Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Stapler

If you look up the word "stapler" in the dictionary one can find that it is a machine that holds two things together, usually paper. You will also find that it is derived from the noun "staple" which is of recognized quality. I have found a gold stapler in my life, a staple that I will miss using every day. When I first got hired at Rio Vista, many new faces crossed my path. Some were cheerful, positive faces, while others were focused, disgruntled, or angry. But there was one face I would meet and never forget. A face I spent my mornings and lunch times with, a stapler who held me together when the days were unkind or the faces of the angry ones caused me great sorrow. She is the recognized quality that has made my last two years of teaching more joyful then before. As I sit here in front of my computer and think about my last day tomorrow I think of the many things I will miss. My kids were amazing this year and each one has changed my outlook on life for the better. But there is one person I will miss the most, the stapler; of recognized quality. My dearest friend Leah is my gold stapler. Only I and her know the meaning as her room was "fancy" this year in gold boarders representing the gold and she always needed my stapler! But beyond that we were inseparable. Two teachers who had each other's back. If I was sick she'd get my class ready and I her. If we had kid situations, we'd cover for one another. And when moments in life were unfair, we had our share this year, we held each other together. We are true friends and I am blessed that God has brought her in my life. We will always be in each other's lives, but it will be different next year as we continue to teach without the other right next door. No more morning prep periods to share new ideas and plan. No more lunch sharing moments or story sharing of the night before. No more inside jokes on campus and the laughter of students who leave that lasting impression. But we will make new memories, I know, but it just won't be the same dear gold stapler; of recognized quality.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


                Today was the last time Coach Jones would coach a game in the Clovis High Cougar basketball gym as head coach. A gym that has been home to him and his family for the past 15 years. As the longest running coach in the district in basketball, Coach Jones worked in “his” gym today for the very last time as head coach of boys basketball.  It was a day that I found to be emotional. I met him in this gym, chased all 4 kids across the floor during games, and spent many hoopster camps and AAU tournaments in my “home”. How does one move on? How does one say good-bye to what is the only gym we knew better than our own home. In this gym my kids could tell you where the best seat is, the warmest seat, and the coldest seat. They could tell you the best hiding place and who would give them free food from the snack bar.
                Coach has spent our entire married life in this gym, hours sweating and working with his kids that were not his own; constantly making them better then what they ever thought they could ever be. He still gets to school before school starts every morning at 6:40 to open up “his” home and work-out his boys. And in one swift moment our family has no gym to call our own, no team to cook dinner for, no place to raise our kids. All of us striped from our family, the ones we spent countless of gym times with, Reno trips, and summer trips with as we watched our boys play, learn, and make memories. No one ever thinks about what happens to that coach that gets replaced. No one thinks of the aftermath. It’s like coach said, “it’s like being adopted at 13 years old.”

                Today, Coach Jones coached his last game in “his” gym. It was his son’s AAU team and they won the championship game in the 3rd grade division. It was a great game, close to the very end. TSU coming up from behind and winning by 1! Those are the best games. Everyone stopped as the nail-biting game came to an end. No one was happier than Coach Jones. No one was sadder than Coach Jones. That's the kind of coach he was, not only coaching his Varsity team, but his youth, the first experience boys have within the program. Coaching them to be champions, not only on the court, but more importantly off the court. 
                So tonight we say good-bye to Clovis High School Boys Basketball and choose to cherish the memories made throughout the last 18 years. Coach Jones is a great man, amazing coach, and even more amazing father and husband. Tough Smart Unselfish (yea that’s what TSU stands for). That describes Coach Jones. Where the road will take us, only God knows, but as for tonight we stop and remember Coach Jones and the legacy he leaves behind. The All-Time Winniest coach at Clovis High School Basketball, Five times Tri-River Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Fresno Bee Coach of the Year, sent many players to play college ball, Three times League Champion, Two times Section Runner Up. His hard work and dedication and his commitment to his players and the Clovis High Community was unmatched. He was a coach that was truly in it for the kids.  He truly built an army of basketball players and is leaving the program with a tremendous amount of potential and promise. Loyal till the hero Johnny Jones!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Another Mother's Day has come and gone. And for many it is a wonderful day filled with flowers, hand made cards, fabulous gifts, and countless breakfast in bed moments. Facebook is filled with all the bragging rights between mothers and their children and everyone goes through the motion to honor a great woman in their lives and everything goes back to normal tomorrow. Moms will get back to grocery shopping, meal planning, lunch making, house cleaning, and for some going back to work in the am. And we children will go on needing them in every possible way. But for some it is a sad day, whether dealing with the physical loss of their mom or not being a mom for different reasons life sends our way. I am mixed on this very day. I have my four beautiful (I am a little bias, as every mom is) monsters-I mean children who I adore on most days. Their sweet innocent cards and drawings of me in square outfits and sometimes with no hair makes me feel like a million bucks. And then there is the side of me where I see all the pictures posted of daughters and mothers on social media and the celebration of them in their married lives-and I am saddened, even a little jealous. Why do they get their moms still? Why are their moms so healthy, alive, and a part of their own children's lives? I get angry as I go sit with my mom, beside her in her wheelchair. Holding her tight-hoping for one little glimpse in her eyes that she knows it me. Talking to her and telling her all about my days, frustrations, and what would she recommend I do. Nothing. Nothing is there today, my mom is not there. I hold on to her physical body and am comforted simply by hearing her heart beat. Completely disheartened by her lack of knowing who I am. We bring the flowers, we share the memories, we hold the hands, but in reality I am empty inside, wanting my mom, needing her in my life. Mother, Mom, Mama, Moom (Niko's new word for me this month), whatever you may refer to yours as, whatever they may or may not be to you, they are there. Everyone has one, good or bad. But I, I have one who is physically here, but I cannot laugh with her, I cannot call her up and ask her to help me, I cannot cry in her embrace, I cannot feel her hand in mine. I realize that today in the midst of my kids celebration of me, I cry. No one can replace her, no one can be her in my life. I cry for what I had, what I need to have, and what I want to have, I cry. So today, continue to be that mom...that mom you had, that mom you want to be, that mom that you are. Mother's Day. 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicken and Cauliflower fried rice and chocolate chip cookies

This is one of my favorite ways to eat cauli-rice-although there are many!!!!-my kids seem to gobble this up in a minute and I always which I doubled the recipe. I tweaked the original a bit to make it a little quicker of a night...try it, I bet your kids won't know it's not really rice! (wink-wink)

Original Recipe: (from deliciously organic)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
 (I used chicken from my roasted chicken the night before!)
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari sauce or coconut aminos
 (I used Tamari Sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry, 
1 clove garlic (I used 3), minced
  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
 (I used a bag from costco-half of it)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen)
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 4 tablespoons fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos

  • 3 large eggs

  • 4 green onions, chopped
Place chicken, Tamari, sherry and garlic in a medium bowl. Stir and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place half of the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 12-15 one-second pulses until cauliflower is about the size of rice. Place chopped cauliflower in a bowl. Repeat with second batch of cauliflower.
Place peas and carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and swirl to coat. Place chicken in skillet and cook, breaking up into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan. Add remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and swirl to coat. Add cauliflower and Tamari to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes until cauliflower is hot and coated with the Tamari. Make a well in the center of the pan, crack the eggs and pour them into the well. Stir eggs in the middle of the pan until scrambled, then stir into the cauliflower. Add the peas, carrots, green onion and chicken. Stir for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated and hot. Season to taste with a bit more Tamari or sea salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Chip Round 2;
This was the better of the two recipes I have tried so gave it TWO thumbs up and asked for more...they are looking forward to their lunches tomorrow. I didn't use the brown sugar it calls for I used Organic Coconut Sugar instead. Result was amazing!!! I also made my own Almond Butter this time, just like the site suggests. C'mon, don't these look good? Mmm-mm good!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spiralized Shanghai Beef and Broccoli and Waffles

Since my new gadget in the kitchen, I have been busy spiraling! This recipe turned out great! I adjusted the recipe and used grass-fed New York Steak (which was delicious).
Recipe from Skinny Taste

And while I was in the kitchen all afternoon, I decided to try yet another waffle recipe...hoping and praying it would work for breakfast...and this recipe was AMAZING! A winner!!! A constant weekly menu item to store in the fridge!!!
YES...these are Paleo! Yes...they are DELICIOUS! Kids ate and ate and were satisfied!!!! 
Smiling, sticky faces!!!
Recipe from Against all Grain
Palm Shortening or coconut oil, for greasing waffle iron
6 large eggs
1 cup Almond milk or full-fat coconut milk
2 cups Pancake Mix
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut crystals or honey
1 tsp vanilla

Pancake Mix:
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat waffle iron and grease
Place all ingredients in order in a blender pr food processor
Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the blender container with a spatula and blend again until smooth
Pour batter in waffle iron and repeat!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pesto Pasta and Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I got a new gadget in the kitchen...
Image result for spiral slicer
It's the Spiral Slicer from Sur La Table and it was on sale today-24.95! Took this puppy home and made this...
Recipe courtesy of
(I doubled and it serves at least 4 as a main course and 6 as a side) body thought it was eating pesto pasta!

Pesto Zucchini Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 2 zucchinis made into noodles
  • 1 cup of raw pine nuts
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of fresh basil
  1. Make zucchini noodles with julienne peeler. Hold down zucchini with a fork for safety.
  2. In food processor, combine, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, fresh basil and lemon juice.
  3. Blend until smooth, then toss with zucchini and plate dish.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1-2

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Update and Chicken Strips

I have been busy creating in my kitchen since my last post! Don't worry all my friends, my kids are happy, healthy and enjoying lots of new tastes! They still get their Me-n-Eds pizza, occasional dose of sugar, and mama still bakes some fantastic sweets...even though they may be on the "PALEO" side! No one is being deprived and good yummy memories are happening still! Although, if you ask them half would definitely rather raid Titi's pantry over ours, but only half-I won some over! With all this REAL food cooking, I actually spend about 3-4 hours in my kitchen daily-and I LOVE it! It's a real eye-opener to see the world of food without grain, sugar and a whole lot of dairy. I have become passionate in this because of my family's history of Alzheimer's-of course-and will try anything I guess to keep my mind working a little longer-anything! I guess you could say it's my biggest fear in life; something I try not to dwell on, but it's definitely there in the back of my mind. So with that sob story, here is one of my family's favorite, CHICKEN STRIPS...this is soooo good, you really don't realize you are eating so well. I served this with oven roasted cauli-rice, which seriously my kids thought they were eating buttered rice! It's a miracle that cauli-rice!
And homemade Honey completes this dish!
This recipe is from Paleo Newbie
    Paleo Chicken Strips
  • 1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Honey Mustard Sauce
  • 5 tbs raw honey
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F
  2. Get a couple of sheets of parchment paper out
  3. On one piece of parchment, lay out the chicken strips and season both sides
  4. Line a cookie sheet with the other sheet of parchment paper, and set aside
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg
  6. In another bowl, combine the almond flour and the shredded coconut
  7. Take each piece of seasoned chicken, dip it in the egg, and then flour with the coconut mixture
  8. Make sure all the pieces are well coated
  9. Lay each piece on your parchment lined cookie sheet
  10. Once they are all coated, bake for 15-20 min
  11. Note: these will not brown up like fried chicken strips. I put mine under the broiler for a couple minutes for some color. You could also easily fry these in coconut oil instead of baking.
  12. While the chicken is cooking, make the honey mustard sauce
  13. In a small bowl whisk together the honey, mustard and apple cider vinegar - it's that easy!
  14. Super fast and delicious!!

This recipe is from The Clothes Make The Girl

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice

Serves 2-4 | Prep 10  minutes | Cook 25 minutes | Whole30 approved
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in the food processor bowl and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice. This takes about 10 to 15 one-second pulses. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding.
2. Place the cauliflower rice in a large bowl, add the melted coconut oil and salt. Toss with two wooden spoons until the rice is coated with the oil. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until tender and beginning to get a few brown spots, about 25 minutes.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


So this Greek girl loves herself some Tabbouleh! Mmmmm...nothing better then some mint and parsely and tomatoes...but I needed it to be healthier, less "grainy" so I found Ina Garten's version of tabbouleh made with Quinoa-which is LIFE CHANGING-check that out here. But I still wanted less grain, so the next best thing, Cauliflower Rice...yup, you heard me, Cauliflower rice, it's a real thing. You can make it fried rice, mexican rice, any rice you want, but NO GRAIN. So I took a little from Ina and a little from Healthy Nut and came up with this, which I would describe as OMG! It's whats for lunch for me the next couple of days!

OMG! Cauliflower Tabbouleh:
3 1/2 Cups of Cauliflower Rice (that's a bag of cut cauliflower from Trader Joe's)
One Hot house Cucumber sliced and diced
2 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
5 Green Onions diced
One potted plant of Mint-use it all
One bunch of Italian Parsley
2-3 large lemons juiced
4 tablespoons GOOD olive oil
Himalayan Salt to taste
Ground Pepper to taste

Make your rice and place into a bowl.
Salt and Pepper the rice-taste to see if you like-flavor it!
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chopped mint and parsley (I use my pampered chef chopper to make it fine)
Add the Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....nuf said

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weekly Menu Dinner

Here is what's on the menu for this week in the Jonesy household...these are all new! So some have pictures, some do not...enjoy!

Monday: from Paleo Plan: Grilled Chicken with Rosemary:

  • Ingredients
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 thick slices bacon
  • Preheat outdoor grill for medium-high and oil grates (or use a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat on the stove or oven).
  • Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Lay one rosemary sprig on top of each chicken breast and wrap a slice of bacon around to hold the rosemary in place. Secure each piece of bacon with a toothpick or another rosemary sprig.
  • Cook the breasts about 8 minutes per side on the grill, or until juices run clear and there is no pink in the middle. Note: If you are cooking chicken in a pan on the stove, more time is needed per side. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165° F. If you are roasting chicken in the oven, place chicken on baking tray at 350F for 40 minutes, or until fully cooked.
Tuesday: from Paleo Plan
  • 1 lb salmon fillets, skinless
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil, coconut oil, or bacon grease
  • 2-3 limes (1 per salmon fillet), cut in half
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle
  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Rinse salmon, pat dry, and place on a metal baking sheet.
  • Rub each fillet with olive oil or fat of choice, and squeeze the juice from one-half lime onto each fillet.
  • Sprinkle fillets with sea salt (if desired) and chipotle, then place a half lime on top of each fillet.
  • Cook salmon for 12-15 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork.
This comes from bootsupyall.blogspot  I love brussel sprouts and lemon!!! This is a must have as we being the week!!!

Baked Lemon Chicken & Brussels

1 lb. chicken breasts
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock 
1 lemon
1 lb. brussel sprouts
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In large cast iron skillet (or oven proof skillet) heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium-high.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and add to the skillet.  Once you add them, don't touch them.  Let them brown 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Then flip once and let them brown the same amount of time on the other side. Then remove from skillet.  You will continue cooking them in the oven. 

Turn the heat down to medium, and add chopped onions to the skillet.  Let saute a few minutes then add the garlic.  Add brussel sprouts (I like to chop them in half) and let saute and begin to get nice color on them.  Add 1 cup chicken stock and zest and juice of one lemon.  Stir to combine.  

Add chicken breast back to the pan moving them around until they are sunk into the bottom of the pan.  

Place entire skillet in oven and bake 12-15 minutes depending on how large of a chicken breast.  Once the juices run clear the chicken is done.  

This looks amazing and quick! I plan to add some flaxseed tortillas from Costco or wheat ones for the kids and they can fill them up! (I know store bought tortillas aren't Paleo or clean-I will look up and try to make some later!!)
Turkey and Vegetable Skillet
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini or summer squash, diced
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, end trimmed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. dried basil
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, shredded (regular mozzarella, gouda, or smoked gouda may also be used)
  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. In a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil.
  3. When the oil is hot add in the ground turkey and break it up until it's in small pieces.
  4. Once the turkey is almost cooked through add in the onion and garlic.
  5. Cook for 1 minute and then add in the rest of the vegetables.
  6. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened slightly.
  7. Top the turkey and vegetable mixture with the shredded cheese.
  8. Put the skillet in the oven and broil it just until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Friday: we will probably have tons of left overs...but this would be great to have for the weekend.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 – 5 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 cup sliced mushrooms (we don't like these...will omit:)
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion sliced

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Brown the chicken breasts in a pan. In a blender place the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, water and pulse until pureed.

Place the browned chicken breasts in a pyrex and cover with the basil, garlic mixture. Top with mushrooms, tomatoes and onion and bake for about 40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Serve with brown rice and a salad.

This was so absolutely delicious and you can eat one chicken breast and freeze the rest.  I highly recommend a “good” quality balsamic vinegar. A little more expensive, but worth it.
This recipe is simple, clean and super delicious. It is very easy to prepare.  It is also very low carb.  Balsamic Vinegar Chicken. This is a great recipe.

 And how it looks...