parking spot knew I was intentional in my action - but I knew. I knew that I was doing something kind for a complete stranger for absolutely no reason. And I'm telling you this not to be braggadocious but to demonstrate how simple it is to spread kindness and say that it doesn't need to be acknowledged by the recipient.

17 free ways to spread kindness

Here's a list of 17 ways you can spread kindness and it won't cost you a dime:
  1. Leave the awesome parking spot for someone else
  2. Clean up after yourself
  3. Allow someone with fewer items in their cart to go ahead of you at checkout
  4. Open the door for someone
  5. Compliment a stranger
  6. Return the cart (or buggy) for someone when you're shopping
  7. Make and send a homemade card to someone and let them know you are thinking of them
  8. Smile
  9. Allow more than one car to merge in front of you in traffic
  10. Give free hugs
  11. Call a someone you haven't spoken to in awhile
  12. Thank a soldier for their service
  13. Donate blood
  14. Pick up litter
  15. Share your umbrella
  16. Volunteer 
  17. Pray 
I challenge you to implement a couple of these throughout your day, to spread kindness to strangers and expect nothing in return. There are many amazing nonprofits that encourage kindness, like this one, founded after my brother-in-law and sister-in-law lost one of their dear friends to a senseless act of violence; but you don't need a reason to be kind you only need to act from your heart with love.

How do you spread kindness? How can you implement more kindness in your daily life?

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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September 12, 2016

Greater than Gold by David Boudia

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

How would you respond if the eyes of the world are watching your every move? If you broke through the ceiling of celebrity and rose to the top of your discipline? In his book, "Greater Than Gold" David Boudia describes his journey as a world-class diver and Olympic gold medalist. More importantly, he describes his journey to the Lord and how he uses his athletic platform to tell how Christ transformed his life.

Greater Than Gold By David Boudia Book Review - How one Olympic Gold medalist found Christ on his way to the podium


A natural athlete and rising diving star at the University of Purdue, David was never one to shy away from a party or pursue his personal interests. He kept his sights on the glory and fame that he thought would come to him as an Olympic athlete. He got the opportunity to participate in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in synchronized diving and the 10-meter platform diving events. There, his personal pursuits stood in the way of him obtaining his ultimate goal of becoming an Olympic medalist. It was only by the grace of God that David was able to redirect his life and later rise to the top of his sport and ultimately the Olympic podium. 

"Diving was something that I did. It was not who I was, and it didn't define me. I'm not defined by my success or my failure but who I am in Christ." David Boudia Greater Than Gold

As a former college athlete, I found that I was able to relate to David’s story on many levels. I was interested in learning about his training and competitions and how worldly influences effected his walk with Christ prior to his conversion and continued to play a role in his life long after he decided to be faithful to the Lord. David’s story is inspiring and relatable, whether you’re an athlete or not. For example, after having a child David said this of parenthood, “The baby cries in the middle of the night, and I don’t really want to wake up. But I have to because her life depends on it. Caring for her has taught me how to be a servant.” Now what parent hasn’t experienced that moment of utter exhaustion and yet sacrificed their own personal needs and desires for that of their children? While David’s story is that of an elite, world-class athlete, elements of his life can appertain to all walks of life. Filled with biblical truths and a truly inspiring story, I highly recommend this "Greater Than Gold" by David Boudia. 

What books are you currently reading? I'd love to add you as a friend on Goodreads so we can share our book reviews and recommendations.

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.


Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 30, 2016

Seven Thousand Words

How to you keep up with a three-year-old? The energy level, the never-ending questions, the stubbornness, and new-found vocabulary and understanding of the world around them. I struggle daily trying to entertain, teach, guide, and just keep my little ones alive. Most nights I go to bed exhausted, impatient, and feeling like I could have done more, but there are some days when I know that I nailed it - that I was a great mom to my boys. When they go to bed smiling after their prayers, with full bellies and happy hearts I know that I have done my job.

One of the biggest challenges that I face as a SAHM (stay at home mom) is monotony. The knowledge that if I'm not prudent, every day could look the same as the last - breakfast, playtime, lunch, quiet time, playtime (again), dinner and our nightly routine. I try to fill the days and weeks up with playdates, trips around town, and arts and crafts but there are some days when we just chill - nothing's planned and it can lead to a lot of restlessness. Those restless days add up quickly when the weather isn't conducive to outside play. Which is why the other day instead of suggesting yet another movie on the couch, I decided to embrace my inner three-year-old.

I took my oldest outside and we played in the rain. We danced and sang and caught raindrops on our tongues. We laughed until our bellies hurt and I went to sleep that night knowing that I had a happy boy under my roof. We shared a few minutes together that I hope he enjoyed and that I will always remember.

So if a picture says a thousand words then here are 7,000 words to warm your heart.


Boy smiling and playing in the rain

Boy playing in the rain

Boy catching rain on his tongue

Boy playing in the rain

Boy playing with umbrella in the rain

Boy playing with blue umbrella in the rain

Smiling boy in the rain

As a mom how do you keep things fresh for your children? How do you discover activities and events in your area? How do you embrace your inner three-year-old?

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 22, 2016

Blogger Resources from Groupon

This post was sponsored by Groupon but all opinions are my own.

"I'd love to lose weight but I don't know where to start, so in the meantime, I'll just sit back enjoy this pint of ice cream and wait until the tools and knowledge I need to be successful just magically fall into my lap."

"I wish I could paint in my free time but learning all about the different types of easels and paints and canvases make the preparation more like a full-time job than a hobby." 

Has this ever been you? Please tell me I'm not the only one that gets overwhelmed by the work that goes into the front-end of a new hobby or activity. Sometimes all that work causes me to give up before I even get started. I'm full of excuses for why I didn't try a new recipe or attempt some awesome new craft and normally it's because the journey just to get started requires so much prep that I lose all my initial fervor. 

I don't want this to happen to you - especially if you want to be a blogger. 

If you've ever considered becoming a blogger - be it for business or pleasure - the preparation to get started can be quite overwhelming, but I'm here to encourage you on your journey and make it a bit easier. I've put together a list of some tools that will help you kick off (or revamp) your blog and the best part is that you can get everything on this list from Groupon!




Planners and notebooks to stay organized. Essential for any blogger that wants to keep their ducks in a row, you'll need a way to stay on top of potential post ideas, social media shares, stats, and all the general musings that keep a blogger blogging. 

A phone or camera for great pictures and videos. If a picture says a thousand words then you may want to include a picture or two in each of your future posts. People love to get a glimpse into your world and see things through your eyes. Original photography is one of the best ways to enhance a post and make it authentic. 

A phablet for easy travel and quick posting. A great blog is a reflection of a life well lived and living well means you’re likely out and about. Capture and post about those moments with an awesome phablet (the cross between a phone and tablet) like the Samsung Note 4
Blogger Resources from Groupon - Samsung Note 4

A reliable computer. Absolutely essential for any blogger - you need to have a reliable computer and internet access. You'll likely want to load it with software to help you edit your posts and your photos but there are also great analytic tools and social media outlets that can help you take your blog to the next level. 

Blogger Tip - don't get in over your head. If you decide to start any corresponding social media accounts for your blog, start with one or two and grow from there. You don't need to have 16 different social accounts with five followers on each. Concentrate your focus so that you have an active and growing audience before adding extra accounts. 

A way to relax. Work hard and play hard - or relax hard in this case. Treat yourself to a glass of wine, some health and beauty products, or the latest handbag or sunglasses.

As you begin your blogging journey focus on your ultimate goal and not the list of challenges that you'll face, arm yourself with the tools and resources to make it a success and start connecting with other bloggers in your niche. 

If you're a new blogger - welcome; please let me know if you have any questions - I will gladly be of service if I'm able to help you on your journey. If you're a more seasoned blogger please leave a comment for the newbies telling them some of your blogging must-haves. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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